Friday, July 29, 2011

Clay Aiken's Somalia Appeal Makes Headlines

Clay Aiken visited Somalia in 2008. - Clickable graphic by claystruck.

Happy Birthday, NIP and Sally!

Singer Urges Support for Somalia

When Clay Aiken writes a blog, it's front page news!

His article -- Support Somalia (Because Mother Nature Ain't) -- is a featured post on the Huffington Post and AOL websites.

In the blog, the UNICEF Ambassador outlines the famine and water crisis in Somalia and across the Horn of Africa.

More than 2.3 million children are acutely malnourished, including half a million at immediate risk of death. Thousands of families are crossing the border from Somalia as emergency therapeutic feeding centers are being set up by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies in neighboring countries. [SNIP]

UNICEF is using every means possible to reach these children. Their unrivaled expertise in responding to the unique needs of children affected by emergencies of all sorts is precisely why they have saved the lives of more children across the globe than any other humanitarian organization.

But they are entirely dependent on donations. They urgently need more than $300 million over the next six months alone to meet the basic needs and save the lives of countless children.

The average family spends about $100 a month on watering their yard in the spring and summer months. That $100 dollars can feed a child for 100 days! Three months!

I challenge us all to consider reallocating our watering allowance to a cause so much more important than fescue.

I'm sure we can all agree that we would rather our grass die than a child.

Rise Up from the Ashes - UNICEF
Montage by SueReu can be viewed full screen at YouTube.

To lend your assistance, text "FOOD" to UNICEF (864233 to give $10, which can feed a child for 10 days, or visit Help Save Children in the Horn of Africa at the UNICEF site.

Canadians donating for Somalia should do so through UNICEF Canada as donations through that site are being matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian government.

A Week for Special Birthdays

The National Inclusion Project celebrated its eighth birthday Thursday. Today we not only commemorate the Inclusion Project's anniversary, but also the birthday of Sally -- friend, CA fan, photographer, graphic artist, and mentor for many whose designs are published in this blog throughout the year.

For me, Sally is a sister-friend. To my grandchildren, she has become a "fairy godmother," spearheading an online baby shower and celebrating Kai and Lia through creative graphics and photo edits.

Sally's party continues below the fold with five of her classic Clay Aiken graphics.

Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel, Inclusion Project co-founders.

Aiken, Bubel Form Foundation

The National Inclusion Project, originally The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, grew out of the relationship between Clay, Diane Bubel, and her then 13-year-old son Mike, who had been diagnosed with autism.

While pursuing a career in special education at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Clay met the Bubels with whom he shared a vision of a world where children like Mike could be fully immersed in society.

Having witnessed children with disabilities repeatedly turned away from activities open to others, they believed that with the right support system, doors could be opened to these youngsters and an organized effort would facilitate community inclusion and empowerment of individuals with disabilities.

Diane Bubel and son Mike in 2003

The goal became a reality when Clay and Diane co-founded TBAF. The official announcement was made on July 28, 2003, in New York City. For a timeline and much more, see TBAF Events at the Clay Aiken Kids site. Below is a clickable wallpaper by Fountaindawg commemorating the foundation's beginning.

The Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with special needs and the world around them, supporting communities with inclusive programs and helping to create awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring.
We are, as they say, the product of the choices we make. I challenge each of you to make the choice that leads to full access, celebrating the human rights we all deserve. When you see a child in a wheelchair, will you choose to see the child? Or the chair?

When you stand in the presence of someone who cannot speak, will you choose to hear only silence? Or will you choose the tapestry that is found in the language without words?

When you’re facing parenting or teaching a child with a disability, will you choose to be overwhelmed by the challenges? Or will you choose to recognize a different kind of hero who brings you one of life’s most precious gifts – hope? -- Clay Aiken

In the past eight years, the NIP and its supporters have participated in a variety of fundraising and volunteer projects to insure a world of inclusion for all children.

Currently, you can register, login, and vote five times daily at TWBE The Best Charities Ever to help the Inclusion Project earn funds.

In previous years, Sally shared her talent for graphics and photography in an OFC blog. On occasion, she included instructional entries about how she obtained certain effects.

A couple of years ago we surprised her with a birthday bash in her journal. I "picked the lock," and several graphic artists supplied the decorations. The above birthday banner was created by ABeautifulMind.

Sally also started the Paint Shop Pro Forum at Clayversity in which her step-by-step lessons for various aspects of photo editing and creating designs provided excellent references for many novice graphic artists.

Students Make Teacher Proud

A teacher, I understand how proud Sally is of her "students." In some instances, she opened an AIM account just to guide novices through the initial steps of graphic design. She proudly admits that some long ago surpassed their teacher.

In other entries, the Carolina blog has featured examples of Sally's floral and landscape photographs. Today I thought it would be an exceptional treat to let her bring her own party decorations.

The five graphics below represent earlier Clay Aiken tours and performances -- Jukebox, Joyful Noise, and Singerman's "confetti moment" at the AI5 Finale. In addition to screen caps, photographers represented include Tasapio, 1, and Invisible926, 3.

Thank you, Sally, for being such a special friend. Everyone, enjoy the party!

Happy Birthday to Sally and the National Inclusion Project! Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!


Today's entry is #600 for the Carolina On My Mind blog, which began with The Real Rebels of Music to July 13, 2006. A year later, ClustrMap and Feedjit were added to note visitor locations.

To date, you have come to this corner from 169 countries. Thank you for your visits, comments, and support of this blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Good Guy' Clay Aiken Plays Shady Character on Diva

Clay Aiken joins Drop Dead Diva cast members for 'Prom' episode. Pictured from left are April Bowlby, Margaret Cho, Clay, and Ben Feldman. Photo by Bob Mahoney.

Singer Urges Somalian Support

Clay Debuts as Bad Guy on Diva

After weeks of media promotion, Clay Aiken joined the cast of Drop Dead Diva Sunday in a villainous role that is the direct opposite of his "good guy" persona.

US residents who missed the telecast can view the show on the Lifetime Network at Drop Dead Diva Episode 5: Prom. Canadians are streaming the episode at Free TV Online. You can purchase a high-def download of the show at iTunes for $2.99.

In the course of an hour, the program incorporated several storylines, the main being the real life incident of Mississippi teen Constance McMillen, who sued her high school after the school board barred her from going to the prom with her girlfriend.

Even though his "bad guy" role had nothing to do with the McMillen story, Clay spoke with Pop Culture Passionistas about appearing on this
Diva episode with a cause.

" ... the storyline is something that resonated with me. Being a part of this episode was exciting for me."

In addition Aiken said he believes that beyond this episode, the show is truly unique to television. "The message of the show is different than anything that's on TV. It really tells a story that resonates with so many people.

It talks about the importance of how image should not be as important as often times we make it in society. And it does that while being really funny, so it's not preachy at all. It gives a really positive message without preaching, and that’s really hard to find on TV."

In addition to Clay, guest stars included Wanda Sykes, Amanda Bearse, and Lance Bass. Read the complete article at Pop Culture Passionistas. You can also link to the episode and post a comment at DDD's Facebook

The episode made Monday's AOL Top 5 TV Shows.

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken visited Somalia in 2008. Expandable graphic by AmazingCA.

Singer Uses Voice for Somalia

Clay is helping to spread the word about the drastic need for funds for children affected by the famine in Africa. Everywhere you look, there are stories like the one below touting the dire need for assistance.

Clay Aiken Uses His Powerful Voice to Speak Out About Somalian Crisis for UNICEF
When he's not busy belting out tunes, Clay Aiken is using his voice to speak on behalf of The United Nations Children's Fund as an ambassador for the organization.

The American Idol alumnus-turned-activist is particularly passionate about the
humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

The singer spoke at length with AOL Music in a Q&A about the African country in the midst of a two-decade ongoing civil war.

Clickable Map: Horn of Africa

Clay also shared new PSA videos describing the crisis and how others can help with donations for ready-to-use therapeutic foods. See additional videos at the
UNICEF USA YouTube Channel.

Ten dollars can feed a child for 10 days. Text FOOD to UNICEF (864233) to donate $10, or donate through the
UNICEF website.

Read more about the disaster in this UNICEF press release: Horn of Africa is a Crisis for Child Survival.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Celebrate 'Drop Dead Diva' Weekend

Clay Aiken guest stars in Sunday's DDD episode.
Photo by Bob Mahoney links to preview video on Lifetime Network.

Singer Guests on Sunday's Episode

DDD Parties Set for Clay Cyber

It's Drop Dead Diva Weekend in Clay Cyberspace, and preliminaries for the parties accompanying Clay Aiken's guest starring role in Sunday's Lifetime Network show (9 p.m. ET) are well underway.

DVR's have long been programmed and online viewing threads bookmarked, while an assortment of snacks are being assembled for virtual as well as "real life" fan gatherings.

Read all about this Sunday's show, including the Constance McMillen's story on which the episode is based at 'Drop Dead Diva' Does Prom and Asks Lance Bass and Clay Aiken to Attend. The photo below is from the site.

Hot off the press and not to be missed is Jamie Steinberg's in-depth interview with Clay at the Starry Constellation Magazine site: Clay Aiken - Drop Dead Diva.

Clay on the stand in DDD episode. Photos by Bob Mahoney.

Among those featured in Sunday's DDD cast are April Bowlby, Margaret Cho, Clay Aiken, and Ben Feldman. Both photos are clickable.

'Stay Tuned' Showcases DDD Creator

In Wednesday's "Stay Tuned" column, Angela Henderson-Bentley shared an extensive interview with Drop Dead Diva creator/executive producer Josh Berman.

Read the complete piece -- Drop Dead Diva Creator: A Real Roller Coaster Ride Is On the Horizon -- at the author's Herald-Dispatch corner. Below are selected portions:

The hour is chock full of guest stars including Clay Aiken, who becomes a surprising part of the mail order storyline.

I talked to Berman about the episode, all of the show’s great guest stars and what’s ahead for this season. [snip]

"One of the things I like about this season is that you have these guest stars who are playing against types. You had LeAnn Rimes in the season premiere and Clay Aiken in this episode playing characters they’ve never had the chance to play before.

"Absolutely and we talk to the actors beforehand and we really want to write them a role they can just sink their teeth into and have fun with.

"Clay Aiken, I just got on the phone with him and I said I really want you in this episode, here’s a character I’m considering, and we kind of crafted his character together.

"Through the process we have become friends. He’s actually flying to LA for the Outfest panel for the episode on Sunday.

"It’s amazing. You have a show like this that’s very empowering to women, empowering to humanity, it gets people excited. And that’s a unique experience for me."

Monday Clay appeared on "The Talk" to promote this weekend's DDD episode. Below are videos his chat in two parts.

Clay talks about fatherhood. - The Talk, Part 1. (CBS)

American Idol, retirement Part 2 topics. - The Talk (CBS)

Fountaindawg created the wallpaper below with screen caps from Clay's appearance on The Talk.

Click to expand graphic by Fountaindawg.

Have an awesome weekend, all! See you in a Diva thread somewhere!


With this week's Curtis Brown photo shoot in Raleigh, the retirement question and resulting hoopla appear to be distant thoughts. Below is a clickable picture tweeted and posted by the Raleigh photographer.

Clay with photographer Curtis Brown.

This entry is also posted at the OFC. Thank you for your comments at both sites. To leave a remark in the Carolina blog, click on the "comments" link below.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Clay Aiken Participates in DDD Panel Discussion

OUTFEST 2011 PANEL - Clay Aiken, Ben Feldman, and Josh Berman, and others connected with Drop Dead Diva participated in a panel discussion following the screening of next Sunday's show. Click on the YouTube button to view video by Scarlett full screen, or download it at this Google Docs link.

Fans Recap Outfest

Aiken Contributes to DDD Events

LOS ANGELES - Clay Aiken and others associated with the July 24 episode of Drop Dead Diva were joined by fans Sunday for a preview screening and panel discussion that proved a lively, informative addition to Outfest 2011.

In this age of technology, CA fans attending Outfest 2011 were quick to share recaps of the session with friends via computer.

Featured above is the video Scarlett made of the panel discussion. Among the other participants were Josh Berman, DDD creator and director; Jamie Babbit, co-executive producer; and Ben Feldman, the actor on Clay's left.

Initial reports on CA message boards were that DDD was "drop dead delicious." During the screening, Clay sat on the second row surrounded by some of his fans.

CA Fans Share DDD Impressions

Impressions from gareem were transmitted by yaknelle to members of the Clayversity message board. In no time flat, they had been copied to at least three fan sites.

Clay as given the cameo role because Berman personally called and asked him to be a part of the show. The panel was outstanding. The show was outstanding. All actors seemed to have really bonded.

Babbit, the co-executive producer, said, "Clay had one of the most fun parts. I was so happily impressed working with him. He is a natural actor. He is very talented and very good."

Below are three clickable screen caps from Scarlett's video.

As she was dashing out to attend today's taping of The Talk (Clay promos DDD at 2 pm ET on CBS), I asked Scarlett to sum up Sunday and her birthday excursion to the Los Angeles Outfest in a couple of sentences. Here is her comment:
I keep wishing everyone "Happy Birthday" by hoping it would be their "best ever." Some of it must have bounced back on me because I literally had my BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!

Well, it sort of helped that my birthday fell smack in the middle of monsoon in Southeast Asia, lol!

If you missed Sunday's DDD episode, stream it online at Lifetime. Set your DVR now for the 7/24 episode featuring Clay.

Thank you again for your birthday greetings to all of us 7/17 celebrants! Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clay Aiken Connects with Outfest 2011 Festivities

Clay Aiken at Outfest 2011 Saturday. Photo by Kevan Brooks.

Outfest, Birthday All in One!

Aiken To Participate in DDD Event

LOS ANGELES - Clay Aiken activities at Outfest 2011 are in full swing, and, as usual, his own special a cheering section is on the scene.

At the center of the Clay Nation contingent is clack goddess
Scarlett, who decided a trip to LA on "Carmageddon Weekend" was the perfect way to celebrate her birthday. With that, Clay Cyberspace is rejoicing because fans know, if possible, there will be clack!

Despite the predicted horrific traffic problems, the clack goddess will be in the midst of Sunday-Monday festivities. And just in the nick of time, it's now "Carmaheaven" and the 405 Freeway is set to reopen between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. PT Sunday several hours ahead of schedule.

'Funny or Die' with Clay Aiken cameo. - ENews video

Saturday night Clay was on hand for the screening of Tori Spelling's Funny or Die video, the previews for which are shown in the E! promo above.

The clickable graphic by Fountaindawg incorporates Newscom and Wenn photos from the session.

Expandable FOD photo by Kevan Brooks.

Drop Dead Diva's screening of the July 24 episode, panel discussion, and reception are set to begin at 1 p.m. PT today. Note the various links within this informative site.

Clay will promote next weekend's DDD episode on Monday's edition of The Talk on CBS (2 pm ET). Click on this link for a preview.

It is awesome sharing a birthday with such a special friend as Scarlett. Many thnx from both of us for your kind greetings here, at Facebook, and throughout Clay Cyberspace.

Because her experiences gathering and rendering clack are legend in this fandom, I wrote a blog about my co-birthday friend last year: Clay Aiken Fans Honor Scarlett.

One of the sweetest greetings I received this morning was a text from grandson Kai:
Ghnbvvvvvbdccxx cfgggvcfcccdfcc vcvhgvhhtr

As always, thank you for your comments in the Carolina/OFC blogs. Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clay Aiken a Celebrity Who Helps People in Need

Click to expand Tried & True Tour graphic by Fountaindawg.
Photos by toni7babe and farouche.

Countdown to Outfest 2011

Clay To Appear on DDD, The Talk

Countdowns to Sunday's Drop Dead Diva screening (7/24 episode) and panel discussion with Clay Aiken are flourishing on Internet message boards dedicated to the singer.

Numerous fans plan to attend the festivities in Los Angeles July 17-18. On Monday, Clay will appear as a guest on The Talk promoting the DDD episode. For an overview of the weekend events, see the previous blog entry: Clay Aiken Joins DDD Cast, Panel for Outfest 2011.

Earlier this week, an InfoBarrel entry -- Millionaires Who Help People in Need -- definitely caught the attention of CA fans, as indicated by the spike in the site's views.

In the blog, the author, jcmayer777, spotlighted some of the rich and famous doing good things with their money. In addition to singers and musicians, the blog includes charitable work of famous athletes, actors and actresses, as well as politicians.

Prior to National Inclusion Project, Clay worked with children
at YMCA camps. This photo is from Camp Gonzo.

Singers and Musicians
Clay Aiken: Aiken co-founded the National Inclusion Project in 2003. It is designed to help close the gap of those with special needs, so they can live in the world around them. This is a really great organization that offers help to people that are truly in need.

Other musicians and their charities highlighted include Alicia Keys, Keep a Child Alive; Jon Bon Jovi, The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.; and Sting, The Rainforest Foundation US.

Mayer, a full time jail guard in Wisconsin, has been writing online for about a year. Click on the blog link and give him a hit. You can also sign in and leave a comment.

Children participating in the NIP's Let's All Play Camps today.

TWWMAD Promotes Inclusion Project

Since the Summer Tour of 2004, the organization The Way We Make a Difference has been connecting community groups with donated tickets to Clay Aiken tour concerts.

Currently, the organization is on a mission to increase awareness about the National Inclusion Project among educators and persons who work with social service agencies.

By raising funds and donating tickets, TWWMAD hopes that representatives of these organizations can attend the Champions Gala Oct. 21-22 and see first hand the impact the Inclusion Project has on thousands of children as well as their efforts to raise the national consciousness about the need for and benefits of inclusion.
We know that many cannot afford to attend the Gala themselves, but we also know that there are those who might want to donate to such an effort in order to spread the National Inclusion Project’s message.

And of course we have seen how small donations can add up when we come together to make a difference.

If anyone is interested in making a donation of any amount to send these individuals to the Gala, visit TWWMAD website. You can assist with this project by making a

An Afternoon in the Park

A favorite lazy summer pastime with grandchildren Kai, almost 4, and Lia, 2, is visiting the local park. Below are three photos from a recent romp at the playground. All the pictures are clickable.

All boy, Kai is very much into trucks of all kinds. He even has a bookcase where they are stored. Following their daily runaround in the backyard, the trucks are carefully washed, dried, and returned to their special "garage."

Lia, who also enjoys her brother's truck collection, delights in being a mommy to two special dolls.

The week's countdown is a few minutes closer to Clay's Outfest 2011 events. Thank you for your comments in the Carolina blog and its counterpart at the OFC.

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Clay Aiken Joins DDD Cast, Panel for Outfest 2011

Clay Aiken - Expandable graphic by Ashes

Fans Set DVRs for The Talk, DDD

Clay To Appear on Drop Dead Diva

Throughout the Clay Aiken Cyberspace, fans are marking calendars, setting recording devices, and making plans to participate in person or via cell stream next weekend's 2011 Outfest Festival.

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing, showcasing, and protecting lesbian, gay, and transgender (LGBT) media, is in the midst of an outstanding July 7-17 lineup for 2011.

In addition to the 163 films (67 features and 96 shorts) from 25 countries, Outfest is hosting more than a dozen panels and special events at seven venues throughout the Los Angeles area, including Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and downtown LA.

Clickable CA graphic by Fountaindawg, photos by toni7babe

The outstanding cast of actors starring in this year's movies include Kathleen Turner, Jason Ritter, Emily Deschanel and Richard Chamberlain ("The Perfect Family"), Dolly Parton ("The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and "Hollywood to Dollywood"), Margaret Cho ("Cho Dependent" and "Drop Dead Dive"), Julia Ormond, Cheyenne Jackson and Illeana Douglas ("The Green"), John Waters, Jennifer Coolidge, Heather Matarazzo and Leslie Jordan ("Mangus!"), Esai Morales and Judy Reyes ("Gun Hill Road").

Also Clay Aiken and Lance Bass ("Drop Dead Diva"), Chloe Sevigny ("All Flowers in Time"); and documentary subjects Carol Channing ("Carol Channing: Larger Than Life"), Chely Wright ("Wish Me Away"), Patty Schemel and Courtney Love ("Hit So Hard"), Chaz Bono ("Becoming Chaz"), and Bruce LaBruce ("The Advocate for Fagdom").
"This year's line-up is one of the strongest in Outfest history and we're excited to be showcasing work that is both exploring and expanding the possibilities of LGBT themes and challenging our audiences through their storytelling," said Director of Programming Kim Yutani. [SNIP]

Margaret Cho, Lance Bass, Clay Aiken, series creator Josh Berman and director Jamie Babbit will take part in a panel of Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva."

The discussion follows a sneak preview of an upcoming episode inspired by the headline-making true story of Mississippi teen Constance McMillan who was denied access to her high school prom because she wanted to attend with her girlfriend.

Read more about the events at Outfest 2011.

Expandable July Retro graphic by Fountaindawg

Mark Your Outfest Calendar

Sunday, July 17 (2:30 - 4 pm PT): Drop Dead Diva Screening/Panel Post Reception - HBTV Designers Lounge @ the Directors Guild of America Theater Complex (DGA). All ticket holders and badge holders. Featuring Margaret Cho, Clay Aiken, and Lance Bishop.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with series creator/executive producer Josh Berman, director/co-executive producer Jamie Babbit, star Margaret Cho, guest stars Lance Bass and Clay Aiken, and Adam Waters (GSA Advisor of the Year). Moderator will be Ari Karpel.

Monday, July 18, 2 pm ET: Clay will be on The Talk (CBS) to promote his appearance on DDD.

Sunday, July 24, 9 pm ET: Drop Dead Diva episode co-starring Clay will air at on Lifetime at 9 pm ET Sunday, July 24.
This summer, Lifetime's popular dramedy/fantasy series is back for its third season and we have a sneak peek at a special episode.

Inspired by the headline-making true story of Mississippi teen Constance McMillan who was denied access to her high school prom because she wanted to attend with her girlfriend, the episode guest stars Wanda Sykes, Amanda Bearse, Clay Aiken, Lance Bass and Constance herself in a cameo.

Expandable graphic by Fountaindawg, photos by Cotton

Scriptwriter Excited About Episode

Scriptwriter Sarah McLaughlin has posted an entry in the TVscriptdoctor's blog, My episode is premiering at OUTFEST!
My episode of DDD is premiering at outfest this sunday, 17th of July. It’s going to be awesome. They’ll show the episode, then there will be a Q&A with the director, showrunner and some members of the cast and guest cast… Including Clay Aiken!

Clay will be participating with Margaret Cho, Lance Bass, Josh Berman, and Jamie Babbit on a panel about the Lifetime’s show. The panel discussion will follow a preview of an upcoming episode of the show.

I’m so excited to be a part of this incredible opportunity and have been honored to have been a part of this episode. Hope to see you all there!

Tune into the latest news at the DDD site on Lifetime where you can also stream or view previous episodes.

You can also follow DDD at
Facebook and Twitter. For further updates, see the left sidebar of Clay Aiken News & Articles at the Ideal Idol and the current Clay Aiken News Network blog.

Clickable map of LA detours.

Those attending Outfest should be aware of altered traffic conditions on July 16-17. According to CA fan Ann Stephens, on these days of Outtfest Weekend, Caltrans will close 10 miles of freeway from the 10 to the 101 in LA, taking in the Valley to the Westside. Attendees should program GPS devices according to map and info provided by ABC7.

July is going to be fun. Have an awesome two weeks, Clay Nation!


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Clay Aiken, Movies Make Wednesday 'Mini' Special

As Long As We're Here - Clay Aiken
View montage by gerwhisp full screen at YouTube.

Time for Reflection, Relaxation

Mid-Week 'Mini' Provides Choices

For me, Tuesdays are wall-to-wall music lessons at Wesleyan Christian Academy, fortunately followed by lazy Wednesdays during which I catch up with friends and family online and off, listen to Clay Aiken music, and watch movies.

Somewhere along the way, my friend Scarlett tagged this mid-week day off a "mini," often wishing she had one, too. Of course, a "mini" only lasts one day; and then it's back to teaching lessons on Thursday.

In checking through email saved for just such a Wednesday, I discovered a thoughtful piece shared a couple of weeks ago by Marlyne. See what you think.

Something To Think About

1] Prayer is not a spare wheel that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a STEERING WHEEL that directs the right path throughout.

2] So why is a car's WINDSHIELD so large and the rear view mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, look ahead and move on.

3] Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4] All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it; they will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry; they can't last long either.

5] Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6] Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart; it's just a bend, not the end!"

7] When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities. When GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied, "Yes, losing your vision!"

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them. Sometimes when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES; it takes away today's PEACE.

ALAWH Describes Aiken's Advocacy

"As Long As We're Here," the On My Way Here song from gerwhisp's opening Clay Aiken montage, beautifully reflects the singer's humanitarian philosophy.

A UNICEF Ambassador since 2004 and co-founder of the National Inclusion Project the year before, the singer is well known as an advocate for children the world over. His goal of helping others has inspired many of his fans to take up his causes.

Inspired by Clay's UNICEF projects, these graphics were designed by
AmazingCA, 1, 2; cindlu2, 3; Clayquebec1, 4, with photo by Invisible926; and claystruck, 5. All but the animation are clickable.

Going to the Movies Miles Apart

Somehow I made it through the past three decades watching only a few movies here and there. I didn't subscribe to premium channels until a couple of years ago when I signed up for DIRECTV. Later came U-Verse, augmented by Netflix.

My friend Sally gave my film repertoire a real boost the Christmas she sent me a box of 50+ carefully recorded movies she knew I would like. In no time at all, I was hooked! She frequently recommends movies that immediately go on the list.

I can't tell you how enjoyable it is to watch a movie simultaneously with a friend 1,125 miles away.
Scarlett and I coordinate our film adventures through chat on Facebook. Typical opening of a show is little more than, "I'm paused at MGM. Say GO!"

And then we are off to the races watching just about every genre in the book! Ironically, each has introduced the other to several movies.

Some our recent movies are A Single Man, Bonneville, Cookie's Fortune, Date Night, It's Complicated, Death at a Funenal (British), Life Is Beautiful, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, My Cousin Vinny, Music Within, October Sky, Secretariat, Searching for Bobby Fischer, The Blind Side, The Great Debaters, The King's Speech, The Paper, The Dream Team, The Reader, Unstoppable, With Honors, and Wooly Boys.

Could SFF Be in My Future?

The lady is is doing her best to turn me into a Sci-Fi Fantasy fan, but she's got a ways to go. I did view
Inception twice, but she had to explain a zillion times about participating in and extracting information from another person's dreams. *g*

Ever the techno goddess,
Scarlett maintains an up-to-date, color-coded spreadsheet document entitled "Ultimate Movie List" with dates movies are viewed, where the film is available (DVR, purchased DVD, Netflix, Amazon, etc.), the date last watched, even the IMdb viewer rating.

Our running dialogue during the movies is frequently hilarious. The multi-tasker is almost always rendering clack on a neighboring machine. With so many choices, the biggest question on movie nights is ... where do we begin.

Where Do I Begin - Clay Aiken on Tried & True Tour
View montage by molino79 full screen at YouTube.
Video footage by Scarlett and farouche; photos by Invisible926.

Tonight's movie fare is The Shawshank Redemption from Netflix and Amazon. I have seen the film several times, but this highly-rated movie will be brand new to my cohort. Upcoming features include The Cure, The Next Three Days, August Rush, The Town, and Calendar Girls.

Hope you're having a wonderful week and maybe even a mini! Seen any good movies lately?


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Clay Aiken Rewinds Set Tone for July 4 Festivities

CAPITOL 4th REWIND - Montage by Yollie950 replays a medley of Clay Aiken's 2004 PBS performance, including the Star-Spangled Banner, Measure of a Man, and God Bless the USA. The video can also be viewed at YouTube.

US Celebrates Independence Day

Concert Replays Honor July 4

As Canada and the USA celebrate national birthdays this weekend, Clay Aiken fans may also include a rewind to Independence Days past when the singer performed for Capitol 4th (2004) and launched a 20-city Summer Symphony Tour at Freedom Fest in Frisco, TX (2007).

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, the United States of America On was born as the Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.

President John Adams said the Fourth of July should be celebrated with, among other events, "pomp, parade, games, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.

Taking President Adams at his word, link to Fireworks Pop by clicking on the photo below where you can create your own "illuminations" in the sky above Lady Liberty with your mouse.

Click on this show to create your own fireworks!

Fans Recall 2007 Frisco Festivities

For CA fans, Independence Day will forevermore be associated with the 2007 Freedom Fest in Frisco, TX, opening performance of the summer tour also known as Soft Rock Hard Place. The festivities included food, fun, fireworks and a "hawt" Clay Aiken Concert.

Anniversaries of events from Clay's singing career are marked in various fashions. In 2008, xxx4clay reminisced about July 4, 2007, and then posed the question to her online friends: Where were you a year ago today?

A host of memories were shared not only by those who endured every degree of the humid, 90-plus temps in the Frisco soccer stadium, but also those who listened via cellstream in air-conditioned comfort. Beginning with xxx4clay, here are a some of the Independence Day 2007 recollections:

Prior to this concert, we knew very little about what Clay would sing although the speculators amongst us had run amok with their possible scenarios.

That afternoon someone had listened to the rehearsal and some of that info had drifted back to us but still, the lack of knowledge just added to the excitement.

Finally, finally, finally, Clay entered the stage singing “Here You Come Again.” There really are no words to describe what I felt at that moment.

It was beyond exciting. Beyond mesmerizing. And he was soooo close. That crowd let loose with a collective squeal that I can still hear to this day.

All those heat related miseries just disappeared when Clay showed his face and I never gave it another minute's thought until the concert was over.

There’s just something about the first concert of the tour and not knowing everything that’s gonna happen that makes it very, very special.

FREEDOM FEST - Graphic by Amazing_CA, photos by Farouche.

These responses represent a cross-section of the many who gathered in Texas or listened from afar on Independence Day 2007:

IRISHBOOKGAL: Right here with my headphones on listening to a beautiful voice that gives me goose bumps.

SMARTYPANTSSUZ: Glued to my computer drinking in every morsel I could through the cellstream and recaps. What a night!

JCLAY: Basking in the afterglow of my very first Meet & Greet. It was the first of the "sit down with all of you and talk for 1/2 hour" variety.

WINDSTAR2: I was also in Frisco right in the middle of the screaming teenagers. What a great night that was to be with fellow Clay friends, to see Clay again live in concert and in TEXAS!

ANAMERIAIKENINTX: I'd bet anything the Frisco temperature was pushing 100 before the humidity was factored in! The weather was terrible. I forgot all about it, too, while Clay was with us.

PLAYBILLER: Deep in the heart of Texas!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: From seasons past, the fandom's visual artists have created clickable patriotic graphics for this weekend's fireworks. Included are designs by A Beautiful Mind, photo by Invisible926, 1; Ashes, 2; Amazing_CA, photos by Farouche, 3; CLAYPERFECT, 4; Fountaindawg, 5; and fivegoldens, 6.

Wishing all a very special July 4 Weekend!