Laying out what’s on my mind because telepathy is unavailable

Open letter to American Idol watchers…

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Seriously? Kris Allen? Really?

I mean he’s palatable, I guess, as a coffeehouse-“The Blend”-VH1 Classic-Jack Johnson kind of singer. At least that’s what I see and hear.

But American Idol? Really?

I don’t see it. Today. Tomorrow. Any other day of the week.

I gotta say that the bloom is off the rose for Danny Gokey, too. He’s light-years ahead of Kris vocally. Probably not as good of a performer, but that can be taught. He needed to be ganked just for that last note on Dream On. Oof.

I don’t know how this isn’t Adam Lambert’s show to lose. Seriously. Unless all the voters are Gokey and Allen enthusiasts–or Taylor Hicks speed dialing at the speed of light trying to validate his win–Lambert has to win. Especially after that performance on a Zep song. If he does anything by Queen next week, it’s over. Queen seems to be the ultimate standard, outside of Zeppelin, for rockers. If he sings it, the others can go home. They’ll have good careers–there are no losers on these shows. But, damn. Really, America. Be honest with yourselves.


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May 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

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Open Letter to Allison Iraheta.

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Girl, you got jobbed. There’s no other way to say it. America must be full of tweener to twentysomething girls who like to see a boyish cute face versus overwhelming singing and performance talent.

Evs. Your career is not going to be marked by being third-runner-up on Idol. If Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry are any indication, you can rise above anything that Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and even Adam Lambert have to offer.

You are the heiress apparent to Janis Joplin, Ann Wilson and Pat Benatar. Believe that. In fact, you should seek out Chris Daughtry, Pat Benatar, Slash, and any other artist who can steer you in the right direction of good management, producers, fellow artists and the right people to be around. Start building a great network. Don’t forget that you are 17 and that there are a lot of pitfalls for someone just coming into his or her own in Los Angeles, New York and other music meccas around the world. There’s booze, drugs and all sorts of weirdness out there. Keep your head.

Also, keep playing the guitar. Write songs. Find a band. You’re going to be around for a very long time.

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May 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm

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Open letter to Matt Giraud. Of the “Matt Giraud Twelve.”

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Matt, first off, great job making the final five of American Idol. You’re a really talented guy. Actually, you’re probably better suited to songwriting and making music than any of the other five. So this will be a good transition for you.

I know that you’d been searching to find that mix between soul, pop and rock. I’m not sure the Fray is the right way to go for you. Might I suggest drawing your inspiration from another piano man.

Ben Folds.

See, like Billy Joel, Ben Folds told many stories of his life through music. Though his stuff is not as iconic as Billy Joel’s is, he’s really suited to what you are. You’re a hipster. You’re too talented for the room–you know it–and you only show flashes of how good you really are. Ben Folds uses a lot of humor, wordplay and references people can relate to in the stories he tells. At least a lot of them related to me. His first two albums as “Ben Folds Five”–yes, they were a trio–were great for their time. Grunge rock had kind of blown a tire and the rest of alternative music was in between U2 and Pearl Jam albums.

Ben Folds was fresh. Every time you listened to him, you were in a college piano bar, singing along and barely realizing how effortlessly he entertained people.  Ask your boy Anoop about Ben Folds. Being from Chapel Hill, NC, he probably knows all about him. Listen. Learn. Add to your repertoire.

Have fun on tour.

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April 30, 2009 at 3:38 am

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So not cool anymore. I’d scream like Adam Lambert if I could…

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So, I’m sitting here waiting for coffee to brew and ruminating on last night’s events. Last night gave me the opportunity to really reflect on pop culture and what used to be the culture du jour (Culture of the day? That sounds good. I’ll have that.).

First, I watched Idol, which is a cultural microcosm in itself. Adam Lambert is my new favorite singer. I’m hoping against hope that AI has a “Ronnie James Dio” week or a “glam metal” week or a ” cat’s tail crushed by a rocking chair” week. His yelping falsetto is ridiculous. I’ll be wailing like him at the end of every sentence for the rest of the week. He’s awesome. He’s the walking Barry Gibb Talk Show. Adam needs to get that under control, though. Vegasing up Wild Cherry is fine, but that’s only going to take you so far.

That’s the fun of Idol, though. You’ll have people like him who will find or create their own niches for themselves. Except for Alison Iraheta, he’s the most talented and “current” singer on that show this year. She’s unreal when she’s on.


That didn’t translate to print as I’d hoped. Apologies.

Then, some of my college buddies and I talked for an hour for the Pointless Roundtable. We discussed Michael Jackson fashion, Big Daddy Kane, jean shorts (which should never come back), sitcoms, All in the Family, Party Down, That’s Happening, April Fool’s Day pranks and Kentucky basketball. You can find it here at I can’t explain it, but I was and am way behind the curve on all of these subjects. It’s a good listen. Check it out later today.

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April 1, 2009 at 12:53 pm

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I just finished Daniel Gross’ article in Newsweek on why we should be spending and not investing. In it, he said that we, as a country, were hypomanic in the late 90’s and 2000s. He’s right, but I don’t think it’s an argument to make that acting that way is a good thing. Hypomania is a strong feeling of euphoria, or mania, that lasts for short periods of time. When someone is hypomanic he or she feels intensely focused on doing something, giddy and full of uncontrollable energy. Usually, mania strikes without rational thought behind it and it can push or promote bad behavior or bad choices. Haven’t we had enough of that financially? Getting on the hot stock because it’s hot and everyone else is buying it? The tech boom proved more often than not that buying without due diligence, rational thought, or self-control could lead to thousands in lost money, simply because an overwhelmingly attractive concept went bust. The same holds true for the housing bubble as people who couldn’t afford large payment balloons believed themselves to be invinicible and overlooked consequences. Also, hypomanic personalities are also prone to paralyzing anxiety. Which, in my view, is what a lot of people who make decisions without thought or backup plans are experiencing right now. I’m all for America to take reasonable risks again to goose the economy, productivity and the American dream. I just think that advocating poor decision making is irresponsible. I’d also ask Mr. Gross to lay off the armchair psychology. I didn’t happen to notice an M.D., D.O., or PhD near his name in psychiatry or psychology. Just saying.

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March 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm

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I learned about the “Precious 45” today.

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I’m a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Today, I heard Kevin Riordan, from John Carroll University, speak about keeping the “precious 45” hours you’re at work sacred. How do you want to spend them so you get the most of what you want out of them. Also, are you enjoying those hours, because if you’re not, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

I’m enjoying my hours, but completely taking them foregranted in terms of keeping track. Like with Weight Watchers, Shape Up and Go (It’s a Clinic thing), and other metric based parts of my life, I’m woefully challenged. I like to use my favorite phrase they use on ESPN Radio.

I’m efforting:)

Kudos to Kevin for teaching me a better way to look at my week.

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March 5, 2009 at 4:38 am

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I’m actually feeling kind of OK with how things are in Northeast Ohio right now…

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I mean, don’t get me wrong. We’re financially in the dumper. Still, I’m feeling pretty optimistic. Moreso than in a very long time.

Personally, I’m feeling so, because as I visit people and companies as a fundraiser, I see people who aren’t beaten down. They might not be able to do what they want to do philanthropically right now, but they are considering–and looking for opportunities. It gives me hope. Also, I feel right now that a lot of people believe in me. Crazy, right? I mean, when was the last time that you considered whether anyone believed in you?

Think about that for a second. Confidence in who you are and what you’re about is very important, especially in times like these. And, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I’m still an organizational mess, but I’m an organizational mess with purpose.

Plus, I put on a kick-ass puppet show for six year old girls’ tea parties. True story. Ask Vivian and her friends.

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March 1, 2009 at 3:59 am

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