Category Archives: Entertainment

I Love Natalie!

I don’t know how I found this young lady, but I can’t get enough of her videos. Her name is Natalie, and she either lives in Australia or New Zealand as far as I know. I know what got me to watch the first video; she’s just the cutest thing. But she’s funny as sin. She has a great take on a lot of things, and most of them are things that I believe we think of all the time and either just let them go or wonder the same thing she does.

If you decide to look it any of the three video below, you’ll find that she’s very creative as well. She’s figured out how to put multiple copies of herself into the video, and she loves to dress up as well. Sometimes she even has her mother in a video, and I don’t know who the guy is, or whether it’s multiple guys, but she’s not always alone. Near the end of each video, she will also show pictures of people she’s run into who want to have their picture taken with her, and then she does a brief rundown of some of the comments are videos of received.

You want to think about how powerful YouTube can be? According to her statistics, there’ve been more than 26 million views of her videos. Someone’s got to put this young lady on TV!

Anyway, I’m sharing three videos that I thought were particularly funny. Warning, some of them might have a bad word here and there, so view it first before you decide to share with the kids. I don’t know if you will find are as funny as I think she is, but I’m betting Sire’s gonna say she’s cute enough to at least watch. Oh yeah; she also makes more than $100,000 a year with her YouTube page, so that might encourage some of you wannabe internet stars. lol

KODAK Zi8 Pocket Video Camera / Aqua

KODAK Zi8 Pocket Video Camera

Price – $179.95






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It Pays To Be Bad Sometimes

You know, I really didn’t want to talk about this Tiger Woods thing because, overall, I don’t care who he’s been with or anything else. Yes, he’s let a lot of people down, especially with how he’d built himself up as this paragon of virtue and dedication only to his sport and his wife, and to see all of that come crashing down is depressing in some fashion.

But the truth is that he’s an athlete who owes none of us anything. He never had any moral authority like one of my childhood heroes Jesse Jackson, or a politician like Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina. Tiger Woods ends up being Muhammad Ali (another childhood hero) in a way; heck, that could end up paying off well for him in the end.

See, here’s the thing. Over the past two weeks, I’d been wondering why all these women were coming out saying they’d had sex with Tiger; let’s call it what it is, instead of saying he “slept” with women. Heck, I’ve slept with women in my lifetime and none of it involved sex; yeah, I’m pathetic, but trustworthy. 🙂 Anyway, it had been troubling me the first week. Then one of my friends on Facebook talked about it, so I came out saying I just don’t get what these skanks could get out of it; yeah, I called them skanks. She didn’t have an answer either. So I went and mentioned it on Twitter, and I got my answer; money!

Oh yeah, the mighty dollar. Most of these women got paid to tell their story. Some of them, it seems, had been paid before by Tiger; they got him co… no, I’m not going to say that, as that jokes way too easy. Let’s just say they’re getting paid twice for having sex with him, well, once, twice, twenty times… who knows?

Most of them are getting paid. Some are getting paid really well. Some say they’re not getting paid, but then why the heck would they come out and say this stuff? That’s really the main question at this point; if they’re not getting money, what’s in it for them to come out and admit that their tramps, skanks, and sluts (as opposed to ho’s, because ho’s readily admit they get paid)?

Tiger gets his share of the blame here, but, as I said, this really isn’t a story about him as much as it’s a story about being bad. Let’s take a quick look at our short list of sex scandals, shall we?

Kobe Bryant was accused of rape, got out of it by paying off the person accusing him, and is now not only the best basketball player in the NBA, but has endorsement deals paying him more than he was getting paid beforehand. Why? Because just being accused of that heinous act gave him what’s known as street cred (credibility, for those in other countries who might not be up on the lingo), and suddenly it was cool for guys in the ‘hood to wear his gear.

Ashley Dupre, the young prostitute that brought down the governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, is now writing a column for the New York Post. Of all things, she’s giving sex and relationship advice. Of course, I’m sure she sees this as a major fall in cash, since she was making about $5,000 a pop as a prostitute (man, I can’t help myself; the puns are there), but at least she now has a steady job, even if she’s prostituting herself in a much different way (it is the Post after all).

Jerry Springer was mayor of Cincinnati when he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. That wasn’t the worst of it, though; he actually wrote her a check! Now Jerry Springer makes around $20 million a year at least, writes a column for some newspaper, has had a couple of legit TV gigs here and there, and, well, he hasn’t gone too far from the sex now has he?

Mark Fuhrman, the detective in the O.J. Simpson case who was quoted saying all those racial epithets on tape and pretty much sealed the case in O.J.’s favor has made quite a nice living as a fiction writer. A couple of his books have gone to number one on the best seller’s list; he wasn’t making that much on a cop’s salary, that’s for sure.

Who really knew who Paris Hilton (she’s “hot”; lol) was until a video of her popped up showing that she had some skills doing, uhhh… well, you know what she was doing. She was someone else who was already rich, though it was daddy’s money, but she turned that one indiscretion into her own multi-million money making venture which includes fashion, perfumes, TV, modeling, movies and music; okay, she’s not making millions off the albums, although she did have one song to to number one on the dance chart. But the thing is that this is millions she’s making on her own, to the tune of almost $35 million a year, thus she hasn’t had to touch her trust fund, which is estimated to be in the 9 figures somewhere.

And we have Kim Kardashian, who turned her little home video into an empire that has made her a very rich woman. I mean, TV, modeling, fashion, and almost anything else you can think of, and that backside… let’s not go there except to say she replaced Jennifer Lopez in that area and leave it at that.

See, notoriety didn’t hurt any of these people. None of them, other than Kobe Bryant, were even in the consciousness of most of us until we heard about these indiscretions, and look where they are now. Heck, even Eliot Spitzer is now writing a column for Slate Magazine, a mag I’ve never heard of until he signed up with them, and now he appears on TV shows talking politics all the time, probably making more money than he ever was going to make as governor; not that he wasn’t already rich, by the way.

I guess this really is the way of the world, as even the prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, is dealing with his own sex issue, as well as a corruption scandal. But he’s 71; he might not have enough time to capitalize on his bad fortune, though he really doesn’t need to. After all, not only is he rich, but he got rich through sex, in a way, so he already knew the game before he decided to get into politics.

Man, why do I have my own sense or morals? Maybe I could be rich by now, flying all over the world having all sorts of fun because people want to know what I’m doing because of my indiscretion. Could I deal with a week or so of bad publicity to turn it around and make millions later on? Is there such a thing as bad publicity? Do we really think this little bit of negative publicity Tiger Woods is going through right now is going to make him less of a golfer, and thus earn him even more money later on? And, if his wife leaves him, he’ll be free to party like it’s 1999; we can still sing that song, right?

By the way, today it was announced the Accenture had dropped him as one of their spokesmen, saying he doesn’t represent their values. How many of you remember how Accenture came to be anyway; talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

After Sire’s big blog post last week that generated himself a ton of new publicity, maybe he can tell us how to do it honestly, although I’m betting these other folks had way more fun in how they generated theirs.
 

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Rocky And Bullwinkle Turn 50

I always knew 1959 was a special year for more than the fact that I was born that year. Turns out Rocky and Bullwinkle debuted on TV the same year this month.

rocky and bullwinkle

My earlier memory of Rocky and Bullwinkle was actually in the mid 60’s, when my family returned from Tokyo. By that time, is came on Sunday mornings, but it seems that it started out as a prime time cartoon, like the Flintstones.

That’s because it wasn’t really a cartoon for kids. Sure, the animation was goofy and the dialogue, for the most part, was kind of silly. But it was a thinking person’s cartoon. There were a lot of in-jokes and things that you had to have read as far as literature goes, or had to be up on the news. In an odd way, it was the Family Guy of the past, only clean.

It was easily my dad’s favorite cartoon. It was one of the few things we watched together, and he would laugh outrageously at it. I would laugh also, at different things, although I also loved hearing my dad laugh, so that made me laugh too. He also loved Fractured Fairy Tales while I was a Mr. Peabody fan, and every once in awhile, we’d deal with Aesop’s Fables. The little interludes with Bullwinkle’s Corner and Mr. Know-It-All were fun as well, and even now, every once in awhile, I’ll say to my wife “Watch me pull a rabbit out of the hat.”

One of my best memories of Bullwinkle and Rocky actually came while I was in college. My friend Scott and I decided to go to Syracuse University for a Bullwinkle marathon. I don’t even remember which one we saw, but we laughed long and hard throughout the night. We finally got all the jokes that we’d missed when we were younger. What a rush!

At this point, I have two DVDs of Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, and 4 or 5 VHSs, although I don’t get to watch those all that often; man, what are we all going to do with all those VHS tapes? I was probably one of only 25 people who actually liked the live action mix called The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and I might be the only one who enjoys the new cartoon they’re working on now. How’s that for being a fan?

Happy Birthday to Rocky and Bullwinkle; what memories do you have of this dynamic duo?

Rocky and Bullwinkle, Complete Season 2


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My 13 Favorite Singers

I figured it was time to lighten things up again, and what better way than one of my “favorites” posts, right? This time around, I’ve selected my favorite 13 singers. This is different than the post I did on the top 100 singers because that was just my commentary on the top 10 singers, which were actually performers, of someone else’s. As far as music is concerned, I also did classical music, and a couple of the folks who I used to help highlight some of those pieces are featured here as well.

The problem with doing a list like this is that you’re really limited by who you know and whom you’ve heard of. At least I’ve mixed genres, but there’s a lot of people I left off this list because, well, these types of posts are kind of time consuming to put together. It’s also hard to find something good for all of them, because I wanted them in the video. Some of the most popular folks have most of their videos with the embed turned off, so I had to search around to find what I’m able to show here. A couple of times I just couldn’t use the song I wanted to use to highlight the person either; so be it. Still, I’d listen to any one of these folks sing names from a phone book, I love their voices so much.

Remember, if you want to purchase something for one of these singers, just click on their name. Love to hear your comments on this list, and of course list your favorite singers, and I highlight singers, not performers. That’s for another time, I figure. And here we go:

13. Paul Robeson – This guy never got the credit he deserved for all the talent he possessed, including his singing. Back in the day, he was labeled a Communist, and that was pretty much that as far as a real career goes. But there was no one else who ever had this deep and powerful a voice.

12. Christina Aguilera – Say what you will with some of her personas, when she wants to sing, this girl can “saaang”, as we like to say. As tiny as she is, you just don’t expect this kind of voice coming out of her, with such power and authority, and she’s had this voice since she was 10.

11. Celine Dion – People love to make a parody out of Celine Dion, but no one can take away her voice from her. One of the most popular songs in history is from the movie Titanic; this here is one of my favorites instead.

10. Barbra Streisand – Younger people might not know just how big a deal Barbra Streisand was at one time. She commanded movies, the stage, and records all at once. There wasn’t any style of music this lady couldn’t sing, and to me it’s a tribute to her that she’s behind the people I have on this list because she easily could have been in my top 5.

9. Luciano Pavarotti – Come on, there was no way I could leave Luciano off this list after having him sing one of my favorite classical music pieces. Talk about a powerful voice, and when he was in better shape than his later years, it looked effortless, like in this video from I Pagliacci.

8. Sarah Brightman – The original Cristine from Phantom of the Opera, some people thought she only got the part because she was married to Andrew Lloyd Webber at the time. That is, until they heard her sing. What a sweet voice, and she can do so many things with it.

7. Josh Groban – Some people can’t believe I like this guy because his music is, well, not all that strong. Who cares when he can sing like he can. I think his voice and his music are just perfect together, and he sings so many uplifting songs like this one.

6. Paul Carrack – This one will be a total surprise to many people, who might not know who he is. There are 3 great songs by groups that had him come in and sing the song. Those songs are How Long by Ace, Tempted by Squeeze, and Living Years by Mike & the Mechanics. What a classic voice; he had to be on this list.

5. Kathleen Battle – If you remember the classical music post, you’ll remember how I said I wanted to marry this one when I was younger. Just an amazing voice, and not bad to look at, and she can hit high notes like very others.

4. Kiri Te Kanawa – Kiri goes the other way. She’s got a powerful also voice that grabs your soul and makes you want to follow her around. She was actually my real introduction into opera singers, as I just wasn’t paying attention to Beverly Sills voice when she was on the Muppet Show; hey, I was in college!

3. Sam Cooke – Man, we lost him way too early. What a voice, and unfortunately, what a terrible video to use to highlight it. But, as I said, I wanted you to see him live. His voice was just so smooth and soulful, even if he was singing a fast song. No, this one’s not fast; but I love it.

2. Mariah Carey – Of course my top two are easy for anyone who knows me. I once told my wife that Mariah is the only woman I’d leave her for, and even then she’d have to sing two songs for me first. This is one of them; I’m not telling you what the other one is. lol

1. Michael Jackson – This one was easy for you to guess, coming from me. Man, I miss him so much, and I hate that anything new that comes out won’t be followed with a new video. I loved lots of songs that he did; this one was probably his most powerful overall.

Michael Jackson Thriller Clock

Michael Jackson Thriller Clock

Price – $43.46


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My Top 19 Favorite Classical Pieces

This is something different, in a way. I’ve posted on my top 10 favorite TV shows, my top 16 favorite sci-fi movies of all time, and my five top presentations in history.

Now, it’s time for my top 19 favorite classical pieces ever. But it comes with a twist. Instead of just saying I like Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, which isn’t on the list so it’s a throwaway favorite, I’m indicating which movement is my favorite if it’s a long piece. That is, if there is a favorite within a long piece, which you’ll see what I mean as I go through some of these.

I’m betting this won’t be one of my more popular posts, as I’ve got a feeling most folks who stop by here probably aren’t into classical music as much as they might be into TV, but hey, I wanted to do something like this, with clips and such, and so here we go. By the way, these particular posts take a lot of time to put together, but I’m trying to show y’all that, when necessary, I will put in the time to bring you something special; whether you like it or not. By the way, Beethoven is my favorite composer, and you’ll see a lot of his stuff here.

In reverse order, here we go:

19. Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances – I have to say this up front; I hate ballet. I don’t like dance like this. I do, however, love the music of a bunch of ballets. This is one of my favorites, though I don’t have any stories saying why because I really don’t know why. I couldn’t get a video that just keyed in on the part I love the most, but it’s contained within here.

18. Orff’s Carmina Burana – I first heard this in college and was blown away by the power of the chorus. This was definitely something I wasn’t prepared for, and yet I loved it from the minute I heard it. I used to know all the lyrics to this bad boy; those days are gone. O Fortuna is the first song from Carmina Burana, and I decided to share a bit of my favorite artist of all time, Michael Jackson, with this song.

17. Gershwin’s An American In Paris – This is a very long piece, almost 24 minutes long, so the video I have of it will only give a short portion from the beginning. I grew to love this song when I saw Gene Kelly, one of my favorite old movie stars, in the movie of the same name. Now this guy was a man’s man when it came to dancing, and the dance sequence was something else. The music was perfect for what they did with it.

16. Puccini’s Turandot, Nessun Dorma – This is a classic opera piece, and within the last couple of years, it was made popular again by Paul Potts, who won Britian’s Got Talent with it. However, the guy who owns the song as his own is Luciano Pavarotti, who I have singing it here.

15. Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Summertime – One of the most famous opening songs in operatic history, Gershwin gets two places from me with this powerful song, here sung by Kathleen Battle, who I was going to marry in my past life so she would just sing to me every night. Later I heard she can sometimes be difficult to work with, so I guess I got lucky there.

14. Randall Thompson’s Alleluia – This is one of my favorite choral pieces, and I’m sure it has something to do with it also being one of the first choral pieces I sung when I was a freshman in college. I’ll own up to it; I had problem singing German lyrics, even though I learned how to speak a little German, as well as write it, when I was 10 years old. Those days were gone by the time I reached college, though. But this is one word throughout, crafted well by Thompson, and I always imagined that we sounded this good every time out.

13. Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, choral part – My first Beethoven piece on this list, the choral part could actually also be called the fourth movement. The reason it’s not is because it’s a fantasy, not a symphony or a concerto, even though the piano is prominent throughout the piece. I always want to play this piece; instead, I was one of the boys of the chorus, but not very good since it was German once again.

12. Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, 2nd movement – I don’t know a piano player worth anything who hasn’t played this piece. It was one of the few classical pieces that I actually knew how to play without music, and I played it very well if you ask me. However, it’s also the piece I played for my first piano teacher in college, who absolutely cringed when he heard me play it the first time. He asked me where I heard it from, and I told him from a Glenn Gould record; seems Gould was considered a “hack” by “true” classical pianists; who knew? So, I played it his way sometimes, and the way others played it at other times. Kind of like this version here.

11. Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, “My gallant crew, good morning” – Gilbert & Sullivan wrote some pretty funny stuff, and it was how political commentary was done back in their day. This particular song is one of the funniest, in my opinion, as it cites a captain who’s more interested in how he’s perceived by his men than in how the job gets done.

Top Ten Time!

10. Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, 1st movement – Also known as the Pastoral Symphony, Beethoven easily captured the free spirit and loveliness of being out in the wilderness. There’s a video montage to this song in Disney’s Fantasia that matches up to the music really well. When I need to calm down some evenings, this is one of the pieces I put on.


https://youtu.be/tcSuSk4d6Gs

9. Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, overture – I love this entire piece, and actually had hoped to play it at my wedding one day, at least the recessional part. I have to say that the movies they’ve made for this are, well, weird, especially the one with Mickey Rooney in it as a young man; I’m not really sure how old he was. It’s actually another ballet where I love the music and the singing, but hate the dancing.


https://youtu.be/wIcImOYivDA

8. Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, overture – Since there were so many Strauss’ who composed music, you get his first name here. Okay, I admit it; I grew to love this piece because of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Many old cartoons were matched up with classical pieces, which is probably why I like them so much.


https://youtu.be/H2lrKuZKV-Q

7. Bizet’s Carmen, Habanera – Who hasn’t heard Carmen, let alone this piece, which is Carmen’s signature song? What’s wild about this clip is that the first time I ever saw Carmen, this is the lady who was singing it, Agnes Baltsa, and that was back in the late 80’s. This guy at the hospital I was working at invited me to go, as he had box seats, and man, I’ve never gone to another opera if I couldn’t get box seats.


https://youtu.be/xlGTz0pSLS8

6. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, 1st Movement – I love this entire piece, and it was my dad’s favorite piece of music ever. The first movement is spectacular, and there’s no build up to it.


https://youtu.be/CCLxso5XDN4

5. Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto, 3rd Movement – I’d never heard this piece of music, though I knew of Prokofiev because he also wrote Peter and the Wolf, until I saw the movie The Competition with Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving; I had a major crush on Amy Irving at the time. They have her “playing” this song at the end of the movie, which wins her the competition. It’s one of those piano pieces that not only sounds great, but visually it’s a stunning performance piece. There are two ways of playing the ending on the piano; one has a lot more flash than the other one.


https://youtu.be/BFkviNtDQSo

4. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, 4th Movement – Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is also known as the Choral Symphony, and the 4th movement is also known as Ode To Joy. Imagine this; it was Beethoven’s last symphony, and he was deaf when he wrote it, then conducted it. And, while he was conducting it, he got the timing incorrect, but the orchestra played it the way it had been rehearsed by someone else. In total it’s a great piece, but this finale is, well, classic.


https://youtu.be/QDViACDYxnQ

3. Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto, 2nd movement – Yup, another Beethoven piece. The 5th Piano Concerto is also known as the Emperor Concerto, as it was written for Napoleon. However, Beethoven realized what kind of man Napoleon actually was and stripped “emperor” from it. However, it was put back after his death, and people still call it that. By the way, in its entirety this is my favorite piano concerto of all time.


https://youtu.be/W46JgM-K5SI

2. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, 1st Movement – This is just spectacular, and once again it’s a very long piece of music. It was considered way out there in his time, so much so that it was actually hated and scorned for about 10 years, until he brought it to the United States and became a star. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the entire 1st movement without the whole concerto, but it’s all good.


https://youtu.be/Yue6Cb5OULM

1. Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto, 2nd Movement – This is the very first song I pull out when I need relaxing, and one that I practiced for two years, only to get very close but no cigar on. It sounds like it would be easy to play, but homeboy must have had big hands because my hands just couldn’t get it done. Many of you will recognize part of this from a song Eric Carmen did in the 70’s called All By Myself. And it’s this piece that I actually have on videotape from the 80’s of Andre Watts playing, which I’d hoped would be on YouTube; oh well… At least you get Yuga Wang again; hotness! 🙂


https://youtu.be/qQCH0QPoCfs

And there you are, my favorite classical pieces. Of course there are plenty more that I could have thrown in, but this post is long enough, even if most of it is video. Please, listen to some of them, and let me know what you think.

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