The 10 Books That Stuck With Me

So many challenges have taken place on social media within the past few months, whether it’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the chain letter challenge, etc.  Sometimes, they can be annoying, but lately, there has been a Facebook meme going around asking people to name the top 10 books that have stuck with them.

I love to read, so I thought I would participate in this challenge. Perhaps, maybe you as a reader will have the opportunity to discover some new gems.

Continue reading…

‘Sparkle’: A Watered Down Version of ‘Dreamgirls’

Originally posted on

Some movies have so much hype before their release, but then fall short of expectations. Unfortunately, ‘Sparkle’ falls into that category.

‘Sparkle’ is a remake of the 1976 movie. It is about three sisters trying to make it big in the Motown scene in 1968. Sparkle is often overshadowed by her two older sisters, especially Sister. Along the way, the trio deals with drugs, controversy, abusive relationships and an overprotective mother.

Sounds familiar, right?  Does ‘Dreamgirls’ bring a bell to anyone?

The movie didn’t live up to Toonari Post’s expectations because it was lacking that extra sparkle. The plot of the movie focused so much on getting a record deal but did not dive deep into what happened after Sparkle scored a record deal, which made the movie feel incomplete. The movie focused so much on how Sister dealt with fame, drugs, fortune, her abusive relationship with her husband, and her sisters trying to help her fight her problems.

There was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding the release of this film because of the death of Whitney Houston. Unlike ‘Dreamgirls,’ it may not get any Golden Globes, Oscar nominations or awards, but I do think this was a great last performance from the late Whitney Houston. She was a great singer and actress, and in this film, it showed that she truly enjoyed being a mother.

However, the acting felt a little forced, especially during the make-out scenes.  But there were definitely some standouts in the movie. Whitney Houston, of course, was one of them. Playing a mother came natural to her.  Jordin Sparks did a good job as well, especially since this was her first movie, even though the interactions with other characters were a little painful to watch. Carmen Ejogo did a good job playing Sister, one of Sparkle’s older sisters who became involved with drugs.

The song choices in this movie were not that great at all because they sounded more “church oriented” than the sounds of Motown. Despite that, Jordin outshined everyone, including Whitney Houston, when it came singing.

Sparkle was more suited for the small screen and did not have all the glitz and glamor as one would expect. Overall, Toonari Post had high expectations for this movie, but it was lacking in certain vital places.

Weekly Roundup: 8/19/12 & 8/26/12

Thomas Caffall, Texas A&M Shooting Suspect, Had Mental ‘Difficulties,’ Mom Says
A Texas man facing eviction opened fire on police officers and bystanders near the Texas A&M University campus Monday afternoon, killing two and wounding four before being shot to death by police, authorities said.

Police identified the shooter as Thomas A. Caffall, 35, of College Station. Caffall’s mother, Linda Weaver, reached by The Huffington Post, said her son was having “difficulties” with his mental health in recent years.

After reading the entire article, it seems like he was really crazy.

Obama to Romney: Release five years of tax returns
“Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide,” Mr Messina wrote.

“So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point. If the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more – neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.”

Releasing several years of tax returns has become a standard move in recent presidential elections.
Of course they say that, but they’re going to find something to nit-pick in his tax records.

Deadly shooting near the Empire State Building
Nine people were wounded and two people were killed near the Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan on Friday after a disgruntled women’s accessories designer named Jeffrey Johnson fatally shot his 41-year-old former boss, Steven Ercolino. Police shot and killed the gunman near the tourist entrance of the landmark skyscraper. Fifty-three year-old Johnson lost his job last year during a corporate downsizing at Hazan Imports, where Ercolino was a vice president. He returned to his office Friday morning to target his former supervisor. The shooting occurred at 9:03 a.m. ET on West 33rd Street.

I know there’s a lot of people suffering from job loss, but do you really have to shoot your former boss?

Majority of RNC events delayed by one day
According to Reuters, the Republican National Committee chairman announced Saturday evening that they will postpone most events planned for Monday’s convention by one day. Chairman Reince Priebus released a statement saying the convention will start on Monday but then will resume Tuesday afternoon.

That would be a good decision.

U.S. population equals pi-hundred
If you are a fan of the number pi, you’ll love this: The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the American population reached 314,159,265 Tuesday.


Neil Armstrong: An uncommon man with a commonly deadly disease
American icon Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday (Aug. 25) due to heart-surgery complications, officials said.

Armstrong underwent surgery at the beginning of this month to bypass four blockages in his coronary arteries, according to news reports. During coronary bypass surgery, doctors take a section of a blood vessel in the arm, leg, or other body part, and use it to divert blood around blocked areas in an artery in order to restore blood flow to the heart muscle, according to the Mayo Clinic.

So sad. :(

Isaac on verge of becoming hurricane, watch extends to Louisiana
As Tropical Storm Isaac moved quickly through the Straits of Florida on Sunday, coastal communities in Florida issued mandatory evacuations and Republicans delayed the start of their national convention.
Residents along the Gulf Coast watched nervously as forecasters said the storm was moving west of its originally predicted path after passing through the Caribbean.
With sustained winds of 60 mph, Isaac lashed Cuba with strong winds and dumped rain on the island early Sunday. No major damage or injuries were immediately reported in Cuba. On Saturday, it slammed Haiti, where at least six deaths were reported.
Heavy rain was already falling in some parts of south Florida, where a tornado watch is in effect until 5 p.m. ET.

Everyone should be careful out there.

Education: A Predictor of Longer Life
Recent study findings published in the journal Health Affairs present a remarkable update to the already considerable research showing education to be a powerful predictor of longer life spans.
“The lifelong relationships of education and its correlates with health and longevity are striking,” the article said. “Education exerts its direct beneficial effects on health through the adoption of healthier lifestyles, better ability to cope with stress, and more effective management of chronic diseases. However, the indirect effects of education through access to more privileged social position, better-paying jobs, and higher income are also profound.”


Technology/Social Media
Facebook to disable millions of pet accounts
Facebook is presently in the process of disabling millions of “fake” accounts, many of which are pet accounts that people have created for their beloved furry friends.

The news of the tens of millions of “fake” accounts was reported the first week of August. At that time, Facebook had acknowledged in its U.S. Securities and Exchange filing, the company believed about 83 million accounts on the network were not legitimate, and would be eliminated. This amounts to about 8.7 percent of its overall user base.

Pets shouldn’t have a Facebook page to begin with.

Facebook Falls To Half Of Public Offering Price
Facebook’s stock fell to $19 for the first time on Friday, meaning it has lost half its market value since the company’s initial public offering in May.

Things don’t look good for Facebook.

Which street is the priciest in the world?
The glitz and prestige of New York’s 5th Avenue makes it one of the most famous streets on the planet. But a torrent of mainland China visitors and a rental war among global brands will soon push the property prices in Hong Kong’s Central district higher than New York’s most expensive address.

As CNN’s Ramy Inocencio reports, Colliers predicts that by 2014, the average retail space in Hong Kong’s Central district (pictured above, left) will eclipse the $2,600 square foot price of New York’s 5th Avenue (pictured above, right). Presently, the average price is about $1,800 per square foot in Central, but prices have been zooming higher as retail brands jostle for prime real estate in this tightly packed territory.


Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France titles ‘must be erased’
Armstrong announced in a statement that he will no longer fight drug charges levelled against him by the US anti-doping agency (USADA).

He maintains he is innocent but says he is weary of the “nonsense” accusations.
“I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair,” the 40-year-old American said of the USADA proceedings.

USADA says it will ban Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles, won between 1999 and 2005.

Is it worth it to give up all of your titles?

Weekly Roundup 8/12/12

Romney tours key states with new running mate Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan was announced as Mr Romney’s choice for vice-president in one such state, Virginia, on Saturday.

The pair are going on to tour North Carolina, Florida, Ohio – and Mr Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.

Mr Ryan vowed to save the country from “high unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt”.

But Mr Obama’s campaign has said Mr Ryan stood for what they called “flawed” economic policies that would repeat “catastrophic” mistakes.

I hope Paul Ryan will be a good choice for Romney.

Romney makes accidental endorsement for 2013 election
During Saturday’s campaign rally in Ashland, Mitt Romney said he hoped that Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling would be the next Governor of Virginia. In doing so, Romney failed to recognize Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – who also announced he was running for Governor.


At least 250 dead, more than 2,600 injured in Iran quakes
The quakes, which had magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.3 respectively, hit just 11 minutes apart and levelled at least 20 villages, said state television.

Following the quakes, around 36 aftershocks rippled through the same area, jolting residents. The aftershocks were felt in a vast region near the Caspian Sea.

Oh my goodness! So sad!

New parent? Watch the saturated fat
“Parents of younger children do tend to bring in more convenience foods into the home more often,” said Dr. Helena Laroche, the lead author on the study. “That may account for the difference in saturated fat intake.”

Not surprising.

Technology/Social Media
iOS 6 Beta 4 Removes Dedicated YouTube App
The reason for the removal is unclear, although speculation naturally turns to the strained relationship between Apple and Google. Aside from YouTube, Apple’s iOS 6 contains another high-profile departure from Google’s services with Apple rolling out its own mapping and navigation service to displace Google.

YouTube videos can still be played through the embedded viewer, but the removal of the dedicated YouTube app marks a significant reduction in the prominence of Google on iOS.

Gonna miss the YouTube app, even though it wasn’t the greatest.

US employers banned from asking for social media logins
Maryland and Illinois have passed legislation banning employers from asking for social media login information during interviews, a practice that has been growing across the US.

Watch the video. This is crazy. Invasion of privacy.

Google death benefits pay dead employees’ families for 10 years
Google treats its dead employees better than some companies do their living workers.

Google’s unusual “death benefits” include paying the deceased’s spouse or domestic partner 50% of their salary for 10 years.

What’s more, all of the dead Googler’s stocks vest immediately. Each child of the employee receives $1,000 per month until age 19, or age 23 for full-time students.

Viewers outraged after NBC cuts away from Olympics closing ceremony
NBC was pummeled by viewers who took to social media after the network cut away early from the closing ceremony of the London Games on Sunday to air a new television show, drawing outrage from those who tuned in for the highly anticipated musical spectacle.

The Twitter-sphere exploded, with “#NBCfail” and “#closingceremonies” trending worldwide, after NBC cut out performances by Ray Davies, Kate Bush, The Who and Muse in favor of a commercial-free airing of “Animal Practice.”

I seemed to have missed this part. Even though I had the TV on at my desk, I was busy working. Although I’m not surprised that NBC did this. Their coverage was just horrendous during the entire Games.

Nielsen: 2012 Olympics most-watched event in U.S. TV history
More than 219 million Americans watched the Games over 5,535 hours of broadcasting on NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, two specialty channels and, Nielsen data show.
The figures eclipse those of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (also on NBC), which were watched by a mere 215 million viewers.

No matter how bad NBC’s coverage was, people are still going to tune in because it’s the Olympics.

Jennifer Aniston engaged to actor Justin Theroux
“Having experienced everything you don’t want in a partner over time, it starts to narrow down to what you actually do want,” the actress told InStyle earlier this year. “As I get older, I realize what qualities are important in love and what suits me. And what I won’t settle for.”
2011: Aniston: Hottest of all time?

Her quest ended Friday, when she got engaged to Theroux on his 41st birthday, Aniston’s representative Stephen Huvane said.

“Justin Theroux had an amazing birthday Friday, receiving an extraordinary gift when his girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston, accepted his proposal of marriage,” Theroux’s representative Ina Treciokas said Sunday.

Congrats to the happy couple!

Olympics: Team GB aims to top Beijing golds
Team GB, hoping to pass the 19 golds achieved in Beijing in 2008, stand third in the London 2012 medal table – behind China and the US – with 18 gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze.

That would be awesome. It’s always nice to see the host country doing well in the medal rankings.

Gabby Douglas Makes Wrong Turn on Bars, Fails to Medal
Gabby Douglas finished dead last in the individual uneven bars final Monday, the same event that earned her the nickname “The Flying Squirrel” for her gravity-defying height.

She apparently turned the wrong way in her routine and could not recover well enough to earn a high score.

She’s still a winner in my eyes.

London 2012: Games set for grand finale
The finale will feature about 4,000 performers alongside artists such as George Michael and the Spice Girls.

The US topped the medal table with 45 golds, followed by China with 38 golds. GB came third with 29 golds – their best tally for 104 years.

I feel like this year’s Olympic Games went by so fast.

Weekly Roundup 7/22/12 & 7/29/12

Mystery of suspect James Holmes’ missing Facebook account
As the investigation got under way in the shooting at the “The Dark Knight Rises” premiere, in which 70 members of the estimated 300-seat crowd were killed or injured, those looking for clues to make sense of it all went online for a digital footprint for the suspect – to no avail.

It appears that the suspect Holmes is not on any social networks – at least not under his legal name. The picture of Holmes that has been painted is not much different than a typical, perhaps disenchanted college student.

If he did, I would definitely write him some nasty message for being a(n) {insert insulting phrase here}.

Paterno statue removed from Penn State campus
The 900-pound bronze statue is being stored in a “secure location,” according to a statement from Penn State President Rodney Erickson. The tribute to Paterno had become an object of contention after the child rape scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno’s statue and legacy came under fire after the release of the Freeh Report, the scathing investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The report found several Penn State officials concealed evidence that Sandusky had sexually abused minors. Freeh concluded that Paterno could have prevented further sexual abuse had he taken action. Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 victims.

This is why you don’t hide what you’re doing. I hope other schools learn a lesson from all of this.

Aurora cinema shooting: Obama to pay tribute to victims
US President Barack Obama is heading for Colorado to honour victims of Friday’s gun attack at a Batman film screening that left 12 people dead.

The White House said Mr Obama would meet survivors and families of victims, as well as local officials in Aurora.

In his weekly radio address, he called for prayer and reflection on the gun rampage in the Denver suburb.

Pope Benedict has voiced “deep shock” over the attack which left another 58 people injured, some critically.

Glad to hear the President and the Pope are speaking out about this, although it’s so sad.

Spectators arriving for Olympics opening ceremony
Thousands of people are arriving at the Olympic Park ahead of the £27m opening ceremony of the London Games.

The three-hour spectacle in the Olympic Stadium will be viewed by a global TV audience of around one billion people.

Details of the ceremony remain a closely-guarded secret. Its artistic director, Danny Boyle, has dedicated it to the 15,000 volunteers taking part.

Holy cow!

Controversy surrounds health care contract workers
Since a temporary radiologic technologist was accused of stealing drugs from a New Hampshire hospital and giving patients hepatitis C through infected syringes, troubling reports of his past have emerged — casting a spotlight on the staffing industry as a whole.

David Kwiatkowski worked in 13 hospitals in eight states between January 2007 and July 2012, when he was arrested in a Massachusetts hotel room “in an intoxicated state,” according to court documents. During that time he was employed by at least two staffing firms: Triage Staffing and SpringBoard Healthcare Staffing.

A surge of contract employees have entered the work force since 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Businesses turned to staffing firms to handle their workload until they were more certain of their company’s future. More than 25% of all new jobs created were temporary.
Was there ever a background check?

Technology/Social Media
Chick-Fil-A Faces Gay Marriage Backlash on Twitter, Facebook
Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy sparked a social media firestorm among gay marriage supporters and opponents after taking a public stance on the divisive issue this week.

Speaking to Christian news site Baptist Press, Cathy called Chick-Fil-A “guilty as charged” in response to past criticism of its position on same-sex marriage; he said the company is “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Cathy later added: “We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

I get what Chick-fil-A is saying, but I don’t know if I would publicly say something if I were them. Gay marriage is such a hot topic these days.

Apple to launch Mountain Lion tomorrow
The operating system was first previewed by developers in February and brings a number of iOS-inspired features to its computers, such as Reminders, Notes and even the Notification Center. There’s also a new security feature, Gatekeeper, which aims to reduce malware by blocking uncertified apps from being installed. In all, Apple claims that Mountain Lion will bring 200 new features.

I may look into it once I read reviews about it.

Toyota recalling 760,000 RAV4’s due to crash risk
Toyota announced the recall Wednesday of some 778,000 vehicles in the United States due to a suspension problem that could cause crashes.

The recall comprises roughly 760,000 Toyota RAV4’s from model years 2006 to 2011, as well as about 18,000 Lexus HS 250h’s from 2010.

Toyota said that if the nuts on the rear suspension arms of these vehicles aren’t tightened properly during a wheel alignment service, the arms may come loose or separate.

Manufacturers should definitely check their cars before selling them to the public.

Sherman Hemsley, TV’s George Jefferson, dead at 74
Sherman Hemsley, who made bluster an endearing character trait as George Jefferson on “The Jeffersons” and Deacon Ernest Frye on “Amen,” has died, reports. The 74-year-old actor was found dead in his El Paso home Tuesday, according to the El Paso Times.

No cause of death was available.

RIP :(

Sandusky’s retirement package revoked
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach who was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse, has had his retirement package revoked.

The retirement package was revoked in November, Penn State spokesperson David LaTorre wrote in an email. Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse on November 4.

According to a report released by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, an agreement was made on June 29, 1999 to pay Sandusky $168,000 –– a lump sum that was awarded to Sandusky the following day.

According to the report, Sandusky received “a net amount of $111,990.18” after taxes and various deductions.

I don’t blame Penn State for doing that.

7/19/12 Social Media Event

This week, I went to a social media event sponsored by the Social Media Club of Richmond.  They talked about reasons to blog and that blogging is on its way out, in which I kinda agree with.  These days, people use Facebook and Twitter to instantly connect with others.

Also at the event, a group of girls from described their road trip to SXSW in Austin this past March.  Chevy was trying to think of ways to brand itself, so they reached out to teams, like the girls from RichmondMom, all across the country and asked them to drive to Austin using Chevy’s cars.  Chevy’s goal was to take people who normally wouldn’t drive their cars and put them in it.

Chevy wanted the groups to tweet about their journey and how they liked their cars.  The Richmond Mom group had another mission while on their road trip.  Their goal was to visit local classrooms along the way and raise money for the schools.  They did that by using PR and social media. They even got onto the local news in Alabama because of their PR and networking skills.

This social media campaign was a smart move on Chevy’s part because this allowed them to interact with their fanbase and gain new fans for their products.

It was a really good event, and it was interesting to see how big companies, like Chevy, come up social media campaigns.

Weekly Roundup – 7/15/12

I’m going to do a condensed version. I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the news this week.

Penn State blamed over Jerry Sandusky sex abuse
Louis Freeh’s report, released on Wednesday, laid much blame in the hands of four of Penn State’s “most powerful people”: President Graham Spanier, Vice-President Gary Schultz, athletic director Tim Curley and head football coach Joe Paterno.

They “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the university community and authorities,” Mr Freeh wrote.

The four men, including the university president, knew that Sandusky was under investigation by university police of allegations of child sex abuse on campus as early as 1998.

It’s easy to look back now and say that.

Boston ranks 19th worst in traffic gridlock study
According to TomTom, a manufacturer of GPS navigation devices, Boston is the 19th most congested city in North America, behind such cities as Vancouver and Miami. The company’s Congestion Index report for the first quarter of the year, which surveyed 26 North American cities, found the absolute worst traffic is in Los Angeles.

On average, Boston commutes take 16 percent longer than they would if traffic were flowing freely — like in the middle of the night. In the evening rush, however, Boston commutes take 35 percent more time than they do when everything is moving well, according to the TomTom report.

By comparison, Los Angeles commutes take an average of 33 percent longer than they would in free-flowing traffic and a whopping 77 percent longer during evening rush hour.
My commute isn’t too bad.

China’s Video Sites Ordered to Censor Content
If you run a video website in China, you will now be charged with a daunting task: watch all your content and censor out any questionable content before posting.

China’s new online video censorship rules came this week via the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), China’s official broadcast regulation bureau. SARFT made the pre-screening policy known through a statement released to Chinese press that was later reported on by The Register.

Chinese video websites can be held legally liable if they fail to comply with the self-screening and censorship policy.