15 May 2008

Found on Flickr: Blood Tree

I've really been slacking on both my "Music Monday" and "Found on Flickr" series. I suck. But I'm posting today, because I came across this beautiful image on Flickr, titled "Blood Tree."

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(Photo courtesy of Flickr member ksaad.)

13 May 2008

"Oh f*%k" as heard on the evening news!

Earlier today I was reading a post on a blog called Oh Hey!, and it really made me take a step back and think about some things. I'm not someone who gets offended very easily; I tend to think of myself as pretty liberal, and hold the philosophy of "if you don't want to see it then look the other way."

The instance that instigated this was a recent "mishap," we'll say, of a news reporter while broadcasting live on the air. Apparently something irritated the female anchor and she was caught saying "f*%k" (not on camera though). Personally, I thought it was very humorous, mostly because television news personalities are typically so well-put-together and proper. So this action just showed her having a human moment. I can imagine, though, that for some more...refined individuals, and parents, this might've caused a little anger. After all, we Americans do pretend like we're much more open-minded than we really are, and we usually make bigger deals of things than are really necessary. At least that's my opinion. Judge for yourself:



See "Miley's continued controversy..." for similar topic.

11 May 2008

¡Feliz día de la madre!

¡Feliz día de la madre! That's "Happy Mother's Day" in Spanish. I'm not Hispanic and neither is my mother, so I don't really know why I'm even discussing this.

I'll just say "Happy Mother's Day" to all those wonderful women in the world who are kind, loving, giving mothers. We appreciate you, and are eternally grateful for your decision to have us.

You can learn more about the history of Mother's Day and how it's celebrated world-round by clicking here.

Sexy kitty?

I love comics, especially when they're really good (of course, that's subjective). A friend of mine forwarded me this entertaining cartoon yesterday. I have a cat and so does she, so we both found it funny.

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Tom Cruise: Living in a new light?

I'm not an avid fan of Oprah Winfrey's (hey...she does some good things), and am certainly not one of Tom Cruise's. And this was way before the outbreak of "crazy" episodes a few years back. Yes, you know exactly what I'm referring to. However, I was interested in checking-in with Oprah's two-part interview of Tom Cruise this past week, just to see what the conversation between the two would entail.

The "Friday" interview, at Cruise's home in Colorado, was actually somewhat interesting. He & Oprah discussed said outbreaks, and Tom seemed to have returned from his vacation to Weirdoville. However, I could barely stomach the "Monday" show, which found a who's-who of Hollywood-mites doting over how great Tom is, and how much he deserves his 25-year-in-the-business recognition. I'm sure they all mean what they're saying, but to me it came off as another publicity stunt to try to rebuild Tom Cruise's image. Perhaps I'm wrong.

EW.com recently published an article asking the question: "A Star is Reborn?" Is he?

10 May 2008

If you only had "4 Minutes"

Several days ago my friend Courtney IMd me at work, with the message of "You only have 4 minutes," or something to that effect. It was a nod--or maybe a tease--to my affinity of Madonna music, and her current single "4 Minutes." She then asked me if I only had four minutes what would I do? My response:

Live.
Laugh.
Love.

Well, that's pretty much what I do anyway. So I guess I'd continue doing that. I wonder...what would you do if you only had four minutes?

01 May 2008

Found on Flickr: Cloud Beach

Clouds are amazing, and I'm pretty much enamored with them. I think I inhereted this from one of my family members, who says she's going to be "put in charge of making clouds" when she goes to Heaven. So I had to post this photo for today's feature:

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I'm not sure where this is, but I want to be there!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user petervanallen.

10 Sounds I Like

10 Sounds I Like

Sounds. They can bring us immense pleasure or they can annoy the snot out of us. Interestingly enough, the same sound can bring one person pleasure, and another pain. Let's focus on the pleasurable sounds in this post (well, pleasurable to me); hopefully they're enjoyable to you as well.

10 sounds I like:

1. Air conditioning. It's so calming to me. Wherever I'm at--even if it's not at home--the sound just makes me want to take a nap.
2. Rain. Hard rain. See comment on number one for action!
3. Music. Music I like, of course. This is extremely diverse for me. If you're interested in seeing what kind of music that is, visit my MySpace profile.
4. Wind blowing in the trees. It's extremely calming.
5. Laughter. Hearty laughter. I'm talking from-the-stomach-can't-control-myself laughter. This is probably my favorite. Laugh on, my friends, laugh on. (This was also on my list of "10 Things I'm Fond Of".)
6. Crackling fire. I don't get to hear it too often because I live in florida, but I still love it.
7. The ocean. So peaceful. I always enjoy it from a distance though; I don't go in the ocean.
8. Acorns cracking. I like to step on them. Stomp on them. Crush them with the heel of my foot. I just love hearing the sound of acorns cracking.
9. Purring cats. Now that's the sound of satisfaction.
10. Cheering crowds. Particularly when it's at a concert and the fans are screaming for an artist they love. I've never witnessed this more than at a Madonna concert.

29 April 2008

Multiple personalities.

I've no idea where I ran across this, but when I read it, it amused me:

"If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?"

-- Tim Poggioli (I believe this is the correct person.)

28 April 2008

Miley's continued controversy: Art or Inappropriate?

Miley Cyrus is huge. If you pay any sort of attention to mainstream media there's no escaping her. She's all over the place right now. I'm over twice her age and don't follow her, and I know who she is.

Apparently Miley, daughter of country music star(?) Billy Ray Cyrus, just shot a spread for Vanity Fair, and one of the photos featured is causing quite a controversy. Said photo, by famed photographer Annie Leibowitz, shows Cyrus glancing into the camera, her bare back showing and her body only covered by a blanket.

The controversy bubbled-up because Cyrus is merely 15-years-old, and some are questioning whether this is "art," or simply a young girl being taken advantage of. This spread comes on the heels of "questionable" (I use this term loosely; what others consider questionable, I typically do not) photos of Miley that have appeared on the Internet.

As with situations such as this I tend to keep my personal opinion out of it; however, I am a fairly liberal person...and not a parent...so my feelings on the matter might differ from many others.

Here's the photo from Vanity Fair:

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What are your thoughts on the situation? Do you think this photo is inappropriate, given Miley's age? Or is it simply a tasteful art shot? I'm curious to know....



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<>Social Citizen<>

Music Monday: Naive Song

French.
Electronica.
Strange.
Madonna producer.
Victoria's Secret.

All of these words or terms can be associated with today's featured artist & video. It is noneother than Mirwais. His music is definitely unique; so much so that Madonna recruited him to head the production on her albums "Music" and "American Life."

Mirwais's sound is most certainly electronica-driven, and very much European. I purchased his CD "Production", immediately after first hearing "Music," and one of my favorite tracks on the album is "Naive Song," the video for which is displayed below. While one of the most "mainstream" on the album, "Naive Song" is catch and easy to bop your head to.

Enjoy!






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<>Social Citizen<>

26 April 2008

It's the jam!

I just heard a great quote on a reality television show:

"I'm the jam! I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to butter their bread with me."

18 April 2008

From Me to Nifty: A Plea to My Blog

Dear blog:

I've been thinking about you quite a bit lately. Actually, you and me and how we've been working together. I love you very much, and enjoy spending time with you, but don't feel we're as close as we can be.

I like writing about pop culture, social media, and life in general, but most of the time I don't feel like we really talk about things that are very significant or make a difference in people's lives. And this--ultimately--is what I want and expect from our relationship.

So through this post, I urge the both of us to ponder what direction we want to take moving forward, and be open and communicative with one another. Of course, our readers play an important part in this, so if they have any thoughts or opinions on this matter...we must listen to them.

Thank you for hearing my cry, blog, and I look forward to our growing relationship.

Love,

Social Citizen

10 Things I Loathe

Last week I started a series titled "10 Things," and I kicked it off with "10 Things I Love." When thinking about the topic for this week's, I thought it only appropriate to counter the "love" post by things, well...I don't love. But I don't believe in the word hate, to I present to you "10 Things I Loathe."

10 Things I Loathe:

1. Lying. This is really at the top of the list. I have very little tolerance for lying of any kind. This also falls into the same group with stealing, cheating and hatred; they seem to all have their root in the same soil.
2. Hypocrisy. Very, very close to lying, in terms of its place on the list. I can't stand hypocrites. If you are one, don't come near me.
3. Humidity. Rather ironic since I live in Central Florida, and humidity plagues us during the summer.
4. When people use their signal in a turn-only lane. I have no idea why this bugs me but it always has. I mean, if it's a turn-only lane and you're in it, it's pretty much a given that you're turning. You don't really need to signal!
5. Really bad reality television. Of course this is subjective, but for me it's programming like pretty much anything you can find on VH-1 ("Rock of Love with Bret Michaels", "I Love New York") or MTV ("A Shot at Love", "The Real World: Hollywood")
6. Spiders. Shivers. The creeps. Get them away from me.
7. Angelina Jolie. Sure, she's a good actress, but every time I see her on TV she seems more "I'm a humanitarian and so much better than you," and I don't need this Hollywood lifestyle attitude. I don't know, I just do buy it.
8. Mustard/mayonnaise. Have never, never, never liked either one of these. One of my aunt's always use to try to sneak mayo on my ham sandwiches when I was a child. Not a wise decision to do to someone who loathes mayonnaise.
9. Alarms/alarm clocks. Mornings are not my friend. In fact, I've often said nothing should begin before noon. I love to sleep, and anything that interrupts that is bound to end-up on my "loathe" list.
10. Close-mindedness. I don't really have any thoughts on this one. That's how much I loathe it.

Do any of these 10 points line-up with things you loathe? If so, I'd certainly be interested in hearing about it.

10 April 2008

Found on Flickr: Night dreams...

I'm intrigued by dreams. Particularly the spiritual and psychological interpretations they hold. So when it came time for today's "Found on Flickr" feature, I was led to do a search for dreams. Iknew immediately when I saw "Night dreams..." that I had my photo:

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Something about it intrigues me, and invokes emotion.

This photo comes courtesy of Flickr user Proverbs 31:10.


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10 Things...

My friend over at RidetoRemedy.com recently started a series where she blogs the entire alphabet. Think "A is for..." and "B is for..." and so on. At first I'd told her that I was going to borrow her concept, which she was fine with. But then I decided to start my own series.

True, there are probably countless other bloggers who have the same series--which I suppose could be a rip-off of David Letterman's "Top 10"--but I don't personally know anyone so that's makes me feel fine about it. Plus mine's not really a "top 10" list so much as 10 random things.

So I'm going to begin a weekly series called "10 Things." I'm not sure if I'm going to post on the same day every week, or just post randomly. Guess you'll have to check back to find out. To kick off "10 Things," here are 10 things I'm fond of:

"10 Things I'm Fond Of"

1. Coffee in the morning. Loads of it, with lots of cream and sugar. "Make it blonde," I say.
2. Clouds. Big, fluffy clouds on a sunny day. Sometimes I want to catapult myself into the sky, and bounce from one cloud to the next. But then I remember that's not physically possible.
3. Candy. And I mean candy. Not chocolate. Candy! Hard candy. Soft candy. Sweet candy. I love it all!
4. Sleeping. Particularly when it's not interrupted by the harsh reality of an alarm clock.
5. Vacations. Haven't had one in over two years, but I love 'em.
6. Music. I almost feel safe in saying this is the thing I love the most. Music makes me happy, and I enjoy all kinds.
7. Love. Love of any kind. Friends. Family. Lovers. Sharing a bond with another person is a great feeling. I'm glad to know that this feels like.
8. Laughter. Contageous laughter. From-the-gut-tears-coming-out-of-my-eyes laughter. There's nothing better.
9. The Internet. This is probably obvious given the company I work for, as well as the fact that I maintain two-and-a-half blogs (this one and Pulse of Central Florida, which I co-author with a good friend of mine). I just love how fast it changes, and am stimulated by the creativity of individuals who are coming up with new ideas.
10. Life. Sometimes it's bad. Most of the time it's great. But not matter the situation I am always happy to be alive, and consider myself blessed to have such an enjoyable existence.

I'm sure you have things you are very fond of. What are they? Do we share any?

07 April 2008

Music Monday: I Feel It All

You may not know her name. You probably don't even know her face. But I'm willing to bet you know her music...at least one of her songs, that is. While Feist has been fairly well-known in her native land of Canada, she's only recently broken-thru stateside within the past year. Yes, with that "iPod" song. It's called "1234" and no matter how you may feel about this particular song it's unarguably different than anything that's been played on American radio in the past few years. (I wrote a post on my MySpace blog a while back, featuring one of her other videos.)

Feist is unique. Feist is different. Feist is...well, talented. And Canada's Juno awards seem to think so as well. In fact, Feist was honored with five of the evening's awards last night in Toronto, including Pop Album of the Year and Artist of the Year. Not too shabby!

Here is the song she performed at the awards ceremony:


But this song isn't the "Music Monday" feature. Actually, that goes to one of my favorite tracks off of Feist's monster album "The Reminder." The song is called "I Feel It All," and it's upbeat, entertaining...with a video to compliment it.

Check-it-out:


If you want to learn more about Feist visit her official website, or take a look at her MySpace page.

06 April 2008

Now you too can be the next da Vinci

Recognize this historic painting? You should. It's the Mona Lisa. And it's probably regarded as one of the most beautiful, and most well-known paintings in history. But now, through the beauty (or however you view it) of technology, you have the power to make your own Mona Lisa. Well, sort of.... Unfortunately, though, yours won't live in the Louvre.

You can make this:
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...look like this:
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Let me start by stating I came across this topic when I was watching the news a couple of days ago. Apparently there is an interactive educational feature somewhere (and I apologize I can't say exactly where; I was doing a search for the story online, and that's how I came across this website). I will continue to do my search and when I stumble across it I'll post it here.

So on to making your own Mona Lisa. While somewhat disturbing, online users can now change the expression of this gorgeous painting. Simply click here or visit http://www.cite-sciences.fr/francais/ala_cite/expo/explora/image/mona/en.php# to create your own expressions.

So, do you think this is too weird? Abeit all in good fun, should historical artifacts like Leonard da Vinci's masterpiece even be messed with?


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03 April 2008

Found on Flickr: Love

I've always been attracted to black & white photography. I think it's romantic, artistic, and expressive. So when I randomly stumbled upon this beautiful photo on Flickr, I knew it was the one I wanted to feature today.

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This photo comes courtesy of Flickr user annikenhannevik's photos.


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31 March 2008

Music Monday: What Do You Want From Me?

There isn't really much to say about electronic group Monaco other than they put out one kickin' debut album...and that they were short-lived. I first heard the song, the video for which is featured here, at a place I worked during college. I was immediately "hook"ed.

To read more about Monaco--a side project of New Order bassist Peter Hook--check-out their Wikipedia page.




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27 March 2008

Another "Good Mother"

I've written before about my passion for music, and specifically Canadian artists. One of my favorite said artists is Jann Arden. While she's never really hit mainstream success here in the United States, she is well-known and well-received in her native Canada.

Jann recently set out on a US tour to support her latest album, which I was super-stoked about. However, due to illness she had to cancel her tour. Major bummer. So to "get my fix" I was watching some videos & live performances earlier on You Tube. In doing so, I came across a video of a guy singing one of Jann Arden's most stirring songs, "Good Mother." Now, it's a fact I'm not typically drawn to male artists but YouTube.com user Jay Brannan has one of the most beautiful, emotional voices I've ever heard. And sometimes...in this day-and-age when anyone can essentially be famous...when I see postings like this on video sharing sites, it makes me wonder how much longer "celebrities" will be around. This guy is amazing....




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Found on Flickr: New Years in San Francisco

San Francisco is probably one of the most amazing US cities. A few years back when I visited there for the first time I wasn't sure what to expect -- my anticipation was for it to be like New York City. And while San Francisco is certainly a bustling, busy city, it is nothing like New York City.

San Francisco is laid back. Nobody's in a hurry to get anywhere. It's very bohemian. And I love it. So when I came across this photo on Flickr I had to feature it on "Found on Flickr."

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This photo comes courtesy of Flickr user *Christopher*'s photos.

Have you ever visited or lived in San Francisco? If so, I'd love to know how you feel about the city.


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24 March 2008

It's my one-year-birthday! (Well, for this blog anyway.)

Tomorrow is my one year blogging birthday! Yup, I started this "Nifty Nation" blog exactly one year ago tomorrow, while I was in New York City for a conference. And while there have certainly been slumps, and what I would refer to as weak content, overall I feel I've provided something interesting and entertaining to the folks who've stopped by.

I will continue to do my best to create original, engaging content, and certainly always appreciate feedback and suggestions. After all...you're here reading what I'm producing, so I want to create content that's intriguing to you.


Digg!


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Music Monday: Fear (of the Unknown)

Siouxsie and the Banshees was one of the most intriguing bands of the 1990s...to me, anyway. I just thought they had an interesting sound, supported by an even more interesting image (particularly lead singer Janet Susan Ballion, aka Siouxie Sioux).

1991's "Superstition" was the album that originally caught my eye--thanks to the track "Kiss Them For Me"--and was probably their most mainstream. The video featured here, however, is a remixed, more radio-friendly version, of the song "Fear (of the Unknown), off of the aforementioned album "Superstition."



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23 March 2008

This is me.

I'm taking a tip from my friend V, who owns-and-manages Jetsetters and Globetrotters (a travel blog)...although I'm always ratting on her about updating more often. At the end of each post she includes a small photo of herself, and I think it adds an entertaining, personal touch.

So I'm going to start doing the same. I hope you--my readers--enjoy this little feature, and that it helps you be a little more connected to me and my blog (after all, isn't that what blogging is all about?).


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Are we a nation of negotiators?

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to work and heard an interesting dialogue occurring on one of the local radio talk shows (these days it seems many of my topics stem from morning radio). One of the DJs was saying his mother is a "negotiator": no matter where she goes or what she's doing she's always trying to negotiate a better price. I scoffed at first--I can't identify with this type of behavior because I'm not a "negotiator"--but then I started thinking about how many people I know that are "negotiators."

According to Dictionary.com:

ne·go·ti·ate /nɪˈgoʊʃiˌeɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ni-goh-shee-eyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.
–verb (used without object)
1. to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal.
–verb (used with object)
2. to arrange for or bring about by discussion and settlement of terms: to negotiate a loan.
3. to manage; transact; conduct: He negotiated an important business deal.
4. to move through, around, or over in a satisfactory manner: to negotiate a difficult dance step without tripping: to negotiate sharp curves.
5. to transfer (a draft, promissory note, etc.) to a new owner by endorsement and delivery or by delivery.

Now, I certainly won't name those individuals in this forum as I think that's an abuse of this medium. But it does make me wonder if being a negotiator has become the American way -- as Americans we tend to want everything for a bargain...and that we deserve it to be that way.

Of course bargaining and negotiating certainly have a time-and-place. Say, for instance, a garage sale or a flea market, but trying to negotiate the price of a blouse or pair of pants, or the special at your local neighborhood bistro just seems--to me--like being cheap.

What do you think about "negotiating"? Am I alone in my thinking that this action is cheapskate-like? Or am I in the minority? I don't live my life giving while expecting to get something for nothing. But has the rest of the country become a nation of negotiating...feeling something is owed to them?

It should make you think....

22 March 2008

I'm going to be "Blue" today

A little later this afternoon I'm going to experience the Blue Man Group, at their new home at Universal Orlando Resort, for the first time. I'm super-stoked about this; it's really a birthday present to myself. Supposedly I have really, really good seats in the second row -- the first four rows are referred to as the "Poncho Rows" so it sounds like I'll be getting a little dirty.

I'll be [mentally] taking notes the entire time, and will surely publish a post about it on Pulse of Central Florida.

Have you ever been to a Blue Man Group show? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Just leave me a comment here.

Stay tuned....

20 March 2008

Found on Flickr: The Eye

Eyes are intriguing.
Eyes are captivating.
Eyes are mesmerizing.

This looks like it would hurt.

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Photo courtesy of Bobshaw.

17 March 2008

Music Monday: Walk This World

Heather Nova isn't well-known in America. In fact, I doubt any of her singles have ever received any [radio] airplay, and that's primarily where she would've received her exposure when she originally came out in the mid-90s. I think I somehow stumbled across one of her videos while watching MTV late one night. Said video was "Walk This World," which is featured here.



"Walk This World" is featured on Heather's first release, Oyster (1995). This release is eerie, haunting, and gorgeous. If you like "Walk This World" you should give the entire album a chance; however, be advised this song is the most "pop-y" track on the CD.

Heather's two must-have albums:

1. Oyster.
2. Siren.

16 March 2008

A perfect example of the power of social media

Did you happen to catch this feature last week on the Today Show? This actress--Amy Walker--has apparently taught herself 21 dialects, and created a video of herself that's making it's way around the Internet. I was at home getting ready for work when the spot aired, and I was immediately captivated. Not only because I think it's cool that this chick is marketing the crap out of herself (I'll give anybody props for that), but also because it got me to thinking:

Should American celebrities be threatened by video sharing and social media sites like You Tube and the like? I'm wondering how long it'll take before people like this woman--who seem to have genuine talent and skill--demand the attention of Hollywood and other media sources, and take jobs from those who have less-than...well, really any skills...like Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton.

If you haven't seen the video take a look at it here, and let me know what you think. This is the original video Amy created. I tried to find the interview from the Today Show, with both Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer, but TodayShow.com is not particularly user-friendly when it comes to searches and I wasn't able to find the segment.

15 March 2008

New Madonna album cover revealed

I'm sure this topic is being written about all over the Internet, but you know I have to share it here. The official album cover for the upcoming Madonna release, "Hard Candy," has been revealed. What's your opinion?

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My apologies

This past week I was out-of-town on business, ironically at an interactive event. I realize I missed my two series posts, "Music Monday" and "Found on Flickr." I can almost hear the wailing and the tears from here, and only hope that my apologies can help rectify the pain-and-suffering my legions of fans must be facing. I can assure you both series will be back on track in the coming week.

Please forgive me, and come back for more.

06 March 2008

Found on Flickr: Water Drop with Reflections

I love water imagery. To me it says renewal, rebirth....

I stumbled across this interesting photo, and was attracted to the reflection within the water droplet.

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Thanks to Flickr user Ray DS for the photo.

05 March 2008

A new top model?

Last cycle America's Next Top Model winner, Jaslene, was just in Jillian's show.

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Not a clue

I still have no clue who's going to win Project Runway. Why is it such a mystery? Christian? Rami? Jillian? Guess we'll know soon enough....

Christian

Is Christian a girl? I'm not quite sure.

It's on....

"Project Runway" season finale is on now! Keep up with it here.

Project Runway Season Finale: Twitter It!

Tonight is the season finale of BravoTV's hit show Project Runway. I'll be Twittering the entire episode so you know what's going on. Follow me here if you want to keep up.

03 March 2008

Music Monday: I Need Love

Sam Phillips is an interesting artist. While an indie-underground sensation, she's never really hit "the big time." But she's been around for ages....

Sam started out as a Christian singer, but found herself limited by this genre...and unable to express her artistry the way she truly wanted to. So she--gasp--broke into the secular market. It's here she found mild success on radio and in film soundtracks (and even a little bit of acting, for which she received a backlash from the Christian community).

This video is for the single "I Need Love," which can be found on Phillips's Grammy-nominated "Martinis & Bikinis."



Here's a fun little fact: Sam Phillips is married to music producer T-Bone Burnett, who's been the mastermind behind albums for Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, and k.d. lang, as well as scored the music for the film "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

01 March 2008

An unforeseen source of inspiration

I stumbled across a blog earlier today called Monscooch. There I found a post called "Beautiful Music Made With Annoying Sounds" that contained this rad video:

28 February 2008

I gotta sweet tooth

...but then, don't we all sometimes? Yes, there is a somewhat cryptic message here. If you know me well you'll probably catch-it rather quickly.

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Found on Flickr: Rock Balancing

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Compliments of Flickr user Calanan, this photo comes from one of my favorite US cities, San Francisco. Now whether or not this rock stacking is ligit...I'll leave that up to you. I think it's a great picutre regardless.


Credits:

NAME: Rock Balancing
ARTIST: Bill Dan
LOCATION: Crissy Field -- San Francisco, California

25 February 2008

Music Monday: Not Ready To Make Nice

Since I "republished" one of my very first posts here on "Nifty Nation" yesterday, I thought it only appropriate that today's feature be a Dixie Chicks video.

Yes, it's controversial.

Yes, it's "the" song.

Yes, it swept the Grammy's last year, and deserved every single award it was given.

I'm talking about "Not Ready To Make Nice," the centerpiece of the "Taking the Long Way" album.



You may not be a Dixie Chicks fan, you may not like this song, but at the end-of-the-day this is an incredibly powerful song. In fact, I personally feel it's such a powerful song it warrants highlighting the lyrics here:

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

24 February 2008

John McCain & the Dixie Chicks

This is beyond strange. I'm watching "Shut Up & Sing" at this very moment, and John McCain has a prominent feature in part of it. I never realized it before -- of course, I never had any reason to before now.

Still at war and still singing

I've been blogging personally for nearly a year (I published the first post here on Nifty Nation on the 25th of March, and for the most part I've been pretty good at keeping up with staying active) and professionally for well over a year.

As politics are at the height of public awareness I'm reminded of a post I published about the Dixie Chicks and their documentary "Shut Up & Sing." I have to reiterate how important the movie is, regardless of whether or not you're a fan of the band. To honor the documentary I'd like to republish that post, which went live on 26 March 2007:

-------

A couple of weekends ago I watched the recently released DVD "Shut Up and Sing", the documentary chronicling the controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks and their remarks made a few years ago about the current world war in Iraq. I'm already a fan of the Dixie Chicks so I couldn't' wait to watch the movie, but after watching it I have to admit I love them even more and thoroughly recommend it to any American who believes in free speech. Now, I have some friends who believe "entertainers" shouldn't use their celebrity platforms to convey their personal beliefs, specifically when it comes to politics. You know, after viewing this film—and knowing the story behind the controversy—I disagree wholeheartedly.

The Dixie Chicks, although the statement made by lead singer Natalie Maines was not precontrived, are not only one of the most talented and incredible bands of our time, but also the most important. I was so completely moved by watching "Shut Up & Sing" that I couldn't contain myself. Sure, many folks would…and have…disagreed with the stance of the Dixie Chicks, but I find them totally brave and resilient. Can you believe, based on what Natalie Maines said in a concert in London, that someone threatened to kill her? I mean they told her the date, time, and location. Scary. All this just because she said she is ashamed George Bush is from her home state? Hell, I'm ashamed he is from the United States. And I am NOT fearful of saying that. Why did they have to be made the examples for a country who can't stand the person leading us, in the world's eyes? I just don't get it.

The documentary is not only a statement about politics and freedom of speech but also how ridiculous the music business is in our country, and how absurd people can be (in one of the scenes in the movie a woman proudly rebukes the Dixie Chicks and even encourages her baby—who can probably not even speak—to do the same; how can you impose your ideals on a person who can barely even think for himself?). It really is mesmerizing.



If you end-up watching "Shut Up and Sing" I'd love to know what you think.


Digg!

23 February 2008

A crystal ball?

A few days ago I introduced a new series called "Found on Flickr." Last night after a long night of helping my friend celebrate her recent birthday, I went to grab a late-nite bite to eat at Denny's. Yes, I said Denny's. You know you've been there before; don't judge me.

While "Found on Flickr" is a Thursday feature, I saw a photo opp at Denny's that was too interesting to pass up. Plus it wasn't found on Flickr but taken by yours truly:

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Can you guess what this is a picture of?

22 February 2008

Feel the Pulse!

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you likely know a good friend of mine and I recently started a blog about Orlando and the Central Florida area, called ''Pulse of Central Florida.'' Actually, we launched it last week. Already we're seeing some decent traffic, and folks seem engaged via comments to our posts. I'm really excited about this, and am looking forward to watching it grow over the coming months.

If you haven't checked it out yet, visit http://pulseofcentralflorida.wordpress.com. We're going to purchase PulseofCentralFlorida.com in the next couple of weeks, and just redirect to there.

If you are a resident of the Central Florida area and have any suggestions about what we should talk about, please feel free to leave them in the comments section here, or e-mail me.

21 February 2008

In front of the lens

I've been getting into looking at photography lately. Pictures fascinate me, particularly when presented in an artistic fashion. This is probably because I've been more active blogging over the past few months. I'd like to get more into taking pictures myself but I don't have the greatest camera, and don't really have the money to go out and buy a new, fancy one. (Maybe I'll get one for my birthday.)

Earlier this week I started thinking about this, and tell me if you think it's a stretch:

Photography just may be the very first form of social media. Maybe not social in the way we think of it today, but consider it.... As defined by Wikipedia.com:

Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings.

Photography is a thread to technology.
It definitely sparks social interaction.
It certainly tells stories and creates understandings.

To honor the art of the first form of social media, and to accompany my "Music Monday" series, I'm adding "Found on Flickr." Even though I'm not the biggest champion for Flickr (I think there are other photo hosting sites that are way more user-friendly), it is the largest and has the most stock to choose from. So every Thursday I'm going to feature a photo I think is interesting, weird, beautiful, etc. I will surely give credit to the account/author, and hope it will open others up to the beauty of photography.

Here is the first in the "Found on Flickr" series, taken from lifedeathpeet's photostream:

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16 February 2008

Bound until "I Do"

PhotobucketYesterday while driving in to work, the DJs of a local radio show were talking about something that caught my attention. They were discussing a poll that recently took place on a UK website called You & Your Wedding. While I tried to locate any evidence of the poll, the best I could find is a thread on there discussion boards. So why did this particular poll capture my attention, you ask? Well, the poll asked its participants their thoughts on a bride having a contract for her bridesmaids, for their involvement in the bride's wedding party and celebrations. Now, that may not seem too odd at first glance, but as I continued to listen to said DJs discuss, they touched upon several very strange--and somewhat uncomfortable--points of interest.

According to the aforementioned poll, the contract would begin either once the bride officially accepts the bride's offer, or once the bridesmaids are fitted for their dresses, and contains items such as:

- No fluctuation of weight
- No drastic aesthetics alterations
- No pregnancy

Now, is this just some crazy new American trend? Or is there some legitimacy to it? Fortunately, I'll never have to be presented with the situation...unless grooms start drawing-up contracts for their groomsmen.

11 February 2008

Music Monday: Good Fortune

PJ Harvey is ridiculously talented. Hands down. Her voice is powerful. It demands attention. It's dark. It's sexy. It's haunting like Portishead. It pulls you in like a riptide. Can you tell I like her?

PJ Harvey--while an underground artist with a faithful fanbase--is probably one of the most underrated artists of my generation. Seriously. But take a listen to "Good Fortune" from her Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea album and decide for yourself.

08 February 2008

Back in the day

I've mentioned my friend V several times here on the blog. She runs a travel blog called Globetrotting V, although she doesn't post nearly as often as I'd like. But that's neither here nor there.

V brought a Polaroid camera with her to the office today. Of course we had a great time snapping photos, and it reminded me of being a young child.

Here's our picture:

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Now maybe I can find someone who has an old school Atari console, and they can bring that in to the office for some Friday fun.

06 February 2008

I'm all about the "X"

It's obviously well-known that I love music videos. Heck, I have a series here on this very blog called "Music Monday," in which I highlight music videos I think are cool or innovative. That being said, I don't want the series--or the fact that I feature so much music here--to be cheesy.

So I'm a huge fan of Kylie Minogue. I think she's a great performer, I enjoy the fact that she experiments with her sound on each record, and she just seems like a genuine person. A couple of weeks I bought her "X" album, which hasn't really received much press here in the United States. In fact, I had to actually purchase the CD as an import at a not-nearby music store. But I don't mind telling you it's a fantastic pop album. Yes, it is pop, but it's probably one of the slickest pop albums in the recent past. And off of that album comes two--yes, two--new releases, "In My Arms" and "WoW." "WoW" is supposed to be released in the US (although it probably won't get much airplay), and the former is the European and "rest of the world" release. So to promote, two distinct videos have been shot. That's a pretty cool concept, and both videos are really pretty sweet.

So if you're a Kylie fan I'm sure you'll enjoy these. If you're not, hopefully you can at least appreciate them for their artistic merit.

"WoW":



"In My Arms:"


P.S. My MySpace profile currently features "In My Arms" as its song.

04 February 2008

Music Monday: Love

British band the Sundays has long been one of my favorites. I discovered their music during my mid-teens, when I myself was going through a period of discovery. I immediately identified with their moving lyrics, beautiful melodies, and lead singer Harriet Wheeler's chic style. Well, I obvioulsy didn't identify with her style, but I sure thought she was a fox! Anyway, while the Sundays haven't had much success here in the United States, they have been releasing sporadic records over the past 15 years or so. One of their best is their sophmore release, "Blind." It's from that album I'm selecting a song to feature today.

Here's "Love":

02 February 2008

Such a tease...

Exciting news this-way-comes, with the release of the street date of Madonna's yet-to-be-named (or revealed) album. The big date: 29 April 2008. This just days after Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland wrapped filming for the album's first single, "4 Minutes to Save the World." Never one to to box-in her creative horizon, the storyline for the video is Madonna as a dominatrix, with Justin and Timbalake being her "bitches." Certainly peaks my interest....

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Photo compliments of Madonnalicious.com.

31 January 2008

Mommy bloggers determined to change the face of a nation.

Because of my job and my personal interest in blogging and social media, I somehow managed to get signed up for a newsletter distributed by the Chicago Moms Blog. A few days ago a newsletter dropped into my inbox, titled "Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates." I was immediately intrigued.

In a nutshell, this network of women bloggers (Silicon Valley, Chicago, New York, and DC Metro Moms Blogs) is pushing an open call for the Presidential candidates to meet with them, and discuss the issues they feel are important and relevant to them (the bloggers).

What a great testimony of the power of social media. I'll be watching closely to see if any of the candidates respond.

I love the Paparazzi!

My friend Globetrotting V recently shared a new web page screenshot application called Paparazzi. It's been around for a while apparently but I'm just now learning about it.

The great thing about Paparazzi is it allows web users to take a full capture of any web page. This is a fantastic thing for me--particularly when at work--because I work off of a MacBrook Pro laptop and I can't always view an entire page on my screen. While Paparazzi is user-friendly and convenient it's, unfortunately, only currently available for Mac users.

Using Paparazzi is quick and simple:

1. Download the application to your laptop or computer.
2. Save it to your "Applications" folder.
3. Find the application and open it up.
4. Enter the url of the web page you want to capture into the URL window of the Paparazzi widget.
5. Hit the "Capture" button.
6. Save the screengrab into the preferred format.
7. Use saved file as needed.

One thing I really enjoy about Paparazzi is that is has a cropping feature. The standard web sizes are already preset into the application but there are fields that allow you to customize your size. To do this simply type in the measurements of the screen shot you'd like and you're good to go. I've provided a few examples here:

No specified measurements (a full screenshot):
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800x600:
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800x150:
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Now the last one is somewhat of an odd measurement but it proves Paparazzi can accommodate any of your screen capture needs. Enjoy Paparazzi!

30 January 2008

The Experience of a Symphony (Part I)

Things in my life are rarely simple. In fact, most situations I'm presented with are offbeat and interesting. I love this about my life; I've learned to embrace it. Knowing that now I must share something amusing that happened to me yesterday evening.

After I got off work I headed over to my local Circuit City to purchase a copy of Sarah Brightman's new release, "Symphony." (Yes, I said Sarah Brightman. She's talented. She's beautiful. Leave me alone.) Firstly, let me make it known how much I dislike Circuit City (the one I typically go to, anyway): their music is extremely unorganized and not user-friendly, and they typically only have one checkout line open. Not that I'm in a hurry to get anywhere...ever...but still.... I continue to hit-up this one specific store because it's convenient and they often have good deals on new releases.

So I somehow managed to locate the disc I was looking for (although I hang my head in shame at buying music located in the "Easy Listening" section), and then proceeded to the one-and-only open line. No biggie -- there was nobody else in line so I was assured a quick in-and-out. Well, it didn't go down exactly like that.

ME: "Hey, how's it going?"

EMPLOYEE: "Good." (Pause, looking down at my cd.) "Is she really the best soprano ever?" (This referring to the gold sticker attached to the packaging of my cd, boldly bragging that Sarah is "the best-selling soprano of all time.")

ME: "I guess so. That's what the sticker says."

EMPLOYEE: "Hmmm...can she hit the note Mariah can hit?"

ME: "Ummm, I'm not sure. I don't think so. But that's not really what being a soprano means."

EMPLOYEE: "Oh, well...that note Mariah can hit is da bomb."

Seriously, I'm not making this up.

ME: "Well, they're from two completely different genres."

EMPLOYEE: "Oh, well, I still think Mariah is crazy cool."

ME: "Have a great night!"

I quickly swiped my debit card through the required machine, had the employee place my cd in a bag, and walked out of the store. Then, of course, I had to laugh about the whole situation. The employee probably thought I was purchasing a Sarah McLachlan album.

After reliving the encounter throughout the day today, I have to wonder what a collaboration between Sarah Brightman and Mariah Carey would be like. (Scene ends with camera panning away, following my thought bubble.)

28 January 2008

Music Monday: One Step Too Far

Today's feature comes from Faithless. They've churned out several mega-club hits over the past decade, their most well-known probably being "Insomnia." The video highlighted here is titled "One Step Too Far" and is joined by the angelic vocals of Dido. Now, most people may not know that Dido got her start with Faithless -- her brother, Rollo, is actually one of the founding members of the group, and is also a master remixer. Talk about a talented family!

This particular mix of "One Step Too Far" isn't my favorite -- it's a more mainstream version, but still good nonetheless.

23 January 2008

Sicko (and I'm not referring to the Michael Moore documentary)!

I learned of this little bit of news earlier today, from a Twitter post by JustJulie. There's not really much to say about this story, except that it's sick, sick, sick.

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Click here or on the image above to read the caption.

Doesn't really surprise me though since Fred Phelps and his followers are demented and hate-filled human beings. I don't think they deserve the freedom they think they're fighting for.

21 January 2008

Twittering and Politics

I'm an avid Twitterer. I've been using it both professionally and personally for quite some time now, and find it useful--and productive--on both accounts. I recently learned that many of the current Presidential candidates are Twittering as well (or at least someone on their staff is). Oddly enough the majority of the candidates are running on the Democratic ticket, at least this is what I've discovered in some minor research (if you know of a central location that lists all the candidates who Twitter please feel free to pass it along to me). One individual who stands out as a rather active Twitterer is Senator Hillary Clinton. You can view her profile here. John Edwards has a profile as well but he hasn't posted any updates in quite some time.

Now, what's interesting about this observation to me is that I really have to question why the Republican candidates haven't embraced this medium. Particularly as someone who is not only young but is also extremely active in social media and technology. That doesn't leave a good impression with me. I believe an application like Twitter is certainly something that should be integrated into campaign packages, if the campaign managers were smart. I'll be interested in watching this as the elections get closer.

Music Monday: Empires

Today's song/video is titled "Empires" and comes from Kenyan songstress Lamya. Interesting name, sure. Interesting looks. Even more interesting voice. I believe my first encounter with this video was on MTV, during the time they actually played music videos. I was doing something around the house and heard the intro to the song and was immediately captivated. At the time, it was different...unique...and like nothing else that was in mainstream music.

So I decided to sit down and watch the entire video (this was long before the days of YouTube). Lamya's rich voice and creamy vocal layering intrigued me, and I immediately had to go out and purchase her debut album, "Learning From Falling." It's actually a great album. I didn't realize until doing some research that Lamya had actually been with '90's soul group Soul II Soul for a while.

While the video featured here isn't necessarily the most creative or artistic in its concept, I think the lyrics are amazing...and actually if you listen closely this could be the perfect theme song for any of the current Presidential candidates.



For additional information on Lamya visit her MySpace profile.

20 January 2008

Oh no she didn't!

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of seeing Kathy Griffin perform live at the Bobb Carr Performing Arts Centre. Not my favorite venue; actually, to be quite honest it's beginning to look at little dingy. Orlando isn't necessarily known for its fine arts facilities. But I digress.
Now I know many people find Kathy offensive, and probably vulgar. She's certainly an aquired taste; I can certainly understand that, but I find vulgarity and offensiveness funny. Sorry, that's just my sense of humor. Life is way too short to be taken sersiously. And while Kathy's schtick is mostly known as poking fun at celebrities, I realized during her concert (at least this is my take on it) that she doesn't truly believe what she's saying about the celebrities in her act, she's just showing the world how absolutely absurd celebrity in America is. It makes perfect sense now.

And the ironic thing about it is she's catapulted her own persona to fame by mocking the very machine that kept her from being famous years and years ago. I think it's great. She's kinda saying, "Screw you America and your stupid celebrities. I'm going to make you love me whether you want to or not." And for that, I totally totally do.

14 January 2008

Are we too exposed?

I was recently reminded of just how vulnerable we all are in the age of video. I can't even identify with what some celebrities go through in their daily lives, experiencing the constant barrage of photographers and fans. Granted, many celebrities crave the attention and in some ways ask for the exposure (this is a forever-debated topic in the culture of American fame), but then there are others that mostly remain out of the limelight, and don't necessarily flirt with the exposure. The "video" that reminded me of this is the infamous incident that occured with Bjork over 10 years ago.

What? You never saw it? How did you miss it? Well, not that I'm perpetuating this nonsense:


Now, granted violence is, of course, never a logical solution in any situation, but what in the heck prompted this outburst of Bjork-absurdity? Well, it could be a number of things:

1. Bjork didn't want her child exposed to the insane media.
2. The reporter told Bjork her Oscar swan dress was the ugliest thing she'd ever seen. (I'm one of the ones who actually thought it was a clever media stunt.)
3. Bjork was simply jetlagged.
4. Bjork had too many cups of coffee on her flight and she was going to have a major blowout in the bathroom.
5. Bjork was in a hurry to get to the studio.

Seriously though, isn't this a tragic case of personal invastion? Or it deserved? In any case, was the freakout justified?

Music Monday: Glory Box

Strange.
Haunting.
Creepy.
Depressing.
Romantic.
Moving.

These are only a handful of words that come to mind when I here the name Portishead. Hailing from England, Portishead was at the helm of the creation of trip-hop during the mid-1990s. They are undeniably unique, and can't really be compared to any other band around. Particularly none that exist today.

I first became aware of Portishead when I purchased the soundtrack to the 1996 Bernardo Bertolucci film, "Stealing Beauty." Odd film. Absolutely brilliant soundtrack. The Portishead song included on that album is titled "Glory Box," and I've included the accompanying video here:

12 January 2008

Who do you support?

I've posted here before how I'm currently forced to listen to local radio, which completely blows. However, a few days ago I was heading to work and the hosts of a morning radio show was chatting about a website where listeners can take an online poll, helping them gauge which American President hopeful their ideals line-up with. (We can all agree that the Internet and social media have played the most important role ever, in the current races.) It's the "Select a Candidate Quiz." Topics of relevance within the poll are: Iraq War, immigration, stem-cell research, and, of course, marriage. After taking a few moments to fill-it-out it was revealed that I support John Edwards.

I think I need to do some more research on these candidates. If you'd like to take the poll click here.

09 January 2008

Wordsmith? Perhaps...

I purchased a new flatscreen television this past weekend, along with some new furniture from IKEA to compliment it. In order to do that I had to do some reorganizing of the living area of my apartment, which eventually led to some much-needed throwing out of junk! In the process of the "junk throwing" (doing so I nearly knocked-out my cat several times) I came across a few notebooks, which contain years-and-years of poetry. Yes, at one time in my life I actually convinced myself I had writing talent.

I've always been told I have writing skills, and it's always brought me pleasure. Haven't done it in years though. So I began thinking about maybe starting-up a poetry/writing blog, a platform for me to put myself at risk of being criticized by the world. Wait, don't I do that already by way of this blog, and where I work? I'm still undecided but am strongly considering this new venture.

If you're reading this, what do you think? Would you be interested in reading this new blog? And if so, what would you name it?

08 January 2008

On Its Way

I like Madonna. While everyone in the world has an opinion about her as both an artist and an individual, I think she embodies creativity, innovation, and style. So needless to say I'm anxiously awaiting her new album, due for release sometime early this year. Promotion has begun, buzz is good....

Until the unnamed album is officially pushed out to the marketplace, there's an online poll for users to vote for the ''Most Elegant Woman of 2007," for which Madonna is currently in the lead. Here's where the "style" comes into play.

Who do you think should win? To cast your vote for Madonna click here.

This Time I Am the Critic

I'm a fan of entertainment award shows, I must admit. The Oscars. The Grammys. The Golden Globes (which are actually being canceled this year). I know, I know, it's a weakness of mine. I hate watching them, mostly because of crappy talent and poor writing. I don't even necessarily agree with ''awarding'' individuals simply for doing their jobs (which is, after all, what they're doing). I've always felt that way. But there is something fun about seeing a mass of celebrities in one place at the same time. It's almost always amusing, particularly when they're walking down the red carpet.

So when VH1 aired the Critic's Choice Awards last night I just had to watch. While I haven't seen any of the movies being recognized, it did seem many of them were non-mainstream, which I always enjoy. I was a bit hesitant to watch at first though, when I discovered ''comedian'' D.L. Hughley was hosting. Firstly, he's not that well-known, so that was surprising. Secondly, I don't think he's funny at all (Bravotv.com agrees), and after the show last night I feel even more strongly about my opinion. Most of his jokes seemed to be race-centric, with many references to "you wouldn't see a black actress getting caught in that situation" or "a brother would never be cast in that role.'' I was seriously, seriously turned off, and thought he was severely miscast.

Wow, am I Debbie Downer or what?!?!

06 January 2008

Music Monday: Freedom '90

The early '90's were an interesting time in American music. The [painful] period of hairband rock was on its way out, mainstream grunge was on its way in, and europop acts started dominating the charts. In the midst of all of that came a song that captivated my attention the very first time I heard it. Actually, it was the video that captured my attention, and what's ironic about that is the artist behind the song was nowhere to be found.

''Freedom '90'' was a groundbreaking, beautifully shot video featuring some of the most famous supermodels of the time including Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell. They could be seen lazing around a loft in anywhere, USA, lip-synching to the track off of George Michael's brilliant ''Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. I'' album. The interesting thing is Michael was in the middle of a brawl with his record label Sony because of the image they'd created for him during his ''Faith'' album, and he boycotted them by not appearing in any of his videos from the former album. And by choosing models to represent his song, it's the perfect concept -- what, really, better represents American culture than a supermodel? (This isn't necessarily my personal opinion, but certainly one that hangs around through the years.)

Political Thoughts: Part II

American politics is severely heating up, particularly given the next Presidential campaign is less than a year off. A few weeks ago I had a post titled ''Political Thoughts: Part I,'' and the center of the topic is about celebrity involvement in politics. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter. On top of this, religion and politics are most often very controversial (see Mitt Romney article), and mostly always heated. It's because of that I'm not going to go into much detail about my personal opinion -- I'm mostly interested in finding out what other people think.

Many people believe a candidate's religious background should play a major role in their campaign. The idea being that religion equals character equals how individual choices are made. Others, however, hold the opinion that religion has no impact on a political campaign, and does not belong in the government.

What's your opinion? Let others know by participating in the following poll: