Tuesday, December 21

Update! What's up with Andy's head?

Andy is blessed to have so much support from family and friends during her journey fighting brain cancer. The care she's received and the compassion from others has been incredible. She continues to inspire others and faces each day with a positive attitude.

Quick update:
She finished radiation Dec. 6 and the first round of chemo the following week. She returns to Rochester, MN on Jan. 5 to start the next phase of chemotherapy. At that point she'll find out details on continuing treatments for at least 6 months, possibly up to one year. The chemo pills will be stronger but she do five days each month. Side effects due to brain swelling have been more noticeable so she has bad days along with the good but she is still determined to survive and thrive.

For those who would like to help her financially, you may go to www.paypal.com and click to send donations. You just need her PayPal e-mail address of andrea.eilertson@gmail.com to make a deposit to her account at PayPal.

Brain cancer bracelets with her inscription are still available for $10 each. You can send a check to her or deposit funds to PayPal. The inscription reads: Andrea Eilertson In Our Hearts Forever. You can also send a request to her address at 1024 Prairie Lakes Dr. #5 Ankeny, IA 20023 or send donations to her bank fund at attn: Jeff Swanson for Andrea Eilertson Community State Bank 817 N. Ankeny Blvd PO Box 127 Ankeny, IA 50023.

She will be unable to work for an extended time. The generosity of others allows her to stay in her condo and still maintain her pride.

DING DONG radiation done! Andy rings the bell, article at


Andy rings the bell three times to mark the end of radiation treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Go to http://www.yermomsblahg.blogspot.com/  for article and links.

Thursday, November 11

CMA queen Miranda Lambert, a touch of crude and a bunch of talent

Miranda Lambert
Country’s new royal couple shook up the 44th Country Music
Awards show in Nashville November 10. Brad Paisley and 
Carrie Underwood hosted with Paisley winning the top award
as Entertainer of the Year.  Otherwise the spotlight kept fleeting
back to Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.  Up for a
record-breaking 9 awards—the most ever for any female 
country artist, Miranda pulled in three trophies and performed on stage twice.

Miranda celebrated her first ever Female Vocalist of the Year award on her 27th birthday. She was ecstatic for future husband Blake Shelton’s first ever Male Vocalist of the Year award. He also won Musical Event the Year for his duet Hillbilly Bone with Trace Atkins.

Both spoke with emotion and sincerity in their acceptance speeches. Known for his redneck image and his reputation as a flirt, Blake’s voice cracked as he held back emotions. His words came from the heart—no written script or prepared speech. He was obviously shocked and pleased.

Miranda thanked one of her idols, country music legend, Loretta Lynn, for paving the way for women in country music. An inspiration to Miranda, the first female winner of the CMA Entertainer of the Year award, Loretta joined Miranda and Cheryl Crow in a rendition of Loretta’s hit, Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Miranda and Blake might be new to winning CMA awards but much of their music goes back to the old traditions of country music. Miranda’s unique style gives the Nashville sound a new edgy tone. In a backstage interview, Loretta Lynn commented, "Nobody in country music is more country than Miranda." Considering the source, Miranda Lambert’s future is lookin’ bright. Time to buy some heavy duty shades.

Considering the award nominations, great album sales, the popularity of the newly anointed couple and the fact they both have singles in the top ten, they could shake up the uptight country music industry for awhile. No more Nicole and Keith or Tim and Faith as Miranda and Blake take over with her edgy country rock meets bluegrass style and his versatile sexy deep voice that nails a heartfelt ballad as much as it rocks out an outlaw redneck drinking song. They are like fairy tale characters only they party and drink a bit.

Of course there were other notable moments besides all the love for the Lambert/Shelton combo.

*Who dressed these people?

Carrie Underwood’s Mama’s Song was heartfelt but the gown she wore a gown with a split personality. Difficult to describe, a satiny purplish train-like object seemed to flow on the floor on one side of the dress while the other side of the dress sparkled like a bedazzled purple nylon netting bunched up for more volume. It must have been big big bucks but it could have been a 1980s prom/bridesmaid gown found at a nearby Goodwill Store.

A few of her wardrobe choices didn’t seem to suite her. Yuckers on the poofy skirt ensemble with the little red Christmas bows stuck on the bodice with heavy rope-like gold brocade snaking up and over her shoulders. Did they run out of fabric and resort to gift wrap aisle? A couple outfits were random bizarre like a blend between punk-college-girl and let’s-go-to-the-polo-field type outfits. The long dress with the orangish gaudy yellow streaks looked like some type of chiffon fabric tie-dyed in mustard—Grey Poupon probably.

Speaking of clothes, what was that stiff fabric Jennifer Nettles attempted to pass off as a dress? It reeked of flashbacks to last season’s American Idol quirky fashionista wanna be Siobahn Magnus with her combo of tutu and combat boots. What was that?

*Awkward meltdown

Brad Paisley’s acceptance speech at the end of the program was almost awkward due to his inability to talk trying to hold back tears. Just cry already! He spoke of his family’s influence and his late grandfather and the loyalty of country music fans. For a veteran on the awards circuit on the inside of the network, he seemed passionate and unrehearsed.

*Awesome duets

Best New Artist winner, Zach Brown Band and Alan Jackson! Sweet. Very natural unassuming and true talent. (Prediction: Zach Brown Band could be the biggest deal yet. The new CD is unbelievable with at least another 4-5 top ten hits. Why, why, why must he wear the beanie?)

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson! Who thought of this duo? Risky business but they cashed in big time. ChaChing! Brilliant. Jason Aldean is way underrated.

Cheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert? Hmmm. Cheryl tried to impersonate Loretta Lynn at times but when she just sang it sounded good. Miranda, on the other hand, brilliant. That heavy southern twang melted into the classic Coal Miner’s Daughter. It was easy to picture Miranda in that role. Cheryl? Not so much.

*Other notable performances

Reba McIntire rocked it out on If I Were a Boy. Keith Urban is always a keeper. Dierks Bentley got into the bluegrass sound. Vocal Group of the Year, Lady Antebellum, were harmoniously excellent as usual plus they took the award for Single of the Year with Need You Now, (aka the most overplayed song on the radio). Gwyneth Paltrow pulled it off with the help of Vince Gill. Taylor Swift sang live plus on key. Blake Shelton sparkled with obvious joy on stage. He is a charmer and a natural. Miranda Lambert kicked it like she always does, too bad it wasn’t a different song. Kid Rock got the party started. Kenny Chesney? Meh. George Strait? Double meh.

Come to think of it all the performances were decent. What’s the bottom line on the 44th Annual County Music Association Awards Show 2010 in Nashville, TN held at Bridgestone Arena? Stupendous! Overall, it turned out to be one of the best CMA award shows yet. The mix of new blood and solid performances proved to be entertaining and made it fun to watch. Cheers for country music!

Here is a list of the big awards. Check the CMT website for other winners.

Entertainer of the Year: Brad Paisley

Album of the Year: "Revolution," Miranda Lambert

Music Video of the Year: "The House That Built Me," Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year: "The House That Built Me," Tom Doughas, Allen Shamblin (Miranda Lambert)

Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake Shelton

Single of the Year: "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum

Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum

New Artist of the Year: Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year: Sugarland

Musical Event of the Year: "Hillbilly Bone," Blake Shelton (featuring Trace Adkins)

Musician of the Year: Mac McAnally

Sunday, November 7

On the Seasons of Baseball, Football, Politics & Life

Pete Seeger used words from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible in his song, so I guess I can borrow some words from the Byrd's song for my story. You know the one about everything having a season? Maybe it was all about sport’s seasons.

To Everything…There is a season …

So October baseball and the baseball season are over and my Twins got cheated by the evil Yankees. Then my Vikings got rooked by the refs and Randy Moss ran a fake. Oh wait, I mean he was a fake. Their season is going nowhere on the fast track. Then Nov. 2 pulled a punch to the gut with the thought of tea partiers in places of power. We preach against extremists in other countries so why are they electable here? All hail the season of hate.

To Everything…There is a season …
A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

There might be a season for everything but still I fear the truth in the words of my late father. His political wisdom was subtle but right on. Pre-election 2008 when he was grumbling about voting and how it wouldn’t make a difference, I said, “Dad, you gotta vote. If you don’t vote then I don’t wanna hear you bitchin’ about the way things are.”
         A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones,
a time to gather stones together

We talked about the need for change, about politics in general, about issues for seniors, about racism and his pretenses of racism, he grumbled some more, and some more. After about 20 minutes of “discussing” the state of the country he delivered those prophetic words. “By God ‘W’ and his crooks got this country so far down the toilet I don’t think your guy or any other damn politician can pull us back out.”

His 75 years proved to me many times that you don’t need a formal education to be smart. After I said he might be right but we had to try something different, he said, “I don’t care who you are, we ain’t getting’ outta this mess in 4 years or even 8 years—maybe not in your lifetime. It sure as hell won’t be while I’m still around.” True. True. True. And true. Wise man.

He did end up voting for a Black man (he said; I believe it based on his complaints) and he was hopeful about the cost of pills and bills for all his health needs. He prided himself with pushing buttons so I got razzed a lot. Those on the other side of the spectrum in denial of his politics got their share of ribbing. One of the last real conversations we had a couple weeks before he left us was about that same topic.

He told me he was proud of me for standing up for my beliefs. He admitted he voted because he shared some of the same views. He said he knew I wanted to make a difference for senior citizens (old farts were his words) and people in need (don’t have a pot to piss in). For not having a very “touchy/feely” relationship he was wide open when he said he loved me and advised me to keep writing. “You’re damn good at it so you better keep doin’ it."

For someone like Dad who worked a shift job of physical labor everyday and never knew any other way to say those words, made me breathe deep a few times just to keep it together. Quite a contrast from the words he said when I told him I was no longer teaching. “By God that kind of money is hard to come by.” That was the serious part before he went into the routine about how easy teachers have it with summers off and short work days and blah, blah, blah. He put up a good front but I know he was proud of the difference I made for kids. Still, for him to tell me to keep writing and that I was good at it pretty much validated my decision.

I suppose when it’s all mushed together, the Twins will have another shot at a run in the play-offs and the Vikings can still make something of their season. The upheaval in politics will eventually swing back to middle ground. Hopefully, each of us can learn about tolerance and start working together.

In retrospect, even my father is still with me in many ways. Although he died in the summer of 2010, his wisdom continues to influence me on a daily basis.

A time to be born, a time to die                         
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

Yup. Nothing like death and dying to get your priorities straight. He might not be here physically but I know Grandpa Bud comforts Andy (Zipper) when he watches over her. Their unspoken bond is just as real as the radiation and chemo her body gets each day. They share some of that same stubbornness. It made him survive some rough times like heart surgery, lung surgery, cancer. That attitude and deep faith might help her cheat the ‘C’ word for a few extra years. She will have her season.

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

As I sit in silence in our room in Rochester, MN trying not to weep, I think about my daughter.
I think about my dad. I long for his quiet strength.
Small things like laughing about photos, sharing with new and old friends and the kindness of family keep reminding me he is still here in many ways and I aim for hope.

But I guess sometimes it’s too hard to reason with emotions. Sometimes it is just too hard to tell if the falling leaves mean a season is ending or another season is about to begin. In sports it is easy… in life, not so much. Whatever it means, there is a reason.
It is not for me to decide.

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven   

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

Sunday, October 10

Broadcasters who sell their souls to the NY Yankees

Oct. 5 2010 comments on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

Regarding Baseball Tonight's attempt to preview the ALDS:

Did Yankee $$$ buy your cohunes? Long ago I realized broadcasters gave up objectivity for Lent but I mean really peeps, c’mon! Let’s review:

 Enough Sabathia glory to make me puke. I don’t recall hallowed ground in Cleveland.

 Instead of a has-been Petite is Superman’s clone.

 Burnett isn’t starting? Is he gonna pout? OMG it must be important cuz it is taking time away from pitchers who ARE STARTING.

 Sabathia again. 3 days rest? Good God almighty call out the Guard.

 One measly mention of Pavano (probably threw him a bone due to former Yankee status). Nothing about the Liriano’s improvement. Nothing about Duensing stepping up. Nope. No stories there.

There is a cure for the disease commonly known as WWYD*. Do an hour every day revolving around the illustrious Yankees. Then do 30 min featuring other teams.

I must give kudos for calling out Ray’s fans for lack of support. Twins sell out most of their games. Analogy? Fans are to Rays what coverage is to Twins.

BTW Twin’s fans will be waving Homer Hankies, tipping some Buds & listening to Bert Blyleven.

Kind regards,

EJ Young

*WWYD: Disorder caused by hypnotic effects of pinstripes and dollars signs whirling, confirmed at ESPN sites across the country.

Friday, October 8

Help Andy beat brain cancer

day after surgery
Andrea Eilertson, a former athlete and police officer, was diagnosed with Grade 2 oligoastrocytoma following brain surgery in August of 2010. Most of her tumor was surgically removed during an awake craneotomy at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, IA.
An oncologist and radiologist recently consulted with Andrea about a treatment plan. She is traveling to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for their recommendation. A clinical trial for patients with her type of incurable cancer has helped some patients extend their lives by several years. She is hoping to be accepted for a similar clinical trial at Mayo Clinic.Donations of any amount will help her with medical deductibles,  treatment costs not covered by insurance and funds for room and board during out patient treatment.

Any financial assistance during this difficult time would help relieve some stress and allow her to focus on her fight against cancer. As a young woman with a positive attitude who was in good physical health prior to her diagnosis, maybe she will be the one to beat the odds against this disease.

Andrea has not been able to work due to health since late June. She has applied for long-term disability through her job as a weapons trainer and field instructor with a company contracted by Homeland Security. To date she has not been approved. If/when she is approved she will get paid 60% of her salary. Her wish is to remain as independent as possible during treatment and the consequences of her disease. Without help, that will not be possible.

with her grandpa on sr. day at U of KY

Due to her deep sense of faith, she believes that everything happens for a reason and is a peace results of treatment and prognosis. She plans to fight every day with every bit of her energy but fears if she survives the disease, due to financial consequences (from not being able to work) she will lose her home, her job and her credit rating needed to rebuild a new life. 
Thanks for considering a donation to Andrea's fund to fight brain cancer. Please share information with appropriate parties who could help.
For more information about types of brain tumors and treatments, go to: http://www.abta.org/Tumor_&

Minnesota Twins dreamin'

Minnesota Twins Dreamin’

by a life-long groupie and stalker of all things Twins

Just like Cinderella I got to go to the ball in the fall way back in the year nineteen hundred and eighty seven. World Series game 1 Minnesota Twins vs St. Louis Cardinals. The proverbial once in a life time deal.

Got the ticket because my friend worked at a bank owned by Carl Pohlad the owner of the Twins and they had season tickets but somebody got sick and she knew I was a fan and I was poor and there was this ticket and I think I wrote a check to her for the price of the ticket and the check probably bounced. But I was at the WW'87 sittin' right there behind third base in the prime seats between people who could afford to buy a ballpark beer. And, breathe!

It was all the clichés and cheesy stuff you read about. The atmosphere, the noise, the excitement, the cold beer soaking my Twins T-shirt--stories I've told my children and I'll tell my granddaughter. Yup, I was a Minnesota Twins fan way before being a Twins fan was ever cool. Way before wanna be’s jumped on the bandwagon.

Inspirational but disillusioned.

As a young 'un I remember snuggling under the covers with a tiny transistor radio set on WNAX in Yankton, SD settling in to listen to my Twins. Harmon Killebrew. Tony Oliva. Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven. Heroes to me. Then I was at the HHH Metrodome to see my new heroes Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, Dan Gladden and Kirby Puckett. All the clichés apply here-I was like a kid in a candy store or at Christmas yadda yadda yadda. No, people I didn't have enough money for a beer and I didn't even give a crap. I was living a dream. I can still hear the roar of the crowd; see the Homer Hankies swirling in the stands, still feel the cold wetness of the beer the stumbly guy behind me dumped on my Twin’s T-shirt. Who cares? I didn't pay for it, right?

Flash forward and here we go again. Things have changed. I still can't afford a ballpark beer but there's a new stadium, a new Twin's team and the same old (literally) fan sniffing’ around for tickets.

I am sittin' at my computer, cocked glasses, half cup of cold coffee, smushed bedhead hair, drooling about tickets for the playoffs. Fired up the laptop, clicked up three open windows and I was rollin'! Virtual waiting room on two machines with four open windows. Yessss! This is the life for a Twin's fan that waited nigh on 20 year since my boys made the big show.

When I fantasized about Hrbek when I was 30 that was probably normal and okay. Now when I think of Joe Mauer's spikes under my bed it seems more pathetic than naughty. I remember buying a king-sized sheet at Goodwill and painted the words angled from the bottom left corner to the top right: “How do you spell hunk? H-R-B-E-K!” We tied it on the railing in the upper deck cheap seats. But, row one is row one. We’d stand outside the gates and dash for the seats when the doors opened two hours before game time.

And now it's 2010 and my guys have another shot at the big time . . .

Monday, September 6

Andy's Brain Cancer Bracelet Info

Brain Cancer Bracelet Fundraiser for Andy
Thanks to Andy's former teammates and Coach Grimes with the Iowa Thunder Women's Professional Football Team for the fundraiser to help with expenses during her challenge with brain cancer. Please consider retweeting, posting link or forwarding.

Instead of worrying about $$$, Andy
needs to use her energy to focus on her fight against cancer!

Purchase brain cancer bracelet with inscription: Andrea Eilertson, In Our Hearts. $10 per bracelet w/free shipping. PayPal allows you to pay with check, credit or debit card. All proceeds go to Andrea Eilertson for expenses related to brain cancer treatment & recovery (health insurance premium, insurance co-pays, groceries, transportation, items rejected by insurance including some prescription drugs and therapy).
She is undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments for brain cancer (left temporal lobe oligioastrocytoma Grade II) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Prior to treatment she underwent an awake craneotomy with resection of majority of tumor at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, IA in August. In June she went to the ER with severe pain resulting in an oophorectomy and removal of an ovarian cyst. Due to these combined medical problems, Andy has been unable to work since midJune.
Andy is staying at Hope Lodge 411 Second Street NW Rochester, MN 55901 Oct 25-Dec 6.

Review: Des Moines American Idol Live Tour 2010

The American Idol Live Tour 2010 Des Moines, Iowa version proved I am smarter than the average bear. I said it before the finals; I said it after the crowning of the new idol and I’ll say it again after witnessing the top ten performers live on stage at Wells Fargo Arena August 26.

Lee Dewyze didn’t deserve the title. If I ever doubted it, he proved it in his brutal act of slaughter committed on a perfectly nice Kings of Leon song. Dewyze obviously gained some stage presence during the tour, actually working the crowd. His passion for music and gratitude to fans is loud and clear—unlike a few sour vocal notes. Many sounded loud and off key—or “pitchy” as the infamous judges so labeled. His Halleluiah rendition flickered with some potential but the energy eventually waned along with the right pitch.

Kara Dio-freaking-Guardi and the American Idol machine owe Casey James an apology. As soon as she drooled over the tall lean Southerner he was cast as a sex symbol. Judges reinforced that role week after week. Maybe that sexy image carried him to third place but OMG, this guy is talented. Vocally, James was more than solid showing a bluesy twang sound for his solos and a deep sweet harmony in a duet with Michael Lynche. As a guitarist, he is way up in the ranks. After shedding the TV show stereotype, it’s clear he is the real deal. Instead of creeping into the top three as a wanna-be Idol, if voters got a glimpse of his captivating style outside the patronizing judge’s box, the phones might still be ringing. To avoid hypocrite status, I’ll offer up my own apology. I liked him on the show. After seeing his live performance, thoughts of a new groupie group kept tugging for my attention.

The master songstress wowed fans with the raw emotion of Up to the Mountain. That one Crystal Bowersox song made the night for me. Ticket price, driving, parking and any pre-concert drama easily dissolved and melded into tribute to the conviction and truth oozing from her one-of-a-kind sound. Her flawless voice and comfortable style filled the stage and drew the audience into her zone.

Highlights of the concert

Up to the Mountain
• Inspiring flawless vocal quality with a bluesy tone     

• Video graphics added to the spiritual elements

• Mentioning her son in the lyrics made her
  connection believable

• Contemporary cover

• Original interpretation close to a gospel rendition

The whole Casey James set

• Better vocals than the TV show ever produced

• Natural unassuming style allowed the music to be the focus

• Proved he could be a star in more than one genre

• Master guitarist on electric and acoustic

The James-Lynche duet

• Contrasting styles made a perfect blend for romantic ballad

(It felt like they were making love to the words they sang)
• Both totally committed to emotion in lyrics, raw emotion and credibility

• Fused harmony caused chills; sounded like they’ve worked together for years

• Made the duet their own with unique style, each individually strong w/o taking away impact of duo

• Great audience connection with intimate tone

Siobahn Magnus &  Paint it Black

• Close to the stunning TV performance with contrast of solid vocals

• Eerie personal emotion attached to the lyrics

• Magnus' moniker fashion w tu-tu type fluffed short skirt and the infamous combat boot ensemble

• Sensual yet almost hostile at times in the Stones’ song

• Performance underscored status as a one-of-a-kind creative artist. More of a celebration of the arts display-not just a song.

• Unbelievable emotional, vocal and physical energy

• Graphics painting different colors on the background screen of set enhanced strength of lyrics rather than distracted (the case for most of the performances)

Nice surprises for the night

Tim Urban somewhat decent. Lacked vocal energy but not annoying. Full deep tones on his Coldplay cover

Aaron Kelly has matured. Sounded good coming close to hitting most of the notes from his Rascal Flats’ hallmark covers. Much more comfortable and confident on stage

Katie Stevens transformed from school girl dressed for prom into naughty teen vixen with a sassy attitude. Impressive vocals.

Michael Lynche in his element with bluesy ballads. Much more believable when he sticks with the strength of storytelling through music.

Worst moments for the night - besides the measley 5000-6000 people in attendance

Didi Benami most obvious that she didn’t belong with this group of talented singers. Rather than creating her own style by becoming absorbed in a song, she tried to play different characters revealing she is still mostly absorbed in herself.

Andrew Garcia just tries too hard to be something he isn’t. Unique creative stylistic twists got him on the big stage but the depth isn’t there.

Lee’s voice went from the television verson of graveling and smokey to a more strained warbly and burnt out quality. Still has the urge to hitch up his pants a few times.

All of Siobahn’s other songs in her set. Seems like a hard rocker wanna-be then the next minute she’s impersonating a Sara McClaclan-type singer. Seems disjointed and confusing rather than diverse and refreshing.

Numbers 4-10 group trying to do The Climb with Miley Cyrus. They didn’t totally crash and burn but didn’t reach the summit either. Meh. Yawn. Time for a potty break. Possibly could sell as elevator music tune.

FAQ (flashing thoughts during boring performances)

• Is Michael Lynche really that muscular or is he a fatty?

• Who is the real Siobahn? A creative artist interpreting lyrics or a raging headbanger screaming the words?

• Is Katie gonna be called out by righteous self serving religious types for her way beyond teeny booper sexy moves and wardrobe? Does Katie’s mom know she dresses like that?

• Why were Didi and Anthony in the Top 10 ahead of talented singers like Lily and Katelyn?

What’s with all the covers? When can Idol get real and expect original music and musicians rather than just singers?

• Did Crystal act on her Casey crush?

• Do Aaron and Katie have a sibling-type relationship or a kissy-face teen relationship?

• Why does Tim Urban have a great voice with no energy?

• Are Idol singers really a big happy family like they suggest or is there an outsider (Didi) in the group?

Trivial Idol trivia

• Casey makes three. Along with Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox, Casey James recently landed a contract with Sony.

• With judges Simon and Ellen going bye bye, will Bret Michaels become a new/old school judge? Is it true about Mariah Carey? Have they thought about approaching the omniscient Betty White?

Crystal got her teeth fixed now she just needs a few more fashion tips. C’mon now girl, you don’t have to strut out in Katie spikes or Siobahn boots but give us a little sense of style.

My brilliant predictions for the top three from 2010? Repeat results from last season. Hmmmm. Who won last time out? No, it was not Adam Lambert. It was some guy named . . . Kris or Chris . . . right?
Just like last season, a year from now we’ll be congratulating Bowersox for her album sales and buying tickets to see her in concert. Music fans will be like . . . Lee who? No 2 will once again be number 1 while Casey will easily outshine the voter’s choice of Lee Dewyze.

By the way people, Adam Lambert rolled into town over Labor Day weekend taking over Simon Estes Amphitheater and rocked out to a delirious crowd filled with its share of Glamberts.

Tuesday, August 17

Vanilla Ice, American Idol and other meaningless crap

So, I find myself a little embarassed by my giddiness over the Legends of Hip Hop at the Iowa State Fair. My once gushy junior high-type groupiness is more than a little overshadowed with my daughter's illness. She was to be the one to share her excitement and attend the free concert with me (as in "Yes, mom, I will go because I know you want to. I could care less.")

Now, what to do about the much anticipated (by both of us-for real) American Idols Tour next week at the Well? She says Please go, Mother. You've looked forward to it for so long. But everytime I clap for Crystal won't I be thinking of how Andy would have loved to hear her? Will I feel guilty like I am somehow taking pleasure from my daughter's pain? Should I sell the cherished tickets and feel like a traitor? Should I stay at the hospital and play the role of martyr then regret missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a favorite Idol?

Andy's incision from left temporal lobe

craneotomy with resection and biopsy.
The very best ultimate possible option would be that this is all some kind of a freaking evil nightmare. But, the fluid slowly dripping through the pastic tubes to the sound of beeping machines makes it real. The bunched-up incision on her shaved scalp smacks
of reality. Nothing dream like in Room 667.

Strange how my little girl is still my little girl. She might be 30 years old and trains men twice her size in weapons and field training but I still wish I could go back to a simpler time and just cradle her in my arms and rock and sing a lullaby as she drifts off to sweet dreams. Sorry Taylor but this day ain't no frickin' fairy tale. It's more like a horror film. Hey, I am entitled to a pity party or two.

So I guess I will say a prayer, listen to a Bowersox favorite of ours, Up to the Mountain and sit by her side in room 667 and wait and wait . . .

Thursday, August 12

Another challenge

Photo of Andy during Sr. Day UK Softball
with her Grandpa Bud who passed away in July.
She was recovering from another surgery
and could not go to his funeral.

August 12 noon

 For those waiting for address:  Andy is out of intensive care.  You can send cards to her at:

Andrea Eilertson Room #667 Mercy Medical Center 111 6th Ave. Des Moines, IA 50314. Needs to rest so Dr. wants visitors limited to 2 at a time. Want to keep her calm and allow time to sleep when pain meds are given

Summary of Updates on Facebook

August 12 6 AM

Andy is still in Neuro Intensive Care Unit at Mercy as planned. She is doing well. Lots of drs in an out and lots of meds. Taking anti-swelling med, anit-seizure med--other procedures related to the left part of the brain where damaged area was removed. They removed catheter and she was able to get out of bed and use restroom.

She finally slept last night for a few hours. No further prognosis at this time. Did MRI this morning, infectious disease continues to work on biopsied sample, blood etc. trying to get a firm diagnosis as soon as possible.

Nuero team also analyzing their sample. Nothing definite yet. She is anxious to get moving and more than willing to do what drs ask. Typical Andy, she is worried about others, if her guys are doing okay at work, if I've slept, if her sister is doing okay, if Anna likes new daycare, asks about all the flooding etc. Talks a little slower and maybe takes a few seconds to put everything together, but neurologic functions are all normal and nothing not to be expected at this stage.

Hope to post a pic later-not sure if she will approve. We'll see. She looks great with a skull cap/stocking hat type covering on head so she looks like she's wearing one of her usual hats. Can't wear glasses due to left ear being enclosed and taped into the whole bandage thing which kinda ticks her off which is a good sign!

Hope to have soon real news later. I know she appreciates all the thoughts and prayers of friends, relatives and the special people she's been lucky enough to know through softball, football, UK, policework and MVM.

I am most assured by her deep sense of faith. I know she believes that all is good no matter what happens but I also think she might be just a little scared under that tough exterior.

I will limit future posts to medical only updates. As she slowly gains control of pain, she will most likely post information herself.

August 11
Andy out of surgery. Did well. Stayed awake the whole time. Removed section of brain with abnormal cells. Some drs think tumor, some think infection, doing more tests to make firm diagnosis. Having CT and then in ICU. Will update when we know more.

August 11
Went into surgery 10:45. Doing what is called awake craneonomy w/resection or biopsy. Best choice if person can tolerate it and she opted to do it. She is sedated to the extent she can still communicate so they can ask her questions and monitor her speech when they take the biopsy. Less chance of damaging cells directly related to speech if she can talk. Uncomfortable but tolerable was the way neurosurgeon explained, anestheologist is there and they can stop and do general anesthesia if she needs to. Surgery estimated at 2 hrs to 4 hrs depending on pathology.

Dr. thinks one of two things. 1. infection or 2. tumor. If tumor most likely will remove damaged area unless too risky due to location but he thinks it is low enough not to be high risk for speech/seizures. If cancer then further treatment needed. If not still best not to leave damaged cells in brain to cause more problems. Will update after surgery.

For Andy's friends: address is Mercy Hospital 1111 6th ave Des Moines IA 50314. after surgery she will be in ICU for 24-48 hrs then assigned reg room. surgery is biopsy of left temporal lobe of brain to determine reason for swelling and inflammation will update on her facebook as info changes

where daughter andy is recovering from brain surgery

Saturday, August 7

So much excitement for an old lady!

Kissing with Ava and Anna or Anna lovin "uppy"
Iowa State Fair starts next week. American Idol tour is in Des Moines Aug. 26. My daughter painted my dining room this lovely aloe greenish color AND out little granddaughter Anna is finally potty trained! That's almost too much excitement for one old lady with a cane.
So many questions spin in my head:
Is there a new food on a stick this year at the fair?
What if Anna goes poo-poo in big girl pants at the fair?
How early do I need to line up in the 90 degree weather to see Vanilla Ice and Tone Loc at one of the free stages at the fair? And, are Zuba pants required? OMG. Ice Ice Baby and Funky Colemedina SWEETNESS.
Will Crystal Bowersox ask me to do an exclusive interview? Okay, that was a joke, but will I get her autograph?
I am giddy just thinking of about the music of Idols, Vanilla, Tone and many others in local hot spots. 
BTW The corn is really good this time of year PLUS it is quite good on a stick.
Ramblings temporarily off line . . .

Thursday, August 5

Rants from me from my Helium Challenge writer's rant thread ranting about reality show haters

Pre rant:

Whatever, Jim. Friday Night Lights?! I don't think so. Have you ever seen a little show called CSI? DUH! Sit-com? WHAT! have you even seen The Office? Either you were DWV (drunk while viewing) or just dumb lol (how is that for namecalling?!)

Welcome to newcomers!

Surprisingly, I must rant a bit. Sorry to start off on a negative note as I am not one to complain much. (Whoops! I just lied in an attempt to influence those who don’t know me. Just for once I’d like to know how it feels to sit back and keep my mouth shut. But, I won’t find out today:)

Now that everyone and their mom knows I like to bitch rant a little:

#1. ATTN: REALITY SHOW HATERS! subtitled: Do you burn books, too?!

All you reality show haters can just jump right off those high and mightly pedestals, K?! I tend to enjoy myself a good bad reality show from time to time. As a matter of fact (beings you asked) I am an official groupie of Adam Lambert and Crystal Bowersox-of American Idol fame and both the second-place finishers for the last two years. Crystal actually tweeted an article I wrote about her and tweeted me me a thank you,

Get on my retweet bandwagon here:  crystalbowersox Thank you! http://www.helium.com/items/1902076-crystal-bowersox-an-american-idol-success-story 6:15 PM Jul 24th via Twitter for Android Retweeted by you and 11 others

So, don’t be poppin’ my party with all your reality show hate. There are worse crap magnets in the world that demand your attention. We all have different interests AND I feel quite entitled to view MY show without some haters hating on it. Thank you very much.

As long as you are looking down that long nose stuck in the middle of those swollen heads, listen to this: I WILLINGLY ADMIT THAT I WATCH A SOAP OPERA ON A REGULAR BASIS. IF I CAN’T VIEW IT LIVE, I DVR IT SO I NEVER HAVE TO MISS AN EPISODE! So there. Now are you gonna kick me out of your elite little corner of academia for wasting my brain cells. Huh?

That’s what I thought!!! Now, back off and let me be entertained in whatever pathetic style I choose. I am gonna rant this mother out on my blog as soon as I prepare my speech for my Procrastinators R Us group meeting. What did you say, Sir Raymond? Oh, the meeting was postponed until a later date? Good! I am sure I won’t use the time to prepare but I will go watch Young & Restless. Cricket is back and Chance cheated on Chloe and Jana wants Kevin back and who killed Hightower? Inquiring minds want to know.

In my case the old saying is true: My life is like a soap opera! At times my soap seems less dysfunction.

BTW. This was supposed to be funny (which I think I always am) but others occasionally misinterpret my attempts at humor for psychotic rants . . . thus, here we are. And, no matter where you go-there you are.

I finished my lovely contest with 3 points with all articles rated last or second to last. Gotta smile about my Crystal Bowersox story 4/5 as she tweeted me a thank you with a short note (140 characters or less) that my article was one of the most accurate she has read about her pre-Idol experience. Tell that to the stupid person collecting 20 bucks or whatever $$$ inspired her to rewrite my article. I hate to be a hater, but I hate cheaters.

4 of 5[PJY1] Write now Article Tools
by EJ Young
Once upon a time a little girl from Ohio did not get to live in a fairy tale world. Yet, her life could end up as a happily-ever-after story. [PJY3] Instead of a fairy godmother, Crystal Bowersox has American Idol[PJY4] to thank for her success story.
Crystal’s real life resembles a fairy tale in many ways. Transformed from a girl without much magic in her childhood into a pop princess who has the potential to spin music into gold, Crystal's life seems to reflect a rags to riches theme. “I knew from the time I was 6 or 7 that music was something I had to do,” she said.
ipt type="text/javascript"> Over the next few years she taught herself how to play the guitar, piano and harmonica. By the time she was 10 she had some paying gigs. At age 12 she was organizing business cards and playing venues chauffeured by her dad. The money she earned helped pay bills. By 17 she considered dropping out of high school to focus on a music career. Instead she transferred to Toledo School for the Arts to hone her craft and earn a diploma. [PJY5]


I hate it when people rant long rants and don’t break paragraphs up into groups of one or two sentences and don’t break sentences down to one or two words and don’t spelleheck or use proper anything and expect us to read it. FYI all you crap magnets out there, as an experienced contest writer, I have many others things to do.
EJ (on-going rant. Break for soap opera)
[PJY1](sweet-at least I ain’t last like I am in the other titles)
[PJY2]yes I had three stars before succombing to contest fever)

[PJY3]I wouldn’t advise anyone to comment on the level of cheesiness of this lead unless you want to suffer the wrath of EJ. Now is not a good time. I'll look at my schedule and see when I can fit you in. First I gotta go to my Procratinators R Us meeting. . .

[PJY4]Great reality show. Check it out sometime!

[PJY5]See what reality shows can do for you? Plus, she can sing! Nevermind I guess that happened BEFORE the show.

Monday, July 26

Yeah Des Moines, Now Go Eat Some Corn on the Cob

Forget fields of corn. Start thinking field of dreams. Take a closer look, America! Des Moines, Iowa has been named the Best Place to Live in two categories.

After floating in and around the top ten in recent years, Des Moines finally took the top spot. The capital city actually grabbed two number one rankings for Best Place for Business and Careers and the Best Place to Raise a Family. For the business and careers title, Des Moines emerged from a field of the top 200 most populous cities in the U.S. The majority of the top 10 cities are located in the mid-section of the country.

According to Forbes, Des Moines' educated workforce, employment growth and low cost of living/doing business marks the city as a great place for industries that pay well. Over 92% of Des Moines residents graduate from high school while about 33% ear a college diploma.


Forbes cited factors favoring a positive business environment as a reason for companies to relocate to Iowa's largest metro area. Business costs in the city of 560,000 rate about 15% below the national average.

In addition to Forbes' assessment of Des Moines, other sources such as Market Watch Magazine and Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine have placed Des Moines in their top ten lists for the best business environment. Considering that Des Moines is home to several financial, insurance and publishing giants, the city would be hard to overlook. A few of the big boys who call Des Moines home are, Wells Fargo Financial, Nationwide Insurance (Allied), Principal Life Insurance Company, and Meredith Corporation.


Adding the Best Place to Raise a Family to Des Moines' award list, Forbes cited Des Moines recreation facilities as an asset. Boasting 40 miles of biking and hiking trails weaving in and around the city a sophisticated trail system extends to destinations like Saylorville leading to more recreational fun. Downtown amenities like Gray's Lake and Water Works Park, accommodate nature lovers while Iowa Events Center or Hoyt Sherman Place extend sports, music and theater fans the opportunity to enjoy top notch entertainment and cultural events.


Another Des Moines asset, the art scene is gaining national recognition. Des Moines Art Center, the Arts Festival and the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park attract visitors from around the globe. The Pappajohn collection, with an estimated value of over 40 million dollars, is set in Western Gateway Park in the center of the downtown area. The concept for the rolling design was originally planned about 20 years ago by New York architects Mario Gandelsonas and Diana Agrest.

Entertainment venues

Entertainment, recreation and culture blend to offer a diverse collection of activities in Des Moines. In addition to big ticket musicians like the Black Eyed Peas, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, or Justin Beiber and the sold out theatrical productions of Wicked, Rent or the Lion King, visitors can find a one-of-a-kind entertainment event. The Iowa State Fair. Fans from all over the nation attend the largest state fair in the country. The Iowa State Fair is a top ten destination on its own.

Education and highly ranked colleges

Another highlight helping Des Moines in the ratings was education. With the solid reputation of Drake University located in the city as well as a medical school, Des Moines University and several other colleges, education is a main attraction. The relative short distance of the University of Iowa in Iowa City and Iowa State University in Ames reinforces diverse educational choices. In addition, some Des Moines suburbs offer some of the top secondary schools in the state.


For the business/careers category, Forbes rated 200 cities including the smallest metro area of Merced, CA with just under 250,000 people to the ultra-urban setting of New York City's 11+ million residents. A research firm analyzed data in 12 measurable areas. Cost of living and cost of business, job growth, educational attainment, project growth of the economy and income growth were considered. Other factors influencing quality of life such as crime rates, recreational opportunities, cultural events, highly ranked four-year colleges in the area and net migration patterns were considered for both rankings. An analysis of the past three years regarding the percentage of subprime mortgages given was another element studied.

For readers interested in more information on the Best and Worst Places to Live, check on line. Forbes.com is a good starting point; then type in the name of a city of interest

another post about gaga from Gaga PJ

If you think Lady Gaga was an overnight sensation, think again. She wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, either. She climbed through the ranks the old fashioned way with hard work and creative talent. “I did this the way you are supposed to. I played every club in New York City and I bombed in every club . . . I found myself as an artist,” the diva said on her official website.

Growing up in Manhattan as part of a solid middle class family, Lady Gaga’s father was a telecom entrepreneur and her mother also worked in the technical field. Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Gaga’s talent was obvious at an early age. When she was only four years old she played piano by ear. She and sister Natalie attended private religious schools where Stefani’s talent became apparent to professionals in the field of music. As an eighth grader she landed competitive lead roles in school musicals. At age 13 she penned and played her own piano ballad. During her Sweet 16 party her parents handed out music CDs to guests of the birthday girl singing love ballads.

Lady Gaga was recognized as prodigy status when the elite New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts gave her early admission, a rarity at the exclusive academy. After experiencing what the school had to offer, she dropped out during her second year. She felt she could gain more on her own by teaching herself about music, style and performance through her own experiences. Her father agreed to pay rent on a New York apartment for one year if she would agree to return to school is she didn’t make it in the music industry. Later, during her experimental stage with music and drugs, she gave up drugs because she did not want to lose her father’s respect.

Gifted with musical talent as a writer and performer, Gaga’s journey on her rise to fame included open mike nights and bookings as a go go dancer in a strip club and a bikini clad pianist. While she fronted her own rock band and did a burlesque show with Wendy Starland, she wrote songs for Britney Spears, Pussy Cat Dolls and the Black Eyed Peas and worked on changing her image.

Influenced by Michael Jackson, David Bowie and the music of Queen, the young artist’s style showed glimmers of all three. With help from collaborator Rob Fasari, the soon-to-be Lady Gaga continued to reinvent herself evolving from brunette to blonde, eventually resulting in an unmatched, glammed-out, high fashion look. Fasari was instrumental in coming up with the performer's name. In a text, he referred to the Queen song, Radio Gaga. She settled on Lady Gaga that same day.

When she turned 19 she signed a short lived deal with Def Jam Records. Continuing to perform at diverse music venues drew more fans aided by contract with Stream Line part of Interscope Records. During that stint rap artist Akon recognized her potential and signed Lady Gaga to his label, Kon Live Distribution. With the help of producer RedOne, her debut album, The Fame, with its first top ten single, “Just Dance” debuted Aug. 19, 2008 and Lady Gaga’s diva status went as wild as some of her costumes. Gaga evolved from the girl who once spent a waitress check on a $600 designer purse having her own creative team she calls Haus of Gaga.

Last year Lady Gaga made $62 million and was ranked 4th on the Forbes Most Powerful Celebrities List. In addition to setting new records in sales, Lady Gaga has more Twitter and Facebook followers than any person in the world. The social networks list over 5 million and 10 million followers, respectively. In addition, Gaga is the very first artist in history to top the 5 billion video viewing mark.

Such a high level of star status at the age of 24 might make her success look quick and easy. But, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s transformation into Lady Gaga took a lifetime of practice.

gogo over gaga

Imagine you are a Jeopardy! contestant and the answer is: “This 24-year-old pop superstar spent one of her first waitress checks on a $600 Gucci purse.” You buzz in with the question: “Who is Lady Gaga?” The bell dings. You win the prize!

That $600 Gucci purse gave a glimpse into the future. Lady Gaga now has her own hand-picked creative fashion team she calls Haus of Gaga. She likes to design some of her over-the-top costumes and spent a big chunk of the $62 million she raked in last year on her outfits. When it comes to stage costumes, Lady Gaga wants her style of outfit to go with her performance. She’s all about the whole package and the overall impact, not just singing the song or interpreting the song lyrics. That’s part of her unique style.

When thinking of style and Lady Gaga, many adjectives come to mind. Outrageous, offensive, expensive, bizarre and creative are just a few. Have you seen anyone else wear an outfit made up of large clear soap bubbles? That is outrageous. How about a designer jacket or a high-end top combined with no pants? That might be offensive. What about the Jean Paul Gaultier futuristic body suit with sparkle boots? Gaultier could be very, very expensive. Then there was that headgear thing that was a huge stalagmite headpiece that looked like it was about to crash to the floor. That was too bizarre. Remember the red lace one-piece body suit from bottom to top, over the face and formed into a crown on her head? That was all about creative. She definitely has the market on strange attention-grabbing outfits.

Getting attention is another aspect of Lady Gaga’s unique sense of style she could probably teach to others. She knows how to get attention. Attention is a very good thing for those wanting to be in the spotlight. The more controversial the style, the more time in the spotlight. Lady Gaga certainly has a unique sense of style which includes her business sense and her style of branding. The more drama she adds to her costumes, the bigger the number of photos showing up on line, the more clicks that get clicked on her pages, the more interview requests she receives and . . . keep going with the ripple effect.

Her sense of style transfers to her business dealings as she insists in calling the shots. Whether it is a photographer, a director or an actor, Lady Gaga typically shares her vision for all scenes. She is intricately involved in most of the decisions related to her performances. She even convinces sponsors to give free concert tickets to her Little Monsters (her fans) in exchange for hours of community service.

Going back to her early days playing at clubs and doing open mike night, Lady Gaga’s unique sense of style kept her in the spotlight. At one point she regularly dressed in a bikini for a gig and played piano; she was a go go dancer. Her “less is more” attitude for fashion seemed to make a memorable impression. Then skirts got trimmed shorter and shorter and shorter until they seemed to disappear. In contrast with her dark hair from, leg warmer, punk style from her school days, Gaga’s style evolved from a punky school girl look to high-end exclusive designer fashion.

An intelligent student in school and business, Lady Gaga studied a biography of another innovative artist, Prince. She read advice and looked at potential images until she decided to take the advice of producer Rob Fusari and explore the glam style of Freddy Mercury or David Bowie. She went from brunette to blond and let her creative style go crazy thinking of costumes for different moods or for a certain theme. Her decision involving her style brand enhanced her natural talent and helped her career climb to record-breaking heights.

Style is about more than just fashion and accessories. No one else in the business has Lady Gaga’s unique sense of style regarding many aspects of her career. She is definitely successful in branding as she has the most followers of anyone in the world on Facebook with over 10 million. The same record holds true for Twitter where her followers number over 5 million. Sit back and see what records are next.

U know U Can't Get Enough Bowersox

So I realized all of you were waited with fingers crossed for my latest Bowersox ramblings. Who am I to disappoint? I gave up on Idol temporarily when she didn't win. But, I pose I git over it. No worries. I gotta figure out a way to have the ultimate EJ experience by seeing Adam Sept 3 and Crystal Aug 26-both in des Moines freaking IOWA where I live. But, what's a poor old lady to do?!?!?!? In other words, when I knock at your door collecting extra soda cans-give me a few! Before you know it I'll collect enough five cent cans to equal the price of tickets . . . maybe . . .

Once upon a time, a little girl from Ohio did not get to live in a fairy tale world. Yet, her life could end up as a happily-ever-after story. It’s the elusive American Dream. The Crystal Bowersox fairy tale is a version of that dream.
Crystal’s American Idol success story transformed a little girl without much magic in her childhood into a pop princess who spins music into gold. She remembers knowing she was destined to be a musician since the time she was 6 or 7 years old. By the time she was 10, she had some paying gigs. At age 12 she was organizing business cards and playing venues chauffeured by her dad. By 17 she considered dropping out of high school to focus on a music career. She stayed in small town Ohio long enough to get a diploma before setting out for the streets of Chicago where she eventually auditioned for American Idol.

Her story epitomizes the ideal of the American success story. She went from having nothing to signing a music contract in less than a year without selling out. She stayed true to her music and to herself, never pretending to be something she was not. She stayed classy but did not conform or bow down to the judges; instead she spoke as a confident young woman. Along the way she defeated huge obstacles to reach her goal. By reaching that goal she solidified a solid financial future for herself and her family. Call it the American Dream or a Fairy Tale but it’s a refreshing story of never giving up on your dream.

A glance at her childhood makes her happy ending seem even more remarkable. After her parents divorced when she was two years old, Crystal was shuffled back and forth between mom and dad. She was sick throughout her childhood due to Type I diabetes. She remembers sitting outside a pharmacy begging for money to buy insulin. She witnessed physical fights between her parents and her dad, who was the one she turned to for advice, ended up in jail after an argument with Crystal’s stepbrother. When her mother got frustrated she’d get angry. But, Crystal holds no grudges.

In spite of all the chaos growing up, she doesn’t hold anything against her parents. She said they did the best they could with what they had. Her tough times as a child help remind her that her son, Tony, won’t have to go through the same hardships. Being able to provide a better life for her son was the main reason she tried out for the show. Providing for her family financially was the motivation that got her through difficult times on American Idol. With the help of host Ryan Seacrest, Crystal realized she had the opportunity to change the lives of her family if she kept working hard.
In addition to overcoming an unplanned pregnancy and caring for her son, Crystal faced the consequences of her disease during the American Idol season. Due to diabetes’ related problems she was hospitalized and almost lost her spot on the show. She said it was the one time she had a fit and refused to be sent home. She told executives she didn’t have a problem going home if she was voted off the show but she wasn’t going home because she was sick. And she didn’t.

When Crystal went to Chicago after high school, she worked for a real estate firm and felt out of place. She ended up working as a waitress at a bar and pizza restaurant in Toledo called The Village Idiot where she felt more at home. When she wasn’t busy she took the opportunity to sing with different bands and graced the stage often. Co-worker and friend Nathan Woodward attributes part of Crystal’s appeal to her genuine nature. He said she has a great voice and people can see she’s giving her very best effort.

At age 24 she seems to have what many people live all their lives to figure out. “To me, the definition of success is happiness,” Crystal said in a recent interview with Redbook magazine. “And, as cheesy as this is, home to me is where the heart is. I’m very at home in my skin. I’m at home when my son is with me,” she added.

Her thoughts on marriage are also a contrast to the diva image. As told in Redbook, “If I ever do get married, I want my husband to be someone who’s honest, kind, generous, with a sense of spirituality. I’m not so worried about looks; I’m more attracted to someone’s mind than anything else.”

After her little Tony said the word ‘happy’ one morning, it almost made her cry. “. . . I’m doing something right and it feels so good, ” she commented. It does sound like the Crystal Bowersox saga has evolved into fairy tale status. She seems to be on the road to ‘happily ever after’.

Friday, May 21

Crystal Bowersox Biography

With the look of a rebel sporting dreadlocks and a large tattoo, Crystal Bowersox is proof that looks can be deceiving. The Season 9 American Idol contestant is known among peers as the mothering type with a kind heart. Called “Mamasox” by her fans, the small town girl is the single mother of a soon-to-be one-year-old son. As a finalist on the show, Crystal is bound for life changing events.

A native of Elliston, Ohio Crystal has often said that her family means everything to her. Throughout her experience on the show, she has referred to her dad as her supporter. The first time her father watched as a live audience member, she broke down on stage in tears during the last words of her inspirational song, “People Get Ready”. The emotional display was unusual for the typically cool and collected contestant. The feeling must be mutual as another stage appearance made her dad cry. She took the stage in first grade and sang Suzy Snowflake in a Christmas program. He was so proud he shed a few tears. Her talent was recognized by winning the Blade Battle of the Bands competition. That's when her family and friends started talking about American Idol. She eventually audtioned for American Idol in Chicago where Lee Dewyze, the other finalist for Season 9, also auditioned.

Crystal Sarah Bowersox was born with a fraternal twin, Carl, on August 4, 1985. Her life before American Idol contrasts sharply with her American Idol experience. After her parents divorce when she was only two years old, family life detiorated as she watched physical fights between her mom and stepfather. Eventually, a disagreement with a Crystal's 15-year-old step brother landed her dad in jail on domestic abuse charges.

She started playing paid gigs when she was only 10 years old to help with finances. She left her hometown high school to attend the Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio where she wrote her own songs. She even wrote a tribute to her father. Home life got tough enough to make her think about dropping out when she was 17, but she stuck with it long enough to graduate from high school. Then she went to Chicago to perform with different bands in local clubs. She also played outside subway stations to earn money. She said that music “has been my therapy, writing, performing—ventilation for my soul”. The most unique job she has had was playing at the funeral of a skydiver. Her payment was half cash and half in skydiving time.

Crystal knows what it’s like to go without. During her childhood money was always tight. If she becomes the next American Idol, one of Crystal's goals is to set up free clinics to screen for Type I diabetes and provide funds to donate medicine and supplies for those in need. She said that there were times in her life when “I’ve begged for insulin outside of pharmacies and no one should ever have to do that.”

Crystal was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was 6. Her fight with the disease landed her in the hospital causing a TV schedule change for Season 9 in March. In an interview with host Ryan Seacrest, Crystal expressed gratitude to American Idol producers for the excellent medical treatment she’s received during her time as a contestant. It's the best she's ever felt in her life, she added.

Crystal has interests outside of music. She enjoys knitting, drawing, painting and sculpting. According to her, other talents include flaring her nostrils and mommy multi-tasking.

Her ability to stay true to her style seems to add to her appeal. Influenced by the likes of Tracy Chapman, Janis Joplin, Jewel and Melissa Etheridge, Crystal projects independence with the ease of a pro. Her lack of stage fright makes her a natural performer. Even judge Simon Cowell praised her Top 24 performance of CCR’s “Long as I Can See the Light”. Cowell said, “This will be the moment we realized you’re a star.”

What has this talented small town girl learned in her 24 years? She still believes in her own favorite quote, “Success ain’t about the money; it’s about doing what you love.” She also learned that she is stronger than she ever imagined.

More Crystal Bowersox material can be found at the official American Idol website, the source for the information provided in this article.

Bowersox biography

toddler headbangs w dad and the Kings

Thursday, May 20

peek-a-boo gigglefest



Finally, as in Thank God It's Almost Over finally, American Idol is down to the final two. The added surprise bonus? America finally got it right choosing the two best singers in the bunch. Of course, most of the other votes were pretty much screwed up.  Hmmm, let's keep off key man Aaron Kelly around for awhile. Or how about that Michael, a-daddy-feel-sorry-for-him-get-saved-and-make-it-all-the-way-to-the-final-four-based-on-his-one-dimentional-style-but-his-kid-is-so-cute, Lynche? At least Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze kinda represent what the show was orginally supposed to be about.  They both come from nothing and have some raw talent.
Bowersox definitely has the upper hand in musical talent with more range, diversity of style and ability to play instruments.  She seems more of a natural musician, but Dewyze's gravely voice would sound sweet on the tubes.  Let's face it Idol haters or lovers, it's the females who bring in the big bucks as Idol winners.  Can you say Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson? Don't be countin' guys who didn't win the title! Just count the legitimate American Idols-you know, the ones that could stay in Arizona. Your Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry types would get shipped out of the state. They don't have the proper papers. Yes, they are big stars but they ain't bonified Idols!
So bring it on peeps! And, try NOT to make it all about our egotistical host and judges. Please let us listen to the two finalists and keep your fat heads out of it as much as possible. I'll be speed dialin' for Bowersox, but either of them beats the hell out of last year's winner-or how about that one pathetic loser guy with the old fold hair? Where is Hicks now? Hopefully, he's living in a trailer somewhere in Arizona with all the other bonified breeds.
BTW I must admit my old lady status because the whole Justin Bieber thing seemed like a big joke. He just doesn’t do much for me. Okay, he's cute and cuddly but what's the big deal? His Idol performance looked like kid’s night at the karaoke bar. Really.

Wednesday, April 14

Even Elvis Music & Adam Lambert Can't Make Them Rock

The glitz of Vegas felt like the perfect setting for the glam of Adam. The shimmering Vegas lights served as the backdrop for Adam Lambert to meet American Idol contestants. Season 9’s Top 9 took to the friendly skies to hook up with the Season 8 runner up and work on an Elvis Presley song. American Idol broke new ground marking the first time a former contestant was invited back to the show as a mentor. And, Adam Lambert was honored.

Lambert obviously found the right words to light up a few contestants as Elvis Night proved to be one of the most consistent in overall solid performances so far this season. In typical Adam fashion, he just ‘put it out there’ in a direct honest style. He said his mission as a mentor was to be completely honest but constructive. A few Lambert comments and a recap of April 13 performances follows.

*Crystal Bowersox and “Saved”

What Lambert said: “I want a little more energy; it’s Elvis. C’mon!”

What Bowersox did: She took Lambert’s advice giving up her acoustic guitar for a bedazzled version of an electric guitar and laid down a bluesy/gospel rendition of “Saved”. It was awesome. As Randy Jackson put it, “You got this whole blues vibe thing goin’ on. It was dope.”

Yes, Lambert even challenged the always excellent Crystal Bowersox but he also praised her as an “authentic, real” singer.

*Andrew Garcia and “Hound Dog”

What Lambert said: “I was bored,” was his reaction after the first run through. He advised Garcia to change it up and make the song his.

What Garcia did: He took the risk with a unique arrangement stamped with his trademark style and tempo change. It sounded like the Andrew who pulled off the Paula Abdul cover. Ellen seemed to nail this one with her comment, “I thought you pulled it off. I liked it a lot.” Randy said he “didn’t get it”. Kara and Simon sided with Randy.

*Tim Urban and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

What Lambert said: He recommended using a falsetto voice at the end because it sounded “sweet”. “I wanted to push him out of his comfort zone.”

What Urban did: He backed off with the falsetto, but it sounded for a quick second like he might try it.

If it wasn’t Lambert who pushed him, then someone else did or Urban made the move himself. He connected with the audience and his emotions giving a sensitive but vocally strong version of the Elvis ballad. His voice sounded the best it’s ever sounded. He wasn’t Bowersox or Dewyze good; but he was good. According to the often gruff Simon Cowell, Urban went from “zero to hero in two weeks”, most likely a reference to making the bottom three two weeks ago.

*Lee DeWyze and “A Little Less Conversation”

What Lambert said: “Smile a little bit”. He said DeWyze has a great voice and he’s “got a chance to do really well”.

What DeWyze did: He went for it. He let the vocals rip with that gritty voice nailing every note. The passion in his voice came through as his confidence took another step up. When Ryan Seacrest asked about the difference in his performance Dewyze came back with, “Talkin’ to Adam helped a lot.” Randy commented, “Dude, you are definitely in the zone.”

*Aaron Kelly and “Blue Suede Shoes”

What Lambert said: “He doesn’t quite believe in himself yet.” He underestimated Aaron and told him he had a great voice.

What Kelly did: He seemed lost for the first half of the song. Instead of “grabbing” the first words aggressively he was barely audible. It seemed like someone fast forwarded the tape because the second half of the song sounded like a different version. The judge’s reactions reflected the performance. They were all over the place. Randy? Half and half. Kara? Liked it. Ellen? Good job but not all the way there. Simon? “Sounded like somebody at a high school doing a concert . . . I wasn’t crazy about it I’m afraid.”

*Siobahn Magnus and “Suspicious Minds”

What Lambert said: “She’s somebody that likes being different and I respect that.” About her song he said, “She’s got the pipes but it seemed a little sleepy to me.” He suggested she pick up the pace of the song.

What Magnus did: She was honored to be compared to Lambert. The first part of her song was weak and undefined. The second part sounded good offering an opportunity in the vocal range to get her patented scream-type note inserted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly the right note. Close, but not quite. The glammed out pair struck a pose before a commercial break noting a similar hairdo with a puffed up high on top and sleeked back side style. She also sported a Lambert-like over-the-top look with a white skirt and jacket appearing to consist of wide strips of material sewn together in bandage fashion. At least her laced up white boots coordinated with the outfit unlike the Army boots of previous fashion statements. “That girl can sing right there,” was Randy’s response to her performance. Kara thought the performance was erratic and screechy while Simon said it was not one of her better performances. Then Siobahn went to a placed seldom occupied by Idol contestants. She defended her song choice and singing style to the judges saying she didn’t think she needed a label. “I just enjoy singing.” It sounded like a clear response to conflicting advice and mixed signals from the judges.

*Michael Lynche and “In the Ghetto”

What Lambert said: “I think he deserves to get right down to the end. He’s an amazing singer.” He told Lynche to connect and sing with his heart.

What Lynche did: Sang with his heart. Connected. He sang a soft version of the sad song filled with tenderness and spot on vocals. Lynche seems much more effective when he gives up the drama and lets the song tell the story. Simon endorsed Lynche’s cover of the Elvis classic and said it was one of his favorite Lynche performances.

*Katie Stevens and “Baby What You Want Me to Do?”

What Lambert said: He told Stevens she had the right look and the right voice. He suggested she let her angry vibe carry through in her voice. He wanted her to use the frustration and mixed emotions about judge’s comments and show it in her vocals.

What Stevens did: She belted it out. The frustration clearly showed. When she sang the words, What you want me to do?” it was like she was asking the panel of judges. Kara said, “I guess you told the judges.” Simon didn’t like it. Too old fashioned, he thought. Randy said it was sassy.

*Casey James and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”

What Lambert said: “It’s cool.” He suggested building more dynamics.
What James did: He followed Lambert’s advice and gave a solid performance.

Simon got this one right saying the vocals were good but the song was completely forgettable. With all the Elvis songs that fit his voice, this performance was “a wasted opportunity” according to him.

Considering the controversy swirling around the legendary Elvis and the theatrical Lambert, Elvis Night stayed fairly mellow. Ryan made an awkward comment or two, but no big flops or breakout performances, no verbal attacks from Simon, or long self-serving gushes from Kara, just an average night for American Idol. The drama comes April 14 when 2 contestants say farewell. Adam Lambert’s live performance of his hit “Whataya Want From Me” should be the highlight of the week. He will show the newbies what performance is all about.

To review: Crystal is top dog, Lee is next at the food dish, Casey and Mike sniff around at the door, Siobahn already ate and left, Tim wants to run with the big dogs but he’ll get over it, Katie is yippy and scratching to get in, Aaron and Andrew are on the porch. You know the saying, “If you can’t run with the big dogs stay out on the porch.” They are closer to the door that way.

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