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It’s a blog I would post my thoughts on, right? A place I’d come to vent, to be silly, to talk about music I was addicted to, to share movies to see or skip…yup, I remember it. I do have a confession to make. Twitter might have come between us. Trust me folks, I NEVER thought that crazy “tweeting” thing would be something I’d do, but alas, my political being has been poked, prodded, enlightened and enraged via Twitter, and I’m afraid a lot of what I’d come over here to post ended up in 140 characters or less on Twitter.
I’m coming out of blog hibernation (yikes, over 4 months!) to see if any of you reading this have a negative memory from childhood which still burns as vividly in your mind as if it happened just yesterday? Ever wish someone had done something about it or had let you know things would be okay? If so (or even if not), PLEASE take the time to follow the links I’ve included and DO SOMETHING about this most atrocious story I just heard about this morning. I honestly could NOT believe there was a chance ANY of it could be true–but it is. Instead of going into all of the details myself, the story/video link takes you to an in-depth interview with Harry Smith (CBS news) and the mother of Alex, the kindergartner who was “voted out” by 14 of his 16 classmates.
I do have to say that as an aunt to two nephews I could NOT love more (one of which has been dealing with emotional/behavioral issues for most of his young life–at one time having been considered to have Asperger Syndrome such as little Alex is being tested for), and as someone who is still hoping to one day complete her teaching credential (two more classes ;)), it disgusts/shocks/saddens me to see such a ridiculous and cruel event be inflicted on such a young child, especially by a teacher who is entrusted to care for, educate, and nurture our children. Not only will it more than likely have a long-lasting effect on Alex, but it sends the most intolerant of messages to the classmates involved that they do not need to understand and embrace the differences amongst us, and can instead simply “vote” someone out of their surroundings. If we are teaching this to kindergarten children, imagine how they will think they can deal with those they don’t care for as they get older? Don’t like that person because of their sexual orientation, religious affiliation, skin color, then “vote” them out. And trust me, folks, “voting” will NOT be the way they handle it; violence will be. Sigh.
I hope you’ll all take the 6 minutes needed to watch this video (if anyone finds it on YouTube, please let me know so I can post it here…thanks!), then also please, PLEASE, PLEASE take the time to click the photo of Alex and send a card to the address listed to let him know he IS uniquely special, beautiful, and loved just the way he is–we ALL are! Feel free to re-post this blog or to contact me regarding how to add the links/photo to your blog or email, and by all means do all you can to get the word out about this situation and the card campaign.
Thank you for your time. 🙂
PS I hope to get back to a “somewhat” regular routine of blogging again. Goodness knows there’s enough going on in the world today which I definitely have opinions about! 😉
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!
Those of us in SoCal are in dire need of a little humor, so I’ll leave my update to the end of this blog posting and instead start off with a picture that is hilarious, yet dead-on with its portrayal of FEMA. Leave it to Pinky to find it!
(I always try to give credit to anything I use on this site, but couldn’t find a direct link to the picture on the icanhascheezburger.com site. If you’re the creator of this funny picture, just let me know so I can give you due credit.)
In case you’ve been living under a rock and have no clue what this “fake FEMA press conference stuff” is all regarding, here are a few links for you.
- “I should have cancelled” fake FEMA press briefing-cbsnews.com
- Fake FEMA briefing costs official new assignment-washingtonpost.com
- Fake FEMA press conference template making the rounds-huffingtonpost.com (tongue-in-cheek)
And here is Keith Olbermann’s take on it all.
As for the latest on the fires locally, we’ve still got the Poomacha fire south of us going on (60-70% contained), and the Santiago fire (80% contained per OCFA report 11/29/07) northwest of us. Unfortunately the Santa Ana winds are due to kick in again in a few days, but fortunately they aren’t anticipated to be as strong as the 90mph gusts we got last week.
Have to say it’s a tad disconcerting to read some articles that lead one to believe that those affected by the fires are all made of money; not the case folks! Please don’t jump to the conclusion that just because a lot of the homes shown are in pricier areas of SoCal (Malibu, Rancho Bernardo, etc.), there aren’t many folks in other fire-ravaged areas in need of our positive thoughts, our financial assistance, and help from our government; many who do NOT have the money to easily start over again. And as for all this talk about not rebuilding in “high risk” areas, where in the heck SHOULD folks be living? Most areas of our country have their “seasonal” issues, and also keep in mind that more than one of these fires was due to arson. Sorry, but I’m just a tad annoyed by some of the talk I’m hearing and reading.
For those of you who can see past all the BS and see the pain and suffering so many people and animals (here’s a Humane Society of the United States slideshow of rescue efforts) have gone through, and will be going through regardless of their socioeconomic standing, I thank you and ask that you continue to keep them in your thoughts. If you’d like to help, or are in need of help, here is a listing from the North County Times which might assist you. Best of luck!
Yesterday I received information (copied below) on quite possibly ANOTHER harmful product manufactured in China. When I tried to verify the information I found no solid news stories on the subject. That would normally keep me from posting something in this public venue, but as we’ve all seen over the past seven months of pet-related recalls, there have been several times when vital recall information has been withheld from the public (Wal-Mart pulls chicken jerky dog treats produced in China) which has ultimately resulted in the sickness and/or death of beloved pets. If there is ANY chance that Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats ARE causing health issues for our pets, then the information needs to get out ASAP. We can’t wait for big business and governments to take their own sweet time testing products first if there is ANY evidence out there that problems might exist.
As I said, I have not found any conclusive information as to the validity of this bulletin, other than seeing the same information posted around the internet on various animal-related sites. Ultimately it’s up to each pet owner to decide what is valid and what is not, faced with as much information as possible. Truth be told, if I was faced with the same situation as Bella’s owner, where my pet suddenly became ill after ingesting a product from a country with as many health/safety issues as we have been seeing from China, I would be doing the same thing and trying as hard as I could to plaster the information in as many venues as possible.
There IS always a chance this story is not true, but honestly I can’t imagine why anyone (other than someone with an ax to grind with Smokehouse) would go to such lengths. If the story proves to be false, I would much rather have erred on the side of any pet’s safety than to withold information just because the mainstream media and/or our government or big business has not relayed the facts to us. Hopefully we will soon hear from some legitimate agency, or from the company that owns Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats, as to the validity of the claims against the product. In the meantime, buyer beware–again! (***Added 9/13/07 at 1PM PST: Blog reader, Buck, posted a comment below which includes an AVMA press release [release was updated by AVMA on 9/14/07] which would lead one to believe the Smokehouse issue is valid–thanks, Buck!***)
Here is the body of the bulletin I received yesterday, minus the city in New York of the PetSmart location mentioned:
PLEASE READ AND SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE WHO HAS DOGS, ESPECIALLY SMALL DOGS
Bella, 3 years old, 4 pounds
Product – Smoke House Chicken Breast Tenders Treats
Bella became suddenly ill ,and now hospitalized with her life threatened due to Smoke House Chicken Tenders. I recently purchased at Pet Smart.
It doesn’t matter where you purchase them, just don’t purchase them.
This was the first time I bought the Smoke House treats. Having read the label, it was listed as all natural, no additives, dyes etc. The treats were purchased on or about August 17. She loved them and I was happy because she typically only likes one treat. By August 23 she vomited bile, and again on August 24. Her personality began to change becoming lethargic, wanting to stay in her bed, loss of appetite. excessive drinking, urinating frequently in excessive amounts. urine became orange like in color. By August 28 she was severely dehydrated and lost one of her three pounds.
Sugar was found in her urine which would typically indicate diabetes. Bella was put on IV and given an antibiotic to take while tests were being done over Labor Day weekend.
Test results showed “irregularity in the lower part of her kidney. Possibly a hole in the kidney because of the malfunction.
By today Sept 7, she was no better and very low on energy and interest in being around anyone. I brought the package of Smoke House Chicken Tenders with me to the vet because it was the only thing that was different in her diet.
My wonderful vet, a graduate of Cornell University searched the Cornell Veterinarian site where veterinarians report unusual cases which are tracked. The search was done by symptoms. A second search by chicken treats.
There were numerous cases on the Cornell University Veterinarian web site, all with the same symptoms, test results and yes, related to chicken tender treats made in China. Never did it cross my mind that this product was made in China. When Dr. didn’t find complete listing of ingredients on the package he called the number listed on the back of the package identifying himself and asked for ingredients to help understand what was happening to my pet. The only thing the person on the phone with a strong Chinese accent was “all natural, all natural”. Sure enough looking at the small print on the bottom back of the package is “product of China”, the same source of other products that have been killing our pets. I sat beside my vet and read along with him.
Following are primary repeated findings;
-severe damage to the kidney often resulting in complete renal failure and death -numerous reports in the past four to five weeks, a larger number on the East Coast
– chicken and beef treats promoted as all natural -it does not matter what the label is, if it is a product of China -if caught early enough, hospitalized on IV hydrating and flushing the kidney over days with nutrients may help the kidney heal itself and the pet could then live with the damaged kidney -if not caught early complete renal failure is expected -most cases reported are related to small dogs -initial symptoms indicate diabetes -mold is often found when flushing the kidney (found in Bella)
I have been in touch with Pet Smart requesting them to help get the ingredients. Time is lost analyzing the food. Today a vet at Cornell purchased a bag after reading the report my Vet posted on Bella. He then contacted my vet to say the bag he bought had mold in it despite an expiration date one year from now. I was asked to look closely at whatever was left in my bag, but saw none.
After Bella was admitted to the vet I went directly to Pet Smart in ****** NY, told the Manager what happened and asked her to assist getting the ingredients identified. I was met with a hostile attitude. She was only interested in getting my name because she felt I was going to file a complaint. The person at PS headquarters responsible for knowing food ingredients at Pet Smart headquarters is trying to help.
The information available to vets on the Cornell web site is not public information. No one seems to be aware of this. Dogs are misdiagnosed
PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO YOUR PET LOVING FRIENDS AND SAVE A PET AND LOTS OF HEARTACHE.
PLEASE POST THIS INFORMATION ON ANY WEB SITE YOU CAN CONCERNING PETS.
The Cliks are everything they are billed to be and more! I have seen some high energy acts in my day, but what The Cliks put forth in their show at The Knitting Factory (8/22/07) is incomparable (especially considering the miserably hot and humid conditions in the venue), and to have been witness the next day to seeing them taking the small, quiet Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson studio (before Craig had even come out) and INSTANTLY turn it into the most rocking, electrified space you could inhabit in a matter of merely one or two hits on the drum by Morgan Doctor, and the first lyrics by Lucas Silveira–well, it was nothing short of miraculous and memorable. I certainly hope you all got to catch their fantastic Late Late Show performance, but I’ll keep my eyes open for a replay for those who didn’t. (Craig is on hiatus for two weeks and they have a tendency to repeat the most recent shows, so maybe, just maybe it will air again soon!)
My best buddy Sheryl (who interestingly enough is also my ex-sister-in-law ;)), and I headed off for our 1 1/2 hour drive to Hollywood last Wednesday, with The Cliks blasting on the sound system and excitement brewing for seeing not only them, but also another band I’d just discovered that morning, Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast. Sadly the infamous Los Angeles traffic kept us from arriving at the venue until the last minute or so of Tanner and crew’s final song “Hole in My Soul” (sigh), but the 60 seconds that we did see made me realize we had missed out on one heck of a unique, exhilarating (and sweaty! ;)) performance. (For any of you in the LA area, Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast will be having their CD release party at 14 Below in Santa Monica, this Friday (8/30/07), with their CD being included in your $10 cover charge. You can also get their 6-song EP on iTunes for $5.94!)
Can I just say again how unbelievably freaking-sticky-hot the Knitting Factory was?! I mean what the heck was the deal with folks having to feel like they were stuck in the middle of “Humidity Hell”? If we were sweating buckets, I can only imagine how the band felt, and that was actually pointed out by Lucas when he mentioned a couple times during the show that he had sweat in his eyes. The stickiness really left a bad taste in my mouth for driving all the way out to that venue again. Thankfully Sheryl and I did find what appeared to be the ONLY fan in the place (hence, the “heavy breathing” sound on the videos I taped…wasn’t me, was the fan :)), and camped out in front of it for the better part of the night. The only time we moved from it was to get some really good drinks from the bar (only $5 AND the cup was overflowing–woo-hoo!), or to head into the humid swamp known as the restroom…ick. Thankfully The Cliks were so amazingly powerful in their performances that you were almost able to forget about the beads of sweat finding their way down your body.
To say Lucas, Jen (Benton), Nina (Martinez), and Morgan had the crowd wrapped around their collective little finger would be an understatement. I think Lucas could have asked the crowd to do more than sing along to “Oh Yeah” (not that anyone needed any enticements to sing along–just came naturally) and everyone would have done whatever the request, without batting an eyelash. This concert was truly one of those times where the musicians, the crowd, the music, and the energy all organically combine into one incredible force that just can’t be put into words—something you had to be there to experience for yourself. I’m so thankful Sheryl and I were there to share in it, and hope that all of you reading this and viewing the videos, get even an inkling of what a Cliks concert has in store for you.
Here’s one of the videos I took, but unfortunately the sound at the venue wasn’t very good, and the lighting was horrific. That being said, it’s the freaking Cliks, folks, so deal with it! 🙂
I also taped the encore of “Nobody Else Will”, but kept getting my shot blocked by the dancing head in front of me, and for some reason the middle part was really blurry (think I tried to zoom in too much under poor lighting conditions), so I opted to remix the 3 shorter videos into one using YouTube’s remixer. Unfortunately, despite SEVERAL attempts over the past 3 days, the YouTube remixer will allow me to create the video, preview it, then publish it–but no video ever shows up! ARGH! Went over to Photobucket and used their remixer (basically the same one YouTube has by Adobe) and it worked. Sadly WordPress doesn’t allow for Photobucket videos to be embedded, and the Adobe remixer doesn’t allow you to save the final product to your hard drive, so if you’d like to see the video you’ll need to click here for “Nobody Else Will” on my Photobucket account. Again, it’s not the best image quality, but Lucas’ vocals are absolutely out of this world. The lyrics are as heartfelt as they get in the first place, but add Lucas’ intense, raw, sexy vocals and hot damn, one heck of a good performance.
Jen, Nina, Morgan, and Lucas were so accommodating and kind with their fans after the show, as was Rosie from Tommy Boy/Silver Label records who jumped right in and took a couple pictures for us when the camera was acting up. As a matter of fact, Rosie snapped an overhead shot of herself while she was waiting for the band, my friend, and myself to pose. Wish it would have turned out better because it was pretty funny when she did it.
As if seeing The Cliks at the Knitting Factory wasn’t enough, Sheryl and I also had tickets to their taping for the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson the next day. So back into the car we went (diabetic dog at home, so couldn’t stay in LA for the night…the things we do for our poochies :)), facing even ickier Los Angeles traffic on Thursday since we were traveling during the day. We did finally make it to the studio, and were pleasantly surprised to land a spot in the CBS studios parking lot–usually not an easy task! We made sure to get in line more than an hour early since there was no way we were taking any chances that we wouldn’t get in, especially after driving so far. Thankfully there were no worries on that front, and when we did finally get into the studio, we were only about 4 rows back on the aisle (hey, a gal with long legs just HAS to have an aisle seat…plus I wanted a better view of the band!), but of course we wished we were even closer. For those of you who have never been to a taping of the Late Late Show, it’s in a fairly small studio with an audience that Craig doesn’t want to exceed some odd number like 113. We were told the reason he likes to keep it so small is because he likes the feel of a comedy club atmosphere, and the connection he can have with a smaller audience such as ours. I went to a taping of his show last October and the intimacy of the studio does lend itself to having you feel like you really are an important part of the entire show. “Audience Enhancers” is what Chucky B. (the warm-up guy) calls the studio audience.
So we finally get into the studio, everyone is seated, Chucky B. is cracking jokes, videos of some previous musical guests are playing on the monitors scattered over the seating area, Craig’s desk is pushed off to the side, and the band equipment is set up already. (Sorry to burst the bubble of anyone who didn’t know this, but segments for the show are not taped in sequence, and quite often are taped for airing on subsequent days, hence Craig hadn’t even been on stage until long after The Cliks were…his loss!) Then a few minutes later, out of nowhere and without much ado, Jen, Morgan, Nina, and Lucas walk over to their equipment and start testing it all out. It was really quiet in the studio, so Chucky B. starts whispering, saying “This is what bands do, they tune up their equipment. I think I see them checking me out. Apparently they don’t see this.” (He then flashes his wedding ring to everyone.) Um, apparently Chucky B. knows diddley-squat about The Cliks since wedding ring or not, chances are slim-to-none any of them would be interested. 😉 So the other Cliks fans that were there (probably about 15 or so of us throughout the audience), Sheryl and I, are all on the edge of our seats, just waiting for something…anything. Then BAM, out of the blue, and with a not-very-enthusiastic introduction of, “The Cliks”, the band jumps right into “Oh Yeah”. Well, despite the apparent lackluster enthusiasm on the part of the Late Late Show‘s folks, there was no way in hell I was going to not show my excitement, so I was rocking out the whole time, as were the other Cliks fans, clapping, shaking our asses in our seats, hollering out, and hoping we were letting the band know just how much we enjoy and adore them.
(***Video below ADDED 9/6/07: Thanks to Silver Label for making this video available!***)
I have to say it all seems like a blur, totally surreal, and WAY too short of a time to have the band play, but the short time they did was absolutely the most energized four minutes or so you could ever ask for. From the overhead lights to the microphones near our feet, and from the phony Los Angeles cityscape backdrop on stage to the bustling real-life LA streets outside the studio, there was NO WAY anyone within earshot could help but feel the energy and enthusiasm the band was putting out. When it came to the last notes on the guitars and Morgan’s last drum hit, the sudden silence was incredibly deafening and made your realize how much The Cliks had filled up that short time and space with most intense rhythm, vocals, and music possible. Talk about living in the moment! WOW!
I really do believe that those in the audience who had no clue who The Cliks were before their performance (unfortunately that would seem to also include the majority of the Late Late Show staff), were definitely impressed with them afterward. A CBS page made sure to tell us (Sheryl and I were both wearing our The Cliks black t-shirts, so it was pretty obvious who we were there for ;)) how hard The Cliks rocked and that they were off the hook (or something like that), so we know they made at least one new fan–especially since we saw him a bit later at Barnes & Noble in the “C” section of the CD area, obviously looking for The Cliks “Snakehouse”.
Side note…Morgan’s parents were in the audience and were so cute! After the band was done and they’d left the stage (after some seriously long and loud applause and hooting and hollering from the audience!) an older couple started walking down the stairs toward the stage, Chucky B. made some comment, then someone on staff said they were the parents of “the drummer”, so Chucky B. made nice, and we all clapped for them. When Morgan’s parents hit the stage, right before slipping behind the wall to find the band, they faced everyone and waved, and boy could you tell they were Morgan’s folks–especially her mom, who she really looks like.
Alas, the good times had to eventually come to an end…sigh. It goes without saying that I am beyond anxious to see The Cliks again and am going through some serious withdrawals in the meantime. There is just something so pleasing about finding a band that is so vested in not only their music, but also in their fans. Jen, Nina, Morgan, and Lucas, could NOT have been any nicer to everyone during and after their shows, and I think that speaks volumes about the kind of people they must be–very sincere and caring. This was especially evident when I explained to Lucas after the Knitting Factory show, that one of my best buds, who had actually met them a couple of times in Vegas and at True Colors, was unable to make it back to LA for the show. Lucas was kind enough to tape a short, sincere message to Jackson–something I will never forget. How unbelievably cool of Lucas to do that!
Thank you SO MUCH to The Cliks, for all you give to your fans, personally and musically. Now get your asses back to SoCal ASAP! 😉
- 9-7-07: Added The Cliks uncut version of their new video for “Complicated” to my VodPod player in the left-hand column…enjoy!
- 8-22-07: MUST SEE: The Cliks at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood TONIGHT(8/22/07) AND on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS TOMORROW(8/23/07)
- 4-29-07: MUST LISTEN: The Cliks “Snakehouse”