Sunday, February 22, 2009

don't mess with the WMG

Hey guys, sorry...trying to do this on at least a weekly basis. This past week I've been sick and I found out yesterday I have shingles. Good news is I miss work the next few days (hell, I deserve it after the last couple nights I went through at work...) but I'll pretty much drive myself crazy in my room trying to stay away from everyone. To those who don't know what 'shingles' is, I'll explain it the way the nurse did: To anyone who has had the chicken pox at an earlier age, the gene (?) or something stays in your spinal cord for a very long time. Think of it as a small particle of memory on your spine. (I had the chicken pox when I was 6) The chances of 'chicken pox' coming back are likely when you get older. So, twenty-one years later, I start feeling weird and soon I start getting large bumps of what I think is acne on my face. I even go to work for a couple nights while people ask me what's going on. I'll even admit, that I thought I was developing an allergic reaction to something, but at least I know now what's wrong. I got some good medicine so I should recover soon.......

Well, the main topic I was going to bring up is copyrighting. In the last couple years (or ever since we made Youtube a part of our Internet lives), we've found so much copyrighted material that you would think there is no such law anymore. True, we have seen some videos pulled over time because of that. But now, it seems its all changed. The WMG, or Warner Music Group, has now muted thousands of videos, because of people using their songs without permission. This includes my WLCA in Godfrey video that I plugged on this blog a year ago. It comes to me as a surprise because the video, after nearly a year on Youtube, has only gotten over 250 views, but somehow some Nazi in that WMG group found that I used 10 seconds of the Cure's song "Dressing Up". I didn't even put it in the description column. So I'm thinking some random person from that label is listening to over 10,000 videos a day trying to hunt people down. Oh well. Back in January, Facebook pulled my 'Voigt Family Christmas '07' video because I used Carrie Underwood's 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' throughout the video. It was my own fault bc I wrote it in the description. But I guess its time for me to pay the price, as well as many other people. My only solution for keeping 'WLCA in Godfrey' alive would be substituting different music but it would almost be impossible to edit that stuff down. I have been extremely lucky (knocks on wood) that my documentary (which has gotten 1000s of views) hasn't been muted (yet). It does contain several song clips from popular songs from the past.

But, as for now, I gotta face reality and respect others property. I understand the music business is doing bad, so they gotta do what they gotta do to make sure nothing gets out for free (unless its ok with them). But then you also got musicians like Tom Petty who are like, "As long as people can hear my music, what the hell's wrong?".

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to those who have all the love in them for whoever they're with. Ever since junior high I've found this to be my least favorite holiday besides Halloween just because people treat this like a popularity contest. At first, I thought it was a religious holiday. Not to sound too bashful, but I've always seen it as a way for people with significant others to shove their love for them down people's throats. I'm sorry, that's just how I feel most of the time. But, until I know what love is, know!! lol

I'm already in the middle of working my usual S'nS weekend, and tonight, without a doubt, we will be busy. Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year at SnS. Believe it or not, people actually do bring their dates/wives/partners whatever at our restaurant. I really hate to judge peoples different tastes and traditions, but: Why in the world would anyone take their lover to a place with a drive-thru? The same goes for those who take their dates to SnS on prom and homecoming nights. Applebees? I can kinda see. Houlihans? Sure. Somewhere more upscale? Definitely. I hope your getting some laughter out of this one. I recall reading a recent article about a couple who celebrate their anniversaries at White Castle, only because that's where they met. Cute?!

Getting off topic, I've been asking everyone around me what's better: Fleetwood Mac or Elton John/Billy Joel show in May. I'm saving up to go to one of these shows at the Scottrade Center. I've asked maybe 20 people, and only 2 of them said Fleetwood Mac. I love all 3 acts, but everyone said it right when the best for the right time and money is Elton/Billy. I hope that Fleetwood Mac will go on tour in the future. I plan to go to some shows in 2009, and I'm sure one of those will be the kicker. If anyone is interested in going to Billy/Elton, you're more than welcome to join me. I don't plan on waiting that much longer since that show will likely sell out soon. If no one else is interested, I may splurge bigtime on the seats closer to the stage. Hey, gotta treat myself someway, right?

Peace everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln Bicentennial day

2009 is definitely the year of anniversaries. What you're about to read is what you may think to be showing the sensitive side of me (again). It was two centuries ago that one of the greatest people in history was born. 'Honest Abe' Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky on this day in 1809. What his parents didn't know is that this infant would go on to be one of the country's most respected presidents of all time. When I went to Mount Rushmore some summers back, our tour guide told a witty story about how Abe wasn't 'always honest' as he was telling a story about him lying to his wife.

A lot of bloggers/columnists recently wrote that many people should take this anniversary and birthday very seriously, and I do agree with them. I'm not really sure how to back that up, but I'll go ahead and simply put it this way: Without Lincoln, there would be no America. I remember once reading in John Ratzenberger's book 'We've Got It Made In America' that he felt insulted that such places like mattress stores have used this occasion to offer discount deals. A lot of historians have noted that back in 1909, several organizations and groups proudly commemorated his birthday. I'm not really sure what to say for this year. The US Mint will distribute two special double-sided pennies with different angles/portraits of Lincoln.

But I'll get back to his legacy. I took a Civil War/Reconstruction class a couple summers ago and my professor asked the class, "Why was Abraham Lincoln looked up to as a leader, and what did the others see in him? And why is he one of the most-respected presidents of all time?". He knew the answer, but he wanted to get our opinions of course.
My answer was this: "I think it's because everyone loves a great success story. Abraham Lincoln was self-made and self-taught. He never attended school, but instead educated himself to the fullest all through his teen years. He always had a hunger for knowledge, as he walked several miles to borrow books. By his twenties he was smart enough to attend law school. He also served as an inspiration to those who fail. Several strings of failures occurred when he ran for public offices. So he was one of those who inspired others to never give up. By the time this country was falling apart, he was able to courageously take the Oval Office. His predecessor, James Buchanan, even said as he handed him the White House, "If you want to become President of the United States at a time like this, then you are indeed one happy man...". He then led the North during the Civil War, carefully choosing his leaders and delivering his speeches to end slavery. And lastly, he died for his country." Of course, there lays the controversy about his ways/thoughts with civil rights (when ending slavery), but I hope those note that this was only the beginning. I could go on more about his legacy, but I hope you all get the idea.

Today, Lincoln's influence holds around the world as well. The current president of South Korea has recently wrote about his dream in uniting the 'Koreas' and his inspiration was Abe Lincoln. I remember when I was in the second grade we were all asked to write a 'Since You've Been Gone...' letter to Lincoln. Mine is kind of embarrassing to read, as we were all kids writing it ('We now have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!...'). But if I were to write one today, I'd say I'm proud to have him as part of my state history and so much has happened in America since 1865. Only two presidents have been impeached. We've become more of a world power. We have become more dominant in foreign affairs, as well as fighting two world wars. And yes, the states are still together, having an even number of 50 states.

So to anyone who is reading this, I encourage everyone to take the time to think about how much impact Abraham Lincoln has had on this country.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

honest baseball = pasttime thing

About a year and a half ago, I blogged about this similar subject. Like you, you're probably sick of hearing about several fallen sports heroes. But of course, this is nothing new as this has happened for decades. Unfortunately, we're still in the 'steroid era' where we find so many baseball players breaking some of the hottest records left. Now A-Rod (or A-Roid) admits to doing it for 2 years. He took it like a man (I guess...), and went on tv and apologized and admitted it was stupid for taking 'roids. There are a lot of cheaters in baseball, but we also still have our decent players (let's hear it for our own Albert Pujols!).

And getting off topic, I do accept Michael Phelps public apology when a picture of him doing it out of a bong was shared with the public. Last year my little nephews had somebody new to look up to during the Olympics. Last week, Phelps admitted to doing it, lost his sponsorships, etc. The reason I do accept it is that he admitted it was wrong, and he didn't use excuses nor did he blame anybody else. We all do stupid things. I'm not saying what he did was ok; after all, smoking marijuana is one of the worst choices a human can make. I've seen more unsuccessful stories for those I know that do the illegal drug. And also, steroids and illegal enhancers are much worse since those are drugs to help the sportsman cheat.

As I've said before, baseball is an American symbol, so please, cheaters, don't terrorize it. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

To anyone who actually does this '25 random things' note (on Facebook)

I know I shouldn't be criticizing such thing since I'm already guilty of doing it. However, I've only done it on here and Myspace and not facebook. I've already stated that I believe more and more people of all ages are using facebook. This also includes employers and people who you probably look up to. One reason why I didn't post it on FB was because there's selected people who deserve to know my personal life. I don't think I should advertise it to the world. In other words, I don't give too much information away. It's the person's business whether they want to post lingerie party pictures (talk about fresh eye candy for us guys woohoo!) or times where they are intoxicated. But not me.

So to anyone who posts and tags that '25 random things' note on Facebook, I would like to recommend the following article:

The article talks many good points. We Americans take our freedom for granted. While we're playing scrabble on facebook, someone in Egypt is trying to promote democracy using Facebook. So please, use wisely!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

50 years ago today was the day the music (nearly) died

On this very day in 1959, three great rock 'n roll legends had their lives taken away in a plane crash. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were doing a teenybopper winter tour in the North when this happened. I'm sure all of us are familiar with the lyrics and pop cultural references in Don McLean's song "American Pie", which was inspired by this one event. What I mean is this: during the mid-1950s, the rock and roll revolution took America (and the world) by storm. Right-wingers hated the new 'devils music' while the teens loved it. It was a mixture of rhythm and blues and country. It was the sound that became arguably America's greatest export. It was the sound that made blacks and whites come together.

However, by 1959, things slowly changed. Besides the fateful plane crash of Holly and Valens, other artists felt the shift. Elvis Presley was drafted in the Army that same year, Bill Haley gets dropped from Decca Records (the label that helped him promote 'Rock Around the Clock'), and the media started 'turning on' rock legends. A year before, Jerry Lee Lewis's rock career ended after he married his 13-year old cousin. Pop music became pop music again, with Connie Francis, Brenda Lee and Bobby Vinton topping the charts. It wasn't until 1964 when the Beatles came from across the Atlantic to re-introduce rock and roll. What influenced the Beatles' name and sound was Buddy Holly.

There's so many different ways Buddy Holly helped shape music. He's also arguably one of the most covered artists of all time. From the Rolling Stones to John Mellencamp to even Iggy Pop, his songs set the tone for others. Artists even turned his little-known songs into hits, especially Linda Ronstadt. He may not rank as high as Elvis Presley or Ray Charles, but I believe he did set the tone for all rock bands. Before him, there were orchestras and band members that did not get good representation. I also believe Buddy Holly inspired so many to pick up a guitar and form a band, as he did just that at age 19. And lastly, so many musicians from past to present look at him as inspiration, no matter what generation. As for Ritchie Valens (who was just 17 years old) and Big Bopper, they were 2 men who were beginning their careers (although they had 2 hits under their belt already). If you ever watch the movie La Bamba, you'll learn a lot about Ritchie Valens. Despite of his big hit "La Bamba", he never knew how to speak Spanish. In fact, the line that gets repeated over and over in the song translates to "I am not a sailor".

What's very interesting about this is all the legends surrounding this story.

Yes, it is true that Waylon Jennings (who would go on to a very successful Country music career) gave up his seat to one of the musicians. It is also true that he once said "I hope your plane crashes" after Buddy Holly jokingly said "I hope your bus freezes up". Of course, it started out as a joke, but that quote haunted Jennings for the rest of his life.

It is also true that then-unknown Bobby Vee filled in on the tour after the plane crash. Vee would go on and put out a string of hits during the 1960s.

What's false is that the name of the plane was NOT named American Pie. Apparently, people assumed it that way. This piece of trivia was found in several emails that talk about 'random facts'. But what's very puzzling is why they decided to board the plane. This evolved to several different stories and legends. It was a blustery night, so Buddy Holly decided to take a plane to the next town. The bus was freezing, and he wanted to get sleep on the plane. So, it would have made sense to save more time by riding a plane. The other two musicians decided to join him for those reasons. This is the story that I first read.

There's another version where in the movie The Buddy Holly Story, they decide to board the plane after they draw straws (Buddy wins). I never saw the movie, but my speech teacher did and corrected me on this one.

So, its time to rock out to some cool rock and roll from the 50s!

Best Buy needs to get their stuff together

Here's 2 blogs today....My mom has been wanting a bigger and better tv for a while (bc everybody else has one lol), but she didn't know which was best until she found a good one in a Best Buy ad. So, me, my parents and my sister's family (my brother-in-law's the techie guy) go to Best Buy that day to pick it up. (I forget the name and model. But I do know its 50" and its HD!) We figure they're advertising it, and they probably have plenty on stock, right? Plus its good timing, since that HD transition will take place this month.

So, we're there (the one in Edwardsville) and we see the tv on the shelf along with its ticket. Then my mom walks up to this kid in the classic blue Best Buy shirt (who reminded me of that dorky Simpsons character who has a squeaky-deep voice and has bad acne) and suddenly the kid says "We have none in stock". We're like, you're kidding, right? We're all confused, of course. "But you're advertising this in your ad and now you're telling us you don't have it?". Then the dorky kid is like, "Oh, heck no, we haven't had those kinds since November". And remember, this is January. So, needless to say, we were all disgusted with this false advertising and stuff, so we leave the store. The kid even told us we couldn't get them anywhere in the Midwest, not even Chicago. I wish I knew how many people were pi**ed off by this. Even those guys in the yellow shirts by the exit door who pretend to be friendly even said, "Hope you come back!". We ignored them.

This is not to slanderize Best Buy. I think they have great electronics, especially for a loyal Sony buyer like myself. I will always buy their Blu Rays and very, very rarely, their cds. But come on now, why put people on? Apparently, my brother-in-law has had a beef with the company for a year now. And he's been going there for years until recently. I would really hate to see this company go to the toilet like their former competitor, Circuit City. Speaking of which, I've already been to their closeout sales, as I was able to spend half-price on all Blu Rays. Can u dig it?