I Kissed A Girl

You know how some mornings one news story catches your attention more than others for some intangible reason? Well for me it was Katy Perry’s appearance on the Today Show’s Toyota Summer Concert Series causing controversy among parents.

The lyrics read, “I kissed a girl, and I liked it, the taste of her cherry chapstick.” Hardy says it isn’t exactly her idea of appropriate morning news programming.

“It’s more for like your VH1 and your BET stations, later on at night, when the kids are in bed. Not during the daytime,” said Hardy.

Yeah, because your daytime programs like soap operas and talk shows are so wholesome and life-enriching, right?

Isn’t it obvious that the popularity of this supposedly suggestive song is based entirely, by design, on its own suggestiveness? It’s what I call the Madonna Effect; purposely stirring up controversy in order to get more attention. The lyrics and the video were both intended to do just exactly what they’re doing; getting air-play. It even gets airplay and exposure during the local morning news when they do reports like this one.  It’s certainly not a direct result of the quality of the music or any talent on the performer’s or song-writer’s part. The song itself, as a song regardless of “it’s message”, sucks. Seriously, it’s terrible. So to me, the more disturbing part is this;

“We feature a variety of artists on Today’s concert series, from contemporary acts like Rihanna to the nostalgic like Neil Diamond. Katy Perry has had the No. 1 song in the country for seven consecutive weeks, and we are happy to include her as part of our line-up,” said Megan Kopf for NBC Universal.

That’s right, the number one song in the country for seven consecutive weeks! (Nice line-up by the way NBC; Rihanna, Neil Diamond, and Katy Perry? Thanks, I’ll pass.) It is apparent that we are a country that loves crap. Mindless, tasteless drones following whatever trend we are bombarded with no matter how ridiculous. This just makes me sad.

Now excuse me while I crank up some Kid Rock!

Orb Weaver: I believe you can get me through the night

Last night, sometime after midnight, I went to carry some boxes out the back door and around the back of the house. But when I made the turn towards the garage I nearly walked into this:

You can’t really tell it from the poor picture quality, but the web was taller than I am and wider than my outstretched arms. It was perfect and beautiful. And the critter that built it has to be one of the largest spiders of its kind that I have ever seen in this area. It’s nearly two inches across. Even a spider nut like me couldn’t help but be impressed! She’s an absolutely gorgeous specimen of a Neoscona crucifera, also known as an “Arboreal Orb Weaver”. I wish I could’ve gotten a better picture.

I think I will call her “Bonita”!

My Non-Existent List

The co-author of the book “100 Things to do Before You Die,” Dave Freeman, died on August 17 at the ripe old age of 47. Is that ironic? Maybe. I just hope he accomplished a lot of what was on his list in the time that he had, or at least went out knowing that he was working on it one item at a time. It did make me think a little about a list of my own though. I don’t have one. Never really thought about it & never saw “The Bucket List” or had any desire to.

If I were to ever make a list, here are a few of the items that would be near the top (in no particular order):

  1. Travel. I know that’s kind of a broad topic, but it would encompass my desires to experience Hawaii, eat my way through all twenty regions of Italy, visit and watch games in all 30 Major League baseball stadiums across North America , and tour New England’s country Inns in the Autumn.
  2. Volunteer. I want to grow old enough to retire. Not so that I can quit working, but so that I can then devote my time and resources volunteering for some charitable organization or something equally important that I feel passionate about.
  3. Move. If I ever left this area or had the means to buy a second home, I would like to have a house in the historic district of Savannah Georgia. It is probably my favorite geographical area that I have ever visited.
  4. Write. I would like to write a publishable book. It’s honestly one of the reasons I started blogging; to see if I had the chops and the drive to seriously write something worthwhile. The jury is still out on that one.
  5. Family. I would like to live long enough to watch my daughter grow into the fine woman I know she will be. I would like to see her start her own family – and I’d like to be a part of it. And I want to spend as much time as humanly possible with my wonderful wife. Sometimes she’s the only thing that keeps me going day after day.

Okay, so there’s nothing earth-shattering in there. That’s fine by me. I’m not a very complicated guy to be honest.

So, what would make your list?

Monday Miscellany

The Kitchen Chronicles – Phase 4: It’s our turn now!

If Phase 1 was planning, Phase 2 was preparation, and Phase 3 was all things Contractor related, then Phase 4 is well under way! YAY!

The contractor wrapped his part up Saturday morning and so began the daunting process of painting & wallpapering yesterday. Of course everything has to be taped and covered and primed, etc etc. So this is no small task either – but at least it’s our task to complete. Not to mention that we will still have to put all of the stuff that’s stacked precariously in the dining room back into the cabinets, pantry and on the counter top. Still, we’re shooting to be done by Friday. So by Monday we may finally have some “After” pictures, which I know you’re all just dying to see! (Yeah right. Mostly just so I will shut up about it!) The hardest part now is that while we need to be working on it, life goes on. We still have to go to work every day. We still have to mow, and eat, and walk the dog, and exercise, and shop… But at least there is a light at the end of this tunnel kitchen!

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The Olympics Is Finally Over!

Then Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis performed Whole Lotta Love… Uh… What?

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What’s that pressure…

inside my head that makes me feel like my eyes are going to pop out onto my cheeks at any moment?

Oh – that explains it!

Grrrrrrrrrr

Friday Five – Drinkin’ Songs

I don’t have much time today, so I just threw a quick list together during my lunch break. Don’t ask how I arrived at today’s topic, especially while at work…

I Gotta Get Drunk – Willie Nelson & George Jones, a classic!

Have A Drink On Me – AC/DC, there’s just not enough hard-rock on my lists usually – so there you go!

Drank Like A River – Whiskeytown (warning: Ryan drops a couple of F-bombs at the beginning, just so you know.) Bonus points for the band name & the song title to both fit the category, right?

Drunken Angel – Lucinda Williams, not technically a “drinking song” but it came up in my iTunes when I searched for the word “drunk” – and I like it, so it made the list.

Why Don’t We Get Drunk & Screw – Jimmy Buffet, might as well admit that I also have a little parrot-head music on there too. I hope this doesn’t effect our relationship.

BONUS: Here’s one you may have never heard. The Refreshments were a one-hit wonder with their song Banditos; you remember it I’m sure. But this one is one my favorites from that album about a whiskey from Thailand called “Mekhong“.

Nastia Liukin: Disappointing Daddy

…One Non-Gold Medal At A Time

I’ve never claimed to be the best father in the world, but when I heard the announcers repeating the phrases that Valeri Liukin, father and coach of Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin, was spewing the night of the women’s all around competition, my heart broke for her. Words like, “There is only one color good enough for this family and that’s GOLD” and “Second place is the worst possible place” just seemed terribly wrong to me. I understand pushing your child to aspire to do their best. But to imply that you wouldn’t be happy for them at all, even upset with them if they won a silver medal, is going too far.

She’s going home tomorrow with five medals; one gold, three silver, and one bronze. That’s a serious haul! Especially at the freakin’ Olympics! How could any father and/or coach not be overwhelmingly proud of that? The last sporting event I excelled at that wasn’t played on a Playstation 2 was a junior high Presidential Physical Fitness sit-up contest some 25 years ago. We’re talking about the Olympics here.

Maybe I’m the one misinterpreting the whole situation. But I just can’t get it out of my mind. It really stuck in my craw for some reason. It could be that I’ve seen too many of those crazy sports parents that yell at their kids for missing a free throw or dropping a pop-fly to sit well with me. It may be going too far to say so, but I see that as a form of abuse. Feel free to disagree or even contradict me – I totally understand. But it still upsets me.

I for one am proud of all of our athletes competing this summer whether they bring home any medals or not. Congratulations Nastia, Shawn, Michael, and everyone else. Well Done!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Being the Star Wars geek that I am, we obviously made time this weekend to see the movie. Many non-geeks are confused about what Clone Wars actually is, so let me try to explain. The Clone War was first hinted at by both Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope. It actually took place between episodes two and three. It was a major conflict between the armies of the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems and named for the clone troopers who fought for the Republic.

Clear as mud, right?

The Clone Wars movie is basically a precursor to an eponymous animated series which will begin airing this fall on Cartoon Network and TNT. Both are based in this timeframe and use the war as a backdrop.

Visually, it’s stunning. No one would expect anything less from Lucas and his band of happy CGI troopers. The animation style is very stylized and angular which I like too. The rest is pretty much typical Star Wars fare. The dialog is what it is, and the story is decent – over the heads of one sector of the target audience, a little simplistic for the other. As a whole I liked it. But I’m a fanboy, so many would say my opinion is slanted. And they may be right. I do own both the Ewoks and Droids cartoons on DVD after all. But here are my two biggest complaints;

1)  No Opening Crawl. Star Wars movie goers are used to seeing the iconic “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” followed by a three paragraph textual description of the happenings immediately prior to the events of the movie; an easy way to set the scene and give a little back-story in a few quick seconds. It’s also an integral moment in all of the movies, an homage to the Flash Gordon serials of the 30’s and 40’s, and a huge reason why Lucas bucked the studios and refused to include opening credits. In the case of Clone Wars, we see the beginning phrase, but then a narrator reads the setup as they flash images and mini-clips that may or may not go along with the narration. It was very un-Star Wars and felt more like a “previously on LA Law” kind of moment. Maybe they’re planning on the majority of their fans to be either illiterate, or more likely too young to read.

2) New Hutt Characters. If Rotta the Huttlet, Jabba’s Muppet Baby-esque son at the heart of the movie’s story-line, wasn’t bad enough, they had to go and introduce us to the single most annoying character in the Star Wars universe, possibly even more annoying than Jar Jar Binks, Ziro the Hutt. Ziro is Jabba’s estranged and evidently flamboyantly gay uncle who lurks in the red-light district of Coruscant. He has purple skin with powder blue tattoos, wears a plume of feathers behind his ear, and talks like Truman Capote in amazingly perfect English. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I audibly groaned every time he had a scene.

But, that being said, I still liked it and will probably watch the series too.

Thanks for hijacking even more of my life George! My wife will be thrilled.

Friday Five – The Best Medicine

Sometimes you just have to laugh. Here are five songs that can consistently bring a smile to my face;

Cold Beverage – G. Love and Special Sauce, All I’m going to say is, “Stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge… stick it in the fridge.”

Penguins – Lyle Lovett, The gentlemanly Texan can make me belly-laugh one minute and get all misty eyed the next. And set the whole thing to some of the most gorgeous music ever. In this case, we’re just glad that penguins are so sensitive to his needs!

Cowboy Love – Reverend Horton Heat, Hey, “its interracial cowboy homo kind of love”! This has nothing at all to do with Brokeback Mountain OR Cowboy Troy! At least I don’t think it does.

In Spite of Ourselves, John Prine and Iris DeMent, I first heard this song during the closing credits of the movie Daddy and Them. Thank goodness it was on DVD so that we could back it up and hear it again… and again… and again.

And finally, If I Had a Million Dollars by Barenaked Ladies. Included almost exclusively because of two very unfortunate haircuts combined with some terrible camera work. It’s Canadian Geek-Rock at its finest!