Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween 'Possesses' Clay Aiken Fan Sites

HAPPY HALLOWEEN -- AmazingCA created a Halloween setting for this Timeless Tour photo of Clay Aiken by kareneh. Click to enlarge.

NIP Rallies Votes for $50k Grant

Goblins Invade Clay Cyberspace

A brief tour of Clay Aiken message boards, blogs, and Facebook walls reveals that ghosts and goblins this Halloween Weekend have once again possessed the Internet landscape as well as real life terrains.

The same talented graphic artists who treat fans to handsome designs year round have taken the lead in decorating Clay Cyberspace for Halloween 2010. Seasonal decor in Clay Land features creative banners, avatars, as well as graphic designs.

Fledgling composers have blossomed within the ranks of my music students as many have created spooky songs for their instrument. High tremolos abound in songs by violinists while pianists have utilized the lowest and highest ranges of the keyboard, minor modes, and generous helpings of the damper pedal.

Text & Treat for Inclusion Project

Amidst all the Halloween fun, the campaign for a $50,000 grant for the National Inclusion Project is still top priority as supporters continue reciprocal voting with other charities in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and enlisting new votes from friends, family, and associates.

A key project this weekend is to download the PDF version of the above Text and Treat fliers to hand to eligible voters (US citizens 13 and older) all weekend, including Sunday's bewitching hour for trick-or-treaters.

The October campaign closes at midnight Sunday ET, and the Inclusion Project needs every vote -- Internet, Facebook, and text -- foundation supporters can rally.

Register and vote through the National Inclusion Project website for a chance to win a new iPad if the foundation is successful. You can also vote for the NIP, alliances, and several reciprocating partners with the widget in the Carolina sidebar.

Origin of Holiday Customs Varied

Ever wonder where this October celebration originated? The word Halloween comes from a contracted corruption of All Hollows Eve (or "All Saints Day"), a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.

In 5th century BC Celtic Ireland, the holiday marking the official end of summer, Oct. 31, was called Samhain (sow-en), heralding the Celtic new year.

The Romans adopted Celtic practices as their own. In the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of other Roman traditions, among them their day honoring Pomona, Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which may be the precursor for the modern day Halloween tradition, bobbing for apples.

From Souling to Trick-Or-Treating

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European practice called souling. On Nov. 2, All Souls Day, early Christians walked from village to village begging for soul cakes. The more soul cakes the beggars received, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the donors' dead relatives.

W3Schools.comFrom Irish folklore comes the Jack-O-Lantern custom. Jack, an evil, fun-loving man, made a deal with Satan that backfired; and when he died, he was denied access to both Heaven and Hell.

To light his way through the frigid darkness, Jack was given a single ember, which was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip.

Though some cults have adopted Halloween as their favorite holiday, it is important to remember the tradition did not come from evil practices. Today many churches sponsor Halloween parties, traditional pumpkin patches, as well as pumpkin-carving events and "haunted houses."

Halloween is as evil or as festive as we choose to make it.

HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS: Selected for their spooky themes, these clickable graphics are just in time for this weekend's ghosts and goblins. Featured are designs by Claystruck, 1; Clayquebec1, 2; AmazingCA, 3; Ashes, 4; and Fountaindawg, 5. Thank you for giving the visual artists a shout-out in the comments below.

Ghost Stories a Carolina Tradition

As a North Carolinian, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the plethora of famous Tar Heel ghost stories.

Even the titles are scary: Blackbeard's Queen Anne Revenge; A Colonial Apparition; Buried Alive; The Scull Hangs High; Bells, Books, and Rafters; The Headless Haunt; The Peg-Legged Ghost; The Greensboro Hitchhiker, The Devil's Tramping Ground.


For this Wilmington native, The Maco Light easily tops the list of favorite ghost tales. Visiting the Maco Light was the theme of many an autumn hayride in my youth. Maco is located in Brunswick County, 12 miles northwest of Wilmington and in the past was a stop along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.

W3Schools.comBriefly, in 1867 conductor Joe Baldwin was riding the last car of his train when it somehow became uncoupled from the engine.

As he watched another train fast approaching his slowing car, Joe wildly waved his lantern back and forth in warning; but his efforts were in vain. The oncoming train barreled into the car, and Joe was decapitated in the accident.

Just seconds before the crash, Joe's lantern was hurled away by a mighty, unseen force, landing in an upright position. Shortly after the horrible accident, the Maco Light began appearing along the tracks. To this day, Joe's ghost "appears" swinging his lantern and searching for his head.

Tar Heel ghost stories have their own websites. For example, see The Maco Light and The Devil's Tramping Ground. Listen to, view, or read Ghost Stories of North Carolina here. For further spooky reading, see John Harden's books on Amazon.

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!

Special thanks to Linda (ABM)
for my sassy pumpkin signature
and the above Halloween greeting!

Here is one more Halloween greeting: Midnight Madness

Thank you for your visits and remarks in the Carolina blogs. To leave a comment, scroll to the bottom, click on the "Post a Comment" link, and write in the box provided.

I appreciate your props for the contributing visual artists. Have an awesome Halloween Weekend! - Caro

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clay Aiken, Fans Champion Charities for Halloween

TOT for UNICEF Marks 60th Year - Halloween graphic by Fountaindawg links to video celebrating the 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNCEF.

For UNICEF, National Inclusion Project

Trick or Treat, Text and Treat

As spooks and goblins prepare to party down on Oct. 31, Clay Aiken and his fans are also championing two special charities this Halloween season -- Trick or Treat for UNICEF and the National Inclusion Project for which "Text & Treat to Send a Kid to Camp" has become a slogan in the Pepsi Refresh campaign for a $50,000 grant.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, which began in Philadelphia 60 years ago, has raised nearly $160 million dollars since its auspicious beginning. The American tradition in which children collect monies for UNICEF while trick or treating, will be celebrated across the land and on Broadway in a big way.

Broadway Kids' Night Salutes UNICEF

At Sunday's Halloween festival on the Great White Way, Kids' Night on Broadway will salute the 60th anniversary of this American tradition with a UNICEF/Broadway Cares Kids Care booth where participants can decorate orange UNICEF boxes.

The Halloween KNOB Fan Fest, set for 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday, will also include a pre-theatre party/tour of the wax museum at Madame Tussauds, complete with face painting, costume pointers, and an autograph alley.

Prior to attending a Broadway
show for free (when accompanied by a full-paying adult), young people will be able to trick or treat at participating stage doors.

A conversation with Clay Aiken, UNICEF Ambassador.
View video full screen at YouTube.

A speaker at July's Key Club International Convention in Memphis, Clay reported ways the organization's involvement with TOT for UNICEF helps people around the globe. A taped question and answer session about his experiences as a UNICEF ambassador is the nucleus of the above video.

Kids helping kids has moved into the 21st century with digital age technology. Supporters can create a UNICEF fundraising web page so friends and family can help Trick-or-Treat Online, as well as utilize iPhone and Facebook apps for the latest news and through which secure donations can be made.

Click to enlarge Trick of Treat for UNICEF info.

On Halloween night 60 years ago, American children changed the world. They were kids helping kids by Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF.

Through the small change they raised door-to-door, they were going to make a big difference for children everywhere, helping UNICEF to provide nutrition, medicine, education and the things kids need to thrive.

Mary Emma Allison, 93, co-founder of TOT for UNICEF, died Wednesday at her home. The announcement was made Thursday by Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of UNICEF in a Field Notes blog.

Personal Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF stories, as well as condolences and remembrances for the family, may be included in the comments.

NIP Needs Halloween Miracle

Currently at #16, the National Inclusion Project needs nothing short of miracle to move into the top 10 charities and claim a $50,000 grant in this month's Pepsi Refresh Challenge at midnight Oct. 31.

If you are like me, you have asked everyone you know -- and then some! -- to vote 1-2-3 ways daily for the Inclusion Project. Success stories of children with disabilities experiencing life with their peers through the foundation's inclusive programs have been shared repeatedly.

My hope is that a large corporation or charity with a colossal database will put the National Inclusion Project front and center for the four remaining days and create a tsunami of new votes to put the foundation into the top 10 of the $50k group.

Schools and businesses are well into the Halloween spirit. Download a page of four Text and Treat fliers in PDF format to hand to your circle between now until Halloween. Have them at the door for parents of trick or treaters.

NIP supporters have carried batches of pumpkin fliers to the gym, the zoo, dance class, etc., for immediate text vote results. Thinking big, take the fliers to football games, fall festivals, and school/business meets to recruit voters who will commit to four days.

In emails to friends, family, and associates, be sure to remind them to register and vote through the National Inclusion Project website for a chance to win a new iPad.

Click to link to NIP widget.
Vote, add to websites.

Created by Scarlett and updated daily, the voting widget in the Carolina sidebar includes links/text numbers for the NIP, its alliances and partners reciprocating votes. Be sure to copy/paste a message similar to the one below so the organizations will know the Inclusion Project is supporting their cause:
National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Text 102308.

Who knows? Maybe that miracle, avalanche, or tsunami of last-minute votes is just around the corner!

Below are clickables of Halloween graphics by Fountaindawg. It's never too early for CA fans to prepare for a spooky Oct. 31!

Have an awesome Halloween Week, Clay Nation!

Special thanks to Linda (ABM)
for my sassy pumpkin signature!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clay Aiken Fans Stretch Around the Globe

CHICAGO REPLAY - Fountaindawg's Park West design rewinds the Oct. 14 Chicago Concert with photos by Permaswooned.

Carolina Visitors Represent 158 Countries

Fans Anticipate Worldwide Tour

If the Carolina blog's visitors from 158 countries are any indication, Clay Aiken's popularity is worldwide and international fans can look forward to a global tour sometime in the future.

According to ClustrMap and Feedjit Live Feed, which have monitored the location of this site's visitors since December 2007, fans from 158 nations have dropped by this corner of the Internet for the latest news about Clay Aiken. On any given day, the number averages from 100-300.

New countries in 2010 include Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan (ASIA); Tunisia, Mauritania, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Angola, Senegal, and Zimbabwe (AFRICA); Macedonia, Cyprus, and Armenia (EUROPE); Saint Kitts and Nevis, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Turks and Caicos Islands,
Barbados, and Belize (NORTH AMERICA).

Click to enlarge Carolina On My Mind ClustrMap.

All continents except Antarctica have followed a trail here, either via search engines or links on other websites. I am always intrigued in how a person lands at the Carolina doorstep; and I was very excited to see the Senegal flag, one of the newest countries from Africa, in the Feedjit feed. Turned out, the newcomer was googling "Ruben Studdard."

Countries registered by ClustrMap are listed at this link. Countries appear on the Feedjit Live Feed in real time.

Google Often Surprise Visitors

Most visitors arrive looking for news about Clay Aiken or his charitable endeavors. However, a wide range of topics bring readers to the Carolina doorstep, accidentally and on purpose.

A frequent search from Singapore is for the storm Kai, and that lands a person squarely in the middle of Hurricane Kai Strikes Texas Home (Oct. 2007):
Many may recall that in answer to my plea for more pictures of our brand new grandson, Kai's grandfather sent images of an apartment in total disarray -- dirty dishes in the sink, newspapers stacked up, you name it, to prove how little picture-taking time was available.

From these photos, my friend Sally created the "Hurricane Kai" graphic with grandson calmly sleeping in the eye of the storm.

Potato Rolls, Music Popular Links

Hopefully, the visitor who googled "what's for dinner?" enjoyed reading about -- and possibly baking -- my Aunt Lill's Potato Rolls (Feb. 2007). My great-aunt, who taught piano into her 90's, often sent a pan of her special rolls home with students, an unlikely event for the young charges of this non-baking music teacher.

Occasionally, I report on rehearsals, performances, and other accomplishments of my piano/string students. Someone searching for a drought remedy came across Spring Recital Yields Surprise. Because "video games" inspire new themes with one of my student composers, the term frequently yields Young Musicians Share Compositions (Aug. 2010).

Regular searches for "Loree oboe" or "John Ellis," oboe professor at the NC School of the Arts, pull up Trusty Oboe Could Tell Tales (Nov. 2006).

Other popular searches yield my experiences as a marching band director, Football Season Stirs Memories (Oct. 2006) and Clay's 2006 holiday tour lessons on "fancy Eye-talian" definitions, Musical Terms Provide Grins (Jan. 2007).

Blogs about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. like Country Honors Legacy of MLK (Jan. 2007) have been magnets for international visitors and, no doubt, students completing homework assignments. Storms Stir F-5 Tornado Memories, subhead in a Sept. 2008 entry, pops up when there's a twister in the forecast.

Just this week a Texan searching for "Sonny James Nashville" arrived at the first blog I posted on the Internet, Real Rebels of Country, Pop, in which I discussed how Sonny and Clay are the true "rebels" in their music genres. My husband played drums for Sonny when we lived in Nashville.
Many thnx to all who stop and leave comments. So far, four countries are represented in the remarks: Indonesia, Kenya, Canada, and the US. It would be great to hear from non-Clay fans who accidentally find themselves in the midst of a blog about the singer.

Thank you, too, for the ongoing geography lesson. No doubt, we are making "Teacher Clay" proud!

Violinist Tatum Davis, 8, earned $34 with impromptu market gig.

Young Violinist Plays First Gig

Tatum Davis, my youngest violin student, came to her lesson last Tuesday with the exciting news that she had played her first paying gig during October's High Point Furniture Market.

Her father, owner of Luke Leather Furniture, was bemoaning the fact that he had not engaged a guitarist for the semi-annual event. His wife reminded him that he has a violinist, and Tatum was "hired."

After a quick trip home for her violin and a "tips" jar, she set up in front of her father's showroom and began playing through her repertoire: "Frere Jacques," "Ode to Joy," "Allegro," "Twinkle Variations," "Go Tell Aunt Rhody," "Long, Long Ago," and "Bile 'Em Cabbage Down."

International buyers visiting her dad's display, filled the young violinist's jar three times. In one hour and 20 minutes, Tatum earned $34, all of which is headed for her new bank account opened just last month.

High Point Furniture Market draws approximately 75,000 furniture buyers to the Triad twice yearly. A second grader at Wesleyan Christian Academy, Tatum is already making plans to perform at the April 2011 market.

LET'S ALL PLAY -- Children with and without disabilities participate in the National Inclusion Project's programs. Too young to vote in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge, these two are relying on the dedication of adults.

Pepsi Grant To Fund New Camps

During the past few weeks, I have written numerous blogs and emailed friends, relatives, associates, and current/past music students and their parents asking all to help the National Inclusion Project secure a $50,000 grant by voting three ways daily in the October Pepsi Refresh Challenge.

Vote for Inclusion 3 Ways Daily

1. Login to the National Inclusion Project page at the Pepsi Refresh site. Cast one vote through Pepsi.

2. Log out of Pepsi (lower left corner) and right back with above link, select Facebook, and vote again.

3. From mobile phone, text 102308 to Pepsi (73774)

Voting three ways takes less than five minutes. To vote for alliance/partner charities, use the voting widget in the sidebar below the calendar.

Clay Speaks, Auctions, Sings for NIP

No one explains or exemplifies the mission and accomplishments of the National Inclusion Project better than co-founder Clay Aiken in the speech he gave at the the Oct. 16 Champions Gala; the Dutch Auction he conducted, and his final song, "Both Sides Now," performed as a duet with Debra Leisey, who signed the lyrics.

Even in such tough economic times,
numerous NIP supporters pledged multiples of $250, the cost for sending one child to a Let's ALL Play Camp next summer. (middle video)

IMPORTANCE OF INCLUSION -- Co-founder of the National Inclusion Project, Clay reported on foundation's accomplishments and goals in a speech at the 2010 Champions Gala. Video by Robyn 428.

DUTCH AUCTION - Clay conducted a Dutch Auction at the Gala during which attendees donated multiples of $250 to send from 1-10 kids to a Let's ALL Play Camp next summer. Video by Robyn428.

BOTH SIDES NOW - In the final song of his performance at the 2010 Gala, Clay sang "Both Sides Now," as Debra Leisey signed the lyrics. Video by Robyn428.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Clay Aiken Fans Rally New Votes for Inclusion Project

In Pepsi Drive for $50k Grant

Fans Go Creative for NIP Votes

With 10 days remaining in October's Pepsi Refresh Challenge, National Inclusion Project supporters are creatively seeking new avenues of voter enlistment to bring home the $50,000 grant on Halloween Night.
QUESTION: What actions would you take if you knew the NIP would move into the top 10 ONLY if you were responsible for 100 votes today? Would you explain the mission and programs of the National Inclusion Project? How would you round up 100 votes?

Below are ideas from Clay Aiken message boards and the National Inclusion Project that you may be able to adapt. Hopefully, you will share your recruitment activities and successes in the comments so they can be included in this entry.

MagicalMusic printed fliers and handed them out to 100 participants at a Bingo Night for Inclusion. Following a brief video about the National Inclusion Project, the group sent NIP text votes together. Participants were asked to continue voting daily through Oct. 31.

Here is a double clickable of her flier that you can copy, print, and use in a similar manner:

Double Clickable Flier
Copy, print, distribute!

Text & Treat This Halloween Season

The lead flier came from the National Inclusion Project in PDF format with the recommendation to print and pass out at community events. Download and print a page of four NIP Pepsi Text fliers to encourage text voting at booths, tables, games, gates, and other fall gatherings.

Schools, communities, and businesses are well into the Halloween spirit, and a page of four Text and Treat fliers can be downloaded from the NIP link. These will also be good to have at the door for parents of trick or treaters.

FearofH20 plans to pass out fliers at the gym, and Scarlett plans to hand them out at the zoo near her church. According to her follow-up report, this was a very successful venture. Perhaps all NIP supporters should have a batch of pumpkin/NIP fliers with them at all times.

Let's keep thinking outside the box!

Score NIP Votes at Football Games

W3Schools.comTonight begins another round of high school, college, and pro football games during which NIP supporters can enlist voters for the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.

Copy and print any of the clickable fliers in this blog to hand to fans for texting NIP votes at the game and each remaining day in October.

Suggestions of places to ask for votes during the next 10 days include:

1. The scoreboard or public address system at home games of high schools/universities with a message to TEXT NOW for the National Inclusion Project: 102308 to #73774.

2. Booth at local school homecomings.

3. Place in the homecoming parade.

4. Free PSAs on the radio promoting the NIP.

5. Fall festivals, trick or treat parties, pumpkin patches, churches.

6. Political candidates promoting the cause on Facebook or the campaign trail.

Teacher Turns Out Student Votes

If you have friends who are teachers in middle school or high school or you are one yourself, ask that the class be given the opportunity to vote daily.

Aikenite, a high school substitute teacher, posted at Clayversity that she would be having her students text a vote for the NIP in return for being allowed to listen to their iPods during classwork.

Friday morning updates from the "teach" were as follows:
1st Period (First-year French): About 25 votes for the NIP
2nd Period (AP English): About 20 votes for the NIP

Hey, this is working. It helps being known as "the cool sub"!

NIP Enters Weekend at #13

In the top 10 during the first two weeks, the National Inclusion Project has fallen into the teens and needs every vote supporters can swing to return to a 1-10 money position. Be sure to register at the National Inclusion Project for a chance to win a new iPad. You can also vote via this link.

US residents 13 an older can vote three ways 10 times -- via the Pepsi site, Facebook, as well as mobile phone texts (#102308 to #73774). That's three votes for the National Inclusion Project with the remaining 27 spread among the charity's voting alliances and partners from every eligible member in the household!

International supporters of inclusion should send the information/voting links/ideas to friends and relatives in the US so they can cast votes in your stead.

Replica of NIP Widget

Created by Scarlett, the NIP widget is a handy voting tool. Situated in the Carolina sidebar, on Facebook walls, and many other sites, the widget contains the latest links for all NIP alliances and partners. Following the alliance list, select from Groups A, B, C, and D to complete daily voting.

Be sure to copy/paste a message similar to the one below so the organizations will know the Inclusion Project is supporting their cause:
National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Text 102308.

Charities Tap Into Social Networking

Tapping into the full potential of social networking has proved to be a winner with successful Pepsi Refresh recipients in the past. There is no group more adept at social networking than high school and college students. The Inclusion Project recommends the following:

* If you have a son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandson, granddaughter, next door neighbor, etc., consider sending them a message asking to help.

* Were you a member of a fraternity or sorority or are you currently a member of an alumni association? Pass the word on so that they can possibly send out a message to their current contact list.

* Send a message to YOUR contact list and include one of the fliers from this blog. Here is a message you can copy/paste/tweak to email:
A cause that I am passionate about is currently competing in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge. Would you consider helping me get the word out about the National Inclusion Project’s quest to win $50K to send hundreds of kids to camp? They believe no child should sit on the sideline and so do I.

It only takes a few minutes and you can vote through email, Facebook, or texting. Just go to Alliance for Kids and you can click down the page to vote for the Project and some very worthy partners.

You can then text 102308 to 73774. Your vote means a ton, and it would mean even more if you would pass the word to all your friends. Thanks!

In your email, include a link to a video that explains the work of the National Inclusion Project. The video below was created by SueReu.

INCLUSION is giving everyone rightful opportunity to participate. Clay Aiken, co-founder of the National Inclusion Project, sings 'Open Arms' in the montage. View the video full screen at YouTube.

Daily Dragon Joins NIP Cause

Thursday the The Daily Dragon Online joined the National Inclusion Project's Pepsi Refresh campaign by posting a request for votes to its membership base of 40,000. Below is part of the post, all of which can be read at National Inclusion Project Needs You:
The National Inclusion Project has been named as the 2011 Beneficiary of Dragon*Con Charity Events. Please help it earn a $50,000 “Refresh Everything Challenge” grant from Pepsi right now!

The National Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. NIP partners with communities and inclusive programs creating awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring. Inclusion means giving people their rightful opportunity to participate, and NIP works to make full inclusion a reality.

Pepsi is currently holding their Pepsi Refresh Everything Challenge in which they are giving away millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations each month. For the month of October, the National Inclusion Project is in the running for a $50,000 grant. [snip]

National Inclusion Project is not an organization with a huge email distribution, or with a large media campaign budget. $50,000 would make a HUGE difference for them and in the work that they do. So please vote now. Votes can be submitted daily through text message by texting *102308* to Pepsi at (73774), or through Facebook or the Pepsi website.

Dragon*Con has a collective fan base of over 40,000 memberships from this year, and National Inclusion Project has asked for help with voting. If everyone voted only once, it would make a difference.

If everyone voted daily, we could see NIP at #1 before the month is out. There are only a few days left in this event, so please contact everyone you can as soon as possible! And vote!

Clickable Flier

Have a wonderful weekend getting out the vote, Clay Nation!


In loving memory of Mary Ann Doxey, whom the Clay Nation knew as TruthRules and Clayzessed. Her name links to a page where friends can post remembrances and condolences for the family.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Clay Aiken Advocates for Inclusion, UNICEF, Human Rights

Screen cap links to video of Clay Aiken on 'The Joy Behar Show.'

Three Within Five Days

Clay Aiken Champions Causes

Singer Clay Aiken has championed three causes in the past five days at a major event -- children with disabilities (National Inclusion Project Gala) -- and in the national media with pre-Halloween publicity for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF (Broadway Playbill) and The Joy Behar Show during which he articulately discussed gay/lesbian rights and the epidemic of bullying.

Appropriately, Oct. 20 is Spirit Day, a global event for remembering young adults and teens who recently took their own lives due to bullying. Created by Brittany McMillan and sponsored by GLAAD, Spirit Day is being commemorated both online and off.

Color of the day is purple, and the slogan is "Everyone Rally Together." Don your purple, and support the Human Rights Campaign.

Singer Man definitely gets around. In addition to the video linked above, you can comment on Clay's anti-bullying interview at the Joy Behar website.

Broadway Supports UNICEF Kids' Night

W3Schools.comBroadway and "American Idol" veteran Clay Aiken knows how to have fun for a good cause on Halloween.

An Ambassador for UNICEF since 2004, Clay spoke recently about the annual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, which is being supported by Playbill and the Broadway League this year as part of Kids' Night on Broadway.

For 60 years, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has served as the Original Kids Helping Kids Campaign®. In 1950, children across American were inspired to collect coins for UNICEF to aid children abroad.

Established as one of the longest-running youth volunteerism initiatives in America, with nearly $160 million raised to-date, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF remains an inspiration to the young (and the young at heart) to further the cause of children everywhere.

Read about Clay's childhood Halloween memories as well as three easy steps for participating in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF at Broadway Playbill. UNICEF photo of Clay in Uganda by Guillaume Bonn.

NIP Enlists New Pepsi Voters

Last weekend's National Inclusion Project Champions Gala was a huge success, honoring outstanding champions of change, raising funds for the next season's projects, infusing organization supporters with new ideas and enthusiasm.

The NIP, currently at #14, continues the October campaign for a $50,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Challenge with renewed strategies. The foundation must remain in the top 10 to secure the funds.

Be sure to register at the National Inclusion Project for a chance to win a new iPad if the charity is successful. You can also cast your Internet votes from this link.

Children participate in Let's ALL Play inclusive programs.
Click to expand photo from Arc of Atlantic camp by the sea.

US residents 13 and older can vote three ways 10 times -- via the Pepsi site, Facebook, as well as mobile phone texts
(#102308 to #73774). That's three votes for the National Inclusion Project with the remaining 27 spread among the charity's voting alliances and partners from every eligible member in the household!

Scarlett regularly updates the NIP Voting Widget under the calendar in the Carolina sidebar, and it is simple to make your selections from the four alliance/partner lists there. Be sure to copy/paste a message similar to the one below so the organizations will know the Inclusion Project is supporting their cause:

National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Text 102308.

Teacher Finally Learns To Text

If you are from this grandmother's generation, you may need texting instructions printed on the clickable flyer below. If your cellphone is as ancient as mine, you need a teen-aged piano student like Joseph, who spent part of his lesson Tuesday as the instructing his teacher.

Double clickable flyer
Expand, print, distribute,
send as email attachment!

A daily NIP/partner voter through Facebook and Pepsi throughout September and October, I finally sent my first text vote Tuesday afternoon, thanks to my eighth grade piano student who configured my out-of-date cellphone. After successfully texting a vote for inclusion, he retraced his steps while his "teacher" took very good notes.

Before our role reversal, I had to promise to call AT&T about an upgrade. Longtime readers of the Carolina blog will remember Joseph as a featured student composer in the 8/28 entry.

Earlier Tuesday, my daughter had tried to no avail to walk me through texting via a long distance phone call 800 miles away. When my final student was a few minutes late, I followed my "teacher's" instructions and sent my offspring a simple "hello" text, figuring she would truly be shocked. She was indeed!

A makeup for Tuesday's piano-turned-text lesson is in the works!

Anyone who has voted on the Pepsi site knows that at busy times of the day, it simply has to work through certain cycles. Take a tip from Margaret5828 and put in your text votes during Pepsi's lag times.

Among the topics discussed at the Gala were successful strategies other charities are employing to engage large numbers of daily Pepsi Refresh voters. Print copies of the texting flyer, and hand them out at football games, shopping centers, club/faculty meetings, anywhere you can get people to vote daily for the NIP.

The clickable flyer below contains text numbers for the National Inclusion Project' and the charity's voting alliances.

Double clickable flyer
Enlarge, print, distribute,
Send as email attachment!

Let's enlist an army of new voters and win the $50,000 grant for the National Inclusion Project this month. Have a wonderful, productive week, Clay Nation!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clay Aiken Closes Champions Gala with Special Song

BOTH SIDES NOW appropriate ending for 2010 inclusion Gala.
Singer Clay Aiken with Debra Leisey, signing, perform duet.

View video by Scarlett at YouTube.

'Both Sides Now' for Inclusion

Poignant Performance Ends Gala

Clay Aiken could not have chosen a more poignant way to end the 2010 Champions Gala celebrating inclusion than with the song "Both Sides Now."

The duet of Clay singing with Debra Leisey signing was an immediate hit with the attendees at the Raleigh Convention Center, as well as those listening via cellstream.

Clay sings 'Both Sides Now' to close Gala.
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.


Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at cloud that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things i would have done but clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real; I've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show. you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know, don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions i recall.
I really don't know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say "I love you" right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange.
They shake their heads, they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.

Reflective moment during the festivities .
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

In a post at her home board, lovethatguy, mother of a special son, shared her personal thoughts about the ways "Both Sides Now" fits the concepts of disability and inclusion. With her permission, here are her reflections:
I was incredibly moved by Clay's rendition of "Both Sides Now." But most especially with his choice of this song and its poignant lyrics at his Gala to celebrate inclusion.

Ever since Kevin entered my life, I have looked at life and love and, most assuredly, clouds from "both sides now." From his side and from mine. From up and down. His disability could be obstacles that turned clouds into something that blocked the sun and rained on everyone. Or it could be the joy of castles in the sky.

Dreams and schemes - are they real or just illusions for this child? And the concept of inclusion? My God, it is the bridge for unity between his world and my world. Or, because he is MY child, between your world and my world.

So listening to Clay sing that heartfelt song during the Gala was much more than just beautiful singing; it was the making of a special moment for me. I wanted to share how that felt with all of you. I struggled with the right words all day. Thank you Clay.

Fans Share Gala Video, Audio

Into the wee hours following the Gala, Clay Nation "clack goddesses" rendered audio and video files for fans back home. Scarlett uploaded five videos from the the evening's entertainment segment to the Ginger Scarlett YouTube Channel. Downloads of "Both Sides Now" are available at Clack Unlimited.

Here are Sendspace "Both Sides Now" downloads for audio files by
ficus (song only) and canfly (intro and song). Two video downloads include BSN by canfly and farouche's close-up version of singer and signer.

Graphic by Fountaindawg
Photos by Irishbookgal, farouche

During the Gala Weekend, three Champions of Change were honored: PepsiCo EnAble, I Am Norm, and 11 collegians friends who took their friend Darius Weems, a victim of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, on the adventure of lifetime.

In addition, special awards were presented to outstanding supporters; and major funds were raised via the live/silent auctions. Bios and videos of the honorees are included in the 10/9 Carolina entry.

Among the items naturally popular with the singer's fans were dinner for 10 with Clay; two front row seats (
hotel, backstage pass, M&G)
to the winner's choice of Winter Tour Tried & True concerts; a Spamalot poster; the platinum plaque for Measure of a Man CD; gold and black Hammer pants from the Timeless Tour.

Unofficially, $78,500 was raised during a Dutch auction in which members in the audience pledged multiples of $250, the cost for sending one child to a Let's ALL Play Camp.

SPAMALOT poster auctioned during Gala.
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

Clay implores supporters to raise a bid .
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

Clay donates RCA MOAM platinum plaque.
Click to expand photo by Irishbookgal.

Inclusion Project Celebrates 7 Years

The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in July 2003 by Clay and Diane Bubel of Charlotte, mother of Michael, who has autism. Originally the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, the organization changed its name in 2009 to better reflect its mission.

A special contribution of art by Michael earned $2,200 for the foundation in Saturday night's auction.

Clay and Diane co-founded the National Inclusion Project in 2003.

Mother's Letter Affirms Inclusion

One of the evening's highlights was the reading of a testimony from a mother about the importance of inclusion. Her son had just attended his first Let's ALL Play Camp for children with and without disabilities. Parts of the letter are printed below:
For one week, Ted felt like every other adolescent. He slept out under the stars, he hiked, etc. And most of all, he laughed and laughed and laughed.

The staff at the camp appreciated him for where he is and who he is. I wish the world could be cloned from the camp.

Ted has never won anything. (He won the Heart Award.) Being overlooked is a way of life for him. I have never seen my son so sure of himself. He hugged people, and people hugged him back.

As Ted said goodbye to new friends, tears were streaming down my face. For the first time in his life, he did not want to come home. He never stopped talking during the two-hour drive home. Ted has a new confidence and even a swagger.

Please let them know from us how much the staff's hard work is appreciated. Ted will be back. I think he will count the days until next summer.

The world needs more programs like yours.

NIP Drops to #12, Recruits Votes

With many Clay Aiken fans on the road this weekend -- from the concert in Chicago Thursday to the Champions Gala in Raleigh Friday and Saturday -- supporters of the National Inclusion Project's October campaign for a Pepsi Refresh $50,000 grant are seeking additional daily voters.

By Sunday morning, the NIP had slipped from #8 to #12. The foundation must remain in the Top 10 to secure the monetary award this month. Be sure to register at the National Inclusion Project for a chance to win a new iPad. You can also vote via this link.

US residents 13 an older can vote three ways 10 times -- via the Pepsi site, Facebook, as well as mobile phone texts (
#102308 to #73774). That's three votes for the National Inclusion Project with the remaining 27 spread among the charity's voting alliances and partners from every eligible member in the household!

Replica of NIP Widget

The NIP voting widget, created by Scarlett and situated in the Carolina sidebar, contains voting links for all the latest NIP partner updates. Following the alliance list, select from Groups A, B, and/or C to complete your daily votes.

Be sure to copy/paste a message similar to the one below so the organizations will know the Inclusion Project is supporting their cause:
National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Text 102308.

Have a wonderful and productive weekend, Clay Nation!