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Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

Didja see what I did there?

I was sitting here, this morning, checking things off of my to-do list and writing away like the studious little chickadee I am, and thought to myself “I should make this more fun with some pomp and circumstance and British accents”. So I turned on my teevee, and instead of the drooling press I was expecting, I was greeted with a very sweet, truthful and surprisingly faith-based ceremony.

I’ve been reading a few other bloggers who were bashing the wedding fever here in the States as pure flighty escapism, but I think it means something much deeper. Sure, Americans are goofy airheads when it comes to this stuff, and yes, we value royalty and celebrity in unhealthy ways. But I don’t really care about that, and I’m certainly not going to bash someone for wanting to watch a wedding (yay!) in Westminster Abbey (double yay!).

I think that we are watching this by the millions, because, as much as we want to relegate this spectacle to the crazies wearing giant British flags on their heads, this really does matter. There’s an old saying that goes, “babies are God’s way of saying the world must go on” and I think new marriages evoke the same feeling in us, even amongst the most cynical. Marriage is about believing the best in each other, about trusting in the good of a loving God and a loving spouse and about celebrating selflessness, a trait that is all too often mocked.

The Archbishop of Canterbury (who awesomely has his own website and made the amazing YouTube video, below) said that marriage is the best picture of God’s love for us – a statement which is humbling and overwhelming all at once.

So, as much as it would be easy to snark about our obsession with William and Kate, I’m resisting the temptation. Today I’m rejoicing that God’s love was on display, that so many are rejoicing the power of marriage and that love can actually overcome almost any prejudice.

God Bless, William and Kate!

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I love to rant about politics. (I also love to state the obvious. Obviously.) I recently got published in a pro-free-markets, individual liberty, Constitutional piece of wonder called Liberty Ink Journal. This is really more a piece for my other blog, but I had to share it here, too, because you all have been with me and cheered me on through this whole weird crazy journey of self-employment and calling myself a writer with conviction, so you deserve to know.

I wrote for this little magazine like it was going to kill me. I poured my heart and soul out, waxing eloquent about things that most people think are boring – like FDR’s speeches and the Washington Monument Ploy and the dream of utopia. It brought out my best and it showed me places where my logic had faltered and needed strengthening.

Today I learned that they’ve closed – for the moment. There’s hope that investors will revive it, but for the forseeable future, Liberty Ink Journal (in print, at least) is no more. I spoke to their publisher a few weeks back on the phone and as we swapped introductions, he told me, “well, I’m just out here in Colorado, trying to save the country”. He meant it as a joke, of course, a lighthearted take on a serious enterprise – one of everyday columnists and part-time philosophers returning political speak back to where it belongs, in the mouths, hands and hearts of We the People.

I’m mourning my outlet today – I never even told you all this big news, because it still seemed to precious and I wasn’t ready to broadcast it – but today I am crying because I finally made a tiny profit on something that I loved to write about more than anything in the world, and in a moment, it’s taken away. Here’s to you, LIJ, and to the countless start-ups like you. I hope you come back and remind us what entrepreneurship looks like, but in the meantime, thanks for the ride.

Click to read one of my pieces for LIJ.

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“Welcome back to the The Sing-Off”, says our host Nick Lachey, and I get entirely too excited. Let’s saaaaaang (as AP would say).

“Use Somebody” is the opening number and it gives me chills. THIS is what I was looking for on Monday, and I’m relieved that they finally delivered.

On the Rocks – “Live Your Life” – These guys refer to themselves as a “singing fraternity”. I wonder why that’s unique until I recall that most people didn’t go to ACU.  Anyhoodle, I still love them. They stay (mostly) on key as they jump around impressively, one dude falsettos his way to Rihanna and they are generally infectious and I really want to be friends with them. I’m from Oregon, too, so I’m sure we’d understand each other. The judges agree, although Ben asks for more art next time, which I can get behind. The Beelzebubs last year were very similar – silly and energetic – but they also managed to make us feel something besides pure joy, which OtR has yet to do.

Street Corner Symphony – “Hey Soul Sister” – Pure class. This song has been overdone and overplayed, but I still loved it. Their lead singer is amazing. He still looks like an aging hipster, but I don’t care when he’s in my iPod.

Eleventh Hour – “Just the Way You Are” – Oh, Glee. They cry about wanting to stay on the show in their interview, which means they’re going home. They are sweet and legit singers, although it gets pitchy in places, and Prom Queen girl is a little dramz.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – “Mercy” – These guys are pros at their genre, and nobody can touch them. They’re so cute in their peach jackets and doing the Old Dude Shuffle. They’re hard not to like, but I feel like the elimination will be between the Geezers and Glee, just because of marketability.

Elimination – After much ado, Eleventh Hour is going home. It’s OK, babies.

Nota is back! They perform “I Gotta Feeling” and it’s great, of course. Yes, I bought their album the day it came out, why?

The Mercenaries (aka The Backbeats) – “Break Even” – I’m still mad at them for not being a real group, but they almost won me over with this song. It’s melancholy and soaring and sad and they are actually really good. I guess that’s what happens when you use paid talent. You sent Glee home, y’all. Hope you can live with that. Jerks.

Committed – “Apologize” – They’re so good it makes my heart hurt. This is a great song, and they have a new lead, who’s obviously legit, because they’re all legit. They’re also all REAL friends from a REAL little town in Alabama. *cough*Backbeats*cough* I love them. Nothing more to say. Oh wait, except that last time Shawn lost it, and this time both Ben and Shawn are blown away. VALIDATION!

Groove for Thought – “Cooler Than Me” – Their music style is not my fave. However, they are really good. Listening to the song a second time made me like it even more. They’re also nice people and a REAL GROUP of REAL FRIENDS.

The Whiffenpoofs – “Haven’t Met You Yet” – Not as fun or sassy as their last performance, but more heart-warming. On the Rocks members bounce across the stage like a bunch of frat boys on Rockstar, while the Whiffs prance around like a chorus in a Broadway show. They are cute and quirky, but maybe not as lovable as OtR. Also, even if they are stuck-up, at least they’re actually FRIENDS and exist outside of TV.

Elimination – Whiffenpoofs are headed home. Aw. MERCENARIES take out another group. Life is cruel.

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Oh, it’s a beautiful thing, ain’t it? The Sing-Off’s a capella jams are back, and so is Ben Folds’ cute head-nodding habits. Let’s get to it!

Speaking of Ben Folds, he’s totally like a professor that I would’ve had a very inappropriate crush on in college. Nicole Scherzinger is back, with nothing but cotton candy between her ears and not quite enough crazy to make her entertaining, unlike lovable Paula. Shawn Stockman is also back and he is rocking Ben Folds-esque specs and a yellow tie, which I find endearing.

Oh, Nick Lachey is also back. Last year I was worried about his heart health because of the abundant mayo-induced puffiness, but this year he appears to be friends with the outdoors again, so that’s good. Ok, let’s sing!

Opening medley. Fun. Exactly what you’d expect. Not Earth-shattering, though.

First up…

Eleventh Hour (from Ohio? I think?) “Baby” – They are in high school and they don’t like to talk about it. JK, they want to talk about it ALL the time, like OMG.  They sing “Baby” by Justin Bieber because they like stereotypes. They’re cute and sugary and very “Glee”.

On the Rocks from University of Oregon – “Bad Romance”. I love them immediately. I love anything that satirizes pop culture and they do that just by existing. Anybody who has even seen Lady Gaga in passing knows that she needs to be taken down a peg, and 15 clean-cut frat boys goofily writhing on stage ala Gaga’s shirtless dancers get kudos from me. Also, they are actually really good vocalists. They had at least four dudes grab the leads and they were all believable in their own right.

Groove for Thought from Seattle – “I Wish” – I’m sorry, but I’m already bored. They seem likable as people. I like their yellow shirts. That’s about all I got.

Pitch Slapped (haha) from Berkelee Music School in Boston – “Good Girls Go Bad” – Timberlake wannabe starts us off. Their outfits are cute. They have like a hundred people on stage, and it’s sounds like only five. Nicole stumbles through how “Pussycat Dolls” the chicks are, and that’s kinda all we get.

Jerry Lawson and the Talk of the Town from Oakland, California – “Save the Last Dance” – Aw, old fellas! They’re cute and classy and likable like old fellas nearly always are. Part of me is slightly bothered though – Jerry Lawson made 29 albums with the Persuasions – do they really need to take a chance at a contract from an up-and-coming group?

Elimination time! I love this show. No long waits or fake drama. Just cut ’em and let’s move on.

Pitch Slapped is eliminated. It’s OK, JT. Lachey says “Pick up yo’ mikes” which tickles me.

The Whiffenpoofs from Yale University – “Grace Kelly” – They are cocky and insufferable in their video, even going so far as asserting that they “invented a capella”. I’m grossed out almost instantly, but their performance is actually really good with a Broadway swagger. Maybe they’ll be more likable next week, since I’m pretty sure they’re way too good to be sent home. (Although, awesomely, Shawn calls them out, thanking them profusely for “inventing a capella”. Ha.)

Men of Note from New Jersey – “For the Longest Time” – They sing to pick up chicks at the mall and assert that they are athletes. They’re cute and seem destined to go home rather soon, even though I really like them and want to feed them a good dinner. (I can’t help it, I feel motherly toward waifish boys.)

Street Corner Symphony from Nashville, Tennesee – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – They are scruffy, aging hipsters and I’m a bit skeptical, especially when the lead singer chooses a terrible pair of cut-off shorts for his video interview attire. However, within half a measure I’m won over. They are LEGIT. I love them.

The Backbeats, from everywhere, because they are completely mercenary and created just for the Sing-Off – “If I Were A Boy” – It seems too low for the lead, and I just can’t get over the fact that this group was put together just for the show. Doesn’t that kind of spoil the Cinderella story of the whole thing? They are good, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t love them.

Committed, from Huntsville, Alabama – “This Love” – Gospel singers! They sing in their church and their pastor is shown grilling roughly 50 chickens and expressing his excitement for their opportunity on the Sing-Off. They’ve never done Top 40 songs before, but they pick “This Love” by Maroon 5. Pssst! Boys! Do you know this song is about sex? Ah well. They work it out, y’all, red sweaters and all. It’s only six dudes and it sounds like 20. Nice. Shawn looks like he’s about to faint.

(As an aside, I love seeing the other groups grooving to each other’s music. Also, the judges are fantastic – critical without being cruel, funny without selling out. This show is so sweet it’s gonna give me cavities.)

Elimination! Men of Note are headed home. Aw. I’ll make you a pot roast.

See y’all Wednesday! Sing-Off season is the most wonderful time of the TV year.

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I shot guns. But you knew that.

This post is mostly to assuage my guilt for not having written more fun fluff here. I miss it. I miss you. But, look! Over here! Shiny things! Go read!

(I’ll be back soon. I have stories to tell that might be funny and are sort-of pointless. Stay tuned.)

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Carrie Underwood steps out of a classic car on the stage to “kick things off”. She’s so pretty it makes me want to cry. Brad Paisley awesomely backs her up on the electric guitar and rocks it, obvy. Lurve him. Aw, Keith Urban is playing the banjo with her too! He used to be really scruffy, now he’s all clean-cut in a leather tanktop? Weird combo. What did you DO, Nicole?

Brad is adorbs. Carrie and Brad do a cute little duet about Nashville flooding and Brad kinda burns Tim McGraw for being a “big-time” movie star, which is cute. I love small-town jokes! Brad and Carrie sing again about “pro sports going straight to hell” what with Tiger Woods and Brett Favre. Brad sings Lady Gaga and my little heart is exploding. I’m sorry, y’all, I’m too in love to be snarky. Soon somebody will wear something awful and I’ll be funny again, promise.

Oh, here it is. Ty Pennington is here to smoker’s cough his way into a weird “I love you guys” speech. LeAnn Rimes cuts him off weirdly, saying we make music here! Um, LeAnn? We know. Calm down, Ty ain’t stealing your show.

Lady Antebellum wins single of the year! They thank God first! Aw.

Rascal Flatts is singing about Vegas. I love them, but they seem a smidge old for this.  It’s a love song, but still. Meh.

The House That Built Me wins SONG of the year! Uncle Dud, did you watch this?! I think of you and Grandma and Grandpa’s house every time I hear this song.  They thank Jesus and their families and I’m kinda tearing up.

Brad and Carrie sing another ditty. Blake Shelton gets up and I expect him to wink creepily at every woman in the audience. Nothing says “trust me” like slicked back hair and lyrics that state “it’s all about tonight”. What a romantic.

Miranda Lambert is up. She’s so folksy. I lurve her, although I’m NOT in love with her spandex shorts/flapper skirt/corset top. Really, Miranda? You are bluegrass and honest and great. Don’t lose that in short skirts and boobs, now.

Flood jokes, haha. Nashville is definitely using this moment of fame to ask some well-deserved questions about why their crisis was ignored. Maybe because nobody in country music would vote for a Democrat? Heh.

George Strait. Pure class.

Darius Rucker presents new artist of the year. Zac Brown Band! Haven’t they won this before? Haven’t they been around for like, a long time? I’m confused.

Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson harmonize and I love them. LOVE. AJ is super tall, too. Did I know this?

ADD blonde moment. Can I have these? Santa?

Kenny Chesney. Ever since he did the pooka shell-wearing Jimmy Buffet shtick, I’ve not been a fan. But the “Boys of Fall” could convince me. Football? Boys? Yes, please.

T Swifty. Holy crap she’s talented. And she wears red lipstick, which means she’s brave. You rock it, girl.

Sugarland. She’s a marionette? He’s in a top hat? She’s twangy, but man what a range. She’s scarily pretty too, DANGIT. It takes a courageous woman to wear tight white pants.

Vocal group of the year: Lady Antebellum. SHOCKER. (Kidding! I love them. I know you weren’t expecting this, but I DO. LOVE THEM.)

Keith Urban is back – this time no leather tanktop, Praise the Almighty. His hair looks very flatironed. Can I talk to your stylist, Keith? The Frizz, it doth takeover my head.

Reba! This is a weird song. “If I were a boy”? I don’t get it.

Standing O? Really? Reba is great. This song was not. Know the difference, people.

Jason Aldean. I think I like him, but my earrings are smaller than his. Gender confusion! Is this Kelly Clarkson singing with him? Yes, Google says. Yes it is. Eeee! Love! Thanks for losing the eyeliner and rage, sweets. Country looks good on you. Another standing O. Everybody loves rageless Kelly and Jason’s stylish hoops.

Miranda Lambert wins ALBUM of the year! Aw! She hugs Blake Shelton (her fiance) and giggles adorably. She’s also wearing a really cute white dress this time around, so way to make good choices.

Carrie calls Kid Rock “Detroit’s leading cowboy”. He wails smokily for a while and I think the fringe on his jacket might actually be made from his own hair. It’s all very similar.

Brad! Ok, I’m teary already. Y’all are on your own while I love America and get a tissue.

Standing O. Definitely some teary eyes in the crowd, SEE I’M NOT CRAZY.

Sugarland wins Vocal Duo of the Year for the FOURTH time. I love her little pixie haircut… think I could rock it?

jennifer nettles haircut

Lady Antebellum sings. It’s fab.

Blake Shelton wins male vocalist of the year, and we catch a glimpse of Reba (who’s sobbing outright) and Miranda, (who’s definitely misty) and he says “y’all” and is generally likable and adorable. OK, Blake, you’re forgiven for the slick hair.

A very emo trio sings surprisingly well and is convincingly countryfied. Lesson learned – don’t judge a musician by their ill-advised hairstyle choices. (UNLIKE JENNIFER NETTLES – look back up at that cuteness! NOW. Still obsessed, good thing I don’t have money for a haircut right now or I would be joining the ranks of pixie perfection, STAT.) Still dunno who they are, though.

Brad is back, he wisecracks that “after the night Blake and Miranda are having we can expect a baby in about nine months” and then laughs at his own joke. Daddy jokes!

Carrie sings. Moms the world over cry. I’ve found my sister-in-law’s dream ball gown.

Dierks Bentley. He has made some less than favorable decisions in the past, but… wait for it… I LOVE HIM. And he’s all bluegrassy tonight! I know, play a show with Ed Helms and I will die of perfection. (Also, ADD moment – he kinda looks like Bradley Cooper – “there’s a tiger in the bathroom!”)

Loretta Lynn tribute. I have nothing to say except Sheryl Crow is the best we could do for this, really?

Miranda Lambert wins female vocalist of the year. She started out this year as an unknown little bluegrass artist, and now she’s cleaning up. Way TO GO. Aw, Reba’s crying again.

Gwynnie and Vince Gill sing “Country Strong” from her movie of the same title, and she is actually convincing, although maybe a smidgeon pitchy. I’ve never been a Vince Gill fan, although we pan over Amy Grant and baby, baby, my heart is in motion. You’ll always have my loyalty, Amy.

Tim McGraw presents Entertainer of the year to……

BRAD PAISLEY! YES YES YES. LOVE! He’s tearing up. Me too, because I like to pretend that we’re friends. Standing O! It’s about freaking time. He says “there’s a saying that if you see a turtle on a fencepost, he had help getting up there… and I feel like a turtle on a fencepost right now”. He’s probably the best guitar player in country music and he’s such a humble, normal guy.

I’m gonna go hug a veteran and eat some Momma’s cookin’ and not go down ’til the sun comes up. I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC!

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Sorry, there’s no guest post here today. But there is one here – the continuation of Joey‘s and my discussion of politics and religion. We talk about Glenn Beck and apathy and Jesus and Bill Maher. If that doesn’t entice you…. well, I just don’t know what to say to people like you.

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