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Credit.

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I lost interest in American Idol a couple of weeks before we went on vacation. I think it was the week before Kellie Pickler was voted off. Now that I think about it, it was that Chicken Little guy’s lisp that threw me over the edge. I either had to turn off the television or hit the bottle harder than Paula Abdul.

Anyways, Earl came home from a business dinner tonight and promptly turned on the TiVo to watch American Idol. I wasn’t going to watch it with him, but I didn’t want to clean the house or do anything else productive, so I sat down and prepared myself to be underwhelmed.

I must say that one performance tonight blew me completely out of the water, and that was Katharine McPhee and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.

Now I pride myself on the fact that I have excellent pitch recall. I can sing a known song in tune and in it’s original key without having to hear it first. If I had paid attention to my music education classes at SUNY Fredonia, I’d probably have perfect pitch in the sense that if I was told to sing a B-flat I could sing it without having to hear it first. (By the way, I can sing a B-flat without prompting, just ask me to do it someday). I feel that at the any serious performer must have at the very least pitch recall and should really have perfect pitch.

Katharine sang the beginning of “Rainbow” a cappella (without accompaniment). When the band joined her about a quarter of the way into the song, she was in perfect tune with the band. There was no indiscreet harmonica bleat at the beginning to prep her, she had taken the ear piece out so we know she wasn’t hearing anything there, no, Katharine was singing on her own musical and vocal ability. And for the first time in a long time, I was impressed with a performance on American Idol.

Katharine captured the emotion of “Rainbow”, didn’t oversing it like Sam Harris did back in the 80s when he wanted to Patti LaBelle and had the stage presence of a star by actually sitting on the floor of the stage and taking the intimate approach. It worked for her.

My instrumental teacher in high school was rarely impressed. With him it was either perfect or anything else was pretty much embarassing. I hold performances of myself and of others to that same standard. I know when I suck.

And I know when another shines. And Katharine McPhee shined tonight.

J.P. is a freelance writer on the internet. To the relief of many, he isn’t paid for a word he says. After a brilliant high school musical career, including his line stopping performance as Mr. Whitney in “Anything Goes”, he flunked out of SUNY Fredonia while pursuing a career in music education due to lack of interest on all parties involved.

Randomize.

Do you want to hear something crazy? Let me tell you… I hate talking on the telephone. And I work in telecommunications.

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

There’s just something about talking on the telephone that grates on my nerves. I don’t know if it’s the frustration I feel by not being able to see the face of the person I’m talking to or what, but I really don’t like the sound of the tinny voice on the other end of the receiver.

It’s not because they have a tinny voice, mind you, but the audio quality of a telephone conversation really bites. You’d think with all these leaps in technology over the past 100 years or so, we’d have progressed beyond the tin-can and a string sound that we still have today.

Analog, digital, wireless, landline, VoIP, they all sound the same to me. Like a two tin cans and a string.

Maybe I’m a little frustrated because I basically talk on the telephone for a living. Perhaps it’s because I’m asked unbelievable telephone troubleshooting questions at work. “I’d like to move my telephone to the other side of the room, could you let more wire through the wall?” “How do I press ‘0’ with a rotary phone?” “The power’s out, how come my cordless phone doesn’t work?” It goes on and on.

I seem to get into positions of employment that occasionally frustrate me. One job I worked as a radio commercial copy writer. I hate advertising. I despise it. But then a salesperson would jot three words of what the business is about and I was suppose to write 60 seconds of an exciting, engaging, commercial, “make it pop.” One guy handed me a piece of paper that said “memorials, President’s Day Sale.” What the hell was I suppose to do with that?

“This weekend we’re celebrating the birthdays of two fine presidents: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. They’re both dead and gone, and you will be too someday, better put a downpayment on your headstone during their President’s Day Sale. With Prune Valley Memorials, your headstone will be stylin’ and will last longer than theirs ever did. Make a statement and make it pop when you’re six feet under.”

I do tacky well.

I’d continue this post, but I just got a, wait for it, phone call as I’m on call this week. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Snapshot.

Usually when I sit down to write in my blog I start babbling on about one of the many thoughts that are roaming around my head at that particular moment. I like to think of my brain as a container of the organized chaos I call “my thoughts” and sitting down to blog is like plucking a floating piece of paper amongst a ticker-tape parade and writing a little story about it. But I’ve been thinking about this blog entry for a couple of days and I thought I’d see what happened if I tried to put it to words.

I’m not writing about anything earth shattering or wildly perverse or anything like that. I guess I’m just sort of babbling about how I blog and why I blog. I like to think of “Life is such a sweet insanity” as a snapshot of the real me, and as varied as my blog can be, I’m sure you’d be delighted to see how varied my moods and whatever else makes me tick can be.

I’ve been asked why I blog before, in fact, I was most recently asked when we were in Phoenix chatting with another gay couple at a dinner. I write in my blog for my own amusement. I like to make others chuckle and try to make strides to being a gay male Erma Bombeck when it comes to humor. I’m not wildly political, though certain topics do get me stirred up enough to bark out my feelings on the subject. Even though I’m a gay man, I’m not all that vocal about gay issues, though I am totally open about my sexual orientation. I like to think that by just being myself on my blog, I’m doing my own little gay activism but just being a guy that likes another guy and talks about our somewhat ho-hum adventures together.

When I first came out I was very preoccupied with “being gay”, making sure I had the right haircut, making sure I wore the right clothes, went to the best bars and parties and ate nothing but fu-fu food. This went on for a couple of years, but then I met a woman at work who worked with employees with AIDS at the second largest computer manufacturer at the time, Digital Equipment Corporation, and she said that being gay was only a big deal because the gay person made it a big deal. You know, I agreed with her and it was about then that I decided that being gay was no big deal at all and I was just going to be me.

Fast forward 20 years and here we are today. I don’t eat in the fu-fu restaurants unless I have to, as I’m more content to be slugging a brewski and eating me some barbecue. Why nibble on salmon when you can have a cheeseburger smothered in cheese, onions and bacon with a side of fries and ‘slaw? My clothes come from places like Gander Mountain, a myriad of online shops or horrors of horrors, from Target or K-mart. When it comes to political activism, well, I’m more involved with state transportation issues than with anything related to gay rights. I figure that I have been and always will be gay, no one is going to stop me from being me and I don’t care what others think about that. By the way, I will say that anyone thinking that a gay person made the choice to be gay is completely clueless on the issue – I knew when I was in first grade.

Does everything go in my blog? Not at all. While quite open about what I discuss here, there are things that I keep to myself. I learned back in the late 1980s that you don’t put anything in e-mail (and now on the internet) that you wouldn’t mind reading on the front page of the New York Times. Besides, if I meet a someone familiar with this blog in person, I want to have something to talk about instead of reciting old blog entries and trying to pass that off as conversation.

So there it is, I’ve rambled another lunch hour away on my blog. I hope you enjoyed that little piece of ticker tape.