Message from Montie

Aug. 22 movie screening discusses HR 4437 and immigration issues from Mexico to U.S.


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May 1, 2006 Immigration March in downtown Chicago (Photo courtesy of Susan Yunan, LSNA Program Director)

CHICAGO -- Over 26,000 immigrants have been deported after the SB 1070 law went into effect, and although it's only in Arizona for now, Illinoisans are concerned. Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) is reminding Illinoisans about the deportation threat in a free movie screening of "Immigrant Nation!: The Battle for the Dream" at 6 p.m., Sun., Aug. 22, at 2840 W. Logan Boulevard at Central Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Click here for more info on the movie screening.

Click here to find out info on citizenship courses in the Chicago area.

Opposition from Chicago citizen about retrying Blagojevich, Chicago debt high enough


Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich returns to his Chicago home after speaking in Springfield at his impeachment trial. (Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez / January 29, 2009)

I followed the trial. I listened to Blagojevich on numerous talk shows. I heard the tapes. And although I thought he was going to be found guilty, I raised an eyebrow when he was only found guilty of 1 out of 24 counts. But after all the drama of the case, I simply don't want him to be retried again. Enough is enough.

While the juror who refused to find Blagojevich is still silent about her decision, other jurors are on Chicago news stations explaining their views. I was not in the courtroom and don't know what made certain jurors think he was not guilty on certain charges. I do think he was trying to sell the Senate seat, but the trial is over and should be over for good.


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Damon Wayans Discusses New Book 'Red Hats,' Mid-Life Crisis and Family

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Photo courtesy of Gilda Squire Media Relations

Comedian and actor Damon Wayans is back on the literary trail with his new book "Red Hats: A Novel" 11 years after his New York Times best-selling book "Bootleg." While his first book was comedic, the "In Living Color" and "My Wife and Kids" star took a different route with his May 2010 novel.

During his book tour, he took time out to speak with AC Arts & Entertainment Contributor Shamontiel to discuss his mid-life crisis, comedy, acting, The Red Hat Society and family life.

Shamontiel: Your first book was "Bootleg" in 1999.

Damon Wayans: "Bootleg" was me doing stand-up. I knew it was going to be funny because I was on stage with the material and then I transcribed it, put it in book form. "Red Hats" was different because this was storytelling, and it's writing something which was new to me. It's not just women. I was writing about a 64-year-old woman.
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Donell Jones talks about 'Lost Files,' relationships, fatherhood and upcoming CD


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Courtesy of Candyman Music Inc., Photographer: Derek Blanks

There's a plethora of talent in Chicago, but it's not a secret that Chicago artists tend to go on the East Coast or West Coast to further their careers. R&B singer Donell Jones, who is  most popular for songs like "Shorty Got Her Eyes on Me" and "U Know What's Up" featuring the late TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, has cut ties with La Face record label after four CDs and gone independent with his label, Candyman Music Inc.

On December 9, 2009, Donell Jones released "The Lost Files," which were unreleased tracks made during the making of his first four CDs--"My Heart" (1996), "Where I Wanna Be" (1999), "Life Goes On" (2002) and "Journey of a Gemini" (2006). Now he's back in the studio working on his untitled 2010 CD. Although in his beginning years he had to travel to Washington D.C. for a radio conference to get his career going because "if you wasn't making music like R. Kelly, nobody was really checking for you" and loves his current home in Atlanta, which he's nicknamed "The Baby New York," when asked if he's from Chicago, he proudly boasts "Oh, no doubt!"

From the tilted hat, crease in his pants on his Twitter page, laid-back and sultry performances to his friendly demeanor during the interview with Shamontiel, Donell Jones is so Chicago.

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The Freelance writer's blues, tax season 2010


One of my file cabinets

By now you should've gotten all of your W-2s and 1099s, and you're preparing for tax season before the deadline date of April 15, 2010. For some people, it's a time to roll in the dough and get some much needed dinero. You're dancing around your home like you're Swizz Beatz and saying, "Somebody bring me back some money please," but don't let Uncle Sam switch up the chorus on you. For others, like me who usually end up with an underpayment and have to pay the state, tax season can be a frustrating time. Even worse, I completed my taxes this weekend and owe the Feds and the state.

Here is the downside of being a freelance writer and an independent contractor. Although you do get more money up front for projects and are paid in full, you are held responsible for paying your own taxes. This could end up being pretty expensive come January for any contracted job that pays you $600 or more. But with the right recordkeeping, you can make doing your taxes a little less painful.

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Google Alerts and plagiarism, protect your content and reprint rights


Do you have a Google Alert set up for your content?

Every Monday I get two Google alerts sent to me to monitor certain content. One of the reasons I started doing this was because of my regular contact with the Library of Congress as the Assistant Copyeditor of Kaplan Financial (before it moved to Wisconsin). I would regularly register books and content to prevent plagiarism, and reading through those contracts taught me quite a bit about fair use versus publishing violations.

There was also the matter of being employed with two other companies as the Web Editor, where I regularly went to other Web sites to notify them when they were taking content from my employers' Web sites. These other sites would put my employers' articles on their sites without contacting me or the reporters and finance managers. What bothered me was not that I had to constantly look for these legal issues but how often it would happen. Even worse was when it was constantly happening to me.


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Alpha Kappa Alphas and Alpha Phi Alphas win Chicago Sprite Step Off

The AKAs are on a "mission" to win!

3/20/2010 Update: Click here to read about the Atlanta finale.1/24/2010: When I heard about the Sprite Step Off from FoxBrownFox and Commonground, I was sold from the beginning. But when advertised that it would be the largest step show in history, I was wondering how true that'd be. However, on Saturday night (Jan. 23) when I drove up to the Regal Theater and saw cars backed down the block of 1645 E. 79th St., and the line to get into the Regal around the corner, I knew this was going to be something serious. And the Regal completely sold out of tickets. Largest step show in history? Looked like it. But would it be the livest step show I'd ever seen? That was the test. I've seen many throughout my college years (Lincoln University alumni!), plus the numerous step shows I've seen all over the world even after I graduated.

Well, this Sprite Step Off was not playing around. Hands down the Sprite Step Off is definitely my all-time favorite step show, and it was definitely the livest!


Updated 1/25/2010

The original winners announced at the Sprite StepOff on Sat., Jan. 23, were the following:

Sororities: $21,500 Alpha Kappa Alpha (first place); $16,000 Zeta Phi Beta (second place); $11,000 Alpha Theta Omega (third place)

Fraternities: $21,500 Alpha Phi Alpha (Central State University, first place);  $16,000 Phi Beta Sigma (second place); $11,000 Alpha Phi Alpha (St. Louis citywide chapter, third place)


However, 360i and FoxBrownFox PR were notified on Mon., Jan. 25, that there was a voting discrepancy for the sororities during Saturday night's event. According to the Sprite Facebook page, "In the spirit of sportsmanship, we also advised the other two teams who were originally announced as the second and third place winners (now third and fourth place winners), that we wanted them to keep the prize money they had been awarded." So here are the updated sorority winners with corrected prize amounts. 

Sororities: $21,500 Alpha Kappa Alpha (first place); $16,000 Sigma Gamma Rho (second place) and $16,000 Zeta Phi Beta (third place); $11,000 Alpha Theta Omega (fourth place)  



But just telling you who the winners are doesn't do them any justice. You need proof, right? Check out some of the photos and a video of Greek strolling in the crowd that I took at the Sprite Step Off on Saturday, Jan. 23.



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L'Union Fait La Force benefit concert at The Shrine, Chicago vegan cookout for Feeding Haiti on Jan. 25

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Permission to use from The RBG Environmental Restoration Agency

If you're living or visiting the Chicago area and want to donate funds to victims from Haiti's earthquake, the Chicago Haitian Initiative (C.H.I.) will be having a fundraiser at The Shrine nightclub this coming Monday. Performers in attendance will include J. Ivy, GLC, Phenom, Yaw, Khari Lemuel, Mikkey Halsted and DJ Lee Farmer. Frontline Magazine editor Marcus Kline and Zarakyah Ben Ahmadiel of The RBG Environmental Restoration Agency will also be there to speak and educate about the current state of Haiti. The event will be from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., on Jan. 25, at 2109 S. Wabash Avenue. Click here for details.


If you're not really the nightclub person but still want to help out, there will be a second event earlier Monday with The RBG Environmental Restoration Agency in Winnie Mandela Intergenerational Alternative School at 2:30 p.m., called Feeding Haiti.


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Wyclef comes back to U.S., 'disgusted' by profit accusations about Yele Haiti Foundation

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Haiti's musician Wyclef Jean, left, arrives at the airport in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, the day after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit his country. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

I read "The Smoking Gun" report "Wyclef Jean Charity's Funny Money" in full, and although the tax issues need to be dealt with, I strongly stand by Wyclef Jean. CNN Money stated, "Experts say that lackadaisical accounting is common among non-profits and is not necessarily a red flag for suspicious behavior." The worst thing the Yele Foundation did was turn tax papers in late, but these accusations that Wyclef was trying to get over on the money end are preposterous to me.


I had a discussion on Facebook earlier today with an FB friend about the costs that go into concerts, travel, management, administrative work, etc. That money just doesn't fly out of thin air, and if someone is donating to the cause, they're donating to all of that. And just being realistic here, how much did you hear about donations to Haiti from any other artist or even news programs before last week outside of Wyclef? When selfish people like Bill Maher could've cared as much about Haiti before the earthquake as he does now, Wyclef Jean was still spending time improving the economic situation in Haiti. Even the music artists who are donating now weren't thinking about Haiti before it became the "in" event to donate to while Wyclef was. 



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Political talk show host Bill Maher bored with news on Haiti

Bill Maher - Cobb Energy Center Performance



I've been a fan of political talk show host Bill Maher for years, but in the late evening of January 14, 2010, I lost all respect for him from one tweet: "Memo to media: yes Haiti is horrible but you can cover more than one story in the course of a week."


How selfish can one person be? This is the same person who made wisecracks about former President George W. Bush for not helping out sooner during Hurricane Katrina and Bush sitting around reading books during the 911 attacks. Now when we have a president in office who is actually doing something about an issue so horrible from a 7.0 earthquake that left people dead, homeless and hungry, he wants the media to talk about something else.


The earthquake happened Tuesday, and it was Thursday when he sent this. We still don't even have a full body count. On tonight's WGN News, they were showing footage of people trying to remove rubble from a little girl who was trapped, and Bill Maher is tired of hearing about the poorest nation in the world having an earthquake that will only make their economic situation worse.


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Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti and Soul Vegetarian restaurant accept donations to help Haitian earthquake victims

Major Earthquake Hits Haiti


Chicagoans and those in the Evanston, IL area can donate rescue items to Haitian victims from the 7.0 earthquake that happened around 5 p.m. on Tues., Jan. 12. Two donating locations in the Chicagoland area are Soul Vegetarian Restaurant and the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti.


Haitian people have been left homeless, and some have died from this fatal earthquake. CNN reported that there is "heavy damage and bodies in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where concrete-block homes line steep hillsides." No estimates on deaths were given on Tuesday.


Donations can be made to the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, a local non-profit, group online, at Charter One Bank in Evanston or by mailing a donation to the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti at 1227 Dodge Ave., Evanston, IL 60202.


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The Sprite Step Off, Ludacris and Wale come to Chicago Jan. 23

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Promo flyer distributed courtesy of 360i

Update 3/20/2010: Click here to read about the Atlanta finals!


Have you seen the commercials about the Sprite Step Off, one of the self-proclaimed largest step show tournaments in history? I can't lie. I cheered when I received notice from Sprite that I got admission into this event. Watching step competitions was one of my favorite things to do after I transferred from Northern Michigan University to my alma mater Lincoln University.


Step shows were events that excited me since my elementary school days running home to see "A Different World," and it never wore off even through college--although I wasn't interested in pledging. But I sure do remember applauding for Freddie Brooks when she finally learned to step like Whitley Gilbert and watching Jaleesa Vinson represent for Gilbert Hall.


I first heard about the Sprite Step Off while interviewing marketing company Commonground's owners Ahmad Islam and Sherman Wright.


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On the 2010 Census report, will you be classified as a Negro?

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This is me showing off the back of the shirt I wore to my cousin's '70s party.

I'm a 28-year-old Negro.


If you're looking at your screen with a perplexed expression, that was the same reaction I had when I read that the Census still has the term "Negro" on their 2010 questionnaire. The last time I participated in the Census, there was a guy strolling through the dorms to get college kids' responses, but for the life of me, I don't recall him asking me if I was "Black, African-American or Negro." If he did, I'd have probably thought he was trying to be funny and slammed the door.


But according to, more than 56,000 people filled in the blank line for race category with the term "Negro." I didn't even know people used the word. My 97-year-old great great aunt has always called herself black and Creole. My 87-year-old grandfather likes to rile me up by calling me "colored," but for the most part he says black or African-American.


As far as I can tell, the term "Negro" stopped being used in the '50s so why the Census is still using it today is just plain ironic. The purpose of the Census is to get up-to-date information on the people living in our world, but they're using outdated terms to do it. Isn't that a little hypocritical?


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Staying in shape, free fitness classes with Chicago Park District end Jan. 10


Yoga pants are my favorite around-the-house attire.

If you're one of those people who is sitting around thinking, "I need to lose weight" or "I want to tone up," the Chicago Park District wants to help you out. I just found out yesterday that they are having free workout days at 66 Chicago Park District Fitness Centers. The last day to sign up for in-person registration is Sunday, Jan. 10.


I can't even count the number of hip hop and aerobics class I've been in--including hip hop, Video Vixen, lap dancing, belly dancing, pole dancing, hardcore hip hop, boxing, pilates, yoga, breaking (aka breakdancing) and weight training. I'm one of those folks who finds joy in working out, but considering I'm a freelance reporter, blogger, reviewer and transcription editor, it's hard to even get in the time to work out these days.


My idea of working out now is running from my car to my interviewee's location and trying to dodge Chicago cold sucker-punching me in the face. This fall and winter, I managed to not lose (or gain) any weight eating one or two meals a day even though I cut out fast food tremendously and never keep junk food in my home. (I'm not purposely avoiding meals, but I wake up around 3 p.m., and go to sleep around 6 a.m., so my eating clock is way off.) If you think being a vegetarian means you automatically lose weight, not likely. Exercise is still mandatory to stay in shape.


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My love hate relationship with talk shows, why I'll miss 'The Tyra Banks Show'

Tyra Banks on 'The Tyra Banks Show, photo courtesy of

I have never been a fan of talk shows. While I respect Oprah's accomplishments on television, I'm bored to death with her talk show. However, I love some of the other projects she's been affiliated with, such as "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and "Precious." I'd even give a head nod on some of her bookclub selections. But I can't say I'm a fan. It always rubbed me the wrong way that she'd have some of the most controversial topics on her show but not hip hop artists. How do you invite the KKK on your show but then wag a finger at Ludacris? She did finally have Jay-Z on her show, but hip hop has been around for 30 plus years. In my opinion, it took her so long, and I didn't like the way she treated Ludacris, so I didn't even watch that Jay-Z episode. But I still have 100 percent respect for Oprah Winfrey as a professional.


However, it is a mystery to me altogether why anybody would watch ridiculously stereotypical shows like "The Jerry Springer Show" and "You are not the father" show (aka Maury Povich's show). I was tired of "The Ricki Lake Show" with Ricki Lake talking over her guests. "The Johnny Carson Show" was okay sometimes, but he would ask rhetorical questions or need everything spelled out, so I couldn't handle re-runs of that show either. I remember watching a few episodes of "The Arsenio Hall Show," but all I remember was the dog barking. I was too little to get a good handle on that talk show.

I never connected with Jenny Jones' and Martha Stewart's talk shows either. Ellen DeGeneres is hilarious performing live and I loved her television show, but for some odd reason I can't stay interested in her talk show. I'll watch her dance or watch a good guest, but outside of that, I couldn't be still watching "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Jay Leno and David Letterman would occasionally have an interesting episode, but those were few and far between. I used to believe I just didn't like talk shows until I started checking out some others like "The Tyra Banks Show," "Lopez Tonight" and "The Mo'Nique Show."


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Chicago Public Library offers computer courses, improve unemployment and computer illiteracy


Message from Montie's home office

I'm starting to see the differences in the way Chicago Public Libraries are going to operate in 2010. By now you probably know the library hours will be cut short in January 2010. Within the past couple months, Rogers Park library now puts books on shelves that are being held for library patrons instead of waiting in lines to decrease checkout times.


We already have the perks of reserving our own library books online instead of being on hold for a ridiculously long time. For those who want to reserve Internet computers, you can put in your own library card, check for availability and disappear until your reservation time. But oftentimes, while picking up books, I see those who are not computer savvy struggling to use computers and overworked librarians who don't have time to walk each person through the steps of reserving books and Internet time.


This is yet another advantage of the library--computer courses. The unemployment rate in November 2009 was down 10 percent with 15.4 million unemployed people in the U.S. And while manufacturing employment is down by 41,000 and construction by 27,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in professional and business services through temporary help agencies has increased by 86,000.


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Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry's funeral today, holes in pick-up truck story


Chris Henry #15 of the Cincinnati Bengals watches the second half of play from the side lines after breaking his arm in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens in their NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium November 8, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images, photo from

The only sports I play well are volleyball, swimming and I'm all right on the pool table and the baseball field. I don't memorize statistics, don't follow sports news and usually if I recognize an athlete it's because I think he's cute. So my interest in the Chris Henry case came as a surprise to myself. His funeral was today, and his fiancĂ©e spoke about how "can't nobody feel what I'm feeling now." This is true, considering his wife, Loleini Tonga, was at the scene of the "accident." But what I can say I feel is confusion and curiosity.


For the life of me, I cannot understand why someone would be so frustrated with a situation that he'd jump off of a moving pick-up truck knowing full well that he would not have the help of one arm, which was in a cast.


Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry, 26, died on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 6:36 a.m., in Charlotte, North Carolina after suffering head injuries in a Wednesday accident. But depending on what news report you read, his "falling" off the pick-up truck may have been him jumping off.


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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith interview Pres. Barack Obama

Will Smith, known for million-dollar movies like "Independence Day," "Hitch," "Bad Boys 1-2" and "I Am Legend" and "I, Robot" was nervous. Who would think that the star of the '90s TV sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" could be nervous in front of a camera? But he was nervous last week during a meeting, even with his wife at his side. Why? Because he was interviewing President Barack H. Obama.

Will Smith stated, "This is the first time I've been nervous in front of a camera in a long time."

Obama's response? "Just think back to Prince of Bel-Air, man."

Jada Pinkett-Smith, most popularly known as Lena James from "A Different World," the voice of the hippopotamus on "Madagascar" and the star of the show "HawthoRNe," seemed at ease. Check out the Smiths' interview with Obama on a Nobel Peace Prize speech comment "expanding our moral imagination," Internet communication, putting yourself in someone else's shoes and First Lady Michelle Obama.



If you don't vote, why do you complain about politics?

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Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain looks at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as he answers a question during the Town Hall Presidential Debate at Belmont University's Curb Event Center, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP photo by Gerald Herbert / October 7, 2008, photo from

Within the last year, I've had some very heated discussions about politics with people who don't vote, and one of them happened today with a Twitter user who solely tweets about politics. I asked him three times whether he voted in the last election after a tweet he made about health care reform and corrupt politicians, and he ignored my question. Finally after the third time asking, this Twitter user's response was the following:


"Whether you're an independent, Dem, Repub, it doesn't matter. You're [sic] vote doesn't matter. Voting is a trick."


Now the average person is going to assume that if someone is this pessimistic about the voting process, not just the electoral college, that they didn't vote. Last week, I talked with a guy who'd sent a Facebook add to me about why it is he "doesn't appreciate his ancestors." He basically told me that anything that doesn't effect him directly isn't something he can appreciate and that was why he never cared about voting or history. So not only did he throw all politicians under the bus but slaves too. I didn't think any conversation could top that one.


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Soul Vegetarian and Eternity Juice Bar restaurants re-open after passing city inspection

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Soul Vegetarian Restaurant and Eternity Juice Bar located at 205 E. 75th St.

Soul Vegetarian East and Eternity Juice Bar restaurants re-opened on Friday, Dec. 18, after being shut down on Tuesday, Dec. 15, by Mayor Daley's Dumpster Task force. On Tuesday, over 1,000 mice droppings were found by the storage area of these two restaurants.


Matt Smith, spokesman for the Department of Streets and Sanitation, confirmed that the restaurant has passed city inspection and is open for business. Mayor Daley's Dumpster Task Force is in the bureau of the Department of Streets and Sanitation's rodent control team.


"Our trash cans were open so that made it convenient for any rodents to come from there and come to our facilities," said Ahzahnyah Ben Israel, a maintenance and storage employee at Soul Vegetarian restaurant, to ChicagoNow's Message from Montie blogger. "So we had to secure all of those areas and our door spaces so that that could be prevented."


Soul Vegetarian restaurant is confident that their regular customers and new customers should not be hesitant to come back into the vegetarian restaurant.


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Shane Sparks choreography best on 'SYTYCD,' Sparks arrested for child molestation charges


Getty Images, courtesy of

Throughout this entire season of "So You Think You Can Dance," I've noticed that the judges have been very skeptical about the hip hop choreographers and the selections the choreographers are giving to the dancers. Dave Scott was accused of giving Ashleigh Di Lello and Legacy Perez a vampire hip hop routine that was not challenging enough for their stage in the competition. Choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon were told the routine they gave Ellenore Scott and Legacy Perez as hip hop aliens was a little too strange and the masks were distracting. I agreed with both judges and understood their discontent with some of the dance routines.


The reality is that nobody was creating harder and more challenging routines in hip hop choreography than Shane Sparks. I think the judges were spoiled by him, but when he stopped being a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" and left for "America's Best Dance Crew," they were left with a lull. He'd re-appeared and disappeared the past couple seasons but never as a regular judge. And even when he created a dance routine, it was unfortunately not performed by one of the original dancers--Ashleigh Di Lello because of a shoulder injury and Shane Sparks' assistant did a mediocre job of dancing with "So You Think You Can Dance?" winner, Russell Ferguson.


Lil' C spends too much time trying to use vocabulary I don't remotely believe he uses in his everyday conversation, so it always bugs me to see him on the panel although his krumping routines are okay. I actually do like most of Tabitha and Napoleon's routines, but none of them had the funk that Shane Sparks was bringing.


But judging from today's TMZ report, it looks like Shane Sparks may be unavailable for a pretty long time for both "America's Best Dance Crew" and "So You Think You Can Dance?"


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So you think you can be a vegetarian?


Hot water cornbread, vegetarian black eyed peas and vegetarian collard greens, cooked by Shamontiel

Telling someone I'm a vegetarian always leads to three types of conversations--the fascinating conversation, the bonding conversation or the frustrating conversation. The frustration happens when someone chooses to accuse a vegetarian (or a vegan) of being unhealthy, needing meat in their lives and the indifferent attitude about slaughterhouses. The fascinating conversations are the ones I have with people who are interested in eating healthier or trying the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle but really just don't know where to start and ask for advice. The bonding conversations are the ones I have with people who act like a Chicago south sider would if he (or she) went to another state and saw someone rocking an entire outfit of the Chicago White Sox. You just want to walk up and hug the person for rooting for your team.


When I first became a vegetarian, I was hit with questions left and right about how and what do I eat, and I really didn't know what I was doing. I just knew I didn't want to eat meat or fish anymore. I went from gaining about fifteen pounds because I was eating fatty foods all day long to having to go see a doctor because of dizzy spells when I calmed down on the fat.


If you don't have someone who can give you advice on how to transition from an omnivore to a vegetarian or a vegan, it can be tiresome. You may just decide to give up. But don't. Here are a list of articles and blogs I've written over the years since becoming a pescatarian in 2004 to a lacto vegetarian in 2005. Read on to check out the links that include healthy eating, news, radio and print interviews, recipes, restaurants, vegan shopping advice and Web site networking.


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Soul Vegetarian East restaurant closed down for over 700 mice droppings


Blogger's Note, 1/17/10: Judging from the massive amount of visits to this blog but so few on the follow-up blog stating that Soul Vegetarian has re-opened, some are still unaware that the restaurant is back in business. Readers, please feel free to check out "Soul Vegetarian and Eternity Juice Bar restaurants re-open after passing city inspection."


Soul Vegetarian East and Eternity Juice Bar restaurants were closed late Tuesday night on Dec. 15 by Mayor Daley's Dumpster Task Force. These two restaurants were temporarily shut down due to pest control and mice infestation, including over 700 mice droppings at Soul Veg and over 300 mice droppings at Eternity Juice Bar.


The Task Force was in the area because of complaints about garbage and rodent activity. When inspectors paid a visit to the vegetarian restaurant and juice bar, over 1,000 mice droppings were found in a common storage area, and the restaurants were immediately shut down. Soul Vegetarian restaurant is located at 205 E. 75th Street and Eternity Juice Bar is located at 203 E. 75th Street.


"They will not be able to open until they've cleaned their operations from top to bottom," said Matt Smith, spokesman for the Department of Streets and Sanitation, to ChicagoNow's Message from Montie blogger. "They've [also got to] show our task force inspectors plans for revamping their housekeeping and pest control efforts and then they have to inspect and pass a very tough re-inspection."



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Chris Brown leaves Twitter, how to make social media networking site Twitter useful


Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times (courtesy of

On Monday, Dec. 14, R&B superstar Chris Brown closed his account on Twitter after a weekend of ranting about the music industry blackballing him and retail stores not stocking his music. I heard this on Power 92 but went into a Skokie Walmart location a few minutes later and saw Chris Brown's new CD, "Graffiti," on an end deck at the top in plain sight. Now whether other retail locations really did sell out of his CDs, as reports, is something only the store managers can confirm or deny but I see Chris Brown's CDs everywhere in Chicago.


But what Chris Brown and a plethora of other celebrity Twitter users who left the social media site confirmed is that what you say in those 140 characters can help or hurt you. Swizz Beatz's ex-wife Mashonda lit into Alicia Keys' Twitter account for a tweet she made. Holly Robinson Peete got into a little bit of a verbal scuffle for comments she made about athlete Steve McNair. Willie of Day 26 had a little bit of drama over a conversation he had about his wife forgetting an item he wanted packed in his bag. Willie Twitter users didn't appreciate how he was talking to his wife, especially when she called him disrespectful, and they laid into him.


Other celebrities like Lil' Wayne and Kid Cudi left, and Beyonce publicly stated that she leaves Twitter up to her sister Solange Knowles and doesn't have a Twitter account. But Twitter isn't just trouble for celebrities who avoid the PR monitoring.



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Seven-year-old Lamya Cammon gets hair cut off by Milwaukee teacher

My older brother warned me about Ms. Ricks, my new third grade teacher, who loved to cuff people behind the ear when she was upset with them. But I was a studious kid and didn't look for trouble, so imagine my embarrassment when Ms. Ricks slapped me upside the head for not knowing the answer to a math problem. The class erupted in laughter, and I cried for the rest of class. Twenty-one years later, I still remember that. But when I read WISN's report about what happened to Lamya Cammon by her first grade teacher at Congress Elementary School, my incident seemed lightweight.


A Milwaukee teacher was charged with disorderly conduct and a $175 fine for cutting off one of the braids of Lamya Cammon. Why? Because the teacher got tired of her playing with her hair. I guess Chris Rock's "Good Hair" movie wasn't enough proof of how black women and girls regard their hair. You do not cut anybody's hair because you're tired of them playing with it. I don't care who you are. I've never even heard of a black mother cutting her daughter's hair off. Do you know how long it takes for black females' hair to grow back? We don't wake up a month later and the hair is just back to its previous length.


Continue reading... pulls 'Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8' items from online inventory


It doesn't mean prayer like you think.


I've never voted for a Republican president. Oftentimes I do not agree with their views, but if somebody gave me a bumper sticker or a T-shirt praying for a Republican government official to die, I'd look at that person like he was insane. But on and, bumper stickers and T-shirts were being sold stating, "Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8." The King James' version of this psalm is as follows:



8 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.

9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.


10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.


11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.


12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.


13 May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.


14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.


15 May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.




I don't care how much you don't like President Barack Obama's policies. Wishing he'd not only be kicked out of office but dead, making First Lady Michelle Obama a widow and his children Sasha and Malia beg for food, is worse than "certainly not very nice." I read that "it's certainly not very nice" comment on USA Today's Web site from Cathleen Falsani and just shook my head. Something "not very nice" is shouting "You lie!" or throwing tomatoes. These folks supporting the "Pray for Obama Psalm 109.8" is flat out threatening. And with the history that Obama has created, it's not even realistic or logical to pray for.



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Dilemma for a Chris Brown fan, buy 'Graffiti' or boycott it because of domestic violence against Rihanna?


Chris Brown released his latest CD "Graffiti" on Dec. 8

I have zero tolerance for domestic violence, and I feel like if people can't keep their hands to themselves that relationship needs to cease immediately. So with this attitude in mind, I really had a dilemma on my hands because I'd been a long-time fan of Chris Brown since his "Run It" days and bought all of his music. Was I going to boycott Chris Brown's new CD "Graffiti" because of the issues with Rihanna? Should I buy Rihanna's CD in support of her decision to speak up on "Good Morning America" even though I've never been a fan of her music? Or, should I buy Chris Brown's CD anyway as a supporter of his music but not his choices? I chose the last one.


Everyone seems to have opinions on whether Chris Brown was justified in the fight with Rihanna. Diehard fans swear up and down that Rihanna did something wrong and she deserved it. I think that statement is ridiculous. I don't care what a woman verbally says. Rihanna never deserved the butt whooping handed to her in February 2009. But I can't go so far as to say nobody deserves to be dealt with because it's not like I've never been in a fight. I can't even say I've never been in a fight with a guy because I have--once. It didn't last long though, but I can see how anger gets the best of a person and I didn't start that fight. (I didn't lose the fight either, by the way, but fighting is nothing to brag about. However, I never spoke to that guy again for the rest of my life.) I hear the accusations that Rihanna hit Chris Brown first, but we all know her strength does not compare to his. And then what if Rihanna didn't hit him at all, and Chris Brown just beat the living daylights out of her for the reasons in the police report?


I even thought about the accusations that if a man hits you once, he will hit you again. But I was frustrated by that belief because I know of two marriages with one partner who hit the other and then it never happened again, even years later. But to be fair, I have heard and known other couples who had one partner who was consistently abusive. Which category would Chris Brown fall in? Could he beat the odds?


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Tomatoes meant for Sarah Palin land in police officer's face


Jeremy Olson

I've daydreamed about hitting Sarah Palin with tomatoes, but Jeremy Olson actually followed through. Only problem was his aim apparently is only good for the boys in blue.


According to, 33-year-old Jeremy Olson was at the Mall of America today and allegedly had four tomatoes ready to aim and plow. He allegedly threw two in the direction of Sarah Palin during her "Going Rogue" book signing, missed completely, but he managed to hit Bloomington Commander Mark Stehlik right in the face.


Jeremy, what are you doing? As big as her mouth is and as much as she just loves to be in the spotlight, how could you miss? He threw two of the four tomatoes from the second floor balcony and was then arrested for suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct.



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Social media marketing jobs, do you go above and beyond the marketing call? Eric Romer did.

Eric Romer holds Headblade product

With the job market being as difficult as it is, some people are going above and beyond the typical cover letter, resume and samples. I've already talked about the guy who wore a suit coat, boxers and no pants in downtown Chicago in the blog "Man with no pants looks for job in downtown Chicago."


But this next guy, Eric Romer, went above and beyond for a job in Los Angeles. He created a Web site asking the company to hire him, created a video using the product, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account about the company. Before today, I'd never even heard of Headblade, but thanks to his marketing in this video below, I know what this company is for now.



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Should your female child be able to spend the night at someone's house with male relatives?


Photo by Shamontiel

When I was in elementary school, I had a Girl Scout crew that I used to hang out with regularly on Saturdays. And one particular girl was someone I was friends with through high school too. My house used to be the hang-out spot where all my friends would come over for slumber parties, to watch movies, to stop by before we went on shopping sprees with my mother, to sit on the front porch or play with my toys. As my friends and I got older, we also started paying attention to there being more boys than girls on my block, all around our age, and of course the boy crazy ones always wanted to visit. So being that my house was so popular, when this Girl Scout friend of mine told me her grandmother refused to let her spend the night over my house, my feelings were hurt.


What was wrong with my house? I had to know. It turns out her grandmother refused to let her spend the night over my house, even though she knew my mother was a Girl Scout leader and she knew me, because she didn't like the idea that my father and teenage brother also lived there. Now imagine someone telling you that they don't want their granddaughter around a father who has raised you your entire life and an older brother who is one of your best male friends regardless of him being seven years older.


She'd never met my father or older brother, and my friend had only met my older brother briefly through me, who as all older brothers do, cracked a few jokes and walked away dismissively. What in the world did she think my father or brother were going to do to her?


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