Miss Cleo dies: That time we argued as judges of a West Palm Beach karaoke contest


I was very saddened to hear about the untimely death of Miss Cleo, famed psychic and, for a while, my fellow Lake Worther (Lake Worthian?) I used to run into her at what is now Mother Earth Sanctuary Cafe, run then, as ever, by the phenomenal Patti Lucia, and she was always very sweet to me. A couple of times she offered me a reading, and I never took her up on it, although a visiting buddy from up north did and was so thrilled to say that THE Miss Cleo had done her reading. I got a kick out of telling people that I knew her, a little, and hoped that she would say the same.

However, there was at least one night that I can tell you that Miss Cleo was decidedly NOT pleased to know me, like, at all, and that was in…I wanna say 2008 or 2009, when both of us were celebrity judges of a summer-long karaoke tournament at Roxy’s Pub. I am not a real celebrity, so who the heck knows why I was there, but that’s West Palm Beach for you, and it’s fun. I wasn’t there every week, and I don’t think Cleo was either, but I seem to remember that she was there more often. Every other time, besides this particular night, Cleo and I got along like a house on fire – she was a lovely woman, with a charming smile, and we chatted about random randomness. But not this night – there was a singer whose name I cannot remember, who was talented but not my favorite. He was sort of hammy and phoning it in, and I was turned off. I preferred another guy, whose name has also been lost to time and my 40-something-ness, so when the judges came together at the end of the singing to compare notes,  I had him on my list, but not the other guy.

EXCEPT: Apparently the week before, for which I was not in attendance, the guy I thought was hammy had been transcendent. I mean, the other judges, including Cleo, said he was brilliant. And because they knew what he could do, it hadn’t even registered to them not to put him through to the next round because they weren’t going to hold one weak performance against him. So Cleo led the charge to get me to put him on my list. I admit that I dug my heels in more than was probably important for a local karaoke contest, but there was a lot of money at stake, and I didn’t want to possibly deny someone who gave his all on that actual night in favor of someone who didn’t.

Cleo was…not happy with me. She was a big fan of the other guy – tried passionately to convince me that he was really good, better than the other guy, and it wasn’t his fault I wasn’t there the other week. No, I answered, but it was his fault he wasn’t good tonight. This did not go over well, and Miss Cleo, who I had admired for years as a fan, came over to me and told me I was wrong. And it was a bizarre place to be because I don’t like getting into public arguments unless you’ve been ignorant to me, and this was not that. She was just being passionate, but it wasn’t sitting right with me, so I said that they could do what they wanted, but that I wasn’t coming back. There was some indignant arm-crossing on everyone’s part and I don’t believe we parted as friends that night. It was super weird.

But everyone got over it – both singers were advanced, and I think I did come back to judge another day Cleo wasn’t there. And the next time I saw her, she made a point to come over and hug me and call me Darlin’. I hadn’t seen her in a while, but cancer is evil and takes too many people before their time. I’m so sorry she is one of them. And I’m so glad I had a story.


Graffiti artist’s ‘tribute’ mural for Taylor Swift goes viral

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 20: A mural by Melbourne graffiti artist Lushsux is seen in Hosier Lane on July 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. The mural was painted in response to the current social media spat between Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian. Kardashian released a recording this week of her husband Kanye West speaking to Swift about his lyrics referring to her in his song 'Famous.' Swift has denied she approved the lyrics about her. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
An Australian graffiti artist painted a mural in response to the current social media spat between Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

We all know that 2016 has been a rough one for losing beloved performers, and now an Australian graffiti artist has paid “tribute” to Taylor Swift. Don’t panic Tay Tay isn’t dead, but according to lushsux, the singer was “murdered” (as they say in the social media sphere) during her recent feud with Kim Kardashian.

To catch you up, Kim (a.k.a. Mrs. Kanye West) lit social media on fire on Sunday night when she released video of a phone call in which Swift gave her consent to West to use her name in a song lyric.

Prior to Kardashian’s reveal, Swift repeatedly denied consultation with West took place, but Kim called her out — prompting lushsux to “pay his respects” to Swift with a mural. However, if you look closely, the artist seems to have misspelled Swift’s name.

The Daily Mail points out that the last name scrawled on the mural looks more like “Smith” than “Swift,” which could be a spur-of-the-moment typo or an attempt to avoid litigation. lushsux told Melbourne newspaper The Age that “defamation lawsuits are quite costly.”

And according to his Instagram account, he may be about to find that out for himself.

“Ghostbusters” reboot: Ticket sales are OK. Hope the movie is funny.


I still haven’t gotten the chance to see the reboot of “Ghostbusters,” starring a lot of very funny ladies perhaps best known for appearing on “Saturday Night Live,” as opposed to a bunch of funny men, some of whom were best known for appearing on “Saturday Night Live.” But as I wrote in my column in the Palm Beach Post today, I have a vested interest in it being good, or at least funny on a completely basic and stupid level, because humanity won’t stop showing us its worst, and because don’t we all need a laugh right now? I sure do. I can’t keep watching “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” with my kid and wishing the pain away. So far, it’s doing OK in ticket sales – not great, not a bomb. I can’t help but think that the brutal hype before it even opened has made some people wait to see what everyone else says. Me, I’m going today, I hope.

Playboy Playmate apologizes for taking illegal locker room photo, but not to the woman in photo

Me at an LA Fitness Zumba class, managing not to anger anyone with my back fat .

Dani Mathers, Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year, says she “accidentally” posted a mocking Snapchat image of a woman daring to shower at an LA Fitness without first remembering to be skinny. So now Mathers has joined the pantheon of the sorry/not-sorry who’ve issued public apologies for behavior they thought was no biggie, like, three days ago. She’s totally not the fat-shaming mean girl she proved herself to be when she was meanly fat-shaming somebody! She’s going to take some time to figure out just how she could have sunk so low. She became a model because she loves the female body and even though she was completely making fun of a female body, she would never make fun of the female body. (Okay….) And she means it!

As one of those overweight LA Fitness members who manages to shower in the locker room all the time without blinding anyone with my offensive back fat, I don’t accept Mather’s apology – She seemed more sorry that she mistakenly mocked this stranger to the whole world, rather than just one friend, and seems clueless as to why both things are wrong, even when you don’t get caught. Besides, it’s not me, or humanity, or the spectre of the female body she needs to apologize to. It’s the woman she photographed, without her permission, captioning the image “If I can’t unsee this, then neither can you.”

And that poor woman, presumably minding her own business while showering after the workout she just did because she’s trying to be healthy, is the only person Mathers didn’t actually apologize to.

Fear of locker room shaming is nothing new – fitness magazines and Web sites list it as a reason why people, overweight and otherwise, don’t like changing at gyms, or change in the bathroom stall or even behind the still-wet shower curtain, afraid to be publicly naked for even the few seconds it takes to twist themselves into a towel. It’s also a reason that some overweight people don’t go to the gym in the first place, and then don’t work out, and then remain overweight, and maybe unhealthy, and then become fatter while mean, fitter people make fun of them because they don’t go to the gym.

You can see how this is a problem.

There was probably a time when I was self-conscious about letting my less-than-svelte body see the light of day at the gym, particularly in the presence of younger, fitter, more muscular ones. I wondered what those women must think about me, how offensive my cellulite must be to them, what they must be thinking of my baggy shorts and random concert festival giveaway tank top as they donned their tight Lululemon yoga pants and accessorized sports bras.

And then I got over myself. First of all, most of the people in there are trying to do the same thing you are, which is get fit, get in and get out, which is what etiquette prescribes. They’re not worried about what I look like because they’re in their own heads, planning their own days. They’re not in there worried about middle-aged women rinsing off after fighting with the Stair Master, so other than finding their lack of body fat somewhat aspirational, I’ve decided not to worry about them. Do you, Boo. Good for you.

Then again, my nervousness is justified by trolls like Mathers, a woman whose job as a Playboy model requires her to maintain a certain look, both with exercise and, from the evidence of some of the photos on her Facebook page, surgical assistance. That’s her right – she can do whatever she wants with her body, because it’s hers. And that’s why what she did to that woman she has yet to publicly acknowledge was so awful, so casually cruel, We’re all out there trying to be the best us we can be, whatever that means to us, whether our pictures adorn a Playboy cover or the refrigerator. Anyone who gets out there to try to change themselves, to do the work, is to be commended, not ridiculed.

Every time these fake, possible lawyer or publicist-directed apologies are released, it seems we’re continuously confirming that we are a callous society that not only revels in thinking ourselves better than other people, but can’t wait to let everyone else know it. If Mathers had just texted her friend “Eww, there’s a fat lady over there in the shower” it would still have been mean and unneccessary. But she crossed a line by snapping a photo in the locker room – which happens to be a crime – and including it in her post ratchets up the cruelty, whether it was meant for one equally mean friend of 10,000. And it’s done more than subject Mathers to a possible $100,000 fine and a year in jail – it singled out a stranger as someone whose natural state is so hideous that you’re trying to unsee it.

Seems the ugly person is you, Dani Mathers. That woman you picked on, whose only sin seems to be trying to live her life with people like you around? She’s in there doing work. And that’s a pretty good look.

“Big Brother”: Palm Beach Gardens’ Tiffany Rousso targeted for eviction

Tiffany Rousso of the CBS series BIG BROTHER, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.   Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Tiffany Rousso of the CBS series BIG BROTHER, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Well, that’s not the way to make friends and influence people. Well, not a good influence, anyway.

Tiffany Rousso, the Palm Beach Gardens teacher/sister of previous “Big Brother” houseguest Vanessa, kinda blew up her game last week because she just couldn’t be cool. Not Fonzie cool – the kind of cool that allows you to calm down enough to let a plan work and not make your partners in the plan think you’re a loose cannon who’s gotta go.

To wit – the members of her alliance asked her to go up on the block last week as a ruse, but it triggered the same paranoia that her sister had. She got sketchy. She kept asking people if they were really trying to kick her. They kept telling her no, until she made them so nuts that they were like “You know what? Have a seat. Over in the ‘You about to get booted’ section.” Unless she wins the Power of Veto, or someone else makes themselves a bigger target, she might go bye-bye.

A side note: Am I the only one who hears them say “Power of Veto” and thinks they hear “Power of Vito?” Who is Vito? Where does he power come from? What is wrong with me?

I have to address something else right quick: Apparently the live feeds have woven a tale of Frank, a returning player that I was starting to think was cute, and his inability to know when his jokes had gone too far. Specifically, he’d pushed Da’Vonne, previously a fan of his, to tears because he thought that calling her a slut and smacking her butt was in good fun, and she did not. Frank, as we used to say at home, plays too much. When she cried to the camera that she couldn’t let her daughter watching at home believe that this is how you talk to a woman, that this is how she should allow herself to be treated. The events of the last week, of which Da’Vonne and Frank are seemingly unaware, are even more of a signal that we need to respect each other, to listen to each other and read each other’s cues and say “Are they understanding what I’m trying to say?” Frank’s face, when he realized that he’d not only hurt Da’Vonne’s feelings but that his whole persona was being taken wrong, was pretty heartbreaking.

Da’Vonne accepted his apology. But the damage is done.

Ariana Grande, Boca Raton native, releases uplifting song in response to Texas, Baton Rouge, MN.

Ariana Grande

Boca Raton’s Ariana Grande, just cast as Penny Pingleton in the upcoming TV production of “Hairspray Live,” has released a song with singer Victoria Monet called “Better Days,” in response to the police-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, as well as the ambush of police officers in Dallas, according to Rolling Stone.

On her Instagram page, Grande wrote “During this challenging time, we have to remember that the only way we will progress is if the overruling force is #Love. Too many precious lives were taken from us this week, this month, this year. Rest in peace #AltonSterling. Rest in peace #PhilandoCastile #BlackLivesMatter. And the police that were peacefully guarding the #BlackLivesMatter rally in Dallas…. Rest in peace. #LorneAhrens, #MichaelKrol,#MichaelJSmith, #BrentThompson &#PatrickZamarripa.”

For more on Ariana Grande, click here.

“Vanilla Ice Project” finishes its house, briefly startles local designer, goes Hollywood glam

20160311 burt vanilla 06

So I’ve just completed the last episode of my first full season of DIY’s “The Vanilla Ice Project,” and as the house referred to as the Green Monster makes its debut as a reddish, brick-covered non-monster, I look back on all the hi-jinks, the smashed walls, the near emergencies that weren’t really emergencies at all, that time the septic tank got run over and KoKo thought he had to lift the lid out by hand, that time they sealed Wes up in the staircase, and the time they kinda were worried that a weight-bearing wall was gonna pull the whole thing down.

And I wish they could come and do some stuff to my house. But without the septic tank, because I live in a city, and because that’s gross.

Five impressions of the final episode:

  • Fans have told me to expect the input of Jupiter interior designer Krista Watterworth, and how she usually comes in and goes “Wait, what did you do?” And that’s what she did here- when she first gets to the house, she doesn’t even think it’s ready for her to start designing yet. She also wants $40,000 to stage the house, and Rob’s all “Get out of my pocket, woman” and it made me laugh because they sounded like old married people. I never asked for $40,000 to stage a house. But I’m pretty sure that’s the reaction I would have gotten. Plus a $100 Home Goods gift certificate and a trip to the Bealls Outlet, along with a “Good luck!”
  • I’m surprised that Krista didn’t suggest selling or giving back the giant fake ruins and airplane fusilage in the back yard so they could buy all the furniture they wanted. Well, that’s what I would have done.
  • Rob, who was into the Hollywood Glamour theme Krista decided on, stuck his nose up at a “beachy peachy” chair that Krista suggested as a joke. I love that chair. I will take that chair. Please give me that chair.
  • The finished house was suggested at a market price of $1.6 million. I’m super interested into what happens to it, and if it involves keeping or getting rid of the splash pad. (Look, it’s a cute idea. But I’d rather choose the stuff in my yard. Then again, I don’t have $1.6 million to buy it, so you do you, House. You do you.
  • If KoKo Corey is out there, and he would like to do an interview with a fan who thinks his boys should stop messing with him, like when they find a snake in the finale and he freaks out, call me, dude. #freekoko


“Big Brother”‘s Palm Beach Gardens teacher Tiffany finds herself in jeopardy

Tiffany Rousso of the CBS series BIG BROTHER, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.   Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Tiffany Rousso of the CBS series BIG BROTHER, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Oh, dear.

I was hoping that Tiffany Rousso, this year’s Palm Beach County house guest on “Big Brother” (seems there’s usually at least one) might be the first to win – her sister Vanessa got close last season. But she’s put herself in the crosshairs of eviction, particular in the case of Da’Vonne, because she’s super paranoid. Paranoia seems an understandable emotion in a show where cameras are watching, always watching, while everyone else is shady and tries to vote you out. But you can’t be, like, upfront about your paranoia, and then pretend to go along with the group’s plans to keep you safe while VERY OBVIOUSLY not going along with the group’s plan to keep you safe.

Specifically, Tiffany was told that she was being put on the block as a diversion, and that she had to stay there so that the real targets would be none the wiser. But she freaked out and kept insisting that there was maybe a secret plan to kick her out. To the point where people started thinking “Maybe there should be a secret plan to kick Tiffany out.” Yikes. And then, during the Power of Veto competition, where the winner can veto one of the nominations, Tiffany, who’d agreed to throw the contest, was not only obviously trying to win, but was clocking Da’Vonne as she played. Da’Vonne, incidentally, played last season with Tiffany’s apparently equally paranoid sister Vanessa, and she’s not having it.

So, we might be saying bye-bye to Tiffany tonight. Sigh.

“Wahlburgers” returns to A&E; Floridians can return to the Orlando location


“Wahlburgers,” A&E’s reality show about the hamburger chain run by an ordinary Massachusetts family that absolutely no one’s ever heard of before, is back for another season of good-natured familial bickering and burgering tonight at 10 p.m. I have only ever watched 1 full episode of the show (I’m more of a “Lachey’s Bar” girl myself) but I am a committed fan of “Blue Bloods,” actor/New Kid Donnie Wahlberg’s CBS crime drama. And I know most of the words of “Good Vibrations,” from the early work of Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg.

Most importantly, I’m a big fan of Wahlburger’s, the actual restaurant. Back in February I got to hit the opening weekend of the chain’s Orlando location, and gladly stood in line for their delicious burgers, but especially their side dishes, like the thin crispy onion rings. I might watch tomorrow, but I’m certainly going to go back soon, not only to eat but to support that city, one I love and one that needs the support. #orlandostrong

See our review of the restaurant here.