Monday, February 28, 2011

Musicals Monday


The Sound of Music is another wonderful musical.  I was first introduced to it when I was in 8th grade.  Our junior high was doing a production of The Sound of Music, and I was lucky enough to be cast as Maria.

The chemistry between Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer is one of the main reasons this is such a wonderful musical.  Watching them look at each other while they dance, the way Georg looks at Maria while he sings Edelwiss, and the entire scene where they admit they love each other, you forget you're watching a movie and find yourself swept up into the blooming romance!  I get goosebumps every time.

Looking on YouTube, I was hoping to find the scene where they finally admit their true feelings for each other.  I found the song Something Good, which is the song they sing to each other, but I couldn't find the actual movie scene, which bummed me out.

The video I have for you today is about the love story of Maria and Georg.  I just love how he looks at her, it is simply the sweetest thing!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grandma Loves Brandon

A few days ago, my mom did something really awesome for Brandon.  She sent an email and picture to Ernie Haase and Signature Sound telling them all about Brandon and his love for their music.

Below is the email she sent:

I have a grandson who at Christmas time was 3 ¾ old. Brandon (my grandson) had lived with me since he was 11 months old until his mommy and daddy remarried when he was 3.  When asked what he wanted for Christmas the only thing he wanted was “Boundless Love”.  No matter how many times I asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him the same answer came, “Boundless Love”.  So I (Santa) ordered the DVD and CD and thankfully it arrived just in time for Christmas.  He was so excited when he opened the DVD.  He LOVES EH&SS. He has listened to your group for years (thanks to grandma).

I was going to bring him with me to the concert in Stockton in September but they just moved to Utah.  You don’t go to Utah so he probably won’t ever see you in person but he loves your group.  I just wanted to share this with you.  It made me smile.  There is a picture attached.

God Bless all of you for the wonderful messages you share with us.  In 2005 you came into my life at one of the lowest points of my life.  I was going through a very difficult and stressful health issue that year but all is well now.  I accidently turned the TV to a channel that I didn’t want to see and there you were.  The caption said it was a basketball game, cute.  But it was the last 10 minutes of one of your concerts.  I have been in love ever since and your words and music have brought so much comfort into my life and obviously the life of my sweet grandson who I miss so much.  Thanks to all of you.  See you in Stockton in September.

One of your biggest fans!!

Within hours, mom received a response from Ernie's assistant:

Awe Joyce this is so sweet.  What 3 year old would request this dvd?  We would love to send him an autograph picture if you could please send us his address.

How great God works in our lives.  When you thought you were turning to a basketball game, you got EHSS instead during this difficult time in your life.  All in God's own time.  Praise The Lord.

I will print this email off and put on Ernie's desk to read next time he is in the office.

God Bless
Anne / SSQoffice
Assistant To EHSS

Is this not the sweetest thing?!?  Most of their fans are much older people, so having a 3 year old who loves them is something special.  I can't wait for the group to see that email, and for Brandon to get his autographed picture!  Too cool.

To further mom's point about Brandon's love for EH&SS, here's a video I made yesterday of him singing....simply hilarious!  Two minutes into it he really gets going!  This is the song Step Into The Water, from the DVD he got from Santa.

And for Grandma, and anyone else who cares, here are two more performances, Boundless Love and Swinging On The Golden Gate.  Brandon was in a performing mood yesterday!  Unfortunately they aren't long performances because my camera sucks the juice out of my batteries so quickly it's ridiculous!

Star Wars Saturday

One of the redeeming qualities of the prequels is Ewan McGregor's performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi.  One of the only actors who seems to actually ACT, he does a wonderful job of showing heartache and despair when Anakin turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader.

The following video is part of the extras on the Episode 3 DVD.  It talks all about how hard Ewan McGregor worked to become Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Friday, February 25, 2011

YouTube Friday


We made it to Friday everyone!!  In the event that you need a laugh, Whose Line Is It Anyway is here to provide just that.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Sings It Better?


Our match up today is the song Mad World.  First up, a version by Gary Jules.  This video is intriguing to watch; they make shapes with people, it's fun. 

Next up, Adam Lambert.  The only version I could find was the one he sang on American Idol.  Once you get past the first 30 seconds the song begins.

Which do I prefer?  Gary's video is fun, but without the cool video I don't think I could listen to it over and over again.  Adam changes up the melody, and adds his own style to it.  Adam wins for me.

So, who sings it better?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ten On Tuesday


10 Favorite Singers and Bands

At first glance I thought this was going to be a difficult list to make.  However, going through my music collection, it became very clear to me who my favorite singers and bands are. 

Rascal Flatts

I was first introduced to this group while at college in Idaho.  Up until that point in life, I HATED country music.  Rascal Flatts emerged right as country music was becoming popular again.  Along with people like Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts gave country music a different, more up to date sound, and I fell in love!!  The following song is one of my favorites, Stand.

Barry Manilow

Growing up, I unknowingly listened to Barry Manilow whenever I got into the car with my mom.  It wasn't until much later in life that I discovered that I really enjoyed his music.  The following clip is a medley he does with himself, using video footage from the 1970s.  The songs are Mandy and Could It Be Magic?  I LOVE this arrangement!!  The piano, how he blends the songs with his younger self;  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!


What can I say about the group I fell in love with in grade school?  Posters all over my walls, buttons on my clothes, their music always playing, I was in LOVE with New Kids on the Block!  I was so excited in 2008 when I heard they were reuniting...and even more excited when I found out I wasn't the only one who missed them!  The following song is Click, Click, Click, found on their reunion album.

And just because I love these five guys so much, a live version of Step By Step!!!

The Beatles

Where my mom listened to Barry Manilow, my father always played music from the 1960s whenever I was in the car.  I HATED that music with a passion, until one day I heard the Beatles; then I was hooked.  I now LOVE music from the 1960s!!  The following clip is the song In My Life.

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

My mom found this group quite a few years ago.  I wasn't really interested in them until one day she played me the following song, Until We Fly Away.  I fell in love with this song, and have loved them ever since.

Jordan Knight

My favorite member of the New Kids on the Block, Jordan Knight came out with his debut solo album in 1999.  It is an AMAZING album.  The following song is my favorite, When You're Lonely.  He has the smoothest voice, and when the song reaches its climax at 3:10, HOLY COW, I love it every time!

Paul McCartney

My favorite member of The Beatles, I discovered Paul McCartney the solo artist back in 1992 when the album Off The Ground was released.  While other people were completely into Grunge, I was loving Paul McCartney.  I don't think there's a song I don't like on this album.  The following is The Lover's That Never Were.  I love the piano, and the melody is awesome.

John Williams

Okay, so he doesn't sing, but he conducts orchestras and is one of the most famous composers of our day.  And since my music collection contains a TON of music by him, I'm putting John Williams on this list!  Jaws, Star Wars, E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Harry Potter, the list goes on and on.  I chose a clip from the movie Jurassic Park.  Not only was it one of my favorite movies during the 1990s, but the music is beautiful.

Bryan Adams

Another part of my youth was Bryan Adams.  Everything I Do (I Do It For You) is the song that introduced me to him, but I quickly discovered that he'd been around for quite a while and fell in love with his music.  He's written songs for an entire movie, Spirit, and every song is INCREDIBLE!  I almost put all of them here, but figured that would be overkill.  The following song is called I'm Ready.  Don't like him much with long hair, but oh my goodness, this song is BEAUTIFUL!


Finally, we have Madge.  Most people like her music from the 1980s and early 1990s.  I love that era of Madonna as well, but the album I enjoy the most is 1998s Ray Of Light.  She had just given birth, and this album is simply wonderful.  There were five or six songs that I wanted to use, and chose The Power of Good-bye.  It's a strange video, but the words are so powerful.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Well, I just finished taking a practice PRAXIS test.  Remember, that's the stupid test I have to take to get my Utah Teaching License, even though I'm completely credentialed in California?  Yeah, that test.

The test I took was online, and it scored the test, told me which questions I got wrong and everything.  I was only 10 points away from passing the test!  This is huge because I am HORRIBLE at these tests.  That, and the fact that I started to fall asleep while taking it; which accounts for my awful score in the history/social studies category!

This practice test has given me hope.  I just might be able to pass this test on the first try, get my Utah license, and get the money from the test back!!  The school district will reimburse you if you pass it the first time.

Now I'll just concentrate on the questions I got wrong.  I've chosen to not look at the answers since there's only one practice test, I don't want to cheat myself into a passing score.  I have about four more weeks until I take the test and time scheduled to continue studying.  I'm hoping that the "Gods of Test Taking" will smile down on me and help me just get this done!!

Musicals Monday


Adam, the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly to marry him that same day. They return to his backwoods home. Only then does she discover he has six brothers - all living in his cabin. Milly sets out to reform the uncouth siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. Then, after reading about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, Adam develops an inspired solution to his brothers' loneliness.--Movie recap written by someone else :) 

I love this movie.  The dancing is phenomenal, the music is fun, and it's simply a great story!  One of the most amazing scene's from this movie is during the barn dance.  Milly has "trained" the brothers the best she can and they are making their debut as "civilized" men, hoping to find brides.

For your Musicals Monday enjoyment, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Crazy Idea

I'm thinking about changing the title of my blog.  When I first started the blog in September, I didn't put much thought into it.  I figured The Toale Family was a title that worked well.  I also thought that Nick would actually READ the blog, and participate more...that hasn't happened (I love you lots, honey!).  Instead, the blog has developed into being more about me, which is fine with both of us.

Going through the "blog" world, I always see blogs that have cute titles and I sometimes wish I had come up with a different name.  It's not the easiest thing in the world to change a name, and I don't consider myself the wittiest person in the world, so I am asking for suggestions as to what a new blog name could be.

Any ideas?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Star Wars Saturday

While on YouTube for another post, I found this clip.  It's a tribute to John Williams, the incredible, talented composer who has writtten music for so many movies.  These four gentlemen, who call themselves Moosebuster, put words to different John Williams songs; the words are all about Star Wars.  I've included the words at the bottom.  I thought this was so creative!  Be sure to watch their faces during the song, they do some funny stuff.


[Close Encounters of the Droid Kind]
You must use the Force
You must use the Force
(repeat ad nauseam)
You must use the Force

[Raiders of the Lost Wookiee]
Time ago, far, far away
Long time ago, far, far away
Kiss a Wookiee, kick a droid!
Fly the Falcon through an asteroid!
Till the princess is annoyed!
This is spaceships,
It's monsters,
It's Star Wars,
We love it!
Come and help me,
X-wing fighter
And a blaster gun!
Dance with Ewoks,
Oh, what fun!
This is spaceships,
It's monsters,
It's Star Wars,
We love it!

[Super Han]
Get in there you big, furry oaf
I couldn't care less what you smell!
I take orders from only me
Maybe you'd like it back in your cell
Your Highness, your worshipfulness,
Your Highness, your worshipfulness!
No one cares if you upset a droid
(Nobody cares if you upset a droid)
That's because droids don't tear
your arms out of sockets
(Nobody cares)
I suggest a new strategy:
Let the Wookiee win
That's because nobody cares if you upset a droid

[E.T. - The DiscoTerrestrial]
Now we listen to Luke whining:
One more season... one more season...
One more season... one more season...
I was gonna go to Tosche
Station for power converters
Now I guess I'm going nowhere
It just isn't fair...

[Jaws: The Wookiee]
Someone move this walking carpet
(Woo-kiee! Woo-kiee!)
Someone move this walking carpet
(Woo-kiee! Woo-kiee!)
Kiss your brother, kiss your brother
Princess Leia!
Well, I guess
You don't know anything
About women
Who's your daddy? Who's your daddy?
Who's your daddy? Who's your daddy?

[Jurassic Darth]
Luke, I'm your father
(That's not true!)
It is useless to resist
(My hand!)
Come with me, my son
We will rule!
(I'll never join you!)
Search your feelings, it is true
So, you have a twin sister who
Obi-Wan was wise to hide
(Is that Leia?)
If you will not turn
Then perhaps she will
Give in to your hate,
You are mine

[Close Encounters of the Droid Kind - Reprise]
(Long, long, long time ago...)
Far, far, far, far away
Long, long, long time ago,
Far, far, far away!
Kiss a Wookiee, (kiss a Wookiee)
Kick a droid! (kick a droid!)
Fly the Falcon (fly the Falcon)
Through an asteroid!
Till the princess (till the princess)
is annoyed!
(She's annoyed!)
This is spaceships,
It's monsters,
It's Star Wars,
We love it, it's true!
Episode III
Coming to you
So let's go
(Go, go, go to the movies)
Stand in line
(Buy, buy, buy me some popcorn)
Cause it's al-
(Please, I'd like extra butter)
-most the time!
May the Force be with you all!

YouTube Friday


Have I mentioned that I love Burn Notice?  I am going through withdrawals since it's in hiatus and doesn't come back until the summer.  I've already watched, re-watched, and once more watched seasons 1 - 3; I'm waiting impatiently for season 4 to be released on DVD!!

For YouTube Friday, here's a little Burn Notice!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Sings It Better?


Today we're going to have one artist covering their own song two different ways.  Celine Dion sings a song titled A New Day Has Come.  The first version I will show you is the first version I heard.  It's the original that was released as a single for her.

The second version is slow.  I don't remember where I heard it, but I loved it!

So, which do I prefer?  I enjoy both versions of this song quite a bit.  However, I enjoy the slow version more.  It makes me feel better when I'm having a crappy day, and even though they are the same song, the slow version just speaks more to me, where the fast version is simply fun.

Who sings it better?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday


10 Favorite Children's Books

Amelia Bedelia has no idea what idioms or homonyms are. She does exactly what people tell her to do and takes everything they say literally. So when she is told to "put the lights out," she does just that --- she unscrews some light bulbs and takes them outside. Her literal mind frustrates her employers on a number of occasions but, in the end, they always forgive her. It is so much fun reading all about Amelia's strange adventures (or misadventures, I should say). But it's also enjoyable to look at the hilarious illustrations that accompany each story. After all, seeing Amelia smear jelly all over the kitchen floor has got to bring at least a smile to your face.  --- Reviewed by Tom Donadio

From School Library Journal
Born third at a time when having more than two children per family is illegal and subject to seizure and punishment by the Population Police, Luke has spent all of his 12 years in hiding. His parents disobeyed once by having him and are determined not to do anything unlawful again. At first the woods around his family's farm are thick enough to conceal him when he plays and works outdoors, but when the government develops some of that land for housing, his world narrows to just the attic. Gazing through an air vent at new homes, he spies a child's face at a window after the family of four has already left for the day. Is it possible that he is not the only hidden child? Answering this question brings Luke greater danger than he has ever faced before, but also greater possibilities for some kind of life outside of the attic.  To what extent is he willing to defy the government in order to have a life worth living? Review
Nine-year-old Beezus Quimby has her hands full with her little sister, Ramona. Sure, other people have little sisters that bother them sometimes, but is there anyone in the world like Ramona? Whether she's taking one bite out of every apple in a box or secretly inviting 15 other 4-year-olds to the house for a party, Ramona is always making trouble--and getting all the attention. Every big sister can relate to the trials and tribulations Beezus must endure. Old enough to be expected to take responsibility for her little sister, yet young enough to be mortified by every embarrassing plight the precocious preschooler gets them into, Beezus is constantly struggling with her mixed-up feelings about the exasperating Ramona.

From Publishers Weekly
Farmer Brown is dumbfounded when his cows discover an old typewriter in the barn and begin experimenting.  Things really get out of hand when the cows began airing their grievances.  "Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows." When Farmer Brown denies the cows' request, the bovine organizers go on strike.  With help from a neutral duck mediator, the exasperated Farmer Brown finally makes concessions. But, much to his dismay, the cows are not the only creatures that can type.

Sheila is a person who is very worried about how she is perceived by other people. She is unsure of herself, and when she doesn't know something, she tells white lies instead of just admitting it. When her family goes to upstate New York for the summer, Sheila is confronted with her fears of dogs and swimming, and in making new friends she must deal with her worries about herself. You may already be familliar with Sheila from the "Fudge" stories, but this book paints a more in depth, endearing picture of her. As always, Judy Blume uses humor to portray situations that might not be so funny were we in them ourselves.

From Publishers Weekly
The day after her teacher announces, "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem," the narrator is afflicted with a "math curse" that affects how she views every facet of her day ("Everything seems to be a problem"). A minimum of the questions she asks herself are entirely logical ("How many quarts are in a gallon?"); some are far-fetched extrapolations (if an M&M is about one centimeter long and the Mississippi River is about 4000 kilometers long, how many M&Ms would it take to measure the length of this river?); and a happily hefty number are sheer nonsense: "I undo 8 buttons plus 2 shoelaces. I subtract 2 shoes. I multiply times 2 socks and divide by 3 pillows to get 5 sheep, remainder 1, which is all I need to count before I fall asleep." Like the text, Smith's wonderfully wacky collage-like art will give readers ample food for thought-even if it's part junk food. Here's a morsel: "Does tunafish + tunafish = fournafish?" Kids will want seconds-count on it. Review
If geese had graves, Mother Goose would be rolling in hers. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales retells--and wreaks havoc on--the allegories we all thought we knew by heart. In these irreverent variations on well-known themes, the ugly duckling grows up to be an ugly duck, and the princess who kisses the frog wins only a mouthful of amphibian slime. The Stinky Cheese Man deconstructs not only the tradition of the fairy tale but also the entire notion of a book. Our naughty narrator, Jack, makes a mockery of the title page, the table of contents, and even the endpaper by shuffling, scoffing, and generally paying no mind to structure. Characters slide in and out of tales; Cinderella rebuffs Rumpelstiltskin, and the Giant at the top of the beanstalk snacks on the Little Red Hen. There are no lessons to be learned or morals to take to heart--just good, sarcastic fun that smart-alecks of all ages will love. Review
Did the story of the three little pigs ever seem slightly biased to you? All that huffing and puffing--could one wolf really be so unequivocally evil? Finally, we get to hear the rest of the story, "as told to author Jon Scieszka," straight from the wolf's mouth. As Alexander T. Wolf explains it, the whole Big Bad Wolf thing was just a big misunderstanding. Al Wolf was minding his own business, making his granny a cake, when he realized he was out of a key ingredient. He innocently went from house to house to house (one made of straw, one of sticks, and one of bricks) asking to borrow a cup of sugar. Could he help it if he had a bad cold, causing him to sneeze gigantic, gale-force sneezes? Could he help it if pigs these days use shabby construction materials? And after the pigs had been ever-so-accidentally killed, well, who can blame him for having a snack?

From School Library Journal
AYoung Widge is an Elizabethan Oliver Twist with a talent for shorthand. Raised in an orphanage, he is apprenticed to an unprincipled clergyman who trains Widge to use a cryptic writing system that he's invented to pirate sermons from other rectors. Hired by a mysterious traveler, the boy is hauled off to London to attend performances of Hamlet in order to transcribe the script for another theater company. Naturally, all does not go smoothly, and in the course of trying to recover his stolen notebook, Widge goes to work at the Globe, eventually donning a dress and wig to play Ophelia before the queen. The true identity of the mysterious traveler provides a neat twist at the end. As in Wild Timothy (Atheneum, 1987; o.p.) and several of his other books, Blackwood puts a young boy in a sink-or-swim predicament in alien territory where he discovers his own strength. It's a formula with endless appeal.  This is a fast-moving historical novel that introduces an important era with casual familiarity.

From Publishers Weekly
Paterson's Newbery-winning novel becomes an entertaining and dramatic audiobook via Leonard's accomplished reading. Jess Aarons is eager to start fifth grade. He's been practicing his sprints all summer, determined to become the fastest runner at school. All seems to be on track, until the new girl in class (who also happens to be Jess's new next-door neighbor), Leslie Burke, leaves all the boys in the dust, including Jess. After this rather frustrating introduction, Jess and Leslie soon become inseparable. Together, they create an imaginary, secret kingdom in the woods called Terabithia that can be reached only by swinging across a creek bed on a rope. But one morning a tragic accident befalls Leslie as she ventures alone to Terabithia, and Jess's life is changed forever. Review
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.