Take Note!

Pictures and videos used on this site are all borrowed (well not all, some are actually mine) for everyone's viewing pleasure.  They are not being used in a malicious matter, it is all in good fun and most likely to promote the good stuff found.  Please don't threaten to sue, just ask me to take it down if it is a bother.  If not, thanks for the borrow!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Monday Madness - Ice Cream Concert Tour Edition

"Day after day, I continue to be - me oh me, that's all I can be..."  Same Ol G - Ginuwine

Don't pay attention to the date, I just wrote this last night since I have to get up early to go to work.  Whoo hooo.  I really think I am enjoying the student life a bit too much.  I decided to take a different twist with Monday Madness today.  As I mentioned before, I began my summer concert series by attending the Ice Cream Tour concert on Saturday.  The lineup included Ginuwine, Monica, Dru Hill, Joe and the headliner LL Cool J.  The show was such bullshit, that I had to share the lowdown with you all.  Imgaine, I saved all of my energy after being sick ALL DAMN WEEK for this crap.  I so regret not going to my boys' Pride Brunch today, really I do.  Trust me, for the exception of a few moments, I was not amused.  Sorry, it's a bit long today.  Alright, here we go..

When I arrived: I purchased my $3.25 water and made my way to the seats.  Our seats were pretty decent actually, I can't complain.  Untitled–yes, that is the name of the group, was the act that was on stage, they were actually one of the opening acts last year as well.  However, they were nothing to talk about last year.  I must say they upped the ante this year, they sounded much stronger vocally covering Silk's "Freak Me" and The Pedophile's "Bump N' Grind" and a whole array of old school tracks - but sorry, they did nothing for me.  After them, there was a dance troop named Baby Boys that tore up the stage with their choreography to everything from reggae, soul, hip-hop, soca and the "start the car!" Ikea commercial.  They were serious, on point and a pleasure to watch.  The link was from a year ago, trust that their game has stepped up and then some.

Ginuwine: I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Ginuwine, he did the damn thing.  He breezed through his jams one after the other and had everyone in the palm of his hand.  Starting with my favorite "Same Ol' G" and working his way through "Stingy", "So Anxious" and ending with "Pony", he covered base and delivered track after track with strong vocals and lawd, he can still shake that ass.  He did a quick little ditty with the songs he did hooks on with Diddy and Nas and also had the men reciting a creed that made every single women in the house croon (hint: it involved something about taking your woman if you don't know how to satisfy her ummm...PROPERLY).  We were off to a good start.

Monica: Miss Thang confused the hell out of me and everyone else at the venue and you will see why in a moment.  She started off where Ginuwine left off, proving to us what we already knew–she can sing CIRCLES around Brandy effortlessly.  Monica is one of the most serious voices in R&B today, it is just a damn shame that she sings all of that ghetto mess instead of contributing those chops for some amazing R&B like she used to.  But hey, that is just my opinion.  Traipsing through everyone's favorites, "Don't Take It Personal", "Angel Of Mine" and "Why I Love You So Much" (my fav), she decided to ruin the flow and start singing "EveryTime The Beat Drop" and here is where it went sour.  Because everyone wasn't really feeling the track and decided to sit down, she stopped the track saying to her dj, "Wait, hold up...I don't think they know that song.  Guys, do you know that song?"  Where obviously everyone replied yes, then she dropped "Umma Do Me" I believe it was (sorry, not too sure) and killed the vibe.  From where I was sitting, it looked like her face went a solid blank because no one was feeling it.  She was VEXED. So at that very moment, she decided to kiss the crowd GOODNIGHT after her hissy fit.  WTF???

Dru:  Dru of In Essence who has now embarked on a solo career sang his two tracks "The One" and "Stay With Me".  Both tracks are pretty good and it was great to see Dru do his thing.  I liked In Essence and was just saying the other day that I missed them when I heard "You Will Never Find Another" in a club in NYC.  Toronto SUPPORT YOUR OWN!!  That goes for you too Canada.  If you can help my friend Corneille and Mr. Glen Lewis do the damn thing then let's get Dru going too.  Get on it...

Dru Hill: Oh my my...lol  It just get's better.  First of all, who's bright idea was it to allow Sisqo to go on first and jump around to sing "I Got To Get It" and "The Thong Song"?  I mean SERIOUSLY it is done and has been broken down so that it can FOREVER and consistently be broken - leave it alone Sisqo!  No one even knew who it was before he opened his mouth!  Jumping off of speakers and running around frantically onstage like he done lost his mind.  Lawd.  Finally the rest of the group showed up (minus Woody and plus a new member–Tao), and again, vocally they were amazing, but BORING.  Something was missing and I just cannot put my finger on it.  Besides the fact that I lost interest and sat down because I didn't care after the first version of "In My Bed" (they sang the remix too), it just lacked a certain je ne sais quois.  They managed to grab my attention again when they sang "Beautiful", yet that was it.  They kept on taking a 3 minute song and making it 7 minutes with their ad libs, riffs and dips.  Dru Hill was mediocre at best, but I could have done without them.

Joe: THE BEST PART OF MY NIGHT!!  It should have been just Joe in concert really, that would have been downright perfect for me and for everyone else I am sure.  His mic was doing something stupid at first and the bass was pumping a bit too hard throughout the whole show, but after a few adjustments my man Joe did his thing from song to song.  The crowd was swaying to and fro singing each song word for word.  "All The Things Your Man Won't Do", "Don't Wanna Be A Player", "More", "If I Was Your Man", one after the other he was singing as though it was his last show.  The one song I did want to hear was "I'm In Love" because I am a Joe fan after all, but beggars cannot be choosers and I was quite happy with what I received, but I wanted more!

We were then of course treated to the sounds of old school from DJ extraordinaire, Christopher Michaels and for you all that don't know, you better ask somebody!  IF you ever make it down to Toronto and you are looking for a DJ who will serenade you to the dance floor and command your feet to never leave...if you can handle that, then ChrisMikes is your man.  I went to an old school party of his when I first moved to Toronto and it was one of the best parties I have ever attended in a club setting.  So as you can imagine, song after song I was on my feet dancing and singing (and choking in between) from my recovering lungs.  It was WICKED.  After that high, you would think that we would be ready for LL?  Well, the vicinity we were in decided that they would have their Canada Day fireworks and Mr Cool James said he was not going to be interrupted by them, so we had to wait for them to finish before he come on stage.  To make matters worse, we were already waiting a good 20 minutes before hand for his ass and there is only so much music you can listen to when you are at a concert waiting for a performance.  So hmmm...let's see, about an hour later...

And lastly LL Cool J: HE WAS HORRIBLE and I am so disappointed!  Flavor Flav introduced him (do NOT get me started on the black man who is single handedly destroying black television along side BET).  LL was boring, did not go near "Around The Way Girl" or "Going Back To Cali", I can only stare at him licking his lips for so long and he did not get naked.  Sorry, like some ladies said at the end–it's LL for god's sake, and we did not even see one ab!!  We all think he had a hissy fit a la Monica and decided to leave the stage after he did not receive the welcome he wanted.  Well that's what happens when a crowd is hyped up, comes to a fevered pitch and is let down to crash and burn waiting for your ass after a display of mutha &!@#@^? fireworks.  Looks good on ya...

I have a few videos for you, but you know how Blogger and I flow.  As soon as I get it together, I will share.  I mean, I just HAD to get Dru Hill jumping around like the kangaroos they are to "Tell Me", it's classic Dru!  Anyhow, that was my Saturday and like I said–I so should have saved my strength for the Pride Parade today and support my gay friends.  I would have had more fun and been with lovely hunney bunneys!!  Oh well, woulda, shoulda, coulda right?

Flashback of the day:  I had to go for my jam that LL DID NOT sing (damn him), but oh well what can we do.

If you were at the concert, I would love to hear what you thought!  See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Guess Who's Semi-Back??

Hey y'all, just an update.  I am awake, snarky and moving like real people–rising out of the ashes like The Phoenix.  So we all know what that means...MONDAY MADNESS will be in full effect!  Off to get my locs twisted...ahhh the joys of being a younger sister can sometimes work out for you IF, you got it like I do! :)

A vid for you since there is no album of the week available.  It's not an old school jam, but I thought I would put some of you out there onto some good 'ish, just in case you do not know about him as yet (and you should!!)  Check out this new track from one of my favs Dwele.  Some of you will remember him from Kanye's jam "Flashing Lights", yes Dwele sang the chorus.  Dwels is sooo much more than just a hook man, you NEED to check out his past work or just pick up his new album Sketches Of A Man.  It is worth the listen - trust me!  So on that note, while I am getting my hair did and looking forward to an outdoor concert tomorrow in thunderstorms and showers (hope you hear the sarcastic tone in that), I will be at the The Ice Cream Tour which features Joe, Monica, LL Cool J and Dru Hill (yeah DRU HILL!  Update on the concert next week) - I do wish you a wonderful weekend.  

Let me know if you liked the track.  Hear you on Monday...

Tha Connoisseur

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I can't even explain how I feel right now y'all.  Tha Connoisseur has been out of commission from Sunday with some type of flu-bug thing.  This is the first day that I can keep my eyes open for more than 10 minutes at a time!  Damn these people and their superbugs!!!  This is all I could muster up, I had to come and apologize for Monday Madness not being here to start off your week.  However, during one of my "awake" stints last night, I saw the most FUNNIEST thing that I thought would make up for Monday Madness.  Kobe and Shaq are at it again!  Or in this case, Shaq and his big mouth are at it again...PRECIOUS!  I hope I will be back to normal soon y'all.  I am off to take a nap...

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Motownphilly Is Still Here...

"It's long overdue, but now Philly's slamming..."  Motownphilly - Boyz II Men

PHILLY HAS ALWAYS BEEN SLAMMIN'!!!  Check out my girl Virant Thang's write up on the Philly movement here.  I know this group knows where they evolved from, there is no denying that.  And I am also aware of the fact that they were talking about the artist's on Michael Biven's Biv 10 label, it was all about the East Coast Family.  It doesn't matter what moniker she goes by, Philly, Tha Illadelph, Ms. Philadelphia, PHILADELPHIA–she is the home of some of the wickedest soul music on earth.  But today, I decided to go with "hip-hop, smoothed out on an r&b tip, with a pop feel, appeal to it."  And yes I know the above quote was from BBD, but this group brought the same groove.  The album of the week is:

Michael Bivins couldn't help but sign Boyz II Men when they snuck into his dressing room and auditioned for him on the spot, showing their chops with an accapella version of "Can You Stand The Rain".  From tenor to bass, they had it and their harmonizing said it all.  Learning from and admiring exceptional artists such as The O'Jays, The Temptations, The Stylistics and of course their idol New Edition, helped morph this group into what they were and what they have become.  From the style, the routines and the harmonizing–Boyz II Men were on point.  It was meant to be just Wanya, Shawn, Michael and Nathan.  I really can't seem to fit Marc Nelson into the equation at all to be honest.  Perhaps his part was to be included with Az Yet and that is that.  Besides, he was the one who wanted a solo career in the first place.  Oh well, it is what it is.

The quartet went on to deliver Cooleyhighharmony an album full of heavy beats and smooth harmonies.  It really can't get any better than that.  I dished out some heavy funds to attend their concert in Montreal.  Montel Jordan opened for him (I still can't get over Montel's moves, he did the damn thing!) and they tore down The Forum, no joke.  My most memorable moment, was when they turned The Forum into a starry chasm all sparkly and lit up to sing, I believe (it was so long ago, anyone can correct me if I am wrong) "On Bended Knee".  It was beautiful.  And the Boyz serenaded and did what they do–brought the house down.  This album is another back to back gem, one of the few that can get a good play from beginning to end.  At the time, I purchased the album on cassette.  When I purchased the CD is when I realized that the slow tracks came before the upbeat tracks and it actually bothered me!  I guess I was actually playing the cassette backwards all this time, but hey, I lived with it.  What better track to open with but "Please Don't Go"?  And lord, I am a HUGE Wanya fan (didn't want that Brandy chick ANYWHERE near my man), so anything he belts out is alright with me.  "Lonely Heart" and "This Is My Heart" were all about the love.  "Uhh Ahh" is sexy as all hell, both the album and the remix versions and "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" is still hard for me to hear because of it's correlation to a friend's burial, but it is an oldie but a goodie nonetheless.  Then we break into the upbeat, get-your-ass-on-the-floor tracks one after the other, it's non stop goodness.  "Motownphilly", "Under Pressure", "Sympin" and then the flow starts to mellow out a bit with "Little Things" (which I think is my favorite song on the album, because it rings so true) and lastly "Your Love".  What I really loved about this group, is that all of the singers had their turn on the mic.  Everyone had mic time and showed their talent, those who could sing background, did so and vice versa.  It was a great change of pace from one person singing lead all the god forsaken time.

Boyz II Men went on to become the most successful male vocal group of all time.  60 million records and counting, 5 Grammys, breaking chart records, collabos with Mariah Carey, LL Cool J and so forth, they are still doing their thing,  In total, they have released 8 albums and a new release seems to be in the works for sometime this year.  Michael left the group (the bass) because of back issues he was dealing with from scoliosis.  It's not easy, trust me I overstand as I have gone through the ordeal with my younger sister.  Boyz II Men are surely missed on the big scale of things in my book.  They were the good old boys next door that your parents didn't mind you listening to.  Can we say that today about any male soul groups?  Not really–disheartening but true.  Don't get me wrong, they are still touring, still have a strong following, still singing and releasing records.  They love what they do and continue to deliver good music, BUT I would much rather see them at a big or intimate venue rather than at the local casino.  Know what I mean?  You can find out more about their movements on their MySpace page.

Flashback of the day:  Well I wanted to pick my favorite Boyz II Men song, but it is not from this album.  And by custom, I always choose a song from the aforementioned album.  So with that said, here is the choice.  Look for Philly alumni in the vid!...ENJOY!  

Let me know your favorite Boyz II Men song.  Have a great weekend...

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life Without Bread, And I Don't Mean Money...

"Soul, help me save my soul..."  Dr. Soul - Foster & McElroy

I am a bit late with this entry, as I usually have it posted during the early part of the day.  Well this is what I get for throwing actual work into the mix.  Today's rant is a bit on the health turn, rather than the usual.  I will try not to bore...

Awhile back, I mentioned that I was on a health kick.  Or more of a mind, body and soul kick.  I changed my eating habits, exercised every other day and enjoyed life a bit more than before.  Actually a whole lot more than before, I can't lie.  Part of this new health kick, was visiting a Naturopath and I will continue to say, it was one of the best health experiences in my life.  A girlfriend of mine recently took her first trip to a Naturopath after a vacation to Mexico did a turn on her internal system.  Constant bloating, that forever gaseous feeling and not being able to digest anything anymore were the incentives to go.  Right now, I don't think that she is praising the natural way, because she has been separated from the one thing in life that makes the world go round–BREAD.  Yes ladies and gentleman, I said it!  It's bread–white, wheat, whole grain...all of them.  It's tough going throughout your day without bread, it is one of the staples in your fridge after all.  You try passing Au Pain Dore downtown Montreal or in Times Square by Port Authority or your favorite bakery right after the doughy goodness is removed from its haven and released into the atmosphere in all its glory.  And then imagine the goodness smothered with any topping of your choice, preferably butter, and the goodness touching your eager tongue ready for your palette to burst into flames at the immeasurable pleasure of fresh baked bread!!  So as you can imagine, right now the woman is going to have a crumpet conniption.

And I totally understand where she is coming from, for I took that same road four months back and went through my separation anxiety as well.  It was hard as all hell!!  Especially for someone who considers bread to be "the meal of champions", trust me it hurt.  I became an avid snacker in that time and that, thank goodness has stayed with me.  Snack of choice: sunflower seeds, dried apricots, walnuts and almonds.  In all honesty, I didn't think that I was going to make it, but I did and it was for the goodness of my digestive system.  That is what I kept telling myself anyway.  And yes it was well worth it, 15 pounds lighter, a couple of dress sizes smaller, looking hot and feeling great for the summer and a normal digestive system as well.  As for my girl, it will do her well that's for sure.  I know it will, but she just has to get over the hump and try not to feed into her crumpet conniption.  However, she is only 6 days in and is DYING.  So please leave some words of encouragement in the comments for her, it will do her good!  HANG IN THERE GIRL!!

Flashback of the day:  I thought I would go with a little bit of the West Coast swagger.  And this is only fitting since my girl is fighting with her conscience.  The lady with the Mickey Mouse speaking voice and powerhouse vocals.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Madness...

"What's going on, what's going on..."  Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

And another Monday has come to pass.  I know the quote is pretty much straight forward, I just thought that I would go simple today.  I was out catching up and tearing down Tim Hortons last night with a dear friend and we had a BALL.  So this segment of Monday Madness is dedicated to her.  Baci RiRi! (sorry, my italian is rusty...oh wait, I don't speak italian...)

So without further adieu, here is Monday Madness–last weeks news that made me cringe, cuss or shake my head.

1) He's free, lord help me:  Alright, I know that when you heard R.Kelly was free you were not surprised and you also knew that I would have something to say.  Well, I sure do!  First of all, I am not saying I was there holding the video camera, but I will be the first to admit that I saw a piece of the disgusting video.  A word to the wise, if you are planning to make your debut in blue moviemaking, don't do it at your house.  Especially after you have had MTV, BET or whatever in your house shooting a special, careening through every part of your house with their video cameras.  Yes y'all, after I saw the special on MTV, BET or wherever, which showed the alleged room he had his little tryst in - plant by plant, lawn chair by lawn chair (it's an indoor rainforest!!!), I really just shook my head.  And honestly, wasn't his marriage to a 15 year old Aaliyah enough insight for us?  I read that when the verdict came in, he was thanking Jesus.  Honey, Jesus was busy doing something of importance and figured to shut you the hell up, he would set you free.  Perhaps there are other things in store for Robert, who knows.  But I know it will not consist of me spending money, supporting anything he does or anything remotely involving him for that matter.  I am spent.  If you want to read more about the whole fiasco, you can do so here.

2) Newsweek and Lil Wayne - WHY?!:  Now this I found entertaining as all hell.  I could not understand why Lil Wayne was being interviewed by Newsweek, but I guess with all his success with the crap...sorry–the tracks he has been releasing from Tha Carter III, it would have happened sooner than later.  However, when I read the article–my my, that was a trip!  I have no idea if he was heavy on the syrup or just didn't care (perhaps both), but with a Q&A session like this you have to laugh:

One of the rumors that went around last week was that you checked into rehab.
"Yeah, I heard that."

What does that make you think?
"It don't"

PRECIOUS!!  Oh to be a fly on the wall at that interview, or better yet to be the interviewer!! You can read the rest of it here if you want a good chuckle.

3) The Dap Kings: I know this is a bit old, but I forgot to put my two cents in.  I LOVE this picture.  I have no idea why so many naysayers actually had a problem with it.  Perhaps, like me, they just wanted to put in their two cents.  Look, the man got the job done, he set out to do what he did and did it in an unprecedented manner.  Not to mention, behind ever great man there is a great woman and to me, this picture says it all.  It says, "Baby, that's how we do–now let's get 'em!"  

Congrats to Obama, since I have not said it as of yet.  And now the battle begins...

4) To Hell In A Handbasket:  This is old too, but again, here is my insight.  The man that brought us Nsync and Backstreet Boys, Lou Pearlman,  has landed his tail in jail for running one of the longest Ponzi schemes in American History.  Apparently having top hits and selling millions of records was not enough for his ass.  Don't ask me what a Ponzi scheme is, I have no idea but I will look it up and oh look, here you go (don't always trust wiki, but hey..).  But a scheme is a scheme to me!  He was sentenced to 25 years in jail for money laundering, conspiracy and making false statements during a bankruptcy proceeding.  Wow Lou, after all that money those two bands made for you, you still had to go and involve innocent people to buy into your schemes.  The dude managed to swindle $300 million worth of funds - MADNESS!  And this is not the first time that he has found himself in trouble, not a surprise huh?  Both of the bands he created previously sued him, that says a lot if you ask me.  I guess 25 years is a comfy long time to ponder about what you have done.  Bye, Bye Bye...

There wasn't really anything else that tickled me, so that is it for the day.

Flashback of the day:  This song was my JAM when I was younger, I am in a disco soul mood, so jam with me and Miss Ward!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, June 13, 2008

For The Love Of Reggae...

"Gimmie little time, help me clear up my mind..."  UB40 - Red Red Wine

Well as everyone knows I am back in the Tdot doing the damn thing.  I started work on Wednesday and all is a go, however I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I have to slow down and go according to the Toronto flow again.  I will get to it, but most likely by the time I am ready to head back to NYC–and that is JUST fine with me.  :)

So today is album of the week day, the day I look forward to.  Well, I wasn't sure on what to go with today honestly.  But I saw a clip on TV that inspired me, made me reminisce a bit and took me back to a really good place.  I know some of you will think this reggae band is quite syrupy, yet some will agree with me when I say that they are one of the most underrated bands I know.  The album of the week is:

UB40 is one of my favorites for many sentimental reasons.  It was one of the first concerts that I attended at a pretty young age.  My older cousin was the chaperone and we–my brothers, sister and I, accompanied her to one of the best concerts in my life.  And the reasoning is not because it was my "first" concert, the reason is because it was an all around phenomenal show.  The echoing voice of Ali Campbell on the lead, vibrated off of the walls and into my soul.  And the band?  The sound of the brass and percussion, right down to the tambourine–together in unison, meshing throughout the hall...watching all the spectators eat it all up, sway in the groove and continue to be entranced by the music.  UB40 turned the hall into a dancehall and I will never forget that experience or show.  It was all done in accordance to the music that was being provided live by a lil' old multicultural reggae/ska/dub influenced band from Birmingham, England.  

UB40 came to prominence in North America with the release of Labour Of Love.  Their remake of Neil Diamond's song "Red Red Wine" can be found on the song listing at any karaoke bar or on the do not play list at your friend's wedding (depending on what type of wedding you go to of course.)  Either way, the song has been stuck with a sore of a moniker– the cheesy song hardly anyone wants to hear (I don't care, I still love it.)  Nonetheless, Labour Of Love is one of my favorite albums and I must say honestly speaking, the only one that I own from the reggae band.  I know a lot of their singles, but don't know any of their other albums–except this one.  UB40's cover of all of the listed songs are amazing, jovial and cool.  The album's opener "Cherry Oh Baby" is a fun, no fuss tune that you can't help but chant and chill to, "Sweet Sensation" has a deep mellow flow and the synthesizer and brass heavy "She Caught The Train" all add to make the album what it is.  It is one of the albums that I listen to from beginning to end, thoroughly and enjoy every minute of it.

Last I read, there was trouble in the land of UB40 and a couple of the members were not happy at all causing them to leave.  The voice of the band, lead singer Ali Campbell and keyboardist Michael Virtue both took leave after some managing disagreements.  It was said that the lead was being replaced by Ali Campbell's brother Duncan.  Wow,  I wonder how he will take that since they are not exactly in sibling bliss.  If you would like to read more about their plans to continue on without the two major players, you can do so here.  They did release their last album with the original line up called Twentyfourseven recently.  I am not exactly sure what it is about and how it is, but if you are a fan check it out.  I was sad to hear that the original line up was being disrupted, but what can we do?  Give thanks to Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders for bringing this band and their music to the forefront.  If you would like to find out more on UB40, you can check out their website here.

Flashback of the day:  I decided to go with my favorite track on the album.  I love, love, LOVE this track.

Have a great weekend...

Tha Connoisseur 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday Madness on Tuesday...

"Fly the friendly skies!..."  United Airlines

I am well aware that it is Tuesday, trust me on that.  But I figured that since I couldn't get my two cents in yesterday on the news that irked me, I would give you a rundown on my flight into Canada with Air Canada.  As of Sunday, I THA CONNOISSEUR, HATE AIR CANADA.

This slogan was used by United Airlines to show the world that they were quite capable in carrying their customers to where they need to go on a daily basis.  Well my dear friends, Air Canada's slogan is: "The Freedom To Fly Your Way" which I think is really a load of %&$!?!

I have always been weary about using Air Canada to go anywhere because of horror stories I have heard from people who have dared to get on one of their flights.  So I finally bit the bullet and took my tail on my first Air Canada flight last year - and low and behold, they lost my luggage.  You would think that I have learned from that experience, but nooooo.  So again when I left for NYC in February, my travel agent booked a cheap Air Canada flight and OH LORD not ever again shall I fall for that!  Please take into consideration that the flight was to leave at 6:30 pm and my ass should have been home on Sunday evening around 8 pm.

Here is a rundown of the events:

Sunday June 8th @ 4:30pm - Arrived at LaGauardia airport and WAS NOT told that the plane was delayed.  According to the system when I called in to check my reservation, the plane was on time.

5:00 pm -  A young lady checks in and upon her finding a seat at the gate, let's us know that the plane has been delayed until 7:45.  Not one announcement has been made as yet or at least, none was heard.

6:00 pm -  Announcement made that the flight has been delayed for 7:45 pm (no really??)

7:15 pm - Announcement made that the flight has now been cancelled but we were being put on standby for a 10 pm flight that same night.  HOWEVER, not everyone heard because the shotty PA system was not working at our gate.  As we all got up to find out what was going on, the little she-devil behind the counter decided to then tell everyone "You didn't hear because the PA system does not work on that side (you THINK they would let their customers know before hand?) and that we should move so we could hear."  Trust me, it was not said as nice as it is being relayed.

7:35 pm - Finally my turn at the desk to make a choice, standby or book for the next day.  I chose both.  I mean come on, I was already there so I matter as well get my tail home no?

---- In waiting, I met a Torontonian who was on the same flight as I was.  She was a sweetheart and we ranted about Air Canada and it's stupidities.  It is not the first time that either of us has had a problem with them - surprise surprise.  

9:59 pm -  GUESS WHAT??!!  The standby flight for 10 pm has now been cancelled.  So the choice was to sleep in the airport or go back to Brooklyn.  So being that I did not want to dish out another $30 for another cab back, I took the long haul back to Brooklyn by bus and subway, reaching home at 12:15 am.  Oh and to make things worse, people were already pissed and such from waiting in the airport all day, the aforementioned she-devil at the desk relayed this message to the masses:

"I will say it again, the 10 pm plane is now cancelled and you have two options.  One, you are welcome to sleep in the airport or two, YOU have to find accommodations, Air Canada will not be paying them for you..."  What a heathen.

----Now I had to start all over again on Monday, for my flight at 12:30 pm.

9:30 am - Left the house in Brooklyn (by cab!) to head out to the hell hole once again.

10:00 am - I am right back to where I started, waiting for my 12:30 flight.

12:05 pm - We were supposed to board at 11:55, but I guess since we were on the plane we really didn't care.

12:40 pm - Everyone is on the plane and we learn from the pilot that we are 15th in line to take off because of the backup in flights due to the storm the day before.  WTF!!  Fifteenth!!  Here we go again...

----Alright, enough of the timeline.  We finally took off at around 1:45 pm and reached Toronto at 2:30 pm.  I hate to travel during the hours of one and six because of the craziness and long lines at immigration.  And so said, so done.  The lines were insane and I stood there for 45 minutes just for a one minute conversation...

"Where did you come from?" - New York
"How long where you there?" - 4 months
"You are all set, have a good day..." - You too.


By the time I got out of Pearson airport it was around 4 pm.  I made yet another friend and ended up getting a ride half way to my destination, which helped immensely.  I AM SPENT!! D-O-N-E!  But I guarantee that your girl will be in top form and back to some sort or normality soon.  Do know that I WILL NOT be taking any form of Air Canada back to anywhere if there is anyway that I can avoid it, it will be done!!  Have any flight horror stories?  Do share!

Flashback of the day:  Today is a chill day and I am so set in chill mode.  So here is a little fun pick me up ditty from my girl Aretha.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, June 06, 2008

Groove With Me...

"You know that its true, you can call me crazy!"  Guy - You Can Call Me Crazy

It is Friday yet again!  Why is it when you want the week to speed by, it usually goes at a turtle's pace and vice versa?  This is one of the weeks that I would have preferred that it went slowly, as I am heading back to Toronto for the summer.  I don't want to leave NYC for the obvious reason that there is nothing and I mean NOTHING like New York in the summertime.  But I see it this way, the silver lining for me is seeing family and friends, touching base with the peoples, catching shows and keeping up with the writing gigs from TDot.  I will be right back in Brooklyn come September, to pick up where I left off.

So with that said, the album of the week is:

The New Jack Swing era was brought forth by producer extraordinaire Mr. Teddy Riley, with the merging of r&b and hip-hop a new sound was born in the streets.  Teddy's known vehicle of delivery was none other than the assembling of Aaron "Nasty Man" Hall, Teddy himself and Aaron's brother Damion "Crazy Legs" Hall.  Now the original line up did not include Damion Hall, but Timmy Gatlin (featured on the cover of the album) who was from Teddy's first group Kids At Work.  Personally, I say thank god for Damion, he is so much more memorable.   Teddy Riley's work has not gone unnoticed at all, with collaborations and hits with some of the most well known acts in the industry like Michael Jackson, Al B. Sure!, Heavy D & The Boyz, Blackstreet (just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more) and notably–Guy, he is seen as an instrumental part of contributing his funky style to the r&b genre in the early 90's.  

It is impossible to turn on this album without movin' and shakin' your ass, unless you don't have a pulse!  Guy is a funky, upbeat, soulful and danceable disc.  The album's domineering opening track "Groove Me" is a testament to true ol' school dancers everywhere, just take a look at the video.  "Teddy's Jam" is a classic instrumental jam with Aaron doing his best Charlie Wilson in the background, "You Can Call Me Crazy" is a solid Al B Sure! mistaken track–no y'all it is NOT him!  While the two ballads "Piece Of My Love" and "Goodbye Love" are definitely quiet storm classics as well, with the latter being sampled by Mary J. Blige on "Don't Go".  It seems like the all around word here is "classic", however I will be honest, the one song that does not agree with me is "My Business."  I am so happy that song is at the end of the disc, I still listen to it but would not be heartbroken at all if it somehow got missed on the album.  

Besides Teddy Riley being the formidable producer that he is, bringing us Guy, he also brought us Blackstreet and a host of unmistakeable hits like "My Prerogative", "Do The Right Thing" and "Just Got Paid" just to name a few.  He is still wearing his producer hat and lent a hand in working 0n New Kids On The Block's new album.  And judging from the first single, the album just may be something to talk about.  The voice behind the outfit–Aaron Hall, went on to a promising solo career with his debut solo album The Truth that gave us "Don't Be Afraid" and the heart wrenching "I Miss You."  He also did guest spots on the Boomerang soundtrack with his idol, aforementioned Charlie Wilson and with R. Kelly and a host of R&B male singers called Black Men United (BMU) on the Jason's Lyric soundtrack.  Even though Aaron's star fizzled out (I did not enjoy his album Adults Only) and R. Kelly bit off of him like no one else could do, his voice is distinctive and can never be forgotten.  His brother Damion Hall, was not the strongest vocal performer in my book, but he carried the background bits well.  He went on to bring us his debut solo album Straight To The Point, which was actually pretty good, but his remake of Donny Hathaway's "Song For You" featuring Aaron Hall and his single "Satisfy You" featuring Chante Moore are the definite stand outs and are worth the downloads from iTunes or wherever you plan to cop it.  Look out for Guy, last I heard is that they were working on an album, but who knows with everyone and their cat and dog using a vocoder now a days , what does that leave for Teddy?  God knows I don't want to hear him sing–think of "No Diggity"...ya I thought so.

Flashback of the day:  Well, today I decided to cheat just a bit.  It's not that often that I do so is it?  I have decided to bring three videos your way–a video of each artist doing their Guy thing and their solo thing.

First up, Guy and yes I am aware this was on previously but who cares?  Since I posted the video last time, I thought I would go with the live version at the Apollo this time:

Second, Aaron Hall in a suit and his background dancers wearing Cross Colors (holy ish!!):

And lastly, Damion and Chante Moore doing the damn thing...so sexy!  It's not the original, but the remix is alright...

See y'all on the Canadian side on Monday...

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


"I wake up in the morning feeling so free, I stretch up and I yawn and I crack my feet, put on my house shoes and go brush my teeth–that's my ordinary, ordinary..."  Steph Jones – Mr. Ordinary

Yes, that is my ordinary indeed, just lil' old me.  Today I thought I would reflect a bit on a few things.  So today's entry is going to be short and sweet.

First things first - the Sex and the City flick was serious.  The fashion was crazy, the shoes were SICK and fed my shoe fetish appetite, the purses were phenomenal for the bag lover in me and the emotional roller-coaster that the movie takes you on is respectable, but I am not a crier so it drove me nuts!  All in all, as a girlfriend of mine said - it is mindless, fluffy fun that was well done.  So please, don't go and dissect the film and its flaws like a NAFTA treaty.  Yes, there are a few flaws that most likely die hard S&TC lovers will pick up on and surely discuss.  The one contention that I did have with the movie, was the end.  I HATED IT!!  I will not discuss it here, but the ending alone is a great conversation piece regarding relationships.  There is already talk of a sequel, honestly I am not too sure about how that would fair.  I am sure that we would all rush out to see it, however where else can they go with the story line?  Who knows...Nonetheless,  it is a fun movie that I am sure you will enjoy with your gal pals, I know I did.  I would definitely see it again!

Secondly, I had to reflect on my born day week and give thanks for another fun filled escapade.  With my b-day week flowing into my cousin's, we tend to do it up just right.  From last Friday straight through to this Monday, it was a continuous celebration and we looked fabulous and had an unbelievable time with friends and family.  There was a lot of dancing, drinking, partying, conversations, dinners, walks, vibing, chilling and love all around.  As ALWAYS, I give thanks for yet another year!

In closing (I told you, short and sweet), a girlfriend of mine sent her sistas something today that was very inspiring and right on time.  She wrote a little entreaty for us to remember, because as I continually say, you just never know when the curtain will go down and the lights go out.  Here are a few lines to live by regardless of who you pray to or don't pray to...

I am blessed
I am covered
I am loved
I am a blessing
I am connected
I am prospering
I am able
I am creative
I am successful
I am willing
I am above only and not beneath
I am free
I am protected
I am thankful

And Amen to that.

The flashback of the day:  Well I am in a sentimental mood and feeling kinda sexy!  Here is an oldie but a goodie from Mr. Teddy Pendergrass performed on Soul Train.  Ohhh Teddy, the devious sexy man next door...

See you on Friday with the album of the week...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday Madness...

"B-R-O-K-E-N, B-R-O-K-E-N, B-R-O-K-E-N and broken is my name-o"...Tha Connoisseur - I'm Broken

That right there is a lyric from my new song "I'm Broken", that I just wrote as I was sitting here.  You have to sing it to Bingo to get the effect.  I cannot explain what my thirty-something year old body feels like today.  I will go into the whole shebang for Wednesday's post, but do know that right now, to me, objects may seem closer than they appear.  THAT is where my head is at today.

So I know you missed it last week, therefore I dragged my ass out of party recovery mode to bring y'all my Monday Madness.  Please bear in mind that I was not able to put in my two cents on happenings from last week, so there may be some "old" news in here.

Here is Monday Madness-last week's news that made me cringe, cuss or shake my head:

1) Cheatin' Summamma...: Well this one had me in stitches and you will see why.  A jilted husband auctions his cheating and lying hoochie of a wife on Ebay.  He didn't want to deal with her ass after taking her back and having her run out on him again, so he decided the next best thing would be to pawn her off on some doltish unsuspecting chap.  PRECIOUS. (Ms. Virgo)

2) SERIOUSLY DISNEY?!! : Ok, I am a Disney lover, I mean really who isn't?  But when I read about the lovely (I hope you hear the sarcastic tone in this) gold adornments that are going to be sold as part of their Caribbean "Dead Man's Chest" Collection, I nearly had a conniption.  The idiots are planning to sell a "gold noose", YES a noose, "obey" and "blonde" pendants.  Like I  am going to wear that with pride or think of purchasing that blasted crap as a keepsake and hanging it around my neck (how ironic), are you kidding me?   WTF were they thinking?!  Mickey, Minnie and the crew need to talk to their chief rocker, cause he is obviously sniffing too much of Tinkerbell's sprinkle dust.

3) My ever growing disdain for 50 Cent:  This is a bit old, seeing that now he is in a bitter fight with the mother of his son.  Not to mention there's the notion put out there by his ex, that he started the blaze at their NJ mansion on the weekend, that burned down to a crisp.  However, I chose to show his more chauvinistic side or should I say true colors that were displayed when Rocsi of 106 & Park BET fame, told the damn truth.  During the whole showdown between 50 Cent and Kanye, Rocsi blatantly stated on video that "50's album is garbage!" and honestly, she wasn't lying.  So in retaliation, our boy Two Quarters, decided that name calling was the way to go and called Rocsi a hoe and said that he knows some guys she has been around the block with.  Now, I am sorry, usually when a grown ass man gets to name calling it means that he can't use the little pea brain he was given to come up with anything else.  And let us not forget, he must be just livid because what she said was obviously the truth and most likely Rocsi didn't give him none when he asked.  Ohhh the after effects of a deflated ego.

4) Ummm...WHAAAHAAPPPENNED!?: I love the website Crunk & Disorderly, it is one of my guilty pleasures.  They are so gully over there, it is no joke.  Well I stumbled on this one day and I was speechless, yet entranced by the mystical creature.  Now I am sorry yet again, but listen up - I don't care if you are my people or not, you do this to yourself, you will be put on BLAST by me.  Whatthehellisgoingon??!!  Check it out for yourselves, if anything you will get your laugh of the day or perhaps even the week...

5) Sex and my City: Ha ha, I'm not sharing that with you!  However, I wanted to share an excerpt of an article I read yesterday over on Time.com that put a big smile on my face.  The writer of the article, Mr. Richard Corliss, wrote a review on Sex and the City and what he thought of it.  Well it wasn't one of the most positive reviews, however his synopsis was so well written, it had me giggling the whole way through.  

"Carrie and Mr. Big have finally decided to migrate red, but he gets clef toed and is a how son at the my encore. Instead of her oh no money, Carrie spends time at a Mars excretion being consolidates in the company of her patchy times friends, who have their own lob sperm. Miranda has boredom issues with Steve, who is briefly a flu fun hit, provoking her to have lime. Charlotte, who has radiated glop but still hopes to vibe right, finds out that she angers pint. And Samantha gets axe sully distracted by the sight of a lewd lewd eon gent next door. Miranda and Carrie have a gainful lot because one of them told the beau of the other to seal stingy, but the two circle one on a weeny verse. At the end, all the stories are resolved la hippy, as our four femmes go nab a dingo by drinking tampon colossi."


Now for those of you who have not seen the movie as yet, there may or may not be some spoilers mentioned. I guess it's all in perception, however you can find the corrected words at the end of his article.

Flashback of the day: I had no idea what to go with today seeing that my brain is not really fully functioning right now, so this is a random pick. Enjoy!

Alright, again...see you on Wednesday when I am lucid...

Tha Connoisseur