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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Intergalactic Planetary

Update- Kara from Life Or Something Like It brought to my attention that this site couldn't be seen in IE. So my boyfriend did some tweaking and thinks he traced it to a Blogrolling/Blogger Chicks issue. Has anyone else had problems? For awhile I temporarily removed the code but it seems that IE will load, it just takes longer to do so. I did check out a few other sites that are on the Blogger Chicks list in IE and they did seem to have the same or a similiar, problem. I don't know which version of IE they are using. I am using 6.0 to test this. If you are a Blogger Chick (or even just someone who uses IE) and have had this problem too, please let me know.

It's been a few days which may translate to old news to you, but there wasn't a good time to post this before then. And just think, everyone and their very educated mother were writing about this on Friday. So now it's fresh again!

This just in. Pluto is not, I repeat not a planet.

There's been talk about giving Pluto the boot for sometime now. But it's like the end of the world or California falling into the ocean. You figure it may happen someday, but it's outta sight, out of mind. Worrying about Pluto's status has barely been a blip on my radar.

Ironically, this is exactly what caused the demotion.

According to stuffy, intellectual astronomer types, a planet is classified as the following: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

All of that is just fancy talk that says Pluto should hang out with planets its own size. Only those guys are not considered planets, but dwarfs. But if we're being technical, (and really, when talking about things like planet classification how can you not), they are planets. By definition they are dwarf planets along with asteroids, comets, and other natural flavors satellites.

But I'm wondering. What do you do when you've put in over sixty years of service as a planet, and then suddenly, just like that, you're demoted? And to think us humans think it's tough being canned after a few measley years of service. Nobody knows the trouble Pluto has seen.

Suddenly you're stripped of your reputation. You're like the Rodney Dangerfield of the galaxy; you can't get no respect. And forget about sprucing up the old resume. How do you dance around the fact that you aren't dancing around anything, anymore, but rather tiptoeing, along with the rest of the galaxy's misfit toys?

Not to mention the fact of what this means to educators like myself. In fact, I was at school when I first heard of the demotion. My principal came running out, all worried about what this means for the children. Every year we study the planets in depth in third grade. The kids do reports. We teach them mnemonic devices like My Very Educated Mother Jupiter Served Us Nine Pizzas, albeit that goes against what any good mother would actually do. But what do we say now? My Very Educated Mother Just Screwed Us Nouns somehow just doesn't have the same ring to it.

It was that moment I remembered that I have a huge rug in the back of my classroom that is a planetary theme. My vice principal advised putting a pillow over Pluto, but I say Pluto should not go quietly into that good night.

In the end, when you think about it, it was a lose/lose situation for educators everywhere. In one scenario, the International Astronomical Union had considered increasing the number of planets from nine to twelve. That would mean larger rugs and even longer mnemonic devices which really would defeat the purpose of why abbreviations are so great to begin with.

Yes my friends, it's time to face facts. Up is now down. Down is now up. Who knows? Maybe this is just the beginning and Belinda Carlise was right after all.

Heaven really is a place on earth.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Is She Really Going Out With Him?!"

Writing about chick flicks got me thinking about the bigger picture.

Unrequited love. Pining. Clay Aiken's song Invisible. You get the idea.

Which- side note: the mere mention of has brought the Clay Mates out of the closet today- no pun intended- in full force. I'm afraid the title of this post is rather misleading, but I hope you stick around anyway!

Which brings me to the theme of this week's TITMT.

I want to hear the story of your first crush.

I'm talking all the gory details. How this boy or girl (no doubt) did not then, nor do they now, know of your existence. The more longing the better. None of this, and "I'm married to him/her today" nonsense. It's all about the angst, people.

Just kidding. People who married their first crushes can write about that. I guess. I can't promise the rest of us won't snicker and laugh behind your back though.

My tale of woe and heartbreak to be posted this Sunday!

Once again, to's the drill:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Write Back Weekend "Girls, Girls, Girls"

Want info on guest posting? See this post.

Being a chick myself, I should have realized that answering last week's TITMT was going to be easier said than done. Once again I was intrigued by many of your choices although participation was fairly lower this week. What's up with that anyway? You guys don't like chicks?!

As you will soon see, some of my choices overlap with some of yours. While I enjoyed watching movies like Bridget Jones Diary and Steel Magnolias, neither one of these films really did it for me. With Bridget there was too much hype, however, there was Hugh. With Steel Magnolias it was too chick flick, even for this chick.

Then I quickly realized that not unlike some of you, I had a hard time defining what a chick flick actually was. Then I realized there was a tried and true way to see what qualified. I call it the man test.

It's simple really. All you need is a man. He could be your husband, your boyfriend or your best friend. If none of those apply ask your brother, your cousin, your dad or your boss. I don't really care. There's only ONE exception to the man test; the man can't be gay. I'm not cutting out gay men as some sort of weird discrimination, I'm doing this because gay men are like honorary chicks and thus, why asking them is not going to work.

Hold a movie up at your local video store or bring it up in conversation. If the straight man winces, rolls his eyes as a response, or has no idea what movie you are talking about, chances are you have a chick flick on your hands.

Although I'm not a girly girl, I realized that I do like a lot of movies that would pass the chick flick test. I realized this when I compiled a list of 20+ movies to write about here. But in the name of brevity (and sanity) I narrowed it down to twelve. No need to thank me, really.

1. Shag: Whenever I think of movies that never got their fair shake, Shag always comes to mind. It's a great period piece that is supposed to be about the sixties, but it was made in the eighties. It's about four, lifelong friends who decide to have one last girl's weekend together before their lives all inevitably go in different directions. Of course, the four friends are not the types of girls who seem like they would ever be friends, and thus this is what makes their bond (and the plot) much stronger. There's music. There's laughter. And if that's not enough there's Bridget Fonda, Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish and Daryl Hannah's sister they must keep in the closet most days. What's not to love?

2. Dirty Dancing: I know it's cliche, but really, how can you create a top chick flick list and NOT include Dirty Dancing? It's like going out to a bar and just ordering a coke. For most people, it just doesn't happen. I don't think I need to elaborate on what the plot to Dirty Dancing was or why it was so special. It is a rarity though because I think on some level it transcends the guy/girl issue I was talking about earlier. Maybe this is because it starred Patrick Swayze, who, for a time made the girls swoon with She's Like The Wind and also earned the men's respect. Therefore, both genders can share joint custody on this one.

3. For Keeps?: I'm well aware of the fact that Molly Ringwald made many great movies in the eighties. I'm also well aware of the fact that this is not widely regarded as one of them. Frankly, I don't care. In this movie, teenaged Molly gets knocked up by her high school sweetheart/my long time crush, Randall Batinkoff. Will they be able to make it work? Believe it or not, with Randall as the teenage dad, even I started thinking teenage pregnancy didn't look half bad.

4. Clueless: I'll never forget going to see Clueless in the movie theater. I remember my friends and I being partly embarrassed to be there because at eighteen we assumed we were already "too old" to enjoy movies like these. Ahh, how wrong we were. Clueless is the perfect example of a movie that can be campy and clever all at the same time. Attending a high school not all that different from this one also helped. Now it's a movie that has stood the test of time and I proudly can say it is a movie that defined my generation without snickering and without apology. And if nothing else, it features Brittany Murphy when she used to eat. Yes, those were the days.

5. The Cutting Edge: Quick! What do you get when you marry figure skating, a decidedly girly sport, with a love/hate romance? I'll tell ya. Chick flick magic! The Cutting Edge is a great movie that takes all that is wonderful about figure skating without employing actors who actually figure skate. Perhaps movies like Center Stage could take a cue from this. Going for authenticity isn't always a good thing. Incidentally now when I see Moira Kelly and DB Sweeney playing the parents in movies and tv I get a tad sad. I guess you could say I'm not ready for the switch over just yet.

6. Some Kind of Wonderful: If you've been reading AOGB for any length of time you know that Some Kind of Wonderful is my favorite movie of all time. It's a love triangle with a twist and both the casting and the dialogue was excellent. But then again, who would expect less from then mastermind, John Hughes? Which reminds me, a moment of silence, please.

7. Terms of Endearment: This movie is decidedly different than the rest of my choices. This is because Terms of Endearment is arguably the most "grown up" of all of my choices. And it's not a chick flick in the sense that there's teenage pining or girly musical montages. It's a chick flick because if you watch it, You. Will. Bawl. Seriously. Even men are not immune to the power that is Terms of Endearment. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it. Purchase a package of tissues while you're out, too.

8. Pretty In Pink: Ok, so like if Pretty In Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful were both up for prom queen, Pretty In Pink would definitely win it while Some Kind of Wonderful would have to hope for Miss Congeniality, at best. And believe me. Choosing between these two is like Sophie's Choice. They're both great in their own right, I've just always been the type of gal who roots for the underdog. Yet, Pretty In Pink makes the top list, too. Chances are if you like one of these movies, I can whole heartedly stand behind the fact that you will like the other. As to what makes this movie special one word, Ducky.

9. Say Anything: Hands down, Say Anything is by far, the best chick flick ever made, bar none. It's Cameron Crowe at his best. It's John Cusack at his best. And it's Ione Skye at her "most memorable" considering the average person couldn't name something else Ione Skye was in, let alone name Ione Skye, period. As MCF said, John Cusack definitely could have made a career out of fronting movies like these alone where he was the lovable loser who may or may not always get what he wants. But Cusack only dabbles in this genre from time to time. I suppose he thinks of his love affair with movies about love like a Weight Watcher's relationship with chocolate: too much is not good for you. I don't know though. In my book, I could never tire of the courting side of Cusack, even if the man, still a bachelor at 40, is all smoke and mirrors.

10. Can't Buy Me Love: Nowadays everyone drools over Doctor McDreamy but what I wanna do right here is go back. Way back. Back into time. The year was 1987 and the scrawny little kid you saw before you made you believe he morphed from nerd to stud, to nerd again- all in under 90 minutes. So some say McDreamy had a rebirth and to those people I say go rent Can't Buy Me Love. It also contains my yearbook quote: "Cools, nerds, your side, my side. Man it's all bull***. It's just tough enough to be yourself." A thousand bucks and a few mowed lawns can't change the fact --he's always been a star.

11. 10 Things I Hate About You: I'm about to lay two very powerful statements out there so get ready. First, I can't imagine Heath Ledger, a now successful leading man, or Julia Stiles, a now successful leading lady, to go on and star in better movies than this in their already blossoming careers. Second, I can't imagine a better modern adaption of a Shakespearean play being made, ever. That being said, 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern day spin on The Taming of the Shrew. It's dialogue is witty and it's approach fresh. Sure they built off a classic love story, but they made something old new again where others can't even make something new interesting. Say that three time fast.

12. Girls Just Want To Have Fun: Last but certainly not least, if you're looking for a movie to personify what men hate so much about chick flicks, look no further than Girls Just Want To Have Fun. This movie stars Sarah Jessica Parker in her pre Carrie days as Janey Glenn, the new girl at a stuck up private school whose only dream is to dance on DTV. So she befriends the class misfit, played by Helen Hunt. Together they sneak out. They meet boys. They wear eightiesriffic costumes and most importantly they DANCE!

Is this movie classic cinema at it's finest? Hell no. But then again that isn't what most chick flicks are about. They aren't meant to be the kinds of movies that make you reexamine your life or its purpose. Neither are movies for men. And when you think about it, they feed all the same voices for men that chick flicks do for women. They're the types of movies you watch to blissfully escape your mundane existence. Cause all girls, at one time or another, dreamt of their prince charming,as all men pined for that one girl. Or taking down the popular girl or jock. Or perhaps most importantly, not being put in a corner. Tableside, ringside, or otherwise.

Giving credit where credit is due, honorable mentions go to: The Truth About Cats and Dogs, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Grease, You've Got Mail, Can't Hardly Wait, Chasing Amy, Untamed Heart, While You Were Sleeping and Overnight Delivery.
Friday, August 25, 2006

You Don't Have To Go Home And You Can Stay Here

My new renter is Gina @...Evolution of Gina. I love the mini photo album she has at the top of her blog. It grabbed my attention immediately and ultimately, this is why she got the slightly larger than a postage stamp sized ad on my blog. Turns out it might be a good week for it though. Yesterday I had an INSANE amount of Comcast search hits with these words: "Stacey ferguson quote kiss". I have no idea what the importance of this is, but the visitors are coming from all over, not just one location. If you have any idea, or you are indeed a Stacey Ferguson quote kisser seeker, please let me know what you're looking for.

Last year around this time I started seriously stressing about going back to school. You know worlds are colliding when you start dreaming that Chicken George is your assistant. That's when I hatched a plan. I decided to recruit an army of well versed bloggers to help fight the good fight and write the good...write.

The plan went rather well. A number of people "applied" both via the blog and email and from there a handful of them actually came through. Some of them are even still with me today. You know who are. Stand up and show yourselves. Let them see your face.

So I'm out to prove once again if you want something done, go out and get others to do it for you. So if you would be interested in contributing a guest post to AOGB please let me know. The rules are simple. There are no rules. You can take the helm of a Tell It To Me Tuesday if you see fit or you can write a brand spankin' new post, exclusively written for this site. You can even reheat a classic post from your own home cooked batch. I may even do that myself over the next few weeks. All I know is I will still be blogging, somehow, someway. I might be busy, but I'm still insane.

And just so we're clear, I am an equal opportunity guest blogger. You need not be THIS tall to ride this ride and all bribes, while certainly welcomed, are very much unnecessary.

If you're interested just tell me what you want to do and why you want to do it via email or the comments here. If you leave a comment here though, be sure to leave your email as well. I hope to start guest posts the first week of September!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When I'm 64

I'm still up at 25 Peeps. Just click on this link to keep me there!

Every once and awhile, mainly when I want a good chuckle, I'll check out the local real estate listings.

It doesn't matter if I'm on the internet or if I'm kickin it old school, paper in hand. The martyr in me can't resist combing through the, "you can look, but you can't touch" section. The popular jock of All That's Fit To Print High School , if you will.

Although I've talked about this before you may not have been around, so here's a refresher. Real Estate in New Jersey in a word, SUCKS. Now I know there are other states that feel NJ's pain. For instance, California and New York come to mind. Developers there will pave paradise and put up a parking lot, or a four bedroom home with two walk-in closets, faster than you can say the phrase "three car garage".

Internet searches, however, are perhaps the most brutal. That's because on the internet, that wonderful super highway of opportunity, you begin to believe anything is possible. So you optimistically browse real estate sites, narrowing and defining your search, hoping to find your diamond in the rough.

So you put in your search parameters and lo an behold, there are five, count 'em, FIVE matching properties! There might be hope for you first time home owner , you can't believe your eyes. It's affordable. It's new. And it could be yours.

Then reality hits and three words rear their ugly, geriatric heads:

It doesn't matter if these words come right out and advertise themselves or if you have to do some clever clicking. The end result is always the same. Where "A" stands for affordable, it also stands for ancient.

There are two main reasons these housing options taunt me like they do. The first reason is because as someone who has strived to find my postage stamp sized place in society, I now have a personal stake in this vendetta venture. The more senior living communities they build, the less room there leaves for me and maybe even you. The other reason is because senior living communities are growing by leaps and bounds. There is a simple reason for this though and the reason is this: The senior community itself is growing like never before.

Now part of me should be happy about this. I'm not against old people. Infact I like quite many of them and I only hope I am that cute and spry when I get to be their age. But let's face facts. My enjoying their stories and wanting to go head to head with them for the last blade of grass in the alleged "Garden State" are two very different things.

At the risk of sounding like a whiny child it JUST ISN'T FAIR! Why do seniors need so much affordable living opportunities anyhow? You want affordable? I'll give you affordable. Stay in the house you lived in the past 30 years. You know, the one where the mortgage is already paid off? Because the fact of the matter is while the starting costs of these senior homes are reasonable, they are still, in some cases, needlessly starting over. And once you add all the amenities and add ons, some in the 55 and over set actually end up breaking even. Now if that's not the kind of situation your grandparents would warn you against, I don't know what is.

And let's revisit the fact that many of the elderly have property to play with in the first place. They already got their piece of the pie. Along with Medicare. And Social Security. And discounted movie tickets. They haven't had it this good since they were under five and could ride the merry go round for free, or whatever it is they did for free back in the day.

All of this is just telling us what the Golden Girls have been saying for years. Getting old ain't nearly half as bad as it used to be. And speaking as a twenty something whose future's so bleak she's gotta stay paid, I ask you this. Knowing all we know about those golden years, why not give back to the people who really need it? That's right. This is why I propose affordable housing for adults UNDER the age of 35.

You read that right. Think about it. Who is having trouble finding longevity in any career nowadays? People under 35. Who has to put their own money away in a 401K just in case the government really does do away with social security someday? People under 35. Who really needs the water polo, aerobics and ice cream socials in order to meet like minded people? Turn up your hearing aid and say it with me, PEOPLE UNDER THIRTY FREAKIN' FIVE!

I find it ironic when older people tell younger people to enjoy and not wittle away their youth because before they know it POOF! it's gone. But if things keep going the way they are now, many young adults would say the twillight years couldn't come quickly enough. After all, people under 35 don't have much time for fun things anymore because they have to work, to save for the first house, the first child, the first college tuition and then, are you ready for this? OLD AGE. Have you had a conversation with my grandmother lately? She has more of a life than I do!

If communities like this existed when people were young there would be no need to make them when people got old. They already would have met the group of friends they would have met some fifty years later, only fifty years sooner. Now they can share memories their entire lives instead of the last ten years of their lives. See? It's a win/win situation.

It's just like Kevin Costner said in Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. Actually, come to think of it, Costner will qualify for one of those senior living communities pretty soon, right?

Never mind.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Sugar And Spice And Everything Nice"

If you haven't checked out 25 Peeps yet, now is a great time to do so. That's because by clicking on the link, you will be keeping my picture up there! If nothing else, go for the fun of figuring out which one is me!

A few weeks ago, MCF wrote about his favorite "MAN" movies. So now, of course, I have to represent. You know. For the ladies.

So today's TITMT question is...What are your favorite chick flicks of all time and why?

And men, you can join in the fun, too. If you don't have a favorite, I'd like to hear about the chick flicks you can tolerate or at the very least, one you've been forced to sit through at some point or another without wincing.

Once again this week I am attempting to bring TITMT to you. Below you will see a box that allows you to participate on your blog. There was some confusion last week so let me try to explain again.

1. All you have to do is answer this same question on your blog and then add your URL or your Permalink URL to the box, along with your name. Please leave a comment, too!

2. If you want the cute little box to show up on your blog too then all you have to do is go to Mister Linky and get the code for the free version.

3. Nat has begun to help me create a graphic that goes along with TITMT. She is volunteering her own time, but admits her skills are limited. If anyone out there can help with this, I would be much obliged.

4. Nat has also started to help me with Technorati tags, but I wasn't sure how to implement this. Mainly I need help tweaking size and color as she sent me a basic code.

I'll bring my faves this weekend. You bring the popcorn!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Write Back Weekend "Play It Again, Sam"

Although I never learned how to play an instrument or read notes, I've always felt a special connection with music. Many people out there call themselves fans, but I've always found that for me, music was something that was so easy to get lost in.

Songs are also great ways to jog old memories. When I hear a good song, or even a bad one, I am often taken back to the time I first heard it and the memories I have associated with it. When I was a teenager I had an uncanny ability to match up songs from the years they were released, too. Although the nineties were supposed to be my "primetime" given I graduated high school and then college, I have a harder time attaching specific years to those songs. This could be because I started to get older, or this could be because the music started to get crappier. You decide.

Like many of you who love music, I truly, truly struggled for which songs to list for my answer to this week's TITMT. It was so hard for me not to be tempted to just create a list of my favorite songs but really, that's not what this question is all about. Most of the songs you see listed will not be my favorite songs. These are just the songs that have stuck with me through thick and thin, better or worse, whatever the reason.

1. That Thing You Do- The Wonders: It was fall of my sophomore year in college when the movie That Thing You Do came out. At the time I was still borderline obsessed with watching movie trailers as back then they hadn't fully given in to ruining the entire movie. I recall seeing the trailer for this film before it was released and I was instantly giddy with anticipation.

This movie was perfect for me on so many levels. For one thing, I loved the sixties innocence attached to it. For another my man Ethan Embry was in it which if you know anything about the boy, doesn't happen that often. And then there was the song. The perfect song for this perfect, perfect movie. The guys who starred in the movie said that after awhile they were so sick of hearing it, but I never reached that point with the song, or the movie for that matter. Not only is it a song that attached to a great film, there are also so many great memories of that time. For me this song just makes me happy and perfection at a running time of 2 minutes and 52 seconds ain't half bad.

2. Burning Up- Madonna: Over the years Madonna has had what, like a zillion hits? So one might wonder why I chose "Burning Up" out of all of her songs. All I can tell you is that I didn't chose the song, it chose me. Out of all of Madonna's tunes it is the one that has stayed with me the most. Again I owe this to the memories attached to it.

When this song was popular so were our neighborhood block parties. Every summer my friends and I would decide we were going to perform in the talent show. Every summer we made up a routine and every summer, we chickened out. One year we almost did a routine to "Naughty Girls Need Love, Too" by Samantha Fox. It's amazing when you look back on it now that we could manage to "choreograph" a routine to such a raunchy song, completely clueless as to its lyrical significance. I chose "Burning Up" over "Naughty Girls" only because I came up with a lot of the moves for the "Burning Up" dance because we did the same song in camp that year. What can I say? It was a popular tune.

3. Believe It Or Not (It's Just Me)-Joey Scarbury: This song is a little different than the choices above because there isn't a specific memory attached to it. Instead this song reminds me of an entire time period. Released in 1981, I was only four at the time so really, how well could I remember the actual show The Greatest American Hero? It's so memorable because it is one of the first pop songs I remember falling in love with. I remember thinking it was so uplifting and fun. Ok, so at age four maybe I wasn't aware I found the tune "uplifting". The fact that it was attached to a popular television show only made it all the more memorable because it was one of the first times I could put an image to a song.

4. Could've Been- Tiffany: Say what you will. I am now, and will always be, a devoted slave to the eighties. Not only do I have a PHd in all things eighties, my major was cheesy eighties pop. Debbie Gibson. NKOTB. Tiffany. I loved 'em all.

In my mind I always thought Tiffany got a bad rap. At the time she didn't write an of her own material, but then again, does Lindsay Lohan or Hilary Duff? The difference is Tiffany could actually sing. And if you only know of "I Think We're Alone Now" you might disagree with me. You'll just have to trust me on this. "Could've Been", even if it wasn't written by her, was always one of the most beautifully sad songs to me. The fact that it's played next to never only makes it that much easier to love.

5. Worst That Could Happen- Brooklyn Bridge: This song was released before I was born so unlike the other choices, there aren't any memories attached to it. I just think it's one of the best, most melancholy pop songs of all time. That is all.

6. Round Here- Counting Crows: This song is one my what I like to call "storytelling" choices. Basically, it's exactly like it sounds. I like this song because I like the story behind it. I realize it's another sad song. I never realized before I had such a penchant for sad pop. Learn something new everyday.

7. Jessie's Girl- Rick Springfield: Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that in recent years this song has been a major part of renaissance of all things eighties. For many people that is exactly the reason why "Jessie's Girl" is not cool, because through reinvention a whole new generation of bar hopping, sorority girls have made it their own. I hear what you're saying but quite frankly, I don't care. Bottom line in my book, this is one of the best pop songs EVER. Oh, and Rick Springfield rules.

8. Veronica- Elvis Costello: In the early nineties there were a few bands and artists I discovered that had their heyday some ten years prior. Rick Springfield was one of them, Elvis Costello was another. The way I was introduced to loving Costello's music was through a new release called "Veronica". I remember listening to that song, over and over, in order to figure out what the hell he was saying. As any Costello fan knows, the man has an amazing ability to sing everything with enthusiasm and energy, even when the topic is anything but.

"Veronica" was no exception. I was reeled in at first because of its hook and undeniable pop presence, but I stuck around for the sad, serious message behind it. I'm glad I did.

9. Don't Dream It's Over- Crowded House: This was one of my favorite songs released in one of my favorite years (1987), of my most favorite decade musically. Something about this song is haunting. It's sentiment applies to so many avenues in life and Neil Finn, Crowded House's lead singer, is one of the most underrated vocalists in pop music.

10. If You Could Only See- Tonic: They played the hell out of this song when it was released, but never, ever did I get sick of it. That is why this is the perfect way to close the top 10. It's a beautifully romantic song but it also rocks, in a tame, chick rock sorta way. Poor lead singer Emerson Hart has a beautiful voice, but his face just didn't match. And thus the flock pledging allegiance to Rob Thomas was born.

I hope you enjoyed hearing AND seeing some of my favorite choices. Props to MCF's post for giving me the idea to include the visual.
Friday, August 18, 2006

You May Be Right. I May Be Crazy.

If you kindly look to your left you will see my renter this week is the lovely Miss Britt. I haven't known Miss Britt that long but I can tell you one thing, the girl's got spunk. A fellow part time curly, part time straight haired sista, Miss Britt understood my dilemma last week when picking a renter and didn't let that deter her from bidding again. According to her 100 things list, she once turned down a full scholarship to NYU. See what I mean, spunk.

Speaking of spunk...did you guys happen to catch the finale of the show America's Got Talent? Ok, so whether or not they actually were in the possession of talent all along was somewhat questionable, but then this little white girl with a huge black girl's voice came along and won it all. Check out 11 year old Bianca Ryan's video below. I get chills everytime I watch her sing. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Now. Regroup and Refocus.

Approximately six months ago, give or take a month, I drank too much. As a result, I was confined to the couch for the remainder of the weekend. I was sick as a dog and couldn't do anything besides sleep and watch tv. Some of you might say that's not all that different from what I do on a normal day. You would be right.

Anyway, if you're anything like me when you're sick, you start watching things you normally wouldn't otherwise because you don't have the time, the interest or both. This is how I came to know the show Monk.

In case you are like me and haven't had a "stuck on a couch, sick as a dog" channel surfing experience in awhile, let me explain. Monk is a show starring great character actor Tony Shalhoub. Before Monk he was probably best known as the wacky foreign cab driver on Wings. The fact that he's the one who "made it" while actors like Tim Daly and Steven Weber are still paying their dues, amazes me. Not to say he wasn't good on the show. It was, in the truest sense, an ensemble cast. But he didn't have "breakout star" written all over him. That distinction probably went to Thomas Haden Church's lovable twit, Lowell. What can I say? One day you're the apprentice to Kirk Cameron, the next you're Leonardo Dicaprio. Sometimes no one can predict certain success.

But back to Monk. Mr. Monk is a former homicide detective who went over the edge after the murder of his wife, Trudy. Since Monk is known for his uncanny ability to solve any case, the fact that he can't solve one so close to him ultimately destroyed him. So Monk was down, but he wasn't out. He still works as a detective, only on a consultant basis with the police department. The deal is they contract him to come in for those cases that they've hit a wall on. Of course it seems they hit a wall with every case, but I suppose if they didn't there would be no show.

There's one more very important thing you need to know about Monk. It's the detail that sets Monk apart from other mystery shows out there. Monk suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. So here he is, this guy who obsesses over order working in a profession where he's surrounded by anything but. He's a neat freak. He's got a laundry list of fears. Basically think Rainman without the excellent driving.

Every week Monk is put into another awkward scenario. The story is just as much about a mystery as it is about Monk's idiosyncrasies. He's like the idiot savant of crime solving. He's like Sherlock Holmes with hand sanitizer or Angela Lansbury with personality. And once you've watched the show for awhile you realize that the beauty is in the details. When Monk solves the case at the end, you know that somehow, someway some seemingly insignificant detail is going to figure into the solution. So you start paying attention to the details. Even if you don't know why something is important you know it is and knowing my friends, is half the battle.

Although Monk is a great, great show that's not the only reason I like it. I like it because after watching for awhile I realize I too have a little Monk in me. If you get your minds out of the gutter, I will explain. Ok, so maybe I don't count and color coordinate straws or harp on not getting dirty, but there are things that Monk does that I can totally relate to.

For one thing, he really likes things to be perfect. I've gotten much better with this, but when I was younger, I used to try to straighten out objects around me. If a book was crooked on a table. A pen was falling halfway off a desk. You get the idea. If I didn't straighten these things out nothing happened. I didn't have a fit and it didn't bring a screeching halt to my day like it would for Monk and people like him. I've learned to be a lot more accepting of such things, though there is book I'm looking at right now that could use some straightening...

I also have always become easily obsessed with things. When I was a kid I was obsessed with soap operas or specific actors or actresses. Now I'm obsessed with blogging. I'm hear to tell you it doesn't matter what your poison is, the prescription is pretty much the same.

Another way I'm like Monk is that I'm unique in unique ways. Everyone has their things that make them unique, but I'm talking about being unique where most people are not. For instance, I'm Monkesque with driving. I didn't drive right away and when I did, at first I had extreme anxiety attacks. Now I've learned to cope with this particular affliction, but it's all still very Monkified. I like to know where I'm going before I go there. I prefer to drive alone. I don't like to drive on the parkway or the turnpike. Stuff like that.

I also tend to freak out a bit when trying something new. I get overwhelmed. I think I can't do it. I get frustrated easily. When this happens, I have to be left to my own devices. I almost always figure out something when I put my mind to it. And while I'm on sensory overload in the beginning, once I learn to do something I have found I can learn to do it very well. Part of it, I've decided, is a fear of looking stupid in front of others. It's just getting past that initial hump that is the hard part. You would think knowing this about yourself might make it easier, but it's not always the case.

It's things like this you might think put Monk and I at a table for crazy, party of two. But people like Monk and I just like things to be routine. We crave structure. One of my favorite Monk quotes of all time is the following:

Monk: "There's an old saying that goes don't change anything...ever."
Natalie (his assistant): "That's an old saying?"
Monk: "I've been saying it for years."

It doesn't matter whether you're someone who can laugh at people like Monk and call him crazy, or someone who can watch him and relate, you should watch, really.

After all, a man named Seal once taught me a very valuable lesson. We're never gonna survive unless we all get a little crazy.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ashes To Ashes, We All Fall Down

THIS JUST IN...Apparently AOGB has been chosen as Feedster's Feed of the Day! I don't know how you get this honor, but this link gives a pretty good description of how they might do it. I'd like to thank whoever did the choosing. I also would like to welcome any new readers who might click through. If anyone knows how to create a button to commemorate the event, I would be much obliged!

When I first heard rumors that they were going to make a movie about the World Trade Center disaster I, along with others, was filled with mixed emotions. Part of me understood Hollywood wanting to attempt to capture the human interest aspect, while another part of me felt sick to my stomach.

After all, 9/11 is not the first event of its kind to be immortalized on the big screen. In the past ten years alone we've had Titanic and then Pearl Harbor attempt to do the exact same thing.

I enjoyed Titanic, if only because it told the beautiful love story of Jack and Rose, two star crossed lovers whose devotion was doomed, with or without the damn boat. But then when you think about it, Jack and Rose, no matter how moving, have nothing to do now, or ever with the true story of the Titanic. Oh sure there were probably many moving, real life stories behind the people who were on the Titanic, some of them even possibly involving a "Jack" or a"Rose", but the true story of the Titanic is really about a boat capsizing. On some level this seemed to me like a sick way to capitalize on human emotion. Overplaying that Celine Dion tune was another.

But the inconsistencies in the stories of Titanic paled in comparison to the "storyline" of Pearl Harbor. I'm not gonna mince words here. That movie was just a bloated mess. At a running time of 183 minutes, it took half the film just to get to the actual event. Call me crazy but I don't know how you forget that. It's the name of the freakin' movie!

So now with World Trade Center just being released I can't help but worry that this disaster movie will ironically, end up a disaster on a different scale, no matter how potentially great a film it is. For one thing, no matter how moving, the bruises are still fresh on this particular event. Hollywood didn't wait 40, 20 or even five years before deciding to bring this to the big screen. And further prove the paint has yet to dry is the most recent event of thwarted airline terror. Adding insult to inury World Trade Center Oliver Stone is at the helm, a man who has never exactly been known for his sane work ethic.

I know it sounds sadistic, but part of me thinks that Hollywood actually gets semi-excited after the shock of these types of things wears off. Just watching the news sensationalize such events is evidence of that. Everytime there is a major disaster, every news station from CBS, to FOX to CNN has to have colorful "breaking news" graphics and along with it, titles that attempt to catch phrase particular events for years to come. Names like "Tower of Terror" are etched in my memory forever, not so much because it captured the feeling of the event, but because they repeated it over and over, sufficiently creeping the hell out of me.

It's almost as if I'm living out the reading of a will. There's always the one greedy relative who is there under the guise of caring about the deceased, but is really wondering what is in it for him. I really don't like to think of Hollywood as the sleazy uncle but hey, if the relative fits, wear it.

The way I see it, the only way Hollywood can really make good on a movie like World Trade Center and show their hearts are in the right places would be to give all the proceeds to the people effected by the disaster. That couldn't be done with movies like Titanic or Pearl Harbor, but that money could do a world of good in the lives of many World Trade Center victim's families.

If I was Nic Cage I don't think I could sleep at night knowing I pocketed a few cool million to relive an event some people aren't even sure they want to be reliving in the first place. Most of us say we are sorry in the face of a disaster, but remain powerless to do anything about it. But these people have some power and more importantly, lots of money. Maybe some of them have gave already, I just would have a hard time profiting off of such recent pain.

Their home made lasagnas and on screen scroll dedications won't bring these people back, but a check made out in the form of compassion just might.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "I Can't Quit You"

If you were thinking ahead you already can predict what this week's TITMT question is.

Since last week I asked you for the songs you are so super sick of, so this week I want to turn the tables on you.

What are some songs you can listen to over and over?

And if you're up for the challenge, what do you think it is about these songs that makes them so special?

This Tuesday also marks the first week I am attempting to bring TITMT to you. Below you will see a box that allows you to participate on your blog. It's the first step in my plan to take TITMT to the next level. I hope you join in. All you have to do is add your URL or your Permalink URL to the box, along with your name. Oh and a post that goes along with the topic, too. I mean, you wouldn't want to let me down, would you?

My picks in heavy rotation this weekend!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Write Back Weekend "The Fat Lady Is Singing"

Before I begin I must tell you that I was Frogged by Frog My Blog this weekend. I was lucky enough to get not one, not two but FIVE ladybugs (the highest honor in Frog My Blog land). I plan on putting the permanent button on my blog, once my template woes get remedied that is.

In the meantime, hop on over to their "pad". You might even want to sign your own blog up for a review!

I must say, y'all definitely went to town on TITMT's songs you'd never like to hear again. Who knew music that makes you want to stab yourself repeatedly with a fork would strike such a chord with you people?

Songs that we tire of are weird breed. I almost think there is a statue of limitations on any song's run and by default, any song's sickness factor. I'll give you an example. If you had asked me this question back in say 2000 I would have most definitely told you I'd be just fine if I never heard Lit's My Own Worst Enemy again. But someone, somewhere heard the desperate screams of the masses and finally slowed the throttle on that one. Now when I hear My Own Worst Enemy come on the radio I don't grimace or break out into a cold sweat. I'm back to appreciating it for what it is. A good song that just was so good, it became B-A-D.

But some songs, God bless 'em, should never get resucitated in my book. Of course in some cases they are still playing the hell out of them, for whatever the reason, so I'll probably never get my wish. Here are just a few of them...

Songs Never To Hear Again

1. Wind Beneath My Wings- Bette Midler:Listen, Beaches was a great movie. Not only did it feature the benefits of having a lifetime female friendship, it also featured a young Mayim Bialik in her pre Blossom days. But Bette really outdid herself in the sap department on this one. And that corny Fly, Fly FLYYYY part?! Thank God Casey Kasem no longer makes long distance dedications or we'd hear this song even ten times more than we do now.

2. That's What Friends Are For- Dionne Warwick and Her Not So Psychic Friends: Growing up every Bar and Bat Mitzvah, confirmation, sweet sixteen, backyard BBQ graduation party played this song. And guests always had to gather together and do two things, get teary eyed and sway in unison. This song got so much play because it cornered the market on friendship. Think about it. There isn't really a whole lot of competition in the "songs about friendships" department. Someone needs to do something about that, pronto.

3. Celebration- Kool & The Gang: For the record I have to say that I really, really enjoy and miss some of Kool & The Gang's songs. Joanna. Misled. Cherish. All greats. But Celebration? Celebrate Good Times COME ON! It's not asking me, it's telling me and quite frankly, I don't like celebrating on demand like that.

4. Walking On the Sun- Smashmouth: When this song came out I liked it. But then they played it. And played it. And played it some more. And as if that wasn't enough they started adding it to movie trailers, tv shows and jingles. It became the song you couldn't escape, no matter how hard you tried. But I did like it, once. Enough to go out and buy the album. And on that album is a decent song called Flo. Only you'll never hear Flo. That's because Walking On The Sun never shut up long enough to have any of its sister songs have a dance at the ball. I'm sorry. I'm still bitter about this one.

5. It's Raining Men- The Weather Girls: In all honesty I never really liked this song, but it did have a novelty appeal to it, so I'll give it five seconds of fame. But oh my goodness. What would Chippendale strippers and bachelorette parties do without their It's Raining Men anthem? They'd be forced to play Celebration, that's what. It's a lose/lose situation people.

6. We Are Family- Sister Sledge: This song suffers the same fate as the friendship songs above. There aren't a hell of a lot of songs out there about family. No matter how good the message, nobody is gonna get down to Cats In The Cradle anytime soon. That's why We Are Family still gets so much play. How else do you tell the world you have all your sisters with you? I ask you this.

7. I'm Every Woman- Any Woman Who Has Ever Sang It: I don't know what it is, but any amateur African American singer who wants their shot at fame thinks their meal ticket is singing I'm Every Woman. Ironically that makes you just like every woman. Pick another damn song! Then maybe you'll be known as the woman not like every woman. Besides, since when is being exactly like everyone else a good thing, anyway?

8. Don't Worry, Be Happy- Bobby McFerrin: When Don't Worry Be Happy came out this is when I got my first cold, hard glimpse into the cynical human being I was about to grow into. I know it's a "happy go lucky" song and all, but hello, he's talking about some serious issues in there! Somebody took the dude's bed. His rent is late. He has no lady. But he should just NOT worry about it?! Getting a pimple. Burning some toast. These are the types of things you shouldn't let get you down. But it sounds like McFerrin had much bigger fish to fry. Which reminds me, up till now I totally thought this was McFerrin's song. But when I Googled the lyrics, Bob Marley came up. So now it's official. I have negative respect for the "talents" of Mr. McFerrin.

9. Follow Me- Uncle Kracker: Yes, it's catchy. But let's just say the ringtone residue of this one still haunts me to this day.

10. From This Moment- Shania Twain (with or without the duet): I have to admit, I've never been a bit Shania fan. I just don't think she can sing all that well. There I said it. I feel so much better. Unfortunately if you got married between the years of 2001-2005 you probably felt differently than I. I'll never forget the time my friend who got married right around that time cornered me on my feelings for the song. Only after I went on my rant about how much I wanted to like it, but hated it did she reveal that was to be their wedding song. Ouch. Open mouth. Insert foot here.

The next group of songs are different from the ones listed above. This lot has no reedemable qualities whatsoever. Seriously. What are people thinking?!

Songs I Wish I Never Heard In The First Place

1. She Bangs- Ricky Martin: Let the record show that I hated this song long before William Hung made it his own. In fact, the fact that someone like William Hung could take a song like this and make it his own speaks volumes. Martin was Livin The Vida Loca alright. Crazy in the head for recording this garbage.

2. Who Let the Dogs Out?- The Baha Men: Do I really need to go into the reasons why this song is so deserved of being on this list? Oh and lookee here. It's a one hit wonder, too. Shocker. Moving on.

3. Live For Loving You- Gloria Estefan: When I think about Gloria Estefan I can clearly break my feelings into two categories, when I liked Gloria/when I despised Gloria. Anything For You. 1,2,3. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You. Words Get In The Way. All of these are great Gloria songs, with or without the "Machine". But then the early 90s hit and something changed. I don't know to this day if it's her or if it's me. But she started coming out with crap like Live For Loving You and that God awful, nails on a chalkboard remake of Turn The Beat Around. Suffice it to say I've never looked at Gloria the same since 1990.

4. Wonderful Christmastime- Paul McCartney: I love Paul McCartney as much as the next girl. Hell, I share a birthdate with the man! But I don't get how you can take someone as wonderful as Paul McCartney and something as glorious as Christmas, put them together, and wind up with a big ol' mess. It's like mixing whipped cream and cheese. Whipped cream is delicious. Cheese is delicious. But together? Not so delicious.

5. That's The Way (Uh Huh) I Like It- KC and the Sunshine Band: I've said it before, I'll say it again. THE 70's SCARED ME. In fact, if I had wanted to I could have created a list, solely comprised of seventies songs that scared me. But I decided to be an equal opportunity hater instead. As for this song, I just think it's redundant, silly and obnoxious. Conversationally, saying Uh Huh is alright, but over and over with a dance beat behind it? In a word, grating.

6. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?- Chicago: Ahh Chicago. How could such a great band go so wrong? This song always irked me. For one thing, I have no idea what this song is about. How watches are overrated? How time if fleeting? All I know is that it sounds like a lounge act gone bad.

7. Make Em Say Uh!- Master P: This song is proof that some rappers will take anything, and I do mean anything, and try to make it a hit. Repeating Uhh! Na, na, na over and over is actually the chorus of this song. It's as if he came up with the idea for this one will sitting on the toilet which is perfect, because it's exactly where this song should be, in the crapper.

8. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm- Crash Test Dummies: Let's get something straight. There are songs that are novelty and then there are songs that are ridiculous. Weird Al does novelty and he does it well. But Crash Test Dummies are only like, part novelty. The other half of the time they seem to be actually taking themselves sorta seriously. Needless to say, everything about this band creeps out. Their name, their look and ultimately, their lack of talent. Thankfully everything there is to be said about them can be said in past tense.

9. Rock Me Amadeus- Falco: Part of me feels halfway bad that about to diss a man who is no longer alive to defend himself. But then I think if he were alive, who knows if the man would have tried to stage a comeback and lord knows, we couldn't have that! I just didn't get what Falco was. Was he of this Earth? And while we're on the topic, what the hell is a Der Kommissar anyway? At least that song and its video are entertaining. Rock Me Amadeus on the other hand attempts to fuse rap and classical music. Such a shame that trend didn't catch on.

10. Butterfly kisses- Bob Carlisle: I'm sure I'll somehow take heat for this one but I'm just telling it like it is. The sentiment behind Butterfly Kisses is nice and all, but it's also really, really awkward. Here's this guy, dealing with the concept of his daughter growing up and getting married, but its chorus, no matter how potentially moving, just leaves me cold. It's wordy and somehow forced. Dance with your daughter to Wind Beneath My Wings as a last resort, but by all means, set the butterflies free!

So there you have it. There are many other songs that could very well have made either list, but to be honest, I'm upset that I will no doubt be humming one or two of these in my head for the next few days. What can I say? It's the price I had to pay to write this post.

I hope you guys are satisfied.
Friday, August 11, 2006

Much To Do But Doing Nothing

As we rapidly approach mid August I am reminded of the fact that summer's end is upon us. Although I never have much going on, summer always comes and goes too fast and with it, the promise of the cool things undone that never came.

It's also pretty embarrassing how I can manage to piss away over six weeks without doing anything productive. Of course I've done my share of run-on blogging, not knowing when to say "when". But even the goals I set for this blog this summer have managed to go unfulfilled:

1. Get my Cafe Press store up and running.
2. Learn how to take Tell It To Me Tuesday to the next level.
3. Fix my Blogger Chicks and Blogging Chicks code fonts and create pretty little boxes.
4. Be plucked from obscurity.

Unfortunately all of the above are games where you need two players or more to a novice like myself.

I have, however, wasted more time than I care to admit procrastinating by doing things like needlessly tivoing and giving into my voyeuristic tendencies by browsing one too many My Space profiles. I am addicted to adding "imaginary friends" such as Burger King and The Golden Girls. I'm the first to admit I am easily amused.

Even the school work that I promised to get a headstart on has been cast aside. I brought home new teacher manuals that I truly am excited to use, but haven't cracked them open since. At first I just needed a break. Now I'm just too lazy to imagine all the work that lies ahead of me.

Speaking of work, this week was the first time I headed back into the classroom to begin the process of setting up. Although I always try to ease in slowly, I usually get overwhelmed and kick into OHMYGODIHAVESOMUCHTODOHOWIWILLIDOITALL?! mode.

The only thing truly enjoyable about getting ready for the school year, at least at my school, is the opening of all of the supplies that came over the summer. It's a lot like Christmas morning, only with teaching posters, tools and gadgets. Finding a place to put them all is another story altogether.

Now here's where I confuse even myself. August is the time of year where I historically have dreaded going back to school, whether it be as a student or teacher, but at the same time I'm ready for the summer to be over because I am aware that I have entirely too much time on my hands.

I guess you could call me a grass is greener type of person. When I'm busy, I long for downtime, but when I get the time I just don't know what to do with myself.

Case in point, this pointless post.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Anti-Semitic Comments Seem To Be The Hardest Words

This week I decided to make the rent cheap. As a result I got many good bids. It came down to my new friend and my landlord for the week, Miss Britt and new discovery From Tracie. In the end I went with From Tracie because she didn't know me, but instantly tried to help me with the Blogging Chick code dilemma I have going on in the lower left hand corner. There is supposed to be a +/- side but lo and behold we cannot fix it. But Tracie a virtual stranger, tried, as did the lovely Miz Bohemia. I left the messed up code up in the hopes somebody knows how to fix it and that having the visual will help.

In the meantime I hope Miss Britt understands because it was really, really tough. I also hope you all are as welcoming to Tracie as she was to me.

Now, on with the show!

It seems you can't tune into the news these days without seeing some sort of follow-up story about actor Mel Gibson. Actually, the news itself is a bit embarrassing in its coverage, but then again, if they didn't muck it up we wouldn't get Jon Stewart's take. At first this was the reason I didn't write about this. Soon there after it became the exact reason I did.

On the off chance you have no idea what I'm talking about here's what went down.

Beloved, semi-Australian actor Mel Gibson was arrested in late July for drinking and driving. As if drinking and driving itself isn't a big enough no no, Mel apparently went all "Mad Max" on the cops asses, throwing around some pretty weighty statements about huge populations of people, namely the Jews.

Now let's set aside, just for a minute, the fact that Mel Gibson said the nasty things he said, drunk, sober or otherwise. Here a famous, 50 year old father of seven, count 'em SEVEN children, Mel Gibson was allegedly stumbling into a bar alone, only to later admit he has struggled with alcoholism most of his adult life. If that doesn't set off a Nascar raceway full of red flags, I don't know what will. Of course I realize that the driving he did and the comments he made are the meat of the story, but I also think it's pretty damn important to make note of the potatoes.

My theory is a simple one and it is this. As much as the public loves to embrace celebrities, they love it even more when said celebrities screw up. Why? Because it reminds them that at the end of the day, no matter how big their crib or how stocked their fridge is with Cristal, that these people aren't all that different than you or me.

So now Mel Gibson is all apologetic and some people aren't buying it. After all, when you get caught with pants below the knees so to speak there's really nothing left to say in the face of humility but a glorified, "Oops, my bad".

But Mel Gibson isn't the only person defending Mel Gibson. Former co-star Jodie Foster is, too. As is David Soul. Oh and so is Patrick Swayze. All of the above would have no problem working with Mel Gibson again, if they were working themselves, that is.

But perhaps even more interesting are the "stars" who have vowed to never work with Mel, such as comedic actor, Rob Schneider. Call me crazy, but I don't think the reason Mel Gibson wasn't working with you is because you are half a Jew. It's because lately, you're barely halfway talented.

Now Hollywood feels the only punishment that fits the crime would be for Mel to do the time. This involves getting to know Jews, getting to know all about Jews. This is where Hollywood has a hard time forgiving, but even a harder time forgetting. For it wasn't so long ago that Mel Gibson made the controversial film The Passion Of The Christ. For the first time ever, people started seeing Mel Gibson less as the sexy cop from Down Under and more of an actor full of foot in the mouth blunders.

Surely you too must remember this. At the time, Mel was sporting the mad scientist look and hopping from talk show to talk show talking about his passion for...Passion. But any controversial movie based around biblical retellings is going to get more closely scrutinized then say the latest Lethal Weapon flick. Right around then news about his father's beliefs also surfaced and although since buried, have now once again been dug up and put on display.

Perhaps the biggest red flag of all is Mel's father questioning the occurrence of the Holocaust and Mel neither confirming nor denying his own beliefs in accordance with his father's. This is not to say that Mel Gibson does not have Jewish friends. I mean he does work in Hollywood. Working in Hollywood and hating Jews is like an alcoholic taking a job behind a bar. It can be done, but it doesn't make much sense.

So where does that leave Mel now? A lot of people are saying this could very well mark the end of his career. In my estimations, that might be a little hasty. On a code alert level of 1-5, with five being a mess up of OJ Simspon proportions, a four being a Michael Jackson faux pas and so on, Mel is barely a blip on the radar.

Mel might have gotten a little harried in his later years, but I still remember the happy go lucky Mel who used to pop in on shows like Arsenio Hall and come across as the guy you'd love to have a drink with and just hang.

Ok, so maybe you'll share an artichoke dip appetizer instead of a beer. Can't we all just get along?
Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Put A Fork In 'Em!"

Before we get to this week's TITMT as promised, here is this week's AOGB plea:

Is there anybody out there who knows how to write code to make TITMT go global? I would really like to open up TITMT to other bloggers, in much the same way Thursday Thirteen works for so many of you who participate.

If you know how to do that and can help a blogger (me) out, I would greatly appreciate it. Even if you don't know but you can lead me to someone who would know, that would be aces, too.

Until I find someone this question will be a permanent fixture in each week's TITMT. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will.

Now on to this week's question...

There are enough moments out there for every song to have their time in the sun. But even the best of songs should reach a well deserved retirement. So what I want to know is:

What songs are you absolutely, positively sick of hearing?

and in a special two part, act now edition...

What songs were you never thrilled about hearing in the first place?
Sunday, August 06, 2006

Write Back Weekend "Pass Go And Collect Your 200 Bloggers"

When I asked everyone to lead me to a few good blogs I got a mixed bag of results. Oh sure, there was a slew of new reading material, and a few repeat offenders.

But more than anything, a lot of bloggers thought I was just a little bit crazy.

This can best be described by the now immortal words of a confused new visitor, Old Lady of the Hills who said, "Forgive me, but looking at your blogroll, which is extremely exstensive I'm not sure what you might be looking for or missing..."

After I explained a bit what my intentions were to her she came back and said: "...Thank you for answering my question, and YES, I think I get it now....It is really pretty extrordinary how many blogs there are 'out there' and it is such fun to discover new ones that 'sing' to you."

The reason I make a point of Old Lady's comments is because I know a lot of you were thinking the same thing. Why would a blogger, who already has 150 blogs on her roll, be looking for more reading material? Is she insane? High? Bored? Greedy? Pathetic, or some combination of the above?

I'm sure on some level all of those words have applied to me at one time or another. But the real reason for my motivation is a very easy explanation.

As I've talked about before, my blogroll is a bit like a garden, overgrown and untended. The problem is while I link to many people, I don't read many of those blogs daily, if at all. The problem I have is this. If someone asks me to link to them or if I discover someone has linked to me, I often follow the "do unto others" rule and link back to them.

The problem with doing this though is that readers like you get the mistaken impression that I have the time to keep up with 150 + lives on a daily basis. The truth of the matter is blog linking is my drug; I just can't say NO. My only saving grace is I have finally stopped linking to everyone I find who just happens to link to me. But this does not stop me from trying to find like-minded bloggers to add to the garden.

In all honesty I don't know how many blogs I keep up with on a regular basis. If you want to know the blogs I follow faithfully the better indication would be the comments I leave and receive rather than the blogroll I display. To me, linking is one level of blog appreciation, but commenting and conversing is a whole other, and one I respect much, much more. It's not a prerequisite for linkage by any means, but reciprocation and apprecation makes any relationship, even blogging ones, feel like a two-way street. The most frustrating blogs might be the ones that only comment back to you on THEIR blog and the only way you know that is if you go back and check. This is why clicking through is the thing, I believe, to do.

So that being said, I took the time to check out each and every blog that was recommended to me and I found what some of you might be surprised by, and others of you might know already. There are always MORE good bloggers to find. As I told Old Lady Of the Hills: "I think blogs are like music. There's a lot of good stuff out there, but there is also a lot that has gone undiscovered."

Now all that's left to do is to highlight a few blogs I would like to add to the roll and maybe when I'm done, you'll feel the same way. As for the rest, I have kept them under lock and key to continue to read and probably add over time. Everything in moderation.

1. Lisa recommended Annie from Smart At Love. I like Annie because her site boasts the tagline, "For The Woman Who Wonders If I'm So Smart...How Can I Be So Dumb About Love?"

What I like about Smart At Love is that it lives up to its title. It's like a Dear Abby for the blogging set, only without the lovelorn letters and old-fashioned advice. It's hip, irreverent and open to commenting. I had almost blogrolled it before, but forgot all about it. Thanks to Lisa, I've fallen in love all over again.

2 and 3. Dawn suggested quite a few good blogs that I will definitely revisit. I decided to add two of them immediately though. One is Taste The World. I've always liked Taste The World and we have a lot of blog friends in common. I rented from her a few weeks ago too. "Moving in" just seems like the logical next step.

The other link Dawn suggested that I added is Lightning Bugg's Butt. I love the rapid fire way LBB's mind works. Within one blog post he opens the door to million others and to me it takes a brave blogger to use all of that good material in one post as if to say "Oh yea. And there's more where that came from."

4 and 5. Becky gave her stamp of approval to Outwit, Outblog, Outsnark. I "met" snark wife on a day she happened to be talking about the return of Grey's Anatomy and how hard it is to wait for it's return and any friend of Grey's is a friend of mine. It looks like a relatively new blog, but I love new blogs with a lot of promise.

Then Becky was so nice as to point me towards Sprigs. Right now, Springs seems like the popular cheerleader in high school. Her smiling face has been prominently featured on
25 Peeps (an exclusive group I have yet to crack) for sometime now. Plus, her latest post alone has a whopping 42 comments. In other words, she has a lot of friends and 42 endorsers can't be wrong.

6. Tim gave a shout out to Heather Anne that was well deserved. I don't know Heather Anne that well, but when I read her Savvy post I could instantly relate. First time bonds are usually good gut instincts and thus I deem thee read worthy.

7. In a refreshing turn of events, newer AOGB reader and commenter Apricoco recommended, herself. Her latest post talks about the incomptenence lurking on college campuses everywhere. I can relate to her and when I can relate that usually means a beautiful blog relationship is born.

8 and 9. Long time AOGB reader MCF also gave a stamp of approval to a number of his own blogging buddies. One suggestion, Rey was interesting because Rey had made suggestions of his own that did not include his own blog. But Rey had been here before and so I felt adding Rey, before adding Rey's suggestions, was only fitting.

The other recommendation MCF made was for Sarcasmo @ Sarcasmo's Corner. I know I have been to Sarcasmo's site before and obviously she has been here before as AOGB is already blogrolled. This was not the reason for the add. The reason was the sarcasm. The blogroll was just an added, unexpected perk.

10. Finally David mentioned checking out Rocky Road Scholar. David writes thought provoking posts about interesting topics so it only makes sense that he would suggest reading blogs that follow the same formula. Rocky's blog is full of random references too, everything from Carrot Top to Alice, Brady Bunch and the self-titled, Linda Lavin version.

Incidentally if you haven't read any of the blogs who did the recommending, they're good eggs, too. If you get the chance, go visit some of them. And feel free to say Janet sent you. It makes my job of blog networking a lot easier.

For now I am happy with the blogroll, but have no fear if you're not there. It's contents are always change. In fact, if there was one thing I could change, I would have multiple blogrolls with differing levels of activity. Of course I have no idea how to make this happen.

Until then, I'm stuck between a blog and a hard place.
Friday, August 04, 2006

A Glass Half Empty

At 29 years old old ageity (yes, that's a word I just created for the purpose of this post) has already begun to sink in.

I don't always get the music of today. Movies no longer hold the same special place in my heart. I miss the days when kids didn't have play dates and just...played. And I definitely don't get the upping the ante style pranks like this.

But no matter what generation gap issues I am going through, every generation before me has gone through the same woes. My parents might have worried that I was growing up too fast, their parents worried they were growing up too fast and so on and so forth. Of course each generation has even further valid reasoning for worrying.

Case in point, a few weeks ago my friend sent me a link to this story. In case you are too lazy to click on the link, I'll give you the Cliff Notes version here.

Apparently some companies have decided that baby phat cell phones and designer Gucci purse knockoffs are not enough for the prepubescent crowd. So now they are creating beer...for kids. One non-alcoholic Japanese beer aptly called "Kids' Beer" actually uses the slogan, "Even kids can't stand life unless they have a drink."

Yes you read that correctly. It's beer, only it's for kids and beer for kids is "safe" because it doesn't contain alcohol. Duh.

Now some might say beer without alcohol is as dumb a day full of O'Doul's and on one level, I wouldn't disagree with you. But there is a bigger picture to be seen here. Alcoholic or not alcoholic, why are marketing companies feeling the need to simulate the coolness of beer drinking to the preteen crowd?

Ok, so maybe this concept, while on the surface is a bit shocking, is not exactly revolutionary. Not so long ago I remember my parents purchasing candy cigarettes for me. You know, the kind; coated with powdered sugar so that everytime you took a "puff" it would look like you were really, truly smoking?

Which looking back on it, was really, truly sick.

Some years later I remember sitting in Mass Media class in college while we unearthed the so-called subliminal messages that had been beaming our way for most of our lives. Everythng from Absolut Ads with "Where's Waldo-like" phallic imagery to Disney cartoons with inappropriately placed content was fair game without us realizing it's impact.

But as anything else, hindsight is 20/20. This is why, as adults, most of us can look at this rationally and think beer buying for kids is a hard act to swallow. But the problem is the kids don't know that now. The kids only know that when they are no longer kids and thus this is the entire reason we have this problem in the first place!

See, kids don't truly get sarcasm in advertising and how deep it runs. They don't understand hypocritical messages and for however "worldly" they seem, they still believe the media is there to tell you what is good for you.

They can't get it because quite frankly, sometimes I still don't. What it takes is good old-fashioned parenting skills. You don't care what any marketing team says, your child should not be buying, drinking, pouring or glamorizing non alcoholic beer or the next thing you know beer bellied, pierced navel preteens will be all the rage.

And if your kid has exposure to beer, make a joke of it. Teach them the song 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall. At the very least they'll be practicing how to count backwards. It's a skill that should keep them occupied and entertained.

And one that should come long before drinking anyhow.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We Don't Need Another Hero

Every week when it comes time to pick a new renter I do so with a mix of anticipation and caution. I'm excited, because I like to find new blogs to read (see yesterday's post) who also, I'm not gonna lie, are interested in reading me. I find this to be the fun part of the BE program.

But the more and more renters I get, the more I get let down. I don't get these renters who rent out space and don't even say hey, thanks for letting me crash for the week, not even in a response on their own blog which yes, I do visit my own renters, too. It's creepy. At the end of seven days they go their way and I go mine.

This week's renter was a tough call to make but I went with Smile If You're Lying. There are three reasons I went with her:

1. I love the half truth/half lie concept of the site.
2. She adopts random lyrically references when naming her posts, a lot like someone else I know.
3. She already commented, before she was even chosen as a renter.

So there you have it. Please go visit Smile If You're Lying for me. And I hope by choosing her as a renter the no comment curse has been lifted!


When I went to edit this post I realized it had already been edited for me. Basically a huge chunk of the intro was missing and since I wrote it so long ago, I don't remember what I said. I only remember that it was good. Damn good. Just take my word for it.

What I'm talking about here are my belated feelings about the movie Superman Returns. I begrudingly saw this movie a little over a month ago now. I use the word begrudingly because it's an action movie and as any non action movie goer will tell you, action movies are just too long these days. So by chick flick conversion standards, any action movie is equal to two of my own.

Of course I was pleasantly surprised to find that Superman Returns didn't make my sigh in my seat nearly as much as I had expected it to. The catch here is since it wasn't that horrible for me, it must have been only eh to the real die hard action fans out there.

Without going ahead and ruining the movie for you (though since it is five weeks later and you should have seen it by now if you really wanted to that badly) I will say I'm surprised that fans of the genre had to do this "one step forward, two steps back" type of thing with the storyline since I heard that Lois learned Superman's real identity in a previous installment. I have seen bits and pieces of earlier editions but to be honest, I couldn't tell you the difference between any of them. If you want to draw a venn diagram, however, on Grease vs. Grease 2, I'm so your girl.

And while we're on the subject of identity, what is up with no one making the connection between Superman and Clark Kent anyway?! I know that's half the fun, but simply wearing a pair of glasses does not a geek make, though nearly every teen movie made in the eighties would argue otherwise.

Another slight disappointment for me was the technological progress the genre has made. See the world has changed a lot since the last time we saw Superman. There are cell phones and ipods and laptop computers. There are also many traffic tracking devices that could help spot Superman on say, Doppler Radar. They really didn't use any of these things to their advantage. But perhaps the most crucial hole was the laid back treatment of Superman's actual transformation. For years Clark transformed himself in the nearest phone booth but as we all know, real live phone booths run few and far between these days. So instead he opts...for an elevator. There wasn't even a snide one liner about it in sight. Ho hum.

But despite the way it may sound, there were things I liked. For instance, I liked that they picked an unknown actor to play Superman. Sure, it was a little bit creepy watching a guy who, to me, looked EXACTLY LIKE A COMIC BOOK COME TO LIFE and a LOT LIKE CHRISTOPHER REEVE. But then again, isn't that all the more reason that he was perfect for the role?

But it wasn't long before reality came a knockin' at the door. Kate Bosworth was entirely too young to play Lois Lane. I'll buy that Superman doesn't age. After all, he IS Superman. But Lois Lane is just a regular chick who happened to hook up with the man who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. In other words, even superheroes hoes have to age gracefully.

Finally, I hated the kid in the movie. Apparently his name is Tristan Lake Lebau. I can't trace ancestory of nepotism from his name, but I know it has be to be in there somewhere. There had to be a zillion other child actors out there that would have been so much better for the role in so many ways. But then again, I grew up in an era that revered the likes of Macaulay Culkin, so anything is possible.

So in summation, let's recap how I felt about Superman Returns.

Good acting, not so good casting. Not an unnecessary overabundance of special effects, not an acceptable amount of realistic effects.

Oh, and there's Kevin Spacey.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tell It To Me Tuesday "If You Link It, They Will Come"

I've seen various incarnations of this week's TITMT on many blogs before, including my own.

It's a question I like to revisit every few months or so though because blog traffic is a lot like the traffic out there on the road. Some of it is steady, but every once in awhile you find a new blog like a new trail, or perhaps merely because of a detour.

So this week what I want to know is...

Taking a look at my blogroll and what you know about AOGB, what blogs should I be visiting that you assume I haven't visited yet?

In other words, I'm on the lookout for a few good blogs. No discrimination here. I'm an equal opportunity blog reader.

Tell me the blog(s) you think I should check out in the comments section here. I plan to highlight a few of the choices in this weekend's write back. How many will I highlight? I don't know. It all depends on how many recommendations I get.

And while I'm on the topic of TITMT I have a technical question for all of you.

Is there anybody out there who knows how to write code to make TITMT go global? In other words, I would really like to open up TITMT to other bloggers, in much the same way Thursday Thirteen works for so many of you who participate.

If you know how to do that and can help a blogger (me) out, I would greatly appreciate it. Even if you don't know but you can lead me to someone who would know, that would be aces, too.

Until I find someone this question will be a permanent fixture in each week's TITMT. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will.



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