The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Oven

Three weeks ago, I was baking a center-cut pork loin in the oven. In the middle of baking, the oven stopped working (found out it died). I ended up having to cook the roast on top of the stove. It was a large roast in an even larger roasting pan, so I had to use two burners to do it. It turned out okay despite the setback, but it was an experience I would not like to repeat again.

Last week, we got a new oven installed. It's nice ... very nice. During the weekend, I baked some cracklin' corn bread, and it was wonderful. Tonight, we baked a chicken. It tasted as good as it looked:

I'm baking a pork shoulder roast for Thanksgiving. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

WMD: Do They or Do They Not Exist?

I'm posting this link because I'm sick and tired of people saying that President Bush lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I do not believe he lied. In fact, I believe they still exist but have been moved and hidden in another country. Has anyone checked Syria?

Now, I think both the Democrat and Republican parties are corrupt and need new blood. I'm tired of the Bush-bashing by the media and the political left, I'm weary of hearing only bad news coming from the War in Iraq, and I'm sick of the finger-pointing. Then people wonder why I hate politics.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Vin Diesel and Praia: There Are Two Sides to the Story

This entry was updated 5/12/2006

Something is bugging me.

Normally, I don't get into the business of celebrities from Hollywood. My usual beef with them is that some of them feel they have to tell me how to vote or go above and beyond the vulgar to diss people that I either like or respect. I have no problems with differences of opinion as long as they are expressed respectfully and civilly. But I digress ...

Back in late September 2005, an alleged incident took place between Vin Diesel and an architectural student named Marianny Pimentel Orde at Club Praia in the Dominican Republic. If you Google "Vin Diesel Praia," you'll find several sites that basically say the same thing: "Vin Diesel had Marianny Pimentel Orde kicked out of the Club Praia when she refused to go back to his hotel room with him," all quoting the same source: As of this writing, none of these sites seem to know or want to acknowledge that there are two sides to this story, and they're being irresponsible in not telling it.

In the spirit of fairness and full disclosure, I admit that I'm a Vin Diesel fan. I'm not one of those lovesick, obsessive fans who stalks the poor guy just for a picture. I am, however, an admirer of his acting and the fact that he does have a reputation for being a sensitive, friendly person and a gentleman who tries to do the right thing. There are printed articles in which he rescued people from a car that caught on fire, he stood up for a wheelchair-bound woman who was being spoken to threateningly by a man in line at a grocery store, and he stood up for Kirstie Alley when a few young men were heckling her about her weight problem and made them apologize to her (that one really hit home with me).

When I first read those articles about the Club Praia incident, admittedly, I was very disappointed in Diesel, almost to the point that I felt like he previously lied. I've seen his interviews on The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Entertainment Tonight, The Early Show, and some foreign talk shows. He gave me and other people the impression that he was a sensitive guy and a gentleman. The Club Praia incident reflected Diesel as a complete opposite of that impression.

Then I started thinking about how the media is quick to publish bad news about people and events. Wanting to know more, I started searching the Internet for anything to show that Diesel gave a rebuttal. claims that "Diesel's publicist has declined to comment on Orde's allegation." Well, that can be taken two ways. Many experts in Hollywood believe that untrue press should not be commented on. Fair enough. However, many of those who have "misbehaved" don't want to talk about their shenanigans either, so their responses are also, "No comment." Speaking for myself, I think an official denial goes a long way toward thwarting further bad press.

Now, let's say for the sake of the argument that the allegations are true. The best thing Orde and her friend should have done was take it as a learning experience and walk away. The fact that she ran to the press to tell her story of being snubbed by a celebrity doesn't say much about her. The more I thought about it, the more suspicious I became of her claim. If she was truly "not that kind of girl," then she would have also avoided the cheap and tawdry publicity brought about by her tale. I mean, think about it ... why would you want have anything to do to a business establishment that allegedly caters to the whims of people who are so supposedly self-important? Why would you want to have any association, whether in person or in a news story, with someone who allegedly disrespected you? In my opinion, she contradicted herself. So he supposedly tried to bust a move on her and she said no, then allegedly had her thrown out! Big fat hairy deal! She's in her early 20's and is supposed to be an adult! She should have acted like one by realizing, "Okay, he's a jerk. I deserve better, so I'll forget about him," and go elsewhere, not run off and tattle, bent on revenge for being rejected.

From everything I've read, Orde seemed more upset with Vin's alleged treatment of her and having her kicked out rather than the fact that she was kicked out of Club Praia itself. Orde is supposed to be a college student, an educated person. To me, it seemed like her feelings got hurt, so rather than do the adult thing by chalking up the situation to a learning experience, she went to the press and made a big issue of being snubbed by a celebrity that she liked. If Vin had laid a finger on her, it would have been a completely different story, but then she should have called the cops before calling the press.

As it turns out, there are at least two sources on the Internet in which a rebuttal was given. Valentino Morales, Diesel's longtime friend, spoke to and a day after the story broke in the Dominican Republic and denied Orde's claims. Now, I don't know Spanish, but the interpretation I got from the articles using Google's "Language Tools" was that Morales said that Orde's ex-fiance showed up and an argument ensued, (which may explain why Orde and her group were "invited to leave," the club, although this is strictly my opinion). Morales also claimed that he nor Diesel ever intended to leave with Orde or her female friend, that the ladies hung around the lobby for hours and pursued them. When Orde decided to go to the press, she had the help of Luisín Jiménez (a local celebrity) as a "witness." Morales believes that Jiménez did this to get publicity at the expense of Diesel. Morales (at the time of the interview) had not told his friend about the negative press his friend was getting. Morales was very concerned for his friend Diesel because Diesel was wanting to make a movie and invest in property and the economy, and the negative publicity might make Diesel not want to return to the Dominican Republic.

I'm sure if you look at any of the gossip rags in print and on the Internet, you've seen stories about how photographers and the media literally hound celebrities for their picture or for a statement. Vin Diesel is so popular that he has to use bodyguards just to go out to a club, a premiere, or other places in which there will be a crowd. He's mentioned in interviews how he's become more reserved in the last few years because of how he's now pursued by so many people (many with questionable motives, I strongly suspect). Is our fascination with celebrities gotten to the point that people like Diesel are not able to be in public without being stalked and hounded by the media and the fans? What kind of life is that? It makes me wonder what the motives of Orde and her friend were that night when they met Diesel and Morales at Club Praia. Why was her ex-fiance not mentioned in her story?

Rather than take my word for it, go to Google's Language Tools page, then open another browser window and visit the two above-listed links, copy and paste the text, then go the the Language Tools windows, paste the text in the "Translate Text" box, then select "Spanish to English." Then click on "Translate." It maybe a little hard to follow at first, but you'll get the gist of what was said. If you'd rather, you can also download this Wordpad file in which I copied and pasted the literal Google translation of both those articles. I also included the literal Google translations of the articles describing the original allegations.

Whatever the case may be, there is another side to this story ... and more people need to be aware of it. I want to believe that the alleged incident isn't true. I wasn't there, so I honestly don't know what really happened. All I know is that Diesel better appreciate Morales' friendship because Morales shouldn't have had to say anything. As someone who wants to give Diesel the benefit of the doubt, I suggest that he may want to rethink the "no comment" stance on something like this. When allegations like this happen in the same week that the premiere of his new movie Find Me Guilty is postponed for five months for "problems," it doesn't look good for the actor, even if it was purely coincidental.

Speaking for myself, if someone accused me of what Orde accused Diesel of doing and it wasn't true, I'd be seeing a lawyer about slander and libel. I'm not a litigious person, but don't muck with my reputation with stuff that's not true.