Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Good byes are hard

Saying goodbye is always hard.  One of the Clack boards is going to close within the next few days. The Clack House was created in 2003 as an outgrowth of 'The People's Republic of Clay', a funny, irreverent board filled with posters that kept me rolling in the aisles, clutching my sides from laughing so much and, sometimes clutching mah pearls at some of the outrageous things they said.

Anyhoo...I'll probably come back over the weekend to wax poetic and maybe start to post some political and 'in the news' opinion pieces.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Clay Aiken: 2013 The Year in Review

Hey Clay…. How ya doing? It’s us, your internet fans, once again, following you all over the internet, attending your appearances, just curious as to what you’ve been up to this year. It’s been a tough year to follow you as you’ve been a bit under the radar but your intrepid fans will (almost) always find a way to keep tabs on you. Don’t ya just hate that?


You appeared at Malaprops Bookstore for a reading of T. Cooper’s ‘Real Man Adventures’ about his transition of identifying as male, marrying his wife (the illustrious Alison Glock), and becoming a stepfather.

February and March…

….were a vast wasteland of…..nothing.


Oh my goodness! You had a scare when a stalker was arrested for stalking and trespassing! And, according to the news reports, you were home at the time. We can’t imagine how you felt about that. We know how we’d feel if someone were stalking us. How scary! 
You also made an appearance on that show of shows, American Idol, singing ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’. How’d that feel, Clay, going back ‘home’ so to speak? From Popcrush: 
Flanked by backup singers and piano players, Aiken cut a dashing figure in a dress slacks, tie and cardigan, but it was that unmistakable voice reminded us why we’re still interested into him a decade after his big loss. When he hit that impressive vocal run at the end of the song, he earned a standing O from the judges, rightfully so.


It was also announced that the National Inclusion Project was one of ten recipients of 2013 of Neotrope’s annual J.L. Simmons Non-Profit PR Grant award which will provide public relations (PR) and cause-marketing support to the National Inclusion Project in 2013. That’s fabulous! Hope it pans out with more awareness and donations!


May saw you starring as ‘Man in Chair’ at the North Carolina Theater’s production of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ along side Tony Award-winning Beth Leavel, who reprised the Broadway role that she created. It was kind of like returning to your roots, as the NCT was the very first place where you auditioned for anything. At the time, you stated: 
“The very first time I ever auditioned for anything was when I stepped into an audition for NCT's production of 1776 back in 1996. North Carolina Theatre was my first experience performing on a professional stage," said Aiken in a statement. “It's possible that, had it not been for experience and encouragement I received as a part of this organization, I may never have had the confidence to audition for 'American Idol.' Now, 17 years after my first theatrical performance, I'm happy to be fulfilling a promise I made years ago to return to the stage at North Carolina Theatre.”


You also appeared on ‘The Office’ as a judge for a singing contest, alongside Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and reggae-fusion artist Santigold.  Good job, Clay!  Made us smile.


As reported by, ten years ago on June 27th, the #1 song in the country was ‘This is the Night’. Work with us here, we’re floundering….

July and August

We’re combining these two months as your debut in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' began on July 31st. You had almost an entire month’s run as Joseph. The fandom was wondering if you’d wear the loincloth that a lot of other actors did while portraying Joseph but alas, we did not get the loincloth.

You and the entire cast received some really great reviews and you seemed to love your time, not only in Maine, but with the cast, too. You made some good friends, including #TwitterlessDrew, Matthew Ragas, and we had a BLAST following y‘all on Twitter!  
The talented cast................


The Blog. No one knew what to make of it, we still don’t. When the Clay Nation read it, we were wondering what the heck it meant. Winding down? Big and disruptive changes? Leaving some of us excited and other sad and upset? Transitions? Your direction and course veering in a different direction? Then you ended it by saying you’re not going anywhere and you look forward to seeing us in 2014 and beyond. It certainly caused a lot of WTF’edness in the Clay Nation…it still does and we’re perplexed. We want you to follow your heart but we also don’t want to lose you. Whatever happens, you know we wish you the best and hope that you’re happy and fulfilled. We just want US to be happy and fulfilled, too. And that includes having you in our lives, at least somewhat. But we want to know what the ‘different direction’ means!


The National Inclusion Project held its 10th anniversary Champions Gala in Charlotte, NC. From the website, because y‘all did such a good job of recapping the evening, we‘re just going to copy it (although we had to edit it for length):

Friday night the Project hosted the VIP reception for Gold and Platinum ticket holders. Diane Bubel, along with the staff, approached each group of attendees to chat and thank them for their support. Executive Director Jerry Aiken opened the evening by welcoming all in attendance, updating everyone on the Project, and individual pictures of all in attendance were taken with Clay and Diane.

Pictures were followed by a question and answer session with the co-founders on such topics as Wrapping for Inclusion and volunteering at Let’s All Play camps. Next up was the live auction where Clay chose long-time fan and supporter Ethel to join him on stage to help with the bidding.  A balloon ride with Clay and his mother went for $14,000 and a dinner for 15 with Clay went for $55,0000!  

The very talented pianist Ben Cohn joined Clay on stage as the entertainment portion of the evening began. Together they had decided to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Clay’s first album Measure of a Man and performed 5 songs from the album. They concluded with a ballad version of Clay’s biggest hit “Invisible.” It was a perfect way to end the evening.

On Saturday the 12th, the Silent Auction was held in the Marriott’s ballroom. A number of wonderful items were available to the highest bidders.  The actual Gala was held Saturday evening at the McGlohon Theater; a beautiful old church that had been converted to a theater.

The program kicked off with the young people from the Foundation for Respect Ability, an organization that seeks to convert “bystanders” into “upstanders” and offers anti-bullying programs and services to the community. Clay welcomed and thanked everyone for their 10 years of support. He also announced that October 12, 2013 was declared to be National Inclusion Project Day in North Carolina.

One of the items that Jerry spoke about was the 200 Kids Campaign held throughout the Summer. He thanked everyone for their support and asked Cookie Ousley, one of the winners of the campaign, to join him on stage to present the check to Diane and Clay for $50,368 to help send over 201 kids to camp!

The highlight of the evening was the honorees and Champions of Inclusion. First to be honored was Tim and Keith Harris. When Tim began to show interest in owning his own restaurant someday, Keith knew their next steps. In October of 2010, they celebrated the grand opening of Tim’s Place – a restaurant in Albuquerque that is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week. Tim offers free hugs on his menu and is very excited about fulfilling his dreams to own a restaurant. Tim keeps track of all the hugs he gives and was able to add over 300 hugs while in Charlotte!

The second honoree was Habitat International, dedicated to providing jobs for hard to place workers. Founded by David Morris and his father Saul in 1981, the Chattanooga, Tennessee company has become a role model for other businesses, disability advocates and the general public. Seventy-five percent of Habitat’s workers have a physical or mental disability, or both. Habitat’s “able” workers often out-produce the competition 2-1.

The third honoree was Team Long Brothers – two brothers who share a love for each other and showing the world a little bit about what inclusion is all about. Eight-year-old Cayden is unable to walk or talk on his own, but his ten-year-old brother Conner had an idea that would allow them to participate in sports together. A year and a half ago, they began competing in triathlons together. Conner swims while pulling Cayden in a raft, bikes with his little brother towed behind him in a trailer, and pushes that trailer when they run. Seeing the brothers working together has inspired onlookers, while bringing Conner and Cayden closer than ever. Their amazing determination and spirit is inspiring and could be felt throughout the theater.

The evening’s Keynote speaker was Dwayne Ballen – a blogger, author and father of a son with Autism. The audience was blown away by his honest portrayal of his relationship with his son Julian and the struggles Dwayne faced within himself when Julian was diagnosed with autism. His sharing of the family’s experiences during their journey with autism was both enlightening and uplifting.

Also included in the evening were some other special guests, special videos and special presentations. The Memory Lane committee put together 3 videos to share for the evening. One highlighted the history of The Project from the day Clay and Diane decided to give it a go, up to today. Another highlighted the importance of the Partners that the Project works with; the camps, Boys & Girls clubs and more and how Let’s All Play has made a difference in the lives of all the children it has brought together. The final video was all about the Volunteers – why they volunteer, what have they brought to the Project and the joy that it brings them.

Following that was the presentation of the 2013 Founder’s Award given to Mona Hood – Mike Bubel’s caregiver for many years. The kind words and love in the presentations from Clay and Diane were very touching.

The evening’s entertainment was quite special. Tony nominated performer Keala Settle sang a wonderful solo number and then brought Clay on the stage for a duet of “I Want to Know What Love Is”. Clay then brought the actual Jukebox from his 2005 Jukebox Tour on the stage to auction it off to the highest bidder. It went for an impressive $12,000. The highlight of the evening is always the 'Send a Kid to Camp' Reverse Auction. To send a single child to camp is $250. Starting with 20 and going down to 1; those in the Theater generously raised their bidding numbers and ended up sending 240 kids to camp!

The evening ended with a heartfelt thank you from Clay for all the support that he organization has received over the last 10 years. He followed it with a final song “You Are The Song”. As he sang, on the screen above him were photos of fans and volunteers from over the 10 years. It was a wonderful was to end a fantastic night and weekend.

The weekend’s events raised over $400,000 for the National Inclusion Project. How wonderful!

Please check out this link for the full article and pictures of the various events.

National Inclusion Project's Champions Gala 

Also in October, you wrote a piece for “Starry Eyed: 16 Stories that Steal the Spotlight” about Broadway stars sharing stories from their younger years.


You appeared on Law & Order, along with Taylor Hicks and Ashanti, playing, once again, a talent show judge.  Did ya ever think of doing that for a living?  We keed!  We keed!

You also attended ‘After Midnight’ on Broadway, starring Fantasia and Emmy-nominated Dule Hill, who stared in one of your favorite shows ever, The West Wing. You went backstage and got to meet him. That must have been really neat.


Finally, you appeared on Arsenio’s new show! We’ve been waiting for that appearance for a long time, Clay. You sounded great singing ‘This Christmas' and you looked great, too. Nice suit! You got to air your views on the Duck Dynasty controversy and talk a bit about helping others to use their voice.

So, Clay….. What’s on board for 2014? Will we see you? Will you be in the spotlight? Will you do theater? Record? Sing? Inquiring minds want to know. At this point, we’re all in a wait-and-see mode. Hope we hear something soon, and not YOUR version of ‘soon‘.

Well, to wrap this up, once again we wish for you, in 2014, good health, much love, and all the happiness your heart can hold. We’re right here waiting…….

Thanks to the fabulous Fountaindawg for this lovely retrospective.

And thanks, Clay, for this tweet to end this long-ass diatribe:
As we bid goodbye to 2013, I wish for everyone a 2014 filled with prosperity, happiness, and success in every new endeavor. Happy New Year!

Thanks to idyjocelyn from ‘Finding Clay Aiken’ for keeping such meticulous records, to Quiet1ne and Walkiki from The Clack House for always keeping on top of the media mentions, but most of all, thanks to the wonderful fans who post on various message boards, who keep the ride going, offer frank and intelligent discussions, fangirly squeeing, and just plain fun. But most of all, thanks to you, Mr. Aiken, for providing the ride of a lifetime.

Any and all errors are solely the fault of the author.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Of breastfeeding and the American psyche

I so love this article that I'm posting it in its entirety.  By Matt Walsh.

We must stop these crazed half-naked psychopaths from feeding their children in front of other people!

What the hell is wrong with us? We’ve made porn into a billion dollar industry, we put sex into everything from fast food advertisements to family TV shows, we allow our daughters to idolize teenage pop stars who dress like hookers and sing about fornication; we are a culture that is permissive, hyper sexual and overtly hedonistic, yet, in spite of all of this, BREASTFEEDING is somehow offensive to us. We suffer from a special brand of insanity, so unique that it needs its own name: Progressive Puritanism. For the most part we carry on like we’re living in Sodom or Gomorrah, but if someone goes really crazy and decides to feed their child in sight of other humans, all of the sudden we turn into Victorian prudes. It doesn’t make any sense.

In the last few days I’ve seen a few stories dealing with the “controversy” surrounding breastfeeding in public. A woman down in Texas was lectured about “decency” by staff at a rec center when she fed her infant while watching her older daughter’s dance class. Another incident happened on an American Airlines flight where a mother was shamed by the flight attendant for discreetly feeding her baby on the plane. I guess she should have taken her provocative display of child-feeding into the 2×2 foot bathroom where people go to dispel feces from their rectum, because this is totally the same thing.

OK. A few thoughts on the “issue” of breastfeeding:
1) Breastfeeding isn’t sexual. If you see it that way, you’ve got issues. Like, serious issues. Like, you-should-probably-be-on-a-registry type of issues. I actually had someone tell me today that women shouldn’t feed their kids in public for the same reason they shouldn’t conceive their kids in public. This is to draw a direct parallel between breastfeeding and sex. Again, issues. Serious issues.

2) I’ve encountered breastfeeding moms in public. Not once — NOT ONCE — have they ever ripped their shirt off and run through a crowd screaming: “Look at me! Look at this! I’m breastfeeding!!!” I’ve never seen that happen. I’m willing to bet I’ve never seen it because it’s literally never occurred in the history of the universe. I’ve also never had a young mother pull out a gun and yell: “You will watch me breastfeed or I’ll blow your brains out! WATCH OR DIE!” In other words, I’ve never been “forced” to “watch” a woman breastfeed. The way these prudes talk about it, you’d think they were being compelled to observe against their will. Personally, when I come across a woman breastfeeding, I think, “Oh OK, a mother is feeding her kid. Cool, anyway now I’ll get back to carrying on with my own existence.”

3) What exactly is so offensive about breastfeeding? Is it the amount of breast exposed? It’s hard for me to take that objection seriously. Right now, as we speak, there are millions of dads out there letting their daughters leave the house wearing outfits that are DESIGNED to highlight, expose, and sexualize that part of the body. Maybe we should reserve our condemnation for that, rather than moms who do what God intended moms to do. But, if we must have this conversation, how much of the forbidden zone is actually exposed when a mom has a child at her breast? Not much, really. If she’s just an exhibitionist she’d be better off wearing a bikini top, or even a thousand other types of tops and shirts that some women wear to their office jobs on a daily basis.

What kind of message does it send when we tell mothers to hide in dark corners or cover themselves in burlap if they wish to provide natural nutrients to their offspring? We know what the message is: Breastfeeding is gross, shameful, embarrassing. I especially enjoy the grown men who suddenly become squeamish school boys when the topic turns to breastfeeding. “Eeeeewwww, get it away from me! It’s weeeeeird!”

Good Lord. Grow up, people.

With the strange paradox of our permissive sexual attitudes contrasted with our uptight whining about breastfeeding, I shudder to think about what other inconsistencies I might find in the public psyche should I dig deeper. I mean, hell, next you’re gonna tell me that in a country where millions take prescription narcotics, we still won’t allow cancer patients to smoke marijuana in most states.

Oh, wait…

Screw it. I give up.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Gardening when Clay Aiken is doing....nothing :-)

Since Clay isn't doing anything in the public eye, I thought I'd write about my gardening efforts.
I've always wanted a hydrangea so this year, I bought one!  I dug a garden,


lined it with landscape fabric

Laid mulch.
laid down rocks 
I did align the rocks better, but don't have a picture
 View from the porch

 The hydrangea started out pink, but it's turning a bit purpleish (is TOO a word)

Then, for my birthday, my bestie bought me a blue hydrangea so I planted that one in the side garden (of which I'm ripping the entire thing out next year, making it bigger and replanting more lush shrubs and flowers.


I also found coconut liners for my window boxes

Last, but certainly not least, my beautiful Yellow Lab, Gracie, enjoying her yard.  Yes, she believes it's hers exclusively and she only allows me to inhabit it.

This daylily grew one bloom and stopped, I have no clue why.

Next up?  My love affair with hostas.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Clay Aiken: Ten years After-Somewhere Out There

Ten years ago, Clay sang 'Somewhere Out There'.  It was movie night and the song was from 'An American Tail', written by James Horner, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil.  The single was released by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram

Watch this beautiful performance.  It goes to show you how far we've come in ten years judging by the quality of the video.  There was no HD back then.

Randy wondered where 'that voice' came from, Paula said Clay was effortless and natural.  Gladys Knight thought Clay was a mystery, magical, exceptional, pure.  Simon, on the other hand, said that he loved songs about mice, then told Clay that he was the one to beat.

I loved this song on American Idol.  :::LOVED:::

Monday, March 11, 2013

Clay Aiken: Ten years After American Idol

Ten years ago today, Clay Aiken appeared on American Idol, Season 2, and sang 'I Can't Help Myself', aka 'Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch'.  Take a listen.

That night, his hands did things that should be illegal.  *ahem*

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Clay Aiken: "Take" time to tell me......

You had me at "Take"

January 28th, 2003.  American Idol auditions.  I had watched the entire 1st season and was really looking forward to the 2nd.  January 28th, 2003.  Out walked this skinny young man, all arms and elbows, a bit of a cocky swagger in his step. 

Yes, I was guilty of judging a book by it's cover.  My first thought?  "Simon's gonna rip him a new asshole".  My second thought? "Holy shit, listen to that kid's VOICE!!"  My third thought?  Well, I didn't have one *g*  But I watched.  I watched every week, looking for that guy, listening to the talent.

Then he got cut.  WTF?  Granted, his competition was Ruben and Kimberly Locke, two of my favorites, but it seemed like the groups were very unevenly distributed.  Why were these three oh-so-talented singers in the same group when other groups had no one who could compete with them?

Clay got cut and went home.

But wait!  There's more!

He was called back as a Wildcard *praises the Baby Jesus*  and he sang.  He sang his heart out.  Every week.  In the beginning, Simon praised him but towards the end, Simon got more and more critical, for no good reason except he wanted Ruben to win.  Perhaps Simon had visions of an R&B singer as the winner?  Or perhaps he didn't want the fey kid to win?  Who the heck knows what went through the mass between his ears?

Anyway, Clay perservered up until the Finale, or The Anomaly, as it's known in the Clay Nation.  Anywho, Ruben won and Clay made a life-long friend. 

January 28th, 2003, a day that will live in infamy.  Wait, that's part of a Presidential speech (Roosevelt, in case you're keeping count; December 7th, 1941).  It is a day that will live in the minds of the Clay Nation, The Community of Clay.  It's the day when 'we' first met Clay Aiken.  The day this ride started.  And what a roller coaster ride it's been.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

AI!CLAY!  Just because he's so danged cute!

You had me at "Take"