Thursday, April 18, 2019
Some clever law enforcement professionals recently, belatedly, became aware that certain rich Hollywood types were doing more than pulling strings and waving their eyelashes to help to get their children into elite schools. They were applying money to the problem. This has, of course, been going on since rich people and elite schools have existed in America, and that makes me wonder. Why finally notice and take action now? What's so special about now?
I haven't seen a complete list of the poor defendants who were sucked up in this dragnet, so for now I remain merely suspicious. The poster children for this new class of criminal masterminds are Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. If the other thirty-three (!!!) arrestees are also prosperous entertainers, I'm going to get much more suspicious in a hurry. I hope that no one believes that people who made their money either in business deals or in stock manipulations are above this kind of behavior.
Ms. Huffman and Ms. Loughlin's cases are as different as night and day. The former's case is very simple, and the methods used were inexpensive. The later was much more ambitious, and the whole thing cost her over half a mil. To my knowledge, the dragnet completely ignored the very rich who cheat their children into elite schools by simply throwing huge sums of money at the target school. There is a quid pro quo, but it remains discretely in the background. The school gets a new pool and a new floor on its basketball court, and some undeserving brat goes to Princeton. The law enforcement professionals were probably warned off by the schools, who naturally want to see that kind of largess continue.
Ms. Huffman is alleged to have paid $15,000 to improve her daughter's SAT scores. I've seen the methodology described in two ways in our modern, less than reliable media. Either: 1) someone with access to the tests changed many of her answers from wrong to correct; or 2) someone was paid to pose as the daughter and take the SAT again after a miserable showing by the real daughter. Either way, it is alleged that for a mere one-time payment of $15,000, the daughter's SAT score was raised by 400 points. That, my friends, would be the greatest bargain in the history of fraud.
On a sadder note, it is also alleged that Ms. Huffman paid a sympathetic medical professional to prove up some kind of learning disability for the daughter. This kind of thing buys them more time for taking the test itself. Therein lies a tale.
When I graduated from law school, several of my classmates mysteriously came down with bad cases of dyslexia, you know, before the bar exam. They hadn't had any trouble with passing law school classes, and I can tell you that I went to a school that believed in extremely difficult tests. Those crooked students could hardly contain their delight at these diagnoses. One guy was being so obnoxious about it that I came dangerously close to throwing him down a flight of stairs.
Ms. Huffman has pleaded guilty to one count of something relatively insignificant, but just for the optics I'm sure they'll put her behind bars for a while. This kind of demonstration is common with celebrities. Make a fuss about sentencing them and putting them in orange jumpsuits, and then quietly let them go after a matter of days or weeks.
Ms. Loughlin's case is far more serious, although, strangely, she does not seem to be taking it very seriously. She is alleged to have paid an employee of the target university to dummy up an acceptance for her daughter. The employee works, or “worked,” more likely, as a high-level coach for a lesser sport. That one cost a cool $500,000, an amount that generates a lot of interest among prosecutors and juries. Ms. Loughlin has very casually turned down a plea deal that would have put her in prison for a couple of years. I read somewhere that the prosecutor has left the plea deal on the table as is, which surprised me. More often they bump up the years in the offer. They claim to have her on the hook for twenty, or forty, or something. When that much money changes hands as part of a criminal enterprise, all kinds of peripheral charges are triggered. For instance, money laundering.
If she keeps shining them on with that confident smile, she could really piss them off. If that happens, she could do some real time. Somebody needs to explain to her that this is not a Hallmark made-for-TV movie. These people can hurt you.
On the Other Side of the Tracks!
All of this is very nice, but, as usual, the devil is down in the corners somewhere. CNN dot com was kind enough to write up a story about what happens when black women are charged with crimes that bear surface similarities to those described above. That, my darlings, is not a pretty picture, but you probably knew that already.
Kelly W-B, of Ohio, used her father's address to get her child into a better school that was outside of her assigned district. I'll bet that most of us know someone who has done that, or something similar. Well, Miss Kelly got caught, and the full force of the law was brought to bear not only on Miss Kelly, but also on her father. Kelly did nine days in jail, just to make sure that she understood the gravity of the situation, and she had to pay a total of $36,000, mostly to the school in her assigned district which had lost government revenue for having one less student. Her father, hold on to your hat, was sentenced to prison, that's where you go when you are convicted of a felony, and he died in prison.
Tanya McD of Connecticut was arrested on the same charge, using a false or fraudulent address to get her child into a school outside of her assigned district. This one gets poignant in a hurry, so get a tissue handy. This is a tearjerker. Ms. Tanya was homeless at the time, so she didn't have any damn address. She used an address that she knew would get her child into a better school. She did a lot more time that Miss Kelly did, but that's apples and oranges because Tanya's case had drug charges attached to it by the time the prosecutors got rolling. Unless there was a suitable relative to take the child, it's a sure thing that Social Services took away Tanya's parental rights and put the child in a foster home.
Back to Hollywood!
Felicity might get off with some community service or something. She's cooperating, and her crimes are not great. If Lori's not careful, though, she could get some of that Martha Stewart time. She could miss a few holidays, maybe even a couple of birthdays. I won't cry for either of them, but Kelly and Tanya have my deepest sympathies.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
I had no idea that this cut existed. I was a big Small Faces fan from the beginning, too. Just goes to show how easy it was to miss something back then. No radio station would play this; there might be a comment in an English music magazine or newspaper but what could be easier for an American fan to miss?
Great covers mark songs as great songs, and great covers are those where the covering band takes the song and remakes it in their own image. This one succeeds on both counts.
Great song and performance by the songwriter, Tim Hardin. Tim must have been really something. Some of these songs are heart wrenching, painful little bursts of crystallized negative energy. I almost never meet people more depressed than me.
There was another side to Tim. I have it on good authority, from someone who shared Tim's interest in substances. One of my friends in L.A. had been a needle-buddy of Tim's for some time. My friend was so gracious, funny, and personable that he could always cop, so he was the go-to guy when certain celebrities came to town. Whenever Tim's name came up later on, my friend would kind of collapse into himself like the wind had gone out of his sails. Losing Tim was an awful memory for him.
This must be a rare one. After three years up, I was the second like and the hit count was at 1030. The last name is Turner spelled backwards. Ike used this name during a time when he was juggling labels and trying to move artists around while no one was watching. He must have been something back then, quite a bundle of energy.
The story of how Ike came up with the name "Tina Turner," not to mention why, is amazing. Always thinking, that Ike, working the angles.
Why yes, this is the same Jackie Brensten who gets the credit for the first real rock and roll record, "Rocket 88." (1951, Jackie Brensten and his Delta Cats.) And lookie here! Ike Turner gets the writing credit for this song! And that's him playing the guitar, and it's Ike's band, and Ike produced the record. Trouble Up the Road came out in 1961.
The band on this cut and also Rocket 88 is really Ike Turner's band. In 1951, it was Ike's Kings of Rhythm. Ike was nineteen when Rocket 88 came out. This record features the Ike Turner Orchestra, which in 1961 also featured the young and talented Tina Turner.
You may not like Ike. A lot of people don't. But he had a great eye for talent, and he knew how to get the best performances from his singers. He wrote great songs; he always had a great band. As a producer and as a musician, he always knew what a hit should sound like. As an A & R man in the early 1950s, he discovered Howlin Wolf! You don't have to like Ike, but you must respect a list of accomplishments like that.