Monday, June 29, 2015

So You Think You Can Dance - Vegas Callbacks Round 1 - 6/29/15

The dancers had a chance to prove themselves again for a second time, but this time at the Westgate in Vegas.

Melissa Melele was the first of the stage dancers to prove herself. Her stage style was great. She and the others didn't get any feedback after their performances. They were brought to the stage in groups of ten for feedback. Seven of the group were kept; three were asked to leave.

This went on, and those who made it went to learn choreography.

Then the street dancers had their chance to stay in the competition.

Tyrell Noll went first, and he was newly married to one of the stage dancers in the competition (Kelly MacCoy). His street dance looked a lot like contemporary to me. Out of his group of ten, he was the only one eliminated. Ouch. Courtney Barnes also got cut later.

The self styled queen of Detroit (per the show) named Kenya "Standing O" Sutton was the last to perform. She arrived in good spirits but didn't feel well later - she had a panic attack. I did not know what to make of her performance. I guess it was great because she was the only one from her group of ten to make it through.

61 street dancers made it through. And none so far had to prove they'd done choreography. Jamal Sims was their choreographer. He'd choreographed the Step Up movies.

The stage dancers next had to dance Travis Wall's choreography. They were performing in groups. From the first group, Kelsey was out, Antonina was in. More people made it through and others left, although some struggled to stay in the game.

The competitor who had been in a car accident didn't make it past this point, even though the judges really wanted her to do so. She was happy though - she said she accomplished her goal.

The street dancers were up next. Things looked off with the first group. People were doing different things. It didn't look cohesive. Nigel called three dancers forward to stay, but two had to go.

The second group, like the first, garnered criticism, like "What is Little B doing?" One dancer from the group was given a chance to dance on his own. Even with that, he still didn't make the cut.

Jessica Rabone's group rocked it out, and she looked awesome. If you recall from an earlier episode, she's trying to find her own way to stand out, and she truly did here. Well, she did but so did everyone else in her group - they all made it through. And the women generally did very well...the guys had struggled, though.

A girl named Samantha had a tough time, but got a pep talk from Twitch and went for it. Unfortunately, she didn't make it through.

The show brought in someone named Josh who works on Broadway to give a real Broadway audition.

One of the dancers, Alan, had an old injury flare up and was told he couldn't dance. He was later advised to come back the following year.

The first group up, which was comprised of guys and girls, included Kelly MacCoy Noll, whose husband had been eliminated. Kelly now got eliminated as well. The others made it through.

One dancer ended up on the floor with an injury, Edson, I believe. He still made it through.

Stage dancer Moises Parra was told he'd have to do his best. He got a chance to dance the stage dance in his own style. Jason Derulo said Moises was strong at first but didn't stay as strong. Still, he got a yes to continue.

36 stage dancers remained.

The next choreographer for the street team was Dave Scott, who choreographed You Got Served.

The team had more luck than street's last round, as all team members in the first dance group made it through.

We next got the emotional story of a dancer, Steven Ban, whose family had never seen him dance. He wouldn't make it through immediately but was asked to "dance for his life" - come back and dance and prove he can do it. He unfortunately didn't make it past the cut.

The episode ended with 36 stage dancers and 38 street dancers left in the game. Looking forward to next week!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison

I spent several hours today reading Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison. Why? Because once I started reading it, I could not stop.

If you're a fan of Playboy related exposes, this book is a must read. Also pick up Playground by Jennifer Saginor. They're both great reads.

Anyway, here's what I take away from Holly Madison's book:

- Hugh Hefner wasn't a nice guy. The gentle octogenarian we saw on The Girls Next Door was actually very scheming, and enjoyed making the girls in the Playboy Mansion hate each other. Holly tried to believe that she loved him, despite the fact that he constantly berated her. He broke down her self esteem routinely throughout her time at the mansion.

- Hugh Hefner called himself 'Daddy', which is super creepy, given the age of his girlfriends and the fact that he could actually be their grandfather. And he was a hoarder.

- Hef was addicted to fame. He cared about it more than he did the young ladies in his mansion. He was all about image, and although he wanted drama amongst the girls in his household, the public was never to know about it.

- Holly, Bridget and Kendra were not fairly paid for their participation in The Girls Next Door. They didn't receive compensation for the first season at all. They were told to be happy with the fact that they were allowed to live in the mansion. Later, they were paid but had to sign serious contracts.

- The girls were given 'roles' on The Girls Next Door. Kendra wanted to have fun, Bridget wanted a career and Holly wanted Hef. Bridget and Holly were so similar that they needed to be assigned characteristics to distinguish them. Hef tried to convince the girls that the show would have worked with anyone else and they weren't special. But really, they were - it bombed once Kristina, Karissa and Crystal were on it.

- Remember when Crystal Harris left Hugh Hefner at the altar? Holly maintains that the event was very real, and it wasn't any kind of publicity stunt, even though Hef did capitalize on it. Also, Crystal was very unkind to Holly, most likely based on jealousy.

- Holly stayed faithful to Hef during her time in the mansion. She did date Criss Angel after she moved out, though, and that turned into a mess. If you don't like Criss Angel, you're in luck, because Holly doesn't hold back on trashing him in this book.

Here are my thoughts on the book:

This book is very much written from Holly's perspective. I know that is a completely obvious statement - after all, it is her book. But what I mean is this: Holly is very self reflective, but also critical of those around her. She points out that Hef pitted the girls in the mansion against one another in order to create drama. She notes that certain people in the mansion were mean to her. But it does seem like she shifts some of the blame away from herself in a way that others involved in the situation may have found less than true. This is just an observation, though, and I could be wrong.

Holly is fiercely loyal to those she cares about (Mary O'Connor and Bridget Marquardt, notably) while strongly critical of many others. Her judgments seem to be clouded in current anger, which is completely fair, but I think the book would have read very differently if she'd written it while still at the Playboy Mansion. She paints herself as very innocent, whereas reality may not be as clear cut as the book makes it seem.

I believe that Holly was genuinely in love with Hef for a while, even though she denies it in retrospect. It may have been due to Stockholm Syndrome or something of the sort, but the feelings were there, and I don't think they can be as easily dismissed as Holly portrays them to be.

This book is going to ruffle some feathers, for sure. Hef sent Holly unhappy letters whenever she said anything he didn't approve of, even though they'd been broken up for a significant amount of time when she'd said some of those things. Hef, Crystal, some former Playmates and possibly Kendra are going to be pretty upset when they catch wind of how Holly described them. But I do think it was a story that needed to be told.

I've read the Amazon reviews of Down The Rabbit Hole, and there are a few things that stand out to me. One is that people are saying, "Holly could have just left the mansion if she was so miserable." I don't think it's quite that simple. I think she really was financially trapped, unless she was willing to go back to her parents' home. And for some people, that's just not an option. Plus, it's easy to fall into the "I've gone this far, I can make it through to my goal" mentality, even if that goal is unattainable.

The second thing is that Holly shows a lack of self reflection and is heavy on the blame for others. Well, yeah, I can agree with that, in a way. She tends to blame the others in her relationships (friendships and romances) for their demise and misfortune. I can see that. She heavily blames Criss Angel for his relationship shortcomings, but basically says that she didn't know better until it was over. I think there might be some memory repression going on here. Like, what the book says may genuinely be what Holly believes. The same thing with the mean girls. I think there may have been some upfront issues, and Holly shutting down made the issues worse. And Hugh Hefner probably did purposely cause fights. But I'm sure that some responsibility did fall on Holly's shoulders. However, this is her book, and it's meant to reflect how she sees things, not necessarily a 100% reality.

Here's some other interesting info:

Per Us Weekly, Holly decided to speak out now for the following reasons.

 "I’ve gotten offers for book deals before, especially right after I left the mansion," Madison told Us at her Hollywood home last month in an exclusive sit-down with Us' Ingrid Meilan. "But I didn’t want to do it then because I didn’t want to do just a tell-all about someone. I wanted this to be my life story — about what I’ve learned and where I’ve gone — and I've finally gotten to a place where I felt that I could tell that story. Over the years I met so many people who had so many misconceptions about what my life was like at the mansion and I really wanted to set the record straight."

If you're a Holly Madison fan, this book is a must read. I couldn't put it down, and I enjoyed this well-written autobiography.

Monday, June 22, 2015

So You Think You Can Dance - New York Auditions - 6/22/15

Welcome to another So You Think You Can Dance recap!

First up was Virgil Gadson, a 27 year old street dancer from Philly. If I heard correctly, he'd won a Tony for his dancing on Broadway. His movements were crazy - so smooth, so robotic, so creative. He legitimately glided across the dance floor. And, he could lift himself in and out of a split. His fun demeanor was exactly what Nigel and Paula said they wanted. He was given a pass to Vegas with no exceptions.

Alexia Meyer, a stage dancer, was next. The Utah native thinks stage dancers have an edge, and in her case, I'll give her that. Her dramatic movement and understanding of music was incredible. She had the edge of a street dancer with the grace of a stage dancer. Paula wasn't as convinced - she said Alexia had a connection, then lost it, then got it back. She won Jason and Nigel over fully though, and easily went through.

The next street dancer, Korey Clevelend, came from Missouri. He's hip hop, but everything but break dance. (His words.) He had a tough life - his dad wasn't around and his mom used crack cocaine. He also struggled with his own addiction and was incarcerated. His style was truly creative - some of the robotic stuff we've seen, but with incredibly quick arm movement and a lot of passion. He was given is ticket.

The next guy was out to represent tap and hoofing. Justin Ballasy was a street dancer who was definitely different than the ones we've recently seen! Watching him was kind of like a hyperactive tap dancer. It wasn't really going with the music part of the time. He certainly was talented though. I didn't love it. He was talented but it wasn't my style. It was fast and clean (as Paula said) but his dance didn't go with the time signature of the music. They sent him through based on talent, even though he's got to learn about musicality.

Next up was Mr. Hollywood (Thomas Condello), a nickname he got from his mom's friend. He shreds papers for a living, but he aspires to be an entertainer. An entertainer he was - lots of funny faces and slow motion movement. The whole thing looked like a big joke, and when this overweight guy finished dancing, he was thirsty beyond belief. Everyone said he was a born entertainer, but it was determined that he wasn't right for the competition.

Next up were a pair of girls dancing together. Their names were Angela (Angel) and Angely (Cookie). Angel could make movements and show drama like very few dancers I've ever seen. Unfortunately, the judges weren't as enthralled with Cookie as they were with Angel, and Angel went through and Cookie was held back.

Allison Wilcox from Vegas was next. She dances in a show in Vegas, and says "like" a whole lot in her sentences. She made up for the likes, though, with her dancing. She had an amazing ability to stretch and show drama in her movement. She mixed ballet with emotion and stretching in a really amazing way. Allison made it, but Nigel made a joke that she didn't need a ticket because she already lives there.

Next up was a guy who had to leave his mom in Haiti when he was young to move to America. His mom was sad, but she knew she was giving him a better life. He goes by Hurricane. His full name is Alain Lauture. His style is locking, and he rocks it! He even did a jump off the stage. He was clearly having a ton of fun, and that was noticed by the judges. He got his ticket to Vegas.

A pair came on stage next. The female was Kenya Welch, and she was with Connor Bermingham. They were advised if they fail as a team, they won't get a chance to dance solo. Dancing together was absolutely the right choice. They were so in sync - so matched - so incredible and technical. They did a sad song and you could feel the emotion through their movement and their facial expressions. Wow. That was amazing. The real question is whether they can stand as strongly on their own as they can in a pair. Nigel said their dance was one of the best thing they'd seen that day, and Connor pleasantly surprised them.

The next segment was the second day of auditions, and it started with Ryan Raffloer from Brooklyn. He danced Latin ballroom without a partner. Interesting!!! He said he had never done solos before, but had been dancing since he was 7. He began when his mom forced him to go. His mom said she wanted to keep him off the streets. Mom was so funny - she said she was punishing him but is now proud of her work. This boy could dance ballroom, even without a partner! He had emotion, drama, foot movement - whoa! He was definitely singing the lyrics as he danced, but it worked. The judges' thoughts were that it was over the top, and Jason wished he had a partner, but he made it through, and rightfully so.

Bobby "Anime" Major was the next street dancer. He had that glide move that I love where he moves across the floor without it looking like his feet are moving. He did a funny move where he pulled his pants partway down and then back up. He moved so well in slow motion. He was given a ticket instantly, and that's absolutely what he deserved.

The next dancer lived in a shelter for ten years as a kid, and turned to dancing to stay out of trouble. Eliazer Chapman was SO GREAT. He could balance and turn on one and. And flip. And backflip. And other absolutely crazy amazing stuff! This is pure, raw talent. He was a yes across the board.

Breaker ballet was the dance style of the next dancer. He's a mix of stage and street. Ian Williams' dancing did combine the two, I guess, but it definitely wasn't my style. The judges agreed with me and he wasn't given a pass. He was told that he should come back, but it needs to be a lot stronger. He then ran out of the building and into the snowy outdoors.

Darius Drooh was nervous about dancing in front of Paula because he loves her. He danced barefoot.  It was very tribal and intense. It looked like it was inspired by battle. Whatever it was, it was inspired and it was great. He then danced with someone else and it was also awesome. He went through. It was well deserved.

Alyssa Guerrieri was last, and she was supported by her grandmother, also a dancer. This contemporary dancer was very technically proficient but her style didn't seem quite right to me. Her flip was absolutely incredible, though. The judges didn't quite agree with me - they loved everything about it. They called her a little ray of sunshine and sent her on her way to Vegas.

And that was it for auditions - off to Vegas on next week's episode!

Monday, June 15, 2015

So You Think You Can Dance - 6/15/15 - Recap

After last week's questionable auditions, including J-South, I was a little skeptical of watching more SYTYCD auditions. But I held on, and I'm glad I did.

We started with Asaf Goren, and it he was playing a shofar. He said he does Israeli break dancing. He does some weird stuff, and it's like, what's his deal? I'm not sure about this. And then, he danced. And danced. And put his shirt over his face and did a flip. It was pretty incredible. He did a great job of tricking us into thinking he's some kind of joke, and then breaking out some incredible moves. Definitely a top contender.

The street dancer was followed up by a stage dancer from Armenia named Avo Kraapetyan. While he was completely different than Asaf, he was also incredible. His passionate dance was full of ballet-like twists, turns and jumps. The judges' faces showed pure awe as his emotion poured through his dancing.

The next contender, Jana "JaJa" Vankova returned after being cut in season 11. She knew that with the new stage vs. street format, she'd found her place. Her robotic style was incredible. She was truly convincing. You could feel the music through her movements. She wasn't given that much time to dance, but she was given her pass to the next round.

Allen Genkin, a 24 year old from Philly, danced a partner dance, and he radiated pure joy throughout his energetic performance. Paula tried to trick him by saying he couldn't dance, wasn't sexy, etc., but then revealed that she was kidding. He was given his paper for the next round.

Next we saw some brothers, ages 29 and 30, who were break dancers. Their dances weer Burim and Illijaz Jusifi. They did a lot of flippy moves and dances on their heads. They had incredible stamina - the crazy moves kept going and going. They succeeded and became the newest members of Team Street.

Jazz dancer Mary Kate Levoir was next. She brought her "dance dad" with her. He bedazzles her and her friend's costumes. Mary Kate's dancing was great - you could really see her strength in her movements. Her dancing seemed be part gymnastics and part acro - they weren't super complex like the street dancers, but her ability to control her movements was amazing. She told the judges her dad thinks he's a dancer, so he was called up onstage to dance for the audience. Dad said everyone their thinks they can dance, he knows he can't. He said he likes 80s music. Mary sat at the judges' panel to critique her dad. Dad went into start position on the floor, and the music began. He was hilarious. He pumped his fists in the air, moved his feet, etc. Mary had chance to critique, and she said she'd seen better at the kitchen table. Paula said it was some of the best walking she'd seen. Jason said he connected with Paula really well. After all the jokes were done, Mary was awarded her ticket to Vegas.

James "BDash" Derrick was next in the street category.  His moves were crazy - so robotic and technical. It looked like he was a robot short circuiting, but in a really amazing way.

The next person, Jim Nowakowski, had gone through many surgeries in his lifetime for facial reconstruction. Born in South Korea, he was adopted by an American family. Though growing up was tough, dancing made him feel beautiful. He decided to pursue it professionally, and wants to inspire people by saying that people have gone through difficult times but come through it. His dancing was...whoa. Just whoa. Very technical, yet very tribal to go along with his tribal choice of music. His ability to stretch and hold positions was amazing. His dancing was almost animalistic, but in a really great way. When he was given the cue to stop dancing, his ending was so sharp and clean - it was nothing short of awesome. I give him so much credit. He's been through so much but came through all of it. He can dance - he absolutely can dance. Of course, he made it through.

Next, we saw Cody Carlson, who did freestyle hip hop. Cody had a bit of a dorky look and a lisp, and he asked his mom, who was in the crowd, to stand up. It turns out he has down syndrome, and he doesn't let that slow him down. He definitely had courage and creative moves. He earned a standing ovation from the judges. Jason said Cody's a born entertainer. He started a chant with Cody's name and he loved it. We learned that dance is being introduced into the Special Olympics, and Cody may represent us one day. Jason Derulo, his inspiration, gave him a big hug, and said he'd bring him to Vegas on his own dime, so I'm not actually sure if he made it into the next round or just would be going as a spectator.

Jacy Jordan was next, and she was escorted by her mom. When she was seven, Jacy was in a bad car accident. Jacy laid on the side of the road and her mom was trapped in the car. Her mom begged the medical team to not remove her leg. She spent a long time in a wheelchair was told that she may never walk again. She did physical therapy, began walking, began dancing and began competing. She truly was a beautiful dancer. She ultimately, although not unanimously, was given her ticket to Vegas.

Jessica Rabone lived in her sister's shadow. Her sister was a TV host in Japan, and she tried to follow in her footsteps, until she was told that they already have her sister, so they don't need her as well. She then turned to dance to find her way. She could definitely move in funky ways. Her style wasn't my favorite, but she had undeniable talent. She was commended for her personality, but was told that her dance needs more moves. She was given a ticket to move on to Vegas.

Kareem Ali was next. He was doing some crazy street moves, and you could tell that he really felt the music. He made it through.

Brandon Armstrong competed previously with a partner, Lindsay Arnold, but was too young to go through. He was invited back to try again, but was on a religious mission so he missed an opportunity. Now he's back to compete for himself with Lindsay's sister, Jensen. Jensen was given a ticket to come back next year when she's old enough. Brandon got his ticket to Vegas.

And that was it for today!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Petition to Cancel "The Briefcase"

There's a petition on to cancel the show "The Briefcase", on which families in need are given a briefcase with $100,000 and given the choice to keep it for themselves or share it with another family. What they don't know is that the other family has the same briefcase and has to make the same decision.

The petition says The Briefcase is cruel because it gives people the choice to either be selfish or generous, and it has the potential to make people look bad if they decide to keep some or all of the money.

Okay, I get it. I get it. This concept isn't super nice. However, I don't think the show needs to be cancelled. Here's why:

  • The show has already been filmed. The people got their money. They signed contracts. They agreed to be on this show. They expect it to be aired. CBS makes their money off of ad revenue when the show airs, and that ad revenue is funding the money that the participants receive. The participants made their choices and they have their money.
  • This concept isn't new - remember the show Friend or Foe on the Game Show Network? Same concept. People knew that their choices with money would either positively or negatively impact others. Only that show was downright cruel - this show has a feel good ending in many cases.
  • People made their choices knowing that they're on reality TV. There was no secret that their choice would be made public. The one couple talked about how they were anti-homosexual, for goodness sake. They weren't deceived - they straight up said how they felt.
  • Reality TV is meant to mess with you. I recently read a story about I Wanna Marry Harry - remember that show? They straight up messed with those girls. Lied to their faces. Whispered behind their backs to make them believe they were marrying a prince. That is, in my mind, way less ethical than this show.
  • This show has now aired, and a second season would be very difficult because people know the premise. So once it's done, it's done.
  • People did benefit positively from this show. They got money. They chose their outcomes. They could have split the money 50/50 and everyone won.

So, should this show be cancelled? No. It's done, it's airing, and people made their own decisions. And some of them are probably enjoying their newfound money and fame right at this moment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Married at First Sight - Did They Stay Married?

Tonight on Married at First Sight, we found out whether the couples stayed married. So did they? Well, here we go!

Sean and Davina: Both chose divorce. Davina said that their relationship was more platonic; Sean said he and Davina aren't right for each other.

Ryan D and Jessica: Both chose marriage!

Ryan R and Jaclyn: Both chose marriage!

The end of the episode showed Davina and Sean separating, and Davina saying she felt betrayed because of what Sean said in front of the experts. She felt blindsided by Sean, even though he felt as if he'd tried to say things, but sometimes hadn't felt strong enough to say it.

Hopefully all of the couples will find their way, whether together or separate.

Update: Ryan De Nino and Jessica Castro are not living in paradise! And it sounds as if Jaclyn and her Ryan are divorcing as well.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Becoming Us - The ABC Family Premiere

Tonight, ABC family aired a new docu-series called Becoming Us. It's about Ben Lehwald and his experience as his dad goes from the transition from male to a female named Carly (she was Charley).

Ben is a high schooler from Illinois. He has a great sister and a great girlfriend. He knew exactly where life was headed until his dad decided to transition into her new persona, Carly.
Ben's mom Suzy is a fitness instructor. She says her kids are the most important things in her life. Last year, she and Ben's dad had said they were getting divorced, and then Ben got the news about his dad, and realized that his dad was growing boobs.

Charley tried to make his life fit was expected - a man, a dad, a coach. He liked it for a while, but it became harder to be that person because it wasn't who he wanted to be. He developed a drinking problem, due in part to his inability to feel like he belonged in his body.

Susie said the family's lives turned upside down when Charley decided to transition.
It turns out that Ben and Danielle have one thing in common - Danielle's dad transitioned to female when she was 7 years old. He still goes by he, but wears makeup and shops for bras - he's kind of in the middle. Danielle thought about introducing her dad to Carly.

We next met Ben's sister, Sutton. She's actually Ben's half sister - Carly's Sutton's step-parent. Sutton recently got engaged to her fiance, Kevin. She wants to be there for Ben as he deals with Carly's transition. She talked to her mom and brother about her engagement, and this was a very normal family moment. We found out Kevin asked for Suzy's permission to marry Sutton. Sutton loved that. Sutton said Suzy is her mom and dad all rolled into one. The topic of walking down the aisle came up, and the situation got tense.

Carly went to visit Suzy's apartment. The pair were married for sixteen years, and Carly admitted she began her transition without Suzy's consent and before the divorce. The pair tried counseling, and Suzy was okay with the cross dressing, but it seemed like the deception was a big part of tearing them apart. They agreed that they both still care about Ben, and seem to get along on at least a friendship level.

This part of the show got so contrived - Ben's friend Ayton, at a meal, made a joke about Carly looking hot, and then they discussed the complications of being transgendered, including what gender the person is attracted to. Everything was very positive, which is good, but also too much so - they're ignoring real issues that family members my face.

After that, we saw more about how families are normal and have normal problems, even with a transgender person. And we faced a key fact - people want and deserve to feel at home on their bodies, and not everybody does. It's not as if people want to feel 'wrong' in their own bodies. It's not just about gender - it can be about anything - weight, for example. We wouldn't tell someone not to lose weight, so we could consider this same concept when someone is transgender.
We were also told that it has been a major struggle for the transgender people on the show to be themselves - people on the streets can be rude, mean and unaccepting. And people certainly don't deserve ridicule just for living their lives. 

I'm not going to run you through the whole episode, but this looks like it'll give a good perspective into the lives of transgendered individuals and their families. We'll see a lot of the same stuff we see on many reality shows - family drama, relationships strengthened and weakened, and a lot of positive experiences involving nontraditional families.

My thoughts:

This is a powerful show that will hopefully have a positive impact. People should be allowed to live their lives in a way that makes them happy, as long as they live in a moral and ethical way. While not everyone agrees with the freedom to be transgender, this will hopefully help those who don't understand it that being transgender can be a wonderful thing. People deserve to feel at home in their own bodies; we should encourage people to follow their dreams and become the people they truly are.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Kelly File - Megyn Kelly's Interview With Jill and Jessa Duggar

I watched the interview with Megyn Kelly and Jill and Jessa Duggar. It was interesting - they were on the attack. They said that what Josh did was wrong, but they do not see Josh as a rapist, pedophile or a child molester.

Yes, the girls were sad - they said they'd forgiven Josh and they'd moved on. But they felt like they were victimized by this and their story wasn't being told. The victims are the only ones who can speak for themselves, but the story has been warped. They felt as if they've dealt with this and they've moved on. They admitted that they can't speak for the others and their feelings, but they can say all of the siblings are angry that the records were leaked and they've forgiven Josh. They feel that people are taking this story, twisting it and using it for their own purposes. They feel helpless.

Megyn Kelly said that in many cases, people are concerned about children in cases like these, but in this case the care was not there for these girls. Jessa said that people that don't like the Duggar family

Jill said that 2/3 of families report that things happen like this, and those are only the ones who are reported. Can someone verify this statistic? I'm not sure it is true. Then she continued and said she feels sorry that other people are living in bad situations that aren't improved like her parents improved theirs. It was a very convoluted statement.

Megyn asked if they think charges should have been pressed against Josh, and they said by the time the police report was written, Josh had changed and they'd forgiven him. This is interesting because does this mean they would have felt differently if they'd gone to police sooner?

The girls said the most difficult part of all of this so far is everything - the last two weeks have been very difficult. The girls asked how they thought about the show possibly going off the air, and they said life goes on. They're not a TV family, they're a family that happens to be on TV. They don't know what will happen.

They also said there are no other secrets that will come out, and this is bringing their family even closer together.

Megyn Kelly talked to another reporter about the ethical implications of what In Touch Weekly did - they made victims of young women who were already victims once. They touched on the fact that this family isn't always popular, and that made them targets, but these women became collateral damage. This is true. This is harmful for them. And that really isn't fair. But the family was in the spotlight, and that makes them targers.

It is questionable to me at this point whether the record was really sealed - depending on what you read, they were sealed, and in other places, they say the records were not. Still, this is horrible for the victims involved. Megyn Kelly made a great point - victims are promised confidentiality if they come forward, and this violates that. This could make people stay quiet when they shouldn't have to do so.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Kelly File - Megyn Kelly's Interview With The Duggars - A Recap

If you haven't been following the media, here's a quick recap of the Duggar drama.

Josh Duggar, the eldest child of the 19 Duggar children, as a teenager, molested five people, including four of his younger sisters. This is bad enough, but he told his parents about it, who did not immediately stop it, get Josh help or go to the police. Eventually they did go to a police officer, but nothing was put on record, and the police officer is now in jail for child pornography charges. Josh did get help, but at a Christian counseling organization. Eventually a police report was filed, but it was very much after the fact, and the statute of limitations had run out.

The family, portrayed on 19 Kids and Counting, a TLC show, issued statements of apology. Josh apologized, his wife Anna said she was aware of the issues that occurred and said Josh has repented, and family members have shown support. But the public - and advertisers - are not as forgiving. The show has been pulled off the air at this time.

Here's a recap of the interview:

Jim Bob said at the age of 14, Josh came to him crying, saying he'd improperly touched some of his sisters. Michelle said it was positive that Josh came to them and it was positive that he showed remorse. She said she felt as if she and Jim Bob had failed as parents. Josh explained his actions by saying he was curious about girls, and he touched them over their clothes as they slept. They were not even aware of Josh's actions. Jim Bob said they talked to the girls to ensured that nothing else had happened; they hadn't and learned of it from their discussions with Jim Bob and Michelle. At this point, he'd only touched two of the sisters.

Here's where Jim Bob stumbled - he said he didn't really tell the girls what happened until some other things has happened. Which means that they let things happen further, even though they're not saying it. They said they tried to deal with this in house, and looking back, they said the best they could at the time. They admitted that they didn't know what to do. Jim Bob said he then watched Josh all of the time, punished Josh - Jim Bob even took Josh to work with him.

Jim Bob said at this point, they safeguarded the girls' bedrooms so this couldn't happen again. The next incidents occurred when the girls were lying on a couch. Josh touched their breasts over their clothes while they slept. Jim Bob then said a lot of similar things happen in their families.

Megyn Kelly asked how the parents felt when they found out the behavior had resumed. They said Josh admitted a few more wrongdoings and they were devastated. Jim Bob reiterated that this was mostly touching over clothes. A few times it was under clothes "but only for a few seconds" (per Jim Bob). After a few more incidents, Jim Bob talked this over with close friends, and decided to pull Josh out of the home. Jim Bob had known someone who ran a training center, and he would take Josh in and counsel him and have him do construction work.

When asked why he didn't get Josh help right away, Jim Bob said that they talked to someone who worked at a facility for youth sex offenders, and was told the success rate wasn't good. So they decided to try to heal Josh's heart first, which is why sent him to the training facility.

Jim Bob, when asked, said parents are not required by law to report their kids to the police in situations like these. They are given the option to do what's best for their child. Jim Bob maintained that he made the right decision, because at this training facility, Josh "broke" and asked God for forgiveness.

Megyn Kelly returned to the topic of the molestations, and the fact that some occurred while the girls were awake. Jim Bob and Michelle said the kids probably didn't even realize it was inappropriate touch.

Megyn asked what it was like before Josh was sent away because the girls were aware of what Josh was doing to them. Jim Bob and Michelle said they tried to keep things as normal as possible. They also told the girls that if anything happened, they should let them know. They also put up boundaries and safeguards in their home.

The Duggars were asked if they ever felt torn about protecting Josh versus protecting their daughters, and they spoke about a bible verse where the shepherd had to protect all the sheep, including one who went astray. They meant that they tried to help everyone at once. They eventually realized Josh had to leave the home. Jim Bob reiterated that the ray of hope is that Josh came to them and showed remorse. He also reiterated that the girls didn't even realize they'd been the victims of inappropriate touch. The parents said they wondered if they could have done more training to stop this, but that kids will do what they're going to do no matter what.

Jim Bob talked about how worse things have happened in other families, and it was confirmed that four daughters and one babysitter were affected. Josh called the babysitter to apologize, but she hadn't been aware that anything had happened.

Megyn asked if there was more therapy for Josh and the girls. The answer was yes, when Josh returned home, Jim Bob brought Josh to the police department to confess. They brought a witness and didn't know what would happen. Josh confessed everything. The Duggars did not know anything about the officer's future child pornography charges. Jim Bob made it sound like he didn't know the guy, although news reports I've read made it sound like Jim Bob knew him. The officer, from jail, actually said he knew about only one incident so that's why he didn't report it. He did, at the time, give Josh a strict warning, saying he could ruin his life.

The topic returned to counseling. It turns out that all children received professional counseling. Josh paid for his own counseling. The parents felt that once Josh went back into the home, he was no longer a threat. Josh was a changed person and there were still safeguards in place. Things were different - boys weren't allowed to babysit, they don't play hide and seek, girls don't sit on boys' laps, etc.

In 2006, with the family in Chicago and ready to go on the Oprah Winfrey Show, someone sent info about these charges to Harpo Productions, and they were forwarded to police. It was confirmed that no abuse had occurred after counseling had been completed.

A big question was asked - what would make you sign on for a reality TV show, given this past incident? A magazine had actually approached Michelle asking if they could write a story about their family. When asked if they were concerned about past issues coming out, they were not concerned, because in their minds, this was all closed. These issues had happened five years before, and everything was sealed and closed out. They were sure this would not get out.

Jim Bob and Michelle were asked how they felt when the news of Josh's molestation came out without any warning. Jim Bob said that he hopes that this helps people realize that God forgave Josh and will forgive others. The Duggars do not know of any motivation the police chief would have had to release this information. Michelle said it definitely wasn't in any way to help the victims, which is true. At one time, Josh had met this person and said hi, and she wouldn't speak to him. This chief had said she had a few things to do before retirement, and this must have been one of them. Jim Bob didn't seem interested in suing, although he said this will make him an advocate for keeping juvenile records sealed so children's mistakes don't ruin their entire lives.

When asked how their daughters felt about this info coming out, they were shocked and crushed at first. They did not want this to be public, as any victim would not. Jim Bob said victims should have their chances to tell their own stories, not have them told in the media.

Megyn said that people are calling the family hypocrites, including how Josh has spoken out about the family is conservative. Jim Bob said it's not something that Josh would announce up front. Megyn continued, saying that the family shouldn't be calling others sinners when they themselves are sinners. Jim Bob said that what Josh did was inexcusable but not unforgivable.

Michelle was addressed regarding her robocall, which said transgendered people could be child molesters, yet she had someone in her own home that had molested family members. Jim Bob stepped in saying Michelle's robocall was about pedophiles, but Josh wasn't because he too was a child. They can understand the critics' reaction, but Michelle said everyone has done things wrong. She said this issue is part of an agenda, and people are twisting things to hurt and slander.

The Duggars do think that the backlash has been greater towards them because people disagree with their beliefs. When asked what happens next, Jim Bob said he doesn't know if the whole family should be punished for the actions of one person 12 years ago, but the family will be fine either way. He does not know if the show will be cancelled. He reiterated that this info was released illegally, and Jim Bob wondered why the press isn't angry that this information was leaked illegally. He hopes justice will be served for the records being released.

Michelle said she was devastated because her children trusted the police. They told them everything, never thinking the tabloids would get the opportunity to share this in a scandalous way. They were victimized more this week than they had been when the incident happened because their secrets are now public. Michelle said she knows God will use all of this for good.

Next, we saw a preview Megyn talking to Jill and Jessa. Jill cried, and Jessa said the system failed them. That will air Friday, June 5th, at 9 PM.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bruce Jenner Chose a New Name - Caitlyn!

Bruce Jenner announced a new name for her new life as a female - Caitlyn Jenner.

The name means pure, which may be how Caitlyn feels now that she's finally able to be who she truly is.

So why did Bruce choose the name Caitlyn for his new moniker? I've done some searching, but haven't found anything concrete. However, I have my theories.

- Caitlyn has the same 'K' sound as his kids' names, but doesn't start with a K, probably because the K would associate him too closely with ex-wife Kris Jenner. And let's not forget - Bruce liked the 'K' sound before he reproduced with Kris - his eldest daughter's name is Casey.

- Some people choose names that are similar to their original names, but Bruce is a tough name to match in a female form. Bruna? Bernice? They hardly sound young and fun like Caitlyn does. The only similar names I can think of are Brittany, Britta, Brittanya...and those just don't seem right for the new persona that Caitlyn is portraying.

- Caitlyn sounds youthful, and judging from Caitlyn's Vanity Fair cover, she's certainly embracing her youthful attitude! Rock it out, Caitlyn! Although I have to say - that cover photo looks hardly anything like Bruce / Caitlyn, so either a lot of plastic surgery or Photoshop made that picture possible.

Those are my theories - what are yours?