Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Taylor Tuesday


Hear me out. Have you ever noticed that Taylor can look very different from one event to another? And how could one man be on tour, write a book and do all of those interviews at the same time? What about these stories we hear about how he was hugging everyone at one meet and greet, but barely speaking at another?

Well, the answer is obvious, my friend. He must have a twin. That can be the only logical explanation for why he didn't remember me in a crowd at the San Antonio show even though we had met just one month earlier in a crowd at the Tampa show. I believe that is incontrovertible evidence right there.

The topic actually surfaced on another blog yesterday. (I'll give you the link, but you gotta promise to come back, OK?) For photographic proof and further discussion, go to: http://tfhzone.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/are-these-the-same-men/#comments

If you happen to be my Mom and can't work these newfangled links, I'll post the most revealing photo here:

Forget about identifying the blonde on the beach. Was that the real Taylor?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Oh What a Night" by The Four Seasons

For Danny

It's not what you think. This was the theme song for "The Commack Clan", a group of us in high school who did everything together. (No wonder I rarely dated) It became our theme song after our first night at Lehigh University where we were visiting Danny for the weekend. Now that my Dad is gone, I think it's safe to add that grain alcohol was involved. But since my mother is still alive, I think I'll leave it at that. Enjoy!


Danny and a young boy. 1976

One of my best friends is getting married today. Danny (he goes by "Dan" now, but he'll always be Danny to me.) was the boy next door. We've known each other since we were babies. And, except for a fling in High School, he's been like a brother to me.

(We've talked about that, haven't we, Danny? Maybe "brother" sounds TOO platonic.) I'd like to amend that- he's been like a cousin to me. But as cute and fun as he was, our one-year relationship wasn't a great love connection. Even our friends nicknamed us "Donnie and Marie" because of our lack of chemistry.

I'd like to say that Danny's been single all these years because he never found another woman as wonderful as me, but the truth is, Danny got over me pretty quickly. Let's just say that Danny moved on well before we ever broke up. And let's just say that Danny moved on before I knew he was moving on.

Just teasing you, big guy! He actually married the chick he moved on with, but as I suspected, that marriage was short-lived. They only stayed together for...let's see...25 years or so.

I can joke about all of this because our friendship is strong, even though we live so far apart. When I go home to visit my family I always make time to see Danny, though lately my husband monopolizes the conversation.

I'm glad Danny has found someone who makes him happy. I met her this summer and she laughed at my jokes, so that's all I need to know. (It's all about me, of course.) The wedding should be starting in a few hours, so I couldn't let the day go by without posting our prom picture. (refer back to the sentence in parenthesis)

Best of luck, to you, my friend!! I look forward to seeing both of you the next time I'm home.

P.S. (Danny: I'm posting a video for you separately, because I don't know how to include it in here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Taylor Tuesday

Since I'm been too busy to write, I'm trotting out an article I wrote in May about attending my first Taylor concert. You may have seen it already. But here's something you may not know: I gave Taylor a copy of this in person. (God! what is wrong with me?I'm so embarrassed) He told me he'd read it on the bus. Go ahead, tell me the truth, was that a dumb thing to do? Imagine Taylor reading this:

National Ledger
May 15th, 2007

Season six of American Idol is coming to an end, but frankly, it's been a snooze-fest. Where's the passion, the raw uninhibited energy of last year? Well, I’ll tell ya. It's been on a national tour, playing to sold-out crowds. Taylor Hicks took his music to the people, earning respect as a serious musician and leaving behind satisfied, happily dazed fans. Just look at me: the secret smile, the vacant far-away expression, the occasional “Woo!” blurted out for no reason at all.

I’ve been there, man, and there’s no turning back. Taylor won me over on American Idol last year as I walked through the living room and heard him singing “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. His voice hit my ears and traveled to my heart, causing an ache so great I had to sit down. He sang, gripping the mic stand, glancing down and then suddenly up into my eyes. The exquisite pain was all there and he made me love it.

That night was the first time I ever voted for anybody on American Idol. I had to keep that brilliant voice in my periphery. I haven’t felt the same way about anyone on the show this year.

When his CD, “Taylor Hicks” dropped in December, I was happy to hear the intensity of his performance come through, even though I couldn’t watch it on my TV screen. But, c'mon. Anyone familiar with Taylor Hicks knows his magic happens in the live performance.

Lucky me, when the album tour was announced I found a date that coincided with a visit to Florida. The only downside was that I’d have to go alone. It was already sold out (sold out!) but I found one ticket available online.

Other fans cautioned that there’s a lot to do before you see Taylor live. You have to go into training because he delivers what he calls a “high impact soul aerobic” show. So, I built up some endurance, memorized his lyrics, practiced whipping out a sharpie and finally, bought a push-up bra and good-butt jeans. Why the clothes? Guess it was my way of giving a little back if I should get an autograph.

Turns out the gods smiled on me so much that day in Tampa that I’m beginning to wonder if something bad is on the horizon. Without any serious stalking on my part, I ran into Taylor three times! And though meeting him was exciting, the highlight of that whole day was the show.

It didn’t matter that I was alone. The feeling in the theater was that we all were in this together. We responded to the musicians and they fed off of our energy. Taylor called the shots, signaling the band to extend certain songs or “’shushing” to segway into another song altogether. He sang, played guitar & harmonica, and danced letting the music take his body wherever it wanted to go.

He showed us no mercy. One song built into a frenzy as Taylor wailed on his harmonica, hunched over, face red and sweaty until finally he threw the instrument down as if it were on fire. Whew! Pardon me while I have a cigarette.

Later, through sheer unbelievable coincidence, Taylor and I wound up on an elevator together. He looked exhausted, wearing a baseball cap to cover the “headlight” (as he calls it) that is his gray hair. He was polite as always, but very subdued, a far cry from the ebullient character he offers up on stage. Bottom line: I saw a real person, spent from a long day of trying to make the world happy. I decided to show my appreciation by leaving him alone.

When we got to my floor, I told him it had been a great show. He thanked me and I left with a little wave over my shoulder. I’ve thought about all the things I could have said during our five flights together but I’m glad I gave this hard-working guy a break. The only thing I regret is that I wasn’t wearing my good-butt jeans as he watched me walk away! Sigh. Gimme a break. It IS all about the music, but I’m still a girl.

I hope whoever wins American Idol this year can deliver as memorable a tour as Taylor unleashed on us. But they’ve got some big New Balance sneakers to fill.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Last night I slept in Jake's empty bed. Nah, I haven't gone completely bonkers. I got into bed with my husband and in the dark and the quiet, I started thinking about Jake alone somewhere in a hotel with all of his possessions packed in the car outside. I started crying again and decided to sleep somewhere else so as not to wake the hubby.

Yesterday I gave Jake's room a good cleaning. It actually looked kind of inviting with all the furniture gleaming and the carpet freshly vacuumed. When I got into his bed I looked around and thought about all the horrible things he lived through within those walls: the terrible stomach pain that kept him up at night, the mornings I literally dragged him out of bed to get him to go to school, the screaming fights over doctor visits. The three months when he only left his room to eat and use the bathroom.

He's had a rough life. Severe allergies, asthma, ADHD, IBS and depression. And as hard as I tried, I could't help him. He has the same struggles today he had six years ago. We've taken him to every specialist you can name, including a pain management specialist and a therapist. A couple of years ago Jake shut down and refused to see any more doctors. He stopped telling me when something was wrong.

And this is why I've been so upset. I didn't help him. I didn't make it all better. I feel as though I sent him off with a bleeding cut and no chance of finding a bandaide.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Big Girls Do Cry

It's 12:20 at night and I just got done talking to my son, Jake. He had a lot of questions about what to do on a long drive. I gave him my best advice and a good map. I hugged him from behind as he turned to leave and he told me he'd see me in the morning.

He's moving away tomorrow. He's 19 and has decided it's time to get on with his life. He'll be sharing a house with a couple of friends from high school. In Virginia! That's about 1200 miles from here.

It's all quite sudden. He says he's been thinking about it for months now and he did mention it to me as a distant possibility once or twice. But suddenly it was all a "go". Today he told me he's leaving in the morning. He said he hoped he could leave on good terms.

Jake's dad took it much better than I expected. No big lectures, no screaming tirade. Instead, he asked Jake a few questions about his plans and told him he could always come back if it didn't work out.

And so I've spent the day crying. Maybe tomorrow I can be more eloquent, but right now I can't find the words. All I've got today are pictures in my head of all the days and nights I spent with this child and one thought: it's over, it's over, it's over. He's packed. He's ready. Am I?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Taylor Tuesday


I'm in the mood to start a rumor. It seems to be all the rage these days. My facts cannot be backed up, I have no inside information and I don't really want to waste my time digging into matters that are none of my business. But I can play around with photos, so let's do it!

Is Taylor Hicks putting out an exercise video? Word on the street is that Taylor's been behind closed doors filming a new work-out routine. My fake sources tell me that the video includes:

Leg lifts:


And Jumping Jacks:

And of course it's all set to Taylor's favorite music. Oddly enough, during "The Runaround" the viewer is cautioned not to imitate Taylor's trademark spin as he owns the rights to this particular move. If you brazenly do it anyway, you are required to pay him a residual. It's suggested instead that you simply...well, run around.

These same fake sources leaked a promotional photo:

(Must be one of those supersized videos)

Well, he said it a thousand times: "I call it High Impact Soul Aerobics." Who knew he was being literal?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Being There Blooper

One of the best movies ever made. Here's your assignment: Go rent this movie, watch it and then come back and tell me what the heck it means!

It's a superlative comedy even if you don't care to find the deeper meaning in it. So...what are you waiting for? Go! Go rent it. I'll be here when you're ready to break it down for me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fergie - Big Girls Don't Cry MUSIC VIDEO

I love this song. I'm obviously not a music snob! I don't care that it's top-40 or that it's sung by Fergie (who usually annoys me).

I kind of relate to the words. No, I'm not leaving my husband, but there are some things you have to handle alone, within yourself. I recognize that I'm coming off a bad year, maybe even a bad decade. Dealing with: the death of my beloved Dad; a child who was sick so often that his principal recommended he just get his GED; the deterioration and death of my mother-in-law; the death of our dog; the end of my run in our local paper; the end of my youth; and the end of being the mom of young boys who loved my company.

Lots of unpleasant stuff. But it's time to stop wallowing in sadness and get on with it. Fergie sings, "I've got to get a move on with my life..." Yeah. Time to be a big girl now and see what the second half of my life will bring!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Grand Canyon Update

Just one week after we left the Grand Canyon, a four year old girl died after a fall at a section of the rim which had no barrier. It happens to be the spot where I got my first glimpse of the Canyon. No fence, no brick wall, no nothin'. I was so upset by the crowd nonchalantly moving towards the edge (remember I'm afraid of heights) that it made me cry. Here's the first photo I took there:

Park Rangers say this kind of tragedy is unusual. But I think it's a sober reminder that, though the view seems almost unreal (that's the first thing a lot of people say), the danger is VERY real. Respect it.

My heart goes out to the child's family.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Taylor Tuesday


This quote is from Parade Magazine, 10/07/2007. Article written by Dotson Rader.

Brad Pitt: "You get no warning about what celebrity is or how to deal with it. It's sort of multitiered. The intial stage is feeling discombobulated and not up to the task. I didn't understand the incessant attention when I went outside, the way people completely focused on me. It made me very uncomfortable. Then you start to see the fickleness of celebrity," he continues, "that it isn't rooted in something of real value. There is this strange wanting by people to get next to you. It has nothing to do with you but with something they feel they are missing in themselves."

Sometimes I wonder if Taylor says to himself, "Be careful what you wish for." Fame is a blessing and a curse, as we all know. But in Taylor's case, I think both good and bad are amplified. Those who love him smother him with their attention and those who don't love him tear the poor man to shreds.

Next week, I'd like to explore why he rouses such passion in people. It's sort of a puzzle to me. I understand his appeal, don't misunderstand. But we'll get into all of that next time.

Today I'd like to hear your thoughts on fame. Do you think it's everything Taylor hoped it would be? Would you ever want to be famous?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

It's a Grand Canyon

(I'm the one in the orange shirt. I don't know who those other people are.)

We had a family get-together at the Grand Canyon this weekend. I've never been there before and it's obviously quite spectacular. I'm not gonna bore you with the details, but I will say a few things from the perspective of a person who's afraid of heights.

Are people freakin' nuts??!!

First of all, the Park Service. Most of the Canyon has no barrier to keep people from falling in. Granted, you can't fence in the entire Grand Canyon. But you also don't need to put in a trail and invite people to walk right along the edge. They post adorable cartoon signs along the way as a reminder, but I still think it's insane!!

I'll tell you why I feel that way. It's because of idiots like this guy:

We saw people all over the place sitting on the edge and dangling their feet. We saw others navigating trails into the Canyon that weren't actual trails.

We saw two groups of "suicidal" people who stood out: Two women dressed in costume, going down a trail in HIGH HEELS!

And later, two "men" climbing a dead tree right on the edge of the rim. My sisters and I enjoyed taking their pictures so we would have the last photos of them alive. (ha)

What's interesting is that we learned that few people die from a fall at the Grand Canyon. Most deaths are due to heat exhaustion. People head out on a trial unprepared with little water & food.

They underestimate how long the hike will take or overestimate how much their bodies can take. We spoke to a Park Ranger who said they, "lost eight people THIS YEAR," because of just that.

Well, we survived. We watched our footing. We carried water and snacks. We had respect for the wildlife. But, most importantly, we stayed close to the gift shops and restaurants!

It was really fun meeting up with (most of) the family at a new place. We've never done that before, but I'd like to do it again. A big Thank You to my sister, Nancy, for making it happen.

Some random photos:

A condor:

My sister, Cathy, and her husband, Bruce, looking at...
...this deer!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Taylor Tuesday

I hear a lot of people say that Taylor inspired them. How? And more importantly, WHY? I've posed this question before but have never gotten a satisfactory answer. I watch Taylor sing and I want to write. I feel witty, smart, clever. Dang, I even feel cute. (No small feat!) What's up with that? How can watching a guy sing a song make me feel good about myself?