Entertainment

You are my fire, the one desire. Believe when I say, I want it that way.

The time has come for me to make a confession. This is a big one guys, so I need all of your support.

Okay…

Here it goes….

…theBackstreetBoysarebetterthanNSYNC

There. I said it. I feel so much better now.

I spent the majority of my adolescent life arguing the exact opposite. I was team NSYNC all the way (don’t get me wrong, I still liked the Backstreet Boys. I owned all of their CDs and, of course, had a favorite ‘boy’, and it was Brian Littrell!). But the time has come for me to admit the truth. The Backstreet Boys are the better band. Listen, NSYNC was good (and I would for sure sell a kidney to buy tickets if they were to ever go on a reunion tour. No questions asked). They were good at being a boy band. Their songs were fun and uptempo, and their concerts were crazy parties (speaking from a 2001 experience), and JT is arguably the most talented man in the biz right now…but the Backstreet Boys had better songs. Better love songs, better fun songs, just all around better songs. They are also more genuine, I feel. Not that NSYNC wasn’t, but it was more of a show for them. It was always about the show and the entrainment value for NSYNC, but BSB can saaaaanng.

I came to this realization while attending a Backstreet Boys concert two weeks ago, and it was possibly the most fun concert of my entire life. It was like I was 14 again, and it was awesome.

 

Me, Megan, Whitley and Warren!

Me, Megan, Whitley and Warren!

 

The Backstreet Boys are just better. And that’s all. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Any way, below you will find some of my favorite Backstreet Boys songs spanning all 7 of their albums released in the US (plus that one Greatest Hits). I will even color-code them for you!

Backstreet Boys    Millennium    Black & Blue    The Hits: Chapter 1    Never Gone    Unbreakable

This Is Us    In A World Like This 

1. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) 

2. Helpless When She Smiles

3. The One

4. Bye Bye Love

5. Incomplete

6. Drowning

7. I Want It That Way

8. Soldier

9. Back to Your Heart

10. As Long As You Love Me

11. Something That I Already Know

12. More Than That

13. We’ve Got It Goin’ On

14. Shape of My Heart

15. I Still…

16. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)

17. It’s Gotta Be You

18. What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)

19. All I have To Give

20. Larger Than Life

21. Just Want You to Know

22. Madeleine

*BONUS*

21. That’s What She Said

22. Satellite

Listen to the complete playlist here.

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Categories: Entertainment, Music, Playlists, Pop Culture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every step brings you closer to the edge

Fruitvale Station. FVS

Does this sound familiar to anyone? No? It didn’t me either. To be honest when I rented the movie, all I knew about it was that it had Michael B. Jordan in it, and that it had won a bunch of awards at Sundance (not that I cared much about that, I was only interested in MBJ). That’s it. I literally had zero idea what the plot was, I didn’t know that Octavia Spencer was in it, or whether it was even in english. That is how little I knew about it.

And now, I can’t stop thinking about it.

This movie revealed two hard truths to me this weekend:

#1.) I am scarily unobservant.

#2.) Humanity is not as honorable as I like to think.

For those of you out of the loop, like I was, the movie is based on the true story of Oscar Grant. Grant was shot and killed by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) officer on the platform in Fruitvale station in the early morning hours of January 1, 2009. He was 22-years-old, and had a four-year-old daughter. Grant was shot in front of dozens of BART passengers, many of which recorded the incident with their camera phones.

In the movie we see that Oscar Grant is flawed. He cheated on his serious, long-term girlfriend and the mother of his daughter. We see that he is into drugs. We see that he has done jail time. And we see that he has violent tendencies. But we also see that he is tender, charismatic, and trying to do better. He is painted as a young adult trying to figure out his troubled life.

In full disclosure, the movie is obviously biased. I’m not saying that the point of the movie is wrong or right, but they obviously had an agenda. Which is fine. It’s a dramatization, not a documentary, it’s allowed to interpret things however it wants.

After watching the movie (and crying like a little girl) I was curious to see the real parts of this story. So I did some research.  I watched all the direct evidence videos, and read all the court documents, and read lots of other articles on the subject matter, and my personal opinion is that Oscar Grant was executed.

And here’s why…

I think that it’s kind of ridiculous to think that said officer intended to taser Grant, but actually shot him. Aren’t guns generally a lot heavier than tasers? And, do they not have a safety feature that you would have to intentionally turn off to use? Also, I would assume that if you are an officer, you are trained to have your gun and your taser on separate sides of your utility belt? And to know which side is which? If we have officers out there who can make a mix-up of this magnitude, we are all in trouble.

Also, Grant was unarmed, and already restrained. And from eyewitness accounts seemed to be fairly cooperative, unless taunted into being otherwise.

And to pull the racism card, Grant was an African-American male, and they are generally treated unfairly (I would assume this is even more true in the Oakland area). It is a recurring theme if you look into police brutality; you will see African-American males being beating, singled out, and treated unfairly. Racism still exists, and I think it would be foolish to not let that play a part in this tragedy. Even if the officer wasn’t racist, I still think it was a racist act (does that make sense). Let me put it this way, if this was a group of Caucasian kids on a subway in Maryland do you think anyone would have ended up fatally shot?

I think the officer in question should have been punished to the full extent of the law. If the situation was reversed and the officer was African-American, and had fatally shot a Caucasian kid, do you think he would have received the same punishment? My guess is no. He would have most likely been severely punished, and not be made to serve just 11 months for involuntary manslaughter. If this was an isolated incident, my instincts might be to be a bit more lenient. But police brutality occurs on a weekly (if not daily) basis (do the research, the proof is there). And often goes unpunished. They are brutal because they can be. Because there are no repercussions. Where is the justice in that?

Now, back to how I learned how incredibly unobservant I am. This incident was presented and discussed in several media outlets. And I hadn’t heard a single thing about it. It was on the national news, on Youtube, and in magazines. Where was I? It just happened in 2009. I was old enough that I should have some recollection of it. But I can’t pull a single memory of it. And I am ashamed of that. What kind of Midwest bubble do I live in?

And people, though I want to believe they are inherently good, seem to prove just the opposite. I’m not even referring to the people involved in the incident (even though I obviously think there is some not goodness going on in them). I’m looking strictly at the people writing and commenting on this tragedy. People are hateful on both sides of the fence. Whether they believe that Oscar Grant brought this on himself, or whether they believe it was cold-blooded murder, they tend to get hateful about it. No matter which side you choose to take, the best way to win people over to your side is not to get ugly about it. In fact, when someone gets ugly in an attempt to prove their point, it often times backfires on them and it just solidifies the other persons view point. As I’ve said before, you can’t fight hate with hate.

But, don’t take my word on any of this. Watch the movie. Do some research and then make your own judgment.

(Totally trivial side note: I think this is the most shocking Oscar shut out of the year. All the leads deserve some Oscar love. I think it might have even been robbed a Best Picture nom.)

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2014 Grammy Predictions

Each year I struggle with whether I am more excited for the Grammys or for the Superbowl. This year there is not contest. I care very, very little about the Superbowl this year. [As a Chiefs fan, that is my prerogative. Current AFC West rivals Denver vs. former AFC West rivals Seattle (any ACF West team current or former is considered a rival, obviously). It’s lose-lose for me. For the record I’ll be cheering for Seattle, because there is nothing in this world that could bring me to cheer on Denver.] But I care very, very much about the Grammys (as much as someone who has no actual investment in the show or music industry can care).

I feel like this year, they might have done a fairly decent job with the nominations (minus the fact that JT wasn’t present on the list for Album of the Year). I think they manage to not choose the most obscure stuff possible, which is the norm for the Recording Academy. If you watch the show, and you keep up with music in any sense, you will most likely recognized 3/4 of the people, which is a fantastic concept!

I always like to make my picks prior to the actual give aways…because who doesn’t like to do that? Below you fill find the list of people I think will go home with the award, and people I want to/should take home the gramophone (of course you will notice I only choose winner for the awards I have interest in…because I don’t want to get involved in 0ver 80 awards). 

******I will be live-tweeting this event. You can follow me here: @mistydawnclay******

RECORD OF THE YEAR (goes to the performer)

  • Get Lucky -Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams
  • Radioactive-Imagine Dragons
  • Royals-Lorde
  • Locked Out Of Heaven-Bruno Mars
  • Blurred LinesRobin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell

There is no way that “Blurred Lines” shouldn’t go home with this award. IT WAS THE MOST PLAYED SONG IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. And I’m hoping the academy recognizes this.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • The Blessed Unrest -Sara Bareilles
  • Random Access Memories -Daft Punk
  • Good Kid, M.A.A.D City -Kendrick Lamar
  • The Heist -Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Red -Taylor Swift

I think that The Heist is a safe Grammy bet. I mean, it was independently released and has a “message.” It’s Grammy bait. But I think Taylor Swift should be the victor here. I mean, seriously. Did any of the rest of the nominees sell over ONE MILLION albums in a week? And did any of the other nominees have an album with more diversity? The answer is no.

SONG OF THE YEAR (goes to the writer)

  • Just Give Me A Reason -Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Pink Featuring Nate Ruess)
  • Locked Out Of Heaven -Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Bruno Mars)
  • Roar -Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter, songwriters (Katy Perry)
  • Royals -Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor, songwriters (Lorde)
  • Same Love -Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

“Royals” should have this in the bag. It’s easily the most unique song and the cleverest. Which I’m pretty sure is what this award is about. I’m just fearful that the Academy will once again side with the message of “Same Love”.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • James Blake
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Ed Sheeran

I want Ed Sheeran to win. Because he is the bomb, and clearly the best artist out of this bunch, but I just don’t think it’s fair. He’s not really a new artist. Last year “A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year, and I feel like the fact that he’s been nominated before should disqualify him. With him out the running, I think Kacey Musgraves should win, but I think Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will sweep.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • Brave -Sara Bareilles
  • Royals -Lorde
  • When I Was Your Man -Bruno Mars
  • Roar -Katy Perry
  • Mirrors -Justin Timberlake

Quick fact: I want JT to win everything he’s ever nominated for.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Get Lucky -Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams
  • Just Give Me A Reason -Pink Featuring Nate Ruess
  • Stay -Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko
  • Blurred Lines -Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell
  • Suit & Tie -Justin Timberlake & Jay Z

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Paradise -Lana Del Rey
  • Pure Heroine -Lorde
  • Unorthodox Jukebox -Bruno Mars
  • Blurred Lines -Robin Thicke
  • The 20/20 Experience The Complete Experience Justin Timberlake

This is the best they can do after snubbing him in for Album of the Year. Give JT’s comeback album some real love.

BEST DANCE/ELECTRONICA ALBUM

  • Random Access MemoriesDaft Punk
  • Settle -Disclosure
  • 18 Months -Calvin Harris
  • Atmosphere -Kaskade
  • A Color Map Of The Sun -Pretty Lights

To be totally honest, I only recognize Daft Punk and Calvin Harris. And out of those two I like Daft Punk more.

BEST ROCK ALBUM

  • 13 Black Sabbath
  • The Next Day -David Bowie
  • Mechanical Bull -Kings Of Leon
  • Celebration Day -Led Zeppelin
  • …Like Clockwork -Queens Of The Stone Age
  • Psychedelic Pill -Neil Young With Crazy Horse

So many old guys in one category. But I think no one is more true, real rock than Black Sabbath. The Kings of Leon don’t even deserve to be nominated with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM

  • The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You -Neko Case
  • Trouble Will Find Me -The National
  • Hesitation Marks -Nine Inch Nails
  • Lonerism -Tame Impala
  • Modern Vampires Of The City -Vampire Weekend

I’m seeing a nostalgia win in this category. But I like Vampire Weekend more.

BEST R&B SONG

  • Best Of Me -Anthony Hamilton & Jairus Mozee, songwriters (Anthony Hamilton)
  • Love And War -Tamar Braxton, Darhyl Camper, Jr., LaShawn Daniels & Makeba Riddick, songwriters (Tamar Braxton)
  • Only One -PJ Morton, songwriter (PJ Morton Featuring Stevie Wonder)
  • Pusher Love Girl -James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake)
  • Without Me -Fantasia Barrino, Missy Elliott, Al Sherrod Lambert, Harmony Samuels & Kyle Stewart, songwriters (Fantasia Featuring Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliot)

The truth is I have no idea who the Academy will choose, since I know none of these songs, but I do know who Stevie Wonder is, and I think his name will/should pull some votes. But once again, I ALWAYS want JT to win.

BEST R&B ALBUM

  • R&B Divas -Faith Evans
  • Girl On Fire -Alicia Keys
  • Love In The Future -John Legend
  • Better -Chrisette Michele
  • Three Kings -TGT

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE

  • Started From The Bottom -Drake
  • Berzerk -Eminem
  • Tom Ford -Jay Z
  • Swimming Pools (Drank) -Kendrick Lamar
  • Thrift Shop -Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz

Just so we are all clear, I know little to nothing about rap music. I know that I like Drake, because he seems to have feelings and in general is less offensive to me, not to mention he is incredibly attractive and also sings. But that is where my knowledge ends. I know who all of these people are, but I can’t tell you a single thing about what makes a rap song good. I do know that Jay-Z and Eminem seem to be crazy respected though…so there’s that. I’m calling it a toss up between them.

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION

  • Power Trip -J. Cole Featuring Miguel
  • Part II (On The Run) -Jay Z Featuring Beyoncé
  • Holy Grail -Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake
  • Now Or Never -Kendrick Lamar Featuring Mary J. Blige
  • Remember You -Wiz Khalifa Featuring The Weeknd

Oh look, it’s Jay-Z vs. Jay-Z. Side note: Maybe it’s just me, but aren’t alllllll rap songs collaborations???

BEST RAP SONG

  • F***in’ Problems -Tauheed Epps, Aubrey Graham, Kendrick Lamar, Rakim Mayers & Noah Shebib, songwriters (ASAP Rocky Featuring Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar)
  • Holy Grail -Shawn Carter, Terius Nash, J. Harmon, Timothy Mosley, Justin Timberlake & Ernest Wilson, songwriters (Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl & Krist Novoselic, songwriters) (Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake)
  • New Slaves -Christopher Breaux, Ben Bronfman, Mike Dean, Louis Johnson, Malik Jones, Elon Rutberg, Sakiya Sandifer, Che Smith, Kanye West & Cydell Young, songwriters (Anna Adamis & Gabor Presser, songwriters)
    (Kanye West)
  • Started From The Bottom -W. Coleman, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Bruno Sanfilippo, songwriter) (Drake)
  • Thrift Shop -Ben Haggerty & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz)

BEST RAP ALBUM

  • Nothing Was The Same -Drake
  • Magna Carta…Holy Grail -Jay Z
  • Good Kid, M.A.A.D City -Kendrick Lamar
  • The Heist -Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Yeezus -Kanye West

Personally I find Kanye West to be incredibly offensive. But I also recognize that everyone sees him as kind of a crazy genius. 

BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • I Drive Your Truck -Lee Brice
  • I Want Crazy -Hunter Hayes
  • Mama’s Broken Heart -Miranda Lambert
  • Wagon Wheel -Darius Rucker
  • Mine Would Be You -Blake Shelton

“I Drive Your Truck” is the sentimental favorite. And I feel like “Wagon Wheel” shouldn’t be allowed because it’s not an original song. This year feel like all of the country nominees are pretty dead even this year. That’s the beauty of country music, it’s all good. These are the hardest categories for me to choose, because not only do I like them all, but I also see them all as equally likely to win.

BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • From This Valley -The Civil Wars
  • Don’t Rush -Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill
  • Your Side Of The Bed -Little Big Town
  • Highway Don’t Care -Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
  • You Can’t Make Old Friends –Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton

“Your Side of the Bed” is hands down the best song in this category. Buuuuut, Vince Gill has 20 Grammys, so they obviously like him.

BEST COUNTRY SONG

  • Begin AgainTaylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift)
  • I Drive Your Truck -Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington & Jimmy Yeary, songwriters (Lee Brice)
  • Mama’s Broken Heart -Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
  • Merry Go ‘Round -Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)
  • Mine Would Be You -Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington & Deric Ruttan, songwriters (Blake Shelton)

The Academy likes Taylor, and for good reason. She embodies everything that they promote. Regardless of whether you like her or not, you can’t really deny her song writing ability (which is what this award recognizes). Also, she is the only one single writer nominated, so that should count for something. She is possibly the best writer of my generation. Also, I am partial to this song because it’s rumored to be about the love of my life, one Will Anderson.

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

  • Night Train –Jason Aldean
  • Two Lanes Of Freedom –Tim McGraw
  • Same Trailer Different Park –Kacey Musgraves
  • Based On A True Story –Blake Shelton
  • Red –Taylor Swift

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore Taylor Swift, but “Red” is not a country album. Yes, it has a few country songs on it, but in general, it’s a pretty pop album. The fact that my bffff Tara likes it is all the verification I need. Other than “Red” I think this is a solid batch of country albums, it could go to anyone, but I think the Academy is going to send Kacey Musgraves home with the award.

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A long time ago, we used to be friends

Where was Veronica Mars when I was in high school?

Okay, clearly the show existed but, why didn’t I know about it then?

I AM Veronica Mars. I would be hard-pressed to find a television character more like me. She’s incredibly witty and clever, a little bit snarky…and did I already mention that she is PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CAPABLE OF FINDING OUT ANYTHING SHE WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING! Um, hello. That’s me.

I need this. I need this moment to talk about it and hope that someone is actually listening to me (because you and I both know that half the time when I’m babbling to my friends they are not really listening/don’t really understand my pain/joy). After binge-watching the whole series, I NEED THIS!

I think the first season was probably one of the best thought-out and planned seasons of television ever written. For real. Who could have predicted all of that. Not me, and I am good at predicting things. Like Veronica Mars good at predicting things (see what I did there?). Every time I thought I had it figured out, something else would happen. Same goes for season two. I thought I had it solved, and then…boom! New clue, new perpetrator. It was fantastic. On top the fantastic story lines, it also had some pretty clever dialogue. Like Gilmore Girls clever, and I appreciate that.

Then along comes season three.

So much word vomit is about to take place.

Like seriously. What?

Season three had a multitude of issues. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it, but c’mon people. I’ve seen the fact that they had to transition from high school to college as one reason for the many flaws, but let’s not blame that. Smallville dealt with it just fine. I think the main viewing problem that season three had was that is had too many story lines. They should have kept to their already working structure of one major mystery throughout the whole season, with minor mysteries sprinkled in. This one just never felt like it had an over-arching storyline, and I didn’t like that. There were too many mediocre story arcs. I felt like none of them had the same detail as the previous seasons, and therefore didn’t have the satisfying resolution I’d grown accustom to with Veronica Mars. Stick to the murder of Dean O’Dell. Or the campus rapist. But don’t do both. That’s where they messed up.

But issue that bothers me the most is…what kind of show ends like that? It’s cruel. So unbearably cruel. I understand that a next season is not always guaranteed, so why don’t producers and writers? Unless you have a contract stating that you will, in fact, return in the fall, I feel like each season should have a nice little bow on it. For the viewers sake. Like, could we please not leave every single loose end not tied up? At least close a couple story lines. For my sake.

The election cliff-hanger (did Keith Mars go to jail? Did he win sheriff?). The Weevil cliff-hanger (like, I like him, but is he a good guy? What was he doing with the program box?). The Dick Casablancas transformation cliff-hanger (did he ever become a real human-being? He was showing remorse and emotion…he was on the right track). The “sex tape” cliff-hanger (we get to see this “resolved” in only one episode…is that a joke?) Wallace went to Africa (for real…to help the Invisible Children?). The Castle cliff-hanger (Jake Kane and all the others were surely meant to be a part of season four. Would Duncan have come back? Would the Castle have had some connection to Lilly’s murder?). The internship at the FBI (you know Veronica would have uncovered some pretty big Area 51 style secrets).

Most importantly the Logan and Veronica vs. Piz and Veronica cliff hanger.

WHY CAN’T LOGAN AND VERONICA BE TOGETHER! Seriously. Logan is so helplessly in love with Veronica. That playboy is crazy devoted to her. Why can’t she just appreciate that for what it is? Why does she feel the need to want him to be someone else. So what if he has bad-boyish tendencies? Logan is a reformed bad boy. He has anger issues, and he has promiscuity issues, but not with Veronica. Everything that Logan does is for Veronica, and she just never appreciates it. And it ticks me off. Like, makes me unreasonably mad.

Also, while we’re on the subject of Veronica’s love interests…Piz? Don’t get me wrong, I think Piz is a great guy. He’s a sweetheart, and he’s kind, and he’s adorable, but he is not Logan. And Veronica would get bored of him. The passion of Logan is just not present with Piz. And I don’t appreciate the writers tossing him in to the mix. Piz is sweet, but he does not love Veronica like Logan does. You know it, I know it, Parker knows it, Veronica and Logan know it, Piz knows it. For Heaven’s sake even, even dumb Dick Casablancas knows it. And If there had been a season four, you and I both know that Logan and Veronica would have ended up together once again. I mean, did you see the way she looked at him in the food court after he beat the crap out of that guy? Pure adoration. 

I guess I’m just going to have to wait until  March 14 to see the movie when it premieres ( it had better be showing someone in my region, or there will definitely be a road trip in my future. Dallas. Chicago. Wherever I must go, I will go). I’m already apprehensive of the movie. I mean, Veronica and  Piz are together? For 10 years? How? Veronica is a lawyer? Once again, how? But whatever. I don’t even care. I will just be pleased to see all of my favorite character back on my screen (including beloved Deputy Leo aka Schmidt!)

Also, I may or may not have heard (rumors, of course) that there is already a sequel in the works.

Que fangirl squealing!

Categories: Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Duck, duck, duck, duck….goose

I am just as tired as you are about hearing about Phil Robertson. I’m not even sure why we are talking about him, to be honest. An individual’s beliefs should not even be a talking point these days. But yet, here we are in the end of 2013 STILL discussing how WE think WE are right. No matter what side you are on, you think you’re right. Which I guess is human nature…if you’re five-years old.

Here is the only problem with everything that is going on with Mr. Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what he says, or the fact that he was banned from his very popular show. It has everything to do with our views on equality. Equality means that everyone has the right to do and say whatever they feel without fear of persecution. And the fact that this is a front page, top-tier news story proves just how skewed the public’s view of equality is these days.

For the record, before you judge me and stick me off to the side, and think I am some kind of hater or angry person, I just want to say that I am actually in support of same-sex relationships. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that I encourage it, but I think who an individual loves is none of my business. Who they love does not affect me in any way, shape, or form, so why should I try to dictate it or be offended by it? You know what offends me more than same-sex marriage? The fact that Kim Kardashian can get married for 72 days and nobody bats an eyelash at it. That is more offensive to my future marriage than Ellen and Portia being married.

If they love them, they love them and that is all there is to it. SIDE NOTE: Lots of homosexual people are actually a whole lot better at the love game than lots heterosexual people, because it’s so much more work for them than it is for heterosexuals. When you are homosexual, you have to fight to love who you love, which I think is probably a bonding factor. But when you are heterosexual, people become disposable because it’s just so darn easy.

The real problem here is that he is being criticized and condemned of hate because he expressed an opinion. It’s not that he was kicked off the show, because as a company A&E has every right to kick him off if he breached his contract or they don’t approve of something he says or does. Since A&E is not the government (I’m pretty sure), it has absolutely nothing to do with his First Amendment right. His job with A&E was an elected privilege, not a right. The problem is that having a belief or voicing a belief should not be something that is even written in a contract, or be something that can be approved or disapproved of, it should just exist.

Just as liberals are given the right to express their opinion that they agree with same-sex partnership, and they expect to be accepted, Phil Robertson has every right to disagree with them, and expect his opinion be accepted.

As a whole, the LGBT community preaches tolerance, which is a good thing. The issue that arises is that tolerance is preached, but not practiced. The LGBT community wants every one to be tolerant of their views on life and love, but they are often times intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them or has different views than them. (And I do’t mean to call them out specifically, but that is where the subject matter is at today.) Which is not okay. If you preach tolerance, you must also practice tolerance, which is putting up with stuff you don’t agree with and not crying hate every time someone says something that offends you.

Example: If you know me at all, you know that I am a little bit in love with Justin Timberlake. Okay, a “little bit” is probably a bit of a lie. I straight up adore JT. But, on his new album in the song Cabaret he has a line where he says “got you sayin’ Jesus so much it’s like we’re laying in a manger.” Um, as a Christian that is INCREDIBLY offensive to me. But do you hear me (or Christians everywhere) crying hate against JT because he is mocking Christianity? No. I either a.) ignore it, or b.) skip the song. (Just so we are all clear, this is NOT me hating on JT, I love him and I will probably never speak to you again if you try to pin JT hate on me.)

Just take a minute to think about it. Look at it from the point of, if someone on a really popular reality show revealed that they were homosexual and was then suspended indefinitely for that reason only, not because they went on a wild rant and for real slandered hate everywhere, or were caught executing heterosexual people, but they were suspended solely because they believed in homosexuality, that would be considered discrimination and people would be up-in-arms about it. Essentially this is the exact same situation, only opposite. Phil Robertson is being discriminated against because of his beliefs, and that is not okay. Discrimination is never okay, not matter the subject matter: race, sexual-orientation, religious beliefs. Doesn’t matter, not okay.

We’ve all come too far with equality to let these little things tear down everything that has been built up. I think as a whole the human race probably needs to develop some thicker skin. People are always going to say things that you find hurtful or offensive, just learn to roll with it. Also, while we’re at it, maybe we can also learn some compassion?

Here’s the big kicker,the thing that I can’t seem to wrap my head around…there are so many different channels to watch, magazines to read, and music to listen, that it just seems crazy to me that we can spend so much time arguing over something so easily avoided. If you don’t like what you see on TV, change the channel. If you don’t like what you’re reading in a magazine, put it down. If you don’t like what you’re hearing, skip the song. It sounds pretty basic and easy to me.

You cannot fight hate and discrimination with hate and discrimination.

If you want tolerance, then practice tolerance.

If you want equality, then practice equality. 

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HANSON DAY 2013

Guess what I did last weekend?

Went to Tulsa with Tara! (Click here to see Tara’s blog.)

Why did Tara and I go to Tulsa last weekend, you ask?

IT WAS HANSON WEEKEND!

That’s right. Contrary to what everyone (and when I say everyone, I mean a lot of people) I’ve told this story to thinks, those Hanson boys are still around and making music. Good music. And they have a lot of crazy, cool, dedicated fans. And every year in their native land of Tulsa, Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plains) they celebrate what is known as Hanson Day (May 6th, for those wondering)! Where they host lots of special events for their adoring public, all culminating with a special concert on Sunday.

This is the first year Tara and I have attended, but probably won’t be the last. Along with actually getting to see Hanson, we did a lot of other fun things. We ate a lot of food; fled from the snow in Springfield; spent a lot of money (okay, I spent a lot of money). We went to the Tulsa Zoo; interacted with the youngest Hanson brother (also known as Mac); got to be apart of the new Hanson EP (everyone be sure to listen for my lovely singing voice). We stared at some pretty chocolate; bought the pretty chocolate and then were unable to eat them because of their beauty (one week later and I have only eaten one). Oh yeah, we also saw Iron Man 3.

It was off the chain (okay, ignore that lame phrase of excitement). Here are a couple pictures (because, I mean, there was so much excitement..and then there was that sign.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ll pick you up when you’re getting down. And out of all these things I’ve done, I think I love you better now.

Why does everyone want to see Ed Sheeran? Okay, that’s a dumb question. Obviously everyone wants to see him because he’s the bomb. Really, I’m just angry that every single one of his shows always sells out before I get tickets.

If you don’t already know who this guy is, look him up. He’s 21-years-old and already he’s probably the greatest songwriter to come out of England since the McCartney/Lennon days. No joke. If all you know of him is his performance of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” from the Olympic Closing Ceremonies, you are so behind. He is literally the entire musical package. He’s a typical singer/songwriter…who also raps. Seriously.  And if that wasn’t enough of a shocker, he’s also ginger. I didn’t even know gingers had the ability to rap.

Over the past few years he’s self-released a lot of EPs and a a couple full albums, but in 2011 he was finally picked up by Atlantic Records (a sub-division of Warner Music Group). And that led to the release of his “debut” album, +.  It’s the best album I’ve ever heard. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s probably one of the most diverse albums I’ve ever heard (and it’s definitely in the top 10 best albums ever). I cannot stop listening to it (and neither can Elton John, so that gives it some heavy credibility right there). He sings like an angel. It’s amazing lyrically and has so many different sounds to it. It’s kind of hard to believe that it all came from the brain of one 21-year-old guy. You have acoustic driven tracks, and hip-hop, and pop.

Ed Sheeran is pretty much poised to take over the world. This month he will be featured on the album Red. You know, the upcoming new album from that little, blond country girl. Taylor Swift? Maybe you’ve heard of her. That album is a guaranteed smash. And as if that wasn’t enough, he’s also got a couple songs coming out in November on the album Take Me Home. It’s by another band you might have heard of…One Direction [like them or not, you can’t deny that their popularity (or their catchy songs for that matter), and the fact that their new album is bound to break some records]. He’s got songs on the two most anticipated albums of the year. Not bad for a rookie, huh?

Get familiar with him. You’ll be glad you did. Also, if you’re in any way, shape, or form a Harry Potter fan, go watch his video for “Lego House”. Or if you’re into funny things, go watch it. Or if you like things that are cute, go watch it. Basically I’m telling you that you should watch this video, because really, who doesn’t love Harry Potter and/or funny/cute things?

Is that you Ron Weasley? No, it’s Ed Sheeran.

Listen to the album + here. (Quick fact: my favorite song is “Grade 8″!)

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Holding out for a hero

I recently saw The Avengers (judging from it’s box office numbers, I’m not the only one), and I loved it. Not enough to go see it again (or at least not until it goes to the $3 theater), but I appreciated it’s epic-ness. It was non-stop. And I love movies like that. I love movies where you never know what point you’re at in the story because it’s just constant action. Constantly engaging. There’s no real beginning, middle, or end. I think it did a great job of bringing together all the different superheroes. I loved the whole cast and their dynamics together. (I think they’ve finally found a winner in Mark Ruffalo. No more changing Hulks.) Watching The Avengers makes me wonder just when DC Comics will be putting together a Justice League movie. I think they’ve got a ways to go seeing as I’ve only ever seen (that I remember) two Justice League characters in movies (Batman and Superman).

There is just something special about heroes, at least in my opinion. They’re a dying breed. Why is that so many guys basically worship these fictional characters, but yet none of them want to act like them? Why are there so many Situations and Pauly Ds in the world, but few Clark Kents or Steve Rogers’? I think it’s because it is hard to be a hero. It takes courage, and integrity, and selflessness. Sometimes doing the right thing does not make you cool, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it anyway. You don’t have to have out of this world powers to be a hero, you just have to have an out of this world heart.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

Hats off to all those men out there who are heroes; the men who sacrifice so much to serve our country, who keep our streets safe, who rush into burning buildings, and those who adore the women in their life and who spend time with their children.  (Not saying that women are any better at being heroes, or that that is not something we should also strive for, that’s just not what this post is about.)

And now, to the real point of the blog: my top 5 favorite superheroes. Typically girls don’t have these lists because typically they don’t care. I, however, am no typical girl, and therefore do have a top 5 superheroes list (really I love most superheroes, I’m pretty sure I own ever superhero movie there is, but I do have my favorites).

1.    Superman (Clark Kent)

Superman will always be my favorite superhero, for obvious reasons. I mean, he’s freaking Superman. You don’t get much more heroic than that. He can do it all. He’s the man of steel. Faster than a speeding bullet. Supersonic hearing. Heat and x-ray vision. And he can fly. He’s the ultimate superhero.

I am sure that my love for him also comes from my love of the TV show Smallville. I faithfully watched that show all 10 seasons (and now I faithfully re-watch that show on dvd). I just love Clark Kent. He’s funny, smart, and kind. Clark always does what’s best. He’s a true gentleman, but at the same time he kind of has a bit of an ornery streak. And Tom Welling was seriously the best Clark Kent/Superman. I mean, he even had Christopher Reeve’s approval. I am a little frustrated with Warner Bros for not casting Tom Welling as Superman for the new Man of Steel movie after the Smallville finale. It would have worked so perfectly. (However, I did hear that Tom Welling turned down the role, so I guess I can’t lay WB with all the blame. I also heard that there may be a Smallville movie in the works, which would be ideal for me. Then I’d get to keep all my beloved characters.) I just really love Clark Kent/Superman.

2.    Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Captain America is my second favorite superhero simply because of his heart. He starts out as this little guy who gets beat up all the time, but in the end becomes a beacon of righteousness to everyone. He gets beat up, but he still stands up for what he believes in. Captain America/Steve Rogers never loses his moral center. He never thinks of himself and always does the right thing. He’s compassionate and just an all-around good guy. He is brave and chivalrous. And I love that. I’m sure it definitely doesn’t hurt that the very handsome Chris Evans plays him, either. Chris Evans must just have a superhero spirit about him. First he was in the Fantastic Four, now he’s a Captain America. It suits him.

3.    Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)

Now I know my love for this guy comes from Smallville. I’ve never even seen a comic with him in it (not that I’ve seen many comics at all), or a movie (I did hear that The CW has created a Green Arrow TV show though. No doubt trying to fill the Smallville void. Only, they didn’t cast the same Green Arrow, which is confusing, and disappointing to me). The only experience I have with him is Smallville. And that was enough for me. Green Arrow (on Smallville) is Superman’s (ehh— the Red-Blue Blur’s) right hand man, but he doesn’t quite have the same heart that Superman has. He has a bit of an attitude, which I kind of love about him (plus Oliver is very charming). I love that he’s not the perfect superhero. At his core he is a good guy, but sometimes his attitude gets the best of him and he doesn’t do the right thing. Sometimes he makes bad decisions, but he learns from them.  (Once again, I am sure that it doesn’t hurt that Justin Hartley, the guy portrays Oliver Queen, happens to be very good-looking.)

4.    Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Why does it seem like there are so many ‘green’ superheroes? Is there some kind of significance with the color green that I am just not geeky enough to understand? Anyways, Green Lantern is pretty cool. And for once, I’m not basing my love of him off the movie, which was kind of lame (except for the fact that Ryan Reynolds play Hal Jordan, that’s not lame at all). I’m basing my love of him off his powers. How cool is it that he can create anything with his mind? I think next to being Superman, this is the coolest power.

5.    Iron Man (Tony Stark)

I really just love Tony Stark. Or should I say, I love the Tony Stark that Robert Downey Jr. portrays. He is hilarious! He is sarcastic and arrogant and mean, and I am just greatly amused by him. He’s so quick-witted and snarky. And I love it. I don’t really have an opinion on Iron Man, I mean I suppose he’s okay, I really just love Tony Stark’s obnoxiousness, so that’s why he gets a place on this list.

Who are your favorite superheroes and why?

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As long as there’ll be music, we’ll be comin’ back again.

BOY BANDS ARE BACK!

Did you hear me?!

They.are.back!

It’s like I can hear the Heavens singing. I have been waiting for this day…well, since they left. They never really left me, though. I have always been a boy band fan. At any time on any given day you will hear them playing in my car, and from my laptop/phone. There is just something about them that makes me love them. Their characteristic good looks and charm, their non-threatening personas, and of course those uber sweet and fun songs.

My love affair with boy bands began at a young age. My first musical love in life was Hanson (don’t judge), but if you really want to get technical, I guess it began with The Beatles. The Beatles were/are my dad’s favorite group, so when I was little they were mine. But the first group that I really remember being devoted to was Hanson. That devotion never really faded. I still love them just as much, if not more than I did back in the day. I’m always going to be slightly bitter that they all married other girls, but whatever (Seriously, they may have looked like girls wen they were younger, but look at the handsome men they became). Now it’s one of those deep loves, you know like that one quote I see every where “….love is like a flame…blah, blah, blah…grows deep as embers…” (something like that). Now I truly appreciate their music. There will never be another Hanson in my life.

Then there was the wave of boy bands in the mid to late 90s. I loved them all. I mean, back then you had to choose a team, you COULD NOT like both Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, so I was Team *NSYNC (though I secretly loved BSB, too). I was fairly convinced that I was going to marry Justin Timberlake (I was overlooking the strange 8 year age difference, I would still marry him if he’d get rid of Jessica Biel). I was crazy obsessed with them. Anyone who knew me back in the day can attest to this. I owned every single thing they made; posters covered my walls; I had a t-shirt for every day in the month. It.was.bad. (I may o may not still break out in to dance every time “Bye Bye Bye” comes on.) Luckily I got to see them in concert once (PopOddessy Tour. Arrowhead Stadium. July 10, 2001) before they disbanded. And, let me just be honest here, there is no limit on the amount of money I would pay to see them again if they were to ever go on a reunion tour. I would sell one of my kidneys, and perhaps a lung, too (that’s not a joke).

Then along came the Jonas Brothers. Once again, I was obsessed. I can distinctly remember when/how it started. It was my 18th birthday, and my mom had bought me (ironically enough) Hanson’s latest album, The Walk, but the Jonas Brothers had just released their self-titled album, Jonas Brothers (duh). Though I was, of course, pleased to get Hanson’s new album, I went out and brought the JoBros album. And then in February, Tara and I went and saw their When You Look Me In The Eyes tour. And the rest is sort of history. I was crazy obsessed. Like, one of those fangirls, only less annoying and potentially more scary for them because I was smart. I’ve seen them a total of three times (four if you count the time I saw Nick’s solo tour). Once even I drove all the way to Omaha, Nebraska to see them. I’m still a fan. I bought Nick and Joe’s solo albums (I liked Nick’s a lot more than Joe’s), and I am anxiously awaiting all the new music they’ve been working on. Oh, and I still stalk their whereabouts pretty much daily. (Unfortunately every time I come to California they go to NYC. And now that I moved here, they all live in NYC. I’m still pretty bitter about that.) I’m still not totally convinced I won’t marry one of them (obviously Joe or Nick, because Kevin is already married, and Frankie is too young).

And now there is a new way of boy bands. One Direction. Big Time Rush. The Wanted. (There are probably others that I’m forgetting.) I’ve always kind of loved Big Time Rush. I liked to watch their show when I was home. It was silly and fun. Their music is classic boy band, and they all happen to have the boy band look. Handsome and clean cut. I’m actually currently campaning to work on their up coming summer tour (so if you happen to know anyone who works for Columbia Records, hit me up), because I think it would be fun. Four crazy guys who have to entertain 13-year-olds for 1.5 hours? Tell me that doesn’t sound like fun. I only vaguely know The Wanted. I’ve heard their one song “Glad You Came,” but that’s about as far a I go in knowledge of them. I wouldn’t be able to pick them out in a police line up.

Then there is One Direction. I hated them for so long. I remember reading about them months ago. Months before they blew up over here. And I hated them. I had never actually heard any of their songs, but I hated their public personas. They are dirty, inappropriate and I was just not a fan. I’m still not sure that I am a fan. But, I did buy their album. Because I couldn’t resist. As I have just laid out my musical history with boy bands, you can see that it is embedded in my DNA to love them. And as much as I want to hate One Direction, their music is classic boy band. It’s fun, incredibly catchy and sweet. I just want to make it clear that I do not like them, I just like their music (which was not written by them).

MTV has created a competition that was made for me. Battle of the Boy Bands. Voting began yesterday on this bracket (which as far I’m concerned trumps the March Madness bracket by a landslide).

The starting 32 boy bands.

I decided to take some time and give you my picks. Below you will find two separate brackets. The first one is what I anticipate happening, And the second one is what I want to happen.

This what I predict will happen.

Now, as I just explained before, I do not love One Direction…but a lot of girls do. A lot of the demographic that is actually going to vote in the contest love them. A huge part of their rise to fame was the internet. They wouldn’t be as huge as they are now if it wasn’t for tumblr, twitter, blogs and youtube. So I think that their little fans will probably run this competition. Which is sad. There is no way they deserve to beat Backstreet Boys, but such is life. You also may be a bit annoyed with some of my other picks, but I’m just trying to take into account who I think the voters will pick.

Most of the voters will identify with Big Time Rush, but they’ll have no idea who Boys II Men is. It’s kind of the same way throughout some of the other ocntests. You have to look at the voting demographic. Young girls who are crazy obsessed (like I was not so long ago) are going to spend hours on their computers voting, and their friends are all going to vote. Now, Boys II Men may in fact be the better boy band, but how many Boys II Men fans are getting on mtv.com everyday? How many times will Boys II Men tweet a link to this site and campaigning for the win, because I can guarantee the Big Time Rush will. And how many Boys II Men fans have hours upon hours to just sit and vote..? Exactly.

Backstreet Boys are still around making music, and they have a pretty heavy web presence, plus their core fans are my age (and very dedicated), and know how to use a computer and are on it pretty frequently. If anybody has a shot at taking on One Direction and their crazy fans, it’s BSB. They might have a decent shot because once all of my generations other favorites get eliminated we will rally behind them. *NSYNC is a classic, when most people think boy band, they are probably what they think of, so they might have more of a fighting chance than I’m giving them credit for. (Wouldn’t it be great if it came down to BSB vs. *NSYNC? That would be the classic battle.) And I refuse to pick a winner out of the Jonas Brothers/Hanson round. I just won’t do it.

This is what I want to happen.

I can’t choose! I want them all to win!

That east division is just killing me. As you will notice, three of my all-time favorite bands have to face off, and if I could have my way I would want them all to win (though I don’t really consider Hanson or the JoBros as classic boy bands, but I guess they can fit in this time). You will also notice that I kept Big Time Rush ahead of Boys II Men after defending them before, but personally I was just not a big Boys II Men fan. I know that they were successful and well-loved, just not by me. I don’t really have an opinion on The Wanted, but I love The Monkees, so they win that round. Another surprising choice is New Kids on the Block over The Beatles. In my head, I just don’t categorize The Beatles as a boy band. They have more credibility than that. I mean, is Guns N’ Roses a boy band just because it’s a band made up of boys? No! So I don’t see how The Beatles fell into this catagory. I mean, if you’re going to throw them in, then where are The Beach Boys, huh? And you will also notice that I have One Direction going to the final four, but did you look at their competition? They were seriously given the easier division. I mean, B2K? They were barely a boy band. They had one song…and then I’m pretty sure they disbanded. And “Bump Bump Bump,” was hardly an innocent, boy band style song. And, don’t get me wrong, I love BSB and New Kids on the Block, so therefor I love NKOTBSB and I was obsessed with their song “Don’t Turn Off The Lights,” but it seems a little bit unfair to give both bands two bids in this competition.

So, if I had my way the title would be split four ways. However, if I absolutely HAD to choose….

Hanson would get my vote for best overall band…but I think I’d have to give the title of best boy band to *NSYNC. They are pretty much the epitome of the entire genre.

Let me know what you guys think. Do you love boy bands? Are you glad they’re back? Who do you think will win? Who do yo want to win? Was your favorite boy band left out? Tell me what you’re thinking, I’m always up for a good boy band discussion.

And be sure to vote here.

Categories: Entertainment, Music, Pop Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’d paint you a picture, write you a song, and I’d do it all over if I did it all wrong.

My current obsession: Hunter Hayes. I bought his album on a whim last October when it released and I have always loved it, but every once in a while, it becomes this album that I can’t stop listening to, and that time is now. I sort of love blasting it from my car while I’m stuck in traffic on Sunset Blvd. (People in LA just don’t appreciate country music.)

How ridiculously talented is this kid? He wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs on his album, he co-produced it…and on top of that, he played every single instrument on the album, that’s 30 + instruments.  What that heck? Who does that??  It’s crazy. I got to see him this past fall (briefly), when he opened for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now World Tour stop in St. Louis, and he was so engaging and entertaining. He is just fantastic.

He is a country artist. Like real country.  It’s even borderline that I would like him because he is country country. He’s got some blues influences, and because he’s young he’s got somewhat of a newer country-pop sound too, but there overall feel of his music is straight up country. He’s probably about as country as I’ll get. His songs are, for the most part, sweet. The kid is only 20-years-old, but his songs are not bubblegum, and they’re not silly and superficial. They are written with artistry well beyond his years. His lyrics are clever, innocent and real. They are also age appropriate. There’s nothing in there that I wouldn’t listen to with any of my nieces.

Plus, he is freaking doll. Blond hair, blue eyes, baby face. He’s cute as a button. He has all the makings of a superstar. Charisma, real talent and good looks, he’s going to be huge. He’s going to be sleeper success; no one is going to even see it coming.

Seriously, he's a doll.

This kid has more talent in his pinky finger then most people in the music industry, and yet, he’s remained relatively unknown. Sure, he’s fairly popular in the country music world (as I like to say, he’s the Justin Bieber of country music), but he’s not like a huge commercial success. Which is sad. When people like Nicki Minaj are huge, and people like Hunter are not, there is something seriously wrong. Regardless of whether you like country music or not, you at least have to see how this that’s a problem. When someone who writes, produces, and plays every instrument invented is relatively unknown, and someone who can’t sing, write or even dress herself is vastly popular, there is a problem in the industry.

Listen to Hunter’s debut album here. And if you really love it (which if you like country music, you should) go buy it on iTunes, or if you’re like me, and you like have hard copies of things go pick it up at Target, or BestBuy, or Wal*Mart, anywhere, just go buy it. Check out his website: www.hunterhayes.com and you can follow Hunter on twitter at @HunterHayes.

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