Honoring Our Every Day Heroes: First Responders

Firefighter Combat Challenge, Greg Valentine, ESPN

Firefighter Combat Challenge, Kissimmee, FL (Photo from ESPN)

I wrote some thoughts after 9/11. I didn’t know how I’d feel about them a year later — never mind ten years later.

I wrote, I think, for the reason a lot of people did: to express my emotions. And attempt to do that in a way that might “uplift.”

I chose to express my feelings by recalling a recent experience with a group of firefighters. As that horrible day unfolded, firefighters led the charge into the burning towers to contain the flames and rescue people.

But my words from ten years ago apply to all first responders, who were there step-for-step with firefighters. If it wasn’t clear before, we saw what’s at stake for these brave men and women on a daily basis.

Please read my post at GregValentine.com, “My Weekend With Some Every Day Heroes.”

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Before Lauren Alaina: Hear All Three Versions Of ‘Like My Mother Does’

Kristy Lee Cook, Jesse Lee, Lauren Alaina, Like My Mother Does

Kristy Lee Cook (left), Jesse Lee (center) and Lauren Alaina (right)

Third time’s a charm for the song “Like My Mother Does.”

For anyone who watched Season 10 of American Idol, the loving tribute to “mom” seems tailor-made for runner-up Lauren Alaina.

But “Like My Mother Does” has a history. Lauren’s not even the first Idol singer to record it! That would be Season 7’s Kristy Lee Cook, who sang it on her 2008 post-Idol album Why Wait. Country singer Jesse Lee released her version last year (2010).

Listen to all three versions and read the rest of this post HERE!

Greg Valentine
Check me out on Twitter
Read me on KMPS.com

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Top Five Rappers With Dog Names

Top Five Rappers With Dog Names, Sniff Seattle Dog Walkers, Greg Valentine

Rappers have gone "canine" naming themselves (Photo by istolethetv/Flickr)

Here’s one I wrote recently for SniffSeattle.com:

Rappers have tough task when they’re starting out. Find the best “rapper name!” Many have gone “canine.”

Before counting down the “Top Five Rappers With Dog Names,” let me tell you who didn’t make the list.

Tim Dog, Phunk Dawg, Milkbone and McGruff. I appreciate the effort. But this list is reserved for performers that the masses have, um, heard of. The only McGruff I know is the Crimedog.

MC Breed fell short, mainly because I wasn’t sure if “breed” was being used as a noun or a verb.

Finally, there’s Randy Jackson. And while he’s not a rapper, and his name is “Randy” not “Rover,” his frequent use of the word “dawg” on American Idol is worthy of an honorable mention.

#5 – Bow Wow
He started at age 13 as “Lil’ Bow Wow.” He probably dropped the “Lil'” when he remembered he’d resented being called “little” since he was eight like the rest of us!

#4 – Nate Dogg
Recently passed away, Nate Dogg was an early protégé of Snoop Dogg’s. Nate was a rapper who could actually sing, as evidenced by his assist on this Warren G track.

#3 – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
The word “bone” gets ’em on this list?! Yep. The options were getting a little thin. But now that they’re on, gotta rank ’em pretty high!

#2 – Pitbull
When any of today’s recording stars leave the studio, by the time they get to the car, Pitbull’s pretty much rapped on the remix on the track they just finished!

#1 – Snoop Dogg
“Snoop Doggy Dogg” is simply the king of all canine rappers. From his days as a pup, nobody’s brought more dog puns to music: Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Doggumentary.

Greg Valentine
Check me out on Twitter
Read me on KMPS.com

sniffseattle@gmail.com
http://www.sniffseattle.com

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What’s Wrong With ‘American Idol’? Maybe Its Viewers

Casey Abrams, American Idol, Smells Like Teen Spirit

Casey Abrams avoided an early exit when Idol judges saved him.

Ryan Seacrest hinted during the American Idol results show last night that there was a shocker on the way. And he was right. Haley Reinhart didn’t get sent home — wasn’t even in the Bottom Three. Shocking!

Who almost got sent home was Casey Abrams, the scruffy-breaded, sometimes wild-eyed growler. I’m not saying Casey could win, or should win. But an exit this early? Hardly just.

And the judges agreed, using their lone “save” to keep Casey in the competition.

Some of the water cooler talk surrounding Idol the last few seasons has been this basic question: “What’s wrong with American Idol?” I say, maybe it’s the people watching the show.

American Idol has developed a huge credibility problem over the last five seasons. An Idol winner hasn’t become a bonafide superstar since Carrie Underwood (Season 4). My theory goes like this. As the show got higher and higher ratings, voting by viewers became less instinctive at picking the next music superstar.

Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Season 5

Taylor Hicks

In other words, right about the time your grandma starting watching the show, we started getting winners like Taylor Hicks instead of Chris Daughtry. Oh, and I’m not blaming your grandma. ‘Cuz she’s awesome!

I’m blaming viewers? I’m a really saying this? Yep.

Have voters become extremely predictable, especially favoring guys over girls? I wrote about that last season Read it here — how around Top 12 Week we often see all-girl Bottom Threes. And right on schedule,  it happened again this year. Guys tend to find “supporters” quicker. And it’s clear that favoritism continues through the season.

Four out of the last five winners have been guys (Taylor Hicks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze). Interestingly, the lone female Idol winner of the last five years, Jordin Sparks, has sold the most albums of those five winners.

So there ya go. It’s the voting. It’s clear viewers of this show prefer the Kris Allens over the Adam Lamberts. I think that explains why Casey Abrams nearly departed before his time.

Most of all, I miss the days when an Idol winner was someone who could be a superstar. When it come to winners, gimme more Kelly Clarksons. More Carries. Fewer Lee DeWyzes.

Greg Valentine
Check me out on Twitter
Read me on KMPS.com

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Sugarland And Little Big Town Cover ‘Like A Prayer’

Sugarland, Little Big Town, Like A Prayer, Madonna

Sugarland and Little Big Town on the 2011 Incredible Machine Tour

Sugarland is known for “curveball” cover tunes. And they’ve done it again! Madonna‘s “Like A Prayer” gets the country treatment on the current Incredible Machine Tour — with help from tour-mates Little Big Town!

It’s a return to the 80s for Sugarland, who’ve covered The Dream Academy‘s “Life In A Northern Town” and the B-52’s “Love Shack” in past years.

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush launch into this version of “Like A Prayer” by themselves. Around 90 seconds in, the crowd erupts as Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, and Phillip Sweet from Little Big Town join in on the chorus.

Check out the video. It’s fun stuff. “Put your dancing shoes on,” as Jennifer says.

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‘Sniff Seattle’ Dog Walkers Offers Pet Services

Stewie, Santa Paws, Sniff Seattle Dog Walkers

Stewie aka "Santa Paws" (Photo by Jeanna, Sniff Seattle Dog Walkers)

Sniff Seattle is here! We’ve launched a new dog walking, pet sitting and grooming service, specializing in Seattle neighborhoods from downtown to the north.

To our friends in Seattle, thanks for helping us spread the word! If you know someone who’s looking for pet services such as dog walking, pet sitting, boarding, or grooming, let them know about Sniff Seattle.

I’m also inviting all of our friends on Facebook to also friend the Sniff Seattle Facebook page. If you’re on Twitter, come follow us. And check out the Sniff Seattle website I put together.

And if you live in Seattle, and need some loving pet care, give Jeanna a call! The contact info is below.

The back-story on all this? We both love animals. Jeanna has been around and worked with animals all her life, and spent months laying the ground work for Sniff Seattle. I’ve spent the last couple weeks building and maintaining the website. Somehow, that qualifies me for “partner” status in this new business. Hey, I’ll take it!

From SniffSeattle.com:

Sniff Seattle is a dog walking and pet sitting service, serving the Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Fremont, Greenlake, Wallingford, Greenwood, Blue Ridge, Eastlake, Westlake and downtown neighborhoods of Seattle, Washington. We offer complete peace-of-mind when it comes to the care of your pet. Reliable. Trusted. Fully bonded and insured. And above all, lovingly dedicated to the care of your furry family members!

Call Sniff Seattle: (206) 478-5183
Email Sniff Seattle: SniffSeattle@gmail.com

Greg Valentine
My tweets: http://twitter.com/gregvalentine
My KMPS blogs: http://kmps.radio.com/author/kmpsgreg

Jeanna, Sniff Seattle Dog Walkers, Cornbread, Bulldog

Jeanna with Cornbread (Photo by Greg Valentine)

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Idol Thoughts: Blowing Up ‘American Idol’

Steven Tyler, American Idol, Season 10, New Judges

The new opening of American Idol says it all. I’m not sure what exactly. But I suspect it’s profound.

To the beat of the familiar theme song, and the Los Angeles skyline in the background, a bright orange laser beam comes straight down from the sky and seemingly explodes the Idol stage.

It’s clearly a metaphor. They’re “blowing things up” and starting over. New judges. Changes to the age limit. And other twists coming in the weeks ahead.

That’s what I think they’re going for. But the image of the beam also reminds of of the iconic scene from Independence Day where the aliens blow up the White House. Although we humans prevailed later, the White House was never the same.

Will Season 10 of American Idol be a new beginning? Or the beginning of the end. That’s the question that’ll be answered slowly in the months ahead. Ratings are definitely down from last season’s premiere week: Down 18% Wednesday night; Down 24% last night.

That said: I love Steven Tyler! “Shit fire and save matches, fuck the duck and see what hatches!” Did Steven just say that? He sure did. And it’s not just the words, but the way he said it–with all the rock swagger you’d expect. Steven showed up ready to put on a show, singing along with some contestants, banging the table for percussion with others. He’s a joy to watch.

But there’s no getting around it for me. The show feels a little “rootless” without Simon Cowell. Kinda like, what’s the point of all this? WWST. “What Would Simon Think?”

I wasn’t sure if I was gonna blog about the show this season. I’m still not. But here’s one. What did you think of this week’s shows?

Greg Valentine
check me out on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gregvalentine

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