Thursday, November 25, 2010
1. A Thanksgiving Story: Set aside a few moments on Thanksgiving Day to sit down and read a Thanksgiving story. You can read it alone or together with your family.
2. A Thanksgiving Poem or Prayer: Take on the family project of writing a Thanksgiving poem or prayer together.
3. A Thanksgiving Bible Verse: Ask each family member to read a favorite Bible verse before the Thanksgiving meal.
4. A Thanksgiving Memory: During Thanksgiving dinner, ask each family member to share a favorite Thanksgiving memory.
5. A Thanksgiving Communion: Plan a time of family Communion on Thanksgiving to give thanks by remembering Christ's life, death and resurrection.
6. A Thanksgiving Blessing: Invite a widow, single person, or someone who is alone to share in your family Thanksgiving meal.
7. A Thanksgiving Day Parade or Play: Put on your own Thanksgiving Day parade or "pilgrim play" with family, friends, and neighbors.
8. A Thanksgiving Offering: Prepare a Thanksgiving offering to give to a needy family or one of your favorite charities.
9. A Thanksgiving Football Game: Plan a neighborhood football game for Thanksgiving weekend.
10. A Thanksgiving Meal for the Homeless: Hosted by your neighborhood church or community center.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Quincy Jones is back after a 15-year absence with the release of "Soul Bossa Nostra". Guest stars on this latest set are as follows: Akon, David Banner, Mary J. Blige, B.O.B., Tevin Campbell, Rudy Currence, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Wyclef Jean, Talib Kweli, John Legend, LL Cool J, LUdacris, Mohombi, Naturally 7, Prince Charlez, Q-Tip, Alfredo Rodriguez, Snoop Dogg, T.I., T-Pain, Robin Thicke, Three 6 Mafia, Tyrese, Usher, Barry White (R.I.P.), BeBe Winans, and Amy Winehouse. I don’t know if I would put this release in the same league as some his past collaboration masterpieces such as "Body Heat" (1974), "Sounds… And Stuff Like That!" (1978), "The Dude" (1981), or "Back On The Block" (1989), but since it doesn’t seem to be on the radar of any radio stations yet, I just want to get the word out about it. The CD was officially released on Tuesday, November 9th and it's also available for download.
Other than a handful of one-offs, producer, composer, and arranger Quincy Jones has been busy outside of the music world, acting as a film producer and a cultural ambassador. Although "Soul Bossa Nostra" is his first "new" release since the mid-90s, it revisits tracks he either composed, recorded, or produced previously with a host of the current day's most popular artists from the R&B, pop, and hip-hop. Given his reputation, the star power here is not surprising, but re-recording classic songs with new singers, or in some cases adding vocals to a track that never had vocals, can be risky. "Soul Boss Nostra" feels like a tribute exercise, assembled more for radio play and to attract the single-track download markets rather than a creative one.
One need only go to the remake of Shuggie Otis' classic "Strawberry Letter 23", which Quincy produced for the Brothers Johnson in 1977. The vocals and production by Akon employ shimmering, slippery hip-hop rhythms, Auto-Tune, and layers of programmed keyboards and backing vocals, without the tune's signature bassline. It's thin and hollow. The sampled hit "Soul Bossa Nova" appears here as a collaboration between Naturally 7 and Ludacris, who has sampled it himself. The new arrangement is streamlined and it lacks the dynamic punch and humor of the hit.
Quincy composed "Ironside" for the '70s television series and he uses the original orchestra and vocal tracks with a rap by Talib Kweli on top. It's better, but still feels disconnected. Why he re-arranged and re-recorded "Tomorrow" with John Legend is a big mystery. This version is void of the warmth of Tevin Campbell's voice of 1989. Campbell is featured on the new CD on a remake of "Secret Garden" and this version keeps White's vocals and adds Campbell's with Robin Thicke, LL Cool J, Usher, and Tyrese. It is lacking in finesse or emotion. "Get The Funk Out My Face" with Snoop Dogg at least retains the Brothers Johnson feel and his rap almost works. "P.Y.T." is redone by T-Pain and Thicke with so much Auto-Tune, it sounds like a cartoon soundtrack. Amy Winehouse's re-make of "It's My Party", which Jones produced for Lesley Gore in 1962, is horrible. Bebe Winans' reading of "Everything Must Change" is easily the set's classiest and most soulful track. It stands out beautifully from the rest.
Given Quincy's legendary stature and reputation for taste, this set feels unnecessary at best. The gimmick of redoing previous recordings with current artists of the day is nothing new for him and that formula has worked well for him many times in the past with great success. The only problem is, all of these songs were originally done to perfection... and when something is perfect, it doesn't really need to be re-done, now does it? One gimmick that is obviously missing from "Soul Bossa Nostra" is the new "breakout star" that everyone has become accustomed to hearing on a "Q" album. In the past, such releases have introduced the world to Patti Austin, James Ingram, Luther Vandross, Tamia, and Tevin Campbell, just to name a few. I'm actually a very loyal "Q" fan and have been for many years, but I must admit that I was a little disappointed with this latest release. Perhaps, it will grow on me... I'll let you know.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Move over "Big Mac" and "Whopper"... the "Giant" is back! I just recently learned that on October 25th, Gino's has returned to the area and opened a store in King of Prussia, PA. There will be a "Grand Opening Celebration" on Sunday, November 14th, 12:00-3:00pm, so spread the word to anyone you know who would appreciate this blast from the past and an opportunity to sink their teeth into a "Gino Giant" again. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 1:30pm.
Click on the nostalgic puzzle picture above to visit Gino's official website, see photos of the new store, and learn more about the history and comeback of this family favorite from back-in-the-day. You'll also find a flyer posted on the site with more details about the grand opening, which can be printed and shared. You can even "Like" Gino's on Facebook and "Follow" them on Twitter. Imagine that! Not bad for an eatery that's been missing in action for so many years. :)
Although my husband and I won't be able to make the grand opening, we did add a trip to Gino's to our ever-growing list of "things to do". Every year, we usually make a point of going to the King of Prussia Mall on Black Friday and you "best believe" that we'll be making a stop at Gino's while we're out there! And, you wanna know why? Because "Everybody goes to Gino's, 'cause Gino's is the place to go!" Now, let's see if they can really bring the magic back again!
Footnote: My family enjoyed many trips to the Gino's that stood on the corner of 50th & Woodland Avenue in Philadelphia. This particular day was June 16, 1976... the day I graduated from John Bartram High School. My mother is standing in front of that particular Gino's in the photo on the left; later that same day, my uncle, mother, and father are seated at a table full of Gino's food in the photo on the right. I took these photos... good eatin' and good times!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Today, I "virtually" packed up my grandkids and moved them from their previous blog home, "The Booga Wooga: Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, & Tigger Too!", to their new home, "The Booga Wooga & Little Sister Sophia". The previous blog features a "final post" and will remain accessible to us and others for as long as Blogger will allow it to occupy the space, which I hope will be forever! The final post also re-directs visitors to the new blogspot. You can use the text links or screenshot above to navigate your way to either blog. The fun will never stop, as long as Grammy's around to keep it going. Check 'em out!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
As you probably know, the Gubernatorial elections will be held around the country tomorrow, November 2nd. President Obama has stressed over the last several months that these mid-term elections are very, very important and will directly impact his ability to keep this country moving forward in the days ahead.
If live in the state of Pennsylvania and don't know where you need to go to vote tomorrow, you can use the website above to find out your polling place. Just click on the screenshot or use the text link underneath it to get there. If there is some question about the status of your voter registration, you can also check to see if it is current at this website.
So, please... even if it rains on tomorrow, go out and vote. No excuses will be accepted. It's too important!
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