Keeping You Informed Archives

Greetings from webmistress Val!
 Hello all! Here is the archive page where my 1999-2001 "Keeping You Informed" columns and "artist/question of the week" items are stored. 

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May-September 2001

COMPUTER GAMES

    Some of you may wonder what it is I do between web site updates. Well, between working -- Hey, I have a job! How else could I afford to have the web site?? -- and playing tech guru to friends and co-workers alike, I have a life. Well, actually, lives. Well, actually simulated lives!

I play the computer game, The Sims.

There's almost no way to explain "The Sims" without sounding like a power-mad lunatic, but I'll try. This game lets the player create and control simulated people (hence, the "Sims") in a household. These people can be of various ages, races, and body types. They interact with other people in the household and in the neighborhood, adults and children. "Sims" are just like "real" people: they can get jobs, in which they can advance through study and acquiring skills, and they can fall in love and get married, and even have children together--! And they can also lose those jobs, fall out of love, and have their children, if they don't keep their grades up, sent to military school (and out of the game!). They can learn to cook or just order pizza (which is purposely overpriced at $40 "simoleon" dollars, so maybe you'll make the Sims learn to cook the comparatively cheaper $10 meal after all). They can hire a maid ($10/hour) to make the beds and clean the bathroom (there are eight Motives to watch for in each Sim, which include Hygiene and Bladder--!). And they can watch TV, paint pictures, or, ahem, play a computer game (which I guess is for those post-modernism gamers out there ;>).

"The Sims" is the most popular PC game right now, and has been since its release a year ago, selling millions of copies. The publisher, Maxis, has already released not just one but two "expansion packs," "Livin' Large," and "House Party," which add more playability features to the game. For example, your Sim can become a Rock Star or Psychic (like Miss Cleo!), and also throw such an amazing rave, along with a dj scratching techno music, and with a clothes trunk where guests can change into rave costumes and dance on a colorful strobe-light dance floor, that a certain TV celebrity shows up in a long black limousine. 

And to make up for the lack of multiplayer capability (for the moment...), you can make and upload into the game your own Sim people, such as those that look like celebrities (see the fan web site, The Sims Resource). You can make new outfits for them (see the fan web site, Marion Robertson's Fashions for the Sims). You can change the look of the houses, creating your own wallpaper and carpeting (see the fan web site, HomeSims.com). The possibilities are endless, and that's what's most addictive about the game!

Find out more at the official web site for "The Sims," at http://thesims.ea.com/us/

 

Abacus Add-On Programs for "The Sims"

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January-May 2001

MUSIC

 

Don't tell me the Clintons didn't stay in step with pop culture all the way to the end! During their last month in office, the most popular songs were Destiny's Child's "Independent Women Part 1" for Senator Hillary Clinton and Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me," which particularly describes former President Bill Clinton, by fair means or foul--!

If you haven't yet heard this hilarious yet risque' gem of a song about infidelity, which is a duet between singer/songwriter Shaggy and singer Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent, or seen the Mission: Impossible-like video, you're missing out on one of the best laughs this year. The song is from Shaggy's newest CD, Hot Shot (click over to hear song clips from the CD courtesy of Amazon.com). See the Hot Shot CD web page at Shaggy's official web site at ShaggyOnline.com, which has song clips and includes the lyrics of each song. Hear a clip of "It Wasn't Me" and read the lyrics, or just watch the "It Wasn't Me" music video (you'll need the RealPlayer).

As the story goes, "It Wasn't Me" wasn't slotted to be a single. It began to get widespread radio airplay only after it became a big hit in Hawaii during the summer of 2000, which was due to a Hawaiian radio deejay independently liking and playing the song -- which he had gotten off Napster! A radio deejay from Portland, Oregon saw the way the song was catching on in Hawaii and decided to play it when he got home. The popularity of the song was duplicated there, and word began to spread. In a matter of weeks, the song was being added to radio station playlists all over the country, and the rest is history. What a roundabout way to get a number one hit! 

People think they've never heard of Shaggy before, but they've been hearing him for years now, in his solo dance reggae hits "Oh Carolina" and "Boombastic," and in his duet with Maxi Priest, "That Girl," and his duet with Janet Jackson, "Luv Me Luv Me," which was featured on the soundtrack to "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (click the links for pages with song clips).

Read more about this Grammy-winning, talented artist, Shaggy. And fall under his spell ;->!

 

Mr. Love Lover: The Best of Shaggy, Volume 1 
"Mr. Lover Lover: The Best of Shaggy, Volume 1"

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Fall 2000

MUSIC

 

Hey, now, it's all about KINA! If you haven't yet heard the single, "Girl from the Gutter," or seen the music video, you are missing something truly special.

Not willing to play it safe in this teen pop overdrive we're currently living in, where it seems that you can't top the charts if you're old enough to vote, Kina Cosper stands out singing her own words to her own music in her own voice.

As Kina mentions on her official web site at http://www.4kina.com,she wrote the song, "Girl from the Gutter," when she was "mad as hell." Kina explains: "It's about people thinking you're less than you are. You know better, and you're gonna show them. It's funny how the people you want to show matter so much in that moment. When I look back, they don't matter at all. But I wrote 'Girl from the Gutter' in the moment."

Chorus to "Girl from the Gutter"
I hope your Hell is filled with magazines
And on every page you see a big picture of me
And under every picture a caption should read
Not bad for a girl from the gutter like me

 

TELEVISION -- TO NETWORK OR NOT TO NETWORK?

  So the new 2000-2001 season is continuing to premiere this week on the three large networks CBS, NBC, and ABC, and the mini-networks of Fox, the WB, and UPN.

TV critics have already weighed in with what they believe will be the bright spots in the networks' spate of shows -- including advance kudos to WB's "The Gilmore Girls" and NBC's "Ed" -- and also what they see as the networks' blight spots, including ABC's "Madigan Men" and NBC's "Tucker."

But keep in mind that various other series are starting up or starting again, both those shows in syndication on local stations and those shows on pay-cable stations, like USA, MTV, VH1, BET, Cartoon Network, HBO, Lifetime, Disney Channel, Showtime, and the Food Network. And there will be new specials, movies, and miniseries on public television, AMC, and A&E.

So if none of the networks' offerings thrill you, flip on over to the other channels on the dial. Watch an episode of "Any Day Now" on Lifetime. Look for the new Star Trek series, "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" on your local television stations. And you have to watch at least one episode of the Food Network's "Iron Chef" -- because you cannot be told what "Iron Chef" is; you have to see it for yourself--!

But as you know, you can always make up your own mind...

Or just turn the box off and go read a book!

UPDATE: By 2001, both the "Tucker" and "Madigan Men" television programs had been canceled by their respective networks--!

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Weeks of August 13 2000 - Fall 2000

 And I'm not promoting this book just because I'm a close personal friend of the author -- I'm making her pay me money!!

Seriously :>, here's a book that's a behind-the-scenes look at the formation and development of best-selling R&B/Pop vocal group, Destiny's Child, which tells the story of the original foursome of LaTavia, LeToya, Kelly, and (most assuredly the future solo performer) Beyonce.

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

Yes, Yes, Yes, the Unauthorized Biography of Destiny's Child
Yes, Yes, Yes, the Unauthorized Biography of Destiny's Child : A Tale of Destiny, Fame and Fortune (The Story About the Original 4 Members) (Collector's Edition)

Order the book, Yes, Yes, Yes, the Unauthorized Biography of Destiny's Child : A Tale of Destiny, Fame and Fortune, directly from Amazon.com or contact the following:

AMBER BOOKS
1334 East Chandler Boulevard, Suite 5-D67
Phoenix, AZ 85048
480-460-1660
Questions? E-mail Amber Books at amberbk@aol.com

See the official web site for the group at:
 http://www.destinyschild.com/

Destiny's Child: The Complete Story
Destiny's Child: The Complete Story

All things Destiny's Child at Amazon.com

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Weeks of May 8 2000 - August 6 2000

Now I know what you're thinking -- "Val has sold out! Val is trivializing her own unique voice by even mentioning the already overhyped World Wrestling Federation on her web page! Hah! I'm leaving!!"

Hey, don't leave just yet! I'm really interested in the WWF; I just love how almost every red-blooded man in America has gotten totally caught up in this amazing soap opera, "All My McMahons" :>!! It's not meant to be taken seriously; it's downright hilarious!

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

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WWF - WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION!!

Click the photos to find out about the books by hot WWF stars, "The Rock"/Dwayne Johnson,  and "Mankind"/Mick Foley, -- and click below to find out about the  American Library Association WWF poster & bookmark!

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WWF Poster from the American Library Association
Poster 2000 American Library Association. Used by permission.

Click over to find out about the book, Chyna, the 9th Wonder of the World: If They Only Knew , released January 30, 2001.

WWF Bookmark from the American Library Association

Bookmark 2000 American Library Association. Used by permission.

All things WWF, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Vince McMahon at Amazon.com

See the official web sites at www.wwf.com and www.wwfdivas.com

 

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Weeks of March 5-May 7 2000

(Why so many weeks for Tina Turner? Well, if you have to ask--! Yeah, you got it -- Val was slacking again!)

 

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

Tina Turner 24/7

Twenty Four Seven (2000) featuring the title track, "Whatever You Need," and "When the Heartache is Over"

"Simply the best/Better than all the rest" will always describe Tina Turner to me! A survivor in absolutely every sense of the word, Tina could have given up at any point in her life, and no one would have had a bad word to say, but she wouldn't, she didn't, and it seems that she won't--! Now in her 60th year, Tina will be strutting those infamous legs all over the US this year on reportedly her final big arena tour. Don't miss her!

Wildest Dreams, Tina Turner

Wildest Dreams (1996) featuring "On Silent Wings (backing vocals by Sting)," remake of John Waite's "Missing You," and tearin'-up-the-dance-floor tune, "Thief of Hearts."

Official Tina Turner Site (www.tina-turner.com)

Tina Turner at VH1.com, including the broadcast schedule of Tina's "Behind the Music" episode and current tour dates with her personally selected opening act Lionel Richie (in the 1980s, Tina was Lionel's opening act, so Tina's just returning the favor!)

All things Tina Turner at Amazon.com

 

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Weeks of January 9 2000 - February 27 2000

(Why so many weeks for Eiffel 65? Well, either Val let them be because the song "Blue" is so cool -- and so's the video! -- and Eiffel 65's "Europop" album is now nestled comfortably in the Billboard Top 10, or Val had yet another heinous computer crash, you make the call--!)

 

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

Eiffel 65, Blue
Click here to hear the song!

Have you heard this song, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)," by Eiffel 65? I'll bet you haven't -- and it's only been #1 in two dozen countries! Naturally America's name is not on that list of countries...yet? Perhaps, similar to Ricky Martin and the Backstreet Boys, America will get into Eiffel 65...in a few years!

All things Eiffel 65 at Amazon.com

 

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Weeks of December 5 1999 - January 2 2000

In Association with Amazon.com Artist for December, 1999

 

shamelessly ripped from weirdal.com

shamelessly ripped from weirdal.com

Click here to find all things "Weird Al" Yankovic at Amazon.com

 

Have you seen "Weird Al" Yankovic lately? Well, if you haven't, you must be trying really hard not to--!

Besides the AL-TV 2K special which premiered on MTV on December 4, 1999, there was the VH1 "Behind the Music" on Al which premiered during the summer -- which was rerun during "VH-AL," a day-long "all-AL, all-the-time" sequence of shows which premiered on December 23, 1999.

UPDATE: Through late 1999 to 2000, Al appeared on the talk shows The Movie Lounge, Roseanne, and Donny and Marie, and hosted a week of episodes for VH1's "The List," (each day wearing shirts of increasingly incredulous hideousness!!!... But for Al, this is probably a compliment--!), On the game show front, Al played on MTV's webRIOT, and came reallllly close but ultimately did not "Win Ben Stein's Money." On the shows, Al played for the homeless charity, Comic Relief.

SPECIAL UPDATE: In February 2001, AL got a missus! Yes, a woman named Suzanne  consented to become Mrs. Yankovic. Yay, AL!!

Read more about "Weird Al" (and get news, FAQ, the monthly "Ask Al" columns, photos, and more!) at (where else?) www.weirdal.com.

 

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Weeks of October 31 - November 28 1999

(Geri again received so many weeks...out of the sheer laziness of the webmistress to pick somebody else--!)

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

Cover of Geri Halliwell's autobio, "If Only"

If you like the "Schizophonic" album, you'll love Geri's new book, "If Only." I'm almost finished reading it, and it's been a blast to read so far--! Usually, I'd perk up an eyebrow at the nerve of someone who's only 26-years-old writing their autobiography (!), but Geri's managed to fit about 5-6 lifetimes into one -- and yet technically she's just getting started! Geri's been a rave dance queen, a glamour model, and a professional club dancer; survived a breast cancer scare; grieved the death of her father; was a TV celebrity in Turkey as a presenter on a "Let's Make A Deal"-type show -- and this was all before she became a Spice Girl! And speaking of the Spice Girls, didja know Geri met Victoria pre-Spice when they were both auditioning for a film -- the film, "Tank Girl?! (if you've ever seen "Tank Girl," which eventually starred Lori Petty, you know how crazy this is!)" And you read about Geri's and Melanie Brown's close friendship. "If Only" tells about all these things-- and more!

The reviewer of "If Only" for the magazine, "Booklist,"claims that "the superficiality of this book cannot be overstated." I disagree; the impact and honesty of Geri's life as written in this book shouldn't be so glibly underestimated.

 

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Weeks of August 30 - October 24, 1999

(Geri received so many weeks because GIRL POWER RULES!!

Well, wait, though it does, I really didn't mean for it to rule this long--! Geri was the benefactor of so many weeks due to:

1) Syquest SparQ drive failure -- do not buy these evil things from this bankrupt-and-bought-out-by-their-competitor (Iomega)-company! They're awful -- when they no longer work, they refuse to play their 1 GB disks and make it impossible for you to access your web files!!! ...Okay, maybe that was just me... But I dumped the Syquest SparQ drive and bought a product to replace it, which led to --

2) Castlewood Orb troubles -- which I do fully recommend even if Castlewood doesn't mention that the Orb will screw up and drop your files from its 2.2 GB disks -- forever! -- if you have Hewlett-Packard scanners/printers and/or Iomega Zip drives. Guess who is "fortunate" enough to have 2 out of 3?! True, the drivers I downloaded from Castlewood a couple of weeks ago work with the H-P and Zip with no problems or consequences now, but I'm still feeling the sting of having lost my web site files -- twice! -- as well as my first few RollerCoaster Tycoon games, some stray Afterlife games, the strongest Diablo warrior I'd ever created, and all my SimCity 3000 cities!

But I'm not bitter!!!)

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

In Association with Amazon.com

Artist of the Week

 

Gerie Halliwell, Schizophonic, shamelessly ripped from geri-halliwell.com

Why did we write off Geri Halliwell (that's "the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice" to you) so quickly? Maybe Geri's initial single, "Look at Me," from her solo album, "Schizophonic," wasn't a big splashy hit here is the U.S., but it was No. 2 in England. And her second single, "Mi Chico Latino," has recently hit No. 1 there! Take another "Look"...

Geri-Halliwell.com is so ready for visitors! Go over and check out Geri's new single, a remake of "It's Raining Men," for the "Bridget Jones's Diary" film soundtrack. The "It's Raining Men" music video is a fun dance romp inspired by memorable scenes from the "Flashdance" and "Fame" films. Don't miss it! And also get "It's Raining Men" #1 and "It's Raining Men" #2.

Shamelessly ripped from GeriZone.com

UPDATE: Geri is working on her second solo album. When the dust settled on her first album, "Schizophonic," Geri found herself with three No. 1 singles in the U.K.!

Meanwhile, the album of the four remaining Spice Girls, "Forever," was released in the fall of 2000, which included tracks by hit producing team, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who are best known for working with Janet Jackson). As the solo projects of the other members have been mainly remakes of other songs or tunes written by others, it begs the question if the Spice Girls lost their main songwriter with the departure of Geri--? Anyway, their album took a while due to distractions from -- well, you name it, they had it! For the most part, their own solo records were not as successful as Geri's; Mel B/Scary Spice is separating from her husband; Victoria/Posh Spice has become daily tabloid fodder with bulimia rumors floating around; Mel C/Sporty Spice took on punk tunes and endured heavy criticism for it (but did have a number of successful solo singles in the U.K.); Emma/Baby Spice made a film, etc. In any case, the album was released and it was not a blowout success in the USA, and a whole new round of rumors began, especially when it sure sounded like Sporty Spice had left the group...

 

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster
Geri's 2001 CD, "Scream If You Wanna Go Faster"

 

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Week of August 23, 1999

 

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

A Day in the Life Cover

Have you heard the new Eric Benet record yet?! This man's voice is delicious! His remake of Toto's "Georgy Porgy" burned up the charts. Click over and listen!

Also check out ericbenet.com and don't miss the True Eric Benet Fan Site!

UPDATE: Take Eric off your "available bachelor" lists -- he popped the question to Halle Berry and they're now married (no matter what a certain tabloid may say!). Congrats all 'round -- and I'm not upset. Why not? 'Cause I still have this picture --> :>!

Shamelessly ripped fropm ericbenet.com

 

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Week of August 8 & 16, 1999

(Jennifer received two weeks because during her original reign AOL's home page server met some internet it didn't like and dumped all pages mentioning Jennifer and began coughing out old pages mentioning Renee Swindle instead. That AOL, whatta card!)

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

Do you know me?

In the past year a young woman from the southern part of the US burst onto the scene with a song that had the whole world singin' and dancin'. It was an international sensation and she capped it off by singing this hit song at the World Music Awards in Monaco. You know who I mean -- Jennifer Paige ! (Who'd you think I meant, that Britney Spears person?!)

 

Jennifer Paige Album Cover

Jennifer's big song was "Crush" -- and you may not remember it at first, but listen to a clip of the song at jenniferpaige.com. You've heard it -- it was all over TV as well as the radio, in various commercials and network spots. It's a great song and Jennifer's a great vocalist. The future can only bring more great things from her!

Shamelessly ripped from jenniferpaige.com

 

Positively Somewhere
Jennifer Paige's 2001 CD, "Positively Somewhere"

From August 8, 1999 http://www.usaweekend.com/celebs/whos_news:

I predict big things for Jennifer Paige, whose first single, Crush, topped pop charts worldwide. Is her second single, Sober, based on her life? Larry B., Lansing, Mich.

No. Paige, 25, didn't even write Sober, a song about addictive love. Sometimes described as a '90s Debbie Gibson, she had a solid upbringing in Atlanta with lots of support for her musical interest. She began singing in coffeehouses at age 8, favored music practice over other activities, and by 13 was writing songs. She moved to Los Angeles two years ago at the suggestion of singer and former Wings actress Crystal Bernard, who heard Paige sing in Las Vegas. She's still getting established in the music biz, but acting is on her mind, too.

 

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Week of August 1, 1999

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

Please Please Please

OK, I'll admit I haven't yet read the novel, Please Please Please -- but the novel's excerpt reads very promising! The customer comments are all raves as well. Click over to Amazon.com and read the hilarious excerpt I'm talking about (er, make that rather raw and hilarious; beware of some of the language of Ms. Swindle's novel...!).

Photo of Renee' Swindle swiped from Randomhouse.com

 

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Week of July 25, 1999

In Association with Amazon.com Artist of the Week

 

Kenny Lattimore's First Album, for Sony

Why isn't the gorgeous and delectable Kenny Lattimore more of a "star" yet? His silken voice is as smooth as his looks -- click over and listen, CDnow has RealAudio clips of his songs...

Also check out

Sony's Official Kenny Lattimore Web Site with photos, song clips and lyrics

Kenny Lattimore's Official Web Site, which announces Kenny's upcoming album from Arista Records

Photo of Kenny Lattimore

 

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Play Entertainment Trivia Blitz below! Cool and different questions every week (get it?). Guess the answers to the questions below and then register to win the weekly $250 drawing!

 

Sorry, but you need a Java-enabled browser to play Trivia Blitz.

 

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You are visitor

to this page since it was originally published on America Online on August 2, 1999. Date of most current update: 12/15/02. Web site created entirely by val@valsadie.com. Copyright 1999-2002.

 

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See all the latest entertainment headlines at the
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See all the latest cool books, music, videotapes and DVDs, computer accessories, and oh-so-cheezy stuff at the new
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See the First 2003 KYI Superstore which spotlighted such items as Seabiscuit: An American Legend, The Devil Wears Prada: A Novel, the TOP country music CDs, and the My Big Fat Greek Wedding DVD. The Second 2003 KYI Superstore featured Bernie Mac's ALA READ poster, Kelly Kenyatta's Red Hot Halle biography, Maroon 5's Songs About Jane, iPods, the movie Valley Girl and its assorted CD soundtracks, and cool cult films Office Space, The Big Lebowski and Psycho Beach Party. See the 2002 Keeping You Informed Superstore (as well as the Val's 2002 Wish List edition) and the Keeping You Informed Archives (1999-2001)

and...

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Val's World Wide Web Puzzle Page
for links to word find puzzle pages

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Link to Michael Jackson Word Find Puzzle

Michael Jackson Word Find Puzzle

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Val's Original Essay, "America Misses Michael Jackson!"

Val's Original Screenplay written for Michael, "The Love Song of Prince Michael and Cecelia"

Michael Jackson Discussion

Valsadie's 2005 Xanga Blog: Is Michael Guilty?

 

Link to Jackson 5 Page

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Link to Hercules and Xena Word Find Puzzle Page

Hercules and Xena Word Find Puzzle

Hercules and Xena Word Find Puzzle Solution

Xena Discussion

Hercules/Andromeda Discussion

Link to Janet Jackson Word Find Puzzle

Janet Jackson Word Find Puzzle

Janet Jackson Word Find Puzzle Solution

Janet Jackson Discussion

Janet Jackson Superstore

 

Link to Dorothy Dandridge Page

Presenting Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge Memorabilia Vendors

Dorothy Dandridge Discussion

 

Link to Weird Al MTV Vanguard Petition, Photo stolen from WeirdAl.com, My shame is immeasurable!

Weird Al for MTV Video Vanguard Award Online Petition

"Weird Al" Yankovic Discussion

 

Backstreet Boys in Alley, from back of "Black & Blue"

Why the Backstreet Boys are Cool

Backstreet Boys Superstore

 

Pages protesting Prince Rogers Nelson's Web Sites Lawsuit

Diamonds and PURLs

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Batman -- The Movie (1966) - DVD

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