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Thursday, July 28, 2011

America's Got Talent Results - Hollywood #3 - Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nick Cannon with Lys Agnes - she's moving on.
Tuesday night's performances on America's Got Talent produced five or six strong finishers. As usual, everyone was nervous waiting for America's Got Talent Results - Hollywood #3 - July 27, 2011.

After the usual introduction of the judges, host Nick Cannon called to the stage: Ian Johnson, Summerwind Skippers, and Purrfect Angelz. As the camera did it's usual close-ups before it pans a group shot, Cannon finally announced, "No one. No one is moving on."

The stunned group left the stage and then rock legend, Stevie Nicks, performed a song from her new album, For What It's Worth. After she sang, chatting with Nick Cannon, Stevie said that last year's America's Got Talent winner, Michael Grimm, would be going on tour with her this year.

Two more acts were called to the stage to find out their fate: POPLYFE and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. This was a scary moment, because both acts looked like they did well enough on Tuesday to go on in the competition. And that is exactly what the results were - both acts were moving on.

Murphy said, "I feel like I'm on top of the world.

Sharon added, "I feel strongly that both of you are going to be in the finals."

Next to see which direction they were headed were four acts: Mauricio Herrera, Captain and Maybelle, Lys Agnes and Monet. This looked pretty simple to figure out who would move on. One of last night's best performances against the three acts that got lukewarm or scalding remarks from the judges. Lys Agnes was called to head to the semi-finals.

One of last year's finalists, Fighting Gravity, put on a performance that brought all three judges to their feet. They are currently working on a show that they expect to have in Vegas or on Broadway sometime next year.

Stevie Nicks returned to sing one of her hits, Age Of Seventeen. It's nice to see that she still has the same wardrobe from the 1970's.

What was funny, immediately following America's Got Talent, I checked a tool I have that shows what is trending on Google. Stevie Nicks was the #1 search. I'm guessing a lot of young people where wondering, "Who's the old lady in black?"

AGT was down to the last three acts in the Green Room - SH'BOSS BOYS, Professor Splash, and Seth Grabel. Nick Cannon was going to send one act home right away and leave the two acts that came in fourth and fifth in fan voting. First to go - SH'BOSS BOYS. It was cute. When their names were called, the five year old thought they won and he started jumping up and down. The six year old grabbed him and whispered - No - and the look on his face changed real quick.

Now, the judges had to decide between a daredevil and a magician. Sharon felt strongly about Grabel and picked him. Howie was torn between the two and his Twitter followers were split down the middle, too. After eying both contestants, Howie gave his vote to Professor Splash. Piers would be the deciding vote. He was in the same position as Howie. Both acts deserved to go on. He had a choice between a slick magician that could be in Vegas tomorrow or a guy that threatens to kill himself with every performance. After a moment of thought, Piers came to a decision, "I'm going with the act that I think has the best chance of winning, and I'm going to put through Professor Splash.

I was a bit surprised because Splash-man can only dive so high and into so many things. After that, what do you do? Grabel, however, like any magician can put together trick after trick and make a whole show out of it.

Professor Splash won't be around for the finals in my opinion. His time is limited on AGT.

With the exception of the judges vote, no surprises on America's Got Talent Results - Hollywood #3 - Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

Related articles:
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #3 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011
America's Got Talent Results - Hollywood #2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #2 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Hollywood #1 Results - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #1 -Tuesday, July 12, 2011
America's Got Talent - Las Vegas - Wednesday, July 6, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Las Vegas -Tuesday, July 5, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 2011 - AGT Vegas Week Tuesday and Wednesday - July 5 and 6
America's Got Talent 2011 Season 6 - June 29, 2011 - Houston
America's Got Talent Launches Season 6 | AGT Season Guide

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Blogger Lives To Write Another Day - Down, But Not Out

"I'm gonna get up an whoop yo ass."
This has been a long challenging summer. If you're a motorcycle cop and your Harley is missing two tires, you're reduced to a cop on the beat. If you're a farmer and your tractor blows up, you better go buy a horse and get out the 18th century plow. When a blogger's computer dies, he's forced to make do with a short window at the library, and that's where I am. This blogger lives to write another day - I'm down, but not out.

My poor little white iBookG4 was originally designed to give to high school or college students, or Asian 4 year olds. It didn't know what it was in for when I took over the keyboard. I'm what is known as a "Power User" - I'll have eleven or fifteen tabs open on my browser, up to four or five programs running in the background. And I go for long stretches without a break - sometimes 20 hours or more.

Let's just say that little iBook gets HOT. I can keep my coffee at Dunkin' Donuts warm, just by setting the cup near the laptop. It seems, I've managed to fry something and it ain't eggs. Since June 8th, I've been working at about 25% capacity, maintaining three blogs, four email accounts, two twitter accounts, keeping up with Facebook, LinkedIN, Blogged, NetworkedBlogs, StumpleUpon, and about a half a dozen other ways to interact. Makes me yearn for the days of the corner bar. "Hi, you look kinda drunk. You want to get drunker?" Then, I'd pass out and a guy with a mop would be my signal to leave. It was so easy then.

This past week, the funeral bells started ringing for my white iBook, which looked even more gaunt in the box I had prepared for it. It's screen goes black when you try to RESTART it and some code comes up at the top. I'm clueless. There is a guy I can call, but I'm going to wait. Because, "Yes, massa, even dough we's be toilin' in deez fields all a deez yearz. A brighter day be comin'. Sweet Jesus. A brighter day be comin'. Sing with me..."

Yes, a brigther day is coming. In less than a week, I should have a brand new, refurbished, used, second hand MacBook Pro. It's like a rocket compared to the iBook. It has a bigger monitor... Now, I can see everyone's toes in the nudie movies. YouTube videos will stream instead of spin. Tweetdeck will clip along and send hundreds of pre-programmed tweets for me every day. My blog will actually load in less than three minutes. "Yes, massa. A brighter day be comin'. And we have to sing our praises to Sweet Jesus for gettin' us troo dis horrible mess. Thank ya, Sweet Jesus." (I've been livin' in a black neighborhood too long.)

I will be able to relentlessly assault the Internet with humor, insights, fun facts, useful shit, health and wellness info, social satire, rips on our goverment, mental illness and disability advocacy, single-moms, more funny crap, hilarious stuff, and whatever else I feel like blogging about... Oh, yeah... blogging about blogging.

I have taken some big punches. I've gone down, but I ain't out. I've seen my traffic go up when I work and fall when I don't. But I'm still slamming content on Page 1 of Google with regularity - I'm an SEO whiz - so that's what keeps me going. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Yes, this blogger lives to write another day - for the moment, I'm down, but not out. 6... 5... 4... Get up... 3... "OH LOOK, HE'S UP ON HIS FEET. AND HE'S GOING TO MAKE IT TO THE BELL. I'VE NEVER SEEN A FIGHTER TAKE THIS MUCH PUNISHMENT AND GO ON. HE'S AMAZING!"

I challenge you to be amazing, too.

PS - Microsoft Sucks
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #3 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. wowed the crowd and judges.
This night promised to be a big one on America's Got Talent. Some of the most talented acts performing this season would be going head to head. Almost everyone performed well, but there were a couple clunkers on America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #3 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

On tonight's show, you had fabulous singers, a hot band, magic, Yo-Yo's, tiny rappers, hot dancers, insane entertainment and a daredevil act. There were only a couple acts of the twelve to perform that you could say were doomed from the get-go, but here is how the talent played out on AGT in Hollywood:
  1. Summerwind Skippers - Jump Rope Team - Boise, ID -  Lots of energy and movement from these two girls and four boys. Piers was flat on them the last time they performed in Vegas. However, tonight he said, "You made skipping sexy." Sharon agreed, "It doesn't look like you're in the school yard anymore." Howie was scratching his dome, "I don't know if I'd sit through one more song of your act."
  2. SH'BOSS BOYS - Child Rappers - Atlanta, GA - These tots are 5, 6 and 7 years old and they gave it their all. Sharon, "You thoroughly entertained me." Howie, "You're adorable and America's going to love you." Piers wasn't fond of their song, ABC, "When you do the rap stuff, that is brilliant."
  3. Mauricio Herrera - Entertainer - Pamona, CA - Looking fit and trim after losing 19 pounds, Mauricio started with his version of Viva Las Vegas - after that it was all downhill. He has more cheese in his act than a Velveeta factory. Piers buzzed him about halfway through and Sharon's X wasn't far behind. Howie was the only one who seemed to enjoy the fabulous Mauricio, "It's so schmaltzy it's funny." Piers was brutal, "If I was on holiday at a hotel and I go to the bar and an act like you comes out at 11 o'clock, I would literally go back to the room, pack my bags and move out." Sharon, "The galloping kinda threw me." 
  4. Seth Grabel - Magician/Illusionist - Los Angeles, CA - Seth was going big. He was suspended over a vat of boiling hot tar, wearing a straight jacket. He escaped, but fell into the vat. Out of the bottom of the vat comes a troupe of girls carrying a body, which they loaded into a cannon. The cannon fires and Seth appears across the stage in a tank of water. All three judges liked his show. Piers, "All around your best performance." - I was a little miffed about the vat of "hot tar" - I know what hot tar is like and you couldn't have people under it or touching the tank without gloves. That was a corny element to me. 
  5. POPLYFE - Rock Band - Oakland, CA - This group features a female singer and five band mates. She sang Adele's Rolling In The Deep, and rocked it. Sharon, "You've got everything going for you guys." Howie, "You are by far the best act of the night." Piers even loved them,"You guys were brilliant. The whole thing was great."
  6. Ian Johnson - Yo-Yo Master - Hebron, IL - The 16 year-old Yo-Yo Kid did all he could to wow the crowd, but he messed up several times and his Yo didn't go - and the judges noticed every flub. Piers buzzed him halfway through his act. Howie was questioning, "Is it a headlining act?" Piers was blunt, "You made Yo-Yoing as exciting as you could make it. The problem is it's still boring." Sharon wanted to see more of Ian's personality, if he was to perform again. 
  7. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. - Singer - Logan, WV - The tall black man with the dredlocks came out in a slick suit and wowed the crowd with his rendition of the Sinatra classic, In Other Words. He earned a standing ovation from all three judges and the audience was ecstatic. Piers smiled and said, "You came to play, Landau. And I tell you, you've got that factor we look for and the audience loved it." Sharon, "America does have talent and it stood right in front of me." Howie rehashed how Landau's life has been changed forever and added, "You have the opportunity on America's Got Talent to go all the way."
  8. Purrfect Angelz - Female Dance Troupe - Los Angeles, CA - You can't go wrong with eight sexy former NFL and NBA cheerleaders in hot cowboy outfits, until Piers buzzed them right at the end of their performance. Howie started off by saying, "You get certain feelings with certain acts and I was feeling that I wanted to order the chicken wings because this was the best Hooters I'd ever been to." Piers explained why he buzzed them, "I honestly don't think you have a chance of going through." Sharon was somewhat unsure, too, "You're all great dancers and amazingly fit ladies, but is it a million dollar act?"
  9. Monet - Singer - This girl was homeless after hurricane Wilma. She's only 12 and she looked fabulous. However, she missed some notes and all of the judges tried to let her down gently. Howie, "You have so much passion and so much heart, which makes up for the fact that you don't hit every note." Piers, "I see real promise, but you're just not mature enough yet." Sharon, "What you lacked with your tuning you make up with your performance and your heart."
  10. Captain and Maybelle - Carnival Freak Show - Atlanta, GA - What do you say after someone swings a pot from a hook through their tongue and then the nose and puts hooks in his eyelids and lifts a weight? Piers had the answer, "You two are without any question the most disgusting people in America." Sharon was still shaking, "After you put the frying pan with the hook through your nose [talking to Maybelle], I kinda turned away. So I really couldn't judge the whole thing." Howie, "I don't know what to say about it." 
  11. Lys Agnes  - Opera Singer -  Denver, CO - In a stunning outfit, with her long blonde braided hair up on top and framed by a giant gold picture frame, she performed like a world-class opera singer. Howie and Sharon gave her a standing ovation. Piers, "It didn't knock me out." Howie was the most enthusiastic, "You make opera accessible to the masses because of your style." 
  12. Professor Splash - High Dive Act - Denver, CO - Everyone had to go outside where the Professor was poised to set a World Record, diving from 36' 7" into 12 inches of water. After a long pause, he did it. Down, down, down and whamo! A couple seconds of silence passed and he stood up, apparently unharmed. Howie said, "I was so scared, and I would have lost my job, but I wanted to scream - Don't do it!" Piers and Sharon were simple and to the point - Sensational and spectacular, respectively. 
After seeing all of the acts, the four I think have the best chance of moving on are:
  • Seth Grabel - He's slick and upped his show. No mistakes this time. 
  • POPLYFE - Extremely strong performance. 
  • Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. - He was probably the best of the night. 
  • Lys Agnes - She has the looks, the voice and the confidence to go on. 
Professor Splash is dynamic and exciting, but where can he go with this act? And how many times can he do it before he flattens himself? He keeps promising fire in his next performance. We'll see. The judges response was strong enough for him where he could be a contender. A flat one. But a contender.

Tomorrow night, results and a performance by Stevie Nicks and last year's finalists, Fighting Gravity.

Overall, everyone did great, except for Mauricio and the Yo-Yo Kid on America's Got Talent - Hollywood #3 - Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

Related articles:
America's Got Talent Results - Hollywood #2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #2 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Hollywood #1 Results - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #1 -Tuesday, July 12, 2011
America's Got Talent - Las Vegas - Wednesday, July 6, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Las Vegas -Tuesday, July 5, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 2011 - AGT Vegas Week Tuesday and Wednesday - July 5 and 6
America's Got Talent 2011 Season 6 - June 29, 2011 - Houston
America's Got Talent Launches Season 6 | AGT Season Guide

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Monday, July 25, 2011

How To Lose Weight And Be Healthy - It Takes Simple Steps

Steps are how to lose weight and be healthy.
When you think of trying to lose weight, you probably start making a list of foods you don't like or dig out your exercise clothes and head to a gym to torture yourself in the midst of hard bodies that wonder what you're up to. All it really takes are a few extra simple steps if you want to know how to lose weight and be healthy

Over the years, we have been taught a lot of myths about losing weight and being healthy. Dr. Michael Roizen, Wellness Director for the Cleveland Clinic calls it BS - Bad Science.

Dr. Roizen had to come up with a wellness program for the 40,000 staff members of the Cleveland Clinic. It had to be a program that everyone could utilize and fit into their everyday lives. He says if you want to know how to lose weight and be healthy, all you have to do is move.

All these exercise guidelines about getting your heart rate up to 80% of it's maximum and sustaining that for 20 minutes three times a week are part of the BS - Bad Science - that Dr. Roizen identified.

"You have to move and the best way to move is to walk. 10,000 steps a day is your goal," said Roizen.

That is the target for people that are participating in the Cleveland Clinic's Let's Move It program.

Exercise is cumulative. If you do a little here and a little there, throughout the course of a day, you can be well on your way to improving your health and losing weight.

Of course, we can't live in a vacuum. You want to make healthier choices with your diet, too.

Over the last month, I made a conscious decision to eat very little fast food, replace a few meals with baked potatoes and salsa - no butter, drink more water, eat more fruit and yogurt and walk a bit more than I had been. For the month, I lost 12 lbs.

The changes were rather painless and I'm feeling better.

Adding more steps to your day is easy, if you give it a little thought. Here are some simple ways to work on getting in your 10,000 steps a day:
  1. Don't park as close as you can. Park farther away and force yourself to walk across the parking lot. 
  2. Take the stairs when possible
  3. Get up every hour from your desk at work and walk around the floor or go up or down a couple floors using the stairs.
  4. During commercial breaks on TV, go out your front door and walk around the house. The more often you do this, the better you'll feel. 
  5. Walk instead of driving. Are there things that are nearby that you might normally just hop in the car and run to? Make the short walk and benefit from the movement. 
  6. Go mall walking. Instead of sitting around, walk around a mall. This works great in any kind of weather. 
  7. Find parks to explore. Leisurely hiking can be so enjoyable and the fresh air will do you good. 
  8. If you're more adventurous, seek out places with long sets of stair or steps. School stadiums are great for this. Hike up and down the stairs a few times. You'll start to build muscle mass in your legs, which aids in burning calories.
The more you do, the more you'll want to do and the more you will want to challenge yourself, especially after you start to see results.

Forget about eating wheat grass, straining on one of those gym torture devices or lifting weights. You can do all of those things, but the first thing you have to do is move. And it can be as simple as adding more steps to your day. You can even purchase a pedometer that keeps track of the number of steps you take in a day. 10,000 is the goal.

I told you. It's a few simple steps. And that's how to lose weight and be healthy.

For more information on the Cleveland Clinic's Let's Move It program with tips on exercise, diet and more, visit www.LetsMoveIt.org.

Related articles:
How To Look Younger, Healthier and More Confident In Less Than A Minute
How To Sleep Better By Using A Relaxation Technique
San Francisco Bans McDonald's Happy Meal Toys 
 
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Social Security Recipients Preparing To Kick Obama's Ass If Debt Ceiling Not Raised

Barack Obama working on his plan. 

While John Boehner keeps running out of meetings to get more tissues and Harry Reid is fumbling around trying to find the right room, the President is Tweeting about women's soccer, the NBA draft and his upcoming re-election bid. All of them are supposed to have their noses to the grindstone regarding the debt ceiling, which could have some dire consequences if it does not get resolved. Right now, Social Security recipients are preparing to kick Obama's ass if the debt ceiling is not raised

Isn't America a great country. You and I have to live within our means. Our government, though, can blow money like drunken politicians. Hey, that's what they are.

In 1917, the government established a debt ceiling of $11.5 Billion. It was supposed to keep spending under control. And we can see how well that has worked. Since March of 1962, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times. Ten times since 2001. On May 16, 2011 the U.S. Government breached the debt ceiling of $14.295 TRILLION.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was able to pull some razzle-dazzle by using our country's Visa card to pay the bill on Mastercard and Discover and stiff the cable company for Al Gore's Internet by putting the bill in Newt Gingrich's name. Geithner was able to stave off creditors until August 2nd. Then the shit hits the fan, if Congress and the President can't work this out.

What happens if they don't increase the debt ceiling? The same thing that happens when your credit card is maxed out and they won't extend your line of credit, the government can't pay for the stuff they said they would.

No one is exactly sure what will happen if they blow this. But there is speculation that the government will default on bonds and other bills. China may call the loan on the White House and chicken feet will be served at the next State Dinner.

Government employees will probably still get paid - bastards.

But there is a threat that seniors will take the brunt of the bumblers in Washington and Social Security recipients might not get their checks August 1st.

That is the number one question I get from all the old people that come in the coffee shop where I work. "Are we gonna get our checks August 1st?" Like I've got Obama on iChat and I can get answers just because I have a computer and I know how to use "The Google". Like I'd waste time chatting with Obama, anyway.

Where did all this debt come from? In eight years, Bush added $4.36 TRILLION by going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan and cutting taxes. But Baracky has added $3.9 TRILLION in just three years due to his failed stimulus packages and lower tax revenues caused by the recession.

I don't think the "government for the people" understands what will happen to "the people" if those checks don't go out. It's bad enough for working people who are struggling to survive. It's harder for those out of work and living on unemployment. But seniors and those on disability don't have any options. It's not like they can go out and mow lawns to make ends meet. They desperately rely on every penny of those Social Security checks. And if they're one day late, it can disrupt their whole world.

But what do we get from Washington? Political posturing. Finger pointing. Excuses. Tweets about women's soccer from Baracky.

But the president should be able to take some time off. NO. I don't. I work seven days a week because I'm trying to solve my own financial crisis. These fools should be on call 24/7. Get it done.

Some other things that might happen. Military check won't go out. Wall Street will freak out and sell off massively. Kiss about 50% of your 401(k) good-bye. Countries won't want to lend us money or do business with us. Foreign investment will come to a halt. You might as well torch all the major cities and just declare martial law and turn us into a Libya with better amusement parks.

It's time for Obama to stop making excuses and LEAD. That's his job Leader Of The Free World. He wanted the job. I think we're all a bit tired of him Hoping he can do the job, instead of knowing he can do the job.

Get a case of tissues for Boehner and put a GPS on Harry Reid and lock them in a room and make them get this done. Stuff a cork in Nancy Pelosi's self-serving mouth and maybe this can all come together.

If they don't get this done, the U.S. will be in deep shit. But there will be millions of seniors and disabled Americans that will suffer the most. And that is just wrong.

Barack better get it together because Social Security recipients are preparing to kick Obama's ass if the debt ceiling is not raised.

Sources:
money.cnn.com
Washingtonpost.com

Related articles:
George W. Bush and Republicans Just Loved Playing War
Barack Obama Gives Middle East 90 Days To Leave Earth
Obama Tries To Strangle Stephen Hawking Over God Doesn't Exist Remarks
 
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

America's Got Talent Results - Hollywood #2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Daniel Joseph Baker made his parents proud.
AGT saw some wow performances on Tuesday and a few that literally pooped out. After seeing the acts, there were two or three that you knew were going to go through. And we waited as America voted to give us America's Got Talent Results for Hollywood #2 - Wednesday, July 20, 2011.

Probably the best performance of the night was by Silhouettes. Nick Cannon called them forward, along with The Rhinestone Ropers, whose horse took a dump on the stage after a lousy performance, and Thomas John the unsure-handed juggler. This elimination was a no-brainer. Silhouettes was voted to move on to the semi-finals for AGT. Piers Morgan said, "Last night you were absolutely sensational."

Before the eliminations continued, Hot Chelle Rae performed their smash hit Tonight Tonight, which really pumped up the live audience.

When Nick Cannon returned to the stage, he called forward Steven Retchless, the pole dancer that Piers panned the night before, Attack Dance Crew and one-liner comedian Geechy Guy. I had picked Retchless as a long shot, and he wound up being pushed through by the fans. His big challenge will be: How much can he up his act to stay in this competition?

Moving quickly to another elimination, called to the stage were the three singers from Tuesday: Daniel Joseph Baker, Dani Shay and Dylan Andre. I knew this would be the end of the road for Dani Shay after Daniel Joseph Baker exploded with a breakout performance on Tuesday. And the flamboyant, fierce one quietly and humbly accepted his nod from America that put him in the semi-finals. He was basking in the moment.

More live entertainment was provided by Traces. If you did not see this performance, you have to go to the NBC/AGT website and watch it. They did things I have never seen before. Their show began with a man in a large steel ring. He rolled and spun in a way that was completely unique. Then there were tumblers and acrobats and men flying on poles. You HAVE to check it out on the website if you missed it.

That left three contestants to find out their fate by the judge's vote. On the stage were The Smage Brothers Riding Show, Mona Lisa - singing twins, and Landon Swank - the magician. The act with the lowest fan votes was eliminated first, and that was the adorable duo Mona Lisa.

When the Smage Brothers were asked to plead their case to move forward, Troy, the guy that lays on the stage while the brothers jump over him on their motorcycles said, "They're getting awful close to my face. I don't know if I want to move on."

Sharon Osbourne was not impressed with Landon Swank on Tuesday and she voted for the Smage Brothers. Piers Morgan has been a big fan of Landon Swank all along and voted for him based on his body of work, not so much for his Tuesday performance. Howie Mandel was left as the tie breaker and he voted based on the "now" and clearly, on Tuesday, the Smage Brothers had the most exciting performance - so they'll be going to the semi-finals.

I was three out of four last week, and three out of four this week - but I did have Steven Retchless on my long shot list.

Silhouettes, Steven Retchless, Daniel Joseph Baker and The Smage Brothers Riding Show join Anna Graceman, the 11 year old singing sensation, Sandou Trio Russian Bar, Snap Boogie and Miami All-Stars in the semi-finals.

Before I let you go, I'd like to give a shout out to AGT_Fan on Twitter for retweeting these posts and exposing more people to this blog. Thanks!!!! 

America has voted and America's Got Talent Results for Hollywood #2 on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 didn't produce any huge surprises. The talent on AGT is rising to the top. More next week.

Photo from NBC/AGT

Related links:
AGT YouTube voting concluded July 9th.
AGT Website
AGT on Twitter
Piers Morgan on Twitter
Howie Mandel on Twitter
Sharon Osbourne on Twitter

Related articles:
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #2 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Hollywood #1 Results - Wednesday, July 13, 2011
America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #1 -Tuesday, July 12, 2011
America's Got Talent - Las Vegas - Wednesday, July 6, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Las Vegas -Tuesday, July 5, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 2011 - AGT Vegas Week Tuesday and Wednesday - July 5 and 6
America's Got Talent 2011 Season 6 - June 29, 2011 - Houston
America's Got Talent Launches Season 6 | AGT Season Guide

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Is LiveGO? And How Do You Make It Stop?

A new way to consolidate email and social networks.
After writing for several hours, I took a peek at my Facebook account. There was a chat message from a woman I don't know who invited me to check out LiveGO. The link looked harmless, so I clicked on it. I'm always willing to check out new things. I started with one question and shortly had another. "What is LiveGO? And how do you make it stop?"

LiveGO is a platform that allows you to view multiple services at one time, much like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, iGoogle and others. You can view and use your email from Gmail, Yahoo Mail and a couple other mail services. You can also add your Facebook and Twitter accounts to the multi-window screen, and do instant messaging.

LiveGO began in 2010 but its history dates back to 2006, when the developers came up with an Instant Messenger platform - according to their website. 

As with any new platform, I started clicking around on all the different buttons to see what happens. Windows open and collapse, email gets turned off, Facebook and Twitter stream simultaneously on the same feed. Then, there was the button "INVITE FRIENDS." OK, I'll click on it. It said that 198 of my friends would be invited to use LiveGO. It didn't tell me where these friends were being selected from - Facebook, Twitter, Gmail? It didn't show me a list of who these 198 people were, but I wanted to see what would happen if I clicked "SEND."

Within seconds, I started getting IM pop-up windows from people saying, "Thanks, I'll check it out." The problem was, the windows kept popping up, cascading across and down my screen. I even got a thank you IM from the woman that invited me to look at this in the first place. That was odd.

But the screens kept coming and coming. About fifteen screens had popped open, I gave up trying to figure out what to do with them. I figured I'd let it go until everyone went to sleep - but it was already 3:45 am and I began to fear the sunrise.

Right off the bat, there were some things I did not like about LiveGO. I use Gmail, so I plugged one of my accounts into LiveGO. There was an email which required me to click on a link to confirm my email address for another program where I had changed my email address. The link, however, was all text. It was not a clickable link. I wasn't about to copy and paste the link into my browser. So, strike one.

Another thing I didn't care for, and there may be a setting to change this, was that my Twitter and Facebook feed were running on the same stream. I'd get a bunch of tweets, followed by a couple Facebook News Feed items, more tweets, another Facebook News Feed, more tweets. To me, I'd rather have the two separated. Strike two.

Then, the screen seemed too cluttered. Even if you collapse the sidebars to get a maximum size screen view, it just seemed like too much. Email on the top, the combined Twitter/Facebook feed on the bottom. Strike three.

When you compare it to other platforms, I don't see where LiveGO fits in.

If I want to keep an eye on my social networks, Hootsuite looks interesting. However, I need more time to play with it. What's nice about Hootsuite is that you can send an update to up to five locations with the FREE version. I can tweet on my two Twitter accounts, update Facebook and my Facebook Fan Page, Plus, LinkedIN. I can update each individually or all at once. One thing I really didn't like about Hootsuite, was in the Twitter mode, it did not auto-fill my @replies. I may have missed a setting, but being able to quickly add @replies is important to me.

For promoting my blog and programming tweets with links in them, Tweetdeck is by far the easiest, fastest way to get that job done. I never bother with the Facebook feed or Google Buzz or any of the other social nets you can program into it. Tweetdeck also takes all of the people I follow on Twitter from both of my accounts and I can easily type in a few letters and select the @replies I want within seconds.

You can program tweets and status updates with Hootsuite, but it takes an extra couple steps to add the link, have it shortened and then continue with your tweet. Time for scheduled tweets or updates is programmed with drop-down menus vs. being able to just type in the time as you can with Tweetdeck. To add links to Tweetdeck, you just paste the URL into the update window and it is automatically shortened. Quick and easy.

Tweetdeck does something that I can't do with any other tool. Otherwise, I have everything I need by using my browser. I run tabs. And I do them in the same order every time. As a blogger, I need certain tools. I have iGoogle on tab one. On my iGoogle home page, I have a Twitter gadget that is fabulous, a Facebook Gadget, Gmail, Google Calendar, CNN, Google Hot Searches, weather and a clock. On my second tab, Facebook; then Twitter; two tabs for my blogs; a tab for is.gd to shorten URL's; TwitPic, and a blank tab to do Google searches for research or pictures.

If I don't feel like I need to jump in or out of Facebook or Twitter, I can use the gadgets in iGoogle.  I love them for quick updates.

I'm completely satisfied clicking the different tabs and having the full functionality of a program, instead of a truncated version that leaves me wanting features that these new consolidated platforms don't offer.

LiveGO looks interesting. It has a nice visual appeal. But it struck out in my book. So, I answered one of my two questions and need to find an answer to the second one before daybreak, "What is LiveGO? And how to I make it stop?" 


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America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #2 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did Justin Bieber, I mean, Dani Shay make it on AGT?
After the opening theme and credits concluded, Nick Cannon reminded everyone what is at stake, "Twelve acts will perform, but only four will make it to the semifinals and a chance at $1 Million and a headlining show in Las Vegas." There is no more room for error. No second chances on America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #2 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011.

Through the two-hour AGT show, there were some WOWS, but more WHOOPS. However, I see three acts that should easily go through to the semi-finals, but I'll need your input on the group that I'm not sure about. Last week, I picked three out of the four semi-finalists. This week, I feel confident with three of my picks, but you tell me who should be the fourth.

Following are recaps of all of the America's Got Talent performances and the judge's reactions:
  1. Attack Dance Crew - 8 guys dancing - Tallahassee, FL - Dressed in black jogging outfits with neon green accents, these guys tumbled and jumped all around the stage. There was more acrobatics than dancing. Piers and Sharon felt the choreography needed to be better. Howie remained confused, "You're like cheerleaders. I don't get it." Vote: 1-866-602-4801
  2. Dani Shay - Singer/Musician - Orlando, FL - She began playing guitar, seated on a couch in a set that looked like a living room. I'm not familiar with the song she selected, and I'm sure a lot of people aren't sure either. Her performance was very solid. Sharon, "Amazing" Howie, "You need to pick more popular songs. This is a popularity contest." Piers, "Good performance, but it wasn't perfect." I'm still amazed she hasn't given up the Justin Bieber haircut. In entertainment, you're supposed to be unique. She looks like Justin Bieber's older twin sister. Biologically, I don't know how that works out, but she need a new doo. Vote: 1-866-602-4802
  3. Geechy Guy - Standup Comic - Rochester, MI - Geechy has been on the standup circuit a long time. I remember him from when I was doing standup in the 1990's. His style is rapid fire one-liners. No one seemed impressed with his performance, however. Howie gave him a mild good-bye by saying, "You're a very good comic and you deserve to earn a living." Piers tore into him, "Your act is like being smashed over the head with a hammer every five seconds." Sharon softened the blows in her usual way, "I get the silliness of your act." As much as I like him, I think it's bye-bye Guy. Vote: 1-866-602-4803
  4. Daniel Joseph Baker - Singer/Musician - Katy, TX - Danial puts the flame in flamboyant. And he's fierce. Very fierce. And fluffy. However, when the spotlight turns on, he's like an animal. Starting at a zebra striped piano, he wailed away, then grabbed the mic and took center stage, completely commanding the stage and the crowd. This was by far his best performance of the season. What is amazing is that he's never performed on stage before. His experience is a bit of church choir singing and school stuff. Piers complimented him, "I like you as a performer." Sharon, "You're a very special person because you're a star." Howie, commenting about Daniel's fierceness, "You're like the next Lady GuyGuy. You are a star." He is. However, his "Snap" could turn some viewers off and set him back. If he tones down the flames, he should make it to the finals. Vote: 1-866-602-4804
  5. The Rhinestone Ropers - Cowboy Trick Acts - Jerome, ID - This duo gave us lots of excitement in their first two performances - guns, knives, WOW. On Tuesday, however, they brought out a horse and it was really slow and rather lame. And the horse crapped on the stage. Sharon, "It reminded me of entertaining kids at a birthday party." Howie, "It wasn't exciting." Piers, "A complete train wreck." Vote: 1-866-602-4805
  6. Dylan Andre - Singer/Musician - Taylorville (?), PA - His mother is a singer and was offered a contract years ago, but her father wouldn't let her sign it. So, Dylan is carrying on his mother's dream. He's only been singing for a year - and it shows. He just doesn't have the confidence or the command of the stage. He'll get more votes for his looks than his talent, at this stage in his career. Howie, "It was good, but not the performance you needed." Piers, "Would I buy an album of yours or pay for a concert ticket? I wouldn't." Sharon, "You need more confidence." Vote: 1-866-602-4806
  7. Landon Swank - Magician - Wasilla, AK - He performed an amazing trick - basically coming through a double-sided mirror. But it took a long time to set-up and was a bit dull. Landon has some very tough competitors in the magic category on America's Got Talent. So, he really needed a WOW performance. Piers was positive, while Howie and Sharon were lukewarm. Piers, "I don't know how you do it and that's the mark of a good magician." Sharon, "I'm confused." Howie, "Presentation wasn't as slick as what you've done before." Vote: 1-866-602-4807
  8. Smage Brothers Riding Show - Motorcycle Daredevils - Elkhorn (?), WI - Last year, there was a guy who did a lot of the same tricks, but on a bicycle. It has to be a hundred times harder to make pinpoint moves with a motorcycle - and that is what they did. Jumping, hopping from one aerial platform to another, riding down stairs, hopping within inches of their friend's face. One of the Smage Brothers actually caught the bill of their friend's cap with his cycle tire. Talk about trust, danger or sheer lunacy. Sharon, "Just fantastic." Howie, "A great act." Piers, "You just woke us all up." I was really impressed with these guys this week. However, can they be a headlining act? Vote: 1-866-602-4808
  9. Thomas John - Juggler - San Francisco, CA - The first rule of juggling is, "Don't drop shit." And Thomas did, several times. I saw it, you saw it and so did the judges. Piers and Sharon buzzed him halfway through his act. In the end, Howie, "You had a little trouble, but you're talented and funny." Piers, "It was terrible." Sharon, "You were taking too long and your timing was off." Not to mention those fallen pins. Vote: 1-866-602-4809
  10. Steven Retchless - Pole Dancer - New York, NY - Working with two poles, he performed his extremely acrobatic moves. But Piers wasn't impressed and buzzed him in the middle of his act. When Steven was finished, Piers stated, "There is a reason there are no male pole dancing clubs in America." Sharon, "It was spectacular." Howie, 'Last year we had Prince Poppycock. You could be Prince Poleycock." OK, Howie. Vote: 1-866-602-4810
  11. Mona Lisa - Twin Singing Sisters - Houston, TX - Tonight, the gorgeous twins did not play piano as they have in previous auditions and went solely on the strength of their voices. The harmonies were great, but did they really showcase their range? Sharon, "You've got everything going for you." Howie, "You're up against some really powerful acts." Piers, "A little bit lacking in the Wow-factor." Vote: 1-866-602-4811
  12. Silhouettes - 42 member performance art/dancers - The youngest member of the group is 3 years-old. They go up in age from there. This is an amazingly unique, creative and visually interesting act - different than anything you've ever seen on America's Got Talent. Their performance was a tribute to America. If you missed it, you have to go to the NBC/AGT website and watch it when it is available, sometime on Wednesday afternoon. Performing to God Bless America, the boys and girls who perform behind a curtain and in front of a spotlight, created shapes and shadows on the curtain that completely blew my mind. When they were finished, they got a standing ovation from all of the judges and the audience. Piers, "That was complete genius. I absolutely loved it." Sharon, "Just brilliant." Howie, "It was original, unique, and WOW. You are worthy of your own show." Unless something insane happens, they will be in the finals. Vote: 1-866-602-4812
Now for my picks. These are in order - best first.

  • Silouhettes - So unique and creative. And they have unlimited room to grow. Only imagination can hold them back. I expect to see them in the finals. 
  • Daniel Joseph Baker - He is a born performer. He just needs to tone down his Lady GaGa flamboyance and he should do fine. I expect him to make it to the finals. 
  • Smage Brothers Riding Show - Initially, I felt these guys were more an element of a show. However, they were exciting, dangerous and dynamic. I'm still not sure if an audience can sit through an hour of screaming motorcycles. However, their Tuesday night performance had the WOW-factor. 
On the cusp:
  • Dani Shay - Talented, but I have a real problem with her look. And she's trying to be too independent with her song choices. She needs to stay a bit more mainstream to win this, then she can go off in her message-filled world. 
  • Landon Swank - His previous auditions were amazing. Tuesday, he performed a really cool trick, but it seemed slow and there were loose ends. Why did he have Nick Cannon sign both sides of the mirrors? I understand why he signed the front, but why the back? I'm confused. 
  • Mona Lisa - They have the look, the voices, but were they strong enough? Like the judges have said many times in the past, "Your song choices tell us a lot about the decision making you would exercise as a professional. Did they pick the right song? 
Long shot:
  • Steven Retchless  - He is an amazing athlete. It takes great skill to do what he does. But it seems that there are about a dozen moves he does on the pole and then the show repeats itself. Plus, I don't know if Joe Boxer Shorts of middle America is ready to vote for a guy swingin' on a pole. That ain't right. 
If you agree or disagree, feel free to leave comments below. It's getting interesting and I'm ready to defend my choices. I was right on three out of four last week. I'm confident I'm at least three out of four this week. Let me know what you think.

No second chances on America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #2 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011.

Related links:
AGT YouTube voting concluded July 9th.
AGT Website
AGT on Twitter
Piers Morgan on Twitter
Howie Mandel on Twitter
Sharon Osbourne on Twitter

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Donated My Brain To Science And Now I Want It Back

Not having a brain sure does make life interesting.
Last Thursday, I thought I would do something that would benefit mankind. At the time, it seemed like a good thing to do. But it has turned out to be a huge mistake. I donated my brain to science and now I want it back

The brain-ectomy, which was done in the parking lot of the Natural Science Museum, went smoothly. My brain was removed by two scientists and a janitor using a can opener, grill tongs, duct tape and jumper cables. I think the jumper cables were just for their amusement because they were connected to my nipples and the battery of a Chevy pickup.

Once I was all taped up, I headed home. Immediately I noticed changes, not having a brain. First, I got all nervous that I had forgot to Tivo Jerry Springer, so I programmed in a week's worth of recordings.

Then, I went through the paper looking to invest in a mobile home. Why live in a house when you can own your own mobile home?

I also had a sudden urge to go to bars and sleep with ugly women, in hopes of impregnating them. Without a brain, I'd be a horrible father, so I could just ditch the women and never pay child support.

After having no luck at the bar at 3 in the afternoon, I went to Blockbuster to rent Dumb and Dumber and the complete Jackass series.

When I got home, I put some microwave popcorn in the oven and set it at 350º for 40 minutes.

While I was waiting for the popcorn, I went on YouTube to watch all the Fred videos I could. He's funny.

After I smelled the popcorn burning, I rushed to the kitchen to put out the fire. Oh well. But I was still hungry. So, I tried to suck yogurt out of a Yoplait container and only succeeded in getting a glob to lodge in my throat. Thank God I had that hammer to whack myself in the back with, otherwise, I would have choked to death.

I can't figure out why it hurts so much to sit back in my chair. 

Still hungry, I headed to the grocery store and picked up five cans of chili. You should see the sparks that come off of those cans when you microwave them.

To simplify my life, I tore up my library card. What could I possibly want there?

After all of my food failures, I went to Wal-Mart, looking for solutions. Besides picking up an entire camo-outfit and a super-soaker water cannon, I realized I could live on frozen food from Wal-Mart for the rest of my life. And I know that all of those items are microwavable.

When I got home with my new camo-outfit and super-soaker cannon, I got dressed, filled the cannon with water and went to see if I could sneak up on the hornet's nest in my backyard. You should have seen those suckers come tearing out of that nest when I blasted them. However, the camo outfit didn't keep me concealed and I got 32 bee stings before I jumped in a stagnant muddy puddle in my neighbors backyard.

Feeling a big swollen, I decided to fix one of the frozen dinners from Wal-Mart. Salisbury steak looked good. I put it in the microwave and set the timer for 18 minutes, then went to watch some Springer on my Tivo.

After about 10 minutes, I smelled something funny, but I thought it was from the stench of the camo outfit.

Finally, I heard the beep, beep, beep of the microwave and was ready to dig in. Maybe I should have read the directions. Everything on the tray was black and solid. It didn't work out too bad, I've been able to play hockey in my driveway with the Salisbury steaks.

I spent the rest of the day waiting for a call back on the mobile home and watching Springer.

That's when I realized I should Tivo America's Funniest Videos. You can't get enough of guys getting whacked in the nuts and cats falling off of counters.

After three days, I really started to miss my brain. I used to look up interesting things on Google and learn about what was going on in the world. I'd watch PBS and be exposed to new ideas and the plight of people all over the world. But without a brain, none of that seemed important.

When the cooking all backfired, I started living on dollar menu items at the fast food places. They can't be that bad for you. I know I'm getting enough to eat because I had to let my belt out after just a couple days.

As wonderful as this brainless life seems on the surface, I really miss my brain. I want to have intelligent conversations instead of making weird noises with my finger on my lips every time I meet someone. They think I'm nuts. I'm not crazy. I'm just brainless.

This whole experiment has gone haywire. And it's all my fault. I donated my brain to science, and now I want it back.

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