Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Very Cool Thing

Last Tuesday night, around 7:15, my phone rang. It was my aunt, P. "Guess where I am!" I had absolutely no clue. "Madison Square Garden -- Ned got us tickets to the CMAs! We've already been to one of the pre-show parties!"

Now, remember, this is the first time that the CMAs (Country Music Awards) have been held in NYC. For an obscene amount of money, the public could buy packages that got them great tickets for the show, the pre-party, AND a lavish post-party at the Marriott Hotel, with a special performance by Wynonna! As it turns out, New Yorkers are one of the largest purchasers of country music, in the top three or five nationwide (yet NYC has no country music station...go figure), so it kinda made sense to have the show in town. The city did its part, as did local television networks, promoting the event and the music. The musicians played concerts all over the city, and Garth Brooks and fiancee Trisha Yearwood performed for free in Times Square. (Remember, Garth's Central Park concert was the biggest one ever held there!)

Well, P and Ned had a fantastic evening. The show (some of which I watched) was great and the parties were fabulous. Now Ned wants to do things like this more often, and P suggest that he get a ticket for me in the future, as I'd be able to point out most of the celebrities. Fine by me! (I even figured out who one of the country singers P didn't recognize by her description over the phone...Lorrie Morgan. Guess that cemented that thought!)

My friend Katy has been trying to get me to listen to more country music, and between her efforts, Oprah's, and P and Ned's, it's been happening. Some years ago, I proudly announced to Katy that I'd bought a Trisha Yearwood CD. I'd heard her (and also Wynonna) on a "Tribute to West Side Story" CD, and was blown away by their beautiful voices. Last year, I saw Wynonna on Oprah, and was moved to tears by her rendition of "I Want To Know What Love Is," which, in my opinion, now belongs to her, not Foreigner. Not only did I buy her new CD, I went to see her in concert! And I bought her new CD and DVD last month. Then just a few weeks ago, I went with P and Ned and a bunch of friends to Delaware for the 20th annual Punkin' Chunkin' competition. As a special treat (and a fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Hospital), The Charlie Daniels Band performed on the first night of the competition. I went in there knowing only one song ("The Devil Went Down To Georgia") and walked out a fan. Charlie Daniels kicks butt. So does his band. (Full disclosure: I now have a wicked crush on his amazingly talented drummer, Pat Mc Donald, and lead guitarist Chris Wormer...great musicians and VERY cute!) I now have a Charlie Daniels CD and the DVD they recently released of a concert this past July 4th in Nashville.

While I will probably never be a fan of traditional country music, I am certainly liking the more contemporary stuff. You may soon be able to call me an Urban Cowgirl! But, please...don't ask me to explain Punkin' Chunkin' to you. It's a whole 'nother world.

Monday, November 21, 2005

December 8 (and other stuff that pisses me off)

Giving Media Coverage To Total Asswipes
December 8th marks the 25th year (I refuse to call it an anniversary) since John Lennon's murder. The NBC network has decided to devote one of its newsmagazine's hour of power to the loser who pulled the trigger (and has been running promos for a couple of weeks). Yoko Ono is reportedly pissed off, too, and I don't blame her a bit. Why glorify Lennon's murderer? That's one of the reasons why he shot Lennon in the first place, and why, like so many who kill to feed their tiny little egos, he's in "protective custody" in prison -- because of other idiots who would feed off the fame of being the one who killed him (or Charles Manson, or any of the other notorious prisoners who really belong on Death Row). Yes, it's a vicious cycle for predators. Why would NBC do this? Ratings, of course. It's sweeps month, and ad rates can rise or fall depending on the network's performance. Personally, I hope this show (and others like it) tanks and takes everyone involved in its production down with it. NBC, you suck.

Wrongly Comparing People to Other People
Now don't go thinking I'm a total Lennonhead (Paul is actually my favorite Beatle), but I also get pissed off when I hear Nirvana's Kurt Cobain called "the John Lennon of his generation." Exqueeze me? Baking powder? Cobain didn't have the amount of talent, nor the body of work, that Lennon had in his little fingernail. Are we supposed to revere this "tortured artist" because he took the coward's way out and blew out his supposed brains? Compare him to Lennon? No way. One hit song, a few albums, numerous overdoses, a notorious wife and a "tragic death" does not place Cobain anywhere in Lennon's league. Plus, it's a disservice to whomever truly is that generation's Lennon. Not that one exists.

New Orleans
How much more suffering must these people endure? I just read Time magazine's cover story, which details the slowness and frustration of the city's rebuilding efforts and the effects on those who lost their homes (and much more) due to Hurricane Katrina. FEMA is cutting off hotel room benefits as of December 1 (indirectly choosing World AIDS Day; how appropriate for this unfeeling administration, which probably forgot all about that); insurance benefits are arriving late, if at all; and the government is balking at further financial aid. Yet, let there be an earthquake in Pakistan, and we're among the first to send money and other assistance. What's wrong with this equation? I have nothing against helping other countries, but when we are (supposedly) dealing with quite possibly THE worst natural disaster in our nation's history, charity begins at home. A few countries sent aid to the Gulf State area, which was nice, but the assistance the U.S. received was in no way comparable to what we dole out, all around the world, on a constant basis. My heart breaks for everyone who is trying to crawl out of the rubble created by the hurricanes, not just in New Orleans, but every part of this country that was affected. New Orleans has become the symbol of all that went wrong before and after the hurricanes. It is also one of my favorite places on this earth. I hope that the media will not let this story go.

There's plenty more out there that pisses me off (speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving), but I've spewed enough venom in this post!