Saturday, July 31, 2010

Internet 'Key Holders' Are Insurance Against Cyber Attack

A very interesting article about people holding encrypted cards that could resurrect a secured internet if something were to happen to the servers that make it work.

Internet 'Key Holders' Are Insurance Against Cyber Attack

Friday, July 30, 2010

In This Life

Many thanks to my friend Lorielle who had this playing on her blog. I had totally forgotten about this song, but remember it from the days when I was swing dancing on Saturday nights (pre-Decker).

Sad, We'll See If It's Actually True

USCG Allegedly Stole A Competitors Website

Forgiveness

This is a true and profoundly moving story of forgiveness, definitely not one to be missed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Have No Words For This.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Republican Gubernatorial Primary Battle Watch '010 - Tennessee
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Playing On The Jukebox...

At breakfast:



Right now...

Good To Great

For some years there has been a series of books, and later videos and articles, on the topic of what takes a company from good to great.  What separates the great ones from the rest?  The same could be said in almost any type of industry, including public education.

Jim Collins has been probing this question from some years, I studied his work while in college and have followed it since.

Here is his web site:  http://www.jimcollins.com/

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marketing 102

If you missed my blog on Marketing 101 (for Barry Manilow), here's the link: Marketing 101

It was recently brought to my attention that the prices for the tickets are perhaps not driven by Camp Manilow, but rather driven by the promoters. In other words, Camp Manilow may not determining the prices of tickets, particularly with the upcoming Atlantic City and O2 (in England) shows.

So, what do you do when you can't control the price of your end product? How do you market for that? Well, you can play the victim, but that will only get you so far for so long. The trick is, you get creative.

In this economy, more and more people are looking for value for the money they are spending. If you can't lower the ticket prices, offer gift incentives for purchasing the higher priced tickets.

The Paris L.V. has a start with the marketing by trying to turn their concert to see Barry into an "experience". They are including a hotel room, tickets to the show and perhaps a meal at one of their restaurants to entice people to spend the money and come.

Perhaps, for those not purchasing that particular experience, Camp Manilow could look to how they could "plus" the experience for people purchasing the more expensive tickets.

There is already a package deal, for the balcony seats, that includes champagne. How well is that selling? I guess people who don't drink alcohol are out of luck with that marketing strategy. LOL.

In case you are wondering where the term "plus" comes from, it was a term used by Walt Disney when making his animated movies, later live action movies and later still Disneyland. He always looked for a way to "plus" something to give it that extra wow factor. And make it a wow factor that will appeal to everyone in the audience (in other words, no b-strings, please. :) ).

A few ideas:

For those in the bottom $200 + rows they receive, in their seat, a gift bag with a few items that are actually useful at home and not just something that will collect dust. I know, some of you love ANYTHING Barry, but I have enough baubles to last a lifetime. It doesn't have to have a lot in it but here are a few items I came up with:

1. A reusable flash drive with pictures and music from Barry's vault.
2. A certificate redeemable at the M store for a free shirt of their choice, up to a $50 value.
3. A certificate redeemable online for a free 1 year membership to BMIFC, or free renewal for those who are already members.
4. A note from Barry, thanking people for sticking with him during the rough economy.

For those in the champagne seating, a gift bag, like above, containing:

1. A reusable flash drive with pictures, music from Barry's vault..
2. A certificate redeemable at the M store for a free shirt of their choice, no limit on the value.
3. A certificate redeemable online for a free 2 year membership to BMIFC, or free 2 year renewal for those who are already members.
4. A note from Barry, thanking people for sticking with him during the rough economy.
5. An LED keychain light with Manilow on one side and a champagne flute on the other.

And just to really "plus" it, both seating areas will remain in the theater after the show (they will be advised this by the theater ushers) and once everyone else has cleared the room, Barry will come out in his tux and perform one last song for his special "experience" audience members. Perhaps even take a few questions from the audience, if he's feeling up to it.

This is just an idea of what could be done, I'm sure Barry has more clever minds than this to come up with something better.

This also only covers shows at The Paris L.V., but as I just said, I'm sure something could be worked out for the shows in Atlantic City and O2.

The New iCandy From Apple

Yummmm.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jane Austen

I love Jane Austen. I also love Emma Thompson.



If you haven't seen this video on the Sense & Sensibility DVD, it's worth watching:



If you haven't seen what Emma Thompson has been up to lately:



How Mom's Affection Can Affect Adulthood

From CNN:

Can a mother's affection prevent anxiety in adulthood?

Leadership

Yesterday in Sunday School, we opened the Old Testament and discussed leadership.

Here is the link for the lesson:  The Influence of Wicked And Righteous Leaders

In the lesson, there are 5 components to being a good spiritual leader:

1.  Gives Service.
2.  Trusts & Obeys the Lord.
3.  Has faith in God.
4.  Teaches from the scriptures.
5.  Follows the prophets.

During the times covered in this lesson (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles), the kings were not the prophets.

We talked about Solomon's son, Rehoboam, who became King upon the death of Solomon.  There was a prophecy given to Rehoboam that the 12 tribes of Israel would be split under his leadership.  The prophecy quickly came true.

The people went to Rehoboam and asked that he lighten their yoke (burdens, taxes) after the extravagant living of Solomon forced heavy labor upon the people to pay for it.  Rehoboam went to the elders who served under his father, they told him to live in such a way that would reduce the yoke upon the people.  Rehoboam didn't like this answer, so he went to his young friends, his peers, who told Rehoboam to not only not lighten their load but to make it heavier and threaten the people if they spoke out again.

1 Kings 12:14  14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.


Does this sound like a good leader?  No.  One of the true signs of a good leader is not that of a task master, but of a fellow servant, and certainly one who would never threaten to chastise the people for speaking the truth.


What happened?  Jeroboam, who was the leader of the Israelites demanding change, led Israel out of Rehoboam's grip and Israel was split.


Now, granted, Jeroboam was no saint of a leader either.  But his problem was he lacked integrity and the courage to show that integrity.  He feared the wrath of the people more than he feared the wrath of God and encouraged idol worship within Israel.  His failing was to do that which was easy over that which was right.


What happened with the 10 tribes who followed Jeroboam? They were seized by another nation, and the people taken to other parts of the world into captivity. The 10 tribes were scattered.



The lesson then skips a few generations to give the example of Jehoshaphat, Rehoboam's great-grandson.  Jehoshaphat had the courage to confront the two tribes of Israel he had left to worship God rather than idols.  He removed the altars and temples that had been placed there.  You see, Jehoshaphat had a private devotion to God that carried into his leadership.  And because of this, when warring nations went against them in battle, the Lord protected them and defeated those who came against them.


Was it easy?  No.  Was it the right thing to do?  Yes.


This is truly a lesson that could be used in leadership today, unfortunately, there are far too many people in power (not just within governments, but within companies and even celebrity management) who would rather do what is easy over what is right.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Countdown Has Begun...

Census Image from the U.S. 1880 Census
I know it sounds silly to go into countdown status for something that is over 1 year away, but on April 12, 2012 the 1940 U.S. Census will be released. For those of us who have family lines we would like to know more about, this will be a golden opportunity to see what these family members were doing in 1940.

I've posted an image from Ancestry.com of one of the sheets from the 1880 U.S. Census. This has been, for me, the grand daddy of all census records. The 1890 Census was lost due to a fire in the Library of Congress and the 1870 Census doesn't have the details of information the 1880 Census does.

The further back you go, the less information there is in census records, which is where other types of records, such as birth and death records from the State and/or County of residence, or records from Churches (such as christening or burial records) come into play. The older census records, do, however, give you an idea of where people were located so you know where to look for the other records.

You can tell this is a passion of mine, can't you? It has been for many, many years. :-)

Many thanks to my Family History Consultant friends for sending me this link, this will definitely be another news source for me to put on my RSS feed!

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Warning For Bloggers And Message Board Users

Be careful of what you print on your blogs, there are people from news agencies who are now looking to go after anyone posting content from news articles without the permission of the copyright owner(s).

Source:  http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/copyright-trolling-for-dollars/

A Little Closer To Home

I thought I would share this photo with you of an upcoming David Cassidy show at a local resort.


A few things about this page:

1. You have the picture of the artist on the page.
2. The prices are listed on the page, you don't have to go into the purchase section to find out how much the tickets cost.
3. All of the prices are less than $100.00, the most expensive is $75 which includes a meet and greet. Apparently the meet and greet is available to anyone.
4. You can see where to check out Twitter and other social media feeds.
5. The part I like the most about this page? There is a sampling of music you will most likely be hearing at the show. If some of those songs are new or unfamiliar to the "civilian" population, they can get a sneak preview on the page.

Here's the link for the show:

Very nicely done!

Neil Sedaka

I love his music. Here are some classics I found on YouTube:







For the kids:



A new one...

A Bit of Nostalgia

I found this article mentioned on Shashdot and had to read it. I still own the little 35 mm camera my parents gave me as a Christmas gift when I was 10 years old. It has traveled all over the place, including Hawaii and Guam, and still works after all these years!

Enjoy.

Last Roll of Kodachrome Processed

This also reminded me of a song from Simon & Garfunkel:

Attention Safari Users

A security breach of both your personal information and information of others in your address book could be happening, if you have your auto-fill feature turned on to the default. Details here:

Jeremiah Grossman

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This Is How Customer Service Is Done

It's called listening to your customers and actually doing something about it, even coming clean to clear up any misperceptions.

Caterpillar Locomotion

Discovery News

New Crime Wave in Pinal County

I shouldn't say "new" exactly. I will say, however, it's probably been a while since this type of crime has seen the light of day.

Cattle Rustling Case

Cyberstalkers

I found this article today on CNN.com on how to tell if someone is really stalking you, and what you can do about it.

Cyberstalkers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Fantastic Movie Favorite

This is another long time favorite movie: The Slipper And The Rose: The Story of Cinderella.

My favorite song for the movie is 3:30 minutes into the clip:



If you decide to get the DVD version of this movie, get the one from 2000, not 2007. The one from 2000 has the widescreen and the director's comments which are fantastic with this movie. There is a story to the making of this movie that is, in my opinion, as fascinating as the plot of the movie itself.

For those who love trivia, the musical was written by Richard and Robert Sherman who have scored many hits for Disney (Mary Poppins) as well as outside Disney (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).

Disneyland's Alice In Wonderland Attraction Shut Down




CalOSHA has shut down the Alice In Wonderland attraction at Disneyland Anaheim for a safety code violation in the design. They are requiring hand rails on the exterior track.

More here:

MiceChat.com

Classic Movies

I love the classic movies. As I type this, I'm watching "The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer" with Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple. HILARIOUS movie. Here's a scene:



Another of my favorite movies is "My Man Godfrey". My favorite line comes in a scene that is 5:16 into this clip. "The only difference between a derelict and a man is a job."



I also love many of the Frank Capra movies. "Meet John Doe", "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town", "You Can't Take It With You", "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington", "Arsenic And Old Lace" are among my favorites. They not only teach of morals, but also of consequences. Sometimes it resulted in screwball comedy, but many times the best scenes didn't contain comedic value, but rather a serious tone to drive home the central plot of the story.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Policing The Web's Lurid Precincts

This is from the New York Times, and talks about the issues cropping up with moderators who must view graphic and obscene images for a living.

Policing The Web's Lurid Precincts

Sometimes Charging For Something Is Not The Best Solution

The Times of London has reported a 90% drop in online readership after going to a "paywall" system, where you must pay to read the content. This may be a bad thing if the 10% who are paying are not paying enough to make it worth the 90% drop.

The Guardian

The Human Body As A Subway Map

This you have to see to believe. My RN (and RN to be) friends should love this:

Human Body As Subway Map

New Abraham Lincoln Document Found

This has shown up in a few news sources, I thought I'd post it here as well.



California Lincoln Document
Discovery News

Music To Enjoy

I like listening to music while I work on the computer, even just doing household chores. Here is just a sampling of what I've listened to today:







The Face of Bravery

To me, this is the face of bravery. To others, it is the face of treason.

Social Media For Advertising

I've previously mentioned my addiction to Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family. I've just found a few twitter sites for the show and a few of the stars of the show. This is a fantastic way to keep the momentum going.

PLLGirls

Ashley one of the twitter accounts for Ashley Benson who plays Alison.

Lucy Hale who plays Ari.

Shay Mitchell who plays Emily.

Keegan Allen who plays Toby.

Brendan Robinson who plays Lucas.

These are some, but not all of the twitter accounts, I didn't have time to look through all of them! LOL!

Groupie Love

Many thanks to DC Sharon for posting this on the alt.fan. It IS too funny not to share.



The article it came from:

Bret Michaels Vows to Help Aging Groupies

Music Center

With the help of my home teachers from Church (they assembled the end table for me), I now have a corner of the living room for my LP albums and one of the old fashioned looking stereos that not only plays LP's, cassettes, CD's and hooks up to your iPod, but it also records from cassette or LP to the CD, so you can digitize your old music. Very cool.

I framed some of my albums on the wall to use as artwork, the nice part is, these are easy to switch out and change from time to time. The LP on the top left corner is the movie soundtrack to Babes In Toyland from Walt Disney. It's one of my favorite Disney movies of all time.





With the case off of the Coca Cola crate, it also provides storage for LP's.

The Latest From Dilbert

Monday, July 19, 2010

JelliBeanz's Dedication To Me

JB sent me this as a video for me:



Oh Fortuna has a history to it, which I didn't know about until this evening. It describes the pain that comes with misfortune, and has been used in recent culture to give sound to cataclysmic disasters.

The sad part is, I don't feel this way about what's happened. Am I upset over getting banned? Yes, but that was not my decision. I also don't believe it was just misfortune that got me banned either. Things happen for a reason, this is no exception. While I've not been comfortable in being hit with slams for how I choose to act in these situations, one thing I have been defiantly clear about has occurred over the last few months: the truth has come out.

A few weekends ago I decided to hold a free, online convention for those who couldn't afford $1,100 per person for the "official" convention. Through my friends (both the banned ones and those from alt.fan who chose to participate), the truth came out on that site. Truth that needed to be revealed, as embarrassing as it was for Barry, in order for everyone to be on the same page about the people his management has been favoring in support of the banishments.

Now that the playing field has been leveled, they still continue to ban people from the MMN, clearly showing where they stand. We are showing ours. While most people have probably forgotten this song, it has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it and feel the lyrics apply now.

For Poppy

Poppy is another member of our 4 Musketeers group. I wasn't sure what song she would like, but I hope she doesn't mind a little Elton singing "I'm Still Standing".



I'm very thankful to have all three of these lades, as well as my other friends through Manilow, in my life.

For Jellibeanz & Carol

I have a good friend from Canada who is one of the banned 4 musketeers from the MMN (My Manilow Network). Like so many of the other people on there, she had multiple accounts under different aliases, so each one that got banned, she'd come back as someone else.

We 4 are a lively and opinionated bunch. Now, from what we've read, you can hear crickets chirping on the site because people are afraid to say anything that will either get deleted, slammed by Barry's self appointed guardians, or turned in and banned from the site. Being banned has set each of us free. We still maintain our friendships via Facebook without any allegiance to Barry.

Well, Jellibeanz has said goodbye for the last time to the MMN. With only one alias left, instead of waiting for them to hunt her down and turn her in for banishment, she has chosen to leave instead. She did so with a different video of Frank Sinatra singing My Way, but I'm going to use this one. This is for you, Beanz.



Another of the banned ones, Carol, likes this version by Elvis, in his final concert. This one's for you, Carol.

Online Comments To News Stories

I just read an interesting article discussing the increasing numbers of news agencies requiring real names or at least registration, in order to comment on their news articles online. There are pros and cons for each side of the argument, but I really liked a quote from the article from The Wall Street Journal. It explains if the site provides content that allows for discussion without the need for vulgar language, it attracts those people who are looking for that kind of content.

The article: http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/07/19/commenting.on.news.sites/index.html?hpt=C2

Not Ready To Make Nice



For those who think people's freedom of speech should be hindered... or banned. Not everyone agrees.



We Will Survive

Rachel The Blogger

She doesn't have her own blog yet, but that doesn't stop Rachel from contributing to mine, in her own special way. :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Very Cool



Now, the video of Maroon 5 performing this song on the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards for George Lucas is not on YouTube, but I did find this one:



I'll do a little 3 degrees of separation here, because this is the most funny video from the AFI Awards for George Lucas:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Congratulations

Congratulations to Creed's lead singer Scott Stapp and his wife on the birth of their third child.

I love this song.

Scary

I would put this in the stupid criminal file, but as stupid as these bandits are, they are also armed with weapons and still on the loose. Thankfully, the Amish couple got out of the situation alive.

Marketing 101

At the BMIFC Convention this past weekend, Barry Manilow’s manager mentioned something about not being sure as to how to market Barry in the U.S. Sales for Greatest Love Songs of All Time were not at the levels they achieved in the UK.

I will first say that Barry needs to put out original material. Desperately. It’s been a while since he’s released something that didn’t start with the word “Greatest…”. You get the idea, and from the sounds of the three CD’s he’s working on, it sounds like he will be releasing some new material soon.

The next question is: who is the intended audience for this music? Who, besides Barry’s hard core fans, will this music resonate with the most?

I’ve heard the CD “15 Minutes” is supposed to contain more guitar (I’m assuming this is electric guitar). Is the music upbeat or is it slower and mellow? This can help to decide which demographics to go after with this CD. Instead of just releasing it out to the world, have multiple plans of action for marketing the CD, according to the demographic.

Which demographic is more likely to buy a CD vs. a digital copy from iTunes? What added perks could be made with purchasing a CD or likewise with purchasing from iTunes? They did a nice job with extra cuts with the last album to purchase with iTunes, how about the CD sales? In the past they’ve done CD’s where there was a video included that showed the behind the scenes look at how the CD was made.

Here’s an idea: since “15 Minutes” is supposed to contain stories of people seeking their 15 minutes of fame (at least that’s what I’ve heard), perhaps a portion of the money from the CD could go towards the Manilow Music Project or a scholarship to help Julliard graduates get that shot of 15 minutes of fame. Something along those lines. A special cut could be added to the iTunes purchases to go for the same purpose.

The symphonic album and the jazz album will also need their own ideas to separate them from the rest of the releases coming out on a constant basis from other artists.

There are other ways of also promoting new CD releases, as Barry and Co. well know, such as appearing on the talk show circuit. While this provides great television coverage, I don’t know that the ratings are there to generate enough sales. Barry needs to be out and about more, especially when a new album is being released.

A few ideas:

Discounts on the show and CD’s through AARP. Now that Baby Boomers are retiring, more are joining AARP. Does AARP have any type of convention? Be sure to perform there and/or time a performance in the same area at the same time. Be sure to put print ads in their magazine for the Paris show and the CD’s. Try to get a cover interview with them.

Coachella. Ever hear of it? HUGE weekend of concerts not too far from where Barry lives, if I understand correctly. GREAT coverage and publicity if you can get booked there. This is a younger crowd, make sure you plan and arrange the music accordingly.

Are there any jazz festivals Barry could sign up for? Do some cuts from Paradise CafĂ©, some of the other Johnny Mercer songs he’s put music to, and DO A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE NEW JAZZ ALBUM, BEFORE IT COMES OUT!!!! Try to time the release of the album to closely follow the jazz festivals so that Barry will still be on listener’s minds when they shop for new jazz music.

Also do some promotional visits to jazz radio stations, try to get Barry’s music on there. While a radio show (like the ones Barry's done for UK stations) may not work on mainstream radio stations, would it work on the jazz radio stations? Look into it.

Contact some of the different symphonies around the U.S. to make guest appearances at their concerts when his album, backed by a symphony orchestra, comes out, and even afterwards. Barry might find he has an audience there he wasn’t reaching. I know symphonies have also been hurting for money, appearing with some of these orchestras might be the boost they also need.

This Christmas, perhaps Barry could get with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra At Temple Square for their annual Christmas program. It would provide fantastic coverage of Barry, especially if he does the Gift of Love shows again in Palm Springs.

With all of this, make sure Barry and Co. give advance notice of these appearances on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to post videos to be shared on YouTube. Plan the internet appearances like you do everything else, but make sure Barry DOES have a presence, and a current one at that, on YouTube where people can share the videos. The latest music video of Barry on the "official" channel is from two albums ago.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrity

Be careful what you wish for when it comes to being a celebrity. This is one celebrity who would like to remain in his tank and keep his stalkers at a distance.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stalkers

There was a discussion last week on alt.fan regarding Barry's home in Malibu, well I guess it's his former home in Malibu, being sold. At least I think it was sold. The topic evolved into one on stalkers and I posted the link to this video, as an example of what one person recently experienced as a part of that price you pay to be a celebrity. Here's the link to the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk7cffozoYc

A Heartfelt Response

The boycott of all things Barry, has ended for me, but there's a lot for me to say. After all, I've re-joined his fan page on Facebook after they posted two items to read in a row that were not trying to sell something. I'm hopeful it will be the start of mending some fences.

Barry gave an interview for a Las Vegas publication and I thought I'd make a few comments. Here is the link:

Up Close And Personal With Barry Manilow

I'm glad to hear Barry is talking with principals and teachers around the country about keeping their music programs, hopefully it gets followed up with a few donations from the Manilow Music Project. Talking doesn't pay the bills, unfortunately, and with the budgets getting cut in our schools, people can pretty much guess which curriculum is also seeing those cuts. Barry is, however, at least trying to make an effort. Perhaps enlisting the assistance of local musical talent in the area of these schools would help Barry in this endeavor and provide greater impact without Barry having to do it all himself.

I'm thrilled to hear that Barry is still in touch with his stepfather, Willie, and with Linda. Hopefully between these two Barry can keep those feet of his on the ground. As far as Clive Davis is concerned, it's time for him to allow Barry to release his original music. These cover albums are going to ruin Barry's career if he keeps making them. It's time for Clive to take a step back and allow Barry to shine with his own music.

If Barry's reading this, I'm not surprised about you recording your own music in your studio, you have video footage of it on special editions of a few of your cover CDs. I hope you don't mind, but I do show those snippets to the students at my school, so they have some idea of how a CD gets created. Putting out a video for teachers to use in this area would be fantastic, but as I've been requesting it for the last few years and nothing has come of it, I'm not holding my breath.

Now, about the five people Barry would invite for dinner. personally, I think Hitler is a little busy burning in Hell right now to come to dinner with Barry. I understand Barry's question, although I'm not sure if people like that realize or care about the damage they do to others when they promote racism to the point of ethnic cleansing.

As for Jesus coming to dinner with Barry? And the later discussion about getting to know God? This is something that is going to take a little more time to talk about.

Barry mentioned one of the words to describe him is gratitude, but he still questions the existence of God.

Well, the fact that Barry was conceived was a blessing from God.

He was born healthy, and grew to be a healthy man, another blessing from God. Could you imagine someone with musical passion being born without the physical means to release it?

He has continued to enjoy somewhat good health in order to further his music career.

He was blessed with the gift of being able to compose and write music, as well as the blessing of living in New York, where a school of music exists that he could hone his skills at.

This reminds me of a song from an LDS musical called The Forgotten Carols. It's about George Frideric Handel. This YouTube isn't the video from the show (the video of the musical is available on DVD), but the music is from the soundtrack:



God has had a hand in Barry's life in a very big way, IMHO.

The other thing I wish to caution Barry on is this: be careful what you wish for. In all of the era written by or about God and Jesus (whom I consider to be Jehovah of the Old Testament), when you go to commune with them at their Tabernacle or Temple, the first thing you see is an alter for sacrifice. Where is Barry's sacrifice? Is Barry willing to make a sacrifice of everything carnal he has treasured from his life in order to be deemed worthy by God and Jesus to enter into their presence?

I have a personal relationship with both God our Heavenly Father and Jesus the Christ, but that relationship has come with a price. I quoted a passage from a book I read a little while ago and I'll repeat the passage concerning the symbolism of Noah's Ark from December 30, 2009:

"I've been reading a book written by James Farrell called "The Hidden Christ". Among the lessons pointing to Christ are a few that have hit home to me.

"The first was in the introduction when James talks about how the story of Noah and the Ark have a very deep and personal impact on each of us today.

Again, be careful of what you wish for.

As you can see, yes, I do still love the guy. He's been a part of my life for over 30 years, it's hard to imagine him not in my life. I'm still not to the point of listening to his music, so it's still on an external hard drive for now, and not on my computer.

I will also close with this: God and Jesus both love Barry. Barry was created by God, and God doesn't make junk.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Yeah, He's Still Got It

I watched the 30th Anniversary spotlight for A Capitol 4th and felt that chill of witnessing something special when I heard and saw the snippet of Barry Manilow singing Let Freedom Ring. He's still got it.

Politics

I'm Instant Messaging via Facebook a friend of mine from Canada. I'm describing the wives of the politicians at the television broadcast of A Capitol 4th. you can tell who they are, they have the best seats in the house and, while everyone else is dressed in t-shirts and blue jeans these women are dressed like queens of sheba.

I've read about people like this, only the article I recently read, in Vanity Fair magazine, is about the wives of the executives of the now defunct Lehman Brothers.

Lehman's Desperate Housewives

Happy Birthday, USA!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An Enchanted Evening



Have you ever read the book, or have seen the movie "Ella Enchanted"? I'll admit, I haven't read the book (yet), but I LOVE the movie. I have however, read another book written by the same author of Ella Enchanted called "Writing Magic".



If you are into fictional writing, no matter what the genre, you need to read this book. It's written for child writers age 10 and up, but holds a wealth of information even the author, Gail Carson Levine, uses in writing her current books. Gail Carson Levine is known for taking the traditional fairy tales and turning them upside down. I love that and am using that creativity for my current writing project.

This past Monday, I happened to be checking my Twitter feed when the name Gail Carson Levine almost popped off the screen at me. It was a post by my favorite bookstore, Changing Hands Books, announcing that she would be doing a book reading THAT NIGHT at the store! I had been cleaning all day and was quite smelly, but I had enough time to shower and change and get a decent seat. I also thought to bring one of my two copies of "Writing Magic" with me, and I'm glad I did, as the bookstore ran out of the copies of the latest book she was signing, with the illustrator of the book, David Christiana. The new book is called, "Fairies and The Quest For Neverland" and is based on the tale of Peter Pan.



The evening was fabulous, Gail read a snippet from her new book and David talked about (while demonstrating) on how to draw a dragon. The books are being adapted into some of the Fairies movies from Disney.

Here are a few pictures from the event. I was trying not to be too disruptive with the camera, so I apologize in advance for the pictures.















Gail also has a blog where she gives tips and writing prompts: http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/

Afterwards, I stopped off at the connecting restaurant to the bookstore, which is Wildflower Bread Company. If you've never been to one, find one and go. I had the Turkey Brie, Lemonade, and a low fat chocolate muffin for dessert. Delicious only begins to describe their food.



Some of my friends whom I've spoken with this past week have never heard of Ella Enchanted, so here is the trailer for the movie.

Healing

Healing can come in many physical or emotional forms, and this past week I had a little of both.

The 10 year anniversary of Decker's passing will be on August 14th, but I wanted to have something accomplished before that date that has been painful for me. Decker's suits in our closet. Decker and I were both "stuff" people. Basically, we were packrats. While there was some stuff I was able to dispose of after Decker's death, his suits were a lingering issue. It would mean he was really gone if they were gone. Decker's 52nd birthday would have been Tuesday, and it occurred to me that he was the kind of man who would literally give the shirt off his back to help someone else. He wouldn't have wanted me hanging on to those clothes knowing someone else could use them. So they, along with a bunch of other items, went to a donation center on Wednesday.



I also went through and got rid of a lot of trash and recycling.



The physical form of healing (besides having a less cluttered home) came when I awoke Wednesday morning and found that the last of the scab covering the sutures above my belly button had come off and the skin was now exposed. Gross, yes, but I've pulled the stitches there on a few occasions and I'm glad to see things are finally healing for good.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ballot Measure Descriptions

Have you ever received the booklet from your county recorder's office giving you a description of what is going to be on an upcoming ballot? Not only the people, but also the propositions? Have you read the abbreviated description as opposed to the full verbiage of the proposition, in hopes of making sense of what it is you're voting for or against? These are called ballot measure descriptions, and in Maricopa County (which comprises of Phoenix and surrounding cities in Arizona) there is a specific procedure, prescribed by law, as to how those descriptions are written. I didn't know about this, but I happened to watch Horizon one evening and found out. Here's the video:



Also, if you are interested, there have been some public debates on Horizon for the local offices, including the upcoming election for Governor, that have aired on Horizon. You can find the video for those and other topics here:

http://www.azpbs.org/horizon/video.php

Update:

The Democratic debate for John McCain's Senate seat is Friday July 9th, 7 pm on Channel 3 in Phoenix.

The Republican debate for the election on U.S. Senator John McCain's seat will be held on July 16th. Here is more information on that:

McCain, Hayworth and Deakin Debate

Harry Potter #7

I'm excited for the movie, am looking forward to the movie, but I always have issues when books are made into movies and so many things get changed in the movie. Ugh.