What Christina says

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College system in America: good system or insider club? April 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina Lynn Hildebrand @ 11:28 PM
Tags: , ,

An article was put out by WSJ.com about college rejection letters. Many of the most successful and famous have never been to college or didn’t get into places like Harvard or Yale. Yet year after year, many college students are told that they are not accepted to Harvard or Yale or any type of institution of higher learning.

This is mostly due to the legacy system – where students whose parents attended the college get top priority admissions.

This makes a person wonder: what if the college system in America really is like an insiders club? What I mean by this is that you must know someone that goes there or be related to them in order to go to that college, therefore succeed?

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20 greatest albums everyone should at least listen to or own at one time (myself included) March 19, 2010

Filed under: entertainment,Michael Jackson,music,rock 101: who's who and what's what from mostly the past,Uncategorized — Christina Lynn Hildebrand @ 3:18 AM
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These are in no order whatsoever, but are just numbered. Sorry.

  1. Out of the Blue (1987) – Debbie Gibson. To many fans of the 1980’s, this is a pop gem. Also it must be noted that Gibson was the youngest person to ever help produce a record (the single Foolish Beat) at the tender age of 16.
  2. Victory (1984) – The Jacksons.
  3. Lead Me On (1988) – Amy Grant. This is perhaps the best Contemporary Christian album ever made. It has a timeless mix in both sound and lyric.
  4. Thriller (1984) – Michael Jackson. Probably one of the best R&B/pop/rock albums ever. With such gems as Human Nature, Thriller, Beat It and Wanna Be Starting Somethin’ one cannot go wrong with this classic.
  5. Kilroy Was Here (1983) – Styx. One of the great rock operas of all time. Rarely does a good album tell a moral story, and Styx knocks it out of the ballpark with the ever-popular Mr. Roboto.
  6. Dreamboat Annie (1976) – Heart. One of the most underrated albums and groups of all time. Ann Wilson is one of the greatest rock vocalist of all time. Better yet, she still sounds good even now, despite her age. Nancy is also a talented guitarist. Nancy shows off her chops on the songs Magic Man, Crazy on You, and White Lightning and Wine.
  7. God (1996) Rebecca St. James – Good things come out of Australia and Rebecca St. James is no exception. This album is better than her previous teen-pop album and has a style reminiscent of the grunge scene albeit with a twist: its Christian music. One noteworthy cover St. James does is a reworking of You’re The Voice, a song previously made popular by Heart. Other great songs to check out are God, Abba (Father), and Go and Sin No More.
  8. Boy (1980) – U2. Arguably this band is the greatest Christian rock band. However, this them before they became Christians I believe but either way, they sound great. This is one that I want to add to my collection.
  9. October (1981) – U2. Once again, U2 proves that they are one of the greatest rock bands, or even Christian rock bands, ever to chart. Only Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. can pull off such songs as Gloria, Rejoice and the hauntingly beautiful title track.
  10. Tragic Kingdom (1996) – No Doubt. This is a great introduction to ska-punk. However, the pièce de résistance is none other than Gwen Stefani’s voice. Best songs to look out for are Spiderwebs, Hey You, Sixteen, Don’t Speak, Excuse Me Mister, and Tragic Kingdom.
  11. Rhythm Nation 1812 (1989) – Janet Jackson. Smoothly produced R&B with a kick and a socially aware message.
  12. Out of the Grey (1992) – Out of the Grey. The Contemporary Christian duo has an incomparable alternative sound which is only highlighted by Christine Dente’s Debbie Harry-style voice and the excellent guitar playing of husband Scott Dente. This album is nothing short of a classic with songs like Remember This, The Dance, The Only Moment, and the duo’s swan song Wishes. Also, the songwriting on this album is not cheesy, unlike some Christian music of the time.
  13. Top Gun Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1986) – Various Artists. This is probably one of the greatest action movie soundtracks of all time. It is one action-packed soundtrack filled with such songs as Danger Zone and Playing With the Boys by Kenny Loggins – who shows he has some rock chops. Other great tracks include Mighty Wings by Cheap Trick, Lead Me On by Teena Marie, Hot Summer Nights by Miami Sound Machine and finally, the eponymous Top Gun Anthem.
  14. Raising Sand (2008) – Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. Bluegrass meets hard rock. However, don’t be fooled because this album is more roots-rock with songs such as Gone Gone Gone (Done Me Wrong) and Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson.
  15. Learning to Crawl (1983-1984) – The Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde is one of the greatest female frontwomen in rock music. Here she proves that she is also an accomplished guitar player and harmonicist with a song like Middle of the Road. However, this album only gets better with such songs like Back On the Chain Gang – which spawned a new meaning for the band after James Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.  Every song on the album is one of greatness; including Time the Avenger, My City Was Gone, and Thumbelina.
  16. Here For the Party (2004) – Gretchen Wilson. In 2004, there was this little-known group in Nashville, TN called the Muzik Mafia. However, among them were such members as John Rich, Big Kenny, and Gretchen Wilson. Wilson burst onto the country music scene in 2004 with Redneck Woman, which went straight up to the top of the country charts. The whole album essentially revitalized the southern rock genre with songs like the title track, Homewrecker, and Redneck Woman.
  17. Surfer Girl (1963) – The Beach Boys. Probably one of the greatest surf-rock bands that served to usher in the greatness of the music of California. With songs like In My Room, Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coup, you cannot go wrong.
  18. If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears (1966) –  The Mamas and the Papas. The lush harmonies of “Mama” Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Denny Doherty, and Michelle Phillips are introduced to the world with such songs as Monday Monday and California Dreamin’.
  19. Synchronicity (1983) – The Police. This album is probably the quintessential Police album with songs like Spirits in the Material World, King of Pain, Synchronicity II, and the ever-popular Every Breath You Take.
  20. Are You Experienced (1967) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This album is the equivalent of standing on your head musically. It is great with such songs as the title track and All Along the Watchtower.
 

Some thoughts and memories of Michael Jackson February 20, 2010

Nearly eight months ago the world lost one of its greatest entertainers, Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was the bestselling artist of all time. He died in June 2009.

For me, personally, many things come to mind when I think of Michael Jackson. First of all, a flood of memories come back. I believe the first time I ever  listened to him was when I was a freshman in highschool in 2001. I went to a private religious (lutheran) and the Invincible album came out, along with that television special that he did with his brothers, the Jackson 5 as well as Usher and Chris Tucker. I never watched it until his death when it re-aired on either BET or TVONE.

Also, that year we would have chapel and there was this chemistry teacher who would frequently give the chapel lesson. He would use the moniker of this fake movie called “Cash Money.” “Cash Money” would act like a mafioso – you didn’t pay him back, you would face consequences. Usually when cash money was about to give someone a beat-down, Beat It would be the ambient music.

That year, I got a Squire by Fender black jazz bass guitar for Christmas. One day I found Beat It while looking for bass tabs on the internet, so I printed it and tried it because it looked so easy. I also downloaded the song so I could play along. I think I got okay with the song, but not nearly as good as the bassist on that recording.

Later on, all those allegations about him being inappropriate with a child came out. Call it looking back in remorse or whatever, but it was wrong of me both as a devout Christian and US citizen to prejudge him and continually say that he was guilty when he was not. I looked at the evidence and the evidence does not render a verdict of “guilty.” It is wrong to prejudge ANYONE.

Then he died.

The weird thing is that day, and the days before he died, I remember those days rather clearly.

I was in summer school at the time, and I remember talking to one of my best friends, Briana, at her birthday party. We were at the symphony and were talking about the next big article that I wanted to do. She, being the good friend that she is, told me that I would get another mega-article.

Little did I know that a week later, that mega article would come in the form of the death of the King of Pop unfortunately.

That day is a day that I will never forget. Like I said, I was in summer school when the whole thing happened. That day I was having an interesting day because I was facing a deadline for another article. I got on the internet before class and heard the news about Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett passing away, but there was nothing about Michael Jackson. After that, I got on my facebook page (I used to have one, but no longer do) and saw my friend’s status that read “OMG Michael Jackson died” and then saw a conflicting status that said he was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but that nothing serious had happened. I believed the latter.

By the time I had arrived at a vocal lesson, my voice teacher had the tv on and was apparently watching the news. As usual we traded niceties and she told me about Jackson’s death.  I was rather shocked and it put a damper on the lesson as a whole.

When I got home, it was ALL OVER the news – there were at least 2 Barbara Walters specials about his death and Farrah’s death. Out of curiousity, I did want to watch them but was unable to due to the fact that I had a spanish test the next day.

The next morning, my friend Jenny called me because she was helping me with the previous article that I was working on. I had it on the local R&B station and they were talking about and playing his music and they were playing either Thriller or Smooth Criminal. I lamented to Jenny about what I had heard about Michael Jackson, how it was a major loss to ALL the music world – not just pop/rock (Jenny likes lots of classical music as well as country and maybe some rock, but mostly her world is classical). I even told her a few memories in regards to the artist in which she responded with her trademark phrase “good times, good times!”

Suprisingly enough, it was not really addressed at school in class. But I knew I was going to write something about Jackson’s death, so I decided to try to write something on facebook, but failed. So instead I decided (and got permission) to write a tribute article concerning Michael Jackson.

So with the editor’s blessing, I conjured up a tribute/career highlights article and, literally, stayed glued to the television the whole weekend. All the news networks, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, as well as all the music channels Mtv, Mtv2, MtvTres, VH1, VH1 Classic, and Fuse had constant videos and/or news concerning his death. Also, someone on youtube posted Captain EO in its entirety. So I watched it.

Then Sunday came and I went to church.  You would think that people would be talking about it after church – mainly those that grew up listening to Jackson’s music. Some did but the conversation was initiated by me, especially when I talked to my friend J., who apparently listened to him as a child. J, being a few years older than I, recalled that she listened to him as a child and that his music brought back childhood memories.

The next few days were rather rushed. I had to publish the article on time – the one about Michael Jackson, and also had another article about UH Concert Chorale going to Wales. Both the Michael Jackson tribute article and the Concert Chorale Wales article were in the same issue of the Daily Cougar!

The memorial service was another entity in itself that week and I ended up covering a celebration of his life at UH. It was a great and memorable celebration.

 

actual dumb questions on yahoo answers. February 18, 2010

Some people are just plain stupid.

Anyways, I found some dumb questions on yahoo answers. It makes me wonder what were people thinking when they asked this? Were their brains made out of plastic? So I have come up with a list of these dumb questions – complete with both an honest answer by me and by one of the users.

Okay who’s the sexsiest: Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez or Barney?

Actual Response: Barney.

Why Barney? He scares me. Dinosaurs eat people you know.

So if you never want children, should you never have sex……ever?

Actual Response: Don’t judge.

Have you never heard of contraception. Apparently you have. But there is this thing called the 14-day rule or something like that: don’t have sex on the 14th day after your period.

Why do cats come and visit my 2 spayed female cats?

Because your cats are either whores or other cats want sex without consequences.

Who’s better: Axl rose or Brett Michaels?

This is a rare one that I agree with. Guns & Roses is awesome and Poison is for idiots.

 

Post 9/11 entertainment: what changed and why – part 2 February 1, 2010

Part 2: Music

One thing that was, at times drastically altered in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks was music. This, however, was due in part not only because of the actual attacks but also in part by the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

At the onslaught of the September 11th attacks, all forms of media were forced to re-edit and re-evaluate their releases. The music industry was no exception.  The US Constitution says:

“Congress shall make no law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

While, yes, the USA does not have a real form of censorship in the government sector, the country does in the private sector. Take for example Bill Maher, whose comments on US foreign policy and the War on Terror on his show Politically Incorrect quickly ended the show. Sponsors of the show pulled their ads.

Music genres changed drastically in the aftermath of 9/11. Especially country music. In the aftermath of the tragedy, country radio and popular country acts such as Toby Keith and Alan Jackson released more patriotic songs such as Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American) and Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) respectively.

In addition to the patriotic-ness of country radio, other artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Whitney Houston, Faith Hill, and Lee Greenwood also saw some of their more patriotic songs chart.

Country radio was not without its own controversial songs and people during this time. In March 2003, near the impending invasion, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, said to a London audience that “they were ashamed that the President was from Texas.” This comment, though Maines would later retract what she said and then take back her apology in the form of the 2006 release Not Ready To Make Nice, caused country stations nation-wide to ban the Dixie Chicks as well as even bulldoze their music.

Rock music, on the other hand, was more affected with censorship. Bands such as The Cranberries, The Dave Matthews Band, The Strokes, and Sheryl Crow had to alter songs or music videos. The Dave Matthews Band planned to release their new single “When The World Ends,” but scrapped that idea shortly after the attacks. The song in question for Sheryl Crow was the upcoming single Steve McQueen, which talks about the lack of heroes in the world, had her worried after the attacks that the song would not fit in with the public taste.

Mtv also turned into a solemn state. On the day of the attacks, Mtv and VH1 halted all programming on their networks and ran footage of CBS news. On September 14, 2001, Mtv’s Total Request Live with host Carson Daily returned, but the mood of the show was devoid of the usual shout-outs and applause. Instead the mood was best summed up by the shell-shocked look on the faces of the audience, which was mostly teenagers.

“Somebody said it was like MTV Nice,” recounted  Judy McGrath to Blender magazine, president of the MTV Group. “We quickly added a lot of videos, like Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and the U2 catalog, that seemed soulful and personal.”

One of the major events that happened in music was the alleged ban on 156 records done by Clear Channel stations nationwide. Some of the songs such as Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 and any Rage Against the Machine songs were more questionable in their lyrical content; while others such as Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar and New York New York by Frank Sinatra were banned due to metaphorical language in their lyrics. However, Clear Channel denied that it was a ban but rather a call to radio programmers to be careful in their playlists. The BBC also did likewise, although more overtly with their banning of such songs as Fly Away From Here by Aerosmith and Pilots by Goldfrapp on their BBC2 station. BBC also kept clear of playing upbeat songs in light of the attacks as well as tried to stay in touch with what the listeners were feeling.

In a style reminiscent of both Live Aid,  the music world pulled together with 3 major benefit concerts: America: a Tribute to Heroes, United We Stand – What More Can I Give, and the Concert for New York City. The major artists that were included in these concerts were Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, ‘NSYNC, Michael Jackson- who debuted his new We Are the World -style anthem entitled What More Can I Give,  Usher, Pink, Backstreet Boys, P. Diddy, Destiny’s Child, Goo Goo Dolls, Mariah Carey, and numerous others. The Concert for New York City raised, initially, over $30 million to help victims affected by the attacks.  Touring for many artists, on the other hand, became quite mute: some artists like Destiny’s Child and Aerosmith, postponed or cancelled concerts. Other artists, such as the Beastie Boys and Madonna, went ahead with their tour stops – albeit with a more focus on the tragedy that happened. Madonna went as scheduled with her Thursday performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as well as the Beastie Boys performance in Toronto.

Overall, the attacks for a brief moment in history, rallied music into either “give” mode or “critical” mode.

Sources:

 

20 greatest moments from “The office” January 11, 2010

  1. Dwight Schrute as “Hannibal Lecter” –  This was disturbingly funny!
  2. The Dundies – The whole episode! 
  3. The Dinner Party – Once and for all we are shown that Jan is nothing short of a psycho.
  4. Dwight Schrute’s Speech when he accepts an award – He sounds like a dictator. I would fear him as president!
  5. Michael Scott and Oscar Martinez kiss – Oscar did not want that kiss.
  6. Michael sings “Goodbye Toby”…………complete with a band!
  7. Meredith takes ‘casual day’ literally and too far: she wears no panties. No video available.
  8. Dwight Schrute prepares Michael for “childbirth.” No video available.
  9. Andy gives Erin the 12 days of christmas and they wreak havoc on Erin and each other. 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves, you get the idea of what could happen. (No video available)
  10. Jan Levinson-Gould goes to a sperm bank to be imp regnated. Michael offers to be the baby’s daddy but calls her “ass-turd” instead of her proper name Astrid. No video available.
  11. The Kiss between Pam and Jim. No video available.
  12. Phyllis gets flashed. No video available.
  13. Jim gets a wooden mallard (a recording device) from Dwight Schrute. No video available.
  14. Dwight loses his desk.
  15. Pavlov’s dog and Dwight schrute. See above video.
  16. Dwight Schrute’s rules for life.
  17. Anytime Michael Scott says “that’s what she said.”
  18. Phyllis catches Dwight and Angela having sex on Oscar’s desk. No video available
  19. Stanley yells at Michael.
  20. Creed Bratton. Need I say more?
 

Houston Rodeo 2010 lineup? Eh?

According to the ktbx.com website, the 2010 Houston Livestock show and rodeo. The lineup is as follows:

Alan Jackson will kick the rodeo off on tuesday, March 2 at the Reliant Stadium.

The other acts include:

Wednesday, March 3-Dierks Bentley
Thursday, March 4 -Kenny Chesney
Friday, March 5 – Mary J. Blige
Saturday, March 6-Aldean
Sunday, March 7-Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato
Monday, March 8-Tim McGraw
Tuesday, March 9-Darius Rucker
Wednesday, March 10-Rascal Flatts
Thursday, March 1-Brad Paisley
Friday, March 12-Toby Keith
Saturday, March 13-Blake Shelton
Sunday, March 14-Pesado, El Trono De Mexico
Monday, March 15 -Lady Antebellum
Tuesday, March 16-Keith Urban
Wednesday, March 17-Gary Allan
Thursday, March 18-Black Eyed Peas
Friday, March 19-Eli Young Band
Saturday, March 20-Brooks & Dunn — The Last Rodeo Tour
Sunday, March 21-Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber

Ticket sales begin on Saturday, January 16 at 10 a.m., at all Ticketmaster locations, http://www.rodeohouston.com and 1.800.726.1313. Tickets cover admission costs to Reliant Stadium, Reliant Arena, Reliant Center and the carnival with kids under two years of age admitted free.

Okay, is it just me or does this lineup suck?! I think it does. Here’s who I would want in the lineup this year in lieu of some acts like The Black Eyed Peas, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Eli Young Band, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith. Instead, why not acts like  Jeff Foxworthy and Jerry Seinfeld for a double-header comedy night, Trisha Yearwood, Gretchen Wilson (she released a new album recently, so why not let her promote it here in Houston?), Lee Ann Womack, and Casting Crowns (for a special ksbj night).