Saturday, December 29, 2007

If there were an award for..............

Master Collaborator of the Year the award would go to: T-Pain

Born Faheem Najm on June 30, 1985 in Tallahassee, Florida, T-Pain began composing his own music at the young age of 10. Akon signed him to his record label Konvict Records in 2002. T-Pain says that he got tired of turning on the radio and hearing the same sound over and over again; his goal was to do something a little different, and different he did. The singer uses an acoustic guitar and a vocoder which gives him a creativity and sound all his own. He has enjoyed the most success of his career in 2007 with collaborations with the top artists in R&B, rap, and pop.

T-Pain is also nominated for four Grammy Awards:

Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: "Bartender"- T-Pain feat. Akon
Best Rap Song: "Good Life"- Kanye West feat. T-Pain
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Good Life" Kanye West feat. T-Pain
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Kiss Kiss" Chris Brown feat. T-Pain

Here is a listing of just some of his collaborations:

From T-Pain's Solo Album Epiphany:

"Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin)"- T-Pain feat. Young Joc
"Bartender"- T-Pain feat. Akon

Singles Featuring T-Pain:

"I'm a Flirt (Remix)"- R.Kelly feat. T.I. and T-Pain from R.Kelly's album Double Up
"Outta My System"- Bow Wow feat. T-Pain from Bow Wow's album The Price of Fame
"Shawty"- Plies feat. T-Pain from Plies album The Real Testament
"Baby Don't Go"- Fabolous feat. T-Pain from Fabolous's album From Nothin' to Somethin'
"Cyclone"- Baby Bash feat. T-Pain from Baby Bash's album Cyclone
"Kiss Kiss"- Chris Brown feat. T-Pain from Chris Brown's album Exclusive
"Good Life"- Kanye West feat. T-Pain from Kanye West's album Graduation

If all of this isn't enough proof that T-Pain is Master Collaborator of the Year for 2007, then I do not know what is. Good luck to him at the Grammy's!

The Top 10 Singles of 2007

(Grammy Nominations mentioned reflect those for the 50th Annual Awards show airing in February of 2008)

1. "Like You'll Never See Me Again"- Alicia Keys from the album As I Am. Ms. Keys has done it again, if this song doesn't tug at the heart strings then I don't know what will. People are comparing the style and sound of the song to Prince's "Purple Rain", something about the song's chord progression. Look for the song to be nominated for a lot of Grammy's next year.

Charts: (the number following the particular chart is the peak position of the song)
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay: 8
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 53

2. "Umbrella"- Rihanna feat. Jay Z from the album Good Girl Gone Bad. Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears supposedly passed on this song, but their loss was Rihanna's gain, and she certainly did the song justice with her island laced voice. The song was also recently nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards (airing in Feb. 2008). It is officially the biggest song on the charts in the United States for 2007 and with good reason.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: 4

3. "Radio Nowhere"- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band from the album Magic. This song is special for a lot of reasons, it references old classic Springsteen songs like "Downbound Train" and "Dancing in the Dark" and socially it takes a stand concerning the war. At the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007, when asked by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl which song he wished he had written, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe said "Radio Nowhere".

US Hot 100: 102

4. "Stronger"- Kanye West from the album Graduation. It wouldn't be classic Kanye if it didn't contain a sample, and "Stronger" contains a sample from the song "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" from the French group Daft Punk. Although many critics have called Graduation West's weakest album to date, all the singles off the album have not failed to impress. The song is currently nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance for the Grammy's.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs:30
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks: 3

U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 1

5. "What Goes Around...Comes Around" and "LoveStoned/ I Think That She Knows"- Justin Timberlake from the album Future Sex Love Sounds. The first has been described by critics as "Cry Me a River" part II, although this song is not about Britney Spears. The song was written by Timberlake and Timbaland (who also produced), and features a two minute interlude by JT's new best friend (Timbaland). music critic Bill Lamb stated that the song "is one of the most gorgeous pop melodies of the year." It is nominated for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy's.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 1

The second song was co-written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, and Danja (responsible for Britney Spears "Gimme More"). The song quickly became a dance club favorite throughout the world. It is nominated for Best Dance Recording at the Grammy's.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 17
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play: 1

6. "Over You"- Daughtry from the album Daughtry. "Over You" is definitely the break up song of 2007. Lead singer Chris Daughtry said the song is about "the difficulties of getting over someone until the day you finally do". "The day I thought I’d never get through I got over you…" Amen to that. The Group is nominated for four Grammy's proving that they are the real deal.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 18
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 14
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 Airplay: 9
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40: 3

7. "Before He Cheats"- Carrie Underwood from the album Some Hearts. This song honestly makes me so happy every time I hear it because it is about a woman showing no mercy and taking revenge when her boyfriend cheats on her. The song was named the 2007 single of the year by the Country Music Association, and is Underwood's most successful song to date. It also earned three Grammy Nominations including Song of the Year, Country Song of the Year, and Best Country Vocal Performance.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 8
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 9
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks: 6
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs: 1

8. "Irreplaceable"- Beyonce from the album B Day. Beyonce's celebration break up song features the catchy "to the left to the left" phrase and a great chorus. The song was co written by Beyonce and Neyo who said "With a woman, it (the song) comes across as empowering like, ‘I’m a strong woman’". Critics responded well to the song called it "radio friendly" and "unlike anything Beyonce has done before". The song was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play: 1

9. "Say it Right"- Nelly Furtado from the album Loose. Furtado co wrote "Say it Right" with Timbaland and Danja (Nate Hills), and says the Eurythmics' song "Here Comes the Rain" was an influence but explains that she is not quite sure what the song is about, "but it always takes me away to another place, and I love it", she said. She said that she does not really know what "Say It Right" is about, "but it captures the feeling I had when I wrote it, and it taps into this other sphere." The song is actually the second most successful single of 2007, and it also earned Furtado a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks: 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks: 19
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play: 1

10. "Clumsy"- Fergie from the album The Dutchess. The song is the fifth single off Fergie's white-hot debut solo album and was co written by Fergie,, and Bobby Troup. The song brilliantly samples Little Richard's song "The Girl Can't Help It", and I cannot help but love the song. Fergie is nominated for one Grammy.

U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 5
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 4

Honorable Mentions:

"Waiting on the World to Change"- John Mayer, Continuum
"Promise"- Ciara, The Evolution
"I Hate That I Love You"- Rihanna feat. Neyo, Good Girl Gone Bad
"Gimme More" and "Piece of Me"- Britney Spears, Blackout
"Window in the Skies"- U2, U218 Singles
"Good Life"- Kanye West feat. T-Pain, Graduation
"Give it To Me"- Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, Timbaland Presents: Shockvalue

A True Story

December 13, 2005 was a cold night in Boston, about 17 degrees outside, but it was cold for more than one reason. Police called the quadruple murders the cities "deadliest shooting in a decade", the prosecuting attorney called the murders "cold-blooded execution", and a friend of the victims said "it's like a movie". Jason "J" Bachiller, Edwin "EJ" Ducan, Chris Viera (all members of the local Boston rap group Graveside), and their friend Jihad Chankhour were all murdered on that fateful night, and worst of all was that they were murdered by a so-called friend.

It all started, presumably, at about 7:30 p.m. (December 13, 2005), Chris Viera, 19, picked up his friend Jihad Chankhour, 22 in Wakefield; they planned to meet Jason Bachiller, 21 and Edwin Duncan, 21 at Duncan's parents house in the basement music studio of EJ Duncan at 43 Bourneside Avenue in Dorchester. No one really knows what happened between 7:30 p.m. that night and the time shortly before 10 p.m. when police were called to the scene.

All four men were found in a basement family room that also contained recording equipment, the scene was described by a law enforcement official as "very bloody". According to the Boston Globe from December 15, 2005, "one was inside the doorway, two others lay next to each other about five feet away, and the fourth was at the far end of the room, sitting near the equipment, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no permission had been given to speak publicly. There were no obvious signs of struggle, nor visible signs that the victims tried to escape. ''It looks like [the killer] shot where he found them," the official said. ''It was very, very fast.""

Police asked for help in finding the car that was used by the killer(s) for the getaway, a 1998 black Ford Escort with tinted windows belonging to one of the victims Chris Viera. Five days later on the 18th of December, the car was found on a quiet street near the Ashmont MBTA Station.

Three months following the murders, two teens were called into focus by the police; one of them knew all the victims socially and the other had a lengthy arrest record. Police also discovered that there was no evidence of a forced entry which means the victims opened the door to the killer(s), not expecting that their lives would be taken.

Finally on the 19th of May 2006, just more than five months after the murders, two arrests were made by Boston Police who wanted to build an airtight case against the killers. Police arrested 19 year old Calvin L. Carnes Jr. of Dorchester in Wareham in a car and Robert B. Turner also 19 and also of Dorchester in Dorchester. Carnes was charged with stealing a 9mm Glock pistol , an AK-47, and a shotgun from the victims. He was also charged with stealing Chris Viera's 1998 Ford Escort. Both suspects were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, and possession of a shotgun.

Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges as prosecutors detailed the happenings of that fateful night on December 13th. Bachiller was shot seven times (incl. in the head and neck), Viera and Duncan were shot multiple times (also incl. the head), and Chankhour was shot once through the heart as he tried desperately to escape. The 9mm Glock pistol belonged to Viera and the AK-47 and shotgun were kept in the basement apartment of Duncan, intended for protection, not for use and to impress others in the local Boston rap music scene.

According to the Boston Globe, The Assistant District Attorney David Meier said investigators have a lot of evidence implicating the two killers:

Carnes's fingerprint in Vieira's Ford Escort, stolen from the scene of the crime.

Blood from one victim in the driver's seat area of the Escort.

Witnesses who saw a man matching Carnes's physical description leaving the scene of the crime.

Witnesses who saw Carnes and Turner in possession of Vieira's ``distinctive looking" handgun in the months after the murder.

Witnesses who say the defendants tried to fabricate an alibi by enlisting their help.

Cellphone records placing Carnes and Turner near the crime scene the night of the killings.

Witnesses who say the defendants tried to sell them the stolen guns

The sad part is that these were good kids who died. These were not kids who were into drugs or guns; they were into their music and the same thing that all guys their age are into --- girls. Duncan was president of the youth group and the drummer for the church choir at the Eliot Congregational Church in Roxbury. He started the group Graveside when he was 12 years old with his best friend, Jelani Haynes. The three surviving members of the group, Haynes, Quentin Walford, and Duncan's cousin Dion Grant were pallbearers at his funeral. Viera, also known as fat boy, was said to be the funny one. Another strange fact is that three months before his death Viera was stopped by police who found he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Bachiller was said to be the handsome one of the group, he lost both his parents when he was 6 years old and was raised by his aunt and uncle whom he attended church with every Sunday. He was interning as a producer at a Boston recording studio. Irony of all ironies, a friend of the victims said Bachiller was the godfather to Carne's 15 month old child. Chankhour was there that night as a close friend of Viera's who had gone to help the members with a music video and to fix some recording equipment; he had hoped to be a computer technician one day.

Perhaps the biggest but most simple question of all that remains to be is why. Why were these murders committed? Are the friends and family of the victims right? Was it jealously? Graveside was clearly going places, Peter Parker of 97.7 WILD-FM (station does not exist as this anymore) was promoting the band locally and helped them by producing their breakout mix CD--- "Official Basement Files, Volume 1". In 2002, the group opened for Talib Kweli at Karma on Landsdowne St. and in 2004 they opened for Jagged Edge at Lido's in Revere. Parker believed that in another year, year and a half, Graveside would have had a record deal.

''They were searching for a manager," said Alveta Haynes (mother of Jelani Haynes). ''They were worried about finding someone credible who could help them. They didn't want to be taken advantage of." Many said over and over again that all these kids wanted to do was make music.

Alveta Haynes also said, ''Graveside didn't represent death, an obsession with the grave, or putting people in graves. Graveside was interested in things that were going on in their community." It's almost like in a lot of ways, they were trying to make people aware of a very harsh reality. Violence is present, and unless we do something to stop it others are bound for the same fate that these young men suffered.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Presidential Candidates at-a-glance Series........ continues with some MORE Republicans

JOHN MCCAIN: date of birth- 8.29.36; married to Cindy Hensley McCain, seven children- Sydney, Doug Shepp, Andy Shepp, Meghan, John IV, James, and Bridget; Episcopal; United States Naval Academy and National War College; Military Officer and Senator from Arizona

JOHN’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* McCain believes taxes should be “low, simple, and fair”
Cut taxes for the middle class- an average of $2,700 a year, make it harder to raise taxes by making it require a 3 to 5 majority vote in Congress, lower medicare taxes, and eliminate wasteful spending.
* Health care will be made better and more affordable by putting families and individuals in charge of their own health care dollars and giving them “more control over their care by improving the quality of care and lowering costs by promoting competition”.
* Pro-Life- in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade and wants to promote adoption.
*The following pinpoints McCain’s strategy for a victory in Iraq- bolster troops on the ground, implement new counterinsurgency strategy, strengthen the armed forces and police of Iraq, security in Iraq is necessary for progress and stability, create a secure environment so that political and economic reconstruction can take place, keep senior officers in place in Iraq and Washington D.C., put international pressure on Syria and Iran, and win on the home front.
* Border security and immigration reform can be strengthened by building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America, recognize the importance of pro growth policies ( i.e. keep government spending in check, keep taxes low, and cut unnecessary regulatory burdens -- so American employers can hire and pay the best). Assimilate immigrants and teach them the value of learning English and respecting the values of a democratic society.
* Wants to improve Veteran’s health care by funding it, expanding access to it and providing better services, and providing health care for retired veterans.

MITT ROMNEY: date of birth- 3.12.47; married to Anne Romney, five children- Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben, and Craig; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Brigham Young University, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Business School; Businessman

MITT’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* Keep Americans safe at home and abroad by strengthening our military and increasing its size by 100,000
* To combat nuclear terrorism, Romney believes we must do the following:
Tighten economic sanctions against Iran
Isolate Iran diplomatically
Arab states should join efforts to help prevent a nuclear Iran
* Make the Latin American countries our allies, rebuild our relationship of respect and trust with them
* End our dependence on foreign suppliers of oil ---- "The United States must become energy independent. This does not mean no longer importing or using oil. It means making sure that our nation's future will always be in our hands. Our decisions and destiny cannot be bound to the whims of oil-producing states." We should increase our domestic production of oil.
* Stop the overspending- Romney says we should establish strict spending limits, reform entitlement spending, and institute the line item veto,
* Stop illegal immigration- secure the border, implement an enforceable employer verification system, reject amnesty, punish sanctuary cities, make stiffer fines and penalties for companies that continue to hire illegal immigrants, and encourage legal immigration.
* To make our health care system a higher quality, more affordable, and more available Romney believes we should--
“ Deregulate State Markets. Encourage states to eliminate the cumbersome insurance regulations that drive costs up and providers out of the market.
Fix The Tax Code. Level the playing field by making all health care expenses tax deductible, eliminating the special treatment afforded employer-provided health plans.
Stop The Free-Riders. Use some of the money currently spent on providing expensive "free care" for the uninsured at emergency rooms to instead help the truly needy buy private insurance.
Reform The Medical Liability System. Institute federal caps on non-economic and punitive damage awards to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and bring an end to the practice of defensive medicine.
Promote Innovation In Medicaid. Give states flexibility to spend their Medicaid dollars in whatever way they find most efficient and effective.
Bring Health Care Into The 21st Century. Improve quality and enhance transparency by introducing the same competitive forces that drive innovation in other sectors of the economy.”
* Pro-Life
*Supports traditional marriage
* Has a record for excellence in education while he was governor of the state of Massachusetts
wants to expand opportunities for higher education and offer the best education they can so they can excel in jobs in the community.

Presidential Candidates at-a-glance Series........ continues with some Republicans

Republican Candidates:

RUDY GIULIANI: date of birth- 5.28.44; married to Judith Nathan, three children- Andrew, Caroline, and Whitney; Roman Catholic; Manhattan College and New York University School of Law; Lawyer, Businessman, Consultant, and former Mayor of New York City.

RUDY’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* Rudy has something called the 12 Commitments which is really quite innovative- (The 12 Points are taken from his website)
1. I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us.
2. I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation.
3. I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.
4. I will cut taxes and reform the tax code.
5. I will impose accountability on Washington.
6. I will lead America towards energy independence.
7. I will give Americans more control over and access to health care with affordable and portable free-market solutions.
8. I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.
9. I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges.
10. I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
11. I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.
12. I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.
* The 12 Commitments are further explained on his website, and in depth and detail.

MIKE HUCKABEE: date of birth- 8.24.55; married to Janet Huckabee, three children- John Mark, David, and Sarah; Baptist; Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Businessman and Baptist Minister.

MIKE’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* Mike has a 9 point plan for immigration and border enforcement-
1. Build the fence
2. Increase the border control
3. Prevent amnesty
4. Enforce the law on employers
5. Establish an economic border
6. Empower local authorities
7. Ensure document security
8. Discourage dual citizenship
9. Modernize the process of legal immigration
* Pro-Life- is also against partial birth abortion and embryonic cell research
* Huckabee believes that music and arts are not extra curricular activities in school and every child should be provided with music and arts classes in school
* Huckabee wants to give people more control over their health care and more options. He believes “jobs do not need health care, people do”. Health care should not be “employer based but rather, consumer based”.
* Believes in free trade but fair trade
* Americans are not “overtaxed”, the government “overspends”.
* Marriage is a union between one man and one woman
* Does not believe a timetable should be set for the withdrawal of the troops. Huckabee is more focused on winning the war rather than withdrawing from it.
* Will expand the army and increase the defense budget
* Supports being an ally to Israel and supports a free and democratic Cuba

Thursday, December 20, 2007

American Idol Update and other stuff

Oh baby! Say it ain't so. Rumor has it, and is reporting that former American Idol contestant Jessica Sierra is pregnant. The supposed father is a rap star, I wonder who? I will keep everyone posted with more information on this story as soon as I receive it.

And totally unrelated to American Idol. ................ who else is pregnant? Britney Spears little sister Jamie Lynn Spears. The 16 year old star of Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101" is reportedly three or four months along. The supposed father to be is 19 year old Casey Aldridge, Jamie Lynn's boyfriend. According to many state laws, Aldridge could be arrested for statutory rape if Spears parents want to press charges. Aldridge reportedly told his uncle that he wants to get married to Jamie Lynn as soon as possible.

Grammy Nominations are out and Carrie Underwood is nominated in two categories----
Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Before He Cheats”
and Best Country Collaboration for “Oh Love” with Brad Paisley

Carrie will also perform this year on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and so will .......
Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Fergie, Akon, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Kingston, OneRepublic, Plain White T's, Taylor Swift, and

Chris Daughtry and his band Daughtry picked up four Grammy Nominations! ----
Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: "Home"
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: "It's Not Over"
Best Rock Song: "It's Not Over"
Best Rock Album: DAUGHTRY

(Just as a side note.... The 50th Annual Grammy Awards will air on February 10, 2008 on CBS. I will definitely have more on this. I promise.)

Presidential Candidates at-a-glance Series .... continued

BARACK OBAMA: date of birth- 8.4.61; married to Michelle Obama, two children- Malia and Sasha; United Church of Christ; Harvard Law School, Occidental College, Columbia University; Lawyer and Senator from Illinois.

BARACK’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* Plans to begin to withdrawing troops immediately those engaged in combat will be withdrawn at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of next year.
* Has a detailed health care plan --- will save a typical American family up to $2,500 every year on premiums by:
Providing affordable, comprehensive and portable health coverage for every American;
Modernizing the U.S. health care system to contain spiraling health care costs and improve the quality of patient care; and
Promoting prevention and strengthening public health to prevent disease and protect against natural and man-made disasters.
* Obama plans to cover the uninsured and employers will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan. It will be mandatory that all children have health coverage and Medicaid and SCHIP will be expanded.
* Wants to ensure that all working people have the right to unionize, an estimated 60 million Americans would join a union if given the chance. Too many companies (including the one I work for) deny their employees the right to organize a union.
* In education, Obama plans to increase funding for Head Start, put high quality teachers in low income classrooms, give more summer school opportunities to low income students, and make college more affordable (wants to increase Pell Grant’s maximum amount to $5,100.
* Believes there needs to be a focus on both urban and rural poverty, and still believes there are things that need to be done in New Orleans for Katrina victims.
* Obama believes we should be taking better care of our veterans.
1. Shelter and rehabilitate homeless veterans
2. Fight for Illinois veterans fair share of disability benefits
3. Feeding recovering wounded veterans
4. Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury
5. Ease the transition of veterans into society when they come back from war

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Presidential Candidates at-a-glance Series

Last time we had a presidential election I was uninterested and I have decided that for the presidential election of 2008 that knowledge is power. I have put together an “At-A-Glance” Guide of the candidates, and I have included their websites so that if you are interested in learning more about someone you can do so. Happy voting, and remember that no matter what, every vote does make a difference.
Information comes from Washington Post website ( ) and Presidential Candidate Websites.

Democratic Candidates:

JOE BIDEN: date of birth- 11.20.42; married to Neila Hunter (died in 1972 in a car accident) , now married to Jill Tracy Jacobs, four children- Joseph III, Robert, Amy (d. in 1972), and Ashley (with Jill); Catholic; attended college at Univ. of Delaware and Syracuse Univ. of Law; currently a lawyer and Senator of Delaware.

JOE’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* Wants to create a college ACCESS plan that will help middle class families cover the cost of tuition by creating a single $3,000 refundable tax credit. However, this plan will raise taxes.
* 5 Point plan for Iraq- 1. Establish one Iraq with three regions
2. Share oil revenues
3.Convene international conference, enforce regional non-aggression act
4. Responsibly draw down U.S. Troops
5. Increase reconstruction assistance and create a jobs program
*Pro-Choice (even though he is Catholic)
* Supports Title X- a family planning program that provides information, services, support, and research for family planning
* Wants to stop the violence in Darfur by deploying an international peacekeeping force, ensure access for humanitarian workers, and negotiate a political settlement.
* Health care: CARE plan proposes four steps toward universal health care:
1. Cover all Children
2. Access for Adults
3. Reinsurance For Catastrophic Cases
4. Encouraging Prevention and Modernization

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: date of birth- 10.26.47; married to Bill Clinton and one daughter Chelsea; United Methodist; attended Wellesley College and Yale Law School; lawyer and Junior Senator of New York.

HILLARY’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* Wants to make health care affordable and accessible to every American- if you lose your job or change your job, you keep your health care; no discriminating, insurance companies will not be able to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
* Wants to reduce energy costs
* Increase minimum age and a paycheck fairness act (so women will earn the same amount as men for the same job). The Paycheck Fairness Act includes having the right to know what other people make, strengthening the penalties associated with wage discrimination, and the federal government setting higher standards.
* Ending the War in Iraq (and acting immediately)
1. Bring the troops home
2. Work to bring stability to the region
3. Replace military force with a new diplomatic initiative to engage countries around the world in securing Iraq’s future.
* Pro-Choice (“Women’s right are human rights”)
* Supports the DREAM Act
* Solutions to the Immigration Crisis- strengthen our borders, better cooperation with neighboring countries, stricter penalties for those who exploit undocumented workers, steps for an earned legal status for those already here, work hard, pay taxes, respect the laws, and learn English.

CHRIS DODD: date of birth- 5.24.44; married to Jackie Dodd, two daughters- Grace and Christina; Roman Catholic; attended Providence College and University of Louisville Law; Lawyer and Senator of Connecticut; U.S. Army 1969-1975 and Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic 1966-1968.

CHRIS’S ISSUES and what stood out:
* His plan to end the War- “Iraq must assume the responsibility of policing and governing itself. There isn’t an army big enough or a Treasury deep enough if Iraqis aren’t willing to fight for that for themselves”. He has an Amendment in the Senate with Senators Reid and Feingold which says -
1. Begin safely deploying U.S. combat troops out of Iraq within 120 days.
2. Provide every penny necessary for safe redeployment of our troops
3. Complete redeployment by April 30, 2008
* His health care plan ensures that everyone will have health by the end of his first term. The Dodd plan will create a health insurance marketplace called “Universal HealthMart” (it is very similar to The Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan), Americans will have the same health plan members of Congress have. This also means that coverage will be portable, so regardless of if you have a job or switch jobs you will have the same health care. Insurance companies will not be able to discriminate if you have a pre-existing condition.
* Dodd cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act which strengthened the Equal Pay Act
* Pro-Choice- will ensure that all women have access to contraceptive services and equity in prescription drug coverage.
* Dodd cosponsored the SAFE Act which ensures that victims of domestic violence are allowed 30 days (unpaid) away from work to take necessary precautions without being fired or demoted.
*Wants to help renew rural America
-Ensuring that family farmers and ranchers get a fair price and have access to a strong safety net -Opening new markets to American agricultural products, enforcing existing trade agreements and ensuring that new trade agreements are fair and balanced
-Creating new opportunities for homegrown, renewable energy so that our future energy sources come from the Midwest and not the Middle East
-Incentivizing American businesses to bring new jobs to rural communities
-Ending the rural digital divide through a national rural broadband initiative

JOHN EDWARDS: date of birth- 6.10.53; married to Elizabeth Edwards, five children- Wade (died 1996), Cate, Emma, Claire, and Jack; Methodist; North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill; Trial Lawyer, Director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, Former Senator.

JOHN’S ISSUES and what stood out:
*Under Edward’s plan families without coverage will receive coverage at an affordable price, families with insurance will pay less and have more choices, and businesses will be able to offer better coverage to it’s employees for less money and with ease.
He plans to achieve universal coverage by-
Requiring businesses and other employers to either cover their employees or help finance their health insurance.
Making insurance affordable by creating new tax credits, expanding Medicaid and SCHIP, reforming insurance laws, and taking innovative steps to contain health care costs.
Creating regional "Health Care Markets" to let every American share the bargaining power to purchase an affordable, high-quality health plan, increase choices among insurance plans, and cut costs for businesses offering insurance.
* Has a proposal that may end poverty by 2036
* Will help rural America with REACH- Rural Economic Advancement Challenge Fund to bring capital and management expertise. He will help family farmers by strictly enforcing laws against anticompetitive mergers, unfair pricing, and country-of-origins laws.
* 5 point plan to end the War in Iraq-
1. Stop escalation and start the drawdown of combat troops
2. Prohibit funding for new troops that do not meet readiness standards
3. Clarify the lack of legal foundation for the war
4. Withdraw combat troops within 9 to 10 months
5. Take additional steps to stabilize Iraq
* Edward’s plan against terrorism-
Lead a new global compact against terrorism, improve human intelligence, bolster support for foreign counterterrorism, shut down WMD transfers, escalate efforts against extremism at home, domestic agencies need to be effective, and achieve energy independence.
* Proposes a “college for everyone” initiative that would be national- Under Edward’s plan public college tuition fees, and books would be paid for 2 million students. Students would be required to work part time in college, take college prep curriculum in high school, and stay out of trouble.
* FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid) would be simplified with two thirds of the questions being eliminated
* Pro-Choice- defends the woman’s right to choose

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Breaking News": American Idol Update

It seems that a former top ten contestant of American Idol is in deep trouble with the law. Season 5 contestant Jessica Sierra was arrested over the weekend, and I was waiting for more details; the most detailed account so far comes from and so I give you the link --- check it out for yourself: .

The Smoking Gun website also has detailed accounts by police officers of what happened, and believe me, it's not pretty by any means, here is that link -- .

Let's all hope that she is able to overcome her addiction.

American Idol Update

Blake Lewis will release his debut album "Audio Day Dream" (A.D.D) on December 4th; the first single off that album is "Break Anotha" which was co-written by Lewis and One Republic's Ryan Tedder and Sam Watters.
He will appear on Regis and Kelly on December 7.

Season 1 Winner Kelly Clarkson will be touring for about one month on a "limited engagement tour" with her mentor Reba McEntire. The tour will begin on January 17 and end on February 16. Check Kelly ( ) or Reba's website ( ) for details.

Season 5 Winner Carrie Underwood walked away with three American Music Awards last month, and is now going on tour.

Chris Daughtry and his group Daughtry also took home three American Music Awards last month. He has also announced that Daughtry will be touring with Bon Jovi from February to April 2008. Daughtry is also nominated for two People's Choice Awards and everyone can vote at !

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Top 10 Shows I Couldn’t Live Without in 2007

1. Lost - Season three started with Jack, Sawyer, and Kate being held hostage by the “Others”, and ended with Charlie dead, and Locke and Ben (on the same side) believing that the castaways have made a mistake by radioing for help. The season truly was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish: there were love triangles- Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Jack, Kate, Juliet; death- Colleen (“Other”), Eko, Pickett (Other), Nikki, Paulo, Naomi, and Charlie; and as always, lots of questions. What really killed Eko and what is a smoke monster? Has Locke gone crazy and whose side is he really on? Who is Jacob? What is it with the “Others” and pregnant women? Did Penny get Charlie’s message and will she and Desmond be reunited? Why isn’t Mikhail dead? Why didn’t Jack kill Ben when he had the chance? Flash-forwards are introduced for the first time and Jack looks terrible, yet Kate looks luminous. Whose funeral does Jack ask Kate to go to? Who does Kate have to get home to? So many questions, so little time- I cannot wait to have some of them answered. (Wed. on ABC)

2.Friday Night Lights - I already wrote about this show and called it “fantastic”. What more can I say? Friday Night Lights is one of the best written drama series ever, it is a critic’s darling, and has one of the best ensemble casts currently on television. I think viewers are enamored by Friday Night Lights simply because it’s real; the show brings today’s issues to the table and shows us just how people deal with those issues. It’s a show that makes us jump up and cheer during the good times and cry in defeat in the bad times, and although we sometimes cry; we still want to watch. (Fri. at 9 on NBC)

3. Ugly Betty - says the premise of Ugly Betty is “an ordinary girl from Queens tries to fit into the world of high fashion”. However, Betty Suarez is anything but ordinary, she is extraordinary and America Ferrera and the rest of the cast make up the best dramedy cast on television. Ugly Betty is much like a telenovela, the storylines are serialized centering Betty as she attempts to balance her social, family, and work life. Her social life lacks big time- she has broken up with her boyfriend Walter who cheated on her with neighborhood hussy Gina Gambarro. Betty kind of likes accountant Henry Grubstick but complications stand in the way of a relationship. Her family life consists of her immigrant father Ignacio, older hairstylist sister Hilda, and nephew turned intern at MODE Justin. Work isn’t always great, thank goodness for her MODE friends- Christina, Henry, and Daniel. Betty has to constantly be on her toes for boss Daniel Meade who often throws her a curve ball, but they appreciate each other’s friendship. Betty also has quite a few enemies, number one being Wilhelmina Slater and her henchman Mark, and receptionist Amanda Tanen who try to embarrass Betty at every chance they receive. The show is smart, witty, and a joy to watch; Ugly Betty is by no means ugly. (Wed. at 8 on ABC)

4. Law & Order SVU - As Detective Benson and Detective Stabler, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni may be the most dynamic duo on TV; they certainly are two of the most highly paid, reportedly making $350,000 per episode. The beginning of every episode begins with the same lines- "In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories." The plots typically revolve around both high profile and real life cases and sometimes famous fictional works. Some of my favorites included- a “he said, she said” rape case involving a divorced husband and wife involved in a child custody battle (Michael Michele and Blair Underwood played the couple), a lawyer is attacked and his wife is murdered but his daughter who was supposedly at the scene of the crime recalls nothing as a result of a drunken night of partying (Emily Van Camp of former WB show “Everwood” plays the daughter), Laura Leighton (of Melrose Place fame) guest starred as a mom who supplied alcohol to her daughter’s friends for parties and slept with those friends as well, and a high school teacher (played by Melissa Joan Hart) is suspected of raping her student with whom she is having a relationship but she claims he raped her. Here’s to Benson and Stabler becoming more seasoned detectives and all of us watching. (Tues. at 10 on NBC)

5. Desperate Housewives - The housewives are back in full force this season, but it wouldn’t have been this good unless the end of season three set it up to be that way. In a previous entry I already talked about what happened at the end of season three, so instead I would prefer to talk about what is going to happen. This season has been centered around new, but not so new, neighbor Catherine Mayfair moving back onto Wisteria Lane. Viewers have since discovered that Catherine is harsh and has a mean streak in her, she slapped her daughter Dylan and ordered her not to see Julie anymore, accused her husband of having a wandering eye, and is keeping a deep dark secret that the other housewives are trying to figure out. Lynette’s cancer is in remission and she has both her parents back in her life (she also discovers that the reason her parents broke up is because her father discovered that he was gay). Susan starts off on the wrong foot with the new gay couple next door (Bob and Lee). Mike confesses to Susan that his father is still alive and in prison, and Susan later discovers that Mike is taking drugs. She orders him to stop for the sake of their family, but discovers there are more hidden in his car prescribed by Orson Hodge. Bree swears Adam to secrecy as he delivers Danielle’s baby boy Benjamin who Bree will raise as her child with Orson. Gabi continues her affair with Carlos while at the same time trying to end her marriage to Victor. Victor threatens to expose Gabi for attempted murder when he regains his memory in the hospital. He remembers that Gabi knocked him over the head while they were on their honeymoon on his yacht in the middle of nowhere. Carlos, who was a stowaway onboard, helped Gabi dump an unconscious and supposedly dead Victor off the yacht. Edie vows revenge on Carlos and Gabi for their affair. A tornado and its aftermath will strike Wisteria Lane and some will wind up dead and others will learn not to take each other for granted. There will be more deaths to follow this season and then hopefully the writer’s strike will be over so we can continue with the best season in two years! (Sun. at 9 on ABC)

6. Brothers & Sisters - Let’s admit it, there is no show on TV that can boast a famous and powerhouse cast like Brothers & Sisters; there is Oscar Winner Sally Field, Golden Globe Winner Calista Flockhart, Emmy and Oscar Nominee Rachel Griffiths, Tony Winner Ron Rifkin, Emmy and Golden Globe Nominee Rob Lowe ,Emmy Winner Patricia Wettig and a bunch of people who despite being in tons of series and films before this are having their breakout roles on this show. For example there is, Dave Annable who was on Reunion, Balthazar Getty who was on Alias, Emily VanCamp who was on Everwood, Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, and Sarah Morris who was on Felicity. The series is about the upper class Walker family and their lives in L.A., sounds glitzy right? No! Their lives are a legitimate mess. Nora’s (Sally Field) husband William, who died in the first episode, had an affair and she is now in search of a new companion, Justin (Dave Annable) is a drug addict and soldier trying to recover (or is he?), Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) is William’s illegitimate child, Sarah’s (Rachel Griffith) marriage is over and she is in a child custody battle, Kitty (Calista Flockhart) is married to a Senator (Rob Lowe) and figuring out life in the spotlight, and Saul (Ron Rifkin) still struggles with his sexuality. Oh the drama! And oh how we love to watch! (Sun. at 10 on ABC)

7. - Gossip Girl - Fergie’s song “Glamorous” is used in the majority of the TV campaigns for Gossip Girl and it is obvious why; the show centers around formal and informal social events taking place in New York’s Upper East Side. Some of the series characters are comfortable and rise to the occasion, whatever it may be, and others struggle to find their way and be accepted by the in-crowd, others don’t care to be a part of the in-crowd. Super-couple Serena and Dan couldn’t be from more different worlds, and supposed friends and definite enemies are trying to tear them apart. Serena’s sometimes best friend Blair doesn’t always want Serena to be happy, Blair’s boyfriend Nate has a thing for Serena and wants her for himself, and resident bad boy Chuck doesn’t like Dan (because Dan punched him out when he was trying to score with Dan’s little sister Jenny) or Serena for that matter (because she isn’t interested in him. Serena’s mom (Lili) would rather than Serena and Dan weren’t together because Lili has a history with Dan’s father Rufus. Dan’s best friend (who now wants to be his girlfriend) Vanessa is back and she wants Dan all to herself. Who knew that so much could center around two people? I for one think Serena and Dan are the perfect couple, let’s hope they end up better off than Romeo and Juliet. (Wed. at 9:00 on the CW)

8. Grey’s Anatomy - I must admit that I started to get bored with Grey’s and I happened to tune in for the season finale last spring and, just like that, I was hooked again. Brief recap that hooked me again: Dr. Burke left Cristina at the altar (I always thought Cristina would leave him being that she was a commitment freak), the Callie, George, Izzie triangle was left unresolved, Meredith and McDreamy’s relationship was also left unresolved (absolutely no surprise there; Meredith is a flake, she cannot help it), George failed his intern exam, and Addison decided to move to L.A. (she got her own series Private Practice). The fourth season has been anything but disappointing- Meredith is still confused, yet everyone still likes her, and the hottest gossip at Seattle Grace is still who’s sleeping with who. Some things never change. (Thurs. at 9 on ABC)

9. ER- In it’s twilight year, ER is like a fine wine; it only gets better with age. County General has been revitalized in the past few years with new and interesting characters. The intelligent writers and producers at the show realized that there was no replacing characters like George Clooney’s, Dr. Doug Ross (and just to mention a few more Dr. Mark Greene [Anthony Edwards], Nurse Carol Hathaway [Julianne Margulies], Dr. Peter Benton [Eriq La Salle], Dr. John Carter [Noah Wyle], Dr. Jeanie Boulet [Gloria Reuben], Dr. Susan Lewis [Sherry Stringfield], and click onto this site to see the best of the rest ) and so they didn’t- they created brand new characters that their viewers would embrace and love just the same. Just like the viewer routed for Carol and Doug they are routing for Abby (Maura Tierney) and Luka (Goran Visnjic). Dr Gregg Pratt (Mekhi Pfifer) takes chances in the same way that Dr. Ross did, Dr. Neela Rosgotra (Parminder Nagra) is a spitfire the same way Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston) was, and Nurse Sam Taggart (Linda Cardellini) is looking for true love and struggling to make ends meet just like Nurse Hathaway. With a winning formula like this viewers wish ER would live forever. (Thurs. at 10 on NBC)

10. Samantha Who? - Emerging as the highest rated new comedy series of the season., Samantha Who, is the newest series on my list. The cast is great, and lead by Emmy Award Winner (for a guest starring role as Rachel’s sister on Friends) Christina Applegate of Married with Children fame; Jennifer Esposito, Barry Watson, and Jean Smart round out the cast. Esposito plays Sam’s best friend Andrea, Watson is her ex boyfriend Todd, and Smart plays Sam’s mom Regina. For all those who have never watched and are now going to start watching, the comedy is about a 30 year old real estate lawyer who develops amnesia after becoming the victim of a hit and run accident. Samantha Newly (Applegate) must rediscover her life, love, and relationships with friends, family, and strangers. By the end of this season, I hope most will no longer be saying what is Samantha Who? (Mon. at 9 on ABC)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Top 5 Reality/ Sports Shows I am Thankful For

I have decided to compile this list of reality shows that I am thankful for this year. This does of course exclude "American Idol" which for me is a separate category, but I do love these five ratings darlings for their respective networks.

1. "Sunday Night Football"- What could be better than football? Well just about nothing. The Patriots who are a perfect 10-0 have already entertained "Sunday Night Football" audiences twice and are about to do it again against the Eagles this Sunday. Whether or not they win is another story, but you can be sure that there will be drama like none other on TV with Pat's quarterback Tom Brady at the helm, and Randy Moss at running back. (Sunday 8 p.m. on NBC)

2. "The Biggest Loser"- I had never watched this show before this season; I mainly started watching because of the new host of the show "Days of Our Lives" star Allison Sweeney. I soon discovered that the show is not only fun to watch but heartfelt as well. I love seeing the contestants where they are today; it's great to see them so proud of themselves and their families so happy with their improvements. Every contestant that I have seen has decided after the show to not only continue his or her healthy lifestyle but to share that lifestyle with family and friends as well. "The Biggest Loser" is a bigger winner. (Tuesday 8 p.m. on NBC)

3. "America's Next Top Model"- This show has it all: girls being catty with each other and then making up (particularly after a contestant is kicked off, you know how they all hug each other when they were just arguing a day before.). And let's be honest the show is for men, women, and children alike. Men like to look at the models who sometimes have photo shows where they are scantily clad or wearing nothing at all. The women like to route for a favorite- I loved Jaslene last year. Also I must admit that I love watching the different photo shoots; I like when they shoot editorials and when they do two pictures, one for a woman's magazine (i.e. Galmour, Cosmopolitan) and one for a man's magazine (Maxim, GQ). Little girls like watching it and wanting to be a model (I must admit, I sometimes want to be one too). This season has been partcularly good, and we're at a point where anyone left could win it- there's Bianca, the diva with an attitude from Queens, NY; Chantal, the sweet blonde beauty who looks like a princess from Austin, TX; Heather, the intelligent but somewhat outcast of all the contestants from Valparaiso, IN; Jenah, the free spirited risk taker who always takes an amazing photo from Farmington, CT; and Saleisha the sassy flirt who looks like she could walk into any hip-hop video from Los Angeles, CA. I cannot wait to see who wins. (Wednesday 8 p.m. on the CW)

4. "Dancing with the Stars"- This show is much like its contestants- like a fine wine, better with time. "Dancing with the Stars" never fails to deliver; initially I thought I would be bored with this seasons contestants, but I quickly discovered that afer watching for two minutes I was hooked again. Mel B. and Maxsim have impeccable chemistry, Jennie Garth looked absolutely yummy for a woman who has three kids, and her partner newcomer Derek Hough (Julianne's older brother) is great. Marie Osmond looks fabulous, the weight she has lost moving her hips is impressive and her partner Jonathan Roberts compliments her beautifully. And who can forget Helio Castroneves (the race car driver from Brazil), he is so energetic and his smile just makes everyone smile as well, and Julianne Hough is becoming a household name. The 19 year old phenom is fast becoming one of the best choreographers in the dance world today. I wish I could talk about the rest of this cast, but I just don't have enough space. (Monday at 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC)

5. "The Amazing Race"- This show never disappoints, the locations, the contestants, and the challenges; need I say more? Okay, fine did I mention this show has won all five Primetime Emmy Awards for "Outstanding Reality Competition Program"? I think they should let reality darlings and husband and wife team Rob and Amber come back to the show again; the drama that would provide would be more than anything one can see on the soaps. (Sunday 8 p.m. on CBS)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mike Lowell to Stay in Boston

Well it's true, he loves Red Sox Nation. Mike Lowell will sign on the dotted line if he hasn't already, and the deal is a sweet one: $37.5 million for three years. Lowell did have four year deals from other ball clubs, but clearly his heart is in Boston.

Curt Schilling wrote on his blog today, "How cool is that? Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff. Pretty nice to think you are fans in a town that is now a desired destination for athletes across the major sports. Come a long way for sure. Congrats to Mike, and I've already spoken with a few guys on the team and suffice to say, we're all ecstatic."

As I have said in previous entries, Mr. Lowell is well respected by teammates, management, and fans alike; he provides leadership qualities that are well utilized in the Red Sox Clubhouse.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday Night Lights is Fantastic

I am not supposed to want to stay home on Friday nights, but "Friday Night Lights" really makes me want to do just that. It is has been a long time since I have watched a show as well written, as cleverly acted, and as captivatingly shot as "Friday Night Lights"; this is show that everyone needs to be watching for one reason or another. I can guarantee that if you watch one episode you will continue wanting to watch.
The show is based on the book and movie of the same name; it makes home Dillon, Texas and follows the lives of those living in the town and their connection to the local high school football team, "The Dillon Panthers".
The show is lead by Kyle Chandler (in his most brilliant role yet) who plays Panthers coach Eric Taylor, his wife Tami Taylor played amazingly by Ms. Connie Britton (who played the same role in the movie version of "Friday Night Lights".
Then there are the football players, all of whom were basically no name actors before the show: there is Taylor Kitsch who plays bad boy Tim Riggins, Gaius Charles who plays attention getter Brian "Smash" Williams, Zach Gilford as good boy Matt Saracen, Jason Plemons as the outsider (knight in shining armor) Landry Clarke, and Scott Porter as ex quarterback current coaching assistant Jason Street.
Every football town has to have girls (cheerleaders, potential girlfriends, and bad girls); there is Aimee Teegarden who plays the Taylor's daughter Julie, Minka Kelly as cheerleader Lyla Garrity, and Adrianne Palicki as former town vixen turned good Tyra Collette.

So far this season----

Coach Taylor has come back as coach of the Panthers.

Mrs. Taylor had a baby (Grace) and is back as a high school guidance counselor.

Over the summer, Julie had eyes for a lifeguard at the pool (The Swede) and she later becomes embarassed when she sees he's not really into her at all. Julie and Matt break up because she wants to see other guys and not end up like her parents. Julie tries to make amends with Matt by inviting him to a concert but he refuses to go because she cheated and she isn't even saying sorry. Julie currently has her eyes set on her teacher Mr. Bartlett

Landry and Tyra start hanging out together, and one night when they go out to get some food Tyra is confronted by the man who tried to rape her; Landry comes out and there is a confrontation and the man ends up dead. Landry and Tyra get rid of his body by throwing it into a river. Tyra and Landry kiss after she reveals that if anything happens to him because of what he did for her she'd never forgive herself. Tyra tells Landry no one has ever cared for her so much.
Landry's dad tells Tyra to stay away from his son because she is trouble. Tyra ends things with Landry to protect him, he tries to talk to her about it but she ends it all and then cries in her car.
Landry finally admits to his father with evidence surfacing that he comitted the murder. Landry's father sets his son's car on fire to get rid of the evidence.

Jason contemplates having surgery for his paralysis. He travels to Mexico with Riggins to check his options, but the options are risky and would possibly have Steet dying in surgery. Riggins gets Lyla to come to Mexico to help him stage an intervention, and ultimately decides not to have the surgery. Street agrees to be a coaching assistant.

Tim continues bedding half the town, according to Lyla anyway. Before Coach Taylor returns Coach MacGregor pushes Tim so hard that he passes out at practice and is taken away on a stretcher. Tim still wants Lyla, and proves it in Mexico.

Saracen's live in aid, nursing student Carlotta, for his grandmother arrives and she is quite the fiesty one. Saracen begins to like spending time with Carlotta. Saracen and Julie agree to be friends after she admits she messed up. Matt begins dating the new cheerleader at school Lauren and Julie sees them in a lip lock and is crushed.

Smash likes all the attention he has been receiving as the new team captain. Smash approaches Coach Taylor about getting Riggins back on the team. Smash then confronts Riggins and tells him that by not being on the team is ruining everything.

Lyla befriends Santiago a student at the State School for Boys where she is doing peer counseling. She discovers that his parents were deported to Mexico and his uncle who is supposed to be looking after him is a bad influence. Lyla asks Tim for a favor, teach Santiago to play football; he agrees after learning that Santiago is not interested in Lyla.

"Friday Night Lights" is exciting to watch; it's so entertaining I almost wish I was living in Dillon, Texas. Well, actually, maybe I wouldn't go that far. But the show is one that I believe ultimately tries to bring people together, and there are not a lot of shows on TV like that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

American Idol Update

Ms. Katharine McPhee is engaged according to; the 23 year old singer and actress is engaged to Nick Cokas, a 42 year old actor. They have been dating for more than a year and met on the set of a theater production of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Relationship Renderings

The album "Confessions" by Usher is one of my all time favorites, but I must admit that initially when I found out that "Confessions" was based on Usher's real life experiences I was not pleased. The lyrics said it all, Usher was being a major player and being inconsiderate of his girlfriend's feelings. How is it possible, I thought for a man to have feelings for more than one woman? And then I discovered that he doesn't really have feelings for either one of them, at least not the "butterflies in your stomach" kind of feelings that I am thinking of. And why, I thought, stop at two women then, maybe there are three, four, five, a bunch, that a man can claim to have feelings for.

Words mean a lot to me, obviously, as a writer, I see words not only as a form of communication but a way to express one's self. Words to me are power, truth, and one word can make or break any moment.

Maybe Usher isn't so wrong after all. He is a player, but he confessed to it, and sometimes confessions are realizations of who one really is.

Here are some lyrics from his "Confession" interlude:

"Everytime I was in L.A. I was with my ex-girlfriend/ Everytime you called, I told you,/ Baby I'm workin'/ I was out doin' my dirt/ wasn't thinkin' 'bout you gettin' hurt/ I was hand in hand in the Beverly Center like man/ Not givin' a damn who sees me/ So gone/ So wrong/ Thinkin' I got it and left you sittin' at home/ Thinkin' about me/ Bein' a good girl that you are/ But you prolly believe you got a good man/ I mean I would never do the things I'mma about to tell you I've done/ Brace yourself this ain't good/ But it would be even worse if you heard this from somebody else."

So the man in this (Usher or maybe someone totally fictional that Usher made up) is confessing to his girlfriend or a woman that he really cares about that he has cheated on her. He is away on business, and she is being the good woman that she is sitting at home waiting for her man. Although this is all probably really hard for this woman to hear and deal with, the man is doing the right thing. Because not only is he empowering the woman to make her own choice and decide whether or not she wants to continue her relationship with him and try to make it work; he is also admitting to himself that he has a problem being faithful.

People could be unfaithful in relationships for a number of reasons: the individual feels unfulfilled in some way (mental, emotional, physical) in the current relationship, the individual gets an excitement or rush out of trying to juggle more than one relationship with the multiple parties being unaware of each other, or the individual cheating was previously cheated on or hurt in some way and is desensitized so as a result doesn't care about the feelings of others. There are definitley many more reasons, but these are the most obvious.

Typically, if a person is unfaithful once, he will be unfaithful again. I was with someone who was unfaithful to me, and he confessed, and told me he cared about me and that it wouldn't happen again. I gave him another chance, and it did happen again and again.

I believe the only way someone unfaithful becomes faithful is if he or she truly wants to. I believe the person may meet someone who he or she really comes to love and that person may inspire a change. I felt that way about someone I seriously dated. He, no question, had a really tough life, living all over the place. He had no constants in his life, so I thought maybe because he loves me so much and I love him so much I can become his constant. I thought, he has messed up a lot in his life, made mistakes, but he is admitting to those mistakes, he is trying to change. I truly believed I had inspired a change in him because in a lot of ways he changed me too. Now, I am just really confused about our relationship and where it stands because we are far away from each other, and I wonder whether or not he really wants to change.

In most cases, a woman is very trusting of a man if she is in love with him or wants to be in love with him or possesses feelings or care for him. A man will definitely take advantage of that, he may also play one woman against another (this has happened to me).

Women are very catty and jealous of one another when a man is involved. I one time had a woman call me up at my work place and ask me what my relationship was with a man that she was casually sleeping with.

Going back to Usher here are some lyrics from his song, "Confessions Part II":

"Now this gon' be the hardest thing I think I ever had to do/ Got me talkin' to myself askin' how I'm gon' tell you........../ The first thing that came to mind was you/ Second thing was how do I know if it's mine and is it true/ Third thing was me wishin' that I never did what I did/ How I ain't ready for no kid and bye bye to our relationship".

My question in all of this is, why does it take cheating for a guy to realize that he is with a good woman and he doesn't want his relationship with her to be over? Why can he not realize what he has when he has it? And does he really feel regret? He didn't feel regret when he was cheating.

"I need to stop thinkin', contemplatin'/ Be a man and get it over with (over with)/ I'm ridin' in my whip/ Racin' to her place/ Talkin' to myself/ Preparin' to tell her to her face/ She open up the door and didn't want to come near me./ I said why ? baby?/ Please hear me."

More men should think like Usher, and when they cheat, they should be a man (or woman) and confess and get it over with. Believe me, for anyone who cheats, man or woman, the person you cheated on will always respect you more in the end if you confess. However, do not expect the person you cheated on to be happy about it and welcome you back with open arms just because you confess. Some people, depending on the circumstances are strong enough to give second chances and some are not. And not giving a second chance is not a sign of weakness especially depending on the individual relationship.

I feel like personally, I would want a second chance if it were me that made a mistake. But where does one draw the line? I have offered third and fourth and fifth, and maybe, ridiculously enough even sixth chances. In the end, I just had to realize that the person I cared about didn't care back. I was hurting myself more by giving all those chances than I was helping the one I was giving the chances to. That person didn't want my help, he didn't want to become a better person and I had to stop lieing to myself and thinking that he did. He was and is happy with his life, happy doing wrong and okay with playing with the feelings and lives of others.

If someone who hurts you in a relationship tells you that he or she really wants to be with you make that person prove it because if he or she really loves you; it will happen. The proof will present itself. I have never been in any relationship for impure motives, I wish those I dated could say the same.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confessions of a Retail Worker

Today: by far one of the worst of my retail career.

Part I:

It started out with me talking to my boss over the phone because it was his day off. How I ended up calling him is a long story that had absolutely nothing to do with me. I was angry about a conversation that he and I had in his office the day before. He chewed me up and spit me out about a "mystery shop" that I failed; for all those that do not know let me explain the "mystery shop" concept because it is really a sneaky, underhanded, sleazy thing for a retail company to do to its employees. They pay someone (usually a third party but not always) to come into the store and basically test you to see if you are doing every miniscule aspect of your job correctly. Apparently this woman who tested me felt the need to lie because she said that I never asked her if she wanted to open a credit card. It's ironic how I remember everything, what she was wearing (jeans and a puffy army green jacket), what she bought (2 illume soy candles, fig), what register I was working on (terminal: 698), and the total ($33.58). It's also ironic that everyone "tested" on the day I was "tested" failed also. Interesting! Perhaps the company is being dishonest because they want us to push more in opening instore accounts (as if it already isn't a burden already, nevermind the fact that we are responsible for driving the public further and further into debt). Perhaps it is because the woman who was testing us was having a bad day and felt like taking it on innocent retail workers.

Whatever the reason, management would gladly take the word of a third party over me or just about any other employee for that matter, and at the end of the day: no one cares what the retail worker has to say. Maybe we can change that.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Confessions of a Retail Worker

This is a new series of posts that could be or are possibly work related; whenever I feel the need to rant about my job (and on the unique occasion rave) I will be doing so here on my blog. People's names will be replaced with a letter, for example someone named "Mary" would be "M" or "Ms. M" etc.

Last week, we had this huge sale at work; it was Saturday night and my day was winding down. I could not wait to quickly and quietly escape the sale (I ultimately ended up leaving over an hour after my shift was over!). A customer approached me, and asked me for information on her in store credit card account. I asked her if she just needed to pay a bill because I could take the payment for her, and she said no. She then said I need to know the balance on my account; I told her I did not have access to that information, and that she would need to inquire with customer service. She seemed perfectly content with my response and was on her way.

About half an hour following my encounter with this customer, the customer service supervisor, Ms. McC came downstairs and asked me if I sent a customer to customer service to pay a bill. I asked, "why do you ask?" The customer said a thin woman with glasses sent her to pay her bill in customer service (as a side note, I would like to know why I am never described as an "attractive" young woman, why am I always thin with glasses? Does my weight and my vision impairment define me?), Ms. McC replied. I said no I did NOT. However, I did send someone to customer service who told me that she needed information on her account. I asked Ms. McC, do you really think I would do something like that? Do you think I am so lazy that I would not walk ten feet to a register and take a payment? Oh no she said I didn't mean to imply that at all. I mean I am not implying that she said, cowardishly. I said oh okay I just wanted to make sure.

She then proceeded to tell me that we can take account payments to which I replied, "I am very aware of that" (I have worked there for ten years). In fact, if I see a customer walking with an account statement, I ask them if they need to make a payment. I then told Ms. McC that I would hope that if I had a line of people waiting to check out with their purchases that if someone was also waiting in line with an account payment that she would not think I was wrong for sending them to customer service so they would not have to wait in line or in as long or timely a line. She had no reply to this and said "I just wanted to know what was going on". "Right", I replied.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

American Idol................ Now What?

Season 6 (2007)

Winner: Jordin Sparks- and , will release her debut album off Jive Records on November 20, 2007, titled Jordin Sparks, the first single is called "Tatoo" and has been receiving a fair amount of airplay on radio stations.

Here is a list of upcoming appearances for Jordin:

Nov. 20, 2007 Good Morning America (ABC)
Nov. 21, 2007 Live with Regis and Kelly (NBC)
Nov. 22, 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (NBC)
Nov. 26, 2007 The Ellen Degeneres Show (NBC)

Runner Up: Blake Lewis- , will release his debut album Audio Day Dream on December 4, 2007. Mr. Lewis supports cancer research at a local hospital in his hometown of Seattle, Washington. Here is a small factoid, his first single "Break Anotha" was co-written by himself, Ryan Tedder of the group One Republic, and Sam Waters.

3rd: Melinda Doolittle- , is currently hard at work on a "soul" album. I will post more on Melinda and the other members of the Top 10 from season 6 as soon as I find more informtation.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gimme What?

I was driving home from work one night listening to an overly played song by rapper Mims called "Like This", and a part of the song goes "gimme, gimme,/ gimme, gimme, gimme,/ (say what),/ gimme that all of that break it down/ girl shake it up now drop it to the ground/ girl you're way too hot/ go a little lower/ now baby beat it up like Rocky Balboa". And as I pondered what the "gimmes" were for I changed the station and irony of all irony, Britney Spears' new song, "Gimme More" was playing. That's when I decided I needed to further explore the use of the "gimme" in a blog entry.

Meriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines gimme as "1. a short putt in golf conceded to an opponent in casual or match play. 2. something easily achieved or won especially in a contest.

By reading those definitions I didn't think that they applied to the songs that I had been hearing on the radio or songs that I had heard growing up. I then proceeded to where there were quite a few definitions for gimme.

First let's think about Britney's use of gimme in her new song: "Cameras are flashing while we're dirty dancing/ They keep watchin' (They keep watchin')/ Keep watchin/ Feels like the crowd is saying/ Gimme gimme more/ Gimme more/ Gimme gimme more/ Gimme gimme more" and the "gimmes" keep repeating for a while, if you've heard the song you know what I'm talking about. has two results, the first defines gimme as: "1. give me. –noun Slang.
2. Golf. a final short putt that a player is not required to take in informal play. 3.the gimmes,
a. reliance on or a demand for the generosity of others, esp. as one's due: grown children with the gimmes who still expect money from their parents. b. greediness."

The second result from the website which comes from the American Heritage Dictionary reads: "Informal Contraction of give me., adj. Slang Demanding material things or especially money; acquisitive: today's gimme society; tired of gimme letters., n. Sports A putt that is granted to a fellow player as successfully made either before it is attempted or after it is missed in an informal game of golf."

Most obviously I determined that these artists are using the word gimme which is slang for give me. There are a few reasons for this; it sounds better to sing gimme than give me. I also think that through the usage of the word gimme, a subliminal message is being sent to listeners. I think in a way they are trying to get listeners to want to listen to their songs more. The artists, writers, producers, etc. are thinking we want listeners to think....... "Gimme more of that song" or "I wanna hear it again". In a lot of ways, using gimme in a song sells the song. Britney Spears' song "Gimme More" is already number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

So below is a sample compilation CD that I would put together of songs that contain the word gimme; there are also some honorable mentions that did not quite make the cut. Listen to the songs once and see if you would not want to listen to them again (I dare you!).

1. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! by Abba
2. Like This (gimme gimme) by Mims
3. Gimme Back My Bullets by Lynyrd Skynyrd
4. Gimme That by Chris Brown
5. Don't Gimme No Lip by Pearl Jam
6. Gimme Gimme Gimme by A Perfect Circle
7. Gimme da Light by Sean Paul
8. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones
9. Gimme More by Britney Spears

Honorable mentions: Gimme Some Money by Spinal Tap, Gimme Some Lovin by the Blues Brothers, and Gimme Some Water by Eddie Money

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Top 10 Reasons to Re-sign Lowell

So the major talk of the Red Sox off-season is will they (Red Sox management) or won't they re-sign third baseman and World Series M.V.P. Mike Lowell. I decided to make the Sox brass a "Top 10" list on the main reason why they should re-sign him.

10. Mike Lowell is well respected by his teammates. At the Red Sox "rolling rally" captain and catcher Jason Varitek held up a homemade sign which read "Re-sign Lowell". First baseman Kevin Youkilis made a video at the rally telling fans to yell "Re-sign Lowell". That says it all.

9. We don't want the Yankees to get him. The evil empire has taken enough of our players; they aren't taking Mike Lowell too.

Here is a list of a few notables that the Yankees stole from us: Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, Wade Boggs, and of course "the Babe" Babe Ruth

8. Keep class in the clubhouse. Mr. Lowell is a classy guy; he's respectful to the media, his teammates, his fans, and he wears a suit often which is rare in post game interviews.

7. The World Series M.V.P. should be on the team the following year so he can have a chance to defend his title, kind of like defening a heavyweight title in boxing if you will.

6. Sox brass will keep women attending Sox games by keeping rugged good looks and a gentleman at third base in Lowell.

5. Good offense.......... case in point:
In the World Series Lowell batted .400 with 6 runs, 4 rbi's, and 1 homerun
In the regular season he batted .324 with 120 rbi's, and 21 homeruns

Lowell is definitely a contender for the M.V.P. Award.

4. Good defense........ he is a 2005 Gold Glove winner for third base.

3. Mike says he wants to stay in Boston, "I've never hid the fact that I like playing in Boston."

2. The Boston fans love Lowell!

1. Mike Lowell is one of the older players on the team who has experience and knows how to perform in clutch situations.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Project (RED)

I was recently thinking about society and what is going on in our own country and throughout the world. I love Project (RED); it was created by U2 frontman Bono and Bobby Shriver the chairman of DATA. The following is a list of companies that participate in it:

American Express
Emporio Armani

These companies have special products, and for each one sold a percentage of the sale goes toward the Global Fund and helps women and children affected by HIV/ AIDS in Africa.

Now of course our problems are more widespread than this, everyone knows and understands that, but we have to start somewhere. Think about joining Project (RED), and making a difference. I did. I think it is better than standing or sitting around and hoping for things to change; it is actually helping things to change. - You can join Project (RED), read what it's all about, and read the latest Project (RED) news on this website.

I wrote a poem incorporating some of the words that the Gap uses on their t-shirts for Project (RED), it's personal, but I thought I'd share.

You would think that people would be tired of the way things are, tired that 38.6 million people have HIV.

But on a Friday night most guys and girls are just thinking about whether or not they scored or if they will.

Guys and girls go out and get hammered and do things they regret, having casual and sometimes unprotected sex because socially we accept.

People want to be desired, I say this factually, but that doesn't mean we can't promote monogamy.

And I am bored with that behavior, and I remain shocked and surprised that half of all the new people that have AIDS are under the age of 25.

AIDS and HIV are not only epidemics that we all have to be aware of and endure; however, most do not even hear about the campaigns against the genocide and the message to "Save Darfur".

When we feel wired and have a lot of energy we should use it and do something to help feed the one in seven people who go to sleep hungry.

If we all shared, let's think about this economically, this is not about charity, it's all about equality.

We need to learn the fact that each like should be treasured, how we respect ourselves and each other's lives is how it's measured.

Get inspired, dare to dream, be a contributor to society, don't just take, you would be amazed what a difference ONE can make.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Update: American Idol................ Now What?

This is breaking news: It was earlier reported that Carrie Underwood was dating Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo. However, she has set the record straight on various news and talk shows while promoting her new album. Underwood says that she and Romo are best friends, and that their small town upbringings and quick rise to fame is one of the reasons that they relate so much to one another. She also remarked that they are both focused on their careers right now.

The new man that Underwood has been spotted with is Gossip Girl cutie Chace Crawford (you all remember that he plays Nate). According to "People Magazine" the two have been spotted at Manhatten nightclub Marquee ( ), Gramercy Park Hotel's trendy Rose Bar ( ), and Justin Timberlake's restaurant Southern Hospitality ( ).

Crawford even accompanied Underwood to her appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly on Wednesday October 24th where he watched her perform, this also according to "People Magazine". His Gossip Girl costar Blake Lively (Serena), who was also appearing on the show, was supposedly surprised to see him there.

Stay tuned!

Red Sox Romp Rockies

It is more than clear that after last night's 10-5 win the Red Sox must still be riding a "Rocky Mountain high". Everyone in the lineup got in on the action last night (including starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka) led by major league rookies Jacoby Ellsbury in the number one batting spot and Rookie of the Year candidate Dustin Pedroia in the number two batting spot. The dynamic duo combined for seven hits, three runs, and four RBI's; Francona made history with the two last night making them the first rookies to bat one and two in a World Series lineup, and the fact that he did it willingly is just icing on the cake.

Josh Fogg got into trouble in the third inning when Ellsbury doubled to left field; the inning would later end with the Sox scoring 6 runs on 7 hits and running through their entire batting order. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Lowell, Varitek, and Lugo all scored, even Daisuke singled (scoring Lowell and Varitek) saying, "I'm a confident hitter [and], I love hitting". The controversial part of the inning came when Manny Ramirez was thrown out at home plate after being intentionally walked. Some, including Ramirez, thought he was safe; to be honest, from many angles he appeared to be safe, I guess we'll never really know.

It is also important to note that offense was not the only order of the night for the Sox. The team also made some spectacular defensive plays including a play by Daisuke in the first inning that trapped his former teammate from Japan Kaz Matsui from getting to second base. Julio Lugo made crazy plays in back to back innings; in the fifth inning he backhanded a ball in the hole and fired it to Mike Lowell for an ending inning force out at third base (the hit definitely would have scored a run if Lugo wouldn't have fielded the play). In the sixth, Lugo made a perfect play when he leapt into the cool thin air and brought a line drive hit by Jeff Baker back to the ground and into his glove. "That might have saved the game right there, Lugo's play, I didn't think he had a chance. That ball looked liked it kept rising. He got up there, and I think we were all pumped up when he came down with it," said Mike Lowell. By the end of the sixth, the Rockies had climbed within one run of leveling the score (6-5 Sox), but the Sox weren't done yet.

At the top of the eighth with Julio Lugo on base after being walked and Crisp on base after singling to center, Ellsbury again came up with a double scoring Lugo. Then it was Pedroia's turn, he also doubled this time scoring Crisp and the quick footed Ellsbury. The Sox made their score double digits in the ninth when Varitek made a sac fly to center scoring Mike Lowell who had earlier, in a very gutsy move, stolen third base.

The Sox will send Jon Lester to the mound tonight, 14 months after being diagnosed with cancer, in the hopes that he will help the Sox do something that has only been done once by an American League team in the 103 years of World Series history: sweep (The only other team that has done it by the way is the New York Yankees in the 1998-1999 season. Yankees take note: the man at the helm was Joe Torre!). Of being ahead three games to none Captain Jason Varitek siad, "We have to continue to stay focused, .......... try and outplay our opponent." Irony of all ironies, he said the same thing when the Sox were down three games to one to the Indians.