Susan Boyle is an inspirational performer and much more. The 52-year-old singer shot to stardom after being discovered on Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009 and became and overnight success. For the last four and a half years, she has enjoyed success seen by very few and has used her success to help others including children.
Boyle’s own childhood was a rough one. As a child she was told she had suffered oxygen deprivation during birth and the kids at school tagged her with the unkind nickname “Susie Simple.” She recently spoke with the Observer after she had been diagnosed with Asperger’s and said, “It was the wrong diagnosis when I was a kid […] I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”
Asperger’s influences social interaction and communication skills, and at times it hampers the ability to determine what behavior is appropriate in various social contexts.
Last year, Susan decided to see a Scottish specialist for a diagnosis. “I thought I had a more serious illness and couldn’t function properly,” but to her surprise along with the Asperger’s diagnosis, she was told she had an above average IQ. She has said that Asperger’s doesn’t define who she is, but instead the diagnosis will help people better understand who she is. ”I have Aspberger’s. It’s a relief.”
“It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.” – Susan Boyle via the Observer
Where does she pull her strength from? Her values come from her Catholic upbringing. She says it’s the “backbone” of her life and says that “believing in God makes you strong emotionally.” With that said, there’s one thing that’s certain. She’s not one who just “talks the talk” she lives it and it shows.
Susan Boyle is now promoting her fourth album.
Photo credits: susanboylemusicuk
I’m not a big fan of musicals. As I kid I’d roll my eyes when actors started singing in the middle of a scene and wondered why they’d do such an unnatural thing.
With that mindset, I still decided to check out the Carrie Underwood version of Sound of Music which aired live on NBC on Dec. 6, but knew I wouldn’t be tuned in for the whole show. It was mostly curiosity as my interest was more in watching a live telecast of such magnitude.
To my surprise I ended up watching the entire three hours.
Carrie Underwood starred in the role of Maria von Trapp, and to my surprise True Blood’s Stephen Moyer pulled off the role of Captain von Trapp. The telecast was based on the original Broadway production and was presented on 4 soundstages in Long Island. When you step back and realize they were acting, singing, and dancing for three hours and there were no major mess ups, it was a major accomplishment.
I’ve seen various reviews of the show, some suggesting Underwood’s acting left something to be desired while others are saying no one watched for her acting but had tuned in for her singing which did not disappoint.
NBC, on the other hand, is looking to the future and hopes the program will become an annual Christmas presentation. When I heard that, I thought about movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story classics I tune in to watch each year and yet they were not well received when they were first released.
I think NBC may have a winner on their hands. The cast was spot on and the voices were spectacular…and all live. I’m still impressed and I have to admit, I’d probably watch again next year.
Photo credits: Amazon
I grew up eating a brown-bag lunch. Mom included a sandwich, 4 small homemade cookies and a piece of fruit. In first through third grade, Mom would write an invisible secret message on my banana’s skin. It gradually turned brown and by the time I opened my lunch bag, I’d see her short sweet message.
I didn’t always love my sandwich. I admit that there were times I didn’t even eat it. In fact, I had to trick the lunch monitor who came around to make sure you ate every bit. I’d drink my milk, stuff the sandwich in the empty carton, and then crush it enough to make it look like an empty, discarded milk carton.
I’d toss it in the bag along with the empty wrappings and banana peel, and it passed inspection. No one ever knew. Not even my mother, until now.
Mom Fined for Packing “Unbalanced” Lunch
I bring this up because I read about a Canadian mom who was fined $10.00 for packing unbalanced lunches for her kids. Can you imagine getting a note from the school that says your child’s lunch was unbalanced because it didn’t include…wait for it…Ritz Crackers!
The mother of three had packed what she thought to be a nutritional lunch consisting of leftover roast beef, potatoes, carrots, an orange and milk. When her five-year-old son, Logan, and his three-year-old sister, Natalie, came home, their mom found a note from the daycare staff saying she had failed to pack grains in her children’s lunch. The staff gave the children Ritz crackers as a supplement at a cost of $5.00 per child.
The day care pointed to the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care lunch guidelines to validate the fine. These guidelines stipulate that students must have one milk, one meat, one grain, and two fruits or vegetables in their meals.
This is another crazy example of people following the letter of the law (guidelines) instead of the intent of the law. Anyone with common sense would have looked at the lunches she packed and could have seen they are balanced, but because the potato is not a grain it could not be accepted.
Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a fictional world.
Photo credits: Julian Lee
I’ve been a Carrie Underwood fan since she was a contestant on American Idol. For the most part, her career since that win has been line a fairy tale. That is until now.
The problems started when Carrie Underwood accepted the role of Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music remake. Since then, the 30-year-old country music superstar has received a steady supply of negative feedback.
I admit when I heard she was doing the remake, it did surprise me. Part of me doesn’t like the whole remake thing. It’s never as good as the original, and I think it shows a lack of ingenuity and creativity. People need to come up with new ideas instead of dredging up past successes to try and capitalize on them, but that’s another issue.
The problem with trying to remake Sound of Music is that it is an iconic movie. Julie Andrews shot to fame after she played Maria almost 50 years ago in the original which was based on a Broadway musical. Underwood is going to be playing the role live on NBC on Thursday Dec. 5 at 8:00 p.m.
She admits she’s grown tired of the backlash from accepting the role.
“I get hate tweets and stuff like, ‘You’re not Julie Andrews!’ I know I’m not Julie. Nobody is and I would never pretend that I was … I know my place.” Carrie Underwood via told Entertainment Weekly
I wonder if others in the show are receiving hate mail, or if it is just a Julie Andrews/Carrie Underwood thing. Julie Andrews has shown her support for this project a number of times, and even said she thinks “after 40 or 50 years it’s probably time somebody else had a crack at it.”
I know Carrie has the voice for it, but a live show has to be scary. I wish her the best and hope things settle down and people stop throwing a tantrum over things like this.
Photo credits: kindofadraag
It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the end of another season of Dancing with the Stars. This season’s finale included Amber Riley, Corbin Bleu, and Jack Osboune vying for the mirrorball trophy.
All the Season 17 stars were back in the ballroom for the event and snippets of them reminiscing about the fun, the aches and pains, and the glory they experienced through the DWTS journey were fun and interesting to watch.
Before the competitive dances, Amber and Derek performed an encore dance of their country-Western freestyle dance from Monday night. Bill Nye also returned to the dance floor for a cha cha with pro Tyne Stecklein and stunned the audience with backflips and handsprings across the floor during the number, but then we learned a stunt double was used.
And for me seeing Valerie Harper dance to What a Wonderful World was inspirational. She said she, “wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
Once the finalists performed, it came down to the results, and the new winner is…Amber Riley and her partner Derek Hough. Amber is the first African American female to take home the mirrorball trophy. Her message to her fans:
“I want to let women of all sizes out there know — you can do whatever you put your mind to! It doesn’t matter what size you are, what color you are. You can do whatever, whatever, whatever you put your mind to!”
For Derek Hough this was his fifth mirrorball trophy, a record in itself. No other dance pro comes close. Hough admits, “It might not be about the highest scores. It might not be about the dances at all. It’s really going to come down to who America feels should be the winner.”
There are some grumblings that Hough has become “bigger than the show” and whoever is paired with him has an unfair advantage. I say Amber earned the win. What do you think?
Photo credits: dancingwts09
The holidays are upon us and with them we face more treats and parties than any other time of year. It can be a challenge not to gain weight.
Every year I vow to do my best to keep my eating in check. I allow for exceptions, but for the most part I know that if I don’t make a conscious effort to curb my indulging, I can easily gain 10 pounds which will take me six months to get rid of. That’s insane! (I keep reminding myself).
It’s so easy to justify weight gain. According to the Centers for Disease Control the “average” American female is 5′ 4″ and weighs 166 pounds with a 37.5 inch waist. For the guys out there reading this, stop snickering. The average guy is 5′ 10″ and weighs 195 pounds with a waistline of almost 40 inches.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to be my reality. The last couple of weeks as the weather has turned cold, rainy, and blustery I’ve let exercise slip and I can see it on the scale. This combined with the arrival of holiday season can be disastrous.
Over this year, low carb eating has really helped me drop weight, but the advent of the holidays has brought with it carb creep as I make an exception here…there…and more and more.
So how can I avoid weight gain over the holidays? I haven’t been actually counting carbs for the last month and a half, but I think to help me make it through the holidays without the extra pounds, I’m going to go back to counting to keep myself aware.
I know how many carbs I can eat and maintain my weight. That’s my target! I’ll use it like my bank account. When it’s spent, I’m done for the day. Maintaining is reasonable, don’t you think?
Photo credits: Charlotte Astrid
Almost every little girl I’ve ever know wishes for a pony. Most of us never realize the dream of owning a real horse, but many of us lived out our fantasy with a My Little Pony as we were growing up. These special toys offered a chance have a pretty horse without mucking stalls.
My Little Pony was introduced by Hasbro in the 1980s and to say they were popular is an understatement. They evolved into a whole line so we could fill our imaginary stables with Earth Ponies, Unicorn and Pegasus, Rainbow Ponies, Mother and Baby Ponies, and Plush Ponies.
Hasbro tried to cash in on the ponies’ popularity by expanding to My Little Kitty, Puppy, and Bunny sets, but they didn’t make it like the My Little Pony toy line which later enjoyed its own television shows. In 2010 there was a resurgence in popularity, and now have you seen the newest stage in the evolution of this iconic toy?
It’s a doll they are calling the Fluttershy doll.
The doll is marketed as the true friend for all your Equestria Girls adventure. She comes with hair that matches her pony. I know they are trying to expand the My Little Pony franchise, but these dolls look like teenage girls. How many teenage girls really play with these ponies?
Some parents have complained the dolls look like “sexified teenage goth girls” but Hasbro describes them as “glamourous.” Some are trying to say that the doll is the new pony, but that’s not really the case. The doll is the new companion to the pony.
For me, that’s the sad part. How many little girls will miss out on that magical relationship between themselves and their own pony because there’s a Fluttershy doll taking their place? I might be over reacting, but I don’t think we need the doll.
Photo credits: Amazon
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a time to enjoy the company of family and friends along with some good food. Now we have the claws of Black Friday biting in to the day with what is being called “shopping creep.”
Holidays are certainly not what they use to be. I looked up the definition and I think they might have to update it. The current definition is “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” Tell that to the workers at Kmart and Walmart who have to work this Thanksgiving.
In their quest to make more money, stores opening on Thanksgiving to offer a head start on Christmas shopping are messing with tradition. Thanksgiving is a day to spend with people and Black Friday is a day to start your Christmas shopping. Those who were willing to get up early and brave the crowds could expect to find some good deals.
Now as the two events blend, what do we have? For many, we will have less time with family and who knows what it means for Black Friday shopping.
Why Stores Are Open Thanksgiving
What has led to stores being open on Thanksgiving? According to Yahoo Finaces’s Rick Newman they are “merely responding to consumers who would be shopping online if they didn’t have the option to hit the stores.” He also suggests that stores that are doing well have made decisions to stay closed while those that plan to be open are underperforming.
That may be so, but stores opening for Thanksgiving also have an online presence. Why not just post Thanksgiving specials there, and let people who do want to shop do so from their Smart Phone or tablet and still have time to be with loved ones?
Somehow it seems like there is a bigger picture that’s not come into focus yet. What do you think?
Photo credits: jbhthescots
I’m a Hunger Games fan. I admit, when I first heard about the premise of the books I wasn’t quite sure what to think, but then a couple of friends read them and highly recommended them.
Once I started reading, I was hooked and devoured the trilogy. When the first movie came out, my concern was they wouldn’t do the story justice. I often feel that way because there is no way a movie can encapsulate all the detail and emotion found in the pages of a book.
I could point a finger at a few faults, but instead of getting into all that, let’s just say that if you took a Hunger Games quiz and had to answer the question of who gave Katniss the mocking jay pin, the answer would be different from the book to the movie. That was a change I didn’t really like, but overall they did a pretty good job with it, and now I’m looking forward to the second movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
They’re expecting it to beat the November box office record which is currently held by Twilight New Moon which took in $142 million.
Catching Fire picks up where the first movie ended. In this movie, past Hunger Games victors are forced to participate in the 75th anniversary Hunger Games. This puts Peta and Katniss back in the arena along with all the others who have won in the past. I could tell you more, but nobody likes a spoiler.
This is an adventure movie, but it is also thought provoking. If you haven’t read the books, I highly recommend them. For those who plan to see Catching Fire in the theater, it’s worth the IMAX experience!
Photo credits: Amazon