Wednesday, May 31, 2006


(thanks to Chris Thilk of Movie Marketing Madness for clueing me in to this. What follows is a press release that might be of interest to those of you in the NYC area. Musical Ramblings hopes you will continue to support charities, and while doing so, please check out the Juvenile Diabetes link on the right of the page. --J.D.)


New York City, NY – Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope announced today that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will give an exclusive performance on June 22nd at the fifth annual gala Samsung Four Seasons of Hope dinner at New York’s legendary Tavern on the Green. The event will raise funds for Tim and Faith’s newly established Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation, designed to directly provide goods, services and finances to assist individuals deprived of basic humanitarian services or programs as a result of natural disaster or social status, especially those still suffering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. Information about purchasing tickets for the fifth annual Samsung Four Seasons of Hope gala can be found on

Peter Weedfald, Senior Vice President, Samsung Electronics America, Inc., said, “Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope applauds Faith and Tim for their compassion and dedication in establishing their new charity, The Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation. We are proud to contribute to their efforts and we are honored that these two dedicated musicians will perform at our 5th anniversary gala. Tim and Faith, are not just country music’s reigning first couple, they are each, in their own right, one of their generation’s most successful performers and we are thrilled that they are headlining this great event.”

The Samsung Four Seasons of Hope 5th anniversary event will also honor the continuing philanthropic efforts of sports legends, Arnold Palmer, Joe Torre, Boomer Esiason, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Wayne Gretzky, as well as music superstar, Jon Bon Jovi, former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani and Samsung’s retail partners Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears and CompUSA. The 2006 event will also celebrate the induction of a new honoree to be announced on June 22.

The Samsung Four Seasons of Hope gala attracts a star-studded roster of celebrities from the worlds of sports, entertainment and politics. The event will feature a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items to raise funds for each participating celebrities’ charities and foundations.

The Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation provides funding for qualified community charities selected to directly impact those in need. Established in 2005, it mandates a commitment to adults and children deprived of basic humanitarian services or programs, either as a result of natural disaster or social status. The Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation accepts private and public funding resources, which are used to assist people in need of proper health care and/or educational services, adequate food, clothing and/or shelter. It relies solely and exclusively on the kindness of our neighbors, those in our own communities and those in our hearts. The Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation is a 501(c)(3) founded by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The bottom falls out of the sky.

Or in this case, the floozy finds her way into the recording booth.

Not content with having more money than the gross national product of Saudi Arabia, hotel-heiress/reality show sell-out Paris Hilton is preparing to release her debut album. Will someone please page the four horsemen of the Apocalypse? As far as I'm concerned, I much prefer the end of the world and all humanity to being subjected to this mess.

Hilton, a high-school drop-out and charm-school failure, will assault our ears with what she promises will be a mixture of reggae, hip-hop and pop. What, no death metal to round it out? I can sort of see the pop part, since she's already a pop culture icon. And most of the teen pop stars are clones of her in appearance anyway. But reggae? C'mon, Paris is about as rastafarian as Madonna is Catholic. And hip-hop? Is she gonna bust some rhymes about the street life? All the thuggin' she does up in the penthouse suite of whichever Hilton Hotel she chooses? Gross out, gag me with a spoon.

Her first single will be entitled "Stars Are Blind." I'd like to re-title it "Somebody at Warner Bros. Is Deaf."

She will also be doing a cover of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (Answer: NO)

Paris also claims to have penned the lyrics to seven of the songs on her album. Actually, she originally claimed to have written eight, but she was later told that "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" had already been done by someone else. Expect these lyrics to have the intellectual fervor of a Barney episode. Scratch that, Barney's too high-minded for our Miss Hilton, whose IQ is steadily approaching that of gravy.

Paris claims to have overcome shyness in order to become a singer. Yeah. Shyness. So shy that she has one of the most downloaded sex videos on the internet. So extremely shy that she has posed nearly nude in almost every men's magazine. Shy enough that she has been mouthing off on THREE seasons of her reality show The Simple Life. Shy enough that she cannot be within 300 feet of a camera without diving in front of it like a pitbull chasing after a steak.

Says Paris: "I have always had a voice and always known I could sing, but I was too shy to let it come out. I think that is the hardest thing you can do, to sing in front of people. When I finally let go and did it, I realized it is what I am most talented at and what I love to do the most."

Well, if she's found a talent, it will be the first we've heard of it.

Her single will hit the streets this month. It is being released by Warner Records and Paris's own label--prepare to snicker--Heiress Records. I'm sorry, this is all just too easy.

Please, somebody put a good album out to balance out the universe!!

Sorry for the light posting lately. I've been busier than Nicole Richie at a Heroin Convention.

They're making me earn my vacation at work. Between 16 hour days and planning for this weekend, I've been excreting it and picking it up, so I've barely had time to rest, let alone blog. Fortunately, after Wednesday, things will mellow out, and by Saturday, I'll be hitting the American Idol panel at the Reality TV Convention in Nashville.

I did get a moment to sit and watch Blazing Saddles again. It was funnier this time than it was before. Scary Movie 4, on the other hand, was barely funny at all the first time, and much less so the second go round. I've had more laughs at funerals. And please, for the love of all that is good, do not waste your rental dollars on Date Movie. That movie makes Kevin Federline look like a Rhodes Scholar.

By the way, y'all, Rockstar Supernova starts on July 5. While I'm loathe to start live-blogging another reality music show, what would you guys think about it?

Anyway, before I go pass's some new Tabitha Hope lyrics that she'd like for you guys to sample. I'll have a full blog soon!

Empty-handed I,
Stand with knowing eyes,
There are monsters under my bed,
Trying to swallow up my head.
I scream, "Go away, go away now!"
But everyday they crawl out again,
New meat to feed on,
Fresh from the defeat of yesterday.
They smile because they know I'm falling,
And I can't stand,
Feel so dirty, damned and dirty,
They are my only friends again.
"No way, no way out!"
I scream and shout,
But still I give in.
Don't remember that clean feeling,
Can't concentrate, deliberate on anything,
Till I've done dark things, and they've won,
Then they'll let me go for a little while,
Till it's time to feed again.
When I get too far, too close to free,
The chains tighten and soft voices,
Whisper pain and anger in my ears.
"You'll never be free from these," they say,
"Only we are the drug to calm this shaking,"
"The burning you're feeling from soul to toe."
"Running is so hard. Just lay down and die."
"We are your forever friends,"
"Make no amends,"
"We will hold you."
I cry till my eyes hurt, cursing the day,
Day after day after day,
Screaming, "Can this go away?"
They push me, feet off my bed,
Paralyzed, fear in my head,
Can't move, can't stop it,
But I fight because there's nothing else to do.
Too scared to give up because this room's so dark,
I just want out before I die,
That's all.
Years passed over and over again in my head,
And pass in real life,
And here I am still a slave,
To monsters still laughing at me.
One day, guilt still on my hands,
I look down, seeing the frustration,
That feeds the demons eating me,
Sudden realization of reasons for defeats,
I've had so many times,
And all the anger and pain rush back,
In front of my weary eyes,
For once I don't even care,
What happened back there,
I just need to go forward and get release,
As I stand up on my bed,
And steady for the leap,
They grab my heel and scream,
"Remember me!"
But I'm too tired to stay behind and listen anymore,
So I leap into hands and a future that finally,
Let me sleep in peace.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Working two consecutive sixteen hour days is not conducive to rest. And it also takes time away from your blogging. So, GO TO SLEEP ALREADY! Then blog later. Silly.

No, I really mean it. Put the blog away, and go to bed. You're tired.


This blog will return after these messages...


Friday, May 26, 2006


Any of you who have been following Musical Ramblings for a while know that I very rarely had any nice things to say about Kellie Pickler.

However, over the last few weeks, Kellie has made several appearances, and I have changed my overall outlook on her. I honestly felt pain behind her voice when she told Wolfgang Puck that people had been making fun of her, and there was something oddly pitiful about her when she put on the glasses and asked "do they make me look smart?"

I am being completely honest here when I say that my heart began to feel twinges of guilt that escalated into full-scale remorse. After all, Kellie is a human being, and a sweet one as it turns out, and she deserved better from me.

With that in mind, I wrote the following e-mail to Kellie:

Hey Kellie,

I just wanted to say to you personally that I was one of those writers who wrote some really awful things about you while you were in the competition. I just wanted to say that I have been feeling badly about it, and I wanted to apologize to you from the bottom of my heart for participating in all the ugliness out there. I don't know how much of it you saw, if any, but I just wanted you to know that I regretted what I said, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to you personally.

I've already printed an apology to you in my blog, because I wanted people who had read the ugly comments I made earlier to know that I had a change of heart.

By the way, I thought you were great in Puck N' Pickler. I'm wishing for the best for you. Keep me informed about your career, would ya?

--J.D. Matthews
Musical Ramblings

Kellie, in all her sweetness, wrote me back.


Thanks for your apology. In this business you cannot take things too personally. You have to take the good with the bad and I look at life like this: if this is as bad as I've got it, then I've got it good! Yeah it's hard to see ugly things about you, but you let it go in one ear and out the other. God has really taught me to be a forgiving person, so I hold no hard feelings toward you.

I hope you enjoyed the show this year and I hope that you will come to our concert when we come to your city!

Kellie Pickler

Y'all will have to excuse me, as I currently feel about one inch tall. Kellie, you're awesome.

Thursday, May 25, 2006



It's time again this year for the new A.I. compilation CD. It hit the shelves and started sucking money out of fans' pockets this past Tuesday, but with all the hoopla surrounding the finale, I haven't had time to post much about it.

First off, where was the single this year? Remember last year when they released the group performances on a single to benefit the Red Cross? The one where Constantine couldn't hit his line in "When You Tell Me That You Love Me?" Hmm. Well for one thing, the Idols didn't do many group performances this year, possibly because they sounded like Meat Loaf getting electro-shock therapy when they did. I've never seen one group of kids less able to harmonize since Kris Kross left the music scene. I'm not sure if it's because they're all divas or what, but they don't play well with others.

So anyway, here's a blow-by-blow review of the new CD:

Melissa McGhee - What About Love: The CD starts off with one of the most short-sold talents of the year, in my mind. Melissa is definitely gifted, but her singing ability got swept under the rug early on, partially because she made critical errors early on in the top 24, and partially because of the "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" factor. This song is one of the best songs that Heart ever recorded, and being the song that it is, it can't be all that bad. Melissa's vocals on it are nice, though I wish she'd have toned down on the melisma (which, as one recapper explained to me this year, is where the singer sings multiple notes per syllable--aaOOOeeeaaaOOOo.) Ann Wilson was not Mariah Carey, nor did she need to be. One major problem--and this is the case for EVERY song on this CD--the studio musicians are about as skilled as drunken simians. They could've gotten a better sound out of professional karaoke CD makers. Still, this song shows perfectly the niche market where Melissa belongs. She would make an awesome chick rocker, a la Avril Lavigne. With her recent relationship troubles and her family history (worse than Pickler's!) she would make a credible men-suck/in-your-face rocker chick. Hey, Kelly Clarkson made it work on Breakaway! If they miss this with her, then they're nuts.

Bucky Covington - Superstition: One of my favorite tracks on this CD. Bucky's country/western rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic just gets up under you. I can sum it up in one word: fun. Better than the original. Bucky is a LOT different in the studio than he was on stage, not that I thought he was all that bad to begin with. Someone NEEDS to take this kid under their wing, package him correctly as a country and western artist, give him a lot of feel-good honky-tonk songs to record, and sit back and watch him rise. You can hear him having fun with this song, he's lost the diction problem, and he makes a credible case for having been cut too early. I can't wait to go to one of his concerts.

Mandisa - I'm Every Woman: Oh dear. Let me preface this by saying that I loved Mandisa on A.I. I don't, however, love her on this CD. It's not just that she's singing a tired Chaka Khan/Whitney Houston song (depending on which version you prefer.) It's just that it's not the right fit for her. Mandisa is a tough one to market. She's obviously got diva power, but there are some songs she's just not right for, and I think this was her downfall this season. She's a soul ballad singer, but not EVERY soul ballad, if you get what I'm saying. Once again, the background singers sound generic and not so great, and on this song, they tend to take over while Mandisa screeches in the background. I cut this song off halfway through.

Chris Daughtry - Wanted Dead or Alive: Hmm. First off, the song is paced WAY too fast. And what's with the drum at the beginning? I may be a little too hard on this performance, because I only listened to this song approximately 58,289,198,124.5 times growing up. Seriously, Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" got played so much on my stereo that my speakers could sing it without having the tape in. I'm not sure where they were going with this song on this album, though. If they were trying to update it as an alt-rock song, they failed completely. If they were trying to capture the 80's fantasy-cowboy-cum-rock-star feel of the original song, they also fell just a bit short. Now, if I judge this from a purely vocal standpoint, it's not a bad performance. There's still a bit of Chris's goat-bleating vibrato, but for the most part he's got it in check, and his voice actually sounds very pleasant in parts. They should take whoever is doing lead guitars and beat him over the head with drumsticks. I think Chris would've been better covering a more current song. Still, I'd buy the track.

Ace Young - Father Figure: You just had to know he'd be doing this song, since his performance of this song was the high point of the competition for him. Ace had a major problem throughout the whole competition; he's incredibly talented as a singer, but he doesn't know how to package himself. This is as close to his element as he gets. Still, if you want the best performance by this song, you're better off with an mp3 of the original performance. The CD track lacks the breathy quality that makes this song what it is. The producers have tweaked his voice a lot too...filtered and layered to the hilt. Is it a bad performance? No. Will you remember it five minutes from now? No.

Taylor Hicks - Takin' It To the Streets: Taylor just asks for us all to compare him to Michael McDonald by singing this song. It's an energetic song. Vocally, it's good. C'mon, y'all, I'm trying to stretch and say positive things about this forgettable song! It's just an average choice, in my mind. Nothing that will have me wanting to hear it ever again. I'd much rather hear the original (although this is true of just about every song on this whole CD, with the exception of Bucky and Elliott.) It's not as fun as "Superstition." It's not as distinctive as "What About Love." It is completely overshadowed by "Moody's Mood for Love." It's a good performance, but I'm much more looking forward to hearing "Do I Make You Proud?" when it hits the shelves.

Lisa Tucker - Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours): How could anyone do well with a junior-high level band accompanying them? The song starts off bland, and then Lisa follows suit. The background singers overpower her. Where is the girl I saw in the auditions?? I've been waiting to see her again! Lisa is much more equipped to sing power ballads, so I don't know why they chose for her to sing this song. It sounds more like Stevie Wonder meets Lizzie McGuire. If you're buying the whole CD then you're stuck with this track. If you're purchasing from iTunes, give this one a miss. Thankfully the song runs just under 3 minutes.

Kellie Pickler - Walkin' After Midnight: My recent reconciliation with the Pickler notwithstanding, this song went horribly wrong. First off, who decided to slut up the backing instrumentation? This song sounds like it's straight out of a sleazy strip club. Kellie's nasal. You all know this. The recording showcases the worst of her vocals. She would've done a lot better with a lower-key slow country song, possibly something by Tanya Tucker or the like. Patsy Cline, she ain't. Sorry, Pickler, you're cute, and I sort of want you now, but your song is the YUCK.

Elliott Yamin - Moody's Mood for Love: Ahhhhh... Now on to the cream of the crop... I don't want to type; I just want to listen. This song is perfection. Take what he sounded like on the show and multiply it by about a thousand. I will buy anything he puts on disc. Period. End of review.

Katharine McPhee - Think: Or I guess it's "thank" as Katharine's non-southern self pronounces it. Who told Kat that she's a soul diva??? She's at best a pop singer and doesn't have the voice for these songs. She runs nasal, tries to make up for notes she can't hit with melisma, and screeches! (Note to Kat fans: this is not me turning my back on Kat...this is me having my ears assaulted by a sub-par track.) Do I think she could've done better on another song? You bet. Do I ever want to hear this song again? NO. Ask me again when "My Destiny" comes out.

Paris Bennett - Midnight Train to Georgia: I just love Paris when I don't have to hear her talk after singing. I still have no idea why there's such a dichotomy with her voice. She sounds like a cartoon when speaking, but then she sounds as deep as an ocean when she sings. This is a good performance by her. The girl has skills, and I think if she had been 3 or 4 years older, she would've walked away with the competition in her pocket. This song is done well (even though yet again the background singers stick out like sore thumbs.) I'd definitely give it another listen.

Kevin Covais - When I Fall in Love: The CD ends on a very low note. A note so sour that rotten eggs seem sweet in comparison. Kevin Covais deserved to be there even less than Kellie Pickler, and this track shows you why. Listening to it is like nails on the chalkboard on a stadium amplifier. Awful. Just awful. I've heard more pleasant sounds coming from public bathroom stalls. If you buy the CD, cut it off before this sears off your ears. If you buy this from iTunes, check yourself into the nearest mental institution post haste.

And there you have it! I recommend purchasing via iTunes so you can pick and choose your tracks. Trust me, the whole CD is only worth it if you are a die-hard fan of the show.


I'm sorry. After seeing Kellie Pickler last night, I am now forced to say that I actually kind of like her.

Kellie, I know you've had to deal with your share of people taking jabs at you, not the least of which was me. It's all part of chasing fame. I know you probably weren't quite ready for all of it, but that's the way the game goes. I know you've probably had your nights of crying into your pillow for some of those things that were said. And that's on top of your own family troubles.

After last night, I became convinced that you're probably a pretty nice person in real life. And therefore, I offer you an apology for the ugly things I've said about you.

I hope you'll accept my apology, even if it took me till after the finale to "Pick Pickler." You were the cutest thing on stage last night, and I wish you the best of luck.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


(I'll be catching up on the parts I missed during the commercial break...not live blogged...)

It's finale time!

Just a reminder...just because this show is over doesn't mean I will quit blogging. I hope those of you who came just for the American Idol recaps will stick around for more! I'll be doing some Idol stuff in the off-season, but I'll also be doing lots of other good stuff!

Okay, nobody on the pre-show is really interesting, so don't expect much of a recap on all that. Except for Peisha bragging about how Katharine is such a huge celebrity right now and that she has movie studios banging down her door. Yuck. I have never wanted to punch a woman in the mouth so badly. Peisha's dress shows just a BIT too much cleavage too.

And we start things off with Carrie Underwood who is singing alongside Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee. Taylor looks resplendent in his white tux. Kat sounds like dookie. Putting Kat up next to Carrie is like putting the retarded kid up against Michael Jordan in a game of Horse. And there are all the other Top 12 and background singers merging onstage in a cluster. I wish they'd all hush and let me hear my Carrie.

Ben Stiller and Heather Locklear are here to watch Ryan Seacrest name the new American Idol. Are they a thing now? Somebody who cares go find out for me.

Ryan paces the stage and asks who the American Idol should be. The audience almost unanimously shouts Taylor. There's a clip segment of Randy Jackson saying "dude" variously. I love Randy and all, but he is not much of an off-the-cuff speaker. Fantastic with a bass though. Now it's time for a retrospective on the drunken antics of Paula Abdul, set to Whitney Houston's "So Emotional." And now, the Simon Cowell version of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." Randy doesn't boo. I'm impressed. I love how dapper Randy is tonight.

Quick trip to Birmingham AL as hotties Becky and Jessie O'Donohue vie for more camera time. Jessie is one of the luckiest ones this year. She didn't have to perform once, but she is eating her up some camera.

Quick trip around the bend to Tamyra Gray at Universal Studios. Tamyra is looking quite good these days!

Paris Bennett is onstage now with her Jheri curl wig. Al Jarreau joins her onstage. I know she's dying. I would be. Al is awesome. Paris has been doing some work. I love how she sounds tonight; now if she'll just not talk afterward. I'm not sure why the lighting guys are projecting snowflakes onto the stage. I'd buy this single, though, if they put it out tomorrow. I'd buy anything with Al Jarreau on it.

Chris Daughtry gets to perform onstage with Live. Chris looks as nervous as I've seenhim this whole year, as though he can't believe he's onstage with them. I can totally understand how he feels. They sound pretty decent, even if Live is shooting their street cred in the butt by appearing on this show. They do look like they were separated at birth, except for the height differential. I doubt this song would inspire me to go buy a CD, no offense. The best part is that Chris sort of subdues his goat-esque vibrato.

I don't think Emily Deschanel is all that hot. Her sister Zooey is good looking though.

Kellie Pickler is here to remind us of the "calamari" fiasco. Ryan actually said that calamari almost gave her a brain hemmorhage. Wow. Harsh! Kellie gets to meet Wolfgang Puck to get educated on fine cuisine. She's rocking her new bob and doing her best to read the menu. Kellie puts on glasses and asks "do I look smart?" Oh you don't. Kellie is dumbfounded by eating escargot and doesn't want to eat it. She gags on it, and becomes a total caricature of herself. She spits it out in her snot rag and tosses it on the floor. Why she would voluntarily submit to this type of humiliation is beyond me. If I were her, I'd have asked them to introduce me to someone less intelligent, like say Elmo from Sesame Street. They should've called this segment Punking Pickler. I wonder what it would've been like if, instead of calamari, they'd have exploited the "what's a ballsy" fiasco. Would they have introduced her to an adult film star? More importantly, since she did this production piece, does this mean that we don't have to hear her sing again?

I used to like Meat Loaf, but now that he's singing with Katharine McPhee, I don't know. Meat Loaf sounds ridiculously horrific. Maybe it's the health problems he's been having. He's been in a bad way lately, according to his website. Kat sounds great in comparison as they sort of act out the music video to this song. Kat wants to smile so much. It must be hard to do this with Meat so badly out of tune. His hand is trembling. Something is not well with him.

Ryan talks about how hard they have worked on the show, and he mocks the fact that American Idol has thus far won absolutely zero television awards, which, in my mind, is unconscionable.

The first Golden Idol is for Outstanding Female Vocal. Nominated is Cierra Johnson who sang an interminable version of "O Holy Night" that lasted for a couple of presidential administrations. Also nominated is Crystal Parizanski who is a clone of Paris Hilton gone completely wrong. And there's Princess Brewer who thinks she sounds like Aretha Franklin, but who actually sounds like Corky Franklin, the mentally challenged bus driver who works the third shift down on Union Avenue. The winner is Princess Brewer, but really we all are the winner here. Princess isn't at the finale, probably because 19 wouldn't pay for the airfare.

Outstanding Male Vocal nominees are: Marlowes Davis who picks his ears while assaulting ours. Derek Dupree, aka Mr. Pit Stain, who got not one but two chances to completely embarrass his heritage. And there's Crazy Dave Hoover who actually did get put through to Hollywood in one of the most extreme miscarriages of justice since O.J. Simpson got acquitted. He did sound better than Meat Loaf sounded tonight. And the winner is Crazy Dave who without doubt is going to be here to snatch up as much camera time as possible. What do you want to bet he's a pretty decent stand-up comic?

Between X-3 and Superman Returns, I am about to be one happy fanboy.

It's back to Punking Pickler, who is now trying lobster. Kellie is fake scared of the live lobster. For about five seconds, I think she's actually just a little bit cute. She pokes at the lobster with a fork, and then Wolfgang threatens to throw it at her. She screams as if someone was throwing acid on her or as if someone was trying to teach her to read. Poor girl does not know how to act around high society. Still....she's cute. I may be coming around to the Pickler thing....somebody call the medic, please.

Ace, Chris, Bucky, Chicken Little, and Elliott are singing "Takin' Care of Business. Kevin sounds like 20 miles of skinned-back mule backside. It's nice hearing Elliott again. And FINALLY Taylor brings out the harmonica! Gorgeous. They're wearing it out on "Tobacco Road." Ace...oh're not rock'n'roll. They seque into "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" and Taylor finally gets to sing a bar. The guys are running all around the audience, and they're just generally sounding better than most of the girls this year.

Oh yeah, the car-mercial. I guess one version of "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" wasn't enough. It's mostly a montage of the older car-mercials. I'd have gone out and bought a Ford if Taylor would've just reached over and laid one right on Kat's kisser. The two finalists both get brand new Ford Mustangs. Lucky punks.

More Golden Idols. This time for "Proudest Family Moments." Nominated are: Elliott Yamin's mother on his return trip home. McCrybaby bawling incessantly over how good Kat is. Chris Daughtry's wife, Deanna, on Chris getting through to Hollyweird. And the winner better be either Claudette or Deanna. Claudette Yamin gets the statue. I really like her a lot.

Elliott Yamin is up on stage singing with Mary J. Blige. I just want to say right now that I have been listening to Elliott sing "Moody's Mood for Love" from the new Encores CD all day long, and I love how he sounds on CD. I'm loving him right here with Mary J, as well. I'll buy two copies of whatever CD he puts out. I'll buy three copies. I love his work, and there's not much else to say.

Y'know, if all the Idol episodes had been this good this year, I would've had much more fun writing the recaps.

I wonder how Duets will be?

It's time for Carrie Underwood who just won an ACMA for Best New Female Vocalist and best song for "Jesus Take the Wheel." She's singing her new single "Don't Forget to Remember Me." Can I just add that she looks completely faboo? I thought she was hot last year, but I absolutely want to gobble her up tonight, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. This is a nice performance, but what did you expect? She doesn't miss a note very much, no matter where she's performing. Y'know what would be fun, though? Having the three judges give her a critique. Obviously, they'd slather all over her, but it would still bring back memories of Season 4, which was a much better season. I'm glad that Carrie, unlike certain other Idols, doesn't have a problem coming back to the show that gave her a career. Bravo!! Belissima!!

Another award: The Randy Jackson Public Speaking Award goes to Rhonetta. Miss Ghetto Fabulous gets another shot at public ignominy. I interviewed her this year. She's not that bad in person, but on the show...yuck. Rhonetta is working tonight, so she couldn't be here. What's the implication, here? I don't think that they're implying she's flipping burgers, if you get my drift. They get an actress to portray Rhonetta. That's NOT the original one. Interesting.

Taylor Hicks, the next American Idol, mark my words, takes the stage to sing "In the Ghetto" with the unbelievably hot Toni Braxton. Wow.... y'all excuse me for about five minutes. I need to roll my tongue back up into my mouth. Toni just gets better with age. Taylor is actually singing this song better than any performance I've heard of his this year. Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow.


Kat, Lisa, Paris, Kellie, Mandisa, and Melissa are singing "Man I Feel Like a Woman." Paris and Lisa sing the blues so Katharine can join in and smile until her chin cracks. The far-more-talented Melissa sounds fabulous, and Kellie doesn't sound awful either. I've missed you Mandisa. I still think Kellie's cute, but not as much as Melissa. Kat starts singing "Natural Woman," sounding miles inferior to Kelly Clarkson. Paris deserves to be in the finale more than Kat, no matter how much I dislike her personality. Paris was more fun, too. I've REALLY missed you, Mandisa. The girls are really flat on the end of that song and aren't harmonizing all that well.

Ryan is back to address us from the Idol pulpit. He pimps out the A.I. tour schedule. Now it's time for the Golden Idol for best impersonation. Kenneth Maccarone is nominated for his Cher impersonation. Seth Strickland, who is a nice guy and who interviewed with me earlier this year for my blog, is nominated for his Michael Jackson impersonation. Michael Sandecki is the next Clay Achin'. The Idol gay-bashing machine has come full circle at this point. And the Goldy goes to Michael Sandecki who prisses out on stage to collect his prize from a hot babe that he will unfortunately never feel an attraction for. He's going to sing. You can tell by his expression that he is actually trying to sound this bad. Actor. The real Clay comes out on stage, and Michael acts like he didn't know this was gonna happen. I haven't seen Clay Aiken with this haircut. Either Sandecki has learned to sing or they've turned his mic down. Say what you will, but I'm ready for a new Clay CD.

Now it's time for the finalists to sing a medley of Burt Bacharach classics. Burt comes out and starts tickling the ivories as Taylor, your next American Idol, sings "What the World Needs Now Is Love." Kat comes out with the red dress, sounding like a huge nasal cavity. Ace comes out sounding slightly worse. Melissa sounds better than everybody. Kellie sounds like Kellie, and since I think she's cute now, I'm not gonna say too much. I like the bling she's wearing. I almost about to apologize for everything I've said this season. Almost. Bucky sounds better than he's ever sounded, and I might buy a country and western CD by this guy. Did I mention that I miss Mandisa? Her song on the Encores CD sounds like diarrhea, though. Hey Lisa...missed you too. Her Encores track was ghetto booty too. Not good. This performance, however, is nice. Ahhh, Elliott. "A House Is Not a Home." Sing it to me, Elliott! Sing it so I can remember it and sing it to my would-be girlfriend Kellie. Wondermundous! And in stark contrast to that, Kevin Covais is ruining "What's New Pussycat." He sounds like the bathroom of Grand Central Station after Free Burrito night. Chris sings "Arthur's Theme," which sounds AWESOME. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: should've been Paris instead of Kat, even though Paris is wearing Spider-Man bling.

Dionne Warwick gets a second paragraph from me. No critique, though. She sounds wonderful. It's a nice touch to have her sing "That's What Friends Are For," accompanied by the new American Idol and that other chick in the red dress. Paula wraps her arms around Simon and Randy, and in what promises to be the final Paula joke of the season, she steals their meds out of their sport coat pockets.

It's time for another Golden Idol award for "Best Male Bonding." Nominated are: Ace Young and Chris Daughtry for their hug in Hollywood. Ryan Seacrest and Taylor Hicks for their falling onto the stage. Garet Johnson, Matthew Buckstein, and Michael Evans from the cowboy group in the Hollywood rounds. Really, this is just an excuse to recycle an old production package. And the winners are the Brokenote Cowboys. And they're going to sing. Seriously, couldn't Melissa McGhee have sung with Heart or something? I know why these guys didn't progress. Yuckness. This sounds like about 50 miles of gross.

Shouldn't it be about time to be getting down to business? No more guest stars, just results. Who will the American Idol be?

Whoa...wait a minute... Prince? Wasn't looking for that. Oh well, I guess the Purple One does have a new album to sell. He's still one of the best performers out there, but this song is only passable. It's definitely got an 80's feel to it though with all the synthesizers and drum machines. And Prince, too, I suppose. I like the second song.

Wow, with all the commercial breaks, I've been able to catch up with all the parts I missed during the first part of the show. My fingers hurt!

Taylor Hicks comes full circle as Bill Medley and Kat sort of stands in for Jennifer Warnes on "I've Had the Time of My Life." They both sound like it's time to stop singing and time for results.

Moment of truth time: 63.4 million votes last night. More than any president in the history of our country. It's time to introduce the guy who has the results. Ok, go away now. Let's hear it.

The next American Idol is...


Good job, America. Now it's time for the Soul Patrol to go batty.

Good year everybody. To all of you on ATAI, it's all over but the crying. To those of you on the official A.I. boards, thank you so much. To those of you on my blog, don't go anywhere...the blogging has only just begun.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


The season has wound down to this: one guy and one girl facing off in what has to be the most anti-climactic Idol finale in the five year history of the show. It's Kat vs. Taylor in the finale showdown, the cream of the crop of this year's Top 12, most of whom wouldn't even have made it through the Hollywood rounds in previous seasons.

We have Katharine McPhee, who wouldn't know modesty if it popped a button off her dress, and who takes criticism about as well as a car's gas tank takes water.

And then there's Taylor Hicks, the runaway favorite, with his spastic tics, proclivity for vocal outbursts, and head full of salt and pepper hair.

They've been called the Best of What's Left, the top of a lackluster season, and a lot of other things that I can't print in a family venue. And they're here tonight, slugging it out for the crown, getting us ready for their emergence onto the record store shelves, and hopefully doing their regular schtick so I can make merciless snarky remarks at their expense.

Ladies and gentlemen, Idol.

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

First, before the show starts, I do want to thank you, dear readers, for your support this year. You've all been remarkable, even those of you with disparaging remarks. These reviews are dedicated to you all. Amazingly enough, I've been through two break-ups during this season and have found out my best friend has cancer. It has been a hard time in my life, and you guys have been there to carry me through. Writing these recaps have really helped me through the hard times, and for that you all have my undying gratitude. Thank you all.

And now...on to the Kodak theater...

Mandy Moore and Ben Stiller are there to see the show! Mandy said earlier this week that she would've auditioned for the show had she not already been outrageously famous. Too bad this didn't happen, because then she'd never have been able to release "Candy." And the movie From Mandy to Kelly would've made sure there was no American Dreamz. Ahhh, what might have been...

The crowd is sufficiently pumped. Of course this crowd would cheer if Kat and Taylor were practicing ritual child sacrifice onstage.

And the make-up crew is pretending to like Taylor and Kat.

Time to see the judges introduced, and thankfully Randy got the memo and foregoes the booing. He says that it's now or never, and unlike the rest of the season, they have to lay it all on the line. Paula babbles. Simon suggests that the contestants put hexes on each other.

We have four hours to vote tonight. Yay.

Ryan wants to know if Taylor can break the girl/boy finale cycle. Ugly guy finally beating cute girl? Could be. We get a brief retrospective on the contestants over the sounds of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." It's what you've seen over and over and are now sick to death of. Lots of wooing, gyrating, and spazzing by Taylor. Lots of fake emotion, Mommy-stage-domineering, and vamping by Kat.

Taylor won the coin toss and chose to go second, so Kat gets the please-don't-forget-me-by-the-end-of-the-show spot. Chris Daughtry in the house, hugging Ryan for the first time. The McDad isn't crying yet, and the McMom is smiling and waiting to act inappropriately.

Kat McPhee is onstage getting ready to do "Black Horse and Cherry Tree," one of her worst performances this year, though thankfully this time she isn't sitting down. She is however squatting in a "I should have gone before coming onstage" manner. Her voice sounds wretched and stretched and nasal. She lapdances the box drummers who sit there sort of just doing their thing. Smiles and smiles and smiles. Christina Applegate sort of gets up and gives her a golf clap, then flips her off and sits down. Randy thinks she had fun with the song, but he doesn't think it was exciting. Paula Abdul causes the mic to overmodulate and there's feedback, which should be the final nail in the coffin of the sound guys this year. Paula thinks she could do a lot better. Simon, who actually put on a sport coat, thinks that Kat was only minorly good and that her performance was more like a warm-up. And, I might add, nothing like what one should do when THE WHOLE CONTEST IS ON THE LINE. Thank you. Kat can't help but show her dismay. She is shaken and nervous. Kat likes singing on the ground... and wallowing around onstage pretending to be a beached whale and talking about how much she paid for her bobos, apparently. Kat looks like she's about to melt down.

Taylor Hicks is going to sing "Living for the City." He's wearing the most hideous purple velvet jacket. Paris Bennett is shaking that thang in the audience right behind Elliott. Taylor's ok vocally. He's stretching a bit, and his voice really wears out on the notes he tries to emphasize and the high ones too. He's dancing again, and I've commented on this a million times already, so go back and read the old recaps. Paula is up and out of her chair, dancing like she's got a tin mug next to her and needs your donation. Taylor works it out, and y'all excuse me for a moment, but I heard vibrato, but didn't see it...I'd almost swear this was lip-synced! Well, whether or not this is true, and I'd like to believe it is not, I thought his performance was far and away better than Kat's. Randy thinks it was a hot one. Paula wore the double-stick tape tonight and she flips out. Simon thinks it was a great song but a bad jacket, and he gives round one to Taylor. Ryan and Taylor run out to the Bo riser and it's pimp city from here on out to the break. He makes it almost to the commercials before remembering to shout "Soul Patrol" three times. I want him to win, but I also want someone to punch him dead in the eye.

Ryan plugs the CD that is in stores today and the Idol tour that hits the road this summer. Got cash? 19 Entertainment would like some of it.

Kat is onstage. Sitting down. Somebody at some point has actually told her this is a good idea. She tries to recapture the magic of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," doing it exactly like she did the other night. I'm sorry but if that's the best song that showcases your talent, you aren't a pop star. Period. She fails to get to her feet. She looks like she wants to smile, but fights it off. Some pot-heads in the audience do that side-to-side hands-in-the-air wave thing that just screams "I wasn't well-liked in high school." Kat leans over, stares at the ceiling, and pleads with the camera via her eyes for us to find something redeemable in her egotistical body. Then she involuntarily breaks into a smile, followed by an extremely nervous look. Vocally, yeah, you know how it went. It was good. Hate the song, want her to fail, but she sang it well. And her obnoxious father is crying in the audience again. I'm beginning to think the mom pepper-sprays him when she starts singing. Randy thinks it started off as anti-climactic but that she works it out. Paula showers her with praise, and Katharine eats it up completely. Paula says every dad was crying. Mine probably was, but it was in frustration that she was still on stage. Simon says she got, and I quote, "slaughtered" in the first round, but that she made a comeback this time around. C'mon, somebody be honest and tell her that this was a completely safe performance!! The stage parents get camera time again. Kat talks about how her ear monitor didn't work. I wonder what does play through those things? Probably Dr. Phil telling Kat to believe in her own greatness.

It's time to chat with Taylor's fam. Taylor Hicks is singing Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Levon," a great song, and perfectly safe for Taylor. Ahhh, much better jacket. Wait just a minute...where is the soul in this song? He comes out HIGHLY off key and looking as nervous as R. Kelly in a room full of thirteen year olds. He doesn't look like he's even feeling this, and he's sort of walking around the stage, not so much singing the song as just sort of delivering it to our doorstep. The sycophantic crowd sways as they are apparently contractually obligated to do. I mean, will a bouncer come and yank them out of the audience if they don't? This is not a good performance by Mr. Hicks, unfortunately. He's just not hitting it right, somehow. I can't put my finger on it. I hope this sounded better in person. Taylor did, at least, go for the mix of slow and spastic today. Randy is about to dump on him, though. Randy thinks it was a little pitchy. I was hoping pitchy would show up at the finale. Pitchy is too kind. It was way off. Paula says something that makes no sense whatsoever. Simon thinks Kat has taken the second round. Constantine and Bucky think so too. Taylor almost refrains from saying "Soul Patrol." I like him much better when he's just standing there. Vote for him, please. I'm having a hard time selling him.

After the break, we get to the original songs...

More of the McParents, and I fail to see how the Earth has refrained from opening up and swallowing them. Thankfully, after this week I never have to lay eye on the McCrybaby and the McExCabaretSinger again.

Kat is singing her song, and taking a long time to get on with it. She waves and smiles like a goon. Oh dear, I hope this is not the winner. This song sounds like butt right off the bat. I have a Hoover vacuum cleaner that is sitting over in the corner getting jealous out of its mind at the suck power of this song. This makes "Inside Your Heaven" sound like a classic by comparison. She sort of sings it half-heartedly and all kinds of flat. Kat cannot sing low notes. Dusty Springfield, she is not. The girl has missed her calling with musical theater. Not a pop star. No sir. Will you be buying this single? Don't lie. You know you won't. You'll download it illegally, and then delete it before your friends find out you have it. She majorly flats out on one incredibly missed notes, and then she launches into the money portion of the song that is supposed to bring us to our feet, but rather moves us to take an impromptu bathroom break. She is as flat as Kansas. Her mom looks up at her like she just turned water into wine onstage. The whole "it's my destiny" line is sure to fire up the Kat haters. Maybe my local affiliate is messing up the sound, but this one sounds lip-synched too. Smiles and smiles. Randy stutters a lot, says she looks amazing, and you know by now that he hated the ever-loving bull crap out of the song. Paula thinks Kat is brilliant. Simon is about to dump all over it. He thinks she is a great great POTENTIAL artist, but that the voters better remember the second song. I feel like he wants her to win. I don't. She is NOT better than the song. No more Kat on this show...uh...until tomorrow...

Brad Hicks is ultimately more likeable than McDad. I just wanted to put that out there as a selling point.

Taylor's song starts out with a piano lick that was written by Mrs. McFarland's fourth grade music class. Still the song is a bit more engaging than Kat's, as slow sappy Idol ballads go. It's still far and away behind most of the others, but once it gets to the chorus it starts to sort of be good. I bet it would sound amazing if I could hear the studio version. I think Taylor is doing a pretty good song singing it, and it's the right blend of Taylor's soul versus his subdued side. I loved the key shift, and for once I don't mind his enthusiastic performance at the end. Ladies and gentlemen, THIS should be your next American Idol. Despite 7 repeats of "Soul Patrol." Randy thinks the song is slightly better than Kat's and that Taylor did a good job of it. Paula says something. Don't care what. Simon thinks he has just won the show. Mandy Moore is happy about it. Taylor freaks out and duck walks over to Ryan. There's some argument between Paula-Randy and Nigel off-screen. I know who this crowd is voting for.

Vote for Taylor. Send Kat and her parents away.

In one of the most inappropriate moves ever, special guest Daniel Powter will further allow me to hate his song "Bad Day." Seriously, is this the night to sing it? On the other hand, if he'd dedicate this song to Kat on air, I'd go buy three copies of his CD right now. I'm so tired of this song. Thank you, Idol, for making me hate it.


Two words: Soul Patrol. That's all.

Catch you tomorrow night.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I promise I'm not making any of these up. These are some of the search strings that have led people to this blog:

The ones I understand:
80's country music
70's dance music
hot celebrity news
guitar taylor

The ones I don't understand:
divorce lawyer las vegas
vacuum cleaner cover
great butts
blog naked picture woman
naked man and woman



One of my favorite Idol contestants celebrates her 20th birthday today. Best wishes, Stevie!!

She's got three songs posted now on her Myspace, which she tells me were recorded when she was 15. Still, they sound great. Work continues on her new album.

You can also give her a look over at! Look for her also to make an appearance at the American Idol finale this week.

And last but not least, go back and re-read her interview with me!

P.S.--Don't miss the post down below this one. I want your comments on that one too! --J.D.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


For a while, blogger Mack Collier of the Viral Garden, BMA, and Marketing Profs has had an ongoing conversation with the powers that be at Nettwerk about the direction they're taking with their artists and marketing. (For those of you not in the know, Nettwerk is the label for Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, Dido, and Sixpence None the Richer, among others.)

Nettwerk, by the way, is also the label that has acted AGAINST the RIAA, giving legal assistance to the Greubel family and agreeing to pay ALL the legal expenses should the Greubels lose in court. The Greubels were being sued by the RIAA for downloading songs from the internet, one of which was Nettwerk's own "Sk8r Boi" as recorded by Avril Lavigne.

"Suing music fans is not the solution, it's the problem," CEO Terry McBride said.

Truer words were never spoken. But that's not my point tonight.

Mack, Jordan, and Ryan have been corresponding with Nettwerk marketing staff and attending Nettwerk seminars to try to see what relationship bloggers can develop with record companies to help change the current marketing models of music and CDs.

Mack has developed an idea he calls "100 CDs for 100 bloggers," in which CDs would be distributed to bloggers to listen to, rate, and review prior to the CD's street date. It's not EXACTLY a new idea; rather, it's an old idea being re-worked for a new venue. Label reps have been distributing CDs for years and years to college stations for the same purposes, using CMJ and other meters to track airplay and usage. And labels routinely have their new albums screened by traditional print media and other more static and less community based websites. What Mack is suggesting is a new paradigm shift, wherein bloggers and other online information sources of note would be given the chance to audition the music and then introduce it to their respective communities, giving their review, hosting conversation, and helping to promote the album.

"But JD," you say, "can't I already find reviews on other websites and in magazines?" Yes, in fact, you can. The major difference, though, is that with a blog, there is a conversation between the reader and the writer. When you pick up your copy of, say, Entertainment Weekly, you can't ask the writer questions like "why didn't you like it?" (And believe me, people in that magazine and most others don't ever give a solid reason. How could they, when they have to do it in 100 words or less--whereas bloggers have space only limited by their imagination.) On the other hand, if I blog a review of, say, the next Avril Lavigne CD, you can challenge my review by commenting on it. Or you can ask me a question about it, and I can answer you back. All told, the marketing community with blogs is much more community based, and can be viral as all get-out. And it already works. Just look at the comment box for my review of the band Line of Fire and their CD. Most of the readers here would've never heard about them, but I found them, was amazed by their music, got my hands on their CD myself, and talked them up. Right off the bat there's one purchase! It may not sound like much, but any good marketer knows that it's a good start. The blogosphere is just waiting to be tapped.

Jordan and Ryan took some of these ideas to the Nettwerk seminar in Vancouver, so perhaps as dialogue opens up, record labels will figure out new and inventive ways of putting the music out in front of you, the buying public.

Okay, community comment time for my faithful readers: Do you guys think you'd be more likely to check out a CD if I gave you enough information to make an informed choice about it? Do you think my recommendation would carry any weight with you? Also, this is your chance to let Nettwerk know what you would like to see them do to promote artists in the future! Discuss!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


So unclear this clarity,
That chills and thaws and haunts in me,
And I have misty eyes.
The fear that warms and comforts me,
Also turns me heartlessly,
Into a shadow of a mind.
I think like I am someone else,
Redefine the bitterness,
Deep inside my soul.
I wake up so depressed,
I've run into this wilderness,
And it's a long way home.
Get so mad, wanna curse and shout,
But it won't help me find the way out,
Off this deadly road.

I've run so far away,
That I can't find it,
The path I used to take,
The one with silver lining.
I'm crying to get back,
There's nothing here for me,
And I really miss the heart that sat,
Beating beside me, there to guide me,
Holding to my hand.

Truth is, that I got bored,
Spent life I couldn't afford,
To lose along the way.
Wasted years and lonely hours,
Breaking all my strongest towers,
I think there's Hell to pay.
"Are you still out there?" now I cry,
"Or have you left me here to die?"
I wait for your word.
I was a slave; you made me free,
But I'm a slave again you see,
Would you still free me?
I'm so sorry. I know it hurts you,
Whenever I up and desert you,
And I wouldn't blame you if you leave me be.

I've run so far away,
That I can't find it,
The path I used to take,
The one with silver lining.
I'm screaming to get back,
There's nothing here for me,
And I miss the heart that sat,
Beating beside me, there to guide me,
Holding to my hand.

Do I see you? I see you holding out your hand.
I believe you, I believe you want me back again.
I don't know why you do, but I accept it for sure,
And if I have my way I won't go running anymore.

I don't wanna run far away,
So far that I can't find it,
The path I want to take,
The one with silver lining.
Feels so good to be back,
There's something here for me,
No longer have to miss the Heart,
That so long was missing me.

(That's my sister y'all... check out her music at her Myspace.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Okay, so I'm driving to work. It's dark. I'm out of gas.

I pull into the first filling station that I come across where gas is under a million dollars per gallon. I see one with $2.59 on the marquee, and I whip the Tomato Cruiser off the road and up to the pump. By the way, I call my car the Tomato Cruiser because, frankly, it is the same shape and color as a tomato. I'm not always creative.

So I'm filling up my tank and suddenly there's this voice shouting across the lot from the ice machine. I look up, hoping to God that whoever it is isn't hollering at me, while at the same time knowing that I couldn't be that lucky. I'm just hoping that whoever it is isn't some insane lunatic.

I'm 0 for 2 on the wishlist.

Some crusty old dude is standing by the ice machine looking directly at me. Be invisible, I whisper to myself, be invisible. Unfortunately, anyone who knows me knows that I have about the same chance of being invisible as ice has a chance of being hot.

Now I'm used to people coming up to me at gas stations trying to bum a dollar. It's usually fairly comical to listen to them try to make up some ludicrous backstory about how they're a war veteran or they have some debilitating injury and your one dollar, yes yours, is the only remaining obstacle between them and a bus ticket back home to Gloryville where they are headed to get the treatment they seek or meet the family that abandoned them long ago. The truth is so obvious from the outset. I think if one of them were to actually come up to me and just tell me that all they really wanted was a 40 ounce of beer, I'd probably take them in the store and buy it myself. That has never once happened, ever.

But this guy isn't quite wanting that. "Hey," he hollers. I pretend not to hear him while swiping my card in the pump, figuring I'll just jump in my car once I'm done and speed off, leaving him and not risking any more of my life than I have to.

No way that's happening. He walks over, introduces himself in a slurred voice, and offers his hand for me to shake. There's really nothing anyone can do in this situation, so I shake his hand and withdraw quickly. Mercy, but he has rough calloused hands. I'm thankful for the bottle of Purell in my glove compartment. "I thought you was Mike," he says. I don't know who Mike is, but I wish he was here.

"Mike helps me out sometimes. Hey, look, man, I ain't got nothin' right now but one blunt left." At this point he pulls out his bag of weed, and I'm beginning to see where I think this is going. "I don't never smoke alone," he says. "You wanna come help me smoke this?"

Ok, not even where I thought this was going.

"I don't have any cash on me," I say quickly.

He looks at me like I'm the one that's crazy. "You don't need no cash, man. You take half, and I'll take half, and we'll smoke this." This guy's not trying to sell me the stuff; he's just wanting me to help him use it. "I'm sorry," I say. "I don't smoke weed." He rambles on for some time more. My tank fills up, and I'm ready to cut out.

Shoot. The receipt printer at the pump isn't working. I contemplate just leaving without it, but then... no... better get it, just in case I forget to post the amount. I figure if I ditch him and go into the store, maybe he'll leave me alone.


When I come out, he's still there, holding the pot out for the world to see, asking me if I want to toke up with him. At this point, I'm feeling sorry for him. He's obviously out of his mind. God only knows what sort of Hell his life has been to bring him to the point where he hangs out around gas stations just trying to find people to light up with.

Obviously I don't go smoke with him, but I do hand him a dollar, even though I know where it's going to go. Sometimes you just have to give on faith.

I drive off. And then he's gone. Out of my life, never to be seen again. I wonder what will happen to him.

Another lost soul added to the list of people I pray for every night, and another note of thankfulness to God that my life has gone so right, where others have gone so wrong...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


It's Wednesday night and time for results. Tonight we get a full hour of it, and since we've got no guest performers tonight, I'm stuck wondering how we're going to make all this time go by. My guess is tons of commercials.

So anyway, I've been pondering what it is that is bugging me about this season's contestants. Something about them is just turning me off. I thought about it a little bit this morning on my drive home, and I've come up with what I think their problem is, and I can sum it up in four words:


Moreso than previous years, I believe, these contestants have actually begun to buy into their own press, and for some of them it has equated to heads the size of Randy Jackson's parachute pants. You can see this by the subtle affect they give off. It started early with the egos of Brenna Gethers, Gedeon McKinney, Sway and Patrick Hall. But as we got into the top 12, we started to see even more brazen egos. There was Kevin Covais, who was about as sexy as rectal cancer, but who honest-to-goodness took to heart the whole "sex symbol" thing. There was Kellie Pickler who began believing that the hokey cornpone schtick was actually endearing her to everybody, even up until the point where the huge backlash washed her away and out to sea. We had Paris Bennett and her "favor." Even Chris Daughtry seemed to think for all the world that he deserved to be there, and looked angrier than Martha Stewart on sentencing day when he got eliminated.

And now we have the top three, most of whom have totally bought into their own press and hype within the bubble that is American Idol. Elliott Yamin has probably bought into it the least, and he at least appears to be humble on-screen, but you can tell that he's keyed into this "funky white boy" schtick. Sorry, Elliott, but Vanilla Ice was also called that when he first started. Taylor Hicks has bought into the whole "Soul Patrol" thing to the point of religious fervor, and while he once believed himself to be a student of Ray Charles and Joe Cocker, it's now quite apparent that he believes himself to be their equal. (However, I do have to give Taylor credit last night, because I think he thought he blew it on "What a Wonderful World" and he appeared quite relieved to know that the judges disagreed. I feel like he would've taken criticism graciously.) On the flip side of that coin, none have bought into their own hype more than Katharine McPhee, who was genuinely aghast at the judges' criticisms last night, horrified that they should suggest she's anything less than the second coming of Celine Dion. She's impervious to suggestion from any coaches, except Peisha, her mom, and goes out smiling like the Joker on Viagra through the most wretched of lyrics. Her fits and cheekiness are not likely to win her any fans, but it feels like she honestly believes in her own vaunted greatness.

Regardless of that, though, one of these three will be the next American Idol, and two of these three will very shortly be publishing an album for the world to judge. In the end, the second event will be what measures their overall importance in the music industry, well after the A.I. bubble bursts around them and they no longer have the benefit of weekly exposure and the assistance of the staff of the nation's most popular television show to make them look good week after week.

Okay, rant over. It's time for the show to start.

We see the three gathered together on stage, all of them looking as nervous as Michael Jackson in a room full of prosecutors. Ace Young is in the house, alongside a newly-bobbed Kellie Pickler. Wonder how much that cut cost? I honestly didn't recognize her at first. Ryan is thrown for a loop and wants to know if there's something romantic going on. This guy gets thrown by a razor too, and hasn't shaved in a couple of days. He tells us there were 50 million plus votes cast last night and informs us that the race is as close as it ever was, except for the last time it was close.

Ryan introduces the judges, and Randy immediately starts in on the boo, because nobody has told him that a joke is not funny after the five-hundredth performance.

It's time for the recap of the show. There's good ol' Elliott, doing his best, but getting de-pimped like M.C. Hammer's fourth album. There's Taylor, sort of rocking, sort of not, but delivering a karaoke performance all the way. And then there's Kat, who tried to make the theme "Kid Movie Night" with songs from The Wizard of Oz and Space Jam, and there she is giggling her way through a blues song about heartbreak and despair. Which of these three goes home tonight? It's getting just the slightest bit harder to care. If it's Elliott, people will sort of shrug. If it's Kat, people will squawk a bit, but not be altogether surprised. If it's Taylor, get ready for fan backlash that will make last week's Chris Daughtry fuss look like somebody getting spanked with a feather duster.

Time for footage of the three Idols' homecomings, but not till the end of the Ford Car-Mercial though. Dear mercy, the Idols are rappin' while made up as geriatric people. It's an odd take on Run DMC, and I'm sure Jam-master Jay is whirling in his grave right now. Just awful.

It's time to pimp X-3 with a visit from Wolverine and Mystique. They all get DVD screeners which are sure to be on bittorrent by now. So anyway, enough with the commercials. Let's get with actual show content.

Taylor Hicks took a southern food tour and had ribs and pancakes for breakfast. The good news for those of you who don't like Taylor is that he will be dead from atherosclerosis by age 35. Taylor gets his turn on The Rick & Bubba Show which is the Howard Stern show for redneck types. Taylor is still shouting "soul patrol." For some reason, they bring a beaver out to the parade to support Taylor. I am going to be hearing that "We Are...Soul Patrol..." chant in my nightmares tonight. Taylor wooos a lot when he gets the key to the city. Taylor went to Hoover High, which is in a fairly nice part of town as I remember. At the very least it has a great minor league baseball stadium where Michael Jordan once played. Taylor performs with his old band of soon-to-be-looking-for-new-gig musicians at the Galleria in front of a bunch of women whose average age is about 60. Taylor goes to the Governor's mansion for a bunch of PR baloney. He gets a proclamation of Taylor Hicks Day. Do y'all remember when they did this for Bo last year? Bo actually cried about it. Taylor just sort of looks like he feels entitled.

Taylor and Ryan have a very scripted conversation, and now Taylor is going to perform "Taking It To the Streets" as originally done by the Doobie Brothers. He starts off whiny, and then he gets up on the risers with the other contestants, sharing the spotlight a bit. That's at least a bit classy. They get up and Taylor-dance with him on the stage. Not a great vocal, but then again not a bad vocal either. I sort of like him in this zone, not too sedate and not too spastic. That was actually a little bit fun.

I've made up a song for Katharine to sing while smiling her face off:

Katharine's Favorite Things:
(to the tune of "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things")
Nuclear winter and germs and diseases
Babies dying from epileptic seizures
Death and destruction and pricey gasoline
These are a few inappropriate things

And you just know she'd smile until her teeth cracked while singing it.

Anyway, Kat didn't have far to go home, since she lives in Sherman Oaks. She's all kinds of excited about it. Kat gets all smiley and energetic. She shoots over to KROQ for the Kevin and Bean Show which is a decent show, but not my favorite. Then she goes on a chopper ride to her high school. They have a huge pep rally for her at her school, where she dances and gets marriage propositions from 15 year old boys. Mayor Villarilongname gets her to sing, and let me just say that gymnasium acoustics do not agree with her. She then gets up in the stands where she is subsequently groped and mobbed and Suge Knight dives in to rescue her. Time to shoot home and kiss the doggy, hold the god-daughter and get back just in time to put another preggo shirt on.

Another pre-scripted conversation. She is a bit miffed that she didn't get the same huge reception the others did. I guess Governor Terminator must've been otherwise occupied, because he put the Mr. Freeze on greeting her personally. But for now it's time for her to sing "Think" as done by Aretha Franklin. She kicks off the shoes and that's just a bit weird. Heaven help her, she's flat and sharp all over the place, to say nothing of nasal. Down in the audience, Pickler is giving her thumbs-up approval while secretly poking her Kat voodoo doll. I thought that ghetto booty might hurt somebody while Kat was running back onstage. Guaranteed that last movement was why she kicked off the shoes. She mentions Simon in the song, which was a cute way to kiss up, but a little bit late. I don't know. I just couldn't like her singing that song, and it makes me think that Shoeless Kat might be going home to her Field of Dreams tonight.

Elliott Yamin is in the last spot tonight. Gavin DeGraw is here to steal camera time away from Ell's Bells. Elliott sits there and talks in chopped sentences about how he felt like the king of Richmond VA. He makes the regular TV and radio station stops along with his Secret Service detail. Elliott looks genuinely honored to be there, and at times he looks like he's going to choke up. He stops by the pharmacy where he used to work. Then it's on to the throng of thousands that Kat did not get who are there to listen to him sing a Michael Buble song. Wow, he sounds great in an outdoor concert setting! He's going to meet the Governor, and the Governor doesn't ham it up quite as much as the Alabama one did. There's the parade and the screaming tweens on the sidelines. Does anybody still believe this kid doesn't have fans? He's throwing out the first pitch for the Richmond Braves, the triple A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Elliott's crying up on stage, and so is Paula. I've just got so much of an emotional investment in this guy. I've been waiting to hear him sing "Moody's Mood for Love" again. Mmmmm. I'm tempted to just stop typing and listen to this. What a beautiful song, and what a beautiful performance! I can close my eyes and imagine this on the CD player while I'm having a candlelight dinner with some gorgeous hottie. Beautiful. Bravo. If this is Elliott's last performance on Idol, then he has truly gone out in style.

By the way, American Idol Encores will be on the shelves next Tuesday. It'll be interesting to hear how this year's crop sound in a studio setting. Plus it'll be nice to have a Kellie Pickler track in my possession that I can use to torment my roommate into submission with. We're seeing a retrospective of how many successes Idol contestants have had over the years. And then Clive Davis steps out of his tomb and accepts a plaque honoring his success. Clive gushes over Kelly Clarkson in a mush-mouthed sort of way. Seriously, Clive, put your false teeth in buddy. More bragging about other Idol records. Apparently Bo is well on his way to platinum status with an album that couldn't be less characteristic of his talent if it tried. I must make a confession at this point, though. I do own a Carrie Underwood CD. Please help me through my shame.

Okay, Clive, you can be quiet now.

We're getting a Coyote Ugly bar here on Beale St. in Memphis. How fun.

So now...moment of truth time...

33.06 percent, 33.26 percent, and 33.68 percent. This was a close race, and I smell a shocker going on. Who belongs to which percentage?

The lowest is 33.06 percent and that belongs to Elliott Yamin which is not surprising, but is shameful nonetheless. Katharine and her classless mother are smiling, clapping, and happy about it. Way to not pay respects, you jerks.

Good run, Elliott, and I hope there is something in the future for you. You have been one of my personal heroes throughout this competition, and I will buy anything you put out.

As for the rest of the competition, I am going to have to begrudgingly join the Soul Patrol. I don't want Kat to win this.

Man. I'm really bummed by this.

Y'all check me out on the blog, and if not, see ya next week for the finale.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Only two weeks left in the competition and it's down to the wire. A shocking elimination last week has left Chris fans scurrying around the internet firing off one inane petition after another, as if something like this hasn't happened before. I guess that just goes to show how much we get sucked in by our televisions; we think what goes on there will actually be relevant even a month from now.

I find it amazing how much hatred is spouted at random people on the multitude of A.I. message boards and forums out there because two people who don't know each other and might otherwise be great friends disagree on their favorite contestants. You'd think people were arguing over whether socialism works as a governmental philosophy or not.

But we love our Idol, and for now it's fun. So let's get on with it!

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

It's time to begin! Only four more episodes to go before we find out who will be crowned this year's American Idol! And then I'm going on vacation. Seriously.

Ryan tells us that this is where it gets serious, as though everybody has been slacking off the whole time. Oh...wait... well... he does have a point. Anyway, if you haven't already guessed, "THIS....izzzz... American Idol!" Seacresty-boy is all about the enunciation.

And so now he's magically teleported up to the stage and is totally ruining the vertical hold on my TV with his white tie. He slanders us mercilessly for not voting for Chris and then further tortures us by introducing us to Randy, not introducing us to Paula, and then cueing Randy to moo, er boo, at Simon. Clive Davis is back on the show, and he got to pick out the Idol's first performances tonight. We go through a litany of artists that Clive signed. Some of them are good, some of them he should be flogged for. I don't know how Maroon 5 sneaked their way onto the list of greats. So basically Clive is responsible for all the classic rock we love and all the pop tripe that we hate.

Clive chose "Open Arms," one of my favorite songs, for Elliott Yamin. Clive takes off his oxygen tank and has a "Come to Jesus" talk with Elliott, imploring him to rock it out. Small chance of that, as Elliott goes the Lite-FM route on "Open Arms." I'm just waiting for Randy to tell us that he recorded this song with Mariah. Elliott sounds okay, but this is just not what this song should sound like. I was listening for the signature guitar lick, which is completely missing. Not Elliott's fault, but it would've been nice. Elliott sang it decently, and Leeza Gibbons seems to think so too, but it just didn't pack the punch that he did last week. Randy reminds us all that he was in Journey for about five minutes when they needed a bass player, which I had forgotten. He's not all that impressed with Elliott tonight. Paula thinks he did a great job and she gushes all over the place to the point where Simon needs to towel off. Simon thinks Elliott can do better than that and that he should loosen up. Simon is right. Ryan comes straight out of the Church of Mandisa and asks Elliott if he belieeeeeeves he can make the finals. Elliott looks a bit down-trodden.

After the break, the other two bozos who I don't care about...


Katharine McPhee has been given the task of singing "I Believe I Can Fly" which is the most tired song in the whole entire world. Seriously, Rip Van Winkle took one look at that song and was impressed. Kat is looking forward to soaring, though I might suggest a longer skirt if she's going to become airborne. The problem with this song is that it is so overused in talent shows, and it just sounds like a talent show song, not something you would choose to really shine on. And shine Katharine does not. Thankfully, this is a song that she's okay to smile with. There's a long portion of the song where she's not singing, and she just stands there looking gobsmacked, as if she doesn't know where to come in. She comes in awkwardly, and the rest of it is just her trying to do runs, melismas, and whatever else. Tossing her hair and all that rot. It didn't work for me at all. It was nasal, almost to the point of Kellie Pickler running up on stage waving a snot rag. Randy starts off saying she looks amazing, which is his cue that he's about to knock a knot on her noggin'. Randy doesn't think she was up to the task. Paula can't say what she wants to say, because her neural synapses are no longer firing. Kat gives her a "will-you-hurry-up??" look. Kat whines to the judges that they've been too hard on her the last couple of weeks, and NO POINTS FOR WHINERS. Simon thinks Kat is being treated unfairly, and that the song was too recognizable for her, which is sort of a back-handed compliment. Ryan and Randy get into it, and Randy looks genuinely cheesed off.

Taylor Hicks gets to do Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." The only thing that will make me like this is if Courteney Cox gets up on stage and dances. Taylor thanks Clive for personally calling Bruce to get permission to do the song, because apparently Bruce has the class not to let his songs routinely get wrecked on Idol's stage. Taylor's performance of it is a hack job, for sure. Granted, his vocals are a near match for Bruce Springsteen, but that's only because Bruce's voice is completely thrashed to begin with. You sort of like a Springsteen song for the tune and the style, not necessarily because Bruce has pipes. Taylor gets inane with it and drags Paula out of the judges' section, getting her up on the risers to dance, and then abandoning her like her last pill dealer to run back on stage. Randy compliments Taylor on his STAGE PRESENCE only, not vocals. Paula, of course, had fun. Taylor says "soul patrol" again. Simon thinks his performance paled in comparison to the original. Paula cackles and slobbers all over Simon, and it appears that the vodka is flowing tonight already. Taylor keeps shouting "soul patrol," and I am just this side of hating him.

NOTE: Any of you dorks out there who think Taylor is truly "soul" (and not just a one-dimensional hack), please come down to Memphis, and I will show you what real soul is all about.

After the commercials, apparently the contestants will perform two more songs apiece...


The judges, Seacrest, and two random cameramen are all huddled together in one big love-in.

Governor Wilder from Virginia gets to tell Elliott Yamin that he gets to perform "What You Won't Do For Love" as selected by Paula Abdul. I love this song. Paula keeps blabbering on, killing any effective segue that Ryan might have made. Elliott comes out trying to get that blue-eyed soul working. It's sort of okay, but I'm still missing something out of it. Still, all together, I'm enjoying it, and I appreciate the feeling he is putting into it. I find that he's really connecting with the lyrics. Randy correctly feels that Elliott was a little bit sharp, and I think maybe that's what was bothering me earlier. Paula thinks it was a good performance. Simon likes it quite well also. Yaminions, you better vote hard this week!

Mayor LonglastnameIcan'tspell tells Katharine McPhee that she gets to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," as chosen by Simon Cowell. Wow, didn't see that one coming! This may be the first Judy Garland song sung on the show. Kat starts out on the floor again. Noooooo, Kat, noooooo. Sounds like this is going to be another acapella performance. About time someone did this. Oh well, never mind, there's the music. Get up, Kat, get up, please!! Vocally, I think she's made some strides forward though, and her singing is really pretty now that she's understating it and not shouting to the rafters. Katharine really does well as a sultry lounge-type singer. Oh please don't lay down, Kat...whew! What she really needed for this performance is a slinky red sequined dress and a grand piano to sit on top of. Excellent vocal with a bit of a lackluster stage presence. There's the McDad with the tears streaming down his face. Randy thinks it was the best vocal performance of the evening. Paula gives her a standing O and spills her rum and Coke all over the place. Simon also thinks it was the single best performance of the competition. Kat is all kinds of happy that she's not getting criticism this time around. It's about time she showed us what she's all about!

After the break, Randy's pick for Fat-Face...


Governor Riley of Alabama reads Randy's missive, which starts out, and I quote, "Yo." Governor is in the Dogg Pound for life. Randy picks out Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" for Taylor Hicks. Way to choose another vocalist with a questionable voice so that Taylor can really sound good in comparison. Taylor's eye movements look so spastic, and it's obvious he's just acting really badly and not connecting with the song on any level. He puts on this look as though he's a petulant child who just got disciplined for drawing on the walls with crayons. The falsetto "woo" is way off and just painful. I cannot find anything to like about this karaoke performance, and that's just what it is. From his I-just-had-a-stroke posturing to his half-hearted vocals, this one just stunk. Randy thinks he did the song proud. Taylor doesn't look like he believes it. Paula says he's a star. Simon thinks it was his best performance ever. If you don't believe that the judges want him to win, I submit this comment into evidence. Gee, do I have the wrong audio on? Taylor, who thought it sucked, is happy to have gotten by with something and continues to shout "soul patrol."

After the break, the last round...


Elliott Yamin is going to do another Donnie Hathaway song. Seacrest says it's the last chance for him to win us over, as though somehow he knows that Elliott won't be here next week. Elliott is poorly mic'ed during this number, and the sound mix just seems off. I like his performance, though, even though he sounds just the slightest bit subdued by the band. During the bridge, when the band stops playing a bit, you can tell a huge difference. He sounds great, and I like this song quite a bit. He misses the heck out of that high note though when his voice breaks. Otherwise, that was hot. Zac Efron is in the audience, so Hannah wipe that drool off your chin. Randy and Paula think that we can't connect with a song that wasn't recorded by a top 40 artist. They're wrong. Some of us actually listen to other music than the pop pablum that radio tries to push on us day after day, and a great many of us can appreciate the blues or any other forms of music, not just some Justin Timberlake tripe. Simon thinks that his songs won't carry him through to the next round (whoa, de-pimp!) and Seacrest rushes through his numbers. I hope that the judges are thwarted and Elliott goes through.

Katharine McPhee takes a page from the Book of Elliott and sings a blues song. She doesn't want to be compared to contemporary artists, mainly because she's not as good as them, but we'll see how well a black dress and hooker boots treat her. Sorry, Kat, but you don't have pipes of a blues/r&b siren. Diva she ain't. She smiles all the way through a BLUES song, y'all. A FRIGGIN' BLUES SONG. You have the blues, Kat. You ain't supposed to be SMILING!!! Connect with the song would you???? Randy thinks this was okay, but that Kat is no Ella. Paula thinks her other song was better, but y'know what, you still did a great job. Yay Paula, now go take your meds. Simon thinks this was a bad song to end on. Kat sneers at Simon and dismisses him with an "OK" before prancing over to Ryan, hoping to woo the camera a little bit more before being voted off tonight.

After the break, the Chosen One gets the coveted last spot. You're crazy if you think this thing isn't slanted toward him...


Taylor Hicks picked "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. He's singing it for the "Soul Patrol." Barf. Hurl. Yuck. I love Otis, and you sir are not Otis. The over-glorified wedding singer takes his spastic self to the stage and tries to squeeze life right out of his butt cheeks and get the crowd rockin'. He manages to get Paula to dance again, but an upbeat version of "Row Row Row Your Boat" would get that one up and shaking her groove thing. Taylor ends it with some shouting, and blah blah blah. You Taylor fans will hate me, and you other fans will love me, but I'm done with him. Randy dubs Taylor "Have-a-Good-Time-Funky-Taylor." Which is easier to say than Soul Patrol. Paula loves it. Simon thought the ending was a mess, but he is confident Taylor will be in the finals, since it's been rigged that way from the beginning. Taylor repeatedly shouts "soul patrol" and at this point, I just wish a small meteorite would crash through the ceiling and hit him square in the jaw.

Well, how will it go?


Save a spot for Kat or Elliott on the next bus home. It would be nice to see a surprise vote for Taylor to go home, but what are the chances?

See you tomorrow night!

Sunday, May 14, 2006


"Her children arise up, and call Her blessed..." Proverbs 31:28

Once again the calendar has flipped around to another Mother's Day. It's a time of remembrance, and a time to show your mom how much she means, and it's also a time to wander stupidly around the store trying to figure out what in the round world you could possibly get her for her special day that isn't too cheesy or isn't something she wouldn't want.

Honestly, I should probably take a couple years off from Mother's Day gifts since I knocked it out of the park last year by making a 30 minute video retrospective for her. It took me WEEKS to finish that, but it was worth it to see her reaction to it. However, the downside is that I just can't top that gift, so I'm stuck in Wal-Mart trying to figure out if a copy of The Purpose Driven Life is Mother's-Day-ey enough.

Truthfully, though, it's not the previous gift that makes it hard for any others to measure up. It's actually more that the gifts she's given me would cause any trinket or bauble to pale in comparison.

For starters, there's the gift of...oh, I don't But there's so much more beyond that, too. There's the constant love that I got my whole life, the care, the advice, and the example.

My mom didn't come from much. She was raised in a backwater Kentucky town, or "up the holler," as they might say it. She was one of five daughters of a hard-drinking coal miner and a hard-working God-fearing mother. She lost her father to his drinking and his crazy ways at a young age, and her mother did everything she could to make sure the girls got by, often taking from herself and giving to them. I couldn't care less that I never knew my grandfather, but I am glad that I did get to meet my mother's mother before she passed. Memories of her explain an awful lot about my own mother.

My mother was a smart one, and she was driven. She did well in school. She finished college with a teacher's degree, and then she met my dad. Despite loud protests from her sisters and mother, they got married. A few years later, a bouncing baby boy came into their lives. My grandmother thought I was something spectacular. She used to hold me on her lap and tell my mother that I was too smart to live. As long as I had the birdcage music box to play with, I was a happy camper.

My mother decided to stay home with me and raise me. Till the moment I stepped onto the bus to go to kindergarten, my mother was there every waking moment. And she wasn't just there, as in around the house; she was there teaching me things, showing me things, and guiding me along with any question I might have. She was there when I took my first steps. She was there when I said my first word. She was there when I skinned up my knees and had to put that awful red medicine on them. She was there when I was four and I picked up her shopping list and read it to her. She claims to have little to do with me teaching myself how to read, but I doubt it would've happened without her. Sesame Street can only teach you so much.

She was also there when I got too big for my britches. As a teenager, I knew pretty much everything there was to know, or so I thought, and my parents were the dumbest people in the world. My mom didn't care about all that teenage bravado though. She knew at the end of the day, someone had to make the meals, and someone had to clean Super-Teen's laundry. And quite often, she knew how to make me work!

Still, I think I was spoiled. Well, spoiled to a point, I suppose. Discipline was meted out in its due amount along with the love and the indulgence. She never let me run wild or run over her. I was never once in my life beaten, but the spankings on the other hand are beyond enumeration. I don't regret a single one of them now, since they molded my mind (if not my behind) into the man I'm supposed to be today.

Mom and I had our times when we couldn't be around each other without biting each others' heads off or yelling at each other, but thankfully we both are wiser now and both realize the mistakes we made, and I think we both realize that the reason one person gets mad at another is because there is love and concern for the other's well-being there. I was a young man trying to win my independence. She was a mother having to learn to let go of her firstborn.

These days, I take time out to visit my mom (and my dad) for no reason at all. I am still learning things about them and their past that help me. I still get that sage advice from a woman who has been through the fire and lived to tell the tale.

I wouldn't trade you anything for the wonderful lady that is my mother. She is the true picture of the virtuous woman as described by Solomon in Proverbs. And I hope someday the woman I marry will be too.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, from your eternally grateful son. This one's for you:

"My Mother"
--by Ross Bagdasarian

It’s hard to remember
Summer or winter
When she hasn’t been there for me.
A friend and companion
I can always depend on
My mother, that’s who I need.

I’ve taken for granted
Seeds that she planted.
She’s always behind everything.
A teacher, a seeker,
A both arms out reacher,
My mother, that’s who I need.

Wish I could slow down
The hands of time,
Keep things the way they are.
If she said so, I would give her the world,
If I could,
I would.

My love and my laughter,
From here ever after,
Is all that she says that she needs.
A friend and companion,
I can always depend on,
My mother, that’s who I need.
My mother, that’s who I need.
That’s who I need.