May 2011


americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television24 May 2011 11:10 pm

Awwwwww yeeeeeeah… now it starts to get interesting… the final showdown… two singers left and it’s CAGE MATCH STYLE…. okay, it’s not cage match time, but it is the final competitive hoe-down… i mean showdown… and, like most of you, i’m so ready for it to be over… it’s been an interesting season and i’m so glad that the final two are in it to win it… Scotty vs. Lauren… and they’re already handicapping Lauren by saying she blew out her vocal chord… but the doctor of death says she’ll be fine…

now playing: Previously by Brad Paisley

three rounds one they’ve sung before, one that’s been picked by their personal idol (George Strait and Carrie Underwood)… and one that’s bound to be awful because it will be their first single… no time for jibba jabba… off we go…

Scotty… singing Gone… and it’s really deep and the sound is not so good in the Nokia Theater… oh, it’s this song… this was his favorite, really?… it’s a good pace and tempo for him and it’s certainly country enough… it shows off his range pretty well… yeah, that was a good choice… and i guess the producers also understand that the judges have nothing to say that’s worth hearing so we just skip that part…

Lauren… singing Flat on the Floor bathed in red lights and the fiddler is getting a work out tonight… she emerges from the staircase and you can kind of tell that she’s afraid to really push her vocal, but it still sounds good a worthy response to Scotty’s opening challenge… again, no need to even acknowledge the judges… we gotta keep the show rolling…

now playing: A Little Bit Stronger by Sara Evans

this really feels rushed… i can’t even believe they’ve managed to change their outfits… diving right back in…

Scotty… George Strait picked Check Yes or No… and he’s squatting behind a guitar that accentuates how skinny he is… this is a good song for him and i think it’s pointing out how young he is… it’s slower than his opener, but not in a bad way… still a good song… still no judges…

Lauren… Carrie Underwood picked Maybe It Was Memphis… and Lauren’s chosen another princess dress with what appears to be a giant antique key dangling off of her neck… the key to her heart maybe? cute… anyway, this is a low key song that i’ve never heard before, but it seems to work fine… you know, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter how they sing at this point… this show is just a formality… everyone is just waiting for voting to start… oh… now we’re going to talk to the judges…

Randy says America did a fine job picking these two… and it’s so hard to decide… but Scotty was just brilliant with the first song and really good with the second song… but Lauren did awesome with both songs… so round one to Scotty, round two to Lauren…J-Lo says Scotty started off well, Lauren attacked well… what Randy said… Steven goes with the pretty vote, giving both rounds to Lauren… Randy is not willing to make it through a show without shouting that they’re both in it to win it…

now playing: The Story of Us by Taylor Swift

now we get to hear the Coca-Cola song… i’m Positive it will debut high and everyone will have forgotten about it within a month… his mic went out… i think… okay, so i like the concept of a drum corp, but not if they don’t actually play the drums… anyway, that was a mediocre copy of a Black Eyed Peas performance…

Scotty… if Scotty wins, his single will be called I Love You This Big… maybe it will be better because Jimmy picked it… they’re playing his AI history behind him as he bellows out this ballad… and it actually does fit his style… i don’t know how well this would sell, but i suspect it would do alright… Randy (in a pimp suit, by the way) says wow man… it was a great range because he sang low and high… and he’s in it to win it… J-Lo says it really was (a brilliant vocal)… that he’s a good storyteller and he did a really great job with that song… Steven says he’s come a long way… Ryan gives Scotty an extra mic because he’s “too chill”…

Lauren… if she wins, her single is called Like My Mother Does… which apparently captures her entire Idol journey and will move moms like crazy… apparently, her target audience is soccer moms… oh, she’s a little flat on the chorus… but again, it doesn’t matter… this song is all about how great mothers are… Lauren may be crying… Ryan comes over to help her down the steps into the audience so she can hug and serenade her mom without pulling a Haley… it’s a fine song, i suppose… she’s reduced to tears on stage… Randy says wow, amazing job Jimmy, and great job mom for being her supporting Lauren… and oh, yeah, Lauren has arrived, it was amazing… J-Lo says she may have just won with that song… it was everything it needed to be and she sang it just the way she needed to… Steven reminds everyone that he picked her to win it when he first saw her and he thinks America will agree…

now playing: The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

so all three judges are calling this a victory for Lauren, whether they want to say it specifically or not… and it’s been a long time since a girl won… and as David Cook grumbles out Don’t You Forget About Me, i’ll go ahead and call it the opposite way… Scotty is your American Idol… anybody dare defy me?

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television19 May 2011 12:52 pm

three contenders left and they all went home last week to goof off and act like the rockstars they hope to be… and in the shadows, the “real” rockstar… the one who “brought things to Idol that no one else ever did or could have” James, the whirling Durbin also went home to sulk in his pillow and help raise his child… this is a two-hour doosie of an episode, so let’s dive right in… off we go…

now playing: All Around Me by Flyleaf

so three songs each tonight… and the contestants get to pick the first one… not only that, they get to be in the same room with Beyonce!… and she’ll be able to advise them and help them… coincidentally, she’s debuting a new video, too…

Scotty… chose Amazed by Lonestar and Beyonce appears to be crushing on him… he’s going to hit some high notes, so adjust your sets as needed… he starts off leaning on the piano and bellowing out his buttery tenor, but he starts walking around to work up the courage to get into the chorus… and the bigger notes… and he’s just not that good on the higher notes… overall though, it works pretty out pretty well… pretty laid back… Steven says he got angry and kicked that song into the next week… J-Lo takes credit for his vibrato and how much he’s grown since the beginning… Randy drops his credentials and then tells Scotty that he was a little pitchy, but he’s got money in there…

Lauren… will be singing Wild One by Faith Hill and Beyonce encourages her to find her stage alter ego a la “Sashia Fierce”… she says this song reminds her of her mom… and it’s not a bad song… the tempo works to her advantage, despite losing her breath at the end of a lot of the phrases… and not much room to rev up the vocals, but it shows her personality and style and panache… it was a good performance… J-Lo says she attacked it well to create a moment… Randy compliments Beyonce’s guidance and that when Lauren lets go, she’s at her best… Steven says she’s having fun and she sang it like she owned it…

Haley… is singing ZEPPELIN! on IDOL… take THAT James Durbin!… Beyonce doesn’t need to help her with confidence or ferocity… maybe her dad will play guitar for this one… looks like that’s the case unless she thinks that old guy is handsome for other reasons… i’m not sure i like the arrangement that much… yeah, it’s pretty straightforward, but it would’ve been nice to adjust it a little more to work with her vocal better… and she’s racing around the judges table and WOAH!… SAFE!… she totally took a header on the steps there… she recovers well and completes the performance… Randy says she’s slammin’ and fearless and it was one of her best performances EVER… crazy crazy IN IT TO WIN IT… Steven says she must’ve fallen for him… J-Lo says everyone falls on stage and she kept going which proves she’s a professional… good good round…

now playing: God Is Enough by Lecrae

it seems that with the absence of James, the judges just don’t know what to say to the others… they’ve all selected Haley as the round one winner, but it’s certainly with some reluctance since they spent the last eight weeks trying to get her booted off… anyway, we’re heading into round two with songs selected by Jimmy Iovine… right after a trailer for the new Jurassic Park TV show… and some dude in a dog costume?!

Scotty… “baby lock them doors and turn them lights down low”… Jimmy picked Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not and Scotty seems happy with the selection… i have no idea what this song is, but apparently it’s a country tune and Scotty gets to play some guitar along with it which keeps him in place… it’s a pretty good song i suppose definitely works for him and he had fun and sang it well… Steven says nothing about a duck… but he was living that one and showed his character… J-Lo comments about all the moments that she loved because he was in the zone… then she requests that he shave his hair for the finale… Randy compliments Jimmy’s selection and then tells Scotty he’s approaching that Garth level… they’ve really embraced this “in it to win it” catch phrase… i suppose you have to be able to laugh at yourself…

Lauren… not to be outdone by Haley’s tumble, Lauren apparently ripped her stockings, so we get to see someone shimmering up her legs with makeup… of course, she’s embarrassed… Jimmy picks If I Die Young by The Band Perry… all i have to say is the judges better pick an Aerosmith song for her… i don’t know this song either… but i’m vaguely familiar with the artist… and she’s performing it well, struggling with the emotion of it, but fighting through well… it’s a touching performance and a tender side to balance out the lively “Wild Girl” from round one… J-Lo says she has the best tone of anyone in the competition and talks about the honesty and emotion of the song… Randy laughingly says that it was good that she kept going and then strokes Jimmy Iovine’s ego… Steven said it was a beautiful song and she’s got a beautiful voice and she did it again…

Haley… apparently got into this season’s competition by bouncing back from last season’s rejection… funny, ’cause she’s stayed in this competition bouncing back from scathing criticism from the judges each week… Jimmy picks Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac and the vocal should fit nicely if Haley remembers the lyrics (her thought, not mine)… she’s taken by the wind as she sings thanks to a wind machine that keeps her hair and dress afloat… and her vocal is pretty nice, but she’s also slithering around like a cage dancer as she performs, so that may not go over well… Randy says she cracks him up but she did a good job with it despite it being a somber moment… then Randy and Steven talk about long hair and wind machines… Steven says it reminded him why he fell in love with Stevie Nicks… J-Lo says she expected a Haley wail at the end, but it was a nice contrast to round one’s performance…

now playing: God Is Enough by Lecrae

Steven gives round two to Lauren… J-Lo goes with Scotty, Scotty, Scotty… and Randy echoes that in triplicate… Jimmy refuses to pick a favorite… and we cut to Beyonce’s Run the World, Girls video preview… great…

Scotty… shockingly, they’re running short on time, so we only get a brief glimpse of Scotty climbing up on the check out counter to announce that the judges selected Kenny Rogers’ She Believes in Me before he launches right into the performance… he’s seated and singing the verse deeper than Kenny ever did… his chorus is a little harsher than Kenny’s but it still works… Steven says it’s the first big chorus that he hit and it put him over the top… J-Lo wanted to see if he could hit the chorus and he showed them… Randy says it was very nicely done… Ryan gets Scotty’s dad to sing Scotty’s trademark line…

Lauren… still lots of commercials and then we cut to Lauren strategically placed in front of an AT&T store to reveal that she’s singing I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack… she thinks she’s gonna kill it… she’s singing on a cloud of fog machine fog… and she’s piercing the audience with a solid tone and pitch… she IS killing it… but she has a little less personality showing through on that performance… J-Lo shows her “goosies” and then spends too much time talking about it… she calls the round for Lauren… Randy says she slayed it and she’s in it to win it… Steven says she walked out like she owned the Grand Ole Opry…

Haley… so Fox declares judgement day this fall, but we all know it’s this Saturday, right? anyway, Haley is cruising in her [FORD] ride as she learns she’s singing Alanis Morrisette’s You Ought to Know… the proverbial nail in the coffin… no wonder J-Lo called Lauren the winner of the round already… this is clearly the judges last dig at Haley, who still dares to walk over to the judge’s table confronting the stairs again (this time successfully)… she did fine, but it was an awful song choice and came across as a death knell… Randy declares her in it to in it… Steven says she nailed the choruses… J-Lo says no one can match her growl…

now playing: For What It’s Worth by Sidewalk Prophets

so, if you don’t like country music, don’t expect to like the Idol finale next week… Steven calls round three for Haley, but the other two are in the tank for Lauren… and we all know that Scotty is completely safe… so it really comes down to Lauren vs. Haley and based on sheer universal acceptance, it’s gotta go to Lauren… so kids, expect a country show down between the two young guns next week after Haley heads home for good

i’ll go ahead and take this time to embarrass myself a little bit here, too… looking back at my initial season predictions… i blew it!… i had Lauren at 11, Haley at 9, and Scotty out at 4, staring at James, Pia, and Casey competing in the top 3… oops!… anyway, how did your initial picks work out and what did you think of tonight?

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf18 May 2011 08:27 am

this one’s a little different… it’s technically a kid’s book, but it’s a really enjoyable read… and since Sherlock Holmes is all the rage once again, it’s a pretty timely addition to the fray… off we go…

now playing: Mystery of You – RED


No Place Like Holmes By Jason Lethcoe

when i was a boy, i read a lot and i loved mysteries… some of my favorite book friends were Encyclopedia Brown, The Great Brain, and the Bobbsey Twins… as i got older, i moved on to Agatha Christie and, of course, Sherlock Holmes… so, i’ve been trying to get the littles into those types of books, but they’re a little slow on the uptake… i guess it’s just a little too much for them to pay attention to just yet… but, i took this chance, figuring it would be a reasonably safe story for them to digest and began reading it to them…

together, we’re still in the middle, but thus far they’re enjoying it… i’m excited to be reading through this suspensful tale with them and pleased knowing how it turns out… the gist is this: Griffin Sharpe is about 13 years old and he’s never quite fit in because he’s different… he’s got a photographic memory and a keenly observant disposition that lands him in trouble now and then… this summer, instead of staying home and facing the same kids who pick on him all the time, he’s headed to London to meet his uncle who may be Sherlock Holmes…

not quite, but they share an address and an occupation… Sharpe gets to know his Uncle Snodgrass, an eccentric inventor and private investigator with a pretty bad attitude… they don’t initially hit it off, but they’re united while investigating a mysterious monster spotted devouring a clockmaker at the edge of the river Thames…

some intriguing themes include the rivalry of Holmes vs. Snodgrass, machines vs. the human mind, and good vs. evil… it’s a tale of intrigue, suspense, redemption, and forgiveness… and after all that, we’re queued up for the second installment which is forthcoming… definitely a fun read and hopefully a good whetting of the appetite for some more mystery…

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf14 May 2011 12:23 pm

Today, it’s another book review and another business book… reading all these different books about business and how to conduct yourself in the business world is really helping me gain a broader perspective of things as a whole and hopefully, the nuggets and recommendations i share will also help you… anyway, off we go…

now playing: Make Money, Money – John Reuben


Doing Virtuous Business By Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

Business Ethics may be the butt of many a joke, but Theodore Roosevelt Malloch believes it’s not only possible, but the best way to achieve ultimate success in the business world. In fact, Malloch credits solid ethics and morals as the cornerstone of proper business activities. This spiritual capital (as he dubs it) creates a currency of sorts which serves as the lifeblood of any organization.

Doing Virtuous Business is a bit headier than i expected as it delved into a number of economic principles and theories, but the context wis always clear and supported by numerous interesting and relevant real-life examples. Malloch pictures every enterprise as having a soul of its own, though this soul is clearly a reflection of the founder and/or CEO. He argues that spiritual beliefs – regardless of origin, denomination, or creed – will always provide clear guidance for leaders and employees to follow and successfully conduct their business operations.

The truly spiritual enterprise will embrace a mission and vision that reflects the virtues of the leader, which include faith, honesty, respect, generosity, chastity, thrift, and charity. If nothing else, this book and school of thought should at least remind you to investigate the mission statement and history of any company for which you intend to work.

All in all, Malloch provides some good insights for people at all levels of business pursuits, but, because of their influence in the company, CEO’s and executive leaders have the most to gain from applying the principles and investing spiritual capital into their company. And while there’s not necessarily a direct correlation between spiritual capital and financial capital, it certainly seems to directly affect a company’s longevity.

An interesting read, quite fulfilling – even simply for the numerous stories of corporate examples, both good and bad.

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television12 May 2011 07:59 pm

down to the final four… this is where it gets really interesting… or really where my interest fades… next week the contestants get to go home, apparently as heroes, to get their first real taste of the paparazzi lifestyle they think they want to live… fortunately for them, it will only last for maybe a month or two after the end of the show, if previous “idols” are any indication… anyway, i’d bet the producers are downright giddy to have 2 girls and 2 guys left as we square off to whittle it down to three… it just looks better for ratings…

they’ll each be singing two songs tonight… one that inspires them and one they’ve probably never heard before from the Leiber & Stoller songbook… and, as a special treat, Lady GaGa joins the mix as a guest mentor… fabuous… off we go…

now playing: All Around Me by Flyleaf

James… leading things off with the Soprano’s unofficial theme song, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey… because he’s never stopped believing… and how could he, really, the way the judges slurp him up each week… he begins with his most obnoxious cattle call to the audience yet, even calling Randy out to sing along… this song could go two distinct ways… one: he could match the soaring vocals previously matched only by Steve Perry himself… or two (my bet): he could refuse to be on key the whole time and just wait for the judges to stroke his ego for being fun and a rockstar… as it so happens it looks like we opted for the latter… Steven says it’s an indication of what’s to come and he did it right… J-Lo says it’s so great to listen to him and it was a really, really great job… Randy says it was great tribute to Journey, it was the highest degree of difficulty and [HE] DID IT!!!… please…

These little after-performance snippets reveal how little there is to these contestants… anyway, Ryan points out that Steven’s book is a best seller as predicted during last week’s pimping of the product and i spot Paul one of the season’s earlier losers in the audience… aw…

Haley… is singing a Michael Jackson song, Earth Song… and she hopes to capture the emotion of the original… i like her and all, but i’m going to guess no… this arrangement is quite stripped down and, just… off… yeah, there’s definitely something off about this performance… and the background singers come out if just to ground Haley’s screaming which she overdoes here… it works a lot but not when you do it a lot… anyway… J-Lo says she felt Haley’s feeling in the song, but James set the bar, but it wasn’t a good song choice… Randy says to keep it really, real and says she might not really want to win… she didn’t deliver it like Michael Jackson… Haley fights tears and fights back… Steven says they’re both wrong and the song showed that she can… not sure what she can, but she can… the judge’s table breaks into ridiculous confusion, Ryan fuels the fire, and J-Lo and Randy try to back pedal with a classic, “it’s not you, it’s me” approach… Haley stews…

Scotty… please don’t call him… ugh… why does Ryan insist on calling him Scotty the Body?… singing Alan Jackson’s When the World Stopped Turning and it rests in his lower register which makes it smooth sailing and he’s clearly moved by the lyrics, but he fights through it like a champ and doesn’t miss a beat or a note… they’ll probably say it was a safe move, but it was a Scotty song and that’s what he should do each week… Randy says it was a perfect song choice and he’s ready for superstardom… Steven says he saw Scotty almost lose and that passion is something to keep… J-Lo says she’s in love with him and applauds how much he thinks about each song and she almost breaks down into tears… it seems that the weight of all that’s going on is really hitting Scotty right now…

Lauren… man, Ryan just keeps getting creepier and creepier… Lauren is singing Anyway by Martina McBride, which i’ve never heard, but it appears we’ll have two God songs in a row… that’s a weird dress, but woah, she killed it… two times she took a note and ran it right up the flagpole… that was hot… that sealed it for me… best of the round… though i’m sure the judges give it to James… this was her best and the best of the night so far… Steven says she broke his heart and she delivered it like a blue plate special… J-Lo says she’s proud of her and she seems to be listening to what the judges say… a great, great vocal performance… Randy says America, Lauren is BACK IN IT TO WIN IT!… what was wrong with that performance? absolutely nothing…

now playing: God Is Enough by Lecrae

Ryan calls everyone out to the stage again and the judges take the opportunity to stab Haley in the throat one more time… and now we’re back with an introduction of Lady GaGa who decided to go with her Cruella DeVille look today… i just don’t get it…

Haley… hmm… Haley get bumped up to the front of the line, maybe to give James a better spot to close out the show… she’s singing I Who Have Nothing… and she’s doing well out of the gate and the song suits her well… she looks pretty ticked off… her dress may be off the shoulder, but the chips are most assuredly not… let them fall where they may, but she crushed that song… and got a standing ovation from the judges… J-Lo says this is why they’re so hard on her… it was amazing… one of the best performances of the year… Randy says she had a moment right here to put her (you guessed it) IN IT TO WIN IT… Haley rolls her eyes… Steven says it was classic Haley and she Reinharted herself into next week…

wait, are you serious? they really ARE moving James to the last spot? can they be any more biased? also, someone should explain to Haley that a 360 would point you back in the same direction… she probably meant 180, but who’s counting… anyway, Scotty’s turn…

Scotty… is singing Young Blood by The Coasters… Lady GaGa thinks he’s just so funny… he thinks she needs to wear pants… anyway… he’s casually strolling around the stage and through the crowd, saying what’s up to the cast-off section… it’s a fun song, but i don’t know that it was a great song… he did fine with it, but it’s kind of forgettable… Randy says we just saw both sides of a Scotty concert serious sometimes, fun other times… Steven says he made GaGa’s YaYa go LaLa… J-Lo says he’s really hit his stride and he needs to sprint to the finish line…

Lauren… is singing Trouble by Elvis… and there’s a question of whether or not she’ll sing the lyrics as written or not… she doesn’t want to call herself evil… well, she did and if it really was a big deal, why pick a song that says “I’m evil” about 25 times in 2 minutes?… weird… and i didn’t like that performance… she tanked… Steven says she’s not evil, but she’s a character… J-Lo says there was some “serious good performance there”… and she loved it… Randy says it was a fun side and out of her typical pop-country style… nice one… i’m not convinced, but the judges clearly want her to make it through and Haley to go home…

James… singing Love Potion No. 9… and it sounds nothing like the rehearsal… they’ve got some heavy guitar solos going on and they’re bathing him in lights before bathing him in praises… he jumps up on the podium and extends the ending before jumping off to pyrotechnics… Steven looks bored and disinterested, but i’m sure he’ll have wonderful things to say about him later… J-Lo says he can sing anything and it was a really great performance… Randy says he’s in it to win it and that was hot too… Steven says what he can’t do with his voice, he did tonight…

now playing: For What It’s Worth by Sidewalk Prophets

so, it’s clear who the judges want to go home (Haley), but it doesn’t quite make sense to me… and i’m going to ignore their wishes and say that Haley and James stand at the bottom of the voting and JAMES goes home… or maybe i’m crazy… what do you think?

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf08 May 2011 10:53 pm

another day, another book review… told you i had a lot to catch up on… and this time, i’ll take a look at some fiction… i think i read less fiction than i should… but i guess that’s a sign of getting older… that, and most of the fiction books i see out there that are interesting are part of a larger series anymore and reading one makes me want to read the rest (even if i don’t like it that much) and who has that kind of time to commit to fun… anyway, here’s my take on this book…

now playing: I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Frank Sinatra


The Skin Map By Stephen Lawhead

my history with Stephen Lawhead isn’t the best… a long time ago, (when i was but a wee lad) i bought three Lawhead books from a book club… Taliesin, Merlin, and Arthur… i had heard that he was a good author and i guessed based on the titles, that i’d be interested in the books… unfortunately, i could never get into them and i doubt i made it past the first three chapters of the first book, despite trying several times… and, as it turns out, those books are part of a larger series, the Pendragon Cycle…

Be that as it may, i jumped at the chance to read a copy of The Skin Map without the foggiest idea of what lay ahead… i certainly didn’t expect a tale about time travel and multiple universes… and i honestly didn’t expect to be completely absorbed by the rich storytelling… the book weaves a handful of individual storylines that ultimately stretch across all dimensions to overlap in a wonderfully unique way…

The Skin Map is gripping, action-packed, and full of surprises… you never quite know what will happen or where the next chapter will take place… but observing the characters as the develop, adapt, and learn makes this a fascinating journey… i’m actually pretty happy that it’s just the first of a forthcoming series…

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf07 May 2011 10:45 pm

it’s funny how sometimes your circumstances dictate your interests… i probably shouldn’t follow that train of thought too deeply before getting into the book i recently read, but i will say that i finished reading this 240-ish page book in about 3 days in between work, sleep, eating, and other duties… that may not seem like a whirlwind of reading, but for me, that’s pretty quick… anyway, here’s the book and here’s what i thought… off we go…

now playing: Shake It Off – Krystal Meyers


Jolt! By Phil Cooke

i’ve been reading a lot of books about innovation and leadership lately… the importance of creativity and ways to express it despite unsupportive conditions… mechanisms and disciplines neccessary to successfully navigate the powerful tides of change sweeping through your day-to-day business life… based on the description, Jolt! seemed to fit the bill and it certainly lived up to that billing… and though i didn’t know who Phil Cooke is, i was pleasantly surprised to learn that he also penned a book called Branding Faith which i haven’t read, but have been intrigued by since its realease…

Now, on to Jolt!… let me first say.. i found a typo on the first page… the FIRST PAGE… this isn’t uncommon – i find typos in books a lot, it’s kind of a knack… unfortunately, it’s also a huge distraction that often prevents me from concentrating solely on what i’m reading… i took it as a sign and bore down to focus on the book and not the typos (yes, i found more)… i’m glad i did…

the book breaks things down into different areas of life and a journey to success… the introduction offers many interesting facts and trends that set the stage for our need to adapt to the changing world around us… which leads into our need for direction, priorities, creativity, fanbase, and focus… these are not new topics but it was refreshing to have them discussed in new ways because these types of books can become repetitive…

Jolt! manages to avoid the stereotypes and offer real, personal advice to help motivate and navigate the twists and turns of life… it’s spiritual without being condescending, practical without being simplistic, and motivational without being trite… also of note, the quotes interspersed throughout the pages complement the message nicely and really add value to the book… all in all, a great read – one that’s hard to put down when you’re reading and harder to walk away from without changing…

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television05 May 2011 12:33 pm

And then there were five… really? there are still five?… we’re officially in the “dragging on” portion of the season… Casey got booted off last week so my original order is totally shot… the judges were all up on James last week, but i think he’s not quite right for squaring off and winning this whole thing… two songs each tonight, “one from the last few years and one from back in the day”… off we go…

now playing: A Million Ways by OK Go

James… singing a 30 Seconds to Mars song and he’s walking through the crowd handing out high fives which compromises his vocal…. he’s definitely got the rocker thing down, but his voice – aside from the soars – really isn’t on key a lot… Steven says he kick that song’s booty… J-Lo says it’s his for the taking… Randy gives a quick history lesson on 30 Seconds to Mars and then declares James as “IN IT TO WIN IT!”…

Jacob… shares a moment with Ryan at the stools telling us that he’s good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like him… he’s going to sing No Air as a duet with himself… and he’s also grinding with himself on stage as he sings… i’m sure the judges will heap praises on him, but i thought this was awful, awkward, and i don’t want to ever hear that again… J-Lo makes plans for the next few weeks to cultivate him as a pop / r & b artist… Randy says no, it was sharp, it was a little corny, he’s Luther not Chris Brown… Steven says he needs to find out who he is but he’s got a great voice… Jacob thinks he appeals to everyone, but he doesn’t read this blog…

Lauren… tackling a Carrie Underwood song… never a good idea to sing an alum’s song… she has run out of breath several times, but she has fun with the song and exudes a great personality as always… when she is singing, she’s pretty much on and it’s certainly in her wheelhouse… just work on breathing a little better… Randy says he agrees one hundred percent with this direction and she’s “in it”… (not as much as James, though, apparently)… Steven sayshe thinks she’s “it” and the sky is the limit… J-Lo says she ate it up and she’s rising to the top…

Scotty… singing Gone by a country artist… and well, this is something of a misstep for him, surprisingly… he’s struggling to make that resonant baritone mesh with the tenor of the verse and it’s not working all that well… and the chorus and the rest of the song really doesn’t give him much room to settle into a consistent singing voice… he’s got the crowd fired up and he had fun, but he’ll be relying on past weeks to make it through here… Steven says he saw him dancing with the devil tonight, which is apparently good… J-Lo says she lost it because it was so good… it was some American Idol stuff right there… Randy says he rocked the stage and “THIS GUY’S IN IT TO WIN IT, TOO!”…

Haley… singing an unreleased Lady Gaga song, hoping to make the boys go gaga and vote for her… You and I… she starts out draped across the stairs… she struts down to the stage floor and proceeds to kill this sexually-charged mid tempo ballad with plenty of room for her vocals to rev it up… it’s a solid performance, but i fear she’s too much of an “out-of-the-box” artist to garner praise from the judges (and people) looking for a cookie-cutter pop star to forget entirely about within 3 months… J-Lo says Jimmy gave her some bad advice, because this didn’t let her connect with the audience because no one knew that song… Randy says it probably isn’t that great of a song and that risk didn’t do her any favors… Steven says she took a song that no one knows but made it work and she’s just one perfect song away from being the American Idol…

now playing: Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival

James… round two promises a slower track from James which always spells doom to my ears… he’s singing Without You by Harry Nelson… and he might just cry… he’s standing behind the mic like a boy standing in the corner after getting in trouble… and the verse wasn’t bad, but he’s flat on the chorus and he’s so off that screaming just makes it horrible… he pulls it together for the last note but, once again, i’m underwhelmed… he is crying… Randy says fighting the emotions and delivering that performance made the competition his to lose… Steven says it was pitchy, but completely beautiful… J-Lo struggles for some big words and then tells him he’s an artist, he’s serious, and he’s amazing… forgive me for being unmoved…

Jacob… singing Nazareth’s Love Hurts… accompanied by a harp… and it’s not actually too bad… he’s keeping it really low key and, despite some hard shifting between upper and lower registers, he’s holding it together pretty well… oh, and then there’s the chorus… that was all over the place and a giant mess… he refocuses to drive home the last note and try to make us all forget about that hot mess… Steven says he got lost in the song, but the passionate delivery made it okay… J-Lo says he really brought it home at the end despite having a bobble moment in the song… Randy says he redeemed himself on that song and he may have sung the highest note ever on American Idol…

Lauren… is singing Simon’s favorite song, Unchained Melody… oh, Simon’s not on the show anymore… and she’s dressed like a ghost… well, she has her own arrangement and it’s got a slight country tinge to it which works really well… she’s still very breathy, but she’s delivering the best vocal of the night as far as pitch and control… which is amazing to me, because i’ve often faulted her vocal… J-Lo says it was a beautiful song, sang beautifully… Randy says she sings like a bird and it was a tender moment… Steven says he could listen to her all night and there was nothing to judge…

Scotty… singing ELVIS!…. Always on My Mind… and it’s immediately a thousand times better than his first song… another tender moment to rival Lauren’s and continue to point out the marked deficiencies James has with his vocal… but Scotty’s not competing against the others, he’s being true to himself (he said so himself) and moreso, he’s shining very brightly with this performance… J-Lo says this proves how well-rounded he is as an artist and it was captivating, amazing, and beautiful… Randy says it’s the simple things that get the best reactions… he loves it… Steven loves it, too… and he’s been taking us up and down a trail…

Haley… singing The House of the Rising Sun which i think will suit her perfectly… speaking of risky… she’s just isolated on a stool with no accompaniment to start off the song and she kills it… she is seriously setting herself apart from the other contestants here… as good as they may be, she reduces them all to karaoke singers because she actually owns the songs she’s singing whereas, the rest are just borrowing the melodies… that’s good stuff… standing ovation from the judges… Randy says she wins the award for the best performance of the night… Steven says she’s sweet and sour, raspy and he can relate to that… “oh yeah”… J-Lo says that song has never been sung like that before… great job…

now playing: If This Is It by Huey Lewis and the News

well i think Cee-Lo’s team… wait, wrong show… so, there are only five contestants left and that’s one too many… and Randy gave his big old “in it to win it” speech and then told pretty much everyone that they were, in fact, in it to win it… but obviously there can be only one… and this week, the girls really showed up the boys with solid performances…

the bottom three… i think we’ll see Jacob, James, and Haley in the bottom three… as much as i’d like to say that Haley will win it all, i think that’s as unreasonable as the judges declaring the crown for James… that said, she stays on another week and we finally, finally, lose Jacob… that’s just how i see it… what are your thoughts on the matter?

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf03 May 2011 03:45 pm

finally, a book review within a reasonable time of completion… today, we’re looking at politics and, specifically that of President Obama… i think the first book review i did for Thomas Nelson’s book review bloggers program (now booksneeze) was on Stephen Mansfield’s book, The Faith of Barack Obama and now, i’m revisiting his presidency from a different, less “defender of the chief” perspective… off we go…

now playing: I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) – Hall and Oates


No He Can’t By Kevin McCullough

i’ll start this review with a quip and an anecdote… anyone who believes bigger government will solve anything hasn’t been to the DMV in a long time… i went to the DMV the other day to renew my license which had expired… i checked the website before i left, made certain i had everything i needed, and was excited to see an advertised average wait time of about 13 minutes… i grabbed my kindle and drove the 15 minutes or so to the DMV and went in, only to learn that i needed to present my birth certificate (there’s a lot of that going around this week) or a valid passport… i drove back, picked up my documentation, noted the average wait time of 11 1/2 minutes and headed back, already an hour invested into the process… i check in, get my service ticket and prepare to wait 11 1/2 minutes… which worked out if you don’t count the first hour of waiting… all that to say – more government isn’t a good way to improve efficiency… but, according to McCullough, (yes, i will talk about the book) bigger government is the core ingredient to his nefarious plans for America…

Make no mistake, i disagree with most (if not all) of the Obama administration policies to date, so this book simply compiled and reinforced many of my suspicions… i had always assumed it was either by coincidence or unintentional consequences that drove these poor decisions, but McCullough makes the case that it’s actually intentional… among other things explained in the book, President Obama has been nurtured by socialist principles and, because of this, realizes that remaining in power is predicated on the systematic erosion of personal liberties, responsibilites, and accountability for all of our citizens… he paints a rather bleak picture of the first two years of Obama’s presidency, without much hope for change in what remains…

If we are to believe what we read here – and there’s no real reason not to as facts are clearly delineated from speculation – then we should be quite concerned with the state of the Union (if we aren’t already)… we’ve been told lies and have been exposed to vast amount of dangerous assaults on our economic, social, and spiritual well being, all for the political power grab of a select few…

it’s hard not to walk away from this book with cynicism, skepticism, and anger – much less a hopeless outlook for this nation… fortunately, all leaders are appointed by God and the outcomes of this life are in His hands…. it’s also reassuring to reach McCullough’s conclusion: we can combat these policies and changes by taking back the responsibility this administration is trying to usurp from us, instilling it into the next generation…

and one last side note, before i leave this topic… it comes from my impressions of the recent movie, The King’s Speech… this is an inspirational movie, not only because we see a man overcome his fears to embrace the role as king of England and uphold his subjects in word throughout World War II, but the final speech sent chills up my spine and the conviction of faith in which it must have been written and delivered stood in stark contrast to the non-commital attitude so often observed from our own nation’s leader… i’ll close with a quote from that speech which adequately summarizes what McCullough is getting at…

“For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, and of the world order and peace, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge. . . The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God’s help, we shall prevail.”

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf&reviews01 May 2011 12:27 am

i read this bok a while ago and should’ve written this review much sooner than now, but what’s done is done and what’s not done, is – well, i’m doing it now… anyway, it’s a Shaun Alexander book and i’m reviewing it despite all the brouhaha going on in the NFL…

now playing: Gravity – Deitrick Haddon


The Walk by Shaun Alexander

this book wouldn’t have hit home quite as effectively for me if i didn’t have a dog… it may sound strange, but there it is… here’s the deal… putting my dog – a puppy – on a leash and trying to train him to walk nicely has worked in conjunction with this book, opening my eyes to the importance of walking “humbly with our God”…

my dog is half beagle and half jack russell terrier (adorable, but a handful at times), so when we walk – he’s either nose-to-the-ground sniffing out crickets or running full steam straining at his collar… it’s nothing like the picture perfect march you see on the televised dog shows… and it’s often the same way when we walk with God… we’re either racing ahead with our own plans or stubbernly holding our ground until God sees things our way…

anyway, this book touches on that in the early chapters and then proceeds to talk about the five stages of our spiritual journey – unbeliever, believer, example, teacher and imparter – and relates it all with personal anecdotes as well as a light study of the life of Peter (the apostle)…

i’m not sure i agreed with everything i read and there were certainly times where the book seems to come unglued organizationally, but i often feel like even one good takeaway makes the whole book worth while… and for me, it was in the title and the first few chapters… and the rest was all just icing…

peace… love… bdg…