Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

May God bless you and your loved ones with a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful new year!

My resolutions for 2007:

1. Be more worthy of all my blessings.
2. Live more healthfully.
3. Blog more frequently.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vote Republican Like Your Life Depends On It

Judges. The economy. Low taxes. Missile defense system. All good reasons to vote Republican.

Terrorism. The best reason to vote Republican.

If Iraq were another Vietnam-like quagmire, a case could be made that we should withdraw. After all, we lost in Vietnam and still won the Cold War against Communism. Right?

Sure, it was just that easy. Never mind that millions were killed in Cambodian genocide by the Khmer Rouge. And that our country was still struggling with a tarnished self-image and post-Vietnam malaise when Iranian militants took Americans hostage at the embassy in Tehran from 1979 until 1981. Or that it took a conservative Republican, Ronald Reagan, to reawaken our national pride and institute the policies that won the Cold War.

Iraq isn't Vietnam. The Vietnamese never attacked the U.S.A. When we withdrew our troops from Southeast Asia, those who followed us home were refugees fleeing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for American sanctuary.

Iraq is the primary front in the war on terror by the choice of the terrorists themselves. The so-called insurgents inside Iraq who ambush and slaughter innocent Iraqis and American soldiers share common cause with the jihadists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Where can we withdraw to safety? They will bring the war back to New York, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Minnesota. My town. Your town. There is no place left in the world where they will not try to kill us.

Clearly it is more than a lucky coincidence that the U.S. has not suffered another terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11. If the Democrat party takes control of Congress, the NSA wiretap program that has protected us for over 5 years will surely be dismantled.

Dick Morris and David Bossie of Citizens United created the ad below.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pretzel Logic: Andrew Sullivan Twists in His Own Wind

I have a jukebox in my head that is easily triggered. Today, as I was listening to Hugh Hewitt try to interview Andrew Sullivan about his new book, The Conservative Soul, the Steely Dan song Pretzel Logic repeated on a continuous inner loop that only I could hear.

Sullivan is one of our founding blogfathers and a prodigiously gifted writer. If weblogs are the most personal form of modern public writing, Sullivan is in large part responsible for breaking down barriers between blogger and reader. I used to be a daily visitor to his site, subscribed to his Weekly Dish and corresponded with him to voice my support. Then came Lawrence v. Texas, the imminent possibility of legally sanctioned gay marriage, and President Bush’s advocacy of a constitutional amendment to protect the marital status quo. With a swiftness that gave mental whiplash to loyal readers like me, Sullivan reversed himself on well documented, long held positions, such as his support of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

Sullivan soon turned to empty Clintonesque word games and the absurd pretense of being politically undecided during the 2004 election campaign until he endorsed John Kerry. The breathtaking candor that defined his pre-Lawrence writings has been overtaken, to my regret, by intellectual dishonesty. His blog has become so incoherent and colicky that it depresses me to read it. He seems to value controversy over consistency. I suspect he prefers to be the resentful outsider, a literary sniper taking potshots at those whose standing he begrudges.

Certainly Andrew has delighted in "Fisking" – one of his memorable additions to the bloggers’ lexicon – hypocritical figures elevated by the old media. Likewise I coined my own Sullivan-inspired phrase: to sully. Andrew has been spoiling for a fight with Hugh Hewitt since 2003 and today finally appeared on Hugh’s radio show with a different agenda than book promotion – to Fisk Hewitt as a “Christianist” apologist for the Bush administration. I have not read Sullivan’s blog for many months, but I am astonished that his aim is now so false.

Hugh is an essentially decent man and, in his misguided smear, Andrew draws unflattering comparisons upon himself. Hewitt is the hub of the center-right new media network and uses his considerable influence to serve humanity beyond the political realm. He relishes a well-matched debate and defends his philosophy wherever it is challenged without resorting to inflammatory rhetoric.

Since his ideological U-turn, Sullivan can be seen only in the public company of “yes men” like Chris Matthews and Bill Maher, who never require him to justify his positions – and Andrew’s self-imposed isolation has improved neither his debating skills nor his disposition. Varifrank offers a humorous recap of today's interview.

I feel sorry for Sullivan and assume that anyone so quick to scorn others probably loathes himself enough for both of us. He has carved out a new niche as the preeminent stalker of the conservative blogosphere, throwing rocks at his erstwhile friends’ windows and mistaking them for glass houses.

Meanwhile, my inner jukebox keeps playing these lyrics from Pretzel Logic.

They tell me he was lonely, he's lonely still
Those days are gone forever
Over a long time ago, oh yeah

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Love the 90s: Lloyd Cole

The first time I saw Lloyd Cole was with his 1980s band the Commotions in the video for Perfect Skin. He had a baby-faced look like Tim Finn but lacked the Finn brothers' overtly self-mocking humor. Cole was so sensitive that he seemed perpetually on the verge of tears.

Lloyd Cole was also a literate songwriter of very personal odes to romantic angst. His first two solo albums, the eponymous Lloyd Cole (1990) and Don't Get Weird on Me, Babe (1991), contained gems reminiscent of Lou Reed, Jimmy Webb and Chris Isaak, including She's a Girl and I'm a Man.

My personal favorite is No Blue Skies. Why this song failed to catapult Lloyd Cole into megastardom, I'll never understand.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Building a New Life

As you can see if you have visited before, my blog has a new look. I'm trying on new colors and, as is my prerogative, may continue to redecorate as Beta Blogger allows. I am in the process of restoring my old links and adding new favorites.

I haven't blogged much since American Idol ended, but the timing is strictly coincidental. Last June I began to undergo months of tests on my left hip and leg. Richard, my deaf brother who lives with us and belongs to the same medical group, had months of tests that resulted in surgery. As his sign language interpreter, I had to accompany him to every appointment and took a week off work to stay with him in the hospital. I immediately went from being an Elliott Yamin “groupie” to a medical groupie.

As my pain grew in severity, using my laptop computer became an act of masochism. What would I have written anyway? I would like to think I would have described my situation with as much grace and as little self-pity as Dean Barnett, who posted so touchingly of his battle against cystic fibrosis. But it is too easy, I have found, to become negative, impatient and self-absorbed when living with chronic pain. Humility comes with every wince, but optimism takes hard work, faith, and a sense of humor.

October 18, 2006 was my sixth wedding anniversary to the wonderful Luis – and the date I received confirmation that my breast cancer has spread to my hip.

I will have more to share as I begin this next phase of life. For now, I thank God as always for Luis, my family, my friends, and their support. I am truly blessed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Free from 19E! Free from BMG!

Today is the date long awaited by Yaminions, E-Trainers and, I imagine, by the man himself -- Elliott Yamin Independence Day! From this day forward, Elliott is no longer contractually obligated to 19E and BMG. He is a free agent who can determine his own musical destiny.

Clive Davis, who recognized early greatness in Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, Barry Manilow and Bruce Springsteen, took a pass on Elliott. His loss.

Therefore, I declare that August 25, 2006 is also Freedhem Day for Mr. Davis. You've seen the ad for FREEdHEM hemorrhoid cream tacked onto the end of that annoying Head On/Activ On commercial, haven't you? It's the cheapest cure for recording executives suffering from a swollen ego and schmidt for brains.

FREEdHEM. Apply directly to Clive's forehead. FREEdHEM. Apply directly to Clive's forehead. FREEdHEM. Apply directly to Clive's forehead.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Life of Surprises

Three years ago this month, when I began my chemotherapy treatment, I prayed that I would live long enough to turn 50. Prayed, yes, and hoped, but I dared not count on reaching such an ambitious milestone when the future was shrouded in fear and uncertainty.

Today I made it!

Perhaps I should have aimed higher.

Since June I have been undergoing tests to determine if my breast cancer has spread to my hip. Thus far there is no confirming diagnosis, but my doctors act as though my fate is sealed in embalming tape.

When I met my new oncologist in July, he asked about my age.

"I will be 50 on August 24th," I told him, feeling so grateful as always for the gift of time these past three years.

Glancing up from my chart, he said with a bracing look, "Well, you should make it to 50."

Next up: a PET scan tomorrow to determine if cancer has spread to my organs. But today I party! By party, I mean enjoy a prime rib dinner free of carbohydrates with my family in preparation for my pre-scan glucose injection.

My son turns 23 on Sunday, but he will spend that evening with friends while my gorgeous husband and I attend the American Idols Live concert starring Elliott Yamin and Taylor Hicks at the Arrowhead Pond. We'll celebrate his birthday on Saturday and I can indulge in all the carbs I want. Hmmm, Cheesecake Factory tiramisu.

As Paddy McAloon wrote, it's been a life of surprises. And I've got news for you, Doc -- it ain't over yet.

McAloon is the genius behind the best band nobody's ever heard of, Prefab Sprout. Please enjoy their video posted above, Life of Surprises.

Monday, August 21, 2006

American Idol Tickets for Sale at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim on August 27

When I bought 4 pairs of tickets to see Elliott Yamin, Taylor Hicks and the AI5 Top Ten at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, I assumed that friends and co-workers would be interested in the other tickets.

I was wrong.

I am trying to sell the remaining 3 pairs of tickets on eBay here, here and here. Such a deal!

Any bidders?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

One Nation under God

Today, on the 230th birthday of American democracy, the shuttle Discovery launched valiantly heavenward. May God bless its crew and keep them safe.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Our national voyage of discovery will continue only as long as we remain true to our founders’ moral courage, vision and leadership.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

American history documents the relentless battle to protect our democracy from the enemies of freedom. We owe our lives to the bravest among us who were and are honor-bound to pay the costliest sacrifices and bear the ultimate burdens in this eternal war. As the aptly named Axis of Evil in North Korea and Iran tests our mettle, I am more grateful than ever for our Commander-in-Chief and the U.S. military.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

May God bless them with wisdom and keep them safe.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Now Playing: That Darn Lake House Song

I have an internal jukebox that is extremely impressionable, especially when a song has an irresistible, melancholy hook.

When Keane's debut album, Hopes and Fears, began to receive airplay in 2004, I was still recovering from chemotherapy – wretchedly sick and tired of feeling wretched, sickly and tired. I limited myself to only one album for wallowing in the mire – and Muse got to me first with their snappy doomsday ditty, "Time Is Running Out" from Absolution.

Luckily for all of us who missed out the first time 'round, the ever-present trailer for The Lake House, a new movie starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, features the hauntingly beautiful "Somewhere Only We Know."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Elliott Sings the National Anthem His Way

Tonight Elliott Yamin was given the honor and musical assignment to sing the national anthem before game 2 of the NBA finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. With his hand over his heart, which was covered by a Dallas jersey, Elliott put his own patriotic stamp on one of the most technically difficult melodies in the American songbook. In Elliott's case, part of the challenge was waiting in the middle of the arena for the crowd to stop cheering so he could hear himself with his one good ear.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What a warm welcome back to the national stage! Elliott, we missed you.

As a matter of personal preference, I like The Star Spangled Banner straightforward and faithful to the original. The trick is to start in your lower register to accommodate the higher glory notes. Elliott obviously planned to decorate the familiar melody with his signature soulful runs. However, as the opening line began in Elliott's mid-range, he really had to improvise as the melody soared.

You Tube and Go Fish have the video. The mp3 can be downloaded here.

Elliott's rendition wasn't his best ever - no doubt due to the crowd, unique acoustics and the thrill of the moment. If you want to hear recent pitch perfect a cappella performances by Elliott, watch video 1 and video 2 from his visit to the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

Monday Morning Update:

According to Kate Hairopoulos, Elliott "is quite the rising star."

He charmed her with his wit and knowledge of basketball - and likewise charmed the Mavericks' dancers, who wanted to be photographed with him. She revealed that Elliott was slated to sing during the Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat series, which ended before his scheduled appearance. Obviously, he brought Dallas, who beat the Heat handily, some good luck.

Look for a photo of Elliott near the bottom of Hairopoulos' article.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Elliott Yamin: The Class of 2006

You may know someone who seemed lost – a victim of hard knocks, lousy choices or a combination of both – but who, in defiance of all expectations, found and saved himself. If so, you understand how extraordinarily difficult it is to exchange the bad habits and poor self-image that become second nature for the self-discipline and healthy behavior that build positive self-esteem.

Elliott Yamin is the ultimate comeback kid with loads of potential that largely went unfulfilled. He was a high school dropout who earned his GED as part of a hiring bargain with his employer at the time. In the decade that followed, Elliott – by his own admission – drifted aimlessly from job to job without a guiding purpose to his life. He had an enduring passion for music but lacked the confidence to sing in front of an audience until about a year ago.

American Idol is the college his family never expected Elliott to enter, much less complete with honors. If his SAT was If You Really Love Me, then Moody’s Mood for Love was his Advanced Placement test. For extra credit, Elliott assigned himself the most challenging songs week after week – and nailed every one. Simon Cowell graded Elliott’s rendition of A Song for You as vocal master class quality. Out of the tens of thousands who auditioned for American Idol 5, Elliott finished third in his class. His impressive growth is due to his own determination to learn all he could from the show’s advisors, vocal coaches, judges, guest artists, and more experienced contestants.

In truth, American Idol is more like intensive vocational training than a performing arts program. Undeveloped talent is nurtured in the service of advertising and record sales. Naïve youngsters who flock to the contest with starry-eyed dreams may encounter a crass, exploitative franchise administered with nominal care for its protégés – unless it makes good television. Chris Daughtry was The Chosen One promoted throughout season five by the AI team – and even he was dismissed with brutal swiftness for maximum dramatic effect.

American Idol does not aspire to produce a valedictorian with exceptional singing talent – or even a genuine idol in the most honorable meaning of the word. Its far-from-lofty ambition is to assemble a cast entertaining enough to attract high ratings, identify at least one marketable talent among them who fits a readymade radio niche, and employ as many manipulations as the FCC allows to ensure the conclusion desired by its TV and music producers.

Every contest needs a winner – and the AI team was lucky to find theirs in Taylor Hicks, a self-taught music history scholar who may yet be worthy of the American Idol title. Five years of AI competition have spawned recording artists who, although failing to grasp the victor’s crown, can hardly be considered losers. Some, like Clay Aiken and Bo Bice, performed unselfish acts deserving of idolatry. But only a defining moment that triggers a groundswell of affection and admiration can create an authentic idol.

During the voting on top three night, Taylor and Katharine McPhee edged past Elliott with a narrow margin reminiscent of Ruben Studdard’s 2003 victory over Clay. The next evening, American Idol documented Elliott’s triumphant return to Richmond, Virginia, as the humble hometown hero who traveled to Hollywood in search of a golden opportunity – and discovered it within himself.

Had Elliott’s homecoming and retrospective videos aired 25 hours earlier, the results might have been a landslide with a different outcome. The AI brain trust would never allow a do-over – that is against the rules. But they cannot stop the audience from choosing its own champion.

As his proud mother – Claudette Yamin – said, her son’s vocal “talent is a given. But he’s such a good soul.” Set against a backdrop of adversity and disadvantage, Elliott’s inspirational character proved as endearing as his uncommon gift for singing. As his devoted fan base multiplied accordingly, the people pleaser grew into a crowd pleaser.

Recently I compared Elliott to the miracle Mets of New York. Baseball fans who remember the 1973 season recall with clarity how pitcher Tug McGraw’s battle cry – “Ya gotta believe!” – drove his team of underdogs from the National League cellar to the World Series. What is frequently forgotten is the Mets’ loss to the Oakland A’s in the seventh game of the World Series – an irrelevant footnote to one of the most thrilling achievements in sports history.

Just as his remarkable voice is ripe for recording now, Elliott’s story begs to be written by a modern day Horatio Alger and filmed by a contemporary Frank Capra – in due course. Graduation is called commencement with good reason. For Elliott, this is only the beginning.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

AI5 Anticlimax Celebrates Anti-Idols

Taylor Hicks has been crowned the 2006 winner of American Idol. The throwback reigned at the Kodak.

The best man left prevailed.

Elliott Yamin was my sentimental favorite – an underdog who motivated me to vote when the contestants still numbered in double digits. I saw greatness in Elliott’s talent and character but never dared to dream that he could outlast Mandisa Hundley, Ace Young, Kellie Pickler, Paris Bennett and Chris Daughtry. Taylor was my second favorite – and, as Elliott advanced, an increasingly distant second. When Elliott left, I forced myself to vote for Taylor – as if it were the bitterest medicine. Due to the expanded voting period and extra phone lines, I actually voted 30 minutes longer for Taylor than I ever had for Elliott. That felt just. Plain. Weird. But I knew then that I would be glad someday I did it – and I already am.

If your favorite was eliminated earlier in the competition, the lopsided showdown between Hicks and Katharine McPhee likely seemed anticlimactic. With so many strong vocalists in the top five, their sizable fan bases felt detached from the contest’s conclusion. Special guests and other surprises planned by the crew provided the only genuine drama in what was widely regarded as the most entertaining season finale in AI history.

As my husband was quick to remind me, he predicted Taylor’s ascendancy the first time we saw him in the auditions – exactly as he had done for Clay Aiken. Despite obvious disparities in style and appearance, Taylor and Clay have much in common within the context of American Idol. Both inspired the fierce devotion of followers who founded and populated large internet communities. Both incurred the chronic contempt of Simon Cowell who, in his myopic vision, could not foresee either as a singing star. Both received enough votes each week all the way through their respective seasons to keep them out of the group identified as the bottom two or three.

Although not the technical winner of season two, Clay was the first contestant to release an album – with the gracious permission of Ruben Studdard – and the contestant who earned the highest sales that year. Clay used his popularity as leverage to record a debut free of sexual content that he would be proud to let children hear. RCA, under the Sony/BMG umbrella, didn’t seem to appreciate Clay’s talent or understand how to present it. Measure of a Man was a good pop album – owing to Clay’s determination to select the most appropriate songs offered to him and vocals too strong for the studio Bandzilla to bury – but hardly the showcase he needed or deserved.

Like Clay, Taylor defied the odds and those who called him too odd to win. Taylor may face the same uphill battle for creative control, but he enjoys important advantages, including unusual sticktuitiveness. A decade ago, he dropped out of Auburn University to move to Nashville, where he began to chase his once elusive dream. When he told his father he was auditioning for American Idol, Brad Hicks said, "Why don't you just go buy a lottery ticket?" He is a songwriter-musician with an impeccable ear for his own sound and a steady eye for the right musical direction. His passionate reverence for soul, rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm & blues, and country honors the legacy of his forebears – and gives him broad appeal across a wider variety of genres and radio formats than any AI predecessor before him.

From the start I admired Taylor and expected him to win. He charmed me with his unembarrassed zeal for performing – the physical manifestation of his incorruptible faith in music. His victory was a vindication of his faith and his music, which overcame months of careless handling and cynical manipulations. After the AI producers forced Taylor to switch love songs at nearly the last minute, I noted that he looked wounded. In his new interview with Rolling Stone, he compared his AI experience to “dancing with the devil.” As Clay might attest, nothing exorcises demons like the triumphant success of an anti-idol.

Clay’s astonishing return to the program that launched his career was a highlight of the season five finale. Every tentative, deliberate step back onto the AI stage carried the weight of many milestones and millstones since his own anticlimactic exit three long years ago. Seeing his stylish new look and mature, confident demeanor was almost like meeting Clay again for the first time. As he took command of the microphone, his voice was instantly familiar and yet as thrilling as ever.

Artists who create and sustain such a potent connection are blessed with a special gift that cannot be manufactured by TV or recording industry moguls. Compelling performers like Clay and Taylor make the audience believe in the power of music to transcend and transform.

Taylor believes – with the wishful innocence of a child on Christmas morning. Taylor has the gift – and the conviction of a man who has long sacrificed for his art. You could say he waited a lifetime for a moment like this.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Photo Finish: Elliott Yamin & Clay Aiken

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket – Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And here is a photo from a much earlier show:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm Voting for Taylor Hicks




Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Check Dial Idol regularly for voting data updates.

May the Best Man Left Win

If you are a heartbroken Yaminion like me, you may be undecided about getting back on the phone tonight to vote for one of the American Idol finalists.

Ask yourself these questions. Which one has Elliott Yamin called his friend for life, Taylor Hicks or Katharine McPhee? By going out of his way to talk about how close they are in his exit interviews, was Elliott sending his fans a message to vote for Taylor? Would Elliott feel better about his own elimination if he knew his loyal fans helped his good buddy Taylor win?

You can see their mutual love and affection in this video of them joking around together during the filming of a Ford carmercial. Elliott is Taylor’s bro from a different schmo.

Do whatever you think is right.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Aim Higher – Vote for Taylor Hicks

Recently I attended a university graduation where Ken Blanchard, the author of business theory primers including One Minute Manager, was the keynote speaker. The message he tried to impart was simple and, as commencement addresses go, fairly succinct.

Dr. Blanchard described a boy he knew whose grandmother was a Monopoly whiz. Finally the day arrived when he was skilled enough to beat her at the game. As he exulted in his victory, Grandma told him gently, “That’s wonderful. But don’t forget – everything goes back in the box.”

Status and material success are the means to an end, he explained, but you cannot take them with you. Aim higher. Strive for significance.

This story may not seem relevant to American Idol, but it illustrates what I think is the show’s most frustrating flaw. A franchise that claims to create singing idols squanders its considerable power and resources to promote easy-to-market hit makers instead. AI could lead the revitalization of a music industry in flux instead of lagging behind pop culture on the decline. But the Idiots-in-Charge would rather milk the ailing cash cow – every time.

American Idol holds a unique position to produce instant stars, influence musical tastes and ignite purchasing trends. Having their work highlighted on the show can be an enormous boost to forgotten and unknown artists. Since Daniel Powter’s Bad Day became the soundtrack for each eliminated contestant’s video retrospective, the single came from musical oblivion to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. After Elliott Yamin paid his moving tribute to Donny Hathaway in word and song on April 25, 2006, A Donny Hathaway Collection zoomed up the ranks of Amazon music sales.

Multi-generational families across the United States and beyond are watching American Idol together, voting for their favorite contestants, attending AI concerts, buying CDs and other AI-related merchandise, and writing AI commentary on websites, blogs and message boards. Clearly the show feeds a hunger for music that is crafted artfully, arranged smartly and performed compellingly. But the finished product it delivers all too often is disposable pop fare, the aural equivalent of junk food.

I asked my son, a college student who listens to thrash metal and Japanese electronica, why he enjoys AI's featured music. He answered simply, "It's better than what's on the radio." His AI5 favorites have been Taylor Hicks and Paris Bennett.

The music industry and AM/FM radio are in a stagnant phase - due in part to technological advances including cheap and illegal downloads. No fresh genres have sprung from popular music since the ascendancy of alternative/indie, rap and hip-hop in the early 1990s. Ironically, alt rock's signature style has become as formulaic and mainstream as the so-called corporate rock that triggered its rebellious uprising 15 years ago.

Nevertheless, 2006 is the year that the AI brain trust caught up with the homogenized version of alternative and decided that the audience could handle an alt-ish idol. Chris Daughtry was the rocker who persuaded them. Actually, Chris is a talented singer-songwriter dedicated to a musical vision broader than the narrow niche AI chose for him. So was Bo Bice, last season's Southern rocker. These days Bo - or a defeated-looking impostor who resembles Bo - is on the top 10 charts with a single, The Real Thing, that sounds like a reject from Clay Aiken's Measure of a Man recording sessions.

If it weren't for hindsight, the AI team might be completely blind. Regrettably, they are also nearly deaf to most of the indigenous music that comprises the great American songbook - except for familiar tunes that became international hits or were covered by British artists. Nigel Lythgoe dismissing Try a Little Tenderness as a Blues Brothers number was just plain dumb. The fact that the creators and administrators of American Idol were born in the U.K. would not be a handicap if they honored their program's content - primarily 20th century American music - as much as its advertising dollars.

Well, they are about to receive the education of their lives - a crash course in music appreciation.

Throughout the AI5 season, I maintained news links and whatnot devoted to Taylor Hicks and Elliott Yamin down the sidebar of my blog. T-H-E-Y were my absolute favorites since their first televised auditions. As the competition progressed, I developed a consuming interest in one over the other.

When Elliott was eliminated last week, my heart left the building. After the initial stages of grieving, however, I found that I still have an interest in the outcome of AI5.

I pledge to vote non-stop this Tuesday for Taylor Hicks – and encourage other dispirited Yaminions to do the same. My dream that T-H-E-Y would appear together in the finale is lost. But I still believe that the winner should be someone who wants the victory for all the right reasons.

A vote for Taylor is more than a vote against Katharine McPhee. It is an affirmation of the soul, R&B, and blues that T-H-E-Y love. Elliott and Taylor entered this competition driven by a common passion to sing the music that is their life’s blood. Not for the perks of celebrity or success. Not in search of opportunities to star on the stage, on TV or in films.

T-H-E-Y inspire their fans to seek out and support the artists whose catalogs T-H-E-Y introduced to us on American Idol. Imagine their music-loving phenomenon spreading across the continent and around the world. I don’t know if Taylor Hicks can single-handedly revive the music industry or simply remind a careworn civilization of our uplifting musical heritage. But, with Elliott's help and our votes, he stands a fighting chance – and I can still dream.

If Taylor Hicks wins the American Idol title, he will be in a position of power and influence to change modern music for the better. And unlike some television, radio and recording executives, I believe Taylor will aim higher and strive for significance.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Had a Bad Day. Where's My Video?

Sorry! I haven't had time to write about what Elliott Yamin means to me but will try again tomorrow. I apologize for not linking to all the fabulous articles and interviews yet.

Family health issues have kept me from sleeping, writing or attending to my blog much in the 48 hours since Elliott was eliminated. Nothing life-threatening, just time-consuming.

Tonight I finally sat down to compose my thoughts about Elliott. I felt emotionally sturdy enough – or numb from lack of sleep – to watch his homecoming video again without blubbering. Before I taped Wednesday's results show, my DVR allocation was nearly maxed out. I have stored every top 24 American Idol episode featuring an Elliott performance, including his Wednesday night singouts. Yes, I have been on board the E-Train since it left the station.

To make room, I chose to delete top 16 week when he performed Bryan Adams' Heaven – my least favorite of his song selections. If you read AI5 Royal Flush: The Heir and Four Spares, you already know how I feel about Adams.

Computer downloads are a godsend, but I prefer to watch Elliott on our widescreen TV. My son hadn't seen this week's carmercial and we all shared a hearty laugh at Elliott's grandpa rapper as we rewound it for repeat viewings.

Then I fast-forwarded through Taylor Hicks' video and performance. Near the end of Kat McPhee's, the recording stopped. Dead – 35 minutes into the show. Yaminions, another reason to hate her. No Richmond rally, no parade, no first pitch, no Moody's Mood for Love, no elimination drama, no gracious goodbye.

Just me and buckets of fresh tears.

While checking online for a high quality download that won't unleash the hounds of spyware hell on my aging laptop, I read that AI5 tour tickets became available at 10:00am this morning. I thought the August 27th stop at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim went on sale Sunday. Oh, these are special Pop Tarts presale tickets – and, ten hours later, the best are gobbled up.

Quick – what is the cutoff age for temper tantrums? The terrible thirties? Screwed again.

There's an unopened pint of coffee Häagen-Dazs in the freezer and I. Don't. Care.

Tomorrow has to be a better day. Good night, all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Elliott Yamin R Us – T-H-E-Y Is History

After Elliott Yamin was eliminated from American Idol tonight, I decided to redecorate my blog just a bit. I still like Taylor Hicks, but he is no Elliott Yamin.

I don't hate Katharine McPhee or blame her for Elliott's departure. She makes me smile when I think of her and the clan McPhee as Simon Cowell's – and Clive Davis' – bad karma sprung to life.

Thousands upon thousands of Chris Daughtry and Elliott Yamin fans might stick rusty pins into their Kat McPhee voodoo dolls during next week's finale. That's not my thing.

Nope. I think I will take a pink popsicle out of the freezer and let it melt in her honor.


Elliott Done Been Screwed and Knows It

Last night on American Idol, Elliott Yamin performed I Believe to My Soul by Ray Charles as his personal selection. The lyrics may hold special meaning.

Since I live in Southern California, I can listen to Elliott's mp3s that Rickey so generously posts hours before American Idol airs on the west coast. He sounded consistently good throughout all three songs and excellent in parts. Then I watched the show. On What You Won't Do for Love, he danced around more than he has since I Don't Wanna Be. Maybe I watch too closely, but he just seemed down personally. I hope he is okay.

Those of us who watch Elliott obsessively noticed that his sparkle and ready smile were missing. His voice was a little hoarse on Open Arms. When he spoke, he sounded husky. Usually hyper and nervous, he seemed resigned and subdued. Something changed him. Maybe the hustle and bustle of traveling home to Richmond and back this past week exacted a toll on his health. Maybe it was the writing on the wall - too many AI judges and producers foretelling a future without him before a note had been sung or a single vote cast. Despite the fact that some Soul Patrollers think the relationship between Taylor Hicks and Elliott is like the Skipper and his Little Buddy, Elliott is far from stupid.

On Good Day LA this morning, entertainment reporter Dorothy Lucey said that, for the first time this season, the contestant eliminated tonight will not be available for an interview tomorrow. On Thursday, May 19, 2005, AI4 third place finisher Vonzell Solomon made the usual media rounds: MTV, Rodney Ho, etc.

A commenter at MJ's Big Blog with the user name Canuck posted this comparison of the singing times American Idol allotted to each contestant last night.

Total Song time = sum of all three songs from beginning to end
Singing time = total song time, less intro and any non-singing time at end

Total Song 5:31
Singing 5:12

Total Song 5:20 (97% of Kat's)
Singing 4:54 (94% of Kat's)

Total Song 4:30 (82% of Kat's, 84% of Tay's)
Singing 4:07 (79% of Kat's, 84% of Tay's)

Katharine's longest singing time was 2:33, Elliott's longest singing time was 1:38 -- a difference of 55 seconds. Elliott's two shortest songs together had less singing time than Kat's longest. If Kat had left out her shortest song, her total singing time would have been only 1 second less than Elliott's. Kat's shortest singing time was 4 seconds less than Elliott's shortest singing time. Taylor had 18 seconds less singing time than Kat, Elliott had 1:05 less than Kat. Okay, I'll stop.

Just for fun, the raw numbers, longest to shortest singing time:


Katharine, Somewhere Rainbow, 2:33/2:33
Taylor, Try Little Tenderness, 1:49/1:45
Taylor, You Are So Beautiful, 1:56/1:44
Elliott, I Believe To My Soul, 1:45/1:38
Katharine, I Believe I Can Fly, 1:41/1:33
Taylor, Dancing in the Dark, 1:35/1:25
Elliott, Open Arms, 1:27/1:19
Elliott, Won't Do For Love, 1:18/1:10
Katharine, Ain't Got Nothin' Blues, 1:17/1:06

Read these song lyrics and see if there isn't a screw-you message to the American Idol Idiots-in-Charge or somebody who done him wrong. Perhaps I am projecting my frustrations with the heavy-handed favoritism and manipulations. But, when Simon gave him his kiss-off, Elliott did not look surprised.

One of these days, and it won't be long,
You're gonna look for me and I'll be gone
'Cause I believe (I believe, yes I believe)
I say I believe right now (I believe, yes I believe)
Well I believe to my soul now,
You're tryin' to make a fool of me (I believe it, I believe it)

Well you're goin' 'round here with your head so hard,
I think I'm gonna have to use my rod
'Cause I believe (I believe, yes I believe)
I say I believe right now (I believe, yes I believe)
Well I believe to my soul now
You're tryin' to make a fool of me (I believe it, I believe it)

Last night you were dreaming and I heard you say
"Oh, Nelly" when you know my name is Elliott Yamin
That's why I believe right now (I believe, yes I believe)
I say I believe right now (I believe, yes I believe)
Well I believe to my soul now
You're tryin' to make a fool of me (I believe it)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Vote for Elliott Yamin! May 16, 2006




Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Please vote non-stop for Elliott!

No vote splitting!

Dial Idol regularly for voting data updates.

Elliott, we are so proud of you!

We knew you could, we knew you could, we knew you could!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Vote Like Yamin It!

The biggest shocker this week on American Idol was:

1. The elimination of Chris Daughtry.
2. Dial Idol accurately predicting the voting results.
3. The underdog, Elliott Yamin, stealing the show.
4. The final four dancing together during Wednesday’s Elvis medley.

My choice? Item 4. My eyes! My dog’s eyes! For one hideous moment I hope to banish from my optical memory, I channeled Simonvision. Taylor’s choreography is usually entertaining, but the whole lot of them staggered around the catwalk like a quartet of paraplegics sprung from their wheelchairs at a “Heal, Jesus!” service.

America, this is what happens when you vote off all the black performers.

Far from surprising, Daughtry’s departure was predictable. Last week I warned about the precedent of final four eliminations during odd-numbered seasons, a.k.a. the Curse of the Cowell-Pimped Contestants. If fans had done their homework, they would know that two other early Simon favorites, Tamyra Gray and LaToya London, were sent packing at this exact point in seasons one and three respectively. Chris described his own ouster as “the biggest shock in American Idol history.” Sure – if history began in 2006. Those Cro-Magnon relics, Tamyra and LaToya, might disagree. And besides, the season ain’t over yet.

I detailed Daughtry’s dilemma in Is Simon Cowell Off His Rocker. The AI team, and Simon in particular, wanted Chris to have a breakthrough, breakout moment – especially during the Queen show – that would secure his base, lure fans away from other contestants and establish him as an unbeatable frontrunner. But Chris adamantly refused to compromise his rocker credibility for any of the musical themes. His strategy may have cost him a TV contest victory, but it should pay off magnificently when he begins his career independent of the show.

Attention, fans – and especially Yaminions! Please note these important lessons. Don’t buy the hype, become complacent or take success for granted. Daughtry’s departure proves that American Idol is not rigged – just clumsily manipulated. Tuesday night phone calls and text messages are the only poll that counts – so vote like Yamin it! The past is prologue – every message board should have at least one historian. And there is no situation so bad that the AI team cannot make it even worse.

Did Chris deserve to be cold cocked on international TV? In his Wednesday afternoon interview, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe explained, “Whatever happens tonight, I can assure you it’s going to be someone that we don’t want to lose.” He added, “So we’ve got to be careful how we handle it, you know, I don’t want to sort of make a mockery of the competition at this stage, but you know the vote isn’t always what you want it to be.”

If the callous send-off of Chris Daughtry represents the AI team being careful, are viewers ready for malicious? Just to be safe, I strongly encourage the top three contestants to wear Depends on Clive Davis Judgment Day.

Taylor is probably the most polarizing AI contestant since Kevin Covais. You are either charmed by Taylor, as I am, or you can’t stand to watch him. Only when he sings plainly from the heart with his shoes nailed to the floor can Simon appreciate his talent. But the Soul Patrol wants him to tear it up with his trademark dances like the Carlton Banks and the Diddley Squat. At this level in the competition, he needs to focus on pleasing the fans. Can he do that without exasperating Clive?

Kat has her share of detractors, too. Ouch! But, like so many guest judges before him, Clive may not be immune to her wanton wiles. She also appears to suffer from a geographic disadvantage. I have been a close observer of Dial Idol these past two months. Even if Jim Hellriegel, who developed the Dial Idol software, doesn’t rank the finalists in their correct order every week, the results usually fall into the margins of error he establishes between them. What I find most informative is how the contestants’ results vary in different time zones. For instance, Taylor is consistently strong as voting sweeps westward. In recent weeks Elliott, whose support used to peak along the eastern half of the country, has gained significant ground in the Mountain and Pacific zones. The west coast is Katharine McPhee’s voting base and thus far she has not made inroads in the Central and Eastern Time zones.

The good news for Elliott Yamin? Most negative reactions to him have been cosmetic and superficial. With longer hair and some spiffy duds, Elliott’s looks have actually become an asset. He even has a new fangirly nickname – Hottie White Choc-o-lat-y. Oops! Did I write that out loud?

The bad news? Elliott gave two – count ‘em – star making performances on Elvis Presley night. Conventional wisdom had him leaving last week, but he stole the show. Despite his triumphant tour de force, Elliott remains the underdog. The gambling sites still consider him a long shot to reach the top two.

As the Clay Aiken phenomenon proved, viewers become more invested in contestants who display variety, versatility and visible growth. Elliott hasn’t come this far because of flattering light shows, fawning video clips, comical dance routines, revealing wardrobe malfunctions, or kneeling/falling on the stage. Of the three semifinalists, Elliott is the only performer who has never shared the spotlight with an instrumentalist. He never needed one. His voice requires no special lozenges or fancy props – just a melody line and a chance to shine.

I will be the first on his doorstep, begging to help Elliott write his autobiography. If I fictionalized his life story, the skeptics would call it far-fetched – from Richmond to riches, from rags to recording greatness.

The AI team may not recognize the amazing gift they have in Elliott Yamin, but somebody up there is looking out for him. This week, it might be Clive Davis. If not, Elliott's future is in even better hands.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Slap My Bass and Call Me Crazy

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My favorite song right now is Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, a.k.a. DJ Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green.

I would lurv for Elliott Yamin to rock out on it. Just putting it out there in the blogosphere.

Elliott Returns to Richmond Today

Today Elliott Yamin returns to Richmond, Virginia. The itinerary, which is subject to change without notice, is here. Lucky fans can watch as Elliott receives a key to the city and a royal welcome home.

For the rest of us, please enjoy these pictures courtesy of Susan DiPlacido and Gray Charles. The first captures the moment when T-H-E-Y were declared safe. The second shows Elliott biting his nails nervously as he worries over Chris Daughtry and Katharine McPhee.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Vote for Elliott Yamin! May 9, 2006



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Please vote two hours non-stop for Elliott!

No vote splitting!

Dial Idol regularly for voting data updates.

Elliott, we are so proud of you! We knew you could, we knew you could, we knew you could!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ya Gotta Believe in Yamin!

Have you heard? Elliott Yamin is leaving American Idol during Elvis Presley week. The betting establishment said so. Simon Cowell declared that Elliott is vulnerable. The print and electronic media have their headline ready: Elliott Has Left the Building.

Elliott’s elimination is such a foregone conclusion that, while Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks enjoyed first class accommodations en route to Memphis, Elliott flew cargo. You may have seen the pictures of Elliott hanging out the window of the Ford SUV that transported the quartet from the airport to Graceland – well, it was either that or riding atop the luggage rack. As the others dined on delicious southern barbecue in the swanky dining hall where The King used to gorge on fried peanut butter-banana sandwiches, Elliott ate rice and beans in the servants’ quarters.

Just kidding. The famous Presley home really isn’t all that palatial. Besides, I am fairly certain that Taylor and Elliott have each others’ backs at all times. T-H-E-Y are loyal soul siblings in every way except DNA. Have you seen them together? Elliott is Taylor’s bro from a different schmo.

Can I be serious for a moment, though? I don’t know, but I’ll try. There is an awful lot of speculation, propaganda, and even hysteria pretending to be reliable information – days before the first note has been sung or the first vote cast on Presley Tuesday.

AI Executive Producer Ken Warwick swears that only he, Nigel Lythgoe, the Fox Standards and Practices office, and the company in charge of AI voting know the bottom three results. We are not privy to last Tuesday’s totals when future superstar Paris Bennett was eliminated and Elliott joined her in the bottom two. Although Katharine was implicated in the elimination melodrama, Chris or Taylor might actually have been the next lowest vote getter. They were the top three, but their actual voting rank was never revealed. Whoever it was among them, the margin between his or her total and Elliott’s could have been as close as one vote.

As for the alleged experts cited in the first paragraph, the same odds makers who wagered that Ace Young would win AI5 are trying to recoup their money and their credibility. By the way, this week Ace told Greta Van Susteren that he would be "overjoyed" if Elliott wins.

At best, Simon – who predicted that Kellie Pickler would be in the top three – wants to salvage his reputation as a savvy talent scout. At worst, Cowell hopes to discourage some fan bases from voting and motivate others to vote more for his favorites.

On American Idol, nothing is guaranteed – except that Elliott Yamin will be eliminated if his fans let themselves become too dejected to vote on Tuesday. By year five, none of us should need a reminder that anything can happen on this show – especially during final four week in odd-numbered seasons.

Tamyra Gray and LaToya London were American Idol contestants in odd-numbered seasons: one and three respectively. They were Simon’s early favorites who received the deluxe preferential treatment and were widely expected to appear in the grand finale. Both left after shocking eliminations during final four week.

Voting results in season five have been somewhat fluid with top vote getters one week becoming low vote getters the next. Only Taylor Hicks has avoided the bottom group thus far. In this May 4th American Idol Extra video, Randy Jackson said of the top five, “I think that all of these ones will have a great shot at a career.”

Thank you, Randy. Your confidence is reassuring, but this fan is not taking anything for granted. I will be voting two hours non-stop for Elliott again this Tuesday night.

In defiance of all odds and manipulations, Yamania is sweeping the YamiNation. One dedicated Yaminion, Amanda Jones, drove twice to Graceland this week to be first in line to see Elliott. The E-Train is the little engine that could. Every Tuesday, as Elliott chugs uphill again, we chant prayerfully, “I think he can. I think he can. I think he can. I think he can.” Being an Elliott fan means never feeling that your favorite is safe – so this week is essentially no different than any other.

Of this season’s final four, Elliott has come the farthest – and not merely in geographic distance. Throughout his life before American Idol, he triumphed over more than his share of misfortunes and crises – and emerged without any noticeable bitterness or self-pity. During his AI odyssey, Elliott has overcome a scarcity of the advantages that the other three enjoy, including preferential treatment by the AI team, which he must have noticed – and yet he remains so grateful for every opportunity to shine. After eleven weeks of competition, he is the most consistent and improved contestant.

Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks spent years singing onstage in bands. Katharine McPhee performed in high school plays, attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory, and was nominated as Lead Actress in a Musical for an Ovation Award. Elliott’s performing experience prior to American Idol was limited to a few karaoke songs at a hometown restaurant. He entered the contest unpolished, unknown and with no readymade fan base. And yet Elliott managed to reach the final four during the most competitive year in AI history.

Elliott was introduced to the audience as a bit player in the Brittenum twins farce while his mother, Claudette, was in the hospital ICU in Virginia. Randy singled him out as the best among his group, which performed It’s in Her Kiss. When the judges were shown inviting the top 24 to the semifinal round, Elliott was omitted. His lack of camera time in the auditions phase prevented him from building an early fan base. The audience reacted to his first performances in the competition, If You Really Love Me and Moody’s Mood for Love which showcased his technical proficiency in R&B and jazz, with a collective "Whoa! Where did he come from?"

From his first onscreen appearance, Elliott did not fit the judges’ image of an American Idol winner. As the show’s stylists worked on his hair and wardrobe, the beauty and goodness within him became easier for all to see. Like Clay Aiken, the closest thing to an American idol the franchise has ever produced, Elliott is the underdog with platinum recording potential, sterling character and a heart of gold.

He is so empathetic, generous and loving toward others that it is palpable through the TV screen. After Paris Bennett was revealed as this week’s lowest vote getter, Elliott stood behind her, gallantly raising one swaying arm to lead the crowd in a rhythmic salute. In her MTV interview the next day, Paris said, “Elliott possesses something so deep within himself that for him to be able to do the things he does when he's on that stage, I honor him for that. With both of them [Elliott and Taylor], they both have a sense of home, you never feel like you're out of place.”

Unlike some who laughed, whooped, and hollered in relief when told they were safe, Elliott’s instinct is always to console and support the performer who is departing. On his first occasion in the bottom two as they awaited the results, he displayed awesome unselfishness and seemed more concerned about Mandisa Hundley’s welfare than his own.

Elliott is touchingly modest, sincere, unpretentious – and, according to his mother, unchanged by the perks of American Idol celebrity. Although contestants receive an estimated weekly salary of $2,000 plus a wardrobe allowance, he balks at big-ticket purchases that normally he could not afford.

His success on American Idol represents a victory for the underprivileged, for the underrated, for the forgotten, for those disheartened by handicaps and hardships, and for those coping with a challenging condition like deafness or diabetes. He is a common man with an uncommon gift.

Rooting for the underdog is an American tradition at least as old as our national pastime. In 1973, the New York Mets were stuck in last place in their division and time was running out. During a clubhouse pep talk six weeks before the season’s end, relief pitcher Tug McGraw – father of Tim – shouted, “Ya gotta believe!” Nobody – not the betting establishment nor the sports experts – expected the Mets to beat the Big Red Machine and play in the World Series – but, led by McGraw, they did.

I am as optimistic about Elliott’s prospects as McGraw was for his own on that August day when the doubters had already dismissed his team. Elliott’s vocal talent is so phenomenal and his character so powerfully inspiring that he can level the most tilted playing field – if you know what I mean.

American Idol is not the only game in town. The vision I have of Elliott’s future does not end at the Kodak Theatre – but I can see him singing there on the imposing stage with a choir of angelic voices behind him and the crowd on their feet, cheering and screaming his name.

As he announces Elliott as the season five winner, Ryan Seacrest will be standing not in a pool of sweat but a puddle of tears. All of Elliott’s family, old friends and new friends will be there to congratulate him, celebrate with him and repay his kindnesses to them.

Taylor will be the first to hug Elliott, followed by their buddies Bucky Covington and Sway Penala. Ace will be overjoyed, just as he promised. Paris, Mandisa, Kat, Chris, and all the other AI5 contestants will wish they were in Elliott’s place – but feel genuinely happy that the talented underdog prevailed.

Can you see it? Then ya gotta believe it!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Four Idols Tour Graceland

Today Elliott Yamin, Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee and Chris Daughtry arrived at Graceland, the Memphis home of Elvis Presley. You can find more pictures and a live webcam at Elvis Presley's official site.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday update: Wearing the green I Love Elliott t-shirt and white Yaminion headband is 19-year-old Amanda Jones. After Ryan Seacrest announced during Wednesday's show that the final four contestants would be jetting to Memphis, Jones initially drove from Jonesboro, Arkansas, to Graceland on Thursday morning. Told that the AI quartet would arrive two days later, she repeated the hourlong drive to be first in line at 5:45am yesterday. In its entirety, her sign reads : I Love Elliott The Yamin Machine.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday update: New photos below courtesy of Gray Charles and Fox 13 Weather.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting