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Cynthia Martin

Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" has crystal clear reviews

But is it really all that good?

So Robin Thicke has been the “sound of summer” this year. And his new album is out to great reviews. Rolling Stone gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I guess that means I’m the only one who’s confused by his popularity.

Robin Thicke does have a great voice. I’m not disputing his ability to sing. I just don’t understand why people are praising “Blurred Lines” so much.

Known for an eclectic mix of sounds, Robin Thicke is continuing to bring together disparate styles of music on his “Blurred Lines” album. Listeners are treated to dance tracks followed by R&B followed by pop and even some rap. Anyone who’s a fan knows that’s what Thicke loves to do.

“I never try to be just one thing, or do one thing,” Robin Thicke said in an interview with MTV. “I always try to mix up all different styles of music. And so I think sometimes people get surprised, like, ‘Oh, this doesn’t sound like that last song.’ Well, this doesn’t sound like the next song. So I think it’s the good, and bad, that you can get something very fresh and never know what’s coming next on my albums.”

The first single from the album, “Blurred Lines,” has been doing well on the charts. It hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Pop Songs and Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts. And at the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards, Robin Thicke is up for Video of the Year, Best Male Video and Best Collaboration.

That’s my big problem with Robin Thicke. If you haven’t seen the video, it is…. I actually don’t have a word to describe it. There are two versions of the video: one rated, the other not. But both are truly a new level of bizarre.

The unrated version disturbed me the most. Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I sing while naked women walk around them in ridiculous heels. Obviously the men were completely covered. Oh, and then the women dance naked on some sheep.

The song is dumb on its own. It has a catchy beat, but any writer who thinks the lyric “what rhymes with hug me” is sure to be hit has some serious problems. That’s just sloppy, lazy writing to me.

If you like Robin Thicke, good for you. You just keep listening. You can buy his “Blurred Lines” album now on iTunes or Amazon. I will instead try to scrub my brain of the memory of watching the music video.

"The Bachelorette" Finale Part 1 Recap

This article does contain spoilers. Read at own risk.

“The Bachelorette” got real last night on part one of the season finale. So if you’re planning on watching it, stop reading before I spoil that fact that one bachelor walked out because he didn’t love bachelorette Desiree Hartstock enough….oops. At least I didn’t tell you that it was Brook Forester.

Well now that the episode is spoiled for you, let me fill in the details. The episode started normally enough. The first two tropical dates with Drew Kenney and Chris Siegfried both went off without a hitch. Both men agreed to spend a night with Desiree in the Fantasy Suite. Then things on “The Bachelorette” took a weird turn.

If you’re a regular viewer of “The Bachelorette,” you know that the third tropical date should follow the second. They shouldn’t jump back to scenes from the hometown date from the week before. So an extended scene from Desiree and Brook’s Utah date was confusing and foreboding.

“The Bachelorette” ramped up the tension (as any good reality show would do) by showing Brook taking to his family about Desiree.

“I love my relationship with Desiree and I keep wondering why it is that I’m not at the stage yet to say to Desiree, ‘I love you.’” he said. “The idea of proposing to her at the end of this makes me really uncomfortable.”

Meanwhile on “The Bachelorette,” Desiree was admitting to falling in love with Brook and seemed to like him more than Drew or Chris.

“Even though I’m falling in love with the other guys, I still have deeper feelings for Brooks,” she said. “I know that I am falling in love with him.”

And things got worse from there.

Brook talked to “The Bachelorette” host, Chris Harrison, about leaving the show before he took Desiree out to the dock to break her heart on national television.

The split was heart-breaking to watch. But Brook wasn’t going to give in.

“I don’t feel like the moments apart are hard enough,” he said.

If that’s enough, Desiree dropped her own bombshell.

“I didn’t want to share my heart, I wanted to give it to you,” she said.

Personally, I completely respect Brook’s decision to leave “The Bachelorette.” Brook is a true class-act. Instead of hearing about another “Bachelorette” break-up, he wanted to give her a chance to be happy. That’s the mark of a true man.

But it may be too late for “The Bachelorette.”
“This throws everything off, having Brooks gone,” Des said. “It breaks my heart. I just can’t love [Drew and Chris] as much as they love me and that’s not what they deserve. Honestly, for me it’s over.”

Find out what happens next week on the final episode of this season’s “The Bachelorette.” It airs on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

Heidi Klum bares it all…almost

Klum announces that her mom was behind recent racy photos

Heidi Klum is completely comfortable showing skin. She’d have to be to be a Victoria’s Secret model, right? So no one was shocked when the model posted some racy beach photos on Twitter and Instagram.

But the most interesting part of the photos wasn’t who was in front of the camera, but who was behind it.

Heidi Klum’s mother was the photographer behind the topless photos Klum posted. She took them while they were on a family vacation to the Bahamas in early July.

“You will be surprised when you hear that my mom takes most of the photos,” Klum told Access Hollywood. “Yeah, my mom and dad. They were on holiday. Yes, so my mom can take some good photos.”

In reality, any photo that Heidi Klum is in is bound to be a good photo. She even makes sunburn look sexy, as in one picture when she shows off her sunburned ass.

Many Americans would likely be embarrassed having their parent take semi-nude pictures of them. But Klum is from Europe and they do things differently over there.

“…I’m European. I don’t like wearing tops,” she said. “And I don’t like tan lines.”

Currently, Heidi Klum has a judging spot on America’s Got Talent, and is still hosting Project Runway, which has begun its 12th season.

The Amanda Bynes Saga Continues

The former child star’s parents could take control of her life

Amanda Bynes’ crazy escapades could be coming to an end. The former child star has finally gone far enough for her parents to consider a conservatorship.

On Monday, Bynes was taken for a mental-health evaluation after setting a fire in a driveway. Witnesses said she then went to a strip mall deli and attempted to wash gasoline off her dog, before jumping in a cab.

Bynes’ parents didn’t comment after the incident, but have said before that they were considering a conservatorship.

A conservatorship gives one or more family members control over basic decision in a person’s life. If this were to happen, Amanda Bynes would likely be told where she can live, what she can spend and whether she’ll be put into psychiatric care.

And that would probably be the best thing for her. Back in 2008, the same thing happened to Britney Spears. Now she’s doing very well.

Amanda Bynes needs help. Her recent behavior has become more and more erratic. An unidentified source said that she is exhibiting signs of schizophrenia. Her parents would be wise to take control of her life to force her to get the help she needs.

Bynes is not being investigated by police for Monday’s fire incident. It’s fairly clear the actress didn’t know what was going on. The first passerby described Amanda Bynes as “discombobulated.”

Her parents were photographed leaving a Los Angeles hospital where Amanda Bynes is rumored to be. They’ve been estranged from their daughter in recent months. But the driveway where Bynes set the fire is around the corner from their house.

Bynes was being held on a 72-hour involuntary psychiatric hold that should run out today. What will happen next in the saga will likely depend on what her parents do.

Forbes college rankings put Stanford at No.1

The California school passes the Ivy Leaguers

The Forbes college rankings are in and the number one spot this year goes to Stanford. So why did Stanford beat out Ivy League giants, like Harvard and Princeton? Especially since US News & World Report ranked them both as number one this year.

First off, Forbes uses a different grading system then US News. The Forbes college rankings look at what students get out of the school. Things like retention rate, graduation rate and average salary after graduation are the things that Forbes looks at.

Most other ranking lists look at what draws students to the school. They put more emphasis on high school class rankings and standardized test scores.

“We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank and SAT scores. Our sights are set directly on ROI [return on investment]: What are students getting out of college,” Forbes said.

And that makes sense. Forbes is a money-focused magazine. Obviously they’re going to be more interested on a student’s ROI than in how selective a college is. In today’s world, Forbes college rankings may actually be more accurate and important to look at than any other ranking system.

So here are the top ten schools on Forbes college rankings list:

1. Stanford University
2. Pomona College
3. Princeton University
4. Yale University
5. Columbia University
6. Swarthmore College
7. United States Military Academy
8. Harvard University
9. Williams College
10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you want to see where your school ranked, check out Forbes’s whole list at http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/#page:1_sort:0_direction:asc_search:_filter:All states.

Selena Gomez has an identity crisis

The singer lacks her own vibe in her latest album

Selena Gomez is in a unique position. She’s recently 21, a former Disney star, and a teen pop sensation with the opportunity to do something truly great with her music. Only problem is that she’s not quite there yet.

Gomez’s latest album, “Stars Dance,” is another step away from the pop princess that she’s been so far. It mixes the bubble-gum pop with dubstep and Rihanna-esque beats. And it shows that Selena Gomez is struggling to find her identity as an artist.

Gomez got her start on Disney Channel’s hit show, “Wizards of Waverly Place.” Disney is not a place that you want to get stuck as an actor or singer. Miley Cyrus got trapped in that bubble, and now she can’t seem to get out. Selena Gomez needs to learn from Miley’s troubles.

Her album is a good one for summer. It’s full of pop beats that will have you dying to get up and dance. But it’s nothing that will be remembered.

The half Disney-half R&B sound Selena Gomez has going on “Stars Dance” can only lead to a very average album. Her current single “Come & Get It” shows that the singer has potential. The Bollywood influences in the song are intriguing. All Gomez needs to do is push the envelope more.

If Selena Gomez can create an image for herself, she’ll have a decent career in the music industry. She probably won’t be the next Madonna, though. Without her own identity, she’ll be gone as soon as her fans grow up out of their teen-pop phase.

As for those rumors that Selena Gomez is dating Justin Bieber, all the little Bliebers can relax. Gomez confirmed that they are not dating and she is perfectly okay with being single.

No Horse-ing around in McDonald's

Woman took horse into the popular fast food restaurant

 A horse goes into McDonald’s…

Sounds like the end of a joke, right? Well here’s the punch line. A woman actually brought her horse in McDonald’s after she was refused service at the drive-thru.

A British woman and her daughter tried to ride their horse and pony through a Whitefield McDonald’s over the weekend. Staff members refused to serve them. Then, as any reasonable person would do, the woman took the horse in the McDonald’s.

The horse (because it’s a horse) defecated on the floor. McDonald’s food is hard enough to eat without having to deal with the smell of horse manure in the restaurant.

Whitefield police were called to deal with the horse in the McDonald’s. They released a statement on Facebook.

“The sight and smell of this caused obvious distress and upset to customers trying to eat, as well as staff members. Officers arrived at the location and woman was issued a Fixed Penalty notice for causing alarm & distress to other customers and staff,” the statement read.

McDonald’s issued a statement confirming the incident, and rationalizing their policy for the drive-thru.

“The health and safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and for this reason we are unable to serve pedestrians, bicycle riders or customers on horseback through the drive-thru.”

In good news, the woman’s daughter clearly doesn’t take after her. The girl stayed outside with her pony as her mother did one of the most embarrassing things a child could ever have to endure.

Ender's Game brings controversy to Comic-Con

Author Orson Scott Card’s views on gay marriage alienate sci-fi community

Comic-Con usually brings attention to what the next big thing in Hollywood is going to be. What used to be a convention for sci-fi/fantasy nerds has transformed into the biggest entertainment event of the year. Anyone who’s anyone in the film, television, comic book industries makes an appearance.

But this year, Comic-Con was marred by controversy. And it brought a very interesting topic to the forefront of the entertainment industry.

Since its first trailer was released in May, Ender’s Game has been surrounded by issues. The movie is an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 book. Card is known as one of the foremost science fiction writers of today. But his popularity has been rapidly declining since he became a firm supporter of the anti-gay movement.

Geeks Out, a website for geeky entertainment, has been promoting a boycott of the movie. They believe that the sci-fi community needs to take a stance against Card’s intolerant views.

I cannot disagree more.

I’ve read Ender’s Game multiple times. It’s one of my favorite books, and one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read. And the one thing that I’ve taken away from it (and the rest of the series) is that we need to be tolerant of everyone.

If you haven’t read the book, you should before you pass judgment on Card. I don’t agree with anything he’s said. I’m a proponent of gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading his books. Sure, if Card were to start putting anti-gay messages in his writing, I would stop reading them. Until then, I don’t see a reason to throw away this sci-fi classic.

And as for boycotting the movie, I am definitely going to go see it. I was originally very on the fence about it. Ender’s Game is a tough book to transfer to the silver screen. But the cast and crew of the movie have been very vocal about their opposition to Card’s views.

Director Gavin Hood is a member of Courage Campaign, a group supporting gay marriage. He did admit to being distressed by Card’s views, but it did not change his willingness to make the movie.

“[T]he book is not about that issue,” the Ender’s Game director said. “So I hope people can still appreciate the book because I think he wrote a great book, and the themes and ideas in the book, I think, are universal and timeless and applicable, and I hope the book will still be appreciated as a great work of art, even though I don’t agree with the author. I optioned the book, not an author, and I love what the author said in that book.”

The film’s star, Asa Butterfield, agreed. The thirteen-year-old actor plays Ender, the book’s child genius protagonist.
“You can’t blame a work for its author,” Butterfield said.

That’s the crux of the issue. Should Ender’s Game be appreciated on its own as a work of art? Or do we factor in the artist when evaluating it?

That, of course, is an individual decision. I have to say though, that condemning Card for being intolerant makes us just as intolerant as he is. As free people, we are allowed to believe whatever we want. We claim to be better by calling for universal equality. But we’re not if we try to force our beliefs on others.

Card can be anti-gay if he wants. I don’t agree with him. You don’t have to either. You don’t have to like Card as a person. That is your right. And it’s your right to boycott the Ender’s Game movie if you want to. I will go see it, because Ender’s Game is a pure piece of science fiction brilliance, something that is not often found nowadays, and should be appreciated for what it is, not for who wrote it.

Royal Baby Watch: The Conclusion

The royal baby has finally arrived

The royal baby is finally here. I, for one, am glad because I don’t think I could take one more when’s-the-royal-baby-coming news story.

Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed their first child Monday at 4:24 p.m. The royal baby boy weighed 8lbs, 6oz. But as of yet, he doesn’t have a name.

It could be a while before we know what the royal baby boy’s name is. Many are placing bets on what the name will be. James is the current favorite, followed by Henry, George and Philip. I think they should name him something out of the ordinary, like Xavier or Jose.

Obviously, the royal family is very happy at the news. The royal baby is doing well. Kate is doing well. They have every right to be overjoyed at the birth.

“Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild. It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine, and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” Prince Charles and wife Camilla said in a statement.

England celebrated with them, showing off their patriotism in several different ways. The fountains in Trafalgar Square were dyed blue to signify that the royal baby was a boy. Other London landmarks were lit in red, white and blue.

England happens to be the leader of 15 other countries, including Canada, Australia and Jamaica. Canada dyed its side of the Niagara Falls blue to commemorate the royal baby.

But what does the royal baby’s birth really mean for the world? Not much. The boy is going to be third in line for the throne, after his father, Prince William, and his grandfather, Prince Charles. Prince Harry has been pushed back to the fourth spot. The royal family doesn’t really do much in reality.

The one major positive from the royal baby is the revenue that England will make from him. The UK-based Centre for Retail Research estimates that retailers will make over $121 million from the baby’s birth. Souvenirs range from bibs to diapers to china plates. And you can even potty train your child in style with a royal baby commemorative “prince potty chair” shaped like a throne.

"Whose Line is it Anyway": The Remake

Where the words are made up and the views don’t matter

“Whose Line is it Anyway,” probably one of the best variety comedy shows ever to be on TV, returned to make a new generation laugh last night on the CW. And the premier did not disappoint.

The show is pretty much the same. “Whose Line is it Anyway” stars Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady were as good as always. It was as if the show had never ended. They were just picking up where they left off. Fan-favorite games, like “Let’s Make a Date” and “Scenes from a Hat,” kept the nostalgia going and calmed the fears of long-time fans who were skeptical about the show’s reincarnation.

Of course there were some changes. The biggest was “Whose Line is it Anyway”s new host, Aisha Tyler. Tyler is no stranger to improv, having spent the last three years on “The Talk.” Sure, it’s a talk show, but with personalities like Sharon Osborne and Sheryl Underwood to deal with, improv plays a role Tyler’s hosting job description.

Tyler brings a lot that the original “Whose Line is it Anyway” was missing. Female comedians only made rare appearances in the original run. Tyler’s feminine energy plays well off of Stiles, Mochrie and Brady. She’s also much quicker with comebacks than  former host Drew Carey was.

But the changes weren’t all positive. Instead of a rotating fourth comedian, each new episode will have a guest actor. Guest actors did happen on the original “Whose Line is it Anyway,” but they didn’t come around all that often. When they did, they usually stole the show. (If you haven’t seen “Living Props” with Richard Simmons, check it out right now.)With the new format, the guests could become mundane and boring.

And if the guest fourth wasn’t enough, each episode will also have another guest actor who knows nothing about improv. While that does sound like fun, it runs the risk of the guest stars on “Whose Line is it Anyway” cancelling each other out. It also brings up the problem of less audience interaction. Random audience participants made the comedians work harder, and often ended with the actors breaking character.

The CW will air ten episodes of the new “Whose Line is it Anyway” over the course of the rest of the summer. If it does well, maybe it will be back next summer. Who knows?

So what did you think of the “Whose Line is it Anyway” premier?