"You Too" and Stuff...

If it's "a penny for your thoughts" but you have to "put your two cents in", someone is making a penny somewhere.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Should All Acquaintance Be Forgot? Heck, No!


Whew! It's finally over my friends...2004! I can only speak for myself, but this happened to be the worst year yet. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but the lowlights in 2004 are abundant. I've decided that 2005 can only get better. I actually got tiaras for my friends and I to wear this evening that say, "Happy Fucking New Year!" I figure that if we go in cursing it, maybe it will feel threatened and go a little easier on us this year...but that's just my way of thinking.

I hope that you all have your resolutions organized and you are now gearing up for a great party tonight. New Year's Eve happens to by my favorite holiday of the entire year, hands down. I love the "new beginning" aspect of it all. You're starting your life with a clean slate. You have yet another chance to meet those goals that we left un-met, say those things that were left un-said, and to take those chances that were left un-taken.

This evening, a few friends and I are ending the year at the only place that has given us joy in 2004 The Stadium is a little local place with the best jukebox in the world. I hope that you're all heading for fun celebrations among those you love as well. Whatever you do, please do it safely and if you don't...name it after me! I'm kidding, cabs are cheap tonight, use 'em if you need 'em.

Here are some hopes that I have for others going into 2005:

For Ali, that you find "her."
For Andrew, a singing gig on PBS.
For Becky, that things will work out the way that they're meant to be.
For Bob, someone who can give you the answers that you're looking for.
For Bonnie, someone will need a great office administrator and you'll be there!
For Brandon, things will be sweet rather than bittersweet.
For Brent, I'll be at a brilliant, successful production.
For Chris, that things will come together.
For Claire, a get-together that I'll actually be able to attend.
For Court, Affleck will come a-knockin'!
For Dad, safety, good health, and fun!
For Daniel, you'll get your package soon, I promise!
For Dave, an easy semester in the big city.
For Erika, a fun and healthy year with the new member of your family.
For Flint, someone who knows how to two-step and appreciates classic country and Seagrams as much as you do.
For Gale, more crazy nights!
For Heather, the ability to pick up the phone and call me once in a while, geez!
For Hulsen, er Surges, a fun first year of wedding bliss!
For Jamie, lots of fun watching Adriana grow and grow and grow!
For Jason, safe travel and a new visitor in Madison!
For Jean, peace of mind while Cory is partying up in NC.
For Jeff, the ability to return phone calls.
For Jenny, a quick and easy divorce and lots more fun!
For Jerry, to keep on rocking in the free world!
For Jim, another successful year with "The Cox Family Newsletter."
For The Pollacks, melted Ohio snow before Joanie's birthday.
For Joe, some relief before the big build-up for Xmas 2005.
For John, a few more trips to Spfld to visit Yodi.
For Katie, Gosh, just do whatever you want this year!
For Kim, lots of baby picture taking before the big reunion.
For Koz, taking more opportunities to see me at Blue Mondays.
For Lance, a fun, new job and the take back of the upper-level "Xmas-free zone."
For Lisa, a boyfriend who appreciates you and returns all of your phone calls.
For Louie, more computer fun and a steady girlfriend!
For Luke, the ability to remember to stash a $20 bill in the glove box for emergencies.
For Lynne, another year of successful student health care.
For Maria, some stress-free moments before the birth of baby girl.
For Mom, anything you want in 2005!
For Mark, a completed and cozy new house.
For Mel, the ability to wear bright colors and eat Skittles by the handful!
For Michelle, anything but a fourth job!
For Midge, to get a patent on the "lawn mower" and the "shopping cart."
For Mike, a chance to show me the new house and wedding video and maybe even a little karaoke.
For Mr. O., lots of fun times, a great new CD, and more shows in Spfld (I'm just being selfish...)
For Ms. Chambers, more moments to be proud of the decisions you've made and how far you've come...and to play with my hair.
For The Nations, fewer hospital bills this year!
For Norman, a successful tax season.
For Rachel, lots of fun with the new puppy and lots of cake with the new business.
For Regena, a trivia night win!
For Rick, a trip home sometime soon!
For Robin, minimal burnout in the social services field.
For Ryan, more opportunities to attend cheerleading competitions!
For Sandra, a happy and healthy 2005!
For Scott, to realize that not every girl whose number you write on a napkin wants to marry you.
For Stacey and Andy, lots of fun planning your wedding and starting your new life together.
For Steve, a successful reign as the president of the Central Illinois Blues Club...and the continued fantasy of me getting drunk so that you can take advantage of me...
For Sue, less travel...to the hospital anyway.
For Tara, to complete your thesis and figure out what "he" is thinking.
For Tim and Debi, to empty your garage by selling all 1,700 books.
For Tom, patience, peace of mind, and continuing progress.
For Trevor, a year full of mesmerizing intellectual discussions.
For Winter, time to forgive, acknowledge, and to enjoy life.

"May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies, quick to make friends. But rich or poor, quick or slow,May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

On the Day After Xmas...

I hope that you all had a safe, happy, and joyous Christmas day. Santa brought me everything that I asked for...I guess that I've been a good girl this year. Here are some of the fun things that I found under my tree yesterday.

(1) Kodak Easy Share Digital Camera and Printer Dock - This is the best gift ever! I easily spend $50 a month on buying disposable cameras and then getting them developed. I'm big into scrapbooking so I always like to have a camera handy. Although I'll have to treat this camera a little more gently than I would a disposable, it's just as easy to use and the pics look great! The printer produces 4x6 photos in under 30 seconds. The quality is just as good as you would get as if they were professionally printed. Of course, y'all get to benefit from this gift as well. I'll now be able to bring you my pictures right after they're taken. Yay! The first picture that I took with my new camera? Shelby, naturally!

(2) Cocoa Latte Beverage Warmer - This is the gift that I've used the most so far. It's amazing and I can't believe that I've survived this long without it! I am addicted to hot chocolate, coffee, etc. in cold temperatures. The warmer looks like a blender, but you just add all of your ingredients, usually just water and one packet of hot chocolate, and it whips it up and warms it within 3 minutes. I know what you're thinking, "Jodi, you can do the same thing in the microwave just as easily." No, No, my friends. This machine magically makes your drink "frothy" if desired and you are certain to never again have floating chucks of undissolved powder in your mug. I've tried a variety of different recipes so far, enough to make me fully aware that I may be lactose intolerant. I have made steamers, hot chocolate (with a little bit of Bailey's thrown in for good measure), and even chai. It's brilliant and easy to clean. I can't wait to take it to work with me!

(3) Sex and the City Trivia Game - I LOVE "Sex and the City!" I hadn't seen it until this time last year when I had a week off for work. I decided that I would rent the first season, by this time the sixth season was already underway, and I became addicted. It's unbelievable that I didn't subscribe to HBO just to watch the last 8 episodes. This game was on my wish list. I knew that it was inexpensive and I knew that I could win at it every time, but then I realized that no one else watched "SATC" like I did. It's evident now that I will win every game because I'm sure to be playing it alone.

What did the Big Man bring you?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

New Holiday Music

Thanks to my friend J-Dawg for today's entry...check out his site if you get the chance...I guarantee you'll chuckle !

"Death Row Records Releases Holiday Compilation"
Dre, Lil' Kim, 50 Cent, Jay-Z Celebrate the Magic of Christmas

1. Smack a Ho, Smack a Ho, Smack a Ho (to the tune of "Let It Snow")
2. I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas
3. Homies for the Holidays
4. Frosty the Methman
5. Grandma Got Run Over by the Po-lice
6. God Rest Ye, Fallen Homies
7. O Little Town of Compton
8. I Saw Mommy Tasting Santa's Balls
9. Away in the Slammer
10. It's Beginning to Look Like Harassment
11. Ave Letitia
12. Feliz Navidad

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Note to the Cox Family...

I am a consumer junkie. Not only am I a chronic shopper (the gene runs in the family...), but I'm also a stickler for customer service. Thanks to unfortunate employees at the local Sears Portrait Studio (No worries, the letter is on the way to the corporate office), you won't be receiving the fun Christmas cards that Gale and I were planning on sending out this year.

We decided that since we haven't had professional pictures taken together since we were tiny, they would be a great gift for our mothers. It would also be a lot tamer than the pics they usually see of us together, some of them featuring us being silly on a Saturday night in Springfield dancing with strange men or maybe even dancing on the bar (Gale...). We told "Chelsey", our assigned "photo professional" at Sears, to make the pictures casual. Gale and I were hardly ever serious so we wanted pictures that would reflect our "fun-ness." And fun we had. "Chelsey" put us in different crazy poses...we were sitting on blocks, we were laying on each other, and then there was "THE PICTURE." I refer to that particular photo this way because "THE PICTURE" is the eye of this conundrum. We wanted one fun Christmas picture where we got to use all of the props, which are normally reserved for the under-8 years old crowd. Gale ended up wrapping herself in gold tinsel and climbing into a fake snow-covered chimney. I sat on a sled after wrapping a strand of red beads around myself. We were both donning Santa hats. Yeah, it really is as grand as you are imagining right now.

Thanks to new technology, you can see the pictures right after they're taken so that you can order them right away, rather than waiting for them all to come in and then deciding which ones that you want...yes, it has been quite a while since I've had my picture taken in a professional portrait studio. The pictures turned out great! We chose the poses and sizes and then learned that we could have Christmas cards made...in time for the holidays... The picture of us in our Christmas gear was hilarious and captured the spirit of Gale and I quite well. We decided that we would use this picture to make Christmas cards to send out to all of the Cox family members. When we had finished deciding and picking and choosing and then deciding and picking some more, we had spent almost $300. The photos would be ready the following week.

When I returned to pick them up, a day earlier than the date they had told us that all of pictures would be in, they were exactly what we had wanted. I was anxious to pick up the cards because I wanted to send them out right away. All of our order was in except, of course, for the cards. I was informed that they hadn't been delivered yet and were expected in a shipment the following day. I knew that, with this being the holiday season, I would be spending plenty of time at the mall in the upcoming days so I just assumed I would pick them up at a later time. I was still disappointed because I believed that the picture on the cards was the best "cute cousin" picture that we had ever taken and we were anxious to share it with everyone.

When I returned to Sears the following Friday to retrieve the cards, they were nowhere to be found. The young girl that was waiting on us searched all of the drawers in the place that she could possible find, occasionally incinuating that if I had brought along the confirmation number the cards would magically appear. She told me that she was going to check again while we were shopping and I told her that we would return soon. As predicted, when we returned a hour later, the cards still had not surfaced. I gave them my cell phone number and asked them to call immediately with their excuse or our cards, I needed one or the other. Around 9:00 that evening, I received a call from one of the "portrait people", cheerily telling me that they had made a mistake and the cards had never been physically ordered. Then she proceeded to tell me, as if I was going to just let the situation blow over that easily, that they would refund half of the cost of the cards and order the cards for me...which would not be available for pick-up until December 22. I tried to explain to her that I would be mailing these cards to places as far away as Hawaii (sorry Rick...I know you're sad...) and the mail didn't even run on Christmas Eve, leaving us with 2 days to prepare and mail the cards for everyone's enjoyment...when they received them after Christmas. Being my mother's daughter I immediately asked to speak with a manager. "Mark" got on the phone and told me the same story. He asked for my confirmation number. I'm not sure why they all thought that if I had that number, the situation would have changed. He told me that if the cards were on the receipt, then the images were stored in some secret processing plant in some far away land. He offered to put a rush on them so that I would receive them the following week, still giving me enough time to send them out. I actually set up an appointment to meet with "Mark" in person the next day to get things figured out. I guess I was also thinking that maybe if he saw what I looked like, he would recognize me from a set of Christmas cards that he accidentally filed in the wrong place. I would walk into the Sears Portrait Studio and he would say to me, "Oh, yeah, I know who you are. You're the girl on the sled. Just a sec."

I will be the first to admit that I'm dramatic, okay, maybe not dramatic, but "passionate" when it comes to certain things. Good customer service is one of those things and I lose it when I'm treated poorly. I write letters to regional offices, talk to store managers, and even boycott some of my favorite places if I don't see justice having been done. Perhaps this stems back to the time when I worked at Bath and Body Works and was put on probation for "not smiling enough"...it's important to keep the customers happy at all times, even if you're dressed like a Stepford Wife and your hands are so pruny from forcing innocent passers-by to try on every single lotion sample that you have in your apple basket. I know the importance of good customer service.

When I called Gale, she didn't seem as concerned about the situation, angry, yes, but not so worried. She had a simple solution. If the cards were not in my hands when I went to meet "Mark" the following day, I was to demand our money back. I could handle that.

It was a Saturday...two weeks before Christmas...at the mall...and I was at the Sears Portrait Studio ready for resolution, maybe even a revolution if necessary. Kids were screaming, parents were screaming, and "Silent Night" was ironically playing in the background. I told the young female "portrait person" that I was there to meet with "Mark." She told me that "Mark" was in a "session" with customers and that he wouldn't be able to help me immediately. Not willing to say, "Okay, I'll come back later", as she probably expected, I said, "That's fine. I'll wait." Eventually, the girl came back and told me that she had spoken with "Mark" and had asked for my receipt. I gave it to her...I was armed with the sacred confirmation number this time. She took the paper into one of the back rooms and returned about ten minutes later telling me that she and "Mark" had checked it out and the cards were never ordered at any time and weren't stored on any computer anywhere. Gale and I were not going to get our fun Christmas cards for the family and I was heartbroken. I loved those cards.

When I was younger, I would always be embarassed by my mother when she would become disatisfied with service somewhere and complain to a staff person. I wished that she would just drop the whole thing and walk away. But she can't...it's not in her blood. I realized then, that I had the same blood. My mother was with me and silently sat behind watching my interaction. I could actually feel her biting her tongue, letting me fight this one out on my own. I wasn't being rude, but I felt that I was being assertive. I started by thinking, "Well, at least they weren't some young mother's pictures of her newborn twins that she was trying to get framed before Christmas so that she could send them to the twins' father who was proudly defending our country in Iraq for the holidays because recent pictures of his babies were the only things on his Christmas list since he missed their birth." Then I thought again, "But the cards would have looked so great on everyone's mantle..." My mother's quick thinking had me ask the young girl if there was anyway I could get wallet sized pictures made to send out in the usual generic Christmas cards that I usually send. She said, "Absolutely. They will be ready to pick up on December 22." I rolled my eyes as the girl was preparing my refund. A part of me wanted to start talking loudly enough for all those waiting to have their pictures taken to hear, a short speech about my dilemma and how Sears is inconveinient and inefficient. I held back. That was something that my mother would do and I wasn't her...yet.

That's when I saw "Chelsey", our portrait person, who was single-handedly responsible for my little lack of joy this season. I almost wanted to say something to her directly, but I thought I'd make her sweat a little. When the girl returned my credit card with my refund transferred on to it, I took out a piece of paper, mentioned "Chelsey's" name very loudly to the girl, and began writing. "Chelsey" heard me say her name and looked right at me to see what I was talking about. I walked away. I figured that if my relatives were going to have to wonder what these great pictures looked like, "Chelsey" was going to have to wonder what was said about her.

So...to the Cox family, we're sorry that you didn't get your cards this year, you really would have been tickled. We posted "THE PICTURE" below so it can still be enjoyed! Keep an eye out for a pic from Gale's birthday celebration...I can guarantee that it's so "special" Sears Portrait Studio wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole...just kidding...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Jodi & Gale

Sunday, December 12, 2004


this is an audio post - click to play

How to Avoid Injury at the Office Xmas Party

My office had our holiday party on Friday afternoon. We always have our party during the day which spares several of us the additional task of trying to find a date to accompany us as well as the possibility that we may become a little rowdy showing that we may need a little counseling ourselves. This year we decided to paint pottery, cater in food from the local Olive Garden, and contribute to a tasty dessert buffet. I'll consider the party to be a success.

I know that many of you have already survived (hopefully) this year's holiday party, the following article from the AP is for those who have yet to celebrate. Heed this advice from the British. Have Fun! Be Safe!

"Warning: Christmas Parties Can Damage Your Health"

LONDON - British workers have been told: Have a Merry Christmas - but skip the mistletoe, don't dance on the desks, and definitely don't perch bare-bottomed on the photocopier. Such are the horrors of the modern British office party highlighted Friday in a welter of advice which, to some minds, would kill the fun.

The Trades Union Congress and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents advised:

- Nix on candles, flaming drinks or puddings, and cigarettes.

- Be careful with the Christmas trees, which injured a thousand Britons in December 2002.

- Book your bash at a hotel, bar, or restaurant , where facilities are designed for people having a good time.

- "Keep fresh party food in a fridge, and don't leave it out in a hot office all day. Remember to keep fresh and cooked meats separate. Prawn vol-au-vent poisoning could see half your colleagues off sick until the New Year."

- Skip the mistletoe. Other than the berries being poisonous, a sexual harassment case is no fun.
- "No dancing on the desks. It could do you and them a lot of damage. Likewise,
the boardroom table is meant for weighty documents, not overweight executives."

- Use paper cups, not glasses.

- Use stepladders, not swivel stools, to hang tinsel and misteltoe, which should not be hung near heat.

- "Keep an eye on others who may drink too much. Alcohol makes some people aggressive rather than friendly. The party will be spoiled if it ends up in a punch-up or harassment complaint."

- No indoor fireworks.

- "Resist the temptation to photocopy parts on your anatomy - if the copier breaks, you'll be spending Christmas with glass in some painful places."

Such advice provoked resentment.

"The purpose of Christmas parties is to encourage team spirit, encourage relationships, and so on," said Nick Goulding, chief executive of The Forum of Private Business, "If you tie them down with pettifogging regulations, you really undermine the whole thing that you're trying to achieve."

"It is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut," Goulding said - perhaps highlighting a potentially dangerous practice overlooked by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

"We are not being party poopers," said the Society's Roger Bibbings. "Some sensible safety precautions will allow people to have a great office celebration without having to call in the emergency services."

Two other organizations had different gloomy views of office Christmas parties.

Office angels, a recruiting firm, said four out of five workers - in a survey of 1,000 in Manchester, England - would like to have time off in December to shop or participate in childrens' events, rather than go to a party.

OfficeTeam, another recruiter, reported a survey of 2,400 which found that one in three workers dreaded the parties, and one in five feared they might damage their careers by getting drunk and misbehaving.

(Photocopiers are not for amusement...they can be very dangerous if used incorrectly...)

I just want to add a "Congrats" to a friend who actually did become intoxicated at her office holiday party, which was hosted at a local hotel. Instead of drivinghome, she got a room by herself there. They gave her an executive suite, complete with jacuzzi, terrycloth robe, sleep mask, linen spray, down comforter, and feather pillow, when they ran out of king rooms. She told me that she felt like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman." The best part of the whole thing? She only got charged $67! Go, Court!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Lock 'em Up !!

O.K, I'm lame. This is how lame I am. Let me begin by first saying that I hate the T.V. show "Cops"....really, really hate it. Perhaps I hate it so much because it's not in real time. You know that it has already made it through editing and someone did their job by inserting bleeps and removing all of the controversial footage.

I work in a secured building which has an ellaborate camera system allowing us to see how things are inside and outside of the facility. The most important camera, meaning the camera that we get the most use out of and the one that would be providing us with a lot of vital information if a crisis were to occur, has a powerful zoom feature. The other day, a few of us were sitting in the main office, and we witnessed something so simple, yet so intriguing. We witnessed a city bus rear-ending a mini-van down the street from our building. We didn't actually see the collision, but we were there for the post-action. You would have thought that we were watching news footage of Kerri Strug's world famous gold medal winning broken ankle landing all over again. My co-workers and I became instantly addicted. We situated the camera so that the outside street was the only thing that could be seen. Then, we tested out the zoom feature. We were able to see the people on the bus!

For the next half-hour while the police arrived on the scene and the bus was evacuated, we were glued to the screen. This was just like "Cops"...no, this was better than "Cops" because the action was taking place in real time right outside of our building. It was a lazy man's rubber-necking. The action was all in front of us and all we had to do was sit there and drink our coffee and make sure that the camera stayed in focus. Thank God there weren't any injuries and the van was able to drive away even though it had a crushed rear end.

The accident certainly wasn't the highlight of the day. We work in a building where we see real life drama and people in situations that we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies. Why were we so fixated on this little fender bender? If it were a group of school kids walking down the street or someone looking for a lost dog, we wouldn't have cared. Was it the police lights? Was it the fact that a bus was involved? Were we watching actually hoping in a sick way that another crisis would happen with the situation like a man would be exiting the bus, walk into the street, and then get hit by another bus? Did it simply break up our afternoon and allow us to kill a little time? I don't really know.

But then, I realized, that perhaps the reason we were so captivated is that we felt like we were a part of the action. Watching the people walk around inspecting the bus and the police officers directing traffic, we were just as good as picnicking in the grass outside. We were there to witness the story as it unfolded. We didn't know what was going to happen next. Who knows if the next big story on CNN is going to come out of Springfield, IL when we find out that the bus is really a UFO carrying lots of little green men? To think that we could actually say that we were there...how fascinated everyone around the water cooler would be.

A couple of days ago I became excited as I came across a web site which hosts a web cam allowing visitors to watch criminals being booked into a Tennessee jail. Not that I'm ever entertained by violence, but you can watch "the bad guys" challenge officers and punch walls and get cuffed. It's great stuff...and I don't know why. All that I know is that I can't get enough of the live footage that is being captured in the Anderson County Detention Facility. It's sooo good! The site comes with this warning: "Instances of violence or sexually inappropriate behavior by detainees during the booking process may occur. Viewer discretion is advised. This is a jail, not a simulation."

In the last 20 minutes alone, I have already seen one guy get cuffed to the desk, another get fingerprinted, and yet another given his uniform and a mat to sleep on. I'm sad, it's sad...we get along fine. Check it out for yourself. Hopefully you'll get to see something more than just a lady sitting at a desk. Hang in there, don't hum the "Cops" theme song yet...this is real life in real time, baby. Welcome to the pokey.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Politics for the Holidays??

"How to Tell a Democrat from a Republican During the Holiday Season"

(and you thought you could just tell Republicans from Democrats by how they vote? Not so!)

Republicans say "Merry Christmas!"
Democrats say "Happy Holidays!"

Republicans help the poor during the holidays by sending $50 to the Salvation Army.
Democrats help the poor by giving $50, one buck at a time, to pan-handlers on the street.

Democrats get back at Republicans on their Christmas list by giving them fruitcakes.
Republicans re-wrap them and send them to in-laws.

Democrats let their kids open all the gifts on Christmas Eve.
Republicans make their kids wait until Christmas morning.

When toasting the holidays, Republicans ask for sherry or mulled wine.
Democrats ask for egg nog.

When not in stores, Republicans use a catalog.
Democrats watch for "incredible tv offers" on late night television.

Democrats do a lot of their shopping at Costco and Walmart.
So do Republicans, but they don't admit it.

Democrats give children gifts that make a political statement.
Republicans give their children gifts that will keep them out of their hair.

Republican parents have no problem buying their kids toy guns.
Democrats refuse to do so. That is why their kids pretend to shoot each other with dolls.

Republicans spend hundreds of dollars and hours of work decorating the yard with outdoor lights and Christmas diplays.
Democrats save their time and money and drive around at night to enjoy the scenery.

Democrats' favorite Christmas movie is "Miracle on 34th Street."
Republicans' favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful Life."
Right-Wing Republicans' favorite Christmas movie is "Diehard."

Republicans always take the price tag off any expensive gifts they buy before wrapping.
Democrats also remove price tags off pricey gifts...and reposition them to make sure they're seen.

Republicans wear red ties and green sport jackets during the festive season.
Democrats do too, all year 'round.

Most Republicans try, at least once, enclosing indulgent, wretchedly maudlin form letters about their families in their Christmas cards.
Public ridicule from Democrats usually discourage them from doing it again.

Democrats' favorite Christmas song is "Deck the Halls."
Young Democrats' favorite Christmas song is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."
Republicans' favorite Christmas song is "White Christmas."
Young Republicans' favorite Christmas song is "White Christmas."

Cheapskate Republicans buy an artificial Christmas tree.
Tightfisted Democrats buy a real tree, but they wait until the week before Christmas when the lots lower their prices.

Republicans see nothing wrong with letting their children play "Cowboys and Indians."
Democrats don't either, as long as the Indians get to win.

Republicans first began thinking like Republicans when they stopped believing in Santa Claus...
Democrats became Democrats because they never stopped believing in Santa Claus.

(Thanks to John Carlson)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Grammy Schmammy...

Well, they did it again. Nominations were announced today for the 2005 Grammy awards. I like to be surprised when nominees are selected...I want to be as surprised as those nominees who get nominated who know that they really deserve it, but think that they're going to be overlooked for the Nellys and Britneys of the world. Unfortunately, for myself and those really truly talented artists, it's another year of disappointment. Think of every irritating song that you've heard on the radio non-stop and those singing them are the ones with their eyes on the prize this year.

Now, I'm not saying that every nominee is lame because there are a few nominations, as predictable as they are, that I'm happy to see made the list. Note the number of young'uns on the list...

"Let's Get It Started" - Black Eyed Peas
This song is great because it's the perfect getting ready to go out or first dance of the evening at the local club song. It's upbeat, fun, and is sung by a former cast member of "Kids Incorporated."

"Burn" - Usher
Finally a song that doesn't force us to listen to a guy talking about bedding a catch. It's an actual song about a guy calling it off for honest, genuine, sincere reasons. Put it in the books kids...

"Heaven" - Los Lonely Boys
Mark my words, they're one hit wonders. However, I hope that this one hit pays off for them.

"The Reason" - Hoobastank
A hard rock song allowing us to understand the lyrics, say "awww", and eligible to be a 2005 prom theme song at the same time. Any song that starts with the words, "I'm not a perfect person" gets my attention.

"Live Like You Were Dying" - Tim McGraw
This song only works if you call up those people you don't say "I love you" to enough. It's worked for me. I can't see this song not making anyone want to spend another day without taking a risk.

"She Will Be Loved" - Maroon 5
Not only does this band have the cutest singer of all of the nominees, but it's also struck gold this year. It went from opening for John Mayer to headlining with three #1 hits all in a month's time. That's hard work, that's success, that's Grammy...

"Fell in Love with a Boy" - Joss Stone
The best cover song of the year, hands down. Ms. Stone is amazingly talented, raw, and honest for being so young. She sings from the heart while making lots of boys wish they were "the one." Kudos to her for refusing to use her voice and good looks to play a pop princess.

Norah Jones - "Feels Like Home"
She should win every award that she's nominated for. In fact, I would pay big bucks to see Ms. Jones go on tour with Joss Stone...maybe throw in a little Ani and Dar and I could die happily after the standing ovation. I love Norah Jones for several reasons. I feel that I have a distant personal connection to her since she is a friend of a friend of mine. She is brilliant. Her voice is flawless and classic. The duet with Dolly Parton on this CD is worth every penny you spend. I could keep going, but I say just give her the Grammy already. I don't care if she doesn't have any room in her trophy case after last year's awards. Norah Jones is the new Tom Hanks of acknowledgements.

"Daughters" - John Mayer
This is the best song on John's newest CD. It's simple, but so real. I feel a personal connection to this song following this year's events in my life. It's a lesson to be learned.

"You Raise Me Up" - Josh Groban
Unfortunately, the only radio stations that ate this song up this year were of the light rock format. I'm not exactly sure where Mr. Groban fits in. He's in that young eclectic category with some of this year's other nominees. If you've ever heard him sing, you don't have to figure out why he's nominated. The great thing about Mr. Groban is that if he doesn't walk away big on Grammy night, he'll have plenty more opportunities for years to come. This won't be the last time we hear from him.

Harry Connick, Jr. - "Only You"
This is Harry doing what Harry does. The best part about it is that I got to see Handsome Harry up close and personal this year on his "Only You" tour. You always know that a show is great when you walk out of the auditorium feeling that the Ticketmaster surcharges were all worth it. I've been a fan of Connick's for years. From the first note he crooned, I knew why. In addition to his smooth voice, his musical talent is untouchable. He is easily one of the best piano players I've seen in my life. HCJ is the new Sinatra...gasp...yeah, I said it.

"99 Problems" - Jay Z
Wow! From one extreme to the other, eh? Jay Z's performance on MTV's "Unplugged" is one of my favorite recordings. It's live, he's backed by The Roots, and, even though you're not in the crowd, you can feel the energy of the people at the show. He's certainly one of the most underappreciated rap artists out there. Last year's "Grey Album" virtually went unnoticed. I loved it because he sampled all of the songs on The Beatles' "White Album." Being a huge fan of The Beatles, I wasn't offended by the new sounds. I honestly couldn't tell you who enhanced the other's music more. "99 Problems" is one of Jay Z's new experiments. He meshes his spoken word abilities with a heavy beat to create something addictive and comfortable.

"All Falls Down" - Kanye West
I loved Kanye West before he hit the music scene and was a spoken word performer. The poem that inspired this song, "Self Conscious", is one of my favorite. I was disappointed in the CD overall, but I definitely think that this song is Grammy worthy.

"You'll Think of Me" - Keith Urban
This song is the one that made me teary the most this year. I'm not sure if the tears were out of shock that someone had the nerve to leave someone as yummy as Keith Urban, the sorry lyrics about the cat, or because I think we've all been in a similar situation of breaking up with someone and trying to convince them that they'll miss you more than you'll miss them. Great song...really great song.

"Save A Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" - Big & Rich
These guys are Grammy-worthy for one main reason...They had the courage to turn a cheezy bumper sticker saying into a hit song while nonchalantly referring to themselves as "Big" and "Rich" The song doesn't impress me, but the size of their kahunas does.

Jamie Cullum - "Twentysomething"
This is easily my favorite CD of the entire year. It's going to be tough to beat next year. I was first introduced to his music by a co-worker who heard about him on NPR. Jamie Cullum is as right-on as they come when it comes to describing the life of a "twentysomething." The biggest song off of the album, "All at Sea," with it's kick-ass piano intro. makes me wish that I were "all at sea" with British Cullum so as to not be bothered by life. He also does a mean cover of "The Wind Cries Mary." Cullum makes us hear the classics in a whole new way without any crooning, but still making us remember why those songs were classics in the first place. Grammy, here he comes!

"You Ain My One True Love" - Alison Krauss
Sting wrote this song for the movie "Cold Mountain." If you've seen the movie, you understand not only how important music is to it's existence, but also that there couldn't be a better song to capture the scenes of the Civil war. The music in this film makes you feel the film, not something that is conveyed so easily anymore. This movie without this soundtrack would be like "Footloose" without any dancing. They work beautifully together. Alison Krauss is a true song bird...and from Illinois. The entire score is up for a Grammy and I think that it'll be taking it home this year.

"De-lovely" - Soundtrack
Unfortunately I missed out on this film, but I had common sense enough to take a chance with the soundtrack. After seeing the preview, I knew that I couldn't pass it up. With artists such as Alanis Morrisette, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Robbie Williams, and Diana Krall taking on Cole Porter's hits, it's a refreshing listen.

"Avenue Q" - Soundtrack
It doesn't suck to be "Avenue Q" or anything related to it. This musical, which won the Tony last year for Best Musical, can be described as "Rent" meets "Sesame Street"...and Gary Coleman is the landlord. I have spent countless hours listening and laughing to this soundtrack. It's nice to see that it's popularity will remain around for a while longer thanks to this nomination.

And then there are those who I believe should have received honorable mentions but were overlooked this year:

"Everything" - Alanis Morisette
"Everything to Everyone" - Barenaked Ladies
"Measure of a Man" - Clay Aiken
Anything by The Streets
"I Believe in a Thing Called Love" - The Darkness
"Harmful if Swallowed" - Dane Cook
"Skanks for the Memories" - Dave Attell
"Like a River" - Kasey Chambers
"Come Home Soon" - SheDaisy
Anything by Kelis
"Hallelujah" - Rufus Wainwright
"Leave Get Out" - JoJo
"Over and Over" or "My Place" - Nelly (sorry, I'm guilty...they're good songs)
"Long Time Coming" - Jonny Lang
Anything by Jason Mraz
"Thankful" - Kelly Clarkson
"Whiskey Lullaby" - Alison Krauss/Brad Paisley
"Suds in the Bucket" - Sara Evans

Well, anyway, Congrats to all of the nominees! Anyone ready to place their bets yet?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

10 Days Later...

It's been that long since we've last met. There aren't any complex excuses for my absence other than I've been tired. It's as simple as that. I've been tired. There are certain reasons why I've been so tired, but for now I will keep those reasons to myself and the chosen few who are helping me as I head into my own "blue Christmas." I apologize for my neligence and thanks to all who have written me wondering where I've been.

I realized that this past Thanksgiving, I never really took the opportunity to thank everyone that I consider to be essential in my life. I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends and family members who I truly do, even though I may not display it, appreciate so much every day of my life. I feel as if I'm standing behing the podium on Oscar night...as the music swells, attempting to cut off my blabbering, let me now extend my thanks and admiration.

On a lighter note, I received my first Christmas cards of 2004 this week. For those who read the site, let me acknowledge that the holiday season has now officially bombarded us by wishing you a great one.


Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all...and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual orientation of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher...So there.)