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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Mathematically Challenged and Taylor Hicks

Let's see, if I were in a business for say, about 30 years, about how old would I be? If I were ten years when I started out, I'd be 40 (and incredibly smart)... If I were twenty, I'd be 50, If I were 25 I'd be 55... I guess it's a study of comparison and mathematics but safe to say I'd likely be between 50 and 60? A simple mathematics function to compute, yet certain folks seem to have issue with the Truth. Of course, denying the facts presented at an earlier date in time convenient if suffering from early on-set dementia.

Well, if it makes certain Taylor Hicks' 'girlfriends' happy to have somebody to hate during yet another disappointing small chapter in the career life of Taylor Hicks, then let them.

"If It Makes You Happy" Sheryl Crow

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eyes of Texas on Jason Castro - and Everlast

(Thanks to pinkpjs for the photos - you are too kind!)
I did not get to go see the Idol show in Dallas, it was the night of my youngest kid's first day of school; being a school night we could not be up late. I'll just plan on catching up with Jason Castro later when he comes home and perhaps books some of the local spots. Jason Castro might draw a crowd too big to play, say, Muddy Waters, a laid back place on lower Greenville, but perhaps The Loft would be a good fit. Doesn't really matter where, just preferably a Friday night, you know, to fit my schedule. Just showing some support for the local Daydreaming Boy...
"Traveling Through" Jason Castro (Idol appearance)

video c/o Diane8806

Speaking of The Loft, Everlast, of whom I've been blogging about the past few days is going to be in town Friday, October 17. He's on tour promoting his new album due out September 23, just days before my birthday...just F.Y.I.

Everlast, "Love for Real", video created by Zayka69
This tune carries an old school soul vibe with a twist in the rhythms that give it a unique modern sound. Everlast's phrasing is the key. His vocals drip sexy.

Everlast tributes Johnny Cash, inserts his brand of tongue-in-cheek humor (love that shirt). Cool little video with some old Johnny Cash footage included. Some folks have loved this take, others not so much.
"Folsom Prison Blues"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Taylor Hicks' "Early Works" Not So Encouraging

Taylor Hicks' recently released compilation CD, "Early Works" is not exactly hitting the target in sales with Target. First week's estimation had sales between 2300 and 2500 and the next week's results filtering through the channels are perched at under 500. Disappointing, certainly considering this work the body of sound that helped to score Taylor Hicks that Idol win in 2006. I remember listening to Mr. Hicks' tracks over at Gray-haired Dude and Wiseguy's site, WOOOO Radio back in those early days of the competition and absolutely loving what I was hearing.

Largely Taylor's appeal for me, his being completely outside the PopTart Idol character. He did not look the part to play for a position on that reality show, and it blew me away to hear a-want-to-be contestant in the early auditions sing something other than Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey. I was a fan from the get-go. His Top 24 walk as he swaggered with measured bluesman steps, blowing a harmonica all the way from the elevator doors to the judge's bench, captivated me. He was just too cool.

Now those same tunes that I grew so enamored with on WOOO radio for their very throw-back qualities are now, outside the show and the boundaries of their novelty, garnering criticisms even from past supporting reporters.

Ken Barnes, in USA Today's IDOL Chatter writes,
"If there's one overriding reaction, it was the less intensity he brings to a song, the better it sounds. Even cutting him a break for this album being made up of, well, early works, he indulges in some of the most overwrought, heavily mannered pseudo-soul singing I've heard since Joe Cocker's heyday -- something that the tight format of Idol probably didn't allow him to practice to excess. The bulk of the album is made up of either dull, by-the-numbers blue-eyed soul (including, sadly, two cuts later recut for his major-label album, The Deal and Soul Thing -- they are not diamonds in the rough here) or the aforementioned excursions into tortured oversinging (a cover of Ray Charles' version of Georgia on My Mind, two highly Cocker-esque tracks called Heart and Soul and In Your Time).

Yet on a few tracks he breaks the mold, notably a pair of folky numbers, The Fall and West Texas Sky, that I would recommend you check out, especially the former. Skip, however, the ultra-loose cover of Archie Bell & The Drells' Tighten Up, which the album booklet not only gives him credit for writing but which he seems to date (unless I misheard him) as coming from 1973, when it was a hit in 1968.

So a disappointing collection from someone who's still one of my favorite Idol contestants. Let's hope the new album displays a little more restraint and variety."

I agree with Mr. Barnes regarding two of the best tracks on the "Early Works", "The Fall" and "West Texas Sky". He prefers the former while I prefer the latter. I find it interesting that "West Texas Sky", up until this new CD was released had, in the past not received little to no commentary. I could imagine either one being a viable radio friendly offering.

Like Mr. Barnes I remain hopeful for Taylor Hicks.
"Well, we bursted out of class
Had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a 3-minute record, baby
Than we ever learned in school
Tonight I hear the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say you're tired and you just want to close your eyes
And follow your dreams down..."

"No Surrender" Bruce Springsteen LYRICS

Everlast, Checking out Some Raps...

"Black Jesus" Everlast LYRICS

From Everlast's "Eat at Whitey's" CD: "I Can't Move"

From Everlast's "White Trash Beautiful": "I Sleep Alone"
Love the way he wraps his voice around the words, that smooth, fluid growl.

Everlast, "Blinded by the Sun" Not much video, only clip on the 'Tube with this tune. LYRICS
""Blinded By The Sun"

I met a woman in West Virginia
Said her name was Alabama
She from a little town outside Savannah
Where everyone talk that country grammar
She said she killed a man down in Atlanta
He beat her and he drank til he couldn't stand up
He told her that he loved her but he couldn't stand her
She caught him in his sleep hit him with a hammer
Then she sold her car and she bought a gun
Johnny Law got her on the run
Another broken bottle and the damage done
We've all been blinded by the sun..."

Blinded by the sun...

Monday, August 25, 2008

More Tunes: Everlast

"Put Your Lights On" Santana and Everlast live version, great combination; Santana's flame throwing guitar work and Everlast's full-throated growling.

video by the grace of TheGero; gracias amigo

Perhaps Taylor Hicks has something along this line regarding new music he's working on for that post-Idol soph album.

"This Kind of Lonely" Everlast. Laid back tune, tinged country with a smack of sitting on the front porch Blues. Haunting steel guitar accompaniment. Video is a little 'watery' but the only one there is of a live performance.

video c/o milanv1

Everlast in 1999 at Woodstock. "Ends" Lyrics

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Morning Saying "Grace"

Erick Schrody also known as Everlast and Whitey Ford, developed a unique genre-crossing sound mixing hip-hop and acoustic-based rock music; his sound appeals to me on several levels. In the event you haven't heard of him, he won a Grammy for best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal with Latin rock musician Carlos Santana. They collaborated together for a tune called, "Put Your Lights On" featured in Santana's 1999 album Supernatural.
"There's a darkness,
living deep in my soul
Its still got a purpose to serve
So let your lights shine,
deep into my home
God don't let me lose my nerve,
don't let me lose my nerve..."

His vocals carry a subtle hint of Tom Waits married with something rich and molten, golden and fluid. He's not a singer in the sense that the man carries a great range, but he knows what he has and works it to his advantage. In honor of Sunday, I can't omit this tune while speaking of Tom Waits:
"Chocolate Jesus" Tom Waits

(Pure genius, and thanks to dwizle on the Youtube for capturing this golden moment on Letterman.)

Everlast, had been part of the group, House of Pain, of which I wasn't a fan. I love his work that followed that break-up - Schrody's soul and presence shine through.
"Lonely Road"

One basic thing that draws me to a singer, a performer, their ability to be fresh, innovative, and importantly be able to write a song. Singing covers is fine, if it's a great tune, but to call yourself a real artist in the music world, you have to be able to pick up that pen and write.

Schrody has such a passionate, brilliant way with words. Anyone who follows any type of rap music will attest it's all about the poetry, some are better poets than others. What I love about Schrody's brand of music, he's developed his own feel, a cross between that rap world, old soul and alternative rock. His exterior reads burly tough guy, but this man, who's just recently hit that 40-year mark shows through his writing, especially over the past decade, he's got a rich soul with intense, internal, spiritual chops.

Everlast found his portion of commercial success, not because he's striven to be commercial, but he has a knack for targeting the emotional mark that speaks when you listen to him. His music is currently the featured opening song for TNT's "Saving Grace".

"One time around the sun
another year older and my work ain't done
it's time for me to write the final chapter

Deal the cards and roll the dice
sex drugs and rock'n roll are my only vice
tryin' to figure out just what's here after."

"Saving Grace" Everlast

"What It's Like" LYRICS

Everlast's not been abstinent in the rifts that plague some of the mainstream rap artists and about a decade ago, a feud erupted between he and Eminem. It turned out to be likely a misinterpretation of lyrics written by Schrody that Eminem took offense to - the feud then took off in earnest with both rappers taking lyrical shots at each other. They finally arrived at a form of truce with Schrody backing out since he wasn't in that game to fight to begin with, but it seems he did not want to appear to be intimidated by the overly passionate Marshall Mathers.

This tune is a fine example of his ability to pen down lyrics to wrap a message and story into a four minute time frame. This is an artistic video put together by caw102496 on the Youtube channel.
"White Trash Beautiful" Everlast

Everlast wrote "Letters From Home in the Garden of Stone" in honor of the current war situation in the Middle East.
"Who you think i should be fighting
Mom are you proud are you ashamed
I really am trying to do the right thing
I hope my government can say the same

cause I won't know the man that kills me
and I don't know these man that I kill
We all wind up on the same side
cause not one of us doing God's will"

"Letters Home from the Garden of Stone"

Everlast's music and news can be found over at his myspazz site.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've Found Another Idiot

More on that later, for now, how 'bout some 'cool old guy' who knows how to play the blues?

"Spider and the Fly" John Hammond

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ravings of a Mad Woman: for Taylor Hicks

One ardent fan of Taylor Hicks tonight went on a mad font killing frenzy. I mean that she completely scares the living sanity out of me, (I kid) and yet she's allowed to run Wild and Free on several websites. Folks sit and settle in and count your luck stars that you are not she (nor Taylor Hicks).

Last night she wrote, in regard to a question asked concerning sales numbers on his CD's

"I think Taylor answered that last one over and over again. I remember him saying…and this is not a quote. His emphasis was on touring being the success. He also implied that he was not in that “scene” where he would be flavor of the month but in it for the long haul. There were many other things…and he did say that he sold a MILLION PLUS and he sold plenty more after this as in Asia. I used to get into it with a particular person…ugh…that thought that soundscan figures were the bible. Soundscan only reports from certain stores. Retail types of stores. ALL of the stores that were not connected to Soundscan DID NOT report. That is a fact. Also…when we found out what soundscan does…it blew us away. They have targeted stores…*not Target* but certain picked stores that they *soundscan* use and take their figures and double, triple and even count one sold ten times fold. That is their way of saying…OK…we made up the difference for those that were not counted for the stores that don’t report to us. That my friend, is BULLSHIT! It is not actual figures. Let me say this too…I want to get this right…and If I am not mistaken, Jeanni can correct…but, the board at Soundscan is run by record labels and mogels. SO….now think about this…when they PICK the stores to pump up the sales of a cd sold…making one CD sold turn into TEN CDs sold…which stores do you think they picked? They won’t tell. If they told…supposedly, all of the fans of a certain artist…would run and buy the CD there. To establish a huge inflation of sales. Now…this is where it gets really bad. The stores that are chosen…knowing the record moguls control…if they were to promote…”DAUGHTRY”…well, what sort of people buy his CDs…where do they shop…??? What kinds of stores are attracted to ROCK music? It could easily have been manipulated to be that they picked stores in Malls…or Record Stores…not stores like Walmart. These kids want to go and hear loud music playing in the store…having a larger selection to choose from…the atmosphere…and IMO…those were the stores that were chosen. WHY? When a band like Chris’ band…does not sell tickets to concerts that are huge…like the GA Dome…or Stadium…and have to rely on other performers to bring in the fans and fill the seats…if you sold Millions of CDs…and actually DID sell MILLIONS…you could fill those places UP…and not be playing fairs. That is my point. IMO…Taylor sold lots more than what was said and he even said it and I don’t ever think he would lie…not ever. From his OWN lips…in an interview that was videod…that he sold a million plus. He gets paid, right? That means he knows how many f’ing records he has sold. However, if the numbers are inflated…thru Soundscans system…which is NOT exact nor should it be legal…then WHOOPS…just like I said a long time ago…Here is the church…Here is the steeple…open the door…where are all the people? To me…Taylor’s tour SHOWED and PROVED that he was a success big time. He made more money than Daughtry. Proven. Stats available. Why is that? Because he sold his cd’s out…and they never replaced them with new ones…never put his cd on sale…did not have it exhibited out where anyone could see it…did not promote it…but still millions bought them and went to his concerts. The other fellow, was paid appropriately…less money and I actually felt a bit sorry for him…cause they used him too. He is stuck in a deep contract. They have fulfilled their promotion of him. He does what they say…plays where they tell him and with whom. Taylor is free. Now that he is free…he can rock and roll and his money making is going to skyrocket. He has all the time in the world…he is not the flavor of the month…he is here to stay. Legends are made of what Taylor Hicks is made of. Look at his fansites…look at the google alerts…who is the MOST searched musician…forget where…was it google? Anyway…it was TAYLOR HICKS. Those assholes that he got away from that robbed him of millions of sales of more cds…for instance…in ASIA…I was talking to several ladies from the Asian soul patrol…Taylor’s CD was not in the stores until 6 months after release. They ordered thru Amazon because they wanted them so bad…still took a month to get it. This is all in the past now…and all those obstacles that other AI contestants, and winners have had to indure…that are caught in that WE OWN YOU phase…I feel for them. Ruthless and heartless money hungry bastards. Sorry chill…had to say it…they are.

As anyone might grasp from reading that weirdness, that chick is off her rocker. I'd like to know too, how she got hold of dear Mr. Hicks' balance sheets to know how much money he has really made. She's a mystery wrapped in a banana peel.

Details I discovered on Nielsen Soundscan. Anyone selling a music product with its own unique UPC or ISRC code may register that product to be tracked by Nielsen SoundScan. Registration is free and simply requires that a Title Addition Sheet be filled out and sent back. Registration takes approximately 10-15 business days, so it is recommended that the form be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the product's release date. Therefore, no 'evil' record mogul is sitting in their dark, dank office plotting how to foil an artist, or ramp up the sales.

Who owns SoundScan you might wonder? A company called VNU Marketing started by A.C. Neilson. What all does VNU Marketing do? Click here. Now concerning speculation that some record companies are running or own Soundscan, I think we might all be assured this not the case. Google is your friend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chris Daughtry Serenades Virgins

Voters, that is. Who knew? Chris Daughtry has sold 400 Billion copies worldwide. Yeah, with a "B". I was wondering why he was releasing that same CD albeit with a few new tweaks and additions, and I am seeing the light now. That CD, following Chris' fourth place 'outster' from that reality show, has been an enormous fat bellied cash cow. Can I get a "Mooo-lah"?

I read that stat from an article concerning Mr. D recording Foreigner's 1977 hit, "Feels Like the First Time" for CNN. Chris Daughtry has been enlisted, so to speak, by CNN, to create the theme song for the cable news networks' League of First Time Voters initiative. As the title of this initiative says, the League of First Time Voters, purpose is to get those virgin voters excited and motivated to get out and hit that ballot box.

It's really a sad commentary on our country's state of the affairs - the rampant voter apathy and the massive lack of concern the average American has for who's calling the shots up on The Hill. So many Americans abstain from allowing themselves to soak up news, information and facts on the politicians striving to be elected, then cry foul when they find they've got a Fox in the Hen House. It's also sad considering the attention and the fervor attached to the reality show, American Idol and the mass amount of folks who expend so much time and energy following the contestants of their choice and casting those telephone ballots.

Certainly I'm the last to cast judgment stones at A.I. watchers as I've been hooked by the gills every season, cast my phone in votes. But, I'm also a news junkie who keeps her eye on elections, local and nationally, and I participate. I admit to not engulfing myself head over heels this Presidential campaign up until recently. My reason for that, most of the time in the early stages (and this campaign did start early) there was so much bullshit and politically correct rhetoric to sludge through.

I was fascinated with Hillary Clinton's daring bid for the top office, especially in light of the past controversies she and hubby were embroiled within during their time in the White House. There is a side of me that very much admires that lady, she has a steel spine and an iron will. (Gee, that sounds almost trite. Hillary affects me that way.) I'd never voted for her, but I am fascinated just the same.

Regarding the current candidates, my mental jury is still out. I find it near fairy-tale, the overall fan fair surrounding Obama; at least the women at the rallies have stopped fainting. Perhaps those A.I. devotees who have coined the word, "thud", this is what was meant. That makes me wonder, just think of the genius if someone would have started a campaign with T-shirts and posters, "I Thud for Obama". That's rather catchy. Maybe the fainting would have continued, that at least, was entertaining.

Now McCain, he's definitely got the experience in the bag and he's carrying the War Prisoner badge of courage. My political leanings over the past couple of decades have switched from the left to more a more conservative viewpoint. The more education I have received about the meanings and goals behind each party, the more I realized I identified with the right. So many of the tenets of the Left contain such heavy Socialistic rhetoric and theories that I find them disturbing. Certainly too, the big Leftist proponents seem to be the ones who charge forward with some of the most vicious counterattacks. Often the folks speaking out for the Donkey Party are found to be such loons that it takes drastically away from the party's appeal.

Ultimately, in the real world arena of voting for our country's leaders, it will come down to who inspires me to click that button in the booth. Right or wrong, and be damned with that popular opinion, it will be my choice. That's the beauty of the whole election process. That message ultimately the one that CNN is trying to convey in their League of First Time Voters initiative.

Returning to the Chris Daughtry and season five of American Idol topic, since Daughtry has come to the forefront as being one of that reality shows biggest money makers, do I think I got it wrong that season? I mean, look at the facts in the real world; Chris Daughtry has gone on to smoke the charts in popular opinion with those 400 Billion records sold - Taylor Hicks is still in the 'struggling musician' category, if you hold by the numbers. Denial aside, Taylor Hicks proponents, facts are facts. Certainly the man's got a devoted fan base, but he's not raking in the numbers, the figures that artists who have 'made it' make. Never being one to just run with the pack of popular opinion, popular choice or not, Mr. Hicks was and remains my reality show favorite. Taylor Hicks was the one who inspired me to pick up the phone back then, and after it is all said and done, he still inspires me.

Fantasizing for a moment, perhaps if the voting public could vote via phone from their living rooms we'd have a bigger "turn out". Add to that, more televised coverage of the candidates speaking. Taking it one step further, how about a new reality show: "American Presidential Candidates". It could begin at the start of the bid for office and continue through to the bitter end. Just imagine the ratings bonanza! (FOX are you listening?) Just think, MacDonalds could have special Happy Meal toys featuring fun facts, slogans and figurines of the candidates, like they do with American Idol. It's a given who'd be the Chosen One for the show's opening and closing tunes, it would be That Guy with 400 Billion albums sold, right CNN?

"Crashed" Daughtry

video c/o semolinacustard

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Staind: Substance Over Illusion

Today marks the release date for Staind's new album, "The Illusion of Progress". I've heard some of the new tracks and it's a change from some of the band's previous works. Guitarist Mike Mushok has said that "The Illusion of Progress" marks a very different record for the band, "...better different." I agree.

This new sound not the only evidence this band continues to grow and evolve; they're branching into an interesting form of marketing. What spurred this idea behind the new CD campaign? The band has, over the past two years witnessed the benefits of interaction with the fans.

Lead singer, Aaron Lewis is a contrast to the likes of say, Eddie Veddar, with his long tangle of hair, model good looks. Lewis is this slightly bearish looking guy with round powerful looking shoulders and fierce 'Colin Ferrel' eyebrows. I mean, if you passed the guy on the street you might dismiss him as a local construction worker. That just lends to the guy's appeal. Aaron Lewis' beauty lies in his voice, the man possesses some of the best rock vocals in the market today. Lewis doesn't need rely on studio production or over instrumentation to sound great, he's absolutely dynamic when he performs acoustically.

Here's Lewis in a video from 2006, "Outside" (Love this song.)

In a positive form of self-promotion, Staind has become a real presence on their website. They take the reins regarding involving themselves in the communication with their fans, providing that reach out and touch us experience. Their fans have responded in kind which has motivated the band to continue to do even more. Mushok says Staind is looking forward to seeing how the new initiatives play with its fan base but likes the fact that everything that's planned "...gives a little bit more back to the fans. It gives them more options and ways of getting more from us." Yes, give and you receive. Mushok's a wise man.

Now what exactly is Mushok referring to in his statement? Not content to just put out a new album or offer the usual exclusive or special edition album to accompany the main offering, Staind is taking it a step further. On top of the exclusive album offering three bonus tracks, buyers also receive a free one-year membership to their fan club (Dysfunctional Fan Club). According to Dane Venable, the senior VP of pop/rock marketing with Atlantic, this offering encourages buyers to link to the group's Web site and expose them to Staind's online community. Involvement within the community has proven to build band loyalty as the fans are able to stay abreast of the real life happenings for the band and their music, tours. This also allows access to a special 30-minute documentary on the making of the album.

Although they have a paying portion to their website, unlike some artists, Staind's Official website's forum is open to view - you don't have to be a member to read the forum. This contrasts to what is seen in some artist's 'official websites', that webpage 'gate' that you can't pass until you pay up.

"Believe", is the first single released from the album, currently sitting at No. 9 on the Mainstream Rock chart after just four weeks. The benefits of having the backing of Flip/Atlantic will be felt as the marketing campaign unfolds. The label has planned an ambitious viral campaign for the launch and promotion of the album utilizing a broad range of Web sites and platforms. Outside of taking the single to radio, the new CD is for sale on iTunes, and back on July 24, released the video on AOL.

New tune, "Believe"

Aug. 28, Staind will appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Touring starts with two weeks of European dates with Nickelback in September, which is part of the band's first concerted campaign overseas. Staind returns to North America, touring October through December, more dates expected after the first of the year.

As the story has it, following this new tour, Aaron Lewis will be releasing a solo album with acoustic tunes. A cover of "Turn the Page" might be on it.

Staind has definitely turned their own page, regarding maturity, growth and artistry as "The Illusion of Progress" evidences.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Fans: The Funny Ways of Letting Taylor Hicks Down

You know it's one thing to have an interest in a singer, celebrity, it's completely another thing to consider oneself 'Hall Monitor' for that individual. This little phenomenon is commonplace among the fans circumventing American Idol contestants. Interesting in an odd non-important way but perhaps a study in what drives the popularity of that show.

It's funny some of the tactics used to gang up or run off 'elements' that the kewl kids on the block deem non desirable. Like in my blog yesterday, these characters are still back in the school yard ganging up and playing bully. Just like those schoolyard bullies they find justification in random ways for their actions, and just like those schoolyard bullies, they are always on the side of 'right'.

Another funny thing, many like to hide behind the 'bringing it all back together' facade while still carrying on the fight, behind the scenes so to speak. In the Girlfriends blog, once again Chill comes out looking like she wants unity, is against the name calling of 'good' fan, vs 'bad' fan, even starts a post about her let's all get along facade. Well, it does make her appear to be fair and nice and sane, even though behind the scenes she befriends and makes wagers in order to intimidate and try to kick me off of a certain site. That whole concept an obvious attempt brought out by the troubled 15 Minutes of Fame person designed to keep me away, natch. So obvious, so low-brow and so childish. Ah, those Kwazzy Fanatics.

Then there's the sisters of Taylor Hicks' fandom who are incessantly yapping about suing this person or that. Man, litigious must be their middle name, if it's not one thing, it's another issue that has them screaming 'court' and 'criminals'. Then, as a side note, curiously at the top of Chill's site, she has in her website "...be nice" as something Taylor Hicks supposedly said in reference to the fans.

Apparently that does not apply to many of the ladies at the Girlfriends' site. That or the definition is what is the issue. Let's see, "Nice".

Ah, Mr. Hicks, I think certain somebodies are letting you down.

"Don't Let Me Down" Taylor Hicks

video c/o sunnydey1

You all be nice.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wading Through Puddles of Muck

Wading through the puddles of muck with the Muck Ducks this week brought me no new insights, just the same old same old. Apparently some site featured them and boyfriends or spouses, started up while I was in San Francisco. I came across the site when cruising the net at a hotel stop. I had just chuckled over this situation and thought nothing more about it.

I don't remember the site's name, didn't stay long, just sort of hop skip and lookie loo and I was off to look up something else. Ridiculously the two women in question right away start rallying about crime, criminals and the illegal activity of posting other folks' identity on-line. Thing is, one of the forms of identity presented was in the form of a public website to advertise and promote a business. No harm in that, nor anything illegal since the gentleman with the site put it out to begin with.

Once 'someone' had passed information on their real life details to me, I don't still have it, as I had no need for their information. Too, whether accurate or not I have not a clue since I never pursued it to find out, did not really care if it was or not either.

The person who passed it on the same one who found out where on-line psycho who goes by 15 Minutes and 'reader' is located. Why did they provide me this information? Considering the harassment I had been being handed out by the parties in question they thought I might need to know it one day, for my safety or at least sense of well-being. Again, I will reiterate, I never investigated the accuracy of the information. Words of advice I would have given these two who are now loudly proclaiming how tragically they are treated and persecuted, would have been to ignore it, deny it and let it go. It's almost like these two sisters want this drama. hmmm.

That said, for some reason one of the parties in question likes to imagine I stalk her. This whole imaginary world this poor woman lives in must be very entertaining. Likely she was one of those kids in school who loved to instigate trouble then run and hide behind someone else pointing her finger in blame. I can very well and clearly picture her as one of the bully types I encountered in school, who misinterpreting my small stature as a weakness tried to intimidate me.

There was this gal who loved to have her group of pals gang up on one unsuspecting kid after another. Mostly they picked on the new kids, sometimes just the kids who they might envy for one reason or another.

For this story's sake, I'll call her Nancy. Nancy was talkative, outgoing, but very pushy and had to always be the leader of her 'pack' as I mentally referred to them. She took a dislike to me the moment she laid her eyes on me. As the weeks passed, she would do silly things like try and trip me, or she and her pack of mindless followers would stare at me in the cafeteria or outside in the break area. I came to her attention because I happened to be dating a guy she had coveted for quite a while, as I came to discover. We had this on-going situation in which she'd try and turn other girls against me with false gossip, or make a big deal out of small matters. One confrontation, she asked me in front of her girl pack, how did I feel now that I stole her boyfriend?

Mind you, I was new at this school and had no idea of my new dating partner nor his history with her. Obviously he wasn't as enamored of her as she thought. She made fun of how I dressed, I wore Bohemian type clothing, not the preppy look she and the other cheerleaders wore. Often I wore a long leather and feathered clip in my hair, that she declared as just 'weird'.

Our last meeting was more a match up of me letting her make an ass of herself, which she did quite well. She and her pals followed me in my car after school. I was on my way to my new friend, Mary's house. There were three cars full of girls. All wanting to beat my ass I supposed. I stopped, got out and headed for Mary's door with all of them excitedly piling out all around me, following me to the porch. Mary, who stood 4' 11" at the top of her head peeked out the window, I waved at her to stay inside. She did call John Law.

Nancy marched up with her girl pack of fools around her and grabbed my hairclip, ripping it out. She waved it triumphantly and shouted, "Now what are you going to do smartass?". I looked her in the eye, having to look upwards as she was taller and told her to hand back the hairclip. Of course her original comment was who's going to get it, you all by yourself? I said well at least I stood up for myself, not having to assemble 15 girls to help me out. Nancy was a brave girl when she had her posse to back her up. I also pointed out the idiocy of all of those girls following her lead, hell I did not even know any of them. That made a few with IQ's that hovered over 80 take pause and set back to think about it.

Nancy grabbed me around the head and started slapping me, shouting for the others to hold me. Now mind you she outweighed me by 50 pounds and was 5 inches taller than I. I started laughing and said, while having to smell her armpit, "Yeah, somebody come hold me!" I then wrapped a leg into her right leg and put all my weight into it, right behind her knee. She collapsed backwards, but I was still hostage in her armpit. Man, that wasn't a fun moment. When she went down her grip was lessened, and I managed to wrap a handful of hair around my arm and I pulled like I had a horse I was teaching to lead. All those days of working my horses made me stronger than I appeared. I hoped that I'd end up with a sizable amount of Nancy hair when I was finished. She let out a howl and started crying and let me out of her armpit.

I rode her to the ground with her hair twisting tighter. One of her little henchwomen grabbed me by the neck, another tried to release my grip on her hair. I wasn't letting go. Two others started kicking me in the back so I grabbed Nancy's hair harder and felt some rip - she then still bawling, hollered for them to help her up, a few grabbed her by the back trying to get my fingers and hand out of her hair.

John Law drove up about then. Naturally Nancy began her teary tirade how I attacked her. I had brutally pulled out her hair! I was stalking her and harassing her at school and now I was beating her up.

I had a busted lip, scratches on my arms, legs and face, my shirt was torn almost off. John Law asked me why I attacked her. I instructed him to ask who all these other girls were and why they were there and told him how they followed me. Mary came out of the house, she had shot some Polaroids from start to finish and showed John Law what really went down.

Seems, that Nancy was in violation of the local gang laws and this was borderline gang type activity. I prosecuted her and those other two girls, and they never bothered me again. After they were driven away, I looked down at my hand. Low and behold, as the officers departed with Nancy and two others in the squad car, I had something of Nancy ... and I still have it.

Dealing with some of these on-line creatures not so different than some of my real life encounters with the female sex. So many cats, so many claws, but the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Regarding stalking anyone, that's not my thing. I prefer not to fight, but when ganged up on and harassed I never run.

Here's to those on-line rabble rousers who like to point fingers and reassign guilt.
"Psycho" Puddles of Mud

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Taylor Hicks "Early Works" Exclusive Deal or Elusive Deal with Target?

I beg to differ with some of the usual Taylor Hicks' bloggers encouraging folks to run not walk to the local Target for their copy of the Taylor Hicks' "Early Works" CD. Oh, and don't look on-line, Target doesn't have it for sale there either.

Before anyone wants to immediately label me as just spewing negativity or lies, man - I did a little research this morning. I pulled up Target on-line thinking, as I cued in "Taylor Hicks" in search, that one of those cute ads that some of the other bloggers had displayed on their sites would pop up with some sort of happy exclamation that yes, indeed the new Taylor Hicks compilation CD was actually ready for purchase.

Instead what I found, after hitting 'enter', this PAGE. So I stepped it up, went in a general search only to be directed to THIS PAGE. It is Target's on-line area that takes you into amazon.com which we know isn't selling "Early Works". Low and behold, no on-line marketing of Taylor Hicks on the Target sites. What has the Target reference spelled "Exclusive", been actually intended as "elusive"? That word is seeming to fit much better.

***Correction, (August 13) for some reason Canadians have this available on-line at amazon.ca. Not being Canadian, actually residing the opposite end of the U.S. from there, I did not investigate that outlet.*** So go ahead, order from the Canadians, eh?

My curiosity peaked now, and after grabbing another cup of Joe, I decided to pull out the cell phone. After all it does say in the gray print not all of Target's offerings are available on-line. (That first cup always encourages my reading comprehension.) My thought on this was though, since reportedly Taylor Hicks has penned this elusive 'exclusive deal' with Target you'd think interested parties could buy the new CD on-line through them. What do I know? Obviously jack.

I picked up the phone and called one of the largest Super Targets in Dallas. I mean this is a mega-Super Target, and not wanting to start at the middle I went to the top of the Target food chain, locally. I also asked to speak to the manager in the music department, man, I wasn't going to mess with a mere salesperson. Manager-Man came to the phone within a minute or two; I inquired as to whether he had that new Taylor Hicks' CD, "Early Works" in-store. The man paused and then said, "Who?"

I gave the guy the run down that his company had this exclusive deal to market Tayor Hicks' new CD, "Early Works", mentioned that Taylor Hicks had been on American Idol a while back. I'm sure this impressed him, he cleared his throat, said something to the effect that he did not know the name, and likely thought I'm a complete loser in my musical tastes. The guy said, "Hold on and I'll see what I can find out."

He returned to the phone and said, "Oh, we have a couple of them, I saw two." Being the Curious George that I am I asked can you tell me how many you received today? He looked it up in their magic Target computer machine and told me, "Two". I thought to myself as I hang up, 'two' what the hell kind of promotion sends in two lousy CD's for the first day of sales?

Not stopping with that mega-Super Target, I called another Target closer to me. That sales manager informed me they didn't have any, to check the Super Targets they might. This sales guy had no knowledge of this CD and apologetically added he wasn't familiar with 'that guy'.

So I thought, well this is Dallas, I'll go to Taylor Hicks' 'homeland'. I pulled up Targets in the Birmingham, Alabama area. Target in Fultondale told me they did not carry it, nor did he see it coming in on his list - he advised me to check the Birmingham area Super Targets. I called the Trussville SuperTarget next. A very polite sales girl and about three other people went into discussion about not knowing what I was asking for - I could hear them over the phone she had laid on the counter. Salesgirl returned with negative news, they did not have any in stock, had not received any nor was there any on the incoming list.

I hit the jackpot calling the Birmingham 280 Super Target, they had received 10 copies in stock and at the time I called, had three left, obvious some fans in the B'Ham area.

Here's the store with three left:
Birmingham 280 Corridor SuperTarget
4616 Highway 280 S
Birmingham, AL 35242
(205) 408-7687

None of the other stores had any copies in the B'Ham area.

So before you go walking, running, or drive in your car to your local Target, call first. Good luck with finding the "Early Works". Perhaps more will be on the way, I mean after all this is just the first day of offering the CD through this big Target promotion. There is always re-orders and you can call and just bug the crap out of those sales people who don't know who you're asking about - that is one grassroots way to get the man's name out.

"Elusive" Scott Matthews

The sun in sails, and this ain't right.
There's more to her than meets the eye.
She comes and goes at any time,
Back in my head at another time.

She's elusive and I'm awake,
You're finally real, there's nothing fake.
A mystery now to me and you,
Open my eyes and I'm next to you.
She said my destiny lies in the hands that set me free.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Taylor Hicks' "Early Works" has me thinking... Bob Marley!

Tomorrow is the big day that Taylor Hicks' "Early Works" hits the market. Will we see a spark, a light or just some stirring it up? Let me light up a big fat one in celebration, and hope for the best for Taylor Hicks' CD. Man, but right now, I'm thinking Bob Marley.
"Stir it up" Bob Marley

While I'm on the Bob Marley track, lest I forget one of my absolute favorite moments from last season's American Idol, and in honor of "Uncle" Nigel Lythgoe departing the show, how about some gorgeous Jason Castro.
Jason Castro Shot the Sheriff

Castro seemed done with playing their little game. I love a quiet rebel.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes R.I.P. "Stormy Monday"

Here's to Patience

Sometimes it takes a little patience to weed through the chaff to find the true kernels of grain that make it worthwhile. I have the patience, I have the time. I fell in love with this song when I met my Darling Man. This was his favorite band at the time. He won me over singing this song to me.

This is a brilliant video: Bobby Dylan and Roger McGwynn, Rolling Thunder Revue.

video c/o Byrds4Millenia

You Say Good-Bye, I Say Hello

Reading through the massive amounts of emails waiting for me from my week and a half off the computer enough to annihilate several thousands of my gray matter particles. Some of the things you, dear readers, write to me are completely astounding. I'm guessing throughout all the written missives, I was missed. In turn, it seems I missed out on some changes in the Hicks' internet websites as well as the rumored start up of a promotional campaign related newsletter.

Whereas a few of the Taylor Hicks' related websites have given it up and shut down, another newsletter idea has been broached to help in marketing Taylor Hicks. I found this discussion on the "Official Soul Patrol" site. The goal and purpose of this newsletter described; "Join the Marketing Taylor Hicks newsletter! No spam. No email or group conversations. Your email address is not shared with anyone. You will receive one email per week filled with lots of information on how to help market Taylor's music. This weekly email newsletter is for people who like American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, and want to help market his music. The newsletter is filled with lots of marketing information! To subscribe, send an email to marketingtaylorhicks-subscribe@yahoogroups.com."

About a dozen folks gathered in that thread to talk about Taylor Hicks and this 'grassroots' planned effort of guerilla marketing. This newsletter is to stand, from what I comprehend, as a guideline on better ways to reach out to the mass public to inform and recruit interest in Taylor Hicks and his music.

Taylor Hicks has his compilation CD due to hit the Target shelves on August 12th. Goal one of this group and other Taylor Hicks' fans, to get folks to buy the CD. Thinking is, if someone buys this CD, they will love it and become stalwart fans. That brings me to the discussion, however muted in this thread for the newsletter. As always there is that Soul Patrol aspect and moniker to contend with, and no matter how it's phrased if you are not ready to stand up and shout "Soul Patrol" or become a board member, you just "ain't" a fan. Not really.

As this poster writes, being content to just post and blog about Taylor Hicks a paltry effort to try and keep his name up and noticed. "Congratulations PBF and whoever else is involved in the creation of this great idea. It's refreshing to see the fans actually doing something and taking positive steps to help Taylor instead of just posting and blogging about it. It is one thing to talk about doing something while it's another to actually do something about it as you and other supporters are doing." Yes, that newsletter will certainly be the cure for the common sales woes. I mean why hasn't anyone done this previously? hmm. Wait, there was that Modern Whomp Magazine attempt. Interestingly this individual starting the newsletter and that individual with the now defunct magazine effort have something in common...

How well this idea will go over is hard to tell, especially in light of what this newsletter publisher may be dealing with regarding potential associations. One example, one poster was simply having problems just grappling with the grassroots idea, she writes, "Purple, I'm sure you have fans who are interested in this, however, I'm curious and need more information. Who is in charge of this? Who authorized it? What are the goals? I have a lot of questions about it..."

Regarding 'authorization' I believe point is missing here, that working under the 'grassroots' ideology puts aside any need for any sort of authorization. As far as 'goals' I think it's self evident what the 'goals' are intended.

Then there is this happy poster who simply decides to write in song, "Love lifts us up where we belong...." I like them, short, simple and random. One other was concerned she was knocking but she couldn't get in to the membership area, "Am I one of the ones floating around out there? I sent my request to join."

Where's the 'net to reel her in?

Apparently something wandered amiss as one of the moderators wrote, and in context it sounds more random than the singing poster, "Lets stick to the topic of this thread.

ANYONE having personal issues with who is saying what on other blogs, needs to take this to either PM or Email, NOT on the boards."

I went back to reread and did not see anyplace in which anyone mentioned anything untoward or out of place...that was followed with the non-fan discourse, "Why would "nonfans" want to join to help Taylor ?? Is it just Ideas in general to help different artists or just for Taylor?"

Which was answered with "By "non fans" I mean people who are not part of the sp/fan boards."

That brings me back to circle on the fan/non-fan issue. "The majority of people who voted for Taylor have lost track of him or have ceased to be as enamored as they initially were. This is a way to learn how to get these people back into the Taylor Hicks camp."

That creates pause; consider the ways that many of Taylor Hicks' current on-line fans behave. I mean, you can't joke around about Mr. Hicks, you can't question anything he does, anything he has said, you must always present a completely over the top fan aspect or you are accosted, insulted, and labeled a non-fan. Hopefully the newsletter will aide in how you can actually cultivate and gather fans rather than run them off.

Fuel for thought, if someone disagrees with you and you have a goal to bring them over to your viewpoint, what is the most effective manner of approach? Certainly you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar, but many of the fans only know vinegar, sugar the last thing they consider.

Many in this fan base of Taylor Hicks, who label themselves Soul Patrol, are of the opinion that if you don't fall in line and think and act like they do you should be beaten bloody and cast onto a teeming ant pile. Seriously, there are some rabid and vicious members of this base that have turned away many a fan from fear of what steaming pile they're stepping into. I have folks who read me regularly, email me often but won't post - certainly not with their usual on-line names for fear of retribution or worse. It's silly yet true. Association with me likened to hanging with the Devil himself because I dare to speak my opinions and my mind regardless of the common accepted theories of thought regarding Taylor Hicks. To joke, to question equals 'smearing the man's name' and other nonsensical bullshit that clogs up the rational for even wanting to show support for the man.

Lest you think I'm trying to claim any originality for this thought, this poster in the thread proves there are many who think this way, "I'm sure Taylor has lots of supporters out there who prefer not to be involved in board politics. I can't say that I blame them."

So will this newsletter lend any insight, change anything or alter the current Taylor Hicks on-line culture? From my stand point, I seriously doubt it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Rise in the East, Set in the West

"Otherside" Red Hot Chili Peppers LYRICS


It´s the edge of the world
And all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East
At least it settles in the final location
It´s understood that Hollywood
sells Californication