Monday, May 14, 2007

You Have Got to Rent the Movie “Music & Lyrics”

I just rented the movie Music & Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore and I am completely addicted to it. I think the song is so great, I can’t believe it isn’t all over the charts!

This movie really got to me because it’s about singing and songwriting. I sing and if I can ever find a spare nanosecond, I have actually dabbled in songwriting. So I “get” both the song and the movie on several levels. I guess I really relate to the character Sophie Fisher. Although I will admit that songwriting doesn’t come as easily to me as article writing does. But then, that could be because songwriting doesn’t pay the mortgage. I’m a realist.

Anyway, I love this song soooo much that I bought the CD today AND even ordered the sheet music so I can learn how to play it on the piano. I will probably go buy the DVD tomorrow. Next I’m going to see if I can find a karaoke version of it. Then all I'll have to do is get my husband to learn Hugh Grant’s part.

If you like comedy and love stories, I highly recommend you rent this movie! I feel like I could watch it a dozen times!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The African Children's Choir

I was very blessed to have experienced the African Childen’s Choir this week. This is the same choir that was featured on American Idol’s Idol Gives Back show with Josh Groban. However, it was a different set of children. There are three sets of children all part of the ACC traveling around the world right now.

The African Children’s Choir was started in Uganda during the dictatorship of Idi Amin by a missionary worker named Ray Barnett. Today, the children also come from Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana. They all come from very poor villages. Some are orphans.

As the story was told to me, volunteers tried to save the original choir members from certain death by gathering them all in a bus and driving them across the border into another country. But the borders were closed and the soldiers did not want to let the bus through. Suddenly, a little boy began to beat his drum and one by one the children began singing. The soldiers were so moved by the voices that they opened the gates and let the bus through.

Money raised by the ACC is used to build schools and educate more than 6,500 poor children of Africa who would otherwise not have access to an education. They have also helped thousands of destitute families obtain emergency food, clothing and medical care.

This is the 22nd year of the African Children’s Choir. Children from the original choir have gone on to be doctors and lawyers and are working to build a better Africa, all because of the education they received through the ACC.

To find out more about the African Children’s Choir, to make a donation or to purchase one of their beautiful CDs, go to or call 1-877-532-8651.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go With God, Nelson

I met a man last night. No, not that kind of “met”. I’m a happily married woman. I mean, I met a man who is being deployed to Iraq. His name is Nelson.

This wasn’t the first time I met someone who either was leaving for or had just come back from Iraq. But for some reason, meeting Nelson stopped my heart.

I worry about the soldiers who fight for freedom every single day. But this was different. All of sudden, “soldier” had a name. A face. And friends. All around him, he had friends. And he was leaving them. I felt somehow guilty. Responsible.

What if he doesn’t come home alive? Now he’s no longer just "a" soldier. He’s Nelson. He’s this guy from my town who has friends and family. And he hangs out where we hang out. He sat where I’ve sat and walked where I’ve walked. And he was real.

I had never met this man before, but suddenly I became concerned for his safety. I didn’t even know him, yet I instinctively wanted to protect him. To say, “don’t go”.

When we read the body counts in the newspaper of those who died in Iraq the day before, you can’t help but feel bad. But it’s a distant sense of guilt or sadness. It’s not the kind of guilt or sadness that sits squarely on top of your heart and makes it heavy. It’s like your brain is reminding you what guilt and sadness feel like and you recognize and acknowledge it, but it doesn’t engulf you or encompass you.

Putting a name and a face on a solider changes the entire game.

Go with God, Nelson. Be safe, and come home alive and in one piece.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Place Your Bets: Will RadioShack Still be Here Next Year?

RadioShack is a “nice” store. It’s clean, everything is always in order, the colors are bright. You can never get lost in one because they’re “boutique” size. And the people are very friendly and helpful and know their merchandise. If you ask a question, they generally have the answer.

But as the CompUSA store across the street from one of my local RadioShacks closes, I couldn’t help but wonder, if such a huge store as CompUSA couldn’t make it against tough competitors like Circuit City and Best Buy (also across the street), how can a little guy like RadioShack survive?

The brand certainly has its niche. If I need a cable connector or audio or cable wire, it’s the only place I would go. But the margin — and the sales volume — on that kind of stuff has got to be pretty low. Their signature products — stereos, tape recorders, answering machines, cell phones — all their competitors sell them.

The other thing is, there’s so many RadioShacks. There’s only one Best Buy. One Circuit City. One CompUSA (for now). One Home Depot. And three RadioShacks in my town — each with less than one-tenth the merchandise of these big guys.

So how do they make enough money to stay in business? How have they survived all this time? I know they’re franchises, not corporately owned, but these people have to compete with the giants and still make enough money to put food on the table.

And what if they don’t stay in business? Where am I going to go to get those few unique things that they sell? Perhaps Best Buy or Home Depot already sell connectors and wire and I just never noticed.

The way I see it, they have a limited time span from which to completely change their game plan or, by this time next year, RadioShack could be a brand no more.

So here’s what I think they need to do. Start a corporate rewards program. Rewards programs have a major influence over where I shop. Best Buy has a great program and I will definitely go there before going to one of their competitors because I get rewards points. Same thing with CVS. Stop & Shop sells the same merchandise. I can get cards at Hallmark and get gold crown points. But for my money, CVS has the better coupons and points rewards. So I take my business there. And I will go out of the way to get to a store where I am a loyal rewards shopper, if I have to.

If they don’t start a loyalty program to grow their customer base and build a loyal following, well… I shudder to think what could happen. Anyone want to bet me that they won’t be in business by this time next year?

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.