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I don’t really have a lot of time for blogging right now, what with still “sort of” living between two counties and working full-time (add to that the car breaking down continuously, my poochie’s diabetes giving us grief with not wanting to regulate, and my computer still not being hooked up and functional), BUT I did want to spread a little love today and wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

It goes without saying that we should celebrate and live Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of nonviolence, coexistence, and civil rights for all, each and every day of the year, and not just just on his birthday (today) or on the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrated the 3rd Monday of each January (this year 1/21/08). That being said, and considering the headlines of the past few days regarding the Clinton and Obama camps divisive comments regarding race (don’t get me started on that mess), I think that taking at least today and MLK Day to reflect on the mission and life’s work of MLK, Jr., is something we ALL would be advised to do. One would hope that this introspective reflection would continue well past these two celebratory days set aside to give thanks and appreciation to MLK, and become an integral and commonplace part of each of our lives. There truly is so much joy to be had in reveling in the diversity of us all.

Here is the post I did last year on this day. Peace. 🙂

MUST SEE: A reminder of Martin Luther King’s message

I think we all need a reminder of the message behind the day, behind the man. Here are a couple videos WELL worth a look. Also included is a link to the History Channel’s page dedicated to Dr. King, and a link to the lyrics of “Where is the Love?”, which is the song by the Black Eyed Peas playing over the images in the first video. Peace.

Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

Yeah baby, yeah baby, yeah baby!!! My San Diego Chargers came to play and play they did, NEVER allowing the much-favored Indianapolis Colts to run away with the lead, or to allow the raucous hometown crowd to get them down. It has been very frustrating to not have the Chargers receive the props they have deserved, and instead hear about how wonderful other teams are. Can we PUH-LEEZE finally give the San Diego Chargers a little credit and admit that they ARE a real football team, that they CAN come together to hang tough and pull out some serious wins, and that they ARE a team to be reckoned with and not some fluke? I’m anxious to read the write-ups about this game and see if ANYONE gives respect to my Bolts. (Boomer Esiason seemed to be the only one to give any kudos to the team at halftime on CBS…thanks Boomer!)

(VIDEO BELOW ADDED 1/20/07: Found this good video recap of the game when posting today’s blog entry about the Chargers/Pats game…enjoy!)

I’ll probably have more to add later, but just HAD to head over to give some major lovin’ to my boys from SD–thank you San Diego Chargers for representing 619 (760 and 858, too! ;)) as well as you have!!! While the video below of San Diego’s own POD (Payable On Death) performing their “Chargers Anthem” at a Chargers rally isn’t of very good quality, that sooooo doesn’t matter since it goes above and beyond expressing the enthusiasm and support of San Diego Chargers fans for their team. Watch out Patriots, do NOT underestimate us because we’re heading your way to ruin your perfect record!

Chargers Anthem lyrics

San Diego Chargers, Chargers

The west coast is back, better respect the name.
It’s the San Diego Chargers, feel the lightning bang.
Kill the hype we reign, S.D. runnin this game.
This is 619 straight born and raised.

This ain’t no fad or phase, this is Cali for life.
We gon’ rally tonight, so pump your fists till you get it right.
And keep it real so all of Diego can feel you.
But for now, sing the anthem so the whole world can hear you.

San Diego Chargers!
San Diego come on, come on!
Chargers!
San Diego come on!

San Diego Chargers!
San Diego where you at? come on!
Chargers!
San Diego where you at?

Stay true to your hood, don’t betray your roots.
East, West, North, South, Diego know your roots.
Fly your flag through the city, cause we callin all crews.
All you Diego dedicated rock your yellow’s and blue’s.

It’s the West Coast, California resurrection.
America’s finest city with border-line connections.
You can have your Raider Nation cause we ready for war.
It’s the San Diego Chargers takin over the world.

And we still Raider hatin’
San Diego Chargers!
South side come on, come on!
Chargers!
South side come on!

San Diego Chargers!
East side where you at east side?
Chargers!
East side where you at? come on!

San Diego Chargers!
North side come on!
Chargers!
North side come on, come on!

San Diego Chargers!
Everybody on the west side
Chargers!
Everybody on the west side

San Diego Chargers!
West Coast are you with me?
Chargers!
West Coast are you with me?

San Diego Chargers!
West Coast where you at? where you at?
Chargers!
West Coast where you at? where you at?

Still not really feeling the blogging bug, kiddos (despite there being so much to blog about from the continuing WGA strike to politics), but since it was one year ago today that I first took the plunge (blog was named “If I only knew then… “) into the blogging world I just HAD to pop on over to acknowledge the occasion. It’s been odd to look back on the previous 168 posts and be reminded of the events I blogged about and the feelings they invoked in me and in others. Goes without saying that the pet food recall is really what put this lil’ ole blog on the WordPress map last spring, which was surprising to me and something I definitely never envisioned. This blog has never been about trying to get readers or hits, but more about me just having a venue to express my thoughts, frustrations, happiness, and of course share pictures of my poochies, past and present. And especially this time of year, to lament AND CHEER my San Diego Chargers and their play-off experiences. Here’s hoping this year my boys take it all the way after having put it to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, beating them 16-7. Since we already beat the Colts this year, I’m sure we can take care of them again this coming Sunday–GO CHARGERS!

So I’ll close with a “Happy Birthday” video from Concrete Blonde, which I suppose could be me; am still in my pj’s at 9AM…just substitute the cat for my pooch Rudy, and her dark hair for my blond…am sure I can dig up some champagne to toast in the event..but rest assured I would NOT release any balloon into the air since it causes harm to not only our environment, but to wildlife. (Hey, if you didn’t know that last part about me from reading this blog over the past year, you’ve got more reading to do! ;)) I’m sending out a HUGE thank you to all that have popped over to SoCal Muchacha to read a blog entry, agree or disagree with me in the comment section, and who also put out so much interesting reading on their own blogs. Happy blogging everyone!

The end of this miserable year known as 2007 CANNOT come soon enough for me–8 hours and counting! While there were some things for which I’m grateful (finally passing the CSET, the wonderful children I had for my student teaching experience, incredible friends who have stood by me, my dear Rudy, starting this blog on 1-8-07 and sharing it with so many, along with other positive events), this past month or so of dashed hopes, turmoil, loss, and sadness, in addition to other disappointments and struggles over the past year, has me BEYOND anxious for the beginning of a new year and all that it can hold. Yes, I realize that January 1st of ANY year is just a date on a calendar and that if we choose to have new beginnings in our life we can (and should) start at any moment of any day in any month, but I’ll stick with my somewhat naive way of thinking that 12:01 AM on 1-1-08 WILL be my new, fresh beginning. For me it will represent being atop a mountain looking out on a sunny, green, peaceful and happy landscape known as 2008, with a quick look over my shoulder at something akin to a dark and dreary, war-torn past known as 2007.

It is with this intention of doing things better and to completion, that I’ve imposed an online break for myself. I haven’t been blogging on a consistent basis lately anyway, but when I do blog it does take time, and right now, with the current major upheaval in my life, it’s time I know I need to spend prioritizing areas of my life, and living to my full potential. In a way I feel like a parent telling their child that they can’t go out to play until their homework is done. At this particular point in my life “homework” equates with “figuring sh*t out”, and play is spending time online whether it’s blogging or reading many other fine blogs out there (see my blogroll ;)).

So, my friends, I leave for this mini-break (mind you, knowing me it might only be a few days! ;)) hoping you all have not only a happy and safe New Year’s Eve, but a new year filled with happy moments, appreciation for life, special people (and pets!) to share it with, and the fulfillment of dreams you’ve tucked way for too long, which you will NOW (hopefully) pull out for 2008. Take care, and I’ll see you soon!

Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas is having an enjoyable Christmas Eve (more so than it appears my pooch Rudy did in the accompanying picture; rest assured his tail WAS wagging at the time), although for most of you it’s already Christmas. I’m coming down off of too much sugar, and a bit too much of the yummy Wilson Creek almond champagne, so thought I’d pop on over and post a quick blog.

My nephews and I have been tracking Santa Claus on NORAD tonight (really fun site I was turned onto last Christmas–thanks Donna!), and as pathetic as it sounds, even though they’ve just gone to bed I’m quite sure I’ll keep checking the updates and watching the videos. Hey, it’s fun to “be a kid” for a little bit. I suppose it’s that “wishful thinking” state which has me posting this video of Santa’s trip to Paris, France, since I’m hoping maybe one day I’ll be spending the holidays there myself. Hey, I DID say it was wishful thinking. Right now NORAD has Santa tracked in Tucson, Arizona, so at least he’s getting closer to good old SoCal.

Speaking of SoCal, thanks to WordPress I’m having a white Christmas without having to head up to the mountains. Until January 2nd, the good folks at WordPress are giving us the gift of blog snow. (Anyone else getting a visual from The Breakfast Club right now? lol)

We opened family gifts early since the Chargers were playing the Broncos on Monday Night Football. No way in heck we’d be focusing on what the kiddos were opening while the game was on, and the nephews had NO problems with being given a MUCH earlier gift opening time. I’m sure they’ll be hoping the Chargers play every Christmas Eve if it means getting at those presents earlier! I’m just wishing the Chargers had been playing as well all season as they did tonight in their dominance over the Denver Broncos (23-3). Always nice to pull out a win over a division rival.

Before I head off to “help Santa” with a last-minute request in a note my five-year-old nephew penned for the jolly old man in the red suit tonight (this is in addition to the note to the right asking for a guitar), I’ll leave you with a classic rendition of “Santa Baby” by the absolutely amazing, Ms Eartha Kitt. Thanks for sending it along to me, Janice–love it. Off to put on those elf ears!

First off, CONGRATULATIONS to my San Diego Chargers (long-time Chargers fans like myself stake claim on the team, hence the “my”) on becoming the AFC West Division Champions! (insert crazy, pathetic dancing) Mind you, a 9-5 record is not where Chargers fans thought we would be at this point in the season, after coming off the incredible season we had last year, but we’ll take it. Our team has been through some tumultuous times this year, from the head coach change to most of the coaching staff changing as well, from Merriman’s suspension to Rivers’ hit-and-miss effective efforts, so to be able to somehow keep it all together and have more wins than losses is something worthy of a bit of pride.

Second, FOX 11 in Los Angeles you are officially dubbed the Scrooge of this holiday season by all Time-Warner subscribing Chargers fans in the Temecula Valley area (Southwest Riverside County…just northeast of San Diego County). For some absolutely ridiculous reason you opted to NOT show yesterday’s Chargers-v-Lions game and instead showed the Eagles-v-Cowboys game! ARGH, which definitely makes you worthy of being added to Santa’s naughty list for life!!! We were seriously in shock when we flipped on the FOX station (something I try hard to NOT do too often ;)) and didn’t see the Chargers game as we have all season on the various LA networks. Was bittersweet to see the constant positive updates online on NFL.com and realize we were missing such a high-scoring game. Trust me, Chargers fans deserve to see some fun after having endured some seriously disappointing times this season, yet FOX 11 decided to keep that fun away from those of us just outside San Diego County lines. Lumps of coal in your stockings, FOX 11, lumps of coal!

Here are some previous Chargers-related posts I’ve done. Fingers crossed that the good Chargers streak continues! Back to the pathetic, celebratory dancing. 😉

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day, so I thought I’d post a little information from the Human Rights Campaign web site. For those who have yet to come out, know that there is support out there, sometimes where you’d least expect it. And for those of you like myself, who have “come out” as straight supporters of GLBT rights, keep your voices strong. This is an issue of common sense, common decency, compassion, and most of all love.

T.R. Knight PSA for GLAAD

From the Human Rights Campaign web site:

About Coming Out as a Straight Supporter (from the HRC web site)

A straight ally is someone who is not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) but personally advocates for GLBT equal rights and fair treatment. Straight allies are some of the most effective and powerful advocates for the GLBT movement. These allies have proven invaluable personally and politically, and are increasingly important in the fight for GLBT equality. Indeed, their voices often have been heard while those of GLBT people have been ignored.

Coming out as a straight ally may be an extremely challenging experience, but many find that it is unexpectedly rewarding. Some may think that advocating on behalf of GLBT equality is solely the responsibility of those who are affected by the inequality.

But as straight ally Caleb Baker has put it: “U.S. Representative John Lewis once said that the next great movement in America would be the gay rights movement. His words make me remember there are white people fighting for black people’s rights in the civil rights movement. There are men fighting for women’s rights in the feminist movement. I would be greatly ashamed if there were no straight people fighting for gay rights in our movement.” (GLSEN’s Students and GSA’s Yearbook)

Like GLBT people, straight allies will find that coming out is not a one-time event, but rather a lifelong journey.

Opinion polls show that people who know someone who is gay or lesbian are more likely to support equal rights for all gay and lesbian people. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the same is true for people who know someone who is bisexual or transgender.

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A couple of reminders…

Cyndi Lauper on The View discussing True Colors Tour 2007

Cyndi Lauper on The View singing “True Colors”

mattel.jpgYesterday Mattel announced it’s THIRD recall in just over one month (8/2/07: Fisher-Price Recall Notice (Lead Poisoning)/Links to info/China involved AGAIN!, 8/14/07:Another Mattel recall: lead paint and powerful, loose magnets) due to “violation of lead paint standard”. The whole recall/China/lead scenario kind of makes you want to get back to having the kids play with your empty cardboard boxes and creating parades with pots and lids as musical instruments, eh?

News Articles

Important Web Sites

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Added 9/6/07: Here’s the video clip I mention in my comment (3rd one below). Quite telling in regard to how the bottom line ($$$) is ALWAYS going to outweigh health and safety…sigh.

marc-broussard-hob-8-20-07.jpegFirst off, Marc Broussard is one act you do NOT want to miss if he’s in your area. Second, WTF San Diego concert-goers?!?! Let me just get my rant out of the way before I rave.

While I love San Diego county like crazy and have spent the better part of my life there, I find myself becoming more and more disenchanted with the downright rude behavior I seem to run across at local concerts. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why anyone would pay for a ticket to a show, then stand around and talk–LOUDLY?! In my opinion it’s beyond disrespectful to practically drown out the performance of someone on stage who is giving it their heart and soul, but it’s also stupid to spend your money on something you obviously aren’t there to enjoy. If you’re there just to pick up on someone, save your money and just hit up a bar or go online–sheesh! There ARE those of us who must obviously be somewhat demented because we assume that folks who come to a show actually want to enjoy the show. Mind you, there was a healthy dose of attentive fans in attendance last night (despite the surprisingly small crowd), but it was embarrassing to hear so much talking when Toby Lightman and/or Marc were singing something without heavy band back-up and you could hear all the morons blabbing away. Sigh. (And yes, I eventually did tell a few to shut the **** up. 😉)

That being said, oh my gosh what FUN last night’s House of Blues-San Diego show was (rude idiots aside), and what energy and enthusiasm Marc brought to each song. For those of you not aware of Marc Broussard, you are totally missing out on what many are calling this generation’s “King of Blue-Eyed Soul”, and they are so on the mark with that one. The first time I heard of Marc was a couple of years back when his chart-climbing “Home” off his first major labelmarc-broussard-carencro.jpg album, Carencro (an homage to his hometown of Carencro, Louisiana), caught my attention upon first hearing it on the radio, in much the same way Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”, or The Cliks’ “Oh Yeah” song and video made me stand up and take notice. I love it when a musician and his/her music is something so different from the rest that your ears alert your brain to something magical. Have to admit that when I tracked down more info on “Home” I was shocked to discover this Bayou Soul voice and energy came from such a young man, let alone a white one at that! That point is played upon in the first 35 seconds of the “Home” video where you are led to believe the soulful humming is coming from the African-American man on the bus, then POOF, the young white boy sitting behind him pulls out his guitar and starts wailing away. Love it!

Marc Broussard: “Home” from Carencro

Marc’s latest CD, S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, is full of classic soul tune covers except for one marc-broussard-save-our-soul.jpggreat original song, “Come In from the Cold”, penned by Marc. Several reviewers have wondered what the point was to doing a CD of covers but I say why not? Marc’s voice is perfect for these songs and it has reawakened in me the appreciation of old-school soul music. And heck, they’re fun! Plus it’s a bit of a “filler” while he’s working on his next CD.

Marc Broussard: “Love and Happiness” from S.O.S.: Save Our Soul

This current tour is called the “Soul Revue” tour and with the soul that Marc, the band, toby-lightman.jpgand featured guest Toby Lightman (subbing for Shannon McNally) put forth, the show most definitely lived up to its moniker. Unfortunately we missed the first twenty minutes or so, so only caught the last two Toby songs. We were very disappointed to walk in and discover that Toby was taking Shannon’s place because we’d seen Toby open for Carbon Leaf a few months back and she was incredible. I’m sure Shannon is great too, but missing out on songs from Toby was a bummer. What was great, though, is that she came out and joined Marc and the band for several songs throughout the night.

Marc Broussard and Toby Lightman at Stubbs

“If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”

What was also surprising and great, was that for the encore it was just Marc, sans band. He was giving it his all and having a fabulous time with the crowd, as we all were with him. (Especially when we all helped him remember the words to his memorable performance of “Lonely Night in marc-broussard-solo-sd-hob-8-20-07.jpegGeorgia”.) Who he wasn’t so thrilled with (and boy did he let his feelings be known, capped off with a flipping of the fingers under the chin directed at HOB ;)) was the fact that HOB apparently is pretty strict with getting their performers off-stage at a particular hour–enjoyment of performer and crowd be damned. Marc was in a bit of a “f**k you, I’m playing for my fans as long as I want” mood (pretty much the words he used. ;)) and continued his encore for about thirty fantastic minutes more. He did apologize at the end to the employees of HOB for making them have to work late. 😉

All in all, and despite the rude talkers in the crowd, it was a VERY enjoyable night (even more so than when I saw him there a couple years back and got to do a meet and greet with him–THAT was a great experience!) and one I would highly recommend you take in for yourself as soon as Marc and his “Soul Revue” hit your town. Now if they’d only all worn some classic soul garb like crushed velvet jackets and some shiny pants . . .

ozo-band_shot_01.gif

As is evidenced from my previous entries relating to music, it’s pretty apparent that my taste runs toward the eclectic side, and if there is a band I listen to that probably exemplifies musical eclecticism and fusion best it would have to be the fantastic band I’ll be seeing at a private radio station (KPRI) gig tonight, Ozomatli. This quote from a BC Music review puts the band’s sound on their latest venture “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” into perspective quite well, “Ozo is, as ever, a instrumental atom bomb compared to most pop out there – the disc burns with their unique energy and soul.” While I don’t think I’d use the category of “pop” for Ozomatli, it is so true that their music IS an instrumental atom bomb compared to most others. Their CDs are truly worthy of spending a bit of time getting to know–as is the band!

I really don’t have time to write much about them other than to tell you to get your fannies over to iTunes or your local record shop to buy “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” ASAP! Here is a link to a Google page of reviews for the CD, and here is the Ozomatli web site. I’ll also include a couple of videos for you to enjoy. I did do a brief story about Ozomatli about a year ago, so will post that for you, too. Off to get ready for a night of fun with friends, incredible music, TONS of dancing, and an all-around celebration of life! 🙂

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*** 8/7/07 UPDATE: Ozomatli was ON FIRE at Anthology in San Diego last night!!! While they only played just under one hour of music, it was jam packed, crowd-pleasing, shake-your-ass-until-you-can’t-shake-it-anymore music, and they definitely had the crowd eating out of their hands. I implore you to hit the link I offered above to Ozo’s web site to find out when they will be hitting your town, then buy those tickets ASAP and prepare for one hell of a good time! Thank you Ozomatli (especially for performing one of my new faves: Magnolia Soul-lyrics copied below!) and KPRI for a fantastic night. Despite the fact the bathroom door at the venue decided to slice a chunk of my right thumb off, it was STILL an incredible evening of great music, high energy, and memorable times with friends. :)***

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“City of Angels” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

(Ozomatli “City of Angels” music video directed/edited by Matthew Johnston and shot by Willie Tipp. Winner of the “Wanna Mess with the Dragon?” music video contest)

“Magnolia Soul” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

This isn’t the best video, but is from a live performance of one of my favorite songs on the new CD. As a reviewer said, it’s a scathing indictment of post-Katrina chaos. Ozomatli does an incredible job of getting out very important political messages in their music.

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Magnolia Soul

magnolia.jpg

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Justin:

Dear magnolia, what’s crackin’?

Been a long time since I last saw your face

Never forget the day out in the sticks I saw your crecsent smile in place

All the way from uptown, downtown, lakeside to river

Heard W don’t care about them

Gotta watch who you make ya friend

Otherwise FEMA will come through and backstab you again

Just some advice to lend

Weak ties will bend

Through the dark true light will win

And they said that this the end

But we fixin’ to make them saints march on again

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Jabu:

Polite little hurricane, called for she came

Officials knew the deal and they didn’t do a thang

Knew her every move

Yep Katrina was her name

The mayor had the whole game in the palm of his hand

Hand in the pot

Caught cold and oh!/ shouldv’e fixed them damn levees long time ago/ but they didn’t take the chance to do it

Pitty pat between the pres and the mayor

Folks was dying (die) too

A gang of us in the superdome

We’re in the heat

Folks in wheelchairs feet swole, nothing to eat

So to the kids and the families that lost

I rhyme for, ‘nolia clap

Show the world your sooooooul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Bridge:

Everybody clap them hands

Still steppin to the second line band

Still stompin’ to the zulu drum

You can’t stop this native son

A huh huh

Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll pretty mama can’t stop magnolias soul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

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Here’s the story I did last year:

ozoaacover.jpgI dare you to not move your feet and fanny (and any other body parts you so choose) while listening to this band! As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard Ozomatli we couldn’t see them, but boy we sure could hear them…and feel them! Our bodies sensed the excitement and the rhythms from their horn section and drums…they infused our bodies. We were magically drawn toward the music like bees to honey…to the sweet sounds of their voices and the potent lyrics. Unfortunately such was the case with hundreds of other bodies who were all trying to get near the stage, and sadly blocking our ability to get anywhere near it. The closest we could get had the band members looking like small dolls dancing on stage. Sadly this first encounter with the band would not allow us to embrace the entire Ozomatli experience (and trust me, an Ozo show IS an experience!), but it did allow us to get a taste of what would soon become an addiction.

ozofillmore.jpgThis first brief experience with Ozomatli was back on a beautiful Saturday in September of 2002 at a music festival called Street Scene. Back in the day it was held in the Gaslamp Quarter, an area of downtown San Diego, California. Sadly the festival has moved to Qualcomm Stadium (where the San Diego Chargers play…at least for now…sigh), and even though I have to admit to not having attended Street Scene since they moved there, I just can’t imagine it having the same ‘flavor’ as it did by being held in the fabulous historic streets of downtown San Diego. (Street Scene has moved a couple of times since I did this review–twice this year!)

Since that initial taste of addiction was born on 9/7/02, thankfully the fixes have had much more success than that day at Street Scene. The next couple of times I saw Ozomatli were at one of the BEST venues to see a show in San Diego County, the Belly Up Tavern. It’s located in Solana Beach, which is in Northern San Diego County, literally just north of the Del Mar Race Track and Fairgrounds. I L-O-V-E the Belly Up Tavern! I’ve pretty much spent some of my best concert-going times there since I became legal (oh so long ago!)…awesome music…great service…small venue with great sound…and incredibly memorable times with friends! Yup, love that place.

ozostreetsigns.jpgSo back to Ozomatli. Right now this GRAMMY® Award winning, Los Angeles-based band with an active political conscience has ten band members, a wide array of instruments, and several of their members contributing to vocals. It’s hard to describe Ozo‘s music other than to say it’s a FABULOUS fusion of latin and world music, hip-hop (which I’m usually NOT a fan of), heavy doses of political activism, reggae, a hot brass section and elaborate percussion, all woven together to get you rocking your body off on the dance floor. My experience has been that there truly is NO WAY you can be at an Ozomatli show and NOT move your body. No way possible! The music invades your soul, your head starts to bob, your toes start tapping, next thing you know your fanny is off the seat and you’re moving like you’ve been dancing to this blend of music all your life. It honestly is an experience that consumes every fiber of your being, mentally and physically. While it may leave you completely drained after the show, there is actually an interesting sense of renewal and invigoration you feel when all is said and done. And speaking of done, this band finishes each show by grabbing their instruments (drum included!), heading out into the audience, snaking their way around folks, while singing and dancing with the audience as they head out the door. I guarantee an Ozomatli concert will be one of your BEST musical experiences EVER!

So click on the links I’ve provided throughout this page to get more information on the band, sample some music, check out their merchandise, and most of all find out when they might be touring in your area.

May you fall victim to the Ozomatli addiction like I did and soon consider yourself an Ozo fanatic. No 12-step program required.

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Here we go again, folks! We are now facing ANOTHER Chinese-manufactured items recall due to a lead poisoning hazard, this time nearly one million Fisher-Price toys. Below is a copy of the recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This recall comes on the heels of the Thomas the Tank Engine recall, also due to lead poisoning items manufactured in China. Here is an interesting read from early July where China says the entire safety issue is being “hyped” by the media, and it seems they are parroting the same “Chinese exports are safe” line in this article posted today, yet softening their stance in this one. Here’s hoping that the US team currently in Beijing for talks regarding more stringent regulations with the food and drug trade between our country and China, will be able to come home with rules in place which will have us all breathing a bit easier regarding the safety of products we use for ourselves and our pets.

UPDATES:

Here are a couple of links to Mattel pages:
8/1/07 Fisher-Price Toys with Lead Paint Hazard Recall
ALL Mattel recalls

 

 

NEWS from CPSC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2007
Release #07-257
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (800) 916-4498
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children’s toys

Units: About 967,000

Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y.

Hazard: Surface paints on the toys could contain excessive levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled involves various figures and toys that were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. The model names and product numbers for the recalled toys, which are all marked with “Fisher-Price,” are listed below. The toys may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product or packaging.

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007 for between $5 and $40.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price. Consumers will need to return the product and will receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer’s choice (up to the value of the returned product).

Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Fisher-Price at (800) 916-4498 anytime or visit the firm’s Web site at www.service.mattel.com

(PRODUCT LISTED REMOVED DUE TO FORMATTING ISSUES: please click link above for entire list.)

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

rudy-peeking-web.jpg

No, not any of those other Rudys…MY Rudy, my poochie, my goofball, and the being that cracks me up each day. Yes, I am one of those folks that celebrates her dog’s birthday (bite your tongue, Jackson!), albeit one that was created based on the best judgment of shelter workers since Rudy was adopted from a Humane Society in SoCal. So approximately two years before I adopted Rudy on July 14th, 2002, my crazy, recently diagnosed with diabetes boy was born.

Happy Birthday Rudy, and thanks for all the happiness you bring to me and to everyone who meets you. 🙂 (And yes, Rudy can read. ;))

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(***ADDED 7/12/07: Looks like Michael may WILL be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight on MSNBC at 8PM EST, with a replay 4 hours later.***)

Have to say that anticipating a television show is not something I’ve done in a long time (okay, I was curious about The Sopranos finale ;)), but waiting for the promised “Unedited Part II” of Michael Moore and Wolf Blitzer’s firework-laced gabfest on The Situation Room definitely had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I’ll include both videos here (even though Part I was included in this blog posting) since seeing them one right after the other keeps the continuity of Michael’s outrage much more so than the 24 hour time lapse given to us courtesy of CNN.

A huge thank you to those who take the time to upload these videos to YouTube so the rest of us can view them! 🙂

Part I-CNN Gets Blitzed by Michael Moore

Part II-Michael Moore/Wolf Blitzer

And speaking of CNN, when are they going to catch a clue that Larry King’s time has come and gone–long ago? It was truly painful to watch him attempt to have anything to do with the serious debate that Dr. Gupta and Michael should have been having on their differences regarding where health care system facts came from. I felt Dr. Gupta was attempting to have some sort of dialogue with Michael, but Larry kept trying to play referee when one wasn’t really needed. It seemed that the majority of times when Michael was attempting to set the record straight and explain where/why/how SiCKO came up with facts for the film, his turn to talk was cut short. It would be nice to see CNN actually allow Dr. Gupta and Michael the opportunity Larry King “claims” they will to actually have a serious and much-needed hour of (hopefully non-Larry King interrupted!) discourse on this crucial topic.

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 1 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 2 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 3 of 3

 

Here is Keith Olbermann’s take on the Michael-vs-Wolf/CNN episode, with input from Rachel Maddow. I would include the video here, but the page is taking a long time to load due to all the other videos. And here is one I would NOT bother to include since Joe Scarborough is showing what a moron he can be (I’ve actually agreed with him on a few–very few-occasions) by attacking Michael’s weight issue instead of discussing the important arguments Michael brings up. Way to deal with the topic at hand, Joe.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I haven’t touched base with the pet food recall story in a bit so thought I’d check into what the latest news has been. The head of China’s version of our FDA was executed yesterday for his part in the horrific “lethally tainted products” fiasco from which people and pets around the world have been suffering. An owner who truly believes her pet died from tainted food, albeit 10 months prior to the initial Menu Foods pet food recall, is denied her claim by Nutro Products, Inc. And while this Opinion posting on USA Today barely mentions the pet food recall, it does a good job of enlightening the reader on how it is that so many tainted products have come to the USA from China (such as the Thomas the Tank Engine toys), and that consumers MUST continue to put pressure on our own government in order to have them place equal pressure on China.

As an aunt to two Thomas the Tank Engine-addicted nephews, I wanted to do my part to pass along information regarding the recent recall of 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine trains and accessory parts due to high levels of lead paint. The warning from officials is to TAKE THESE TOYS AWAY FROM CHILDREN IMMEDIATELY, so please following the links I’m including and check the products you have at home against those being recalled. Here is the RC2 official press release (the company which manufactures the recalled products), a detailed list of images of items being recalled, and I’ll include the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission official press release below.I just have to say that considering the never ending melamine-tainted pet food recall, along with the diethylene glycol-laced cough syrup and toothpaste fiasco, why am I NOT surprised that these recalled Thomas the Tank Engine items were manufactured in China?! Argh!

UPDATES:

  • 9/27/07: More items recalled today!
  • 6/19/07:  Here’s a GREAT article (“As More Toys Are Recalled, Trail Ends In China“) from the New York Times stating that ALL 24 of the recalled toys this year were manufactured in China, with issues from lead paint to kerosene! You do need to sign up for a free online subscription to read the NY Times article…so worth it, though!***)

 

NEWS from CPSC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2007
Release #07-212
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (866) 725-4407
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

RC2 Corp. Recalls Various Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway Toys Due to Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Products: Various Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway Toys

Units: About 1.5 million

Importer/Distributor: RC2 Corp., of Oak Brook, Ill.

Hazard: Surface paints on the recalled products contain lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None.

Description: The recall involves wooden vehicles, buildings and other train set components for young children listed in the chart below. The front of the packaging has the logo “Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway” on the upper left-hand corner. A manufacturing code may be located on the bottom of the product or inside the battery cover. Toys marked with codes containing “WJ” or “AZ” are not included in this recall.

Recalled Product Name
Red James Engine & Red James’ # 5 Coal Tender
Red Lights & Sounds James Engine & Red James’ #5 Lights & Sounds Coal Tender
James with Team Colors Engine & James with Team Colors #5 Coal Tender
Red Skarloey Engine
Brown & Yellow Old Slow Coach
Red Hook & Ladder Truck & Red Water Tanker Truck
Red Musical Caboose
Red Sodor Line Caboose
Red Coal Car labeled “2006 Day Out With Thomas” on the Side
Red Baggage Car
Red Holiday Caboose
Red “Sodor Mail” Car
Red Fire Brigade Truck
Red Fire Brigade Train
Deluxe Sodor Fire Station
Red Coal Car
Yellow Box Car
Red Stop Sign
Yellow Railroad Crossing Sign
Yellow “Sodor Cargo Company” Cargo Piece
Smelting Yard
Ice Cream Factory

Sold at: Toy stores and various retailers nationwide from January 2005 through June 2007 for between $10 and $70.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should take the recalled toys away from young children immediately and contact RC2 Corp. for a replacement toy.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact RC2 Corp. toll-free at (866) 725-4407 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. CT Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at recalls.rc2.com

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

Mom is one of those folks that keeps saying she’s going to learn all about the internet, but has yet to even figure out how to get past clicking the on button…sigh. And it’s not like I haven’t tried to get her to learn. Oh well, she does peruse the blog when she’s visiting and since she’ll be here on Mother’s Day I thought I’d throw some well wishes out into the universe. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM, even though I know it’s that (gulp) birthday that has a special significance with the government. 😉 Here are a few classic videos of performers you’ve always enjoyed. As a matter of fact I think I’ve sent you and dad off to see each of them over the past few years. Hope the videos at least help make you feel a bit younger…memories, eh? Love ya, Mom!:)

“She’s A Lady”-Tom Jones (1973)

“The Last Waltz”=Engelbert Humperdinck (1967)

“Soul and Inspiration”=The Righteous Brothers (1966)

Someone might need to get the paddles for me because I think my heart stopped the minute I realized I was actually applauding something George W. Bush had done. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, so (deep breath) kudos to you, GWB, for doing something for the animals. Now can you get the government (FDA and USDA for a start) to get things straightened out with our pet food supply and our human food supply? Of course my “to do” list for you is much longer, but we’ll start there–for now.

Click HERE to read the press release from the Humane Society of the United States regarding the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act being signed into law.

The following is from the HSUS web site (shout out to my Senator, Dianne Feinstein, for being one of the Senators who introduced the new law into the Senate! 🙂):

May 3, 2007


 
 

Today, President Bush signed into law a bill that will help law enforcement rid the United States of dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal fighting.

Dogfighting and cockfighting crimes are rampant in the United States, with individuals arrested every week in scores of locations under state laws. The vast underground networks generate pervasive animal cruelty, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption and even violence and murder. The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which passed Congress with large bi-partisan support, will give law enforcement a stronger tool to crack down on this illegal activity.

“Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,” states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation.

The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.

Cockfighting is outlawed in every state except Louisiana, although there is mounting pressure in that state to ban the practice. Many states still have misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. The federal law slaps felony penalties on interstate cockfighting trafficking, and this should provide an enormous deterrent for the tens of thousands of people involved in this criminal industry.

The law will have a devastating impact on major breeders of fighting animals, who depend on customers from all over the United States and abroad. Dog kennels rely on transporting their fighting dogs across state lines and across the world to customers. The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders. The HSUS is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cutting back on production.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will help end the export of fighting animals to other countries. Selling roosters to customers in the Philippines and other nations can be lucrative for American cockfighters. The new law puts increased pressure on the airlines to stop shipping roosters to cockfighting hot spots.

The new law had been introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) in the House, and by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. It had also been endorsed by more than 500 groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and more than 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states.

Surprise the heck out of folks and spread a little random love today! 🙂

Global Love Day web site

Pick a number. Any number between 14 and say, oh, how about 39,000? Well, it seems that is about as concrete as ANY number you’ll get regarding just how many poor, innocent pets have died due to the tainted wheat gluten used in possibly millions of containers of recalled pet food. The FDA and Menu Foods continue to stand by their statistic of 14-16 pets dead (majority of those from Menu Foods own “tasting trials”), while online pet web site, Pet Connection, had registered 3,598 owner-reported pet deaths by 4/9/07. Then to add even MORE mystery to the already shrouded in secrecy pet food contamination story, is what has the internet all abuzz: two “somewhat” different versions of an AP story by Andrew Bridges. I took screen shots of each and will also save the entire stories on a page on this blog so you can compare the differences yourself. And goodness knows how many more times the story might change. Kind of makes you wonder what sort of pressure Andrew Bridges and/or the Associated Press might be receiving (if any), and by whom?

Here’s the first version:

 

Then there is this later version:

 

 


_____________________________________________

Happy Birthday, ASPCA!

 

 

 

While the latest development in the pet food contamination scandal ended up taking me away from the blog entry I was going to do on today being ASPCA Day, I can’t go without acknowledging the organization and its incredible work on behalf of animals, such as the beautiful one pictured here in a birthday tiara, my dearly departed Bailey. I adopted her from a shelter in June of 1992, and I was unbelievably fortunate to share 14 1/2 memorable and loving years with her. There are thousands upon thousands of animals in shelters RIGHT NOW, just waiting for you to open up your heart and your home. Trust me, doing so is something you (and the pet) will not regret. Just ask my current shelter boy pictured below, my goofball Rudy!

So let’s all gather ’round and sing a hearty version of “Happy Birthday” to the ASPCA, celebrating their 141st year of looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves; our furry, feathered, and finned friends (and any others that don’t fall into those categories ;)). While we all celebrate this fabulous occasion and “Go Orange for the Animals” in some form or fashion today, let’s also do our best YEAR ROUND to assist the ASPCA in its various efforts to end animal cruelty and find loving homes for all those pets who need them. Keep up the good work, ASPCA!

Yes, I realize most of you have no clue who Jackson is (am quite sure he’d say that it’s your loss ;)), BUT since I do adore the boy and it IS his birthday today (will be nice and NOT say how old since he’s having ‘issues’ with it…you can pay me later, Jackson!), I feel the need to post a couple videos of his obsession (Placebo…more to the point, Brian Molko ;)), since I posted some of mine yesterday. (And yes, that WAS the longest run-on sentence ever. ;))

 

Much love and HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to you, my betch. 😉

(And here’s hoping the “Lucy Syndrome” doesn’t occur today!)

 

From your fave CD

My pick

Hilarious interview

Sniffin’ out the info

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