Finally, an honest celebrity

To Gene Simmons, bassist/vocalist for the band Kiss, for being the one celebrity with the courage to tell the truth about Michael Jackson.

Bouquet…

To Gene Simmons, bassist/vocalist for the band Kiss, for being the one celebrity with the courage to tell the truth about Michael Jackson.

Simmons says he’s less interested in applauding the King of Pop than he is in accusations that the singer molested young boys.

“I want the kids who’ve accused him, to be blunt, of molestation, to have their say,” Simmons told The Canadian Press recently, adding that he knew Jackson extremely well.

Simmons points out that at least 10 young boys have accused Jackson of molesting them, but not one girl.

Countless other celebrities are obviously afraid of being accused of being racists or homophobes. So they won’t even comment on Jackson’s widely suspected pedophilia. Meanwhile, Simmons has the courage to point out the obvious.

Jackson paid millions of dollars to settle out of court with a 13-year-old who accused him of molestation in 1993 (not the boy in Jackson’s famous child molestation case).

“I want to know what that boy (involved in the settlement) has to say,” Simmons says.

Unfortunately, Simmons seems to be the only celebrity and Jackson fan who cares about the children.

Should we all just forget the little boys and buy another Michael Jackson CD?

Of course not, but countless millions of people will.

Jackson’s little “friends” deserve better.

They were children, for God’s sake. Innocent children!

— Lee Giles


Bouquet…

To Cam Ward, Dion Phaneuf and Mike Babcock, for achieving the kind of professional excellence that puts them in a rare and intense spotlight. And for casting a spotlight on Central Alberta in the process.

The two former Red Deer Rebels, Phaneuf and Ward, have been named to Team Canada’s Olympic hockey orientation camp in August. They are among 46 players named.

The honour doesn’t guarantee a spot on the roster for the 2010 Winter Games next February in Vancouver, but it does offer hope and opportunity. Their performance will be examined closely in coming months as the selection committee prepares its final list.

The two young players represent the best the Western Hockey League Rebels have ever produced. They have become ambassadors for this community and its hockey fans, who will be watching them even more intently when the National Hockey League resumes play in October.

For Babcock, the challenge is less uncertain but just as daunting: the former Red Deer College coach has been named head coach of the Olympic team. Few jobs carry higher expectations than this one: Canadians take excellence for granted and they demand gold. Canada has failed to win gold in two of the three Olympics contested by NHL players. In each case, the coaching staff was vilified in many quarters.

But Babcock has shown himself to be prepared and grounded in the most intense of circumstances. And the Olympics could well define his career.

Certainly the selection of these three men has helped to define Central Alberta hockey as a source of quality.

— John Stewart


Dart…

To defence lawyers Edward and Brian Greenspan for suggesting their clients, theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky and his business partner Myron Gottlieb, should be spared jail time for defrauding investors of millions and instead embark on speaking tours to instill ethics in students.

The Greenspans’ flair for the dramatic ­— bordering on the absurd — rivals that of their clients, who produced theatre hits such as The Phantom of the Opera through their company, Livent.

The company’s bookkeeping practices were just as fanciful and grandiose as its productions, and Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto convicted Drabinsky and Gottlieb each of two counts of fraud and one count of forgery in March.

Drabinsky and Gottlieb’s betrayal of trust bears all the hallmarks of tragedy — and tragedies should never end well for the protagonists.

The maximum sentences for fraud and forgery are 10 and 14 years, respectively. The Crown is seeking eight to 10 years imprisonment, which would give Drabinsky and Gottlieb ample time to pen inspirational speeches and plot out a speaking tour.

Here’s hoping that, once released, Drabinsky and Gottlieb have more to say about the craft of theatre and “the avoidance of unethical conduct,” than “Whatever you do, don’t get caught.”

— Cameron Kennedy

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