Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Stuff!

A plethora of links and tidbits to send you off into your weekend!

--Christianity Today picks The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2009, including "The Blind Side."

--If you're a Lostie, a good place to check out theories and reactions is Whitney Matheson's USA Today Pop Candy blog. However, although spoilers aren't allowed, sometimes I try to avoid it this blog because I want to be completely surprised by the story...and these people are good at figuring things out ahead of time!

--Today is National Chocolate Mint Day, and that makes me think of Girl Scout Cookies. What are your favorites? Do you freeze them, and if so, do you eat them frozen? (Raising my hand.)

--What would it be like if moms broadcast the Olympics? Author Sharon Hinck has some fun with the idea.

--Worth a read: my friend Joel Griffith's take on global warming/climate change.

--Cleveland tops the list of Most Miserable U.S. Cities. (The city I live in makes the list at number 14.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My thoughts on last night's "Lost"

SPOILER ALERT! if you haven't watched it yet

These are just some random thoughts that popped up as I watched the show. Feel free to add comments!

Last night's episode was Locke-centric, and it was what the the show's producers are calling a "flash-sideways"--it showed what Locke's life was like in the alternate reality that apparently would be taking place if the plane had never crashed originally.


--It was nice to see Locke in an apparently great relationship with Helen...planning his wedding and obviously both of them very much in love.

--Apparently in any reality, Locke's boss Randy is a real jerk.

--If you paid attention during earlier seasons, it was no surprise to you that Hurley owned the company where Locke worked.

--It seems in the alternate reality, the Losties are there to help Locke in some way. Jack wants to give him a consult about his spinal paralysis...Hurley helps him get another job...Rose is the manager of the temp agency Hurley sends him to...

--Of course, never having gone to the island, not only is Locke still paralyzed, but Rose still has terminal cancer.

--I loved Sawyer's attitude in this episode. Two of the best lines of the night (not word-perfect): "I don't care if you're dead, alive, or the ghost of Christmas past" and "I guess I'd better get some pants on."

Oh, also Ben's eulogy for John Locke. Classic!

Another great one was Hurley's comment about Locke's boss, Randy. Spot on. :)

More questions raised

Who was the blond boy? Is Jacob good or bad???? Does fake Locke really want all the losties killed? Is fake Locke good or bad???

--What's the connection between the Losties and the numbers assigned to them by Jacob?

--Why didn't alternate-reality Locke take Jack up on the free consult? And why doesn't alternate-reality Locke believe in miracles?

--Last but not least, I was happy to get a reprieve from scenes revolving around the temple. Frankly, the temple and its boss kind of bore me.

Interesting tidbit: It pays to pay attention to EVERYTHING on "Lost," even background music. Apparently, as this blogger tells us, the song Sawyer was listening to while drunk in Otherville said a lot about his own experiences:

"..seriously, they do cover every detail! It’s stuff like this that makes me realize nothing happens by accident in this show! 'I’m the runaway son of a nuclear a-bomb…Baby detonate for me' – what a perfect song to help work through Juliet’s a-bomb detonation death! And it leaves me wondering what this forgotten boy is searching for, searching to destroy?"

Your thoughts? I'd love to hear 'em!

Friday, February 12, 2010

My interview with Scott MacIntyre, Part 2

The American Idol 8 Top 10 finalist dishes about the book he's writing, Pants on the Ground, and the surreal feeling of performing with Alice Cooper

Listen to another excerpt of my interview with American Idol's Scott MacIntyre.

In this clip, Scott talks more about what he's been up to since his season of AI ended, and what's in his future.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My interview with Scott MacIntyre

The American Idol Season 8 Top 10 finalist talks about the book he's working on, his upcoming album and what the Idol experience meant to him

Listen to an excerpt of my interview with Scott MacIntyre here.

Scott MacIntyre has never been one to let a disability stand in his way. When he decided to audition for American Idol, he didn't worry about his visual impairment; the deciding factor was when the show began allowing contestants to accompany themselves on instruments.

"As soon as they wheeled a grand piano out on stage, I knew it was something I had to try," he told me in a phone interview today.

Scott tells me that the book he's writing will really go behind the scenes with his experience as the first AI finalist with a disability. One of the most challenging things? Having to memorize where the camera was going to be at any given time, especially while trying to perform choreography.

Fortunately, Scott has no deficiency at all when it comes to brain power. According to Wikipedia: "He obtained his masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London and the Royal College of Music, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship, one of the most competitive scholarships in the United States, awarded to only 40 American students each year."

That's just one part of a hefty paragraph on the awards and honors earned by the young musician.

As a Christian on Idol

The Season 8 top 10 included at least three or four people who were identified as Christians, including Scott.

But when asked about how having fellow Christians on the show made a difference, he points to third place finalist Danny Gokey.

"Danny... is the one person on the show that I very closely identify with. I know his faith is real, and it was a pleasure to be around someone like that, especially on tour.”

A survivor

One part of his personal backstory that Scott withheld while on AI was the fact that he nearly lost his life to kidney disease at the age of 19.

He ended up receiving a kidney transplant, but he says the months in which he was very ill and couldn't sing or play were "intense."

Scott didn't want that part of his life to affect the perceptions of Idol viewers, so he didn't talk about it until after the show, during an appearance on Regis and Kelly.

However, he will delve into it in the book, which he says he's co-authoring with someone who is respected in both the fields of music and writing.

Going forward

Scott freely gives credit to American Idol for helping make many of his dreams come true--he says there is no other way he could have accomplished the things he's done just since his stint on the show ended.

His album, "Heartstrings," releases March 11th (NOT May, as I erroneously wrote earlier), and he'll also appear on American Idol around that time. An EP of songs from Heartstrings is already available on iTunes.

Listen to an excerpt of my interview with Scott MacIntyre here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A lovely little Valentine book

Speaking straight to a woman's heart are stories about enduring love, surprising love, a second chance at love, long-distance love and

Listen to an excerpt from my interview with LeAnn Weiss here

LeAnn Weiss is no stranger to writing the heartwarming and inspiring stories of other people. As the co-author of the bestselling "Hugs" series , LeAnn has even earned the moniker "The Hugs Lady."

But something happened to LeAnn just in time for her latest book, Valentine Promises: Heartfelt Reminders of True Love.

She fell in love.

LeAnn and her husband, who she calls the love of her life, are an e-harmony success story--even though LeAnn had pretty much given up on e-harmony and was taking a sabbatical from it, when a message from Rick slipped through.

Long story short: After waiting for 42 years for Mr. Right, LeAnn found him in Rick. So some of the love stories in this book chronicle her own falling-in-love experience.

LeAnn Weiss loves listening to people's stories, so she's the ideal person to compile them and share them in lovely little books that include her own beautiful love letters to God and paraphrased messages from God to us.

Sprinkled throughout the book are thoughtful sayings and quotations about love.

This books would make an ideal Valentine's gift for your loved one--or even for yourself.

Listen to an excerpt from my interview with LeAnn Weiss here

Monday, February 08, 2010

This author knows all about sisters

I interview Virginia Smith, author of "Third Time's a Charm"

It appears I'm late to the party! Although I've known Virginia Smith via e-mail from when voiced her book trailer for Age Before Beauty (you can see the trailer here if you like), I had never read any of her books until I recently finished Third Time's a Charm--which is actually the last of her Sister to Sister trilogy.

It was such an enjoyable read that I plan to backtrack and read the other two: Age Before Beauty and Stuck in the Middle.

The books are about the Sanderson sisters, with this final one focusing on the baby of the family, Tori.

While Smith's style is breezy and accessible, don't make the mistake of thinking this is all chick-lit fluff. Along with the fun, she tackles some serious issues in Third Time's a Charm--like how having daddy issues here on earth can often cause young women problems with fully trusting their heavenly Father.

In this short excerpt from our interview, Smith talks about that theme.

Having two sisters myself that I adore, I really enjoyed Smith's obvious firsthand understanding of how sisters relate and interact. There's a good reason for that: she based the Sandersons on herself and her own two sisters.

More about that in this clip from our interview.

Find out all about Virginia Smith and her books here.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Guideposts: Truly Inspiring

My interview with Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan

Go here and here to listen to short excerpts of my interview with Edward Grinnan

When I was contacted about doing an interview with Guideposts Magazine editor-in-chief Edward Grinnan, I jumped at the chance.

I've heard of Guideposts all my life, but recently became re-acquainted with it through my mom, who subscribed to the magazine for me.

I find myself reading it from cover to cover, always coming away with the reassurance that God is still at work in the world, and that there are still many wonderful people on this planet.

Grinnan tells me, "We tend to think of Guideposts as a magazine about people. People living their lives and connecting their faith-filled values with their everyday living--and those are the types of stories we tell."

Not Just Celebs

Featuring a celebrity on the cover has been a practice since Dr. Norman Vincent Peale of The Power of Positive Thinking fame started the magazine back in 1945. But Grinnan tells me that Guideposts doesn't put well-known people on a pedestal--the magazine shares how the celeb has dealt with heartache, adversity, and all the things we "regular people" have to face.

And regular people are the real stars of the magazine, with many everyday folks sharing their stories.

Add to the mix health and wellnes, recipes, and popular features like "Mysterious Ways," and you've got a little gem of a magazine packed full of things aimed at encouraging and uplifting.

Be sure and check out the magazine's website, which includes many extras, and their Facebook page.
The magazines slogan is "Inspiring Stories...Inspiring People...Inspiring You."

Given the often discouraging times we live in, I think a little encouragement and inspiration is just what we need.

Go here and here to listen to short excerpts of my interview with Edward Grinnan

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Toda the Miracle Cat

...a heartwarming story about a cat who has used one of his nine lives

Every day on 101QFL, I do a feature called "What Today Is"--a mixture of goofy and worthy "holidays" that occur on any given day.

Today, "Spoiled Cats Day" was among what my former co-host, Darren Marlar, used to call "weird, wacky, zany, unusual holidays."

As I often to, I used one of the weird holidays--this time, Spoiled Cats Day--as my Facebook status, and asked my friends to tell me about their own spoiled cats.

Tayna McCord responded:

My cat is a miracle cat. He was placed in a tail pipe by some kids, the vet told me to put him to sleep. I said no, got the meds for him from the vet. The car had driven with him in the pipe, so his eye exploded and his lungs were burned and his whiskers were gone. I asked my church to pray for this poor animal. They did , next vet visit the vet couldnt believe it. The cat named Toda was healed. He is partially blind but loves life and thinks he is a person. He gets daily treats and spoiling! We love him. Toda means sacrifice for something better. I think it is fitting...

As you can see, despite his eye injury, Toda looks healthy and content today. And as one of my other Facebook friends responded, "Wow, Tayna. After all that, he deserves to be spoiled! Mine, not so much."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop: The Case of the Colossal Canine

(Go here to listen to today's CyberSnoop)

Actually, we could have called this the Case of the Gargantuan Great Dane. Are those pictures of a 7-foot-long Great Dane for real?

The e-mail that’s currently making the rounds features photographs of a blue Great Dane named George, who almost looks more like a pony than a canine, and whose owners claim he may be the world’s tallest dog.

And yes… and several other publications confirm he’s definitely for real, and he’s definitely that big. No photo-shopping necessary.

Giant George is a 4-year-old blue Great Dane who measures 7 feet 3 inches from nose to tail, weights 245 pounds, and stands 3 and a half feet tall at the shoulder.

George’s owners, Dave and Christie Nasser of Tucson, Arizona, say George

--sleeps on a Queen Size bed...alone
--Consumes 110 pounds of food every month
--Has to bend over to drink Out of the kitchen faucet
--Sits in a chair like a human

If you want to know more about George or want to see more amazing pictures of him, not a problem. He has his own website——his own facebook page, and you can even follow him on twitter.

Confirming another internet rumor, this is Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop…reminding you to check it out BEFORE you hit that “send” button!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Monday Melange

Main Entry: mé·lange
Pronunciation: \mā-ˈläⁿzh, -ˈlänj\
Function: noun
: a mixture often of incongruous elements

--It appears my blog is "Lost"-centric again today--understandably, since the show returns for its final season tomorrow night?

You can go here to list five of your favorite Sawyer nicknames...although I must say, some of my favorites aren't even among the options. I loved when he called Sayid "Al Jazeerah" and when he called Daniel Faraday "Twitchy."

I wonder if there's a list somewhere of all the nicknames he's used? Sawyer's nicknames are one of my favorite little things about "Lost."

--So apparently the polar bears were not as big a deal as "Lost" viewers have made them. One more interview with the producers.

--Couple of really good Christian fiction reads I've recently enjoyed: "A Lady Like Sarah," by Margaret Brownley, and Colleen Coble's "The Lightkeeper's Daughter."

--Don't you just hate that?--One of my favorite bloggers ever, Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee, talks about a book that lists some of those things you "just hate." This one, among many others, resonated with me:

Not being able to throw out an old magazine because it has an article you want to read that you know you're never going to read.

Yes, I just hate that! I have way too many magazines in my home as a result.

--Do you ever wonder what makes women stay with their very high-profile straying husband? One of the best Christian writers, Angela Hunt, collaborated with Gayle Haggard on "Why I Stayed." I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like a very good read.

Got something interesting going on at your blog? As long as it's family-friendly, feel free to leave a link in my comments section!
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