Wednesday, January 31, 2007

'I Love New York', episode 3: "Big Ballers" or "Big Bawlers"?

[ALL PHOTO CREDITS:] entitled I Love New York, episode 3:"Big Ballers." It should be: "Big Bawlers."

[CAPTION: Bonez (Kevin John) and the boyz comfort Whiteboy (Joshua Gallander) on VH1's I Love New York, episode 3.]

Count me among the crybabies. God forgive me, I laughed 'til tears trickled and dragged others to watch with me when muscular mover and shaker, Pootie, presented his money talk to the gang of three weaves (1, 2, 3), and then walked out wailing.

[CAPTION: Bonez comforts Pootie (Lamonty) on VH1's I Love New York, episode 3.]

In short, Pootie broke it down to New York (Tiffany Pollard), Sister Patterson and Omarosa that he was flat broke....

[CAPTION: Was Pootie telegraphing more than his financial state?]

...then he broke under the pressure of their scorn and had an emotional breakdown. I'm not lying; he was flying. Down the stairs, that is.

[CAPTION: Driven by a combination of compassion and curiosity, some of the competitors check on Pootie, who survived his fling down the stairs and dinner later that night with Sister Patterson but voluntarily withdrew from the show.]

In contrast, I had sympathy for Whiteboy, who tearfully mourned the death of a friend. (Watch the video.) I also respected Whiteboy for being man enough to know real men do cry. Sometimes.

Too bad chronic crybaby Romance (Ricky Perillo) didn't get the memo explaining when it's appropriate to cry and when it's just plain pathological. He cried us some rivers in episodes 1 and 2, which won no points with the rest of the cast or this viewer.

The same couldn't be said for the tearful, tipsy Tiffany in episode 2 ("Mangeant"), who broke down when "keeping it funky" about not wanting to get hurt again. Or so she said.

Apparently, learning that 12 Pack (David Amerman) might have a girlfriend and Trendz (Hashim Smith) had brought 30 music demo CDs to distribute without her knowledge salted unhealed wounds. Specifically, New York confided: Flavor Flav had seemed to be "really into" her during the Flavor of Love 1 and 2, but the Black-chelor burned her by rolling with Hoopz (Nicole Alexander) in season 1 and Deelishis (London Charles) in season 2.

I guess you'd cry, too (all the way to the bank), if it happened to you on one of VH1's highest rated shows.

Friday, January 26, 2007

RE: Top 10 Teacher Tips for Getting Tip-Top Homework Grades

David Hirning's "Top 10 Teacher Tips for Getting Tip-Top Homework Grades," although an A+ article, makes me raise my hand with a question. Why does MSN - Encarta categorize it as "Elementary"?

Don't the ten tips apply equally to everyone, of every age, in every book-related learning and test-prep situation? Wouldn't heeding them be wise, whether studying for an examination, a standardized test, a professional exam, a test to obtain U.S. citizenship or a written test for a driver's license?

Since I think "Yessiree, Bob" answers both questions, I e-mailed the article to a contemporary who's taking university courses, his 13-year-old son, and my teenaged nephews. I will also share copies of these (and other) useful studying and test-taking tips with others who might benefit. Standardized tests are looming, and I want my peeps to be well-prepared.

The peeps I want to prepare include my students at Study Works (whose tagline is: "Your Complete Source for SAT, SAT II & ACT Prep"). To learn what Study Works can do for you, contact Bonnie and Laurie, at (01) 800-783-1728 or (01) 914-962-4SAT.

In addition to applying David Hirning's top ten tips and test-taking strategies and resources, such as those offered by Study Works, ALL successful students must do the following:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Today's Lisa Tolliver Show - at high noon, ET - on NY Radio WVOX 1460 AM

Join my guests and me at high noon for today's installment of the Lisa Tolliver Show. If you don't, here's what you'll miss:

  • Frank Giordano, Esq. - We'll discuss the Thomas C. Giordano Educational Fund.
  • Marianne Partridge - She'll share today's safety tip from WEVR-MRC. It can mean the difference between life and death during a disaster or emergency.
  • Today's USPS message - Getting your passport and USPS passport fairs.

Here's how to hear and share:

  • Tune your radio to WVOX 1460 AM in the NY-NJ-CT area
  • Listen live online at, worldwide
  • Phone (01) 914 636 0110

If you're listening, we're listening. Talk with us!

Come learn how to turn me on.###

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A pimpernel by any name is no shrinking violet

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

-Source: Juliet Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1594)


This morning, I viewed MSNBC's Headliners and Legends: Nelson Mandela. The informative biopic, hosted by Lester Holt, was worth watching.

If you've read, watched or heard any biographies of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, then you're familiar with the struggles and sacrifices, contributions and accomplishments for which the South African freedom fighter-political prisoner-statesman-Nobel Prize winner is famous. You also know he was once called the "Black Pimpernel." However, do you know why or what a pimpernel is?

If you don't, you're not alone. Today, the word pimpernel is commonly heard yet relatively obscure. Here is what it means and its several contexts.

In nature: A pimpernel is a flower. Like members of the rose family, pimpernel buds can bloom in any one of a number of colors, some of which have been embedded with special meanings. Especially well-known is the scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis‎, pictured right, courtesy of Wikipedia).

In literature, on stage and on screen: A European writer cultivated the popularity of the plant with her stageplay, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and by publishing an associated book series. Wikipedia - Scarlett Pimpernel (which furnished the book cover image to the left) explains:

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic play and adventure novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, set during the French Revolution. It was first produced as record-breaking play, in an adaptation by Julia Neilson and Fred Terry, which greatly helped the publication of the novel in 1905. The story is seen as a precursor to the spy fiction and the superhero genres. It gave rise to numerous sequels, and has been adapted several times for television and film.

The action takes place during the French Revolution, when a secret society of English aristocrats, called the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, is engaged in rescuing their French counterparts from the guillotine. Their leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel, takes his nickname from the small red flower with which he signs his messages. No one except his small band of 19 followers, and possibly the Prince of Wales, knows his true identity.

In history and politics: What does all this have to do with Nelson Mandela? The answer, in Mandela's own words, lies in this excerpt from Long Walk to Freedom, Chapter 40:

During those early months, when there was a warrant for my arrest and I was being pursued by the police, my outlaw existence caught the imagination of the press. Articles claiming that I had been here and there were on the front pages. Roadblocks were instituted all over the country, but the police repeatedly came up empty-handed. I was dubbed the Black Pimpernel, a somewhat derogatory adaptation of Baroness Orczy's fictional character the Scarlet Pimpernel, who daringly evaded capture during the French Revolution.

The root of the matter. The Scarlet Pimpernel and the Black Pimpernel were no shrinking violets. Although they operated - at least sometimes - sub rosa and were named after flowers, both political activists left larger-than-life marks. Of course, it should go without saying, the legacy of real-life hero Nelson Mandela is far more profound and notable than that of the fictional character.

Sunday, January 07, 2007