Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ultra Music

It just occurred to me that throughout this whole A-Z Blogger's Challenge I haven't done as many pieces about music as I usually do.  In the past, I've done many a music post on the topic of music during the challenge, such as Boy Bands, Vogue, P!nk, Madonna, Femme and Fatale, Express Yourself, and several others.  This year's crop has seen Lily Allen, Queen, Music, Divas, and P!nk in the Classroom.  Okay, okay, so yeah, I have done a few posts about music.  Well, I've been having a hard time on the letter "U" and so I came up with this one...

There is a music publisher that I've loved for a very long time and they're called Ultra Music.  Actually, they're a dance music label founded in 1995 and based in New York City.  For any of you dance music fans out there, I'm sure you're familiar with their many compilations of great dance/club/electronica/
chill/lounge/techno and other compilations.  Most, if not all, of their albums have covers similar to this one, their latest:

     Ultra Dance 14

The Ultra Dance label has had several series of compilations in all of the above categories, and they're chock full of quality mixes of popular and not too popular tracks, by big name disc jockeys and producers, and they're all good!  Some of my favorite series include Ultra Dance, Ultra Chilled, Ultra Weekend and others, many of which I own.  So if you're a dance music aficionado like me, check out Ultra Music on iTunes or Amazon or at their own site at the link above.

Song of the day - Shake Your Love - Debbie Gibson

Okay, okay, two days in a row back into the 80's, but I just can't help it.  I posted an article on Examiner last night about how Debbie Gibson will be performing at this year's LI Pride Parade and Festival.  Ever since, I've had this song in my head.

Oh God, I remember when she was new and hot on the music scene.  She played a show at Jones Beach Theater and Joe and I got tickets.  It was he, I and about 10,000 screaming pre-teen girls 'shaking our love,' lol.....Enjoy and Happy Tuesday!

Debbie Gibson - Shake Your Love (80's Hair Band Remix) from Ms Gugga Snook on Vimeo.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Song of the Day - Dress You Up - Madonna

   Remember this Madonna?

Over the weekend I came into some Madonna remixes that I'd never heard before, and I've been listening to them all weekend, reliving a lot of the past thirty years of my life, and in all new and yet familiar ways.  New and different interpretations of Madge songs from throughout her career blasted in my headphones as I boogeyed about my day.  There was one remix of this song that stuck in my head for hours after I heard it.  This one's not the remix I have, but it's pretty cool.  So are some of the images in the vid.  Click play and then get dressed up and have a great day!

Madonna - Dress You Up (Reinvention mix) [RWB... by rebelrich


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Time, Precious Time

Ah Sundays....Sunday is the day when I love to wake up, especially on a beautiful spring day.  No place to rush to, nothing pressing, and it seems like there's a whole day ahead of you.  I sit at my desk with my first cup of coffee, turn on the p.c. and start with my Song of the Day selection.  Then my banking, Facebook, more writing, and before you know it, it's at least noon.  I gotta move.  I've got things to do...

Food shopping, dusting, vacuuming, laundry, lots of yard work to do, I don't want to waste a beautiful day.  Get my Pilates in, my daily walk, make dinner, clean up the kitchen...OMG it's already 7 p.m.!  Damn, where'd Sunday go?  Take my shower, maybe watch a little bit of television, more writing.  Oh no, it's time for bed and then...gulp...workday Monday!

Does anything like this happen to you?  Well, maybe not exactly the same, but I'm sure many of you can identify.  What happened to life?  It seems there are just not enough hours in the day for everything we need to do in this busy era of tech-filled multi-tasking and whatnot.  Time, now there's a "T" topic everyone can relate to, huh?  I think these days we can all appreciate how precious time is...

Slower Traffic Keep Right

Okay, okay, so I'm a little behind in the A-Z Challenge, but I'll tackle that issue in my next post.  For now, I want to discuss a topic I've been wanting to write about for awhile.  I think, no I know a big solution to the some of the traffic problems in New York State, especially the NY Metro area. Yes, stay tuned for a rant. Well, sort of...


I once ranted about getting a speeding ticket in the Town of Southampton and getting convicted for parking violation, along with 100 or so of my fellow speeders (see What a Racket).  I ranted that officials in that town and many others across the state don't really care about the speeding, they just want the money.  Well, I have a way they can still make money and put a halt to real traffic problems on the roads today.

Speeding is NOT the Biggest Problem

I know that I'll probably get a lot of flak for this one, but I don't think that speeding is the worst offense on our roads today.  Sure, excessive speed is dangerous, but maybe the 55 mph speed limit for the most part is just too low.  I think more people, including me, drive over that limit while moving on a highway than don't.  I probably travel an average of 65-70 when I can, and I don't tailgate or weave in and out of traffic either.  When there's space to drive a little faster than the 55 mph speed limit, then you should be allowed to do it.

Of course there are speed demons who weave in and out of traffic and tailgate every single car they get behind, and these are the ones who should be ticketed, but those of us who stay a little over the limit are not causing any problems, except that we're breaking a traffic code and therefore must pay a fine.  The real dangers on the road, the ones that cops never go after, are the slow drivers that do not keep to the right like they're supposed to, especially here in New York.  (Brake monsters are among these unpursued scofflaws!)

Slower Traffic Keep Right 

One of my old customers in the bank was a Suffolk County detective and he once told me that traffic was caused primarily by braking.  "One person hits their brakes and there's a chain reaction for miles."  He should know, he saw this many times from police helicopters.

Really, there are few state laws that require drivers to keep to the right when going slower than the flow of traffic.  In fact, only six states have actual laws that strictly state that the left lane is for passing only (Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine and Massachusetts), but they should all have them.  In most places, drivers do move to the right if you're approaching at a faster level of speed, but not here in New York.

Having lived here all my life and driving the roads every day, I know the mentality of New York drivers.  They generally don't seem to pay too much attention to what's around them on the road, and the ones who drive slow in the left lane are thinking, "I'm doing 55, so I'm not going to move out of the way."  Meanwhile cars behind them are sometimes forced to brake when they shouldn't have to, thereby causing slower moving traffic.  And a lot of times these are the same drivers who don't signal when changing lanes, or text or talk on their cell phones while they're driving.  So, they pick and choose which laws they're going to abide by.  I see it every day. Grrrr....

Whenever I leave the state I'm always amazed at how people do move out of your way in the left lane as you approach them.  It's courteous and it makes for safer, smoother moving traffic.   If these laws were on the books everywhere and they were enforced, there'd be less traffic and generally less problems on the road, of that I am sure.  But I know this is only a pipe dream and that it will never happen.  In the meantime, I'lll just keep on dealing with these idiotic obstructions as I move about my way on the roads.  Ugh!

Song of the Day - My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark - Fall Out Boy


Here's recently reunited Fall Out Boy's latest hit...strange, long name for a song, but very anthemic rock and roll fun!  The tune is from their forthcoming 5th studio album, Save Rock and Roll.  Love it!

Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) [2 Chainz Edition] from FALL out BOY on Vimeo.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Interview with Mandy's Pages - Friday's Star

Yesterday I was featured as the 'Friday's Star' on Mandy's Pages, a website dedicated to promoting writers on the Web.  It's always exciting to be asked for an interview, and this was the 7th time I've received such an honor.  This interview was, of course, more in time with where I am today as a writer, and it hints at a larger project that I've just begun working on.  So please check out my interview at Mandy's Pages.

John Myers

And here are some of the other pieces written about me on the Yahoo Contributor Network:

Pattie Evans Byrd - So You Think You Really Know John

Han Van Meegerin - Meet Y!CN Contributor John Myers

Charlotte Kuchinsky - The "Most Intriguing Yahoo/AC Music Writer for 2010" John Myers

Pat Bartels - John Myers Writes About Prejudice and Tolerance for Gays

Abby Greenhill - AC Writer's Showcase - Lending a Helping Hand

Ana Maria Alvarez - Interview with CP John Myers

Song of the Day - Thank You - Alanis Morissette


Today's song is dedicated to a couple of new friends in my life.  Every once in awhile, if you're lucky, you get to meet people who are genuine and with whom you enjoy spending time with, and it all comes naturally.  Well, in the past few months I've been fortunate enough to have met two such people, Sonny and Sean, and I had a most enjoyable evening last night getting to know these two gents a little better.  So guys, this one's for you.....  Happy Saturday!

Alanis Morissette - Thank You by AlanisMorissette-Official

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent - Gwen Guthrie

Here's a classic from 1986 that's still got it goin on... Oh, I used to love this one....BASS!

GWEN GUTHRIE - Ain't nothin' goin' on but the... by coolfunk

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Song of the Day - Zombie - Natalia Kills

Natalia's got a new song out, Problem, which is pretty good, but unfortunately YouTube seems to be exclusive to it and so I can't post that one here (grrrr!!!!), so instead here's one of my favorites from her first album, Perfectionist.

Natalia Kills - Zombie (Official Music Video) by Henrietta-Aime-Fumer_Tv

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reality T.V.

For almost as long as it's been in existence, television has been referred to as the 'boob tube,' and always for good reason.  Never before in the history of the genre has that nickname held truer than it is today.  I don't really watch T.V. that much anymore.  I was more of a television junkie when I was in a relationship and T.V. time meant together time, but these days now that I live alone, I've got better things to do with my time.  Besides, with more channels than ever before, it seems there is less and less to watch, especially in these days of reality T.V.

Virtually every single time I'm in the company of friends, family, or even just acquaintances  the subject of the conversation invariably turns to television at one point or another, and it never fails to astonish me just how many reality shows exist that people actually watch.  Aside from the more commonly known ones like all of the Real Housewives, The Bachelor and Bachelorette and Joe Millionaire, Cops, Punk'd, The Amazing Race and SurvivorBig Brother, dozens of Real World incarnations, American Idol, The Voice and so on, there are countless others that bring us from reality sublime to reality ridiculous.

The reality of reality T.V. is, there are way too many reality shows to count, and some of them are surprisingly and shamelessly popular, too!  Take, for instance, that car-wreck, white trashy show about a chubby (albeit cute) little beauty princess and her slovenly, pretty disgusting family, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  This very popular one first came on my radar a few months back, when my pal Sean had me watch an episode with him.  I sat there for an hour, mouth agape in horrified astonishment, as these trashy slobs of people burped, farted, picked their noses, and generally hammed it up for the cameras.  All I could think of was what people in other countries would think of Americans when they saw this.


I remember back in the early days of reality T.V. (okay, I know there was 'reality' television before that, but to me this was the first big wave), when MTV first began to lose the "M" as it began production of The Real World in 1992.  The premise was simple: put seven young, (and good looking of course!) up and comers from all different walks of life and have them share a living space as we play voyeur to all that goes on within the confines of the beautiful space in exotic cities.

The show was a hit from the beginning and I watched religiously as casts from New York,, Los Angeles, London, Miami, New Orleans, and Las Vegas lived out their lives in this fish bowl known as The Real World.  Their best season, the highly dramatic and very real third season in San Francisco, was the most fascinating of them all, as HIV/AIDS stricken Pedro Zamora put himself out there for all to see at a time when very little was known about the disease.  

Pedro went about his life, using his appearance on the show as an opportunity to educate, and along the way he met the love of his life, Sean, worked his way into the hearts of his cast mates, and bore some heavy-duty bashing in his clashes with the notorious Puck.  The entire season was gripping television, and unfortunately Pedro's light didn't shine too brightly long after it ended, having lost his battle with the disease in November 1994.

Eventually The Real World became less and less about real issues and more and more about partying hard, debauchery, and bunches and bunches of spoiled kids showing skin for our 'entertainment.  I was turned off, but many weren't and this train wreck of so-called "reality T.V." steamrolled it's way onto the boob tube.

Today, there are reality shows on just about any topic you can think of...Amish Mafia, I Was Impaled, Extreme Couponing, Saw Dogs, Hoarders, My Giant Face Tumor (really!), and so many others.  It makes you wonder where we're all headed, doesn't it?  Anyway, you can check two very extensive lists of reality shows old and new on Wikipedia and Reality TV World.  In the meantime, if you're a reality T.V. junkie, take it easy.  Summer's coming...put down the remote, step away from American Pickers or Intervention, and go out and enjoy yourself.       

Song of the Day - Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) - Beyonce

Here's a song to kick start your hump day...

Beyonce - "Single Ladies" OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO by vidsuperstar

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Song of the Day - I Touch Myself - Divinyls

Anyone who was around in 1991 surely remembers this controversial song.  Well, in some sad news, Divinyls singer Christina Amphlett passed away yesterday at the age of 53 at her home in New York City.  The singer had been suffering from MS, which was diagnosed in 207, and breast cancer since 2010.  Ironically, the song takes on a whole new meaning these days as the singer expressed a wish that it would remind women to perform breast examinations on a regular basis.  To read the full story n Christina, check out Yahoo News.  In the meantime, rest in peace Christina, and thank you for your music.

Divinyls - I Touch Myself by tetleymoon


Monday, April 22, 2013

Song of the Day - I Want to Break Free - Queen

In case you missed it, I did my 'Q' post yesterday on the inimitable rock band Queen, and so I just had to post one of their tunes here this morning.  This one's from 1984's The Works album, and it's classic Queen, catchy and fun, and something we can all identify with I think.  Oh, and Freddie Mercury in drag...haha!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Queen: One of the Greatest Rock Bands Ever!

I remember hearing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on the radio back in 1975.  I was around 10-11 years old at the time and I remember had absolutely no idea what the song was about, but I couldn't help singing along to it whenever it came on...

Is this the real life
Is this just fantasy...

Oh yeah, that song is classic!  So complex, many highs and lows, with a little bit of opera thrown in alongside those hard rocking guitar riffs.  Back then I didn't know much about music.  I was just beginning to be aware of it and in those early years I was a bona fide rock fan.  In the years since, my musical tastes have changed, but some of my rock favorites stayed with me throughout the years, like KISS, Aerosmith, Foreigner, and Queen.

The members of Queen included guitarist Brian May, bass player John Deacon, drummer Roger Taylor and the incomparable, flamboyant and energetic lead singer Freddie Mercury.  The foursome tore up the music scene in the 70's and 80's with such classics as the tender Somebody to Love, the Elvis-inspired Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the irresistibly bass-heavy collaboration with David Bowie on Under Pressure and so many more.  In all, the band has had 18 #1 albums and 18 #1 singles, making them one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

My very first Queen album, News of the World, was one of the hottest records of 1977-78 and it had one of the coolest covers of any record anytime.  The album spawned their anthem for all anthems, We Are the Champions, and the percussive chants of We Will Rock You.  That song still gives me goose bumps whenever I hear it.  Jazz came next and that one was another great album that included this ode to 'back' long before Sir Mix-a-Lot ever rapped about it.  Check out Fat Bottomed Girls:


Ooh yeah, what a great rocking song!  Sadly, around 1988 Freddie Mercury began to appear ill and speculation was that the singer was suffering from AIDS, which he flatly denied.  Unfortunately the rumor turned out to be true and Mercury passed away in November of 1991.  Though the band has had various incarnations and comebacks in the years that have passed since, the success of their earlier years with their lead singer were never matched.  Yet, the band Queen leaves a legacy to be enjoyed by all for years to come.  Here's one of my favorite Queen songs from 1975's A Night at the Opera.  So beautiful!

P!nk in the Classroom

I'd like to preface this post by stating that yes, I am a P!nk fanatic, and perhaps I've become a little obsessed with her over these past few months, but well, her songs move me like no other and I'm sure I'll get sick of her one day....maybe?  So if you're already tired of me talking about my new favorite musical artist, then click here.  Otherwise, read on...

One of the things I like most about teaching ESL is that I pretty much have free reign as to the things I decide to teach.  Anything I plan on using in my classroom is English, and so as long as my students learn some in the process, it's a good thing.  Many times in the past I've used music (surprise!) in my classroom, and earlier this week I decided to go back into my iTunes library once again for a little English lesson.

One of the things I like most about P!nk is her songwriting.  Her lyrics are just so well written and often meaningful, and so after an impromptu event in my classroom a couple of weeks ago, I decided to take some of the more meaningful ones and teach them as a whole new thematic unit for my class.

The event I'm referring to was a practice essay I had my students do about changes in communication and transportation over the years and how they've changed people's lives.  One of my students chose to write about transportation, and in his essay he commented that one day we will have "molecular transport' as a means of getting around.  Light bulb!

Beam me up, give me a minute....

Bam, it hit me!  My creative juices started flowing and I immediately went into planning mode.  I printed out the lyrics to P!nk's Beam Me Up and started looking at them.  As it turns out, there are plenty of things to teach from that one song: vocabulary, theme, mood, imagery, rhyming, etc.  I was ecstatic!

I printed out a lesson plan (sorry, the plan itself is going to be published in another forum), and got to thinking about extending the theme into other P!nk songs.  Oh yeah, I've since worked in a lesson using Who Knew, and tomorrow's is The Great Escape.  Don't Let Me Get Me, Just Like a Pill, Dear Mr. President, Sober, Glitter in the Air, Family Portrait, and others.  They've all got great lessons in them, lessons on life and love, self-image, politics, family and so much more.  So far, the kids have loved the first two songs and the whole thing has made me enthusiastic once again about teaching.  Yeah baby!

Song of the Day - Does Your Mother Know - ABBA

Just moments ago I got reprimanded (lightly) for drinking too much last night when I went out, and it happened while I was looking for inspiration for today's post.  I opened up my iTunes and the first thing that popped out at me was this one.  Not exactly the same thing, but I think it's perfect.  Besides, I love ABBA!  (Thanks J.C.)

Well I could dance with ya honey
If you think it's funny
Does your mother know that you're out...

ABBA - Does Your Mother Know by Augenblicke

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Owls are among the most mysterious of bird species.  Perhaps this is because they are nocturnal and rarely seen in the wild.  There are many superstitions about owls, as there are with other such mythical creatures, such as bats, cats, crows and the like.  Indeed, the Internet abounds with such superstitions about owls that exist all over the world:

In parts of Africa, owls are considered harbingers of evil.

Aborigines believe owls represent the souls of women.

Celtic traditions regard the owl as a sign of the underworld.

In Germany, if a howl hoots as a child is born, then that child will live an unhappy life.

In Ireland, an owl that gets into the house must be killed at once.  Otherwise it will bring bad luck.

In Hebrew tradition, the owl represents blindness and is considered unclean.

An owl's hoot in New Mexico signals the coming of witches.

The list goes on and on and on (for more, check out Controverscial).  Of course, these negative connotations about the bird were always evident to me, and I thought nothing of them until I treeled to Italy in 2002 and 2004.  During both trips to my ancestral homeland, I came across many, many talismans made in the image of the creature, and a woman in an alabaster shop told me that they were good luck.

For whatever reason, I thought that was cool and I found in that shop a nice little souvenir that I could get for all of my friends to bring them good luck.  They were these cute little statuettes of an owl's head.  In the years since, I've continued to pick up other such owl figurines that I keep in my house for good luck.

When I decided to check out the validity of the girl in the alabaster shop's statement, I found that owls are not really considered goo luck in Italy after all.  Giuseppe Noel of Italy, says on his blog about owls:

We have superstitions about animals, too. An owl, black cat, and a fox bring bad luck. When you are walking and see an owl, or if you are walking or driving and you see a black cat crossing the street, you should stop and let the person or car behind you go ahead of you so that the bad luck goes to that person, not to you!

More bad superstitions of owls in Italy trace back to ancient Rome:

In early Rome a dead Owl nailed to the door of a house averted all evil that it supposedly had earlier caused. To hear the hoot of an Owl presaged imminent death. The deaths of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Commodus Aurelius, and Agrippa were apparently all predicted by an Owl.

Another Roman superstition was that witches transformed into Owls, and sucked the blood of babies.

So, have I been displaying owls in my house for the past ten years only to bring bad luck into my house?  And my poor friends that I gave the owl heads to, what about them?  Eh, it's all just superstition.  I still think that owls are fascinating creatures and I like them, and so I think I'm going to keep them around anyway...

Song of the Day - Dance Again - Jennifer Lopez, featuring Pitbull


I was going to post a song with J-Lo and Pitbull from his newest album, Global Warming, but "due to restrictions," once again, YouTube won't allow me to post it here.  So I did the next best thing: I chose this irresistable dance tune with Pit guesting on J-Lo's song.

Ooh, I wanna dance
In love
And dance 

Jennifer Lopez - Dance Again ft. Pitbull by AceVideos

Friday, April 19, 2013

Music News Bytes - Britney's New Song; P!nk's 4th Billboard #1; New Music Now

Britney Spears 'Ooh La La' Set for Summer Release

As mentioned in a January Music News Bytes, Britney Spears is indeed working on some new music.  The Huffington Post reported earlier this week that La Spears will be releasing a new song this summer called Ooh La La, from the soundtrack to the upcoming Smurfs 2 film, coming to theaters July 31st.  A new album is rumored to be coming in the fall, as well.  Something to look forward to.  Stay tuned.

P!nk #1 with a Bullet

I was just texting with a friend and when he asked me what I was doing I told him I was writing some music news for my blog.  He asked me if I was gushing over P!nk again.  Yeah, everyone knows I've been a lil P!nk crazed lately, and for good reason.  Like a slow steamroller, Ms. P!nk has taken over my music psyche full steam.  I'm truly convinced that she is currently the best musical star out there today, and this week she added another accomplishment to her ever-impressive resume with a #1 hit.  Yes, Just Give Me a Reason, her stellar duet with Fun's Nate Ruess, hit the number 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100.  Yay!

New Music Now

There are several new releases under my radar these past couple of weeks.  First up is Florence + the Machine with a new song off the soundtrack to the upcoming remake of The Great Gatsby.  The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as Jay Gatsby and Daisy Mulligan, respectively, and the song is told from Daisy's point of view.  The song is dramatic and beautiful and I simply love the rise towards the end.  Check out the full track on homorazzi.

Beyonce's been working on a new video for the as yet unreleased Grown Woman, and you can check out a quick clip of the making of it, along with a snippet of the up tempo track on Mirror.

Fleetwood Mac has been touring the country this spring and they recently announced an imminent new EP, from which they debuted a new song.  Check out Sad Angel.  Nice!

Finally, Korean up and comer Psy is trying to follow up his smash 2012 hit Gangnam Style with another entertaining dance oriented clip called Gentleman.  Check it out below:

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Fire - The Pointer Sisters

I'm riding in your car
You turn on the radio
You're pulling me close
I just say no
I say I don't like it
But you know I'm a liar
Cause when we kiss, ooh, fire...

Today's Flashback Friday Song of the Day is a classic!  Originally written and recorded by the legendary Bruce Springsteen, it didn't really come onto anybody's radar until these three legends recorded it in 1979 and it went all the way to #2.  Such great lyrics, and such great harmonizing!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The North Fork of Long Island

Long Island, New York is a sprawling suburban landscape situated just to the east of New York City.  The island stretches nearly 120 miles long from points west in Brooklyn all the way out to Montauk Point, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.  The non-New York City counties (or boroughs) that comprise the island are Nassau and Suffolk, and each has its own cultural and natural uniqueness.

The Twin Forks

Looking at a map of the island, one is reminded of a fish, with its head facing the islands of Manhattan and Staten Island and the two points of a tail in the east.  These points are more commonly known as the "twin forks," though the word 'twin' is hardly an accurate description.  First of all, geographically speaking, the South Fork is much wider from north to south, and longer, too.  The southern portion of the island faces the Atlantic Ocean, with white sandy beaches that attract the rich and famous to the Hamptons each summer.

The North Fork of Long Island is quite different than its southern sibling, much narrower, not as long, and with a landscape and a culture that's very different.  Situated between the Long Island Sound to the north and the Great Peconic Bay to the south, the North Fork of Long Island has a more rustic appearance, with farms and vineyards dotting the landscape in between charming and historic towns, more reminiscent of New England than New York.

Long Island's Wine Country

Probably the most famous thing the North Fork is known for is its wineries.  Long Island's Wine Country is a hotbed of world-class wineries that feature all sorts of delicious wines, from grapes grown in this favorable landscape.  The vineyards are picturesque and the wines are fabulous.

Raphael, my favorite!

Historic and Charming Towns

Beginning just east of Riverhead, the North Fork is a series of charming, small towns dotted along the vast grape fields and farmlands, which give the region its charm.  There's the tiny village of Jamesport that you'll miss if you blink your eye, the bustling and charming Mattituck, beautiful Laurel and Peconic, historic Southold, and the quaint seaport of Greenport.  

Farm Stands, Antique Shops and Nurseries

Another nice feature of this region, which goes hand in hand with the area's natural resources, is the wide array of charming farm stands, nurseries and antique shops that can be found from the western town of Aquebogue all the way to the eastern end at Orient.  Fresh vegetables and garden items abound in many of the area's countrified farm stands and nurseries, and many antique shops on the North Fork harbor many a hidden treasure.

The People and the Culture

The one thing negative I could share about the North Fork is the people, or rather the region's culture.  North Fork natives live a more traditional way of life than their South Fork, or even westward counterparts, and they make no bones about their desire to keep it that way.  Rarely has any sort of chain store made an appearance in the area, let alone a fast food chain (Mattituck is home to the only McDonald's in the area.).  They have a name for people from outside the area, "up-islanders," and it takes awhile for these natives to warm up to outsiders (I speak from experience!).  

So there you have Long Island's North Fork.  It's a great place for a day trip, or for a nice quiet vacation if you like that type of relaxation, and its local charm is a great way to take in the feel of old New England without leaving the island.  

Song of the Day - American Boy - Estelle, with Kanye West


It's hard to believe this song is practically five years old.  Back in 2008, this song was all over the place.  It was catchy, irresistible, and a lot of fun to sing along to.  The song made me a fan of the now 33 year-old British R&B singer, songwriter and rapper.  Her album Shine, on which this song appeared, was chock full of dance ditties, fun pop tunes and a couple of nice ballads, too.

Estelle has since released another record, All of Me, in 2012, but it hasn't fared nearly as well as the former.  I featured a couple of songs from All of Me, and I like the album.  It's really too bad the thing sputtered, because I might have paid it more attention on my own. Ah well, keep a going Ms. Estelle!

Estelle "American Boy" music video from Syndrome Studio on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Song of the Day - This Is My Life - Edward Maya, featuring Vika Jigulina

Here's a nice, island-flavored jam from Romanian producer Edward Maya, who had a minster hit before this one with the equally calming Stereo Love.  Enjoy!

Edward Maya - This is My Life by eush84

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Song of the Day - Why - Annie Lennox

This is for those affected by the terrible incident in Boston yesterday.  That's all!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Music, makes the people, come together....


Well it didn't take too long for me to get behind on the A-Z Challenge.  As of the moment, I'm only a day behind, but I will catch up and finish when all is said and done.  I've been having a little trouble with the letter 'M' these past couple of days.  The first thing that came to mind was Madonna, but I've done that already.  Then, I don't know, nothing was really coming to me until...I heard the song.  

Of course, music, you dummy!  Music is my life!  Music is a lot of people's lives.  It gives us so much.  Whether we realize it or not, music is the one thing that triggers our memory banks like nothing else, even more-so than photos because it's more readily available.  It feeds our enthusiasm for life, it comforts us in times when we're down, and yes, it makes people come together.  

Songs are poems set to music, and they tell us stories, give us advice, and they sometimes validate what we're feeling, that we're not alone.  They bring us warm summer breezes and cold lonely nights.  They bring out a rise in us at a concert hall or on the dance floor.  No matter what your flavor of music, I'm sure that the songs in your realm do all of these things and more.  Music is the soundtrack of our lives, and how it works.  Holla if you love music as much as I do!

Song of the Day - Telephone - Lady Gaga, featuring Beyonce


Here's a mini-movie of sorts, as Beyonce helps Lady Gaga out of a jam....love it when she gives her a bite of the sandwich! Happy Monday!

Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé - Telephone - Extended Music Video from Feel Creative on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lily Allen

Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper is better known by her stage name, Lily Allen.  The British singer first came onto my radar about five or six years ago, not long after her debut album, Alright Still, was released.  I remember seeing posters advertising the record in stores and at first I thought to myself, "who is this cheeky-looking girl?"  Then her first single, the pleasant but  irresistibly sarcastic Smile came out and my interest was piqued.

That first album was an immediate favorite of mine.  The lyrics and the music are not your typical combination of hit pop music, and unless you're listening carefully to the words, you might be surprised once you pay attention to the lyrics.  The songs might be classified as ska-ish, and I've even heard the term rocksteady, too, but either way the manner in which Lily tells her stories is nothing but naughty fun.

Some of my favorite songs off that first album include the amusingly ironic LDN, the brash Not Big, the hilarious and expletive-filled Friday Night, Alfie, with a little older sister to younger brother reprimandand this one, a fun, quirky, excuse-laden song about avoiding a dude trying to hit on ya.  Check out a live version of Knock Me Out:

Lily's second album, It's Not Me, It's You, is not as good as the first, but it's got a few good ones on it, too. Of course, the most popular song off that one was a big old F**k You sendoff to George Bush when he left office (no wonder I love her!).  Like many of her other songs, this one's sugary sounding, musically, but downright dirty lyrically.

Two other such songs off of It's Not Me, It's You include the tangoesque Never Gonna Happen, and my personal favorite off the record, the countryish, dirty Not Fair:

Other good stuff on this one include the dramatic opener Everyone's At It, the tender and sad 22, the serious, lead single The Fear and another of my personal favorites, the vintage sound of He Wasn't There:

Unfortunately for us, Lily Allen has not made any new music since starting a family a couple of years ago.  She did do a guest vocal on one of my favorite P!nk songs, True Love, but other than that, nothing, and that's too bad because I really really like her!