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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, February 28, 2007

AOGB Classic: All The Rest Have 31, Except For February

Unfortunately I didn't have time to do my homework and prepare a new post for all you AOGB readers out there. For that, I'm truly sorry. Between initial wedding planning and big day NJ Ask test prep, among other things, my head has been swimming. On the flip side, once I do finally get the chance to write, I should have lots of interesting things to say! I hope you don't feel like I'm neglecting any of your blogs. If you do, just remember I've been neglecting mine as well.

In lieu of a new post I decided to repost an old classic that rehashes a fraction of the stress I'll be under over the next few weeks. I'm going to try and get a new post up by Friday but I make no promises. If not this week, next week. Definitely. I thank you in advance for your patience.:)

I can't speak for other states, but here in NJ we love to assess the hell out of our students. At my school, we even go as far as formally doing this every 9 weeks. This is a new thing this year and so far, the results have been quite disastrous. But you know what they say about assessments. They make an ass out of u and me. Oh wait, that's assuming. Whatever.

As if 9 week "assessments" weren't enough, my poor little third graders spend the entire year eating, sleeping and breathing the same mantra, "THE TEST IS COMING! THE TEST IS COMING!" Meanwhile, us teachers feel like the little engine that could's engineers repeating, "I THINK THEY CAN, I THINK THEY CAN..."

The test I am speaking of is the NJ Ask. It's this huge standardized test a la, the SAT's for eight year olds. So, before they even know how to write in cursive, these kids know all about anxiety. The NJ Ask is supposed to be a formal assessment of all skills the average third grader should be, at the very least, proficient in. It covers everything from from multiplication and division, to decoding and writing to a prompt. I think they might even ask kids for a recipe for how to make a good gumbo, I'm not really sure.

Basically, it's an all encompassing event, spanning a few days and a year's worth of material. This in itself wouldn't be a problem. If the test was given AT THE END OF A YEAR. But that, would of course, make sense.

No, here in NJ we give this test in March, cause you see, March is only three months shy of a school year and really, what's three months in the developmental stages of the average eight year old? I mean really, how much changes? Sure they reach new milestones every day, but wouldn't you rather waste the last three months of school and cram like hell the other seven to fit everything in? See! I thought so!

Now as most of you already know, this is my first full year with my own classroom. They say that teachers who are assigned test taking grades should feel honored that the powers that be saw something in them and not only hired them, but placed them in such a high pressure environment. They hand you the tools you need to suceed and then they say it: "Go. Turn the water into wine."

Some might see this as some sort of cleverly witted exaggeration. To those people I say, you haven't seen my group NOR have you seen the test. In fact, I haven't seen THE TEST either, but I have seen practice problems. I've also seen the disasters that occur when you show said problems to my bunch.

In a nutshell, this test is HARD. Hell, I don't always even know what the questions are asking. Right now the buzz revolves around open ended questions, hands on investigations and the three little words all my third graders repeatedly ignore: EXPLAIN YOUR ANSWER.

I knew I was in for trouble when questions on HW went a little something like this:

Question: Looking at the graph, do you think more rain fell in March or in April? Explain.
Answer: Yes

Oh, and it gets worse.

The other day a teacher asked some of my students about how tall they thought the doorway was. One student estimated it to be about 7 gallons.

Then there's this latest classic:

During a lesson on making tree diagrams, my pullout teacher did three, THREE examples of all the combinations you could make by making a tree diagram. It was going pretty well. Until she said the dreaded words, "Now, YOU are going to try this one, ON YOUR OWN." 25 minutes of tree diagrams and the kids went solo. Two kids DREW ACTUAL TREES.

I so wish I was kidding right now.

What kills me is that my principal, come report cards, is very accepting of the fact that not all students will be A students. Infact, she just might be too accepting. Because if you are like her and accept that "most might actually be D students" then how in the hell can you turn around and expect THAT VERY SAME GROUP to be proficient or advanced proficient on a standardized test? This to me, does not compute.

Now, with a mere three weeks before the test, it's down to the wire. Short of a miracle, all teachers can do is cross their fingers and hope for the best. I know God has granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference. Now, if only my principal and the other bigwigs would grant me that same pardon.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Hurts So Good"

In my search for last week's most awesome videos ever I stumbled across quite a many clunkers, too. At first I wanted to include some of them for a whole other arena of awesomeness, but then I decided, why not self-contain videos like in a category all unto their own?

And so this week's TITMT question asks...

What are the worst music videos you've ever seen and what makes them so God awful?

If you're anything like me you'll have fun with this one. I already know I have started to do just that.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

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, February 25, 2007

Write Back Weekend "What You See Is What You Get"

When I was a kid, I used to love watching music videos. Back then, videos were often like little movies, advertisements for both the singer and the song. When they were done right, you knew a little more about both. Even if they were done wrong they were often so bad that they somehow became good in a completely different way.

Some singers, like Michael Jackson, took the music video genre to the next level. He created epic videos of grand proportions and in turn, he made himself a star. But sometimes I felt all you needed was a good song and a fun video.

With the birth of MTV in the eighties, videos became a necessary evil. I sometimes wonder what artists like James Taylor or Barry Manilow would have done back then. But as time marched on, if you wanted a career, you realized that a good music video was an important piece of that puzzle.

No one can deny that music videos changed the way we see music, literally. But even the music video itself has changed drastically over the years. Now, just like I do with everything else, I'm going to wax nostalgic for a minute.

Everyone balked at the idea of an MTV back in the day, thinking it was going to corrupt the minds of our youth, namely people like me. But many of those same people long for the music videos of yesteryear. That's because what was once MTV with amateur VJ's like Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn at the helm has not evolved into this conglomerate of sister stations and spin-offs. And when do any of these networks play videos? Well, they're sandwiched in between Real World 45 and My Sweet Sixteen like garbage, neither of which having anything to do with music, other than the lame artists they force you to listen to as they shoot exterior shots of the brat du jour, lounging by the pool or having a fit of rage. Sure there are actual music videos still out there, being made but most of them have outrageous budgets and give no insight to the soul of the song or the singer.

What follows is my answer to last week's TITMT of my favorite music videos of all time. As always, I will preface this by saying that I'm certain it is an incomplete list (and most definitely in no particular order). I'm also going to try and link to YouTube clips whenever possible instead of posting them directly on here.

1. Do You Remember?- Phil Collins: Phil Collins had many great songs and subsequent videos in the eighties and nineties. I always loved the story of this one though. In the beginning we see present day Phil in the studio who, during what seems to be like a bad storm, is thrusted into a flashback of remembering his first love, thus the title, Do You Remember? The kids in the video are downright adorable and if I watch the clip the whole way through, it manages to make me cry every time.

2. Legs- ZZ Top: One of the all time best videos filmed on what I'd presume was next to no budget had to be ZZ Top's Legs. Nowadays many kids know the song for its overuse in commercials for things like pantyhose. This video started a whole sub genre of hair-band "transformation" type videos. Of course the shy girl in the beginning is really a hot chick, dying to get out. Leave it to ZZ Top to pull it out of her!

3. I Love You Came Too Late- Joey Mcintyre:
- Unfortunately I can't find a clip for this one, and it's a bit ironic too considering this is one of the newer videos on my list. It was filmed in a diner and features my former childhood fascination, NKOTB member, Joey Mcintyre. The song was fun as he dances and sings his way around the diner, trying to impress the girl of his dreams. If anyone comes across this one online somewhere, let me know.

4. Right Now- Van Halen: This was one of those videos that took their song, which was trying to make a statement, and made a supporting statement with the video itself. It wasn't a fun video or a video of stock footage of Van Halen performing around the world. Instead, they decided to splice together a bunch of serious one-liners. Things you should be thinking about more than you do, "Right Now".

5. Thriller and Say, Say, Say- Michael Jackson: I had a hard time deciding which of the King of Pop's music videos were my all time faves. I have a soft spot for so many of them, though you rarely see them anymore. In the end, I decided to side with the classic, Thriller and the bittersweet memory of Say, Say, Say. Both of these feature a only slightly plastic surgeried Michael Jackson, the cutest version of the gloved one, before he went all pasty and creepy on us. This also features the former partnership of Jackson and McCartney, one that has since ended in bitter fueding, which is the saddest thing to say of all.

6. Take On Me- Aha: It's impossible to make a best of music videos list and not include some staples. A Ha's Take On Me is one of those staples. The mix of animation and real life was brilliant back then and it has managed to stand the test of time now, even with all of the hi-tech tricks they have under their sleeves these days. The song and video have stood the test of time. A Ha the band? Not so much.

7. Here It Goes Again- Ok Go: Ok Go is one of the most recent, if not the most recent, addition to the list. They have another great simple music video too with A Million Ways To Be Cruel. They have managed to take creativity and choreography to the next level. The fact that they do this whole dance to a video on treadmills is amazing. They can do it live too, which only makes me worship them even more.

8. Buddy Holly- Weezer: Before we had the wacky antics of Ok Go, we lived off the wacky antics of Weezer. Their video of Buddy Holly was brilliant, taking old footage of Happy Days and interweaving it with the band present day, dressed up as if they were part of the entertainment back then. It even has bits of comedy thrown in, too. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?

9. They Don't Know- Tracey Ullman Not only is this one of my favorite music videos of all time, it is also one of my favorite songs of all time. And who would have ever guessed it was done by Tracey Ullman! I'm sure some of you didn't even know that Tracey Ullman sang, but she did. This was her biggest hit, a one hit wonder in many ways, and made before the American public knew her for her TV show success. It also shows Tracey's early penchant for costuming. If you watch this video, and I hope you do, stick with it till the end. There's a surprise in it for ya.

10. Land Of Confusion- Genesis: When I first saw this video as a kid I just thought it was cute, watching that Phil Collins and Ronald Reagan caricatures dance around like that. And how about the scene where the guy is putting mustard on his tongue and then puts a hot dog bun around it? I suppose you had to be there. Although this video is definitely funny, the song itself is actually pretty serious. It's one of the earliest memories I have too of clearly making fun of a figure of authority. Recently it was remade with a lot more anger infused into it. I could see how this song, if truly listened to, could stir up some feelings inside.

11. Uptown Girl, You're Only Human or The Longest Time- Billy Joel: This was another artist where it was really hard picking a song or two to represent all the great music videos they made. I love how Billy Joel, although decidedly a little less "hip" than the music video demographic, embraced the genre and really played up the potential storytelling elements. In retrospect, it made perfect sense since his songs really tell such great stories. I picked Uptown Girl because I used to love the love story of Brinkley and Joel and was actually pretty bummed when it didn't work out. That's before I became all jaded about Hollywood romances though. I chose The Longest Time because I think the video again, totally matched the feel of the song. Finally I included You're Only Human because yet again, it told the story so well. Billy Joel is presumably an angel, letting a boy on the verge of committing suicide see what the life of his loved ones would be like if he went through with it.

12. If This Is It- Huey Lewis & The News: I simply cannot talk about great storytellers of the eighties and leave out the videos done by Huey Lewis & The News. They had so many great and comical mini movies. Not unlike Billy Joel, they embraced a genre that otherwise might have swallowed them up whole. They had other great ones too, but If This Is It was always my favorite because it told the story of the song, almost word for word.

13. I Want Love- Elton John: For some reason I can no longer find this video on YouTube, though I know it used to be there. I love this video because of it's simplicity. In a brilliant casting decision, it featured a lone Robert Downey Jr., infamous for his troubles with drugs, alcohol and just plain following the rules. Downey, now an aging rebel, looks at the camera seriously and with tired eyes, lip-synching the words, "I want love, but it's impossible. A man like me, so irresponsible. A man like me, is dead in places, other men, feel liberated..." Just the image of Downey, at the height of his vulnerability, mouthing lyrics like that was haunting. That's pretty much the whole thing, though he walks around the house a bit. It forces you to take notice not only of the actor, but the wonderful song as well.

14. Fallen Angel- Poison:In the eighties, some hair bands really embraced all that was the music video. Poison's Fallen Angel always stuck with me the most though. It's all about a small town girl who devastates her family by saying she's leaving home to try her luck in Hollywood. The family has no choice but to let her go, but they worry about her day and night. Of course once she gets there she realizes it's a lot harder to break into the business than she thought it was going to be. Lucky for her, Brett Michaels is there to pick up the pieces.

15. You Might Think- The Cars: This video was so much fun to me because of its imagery which, back then, was pretty experimental. It takes the whole idea of stalker to a new level, but in under 3 minutes, it's just enough to not sufficiently creep you out that badly.

16. Brass In Pocket- Pretenders: Just like I eluded to last week, Brass In Pocket by The Pretenders is a perfect example of a video done right for next to nothing at all. Chrissie Hynde is perfect as the down on her luck waitress who just wants the right guy to notice her. I also love the amateur angle of this video. When she says she's special, the band members start to point to the special on the menu at the diner. Ahh, things were so much simpler then.

17. Weapon of Choice- Fatboy Slim: This video is completely opposite from most of the ones included on this list? Why, because I have no idea what this song is about. Then again, I suppose it's fitting that I don't know what the video is about, either. All I know is that it features Christopher Walken doing what he does best, creeping us out and entertaining us, all in under 4 minutes.

Honorable Mentions: Just A Gigolo- David Lee Roth, Love Is A Battlefield- Pat Benatar, Material Girl- Madonna, Money For Nothing- Dire Straits, Sledgehammer-Peter Gabriel, Simply Irresistible and Addicted To Love- Robert Palmer, Hazard- Richard Marx, We're Not Gonna Take It- Twisted Sister and many, many more.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Help, I Need Somebody

Anyone who has been reading this blog for sometime knows "the trouble I've seen" at my job.

The first two years of having my own classroom were definitely, what I like to refer to as, the "baptism by fire" years. Then again, your first year working anywhere is full of getting your feet wet types of scenarios. Things like learning who you can trust and who you can't or even learning how to use the copy machine are important milestones.

But after awhile, you start to get the hang of your new surroundings. This is why, when I headed into my second year teaching, I thought there would be far less chaos than the year before. Unfortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong. This is because while I had a better handle on what was expected of me in the classroom, I had the class from hell. A lot of people probably wanted to think I was making this up until I won the Purple Heart award at last year's end of the year part for having the "best class".

So they say the third time's the charm and when I heard only good things about this upcoming batch of third graders, I remained optimistic. The icing on the cake was that at the end of the year, I also discovered for the very first time I was going to have my own paraprofessional assisting me.

At first I was nervous about getting an aide. What if we didn't work well together? What if I couldn't get used to delegating responsibility? All of those feelings subsided however when I got "Mrs. B". Mrs. B is a tough lady who raised six children of her own. She isn't too comfortable with helping the kids with their academics, but she's a whiz at copying, creating and organizing the little things. In a classroom environment, having someone to take on such things means so much.

Now one thing you need to know about Mrs. B is that she doesn't work well with everybody. She is definitely a love ya or hate ya type of person. If she loves ya, she'll do anything for you, but if she doesn't well, watch out. Lucky for me I was on her good side. Unfortunately a few of the kids in my class managed to rub her the wrong way and I've witnessed many awkward encounters, showdowns if you will, between Mrs. B and a student in class. It's like a train wreck. You want to stop it, but the train has already picked up too much speed.

And what they said about the kids this year turned out to be true. Overall, they are definitely a better behaved, more academically inclined bunch of students. I haven't had nearly the amount of he said/she said drama I had in the past. I also haven't had many children who absolutely, positively couldn't be together. Then there is the work itself. Not all, but more of them actually care. It's amazing. They're still chatty and have trouble following directions, but this year is definitely like Arthur's theme. It's the best that we can do.

So the year is a little more than halfway over and we've all settled into a groove and now I get the news. A little over a week ago Mrs. B came up to me and said she hated to be the bearer of bad news, but that she was going to be leaving. Now mind you, she wasn't leaving the school, she was just being moved to another classroom.

The story goes like this. Another para in the school accepted a job outside of education, period. She was a para in a special education, self-contained classroom. Since she was leaving, it was imperative that they find a replacement for her. However, as I understand it, they couldn't hire anyone to replace her. It seemed like a simple enough solution for me, considering it was a unilateral move. But apparently the district is already over budget, and with crunching the numbers, we are going to lose more and more para's each year until it is only an as needed basis. The classroom that lost an aide needs someone in there and I do not. Alas, the decision was made.

With the writing on the wall and all things between the way they were, I couldn't argue her going to a new classroom. Only there were extenuating circumstances that made the move all the more bittersweet. For instance, to this day, no one in administration told me about the move. Instead, the news had to come from Mrs. B herself who only told me because she didn't want to leave me hanging. The other day she asked if she could leave a half hour early and my vice-principal said she had to "ok" it with me first. She has to ask me if she can leave a half hour early, but no one has to tell me that she's leaving, period? You do the math.

The other awkward part of this scenario is that while someone had to be moved, it's a bit questionable why my assistant had to be the one to move. For instance, there are two other para's, in third grade alone, that you would think would have made more sense. There's one teacher who only has thirteen students, and a para. Then there's another who has the "gifted" class and is keeping her para, too. I'm no fool. I know the score. I know I don't have the seniority, but that doesn't make it any less fair.

Finally there's the issue of if this is truly the best fit. Mrs. B, while a big help, is no spring chicken. The woman is heading towards 70 years old. Now I worked as a special education para for a year before becoming a teacher and I'm here to tell you, that job is no walk in the park. The kids bite, kick, scream and run away. Mrs. B, who takes the elevator up every morning, is just not in shape to do those types of things. If anything, it would have made sense to move her to another room like a kindergarten room and take one of the younger aides out of there and put them in the special ed room. Sure it would be upsetting more than one apple cart, but then again, one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch, too.

Of course, part of me can't help but to think about how all this effects me, too. It's true when they say you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Had I never had Mrs. B I would never have known what I was missing. I would continue to struggle through the administrative duties like checking homework, filing papers, changing bulletin boards and making copies. I also would have continued to pick up and drop off my students being none the wiser. But now, for the past five and a half months, I've, in a word, been spoiled. I knew one day I'd go back to being paraless, but I figured that was going to be next year, not next month.

Leave it to Mrs. B though. She still insists she is going to help me, even if it means getting to work early or staying a bit later.

Yes, good help is hard to find, but I'm here to tell you, it's even harder to let go.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Video Killed The Radio Star"

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away lived THE singer.

THE singer knew that he had to get his music to the masses. But how?

Lo and behold, the music video was born. In its heyday, the music video was just as important as the single itself. For awhile it actually might have been more important.

So my question to you this week is this,

What are your favorite music videos of all time and why?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

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, February 18, 2007

Write Back Weekend "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

There are many great love songs out there that manage to capture the beauty of first love, the loss of a great love and even the wanting of a new love.

But I always felt there wasn't nearly enough attention given to the love songs about the love stories that have yet to be told. This is how I arrived at last week's semi-Valentine's Day TITMT question: What are, in your opinion, the best songs about pining or unrequited love?

I don't know what it is about love stories that involve loving someone from afar, but they've always been one of my favorite stories to watch unfold. Growing up, I was schooled on the romanticized ways of unrequited love courtesy of soap operas. No one knew how to drag out such longing better than a daily daytime serial. What would be resolved in under two hours in a movie theater could take up to eight months on the small screen. I relished these types of story lines because you started to feel the anguish of the one doing the pining. You sympathized with them and rooted for them. Most of the time it would work out in the end, but the getting there, well that was the fun part.

But in real life unrequited love isn't often equal parts bitter and sweet. In fact, love like this is often more bitter than sweet as many times unrequited love remains unrequited for one reason or another. Sometimes the person is too shy to reveal their true feelings, while other times they do, only to realize their desires are still to remain unreturned. This is the cruel part of love like this. Sure, love ultimately conquers all, but that doesn't mean it has to be mutually exclusive.

Since I have a soft spot for love that is unrequited it only makes sense that I have a long list of songs that have touched me on this very subject. What follows is a semi-complete list that honors such unfulfilled feelings:

1.You Don't Know Me- Jann Arden: There have been many renditions of this song along the way, but Jann Arden's take is my personal favorite. I remember them playing it during the movie My Best Friend's Wedding. More so than this though was the time they played this on Dawson's Creek. In its heyday, DC had one of the best unrequited love story lines in Joey Potter's "best friend who wanted more feelings" for Dawson Leery.

2. She Don't Know Me- Bon Jovi: Although Bon Jovi has had a successful career with a string of top ten hits, one of my absolute favorites hands, down is She Don't Know Me. It's all about a guy who loves a girl from afar who doesn't give him the time of day.

3. Jessie's Girl- Rick Springfield: It's fitting that one of my favorite songs EVER be about one of my favorite types of songs, ever. The set-up alone, of a guy who's in love with his best friend's girl, is priceless. Jessie is a friend. I know he's been a good friend of mine. But lately something's changed it ain't hard to define. Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine. If that's not one of the best pop hooks in history, I don't know what is. The fact that was sung by a former soap star is just icing on the cake.

4. If You Needed Somebody- Bad Company: This is probably one of the lesser known songs on my list but that doesn't mean it's any less great. If You Needed Somebody came out in the early nineties and boasts such lyrics as, "Should have told you by now, but I cant find the words. If I could show you somehow, but I don't have the nerve..."

5. Hello- Lionel Richie: Hello is one of my favorite songs because it's about the dreamer in all of us. In the song, the guy has been alone with the girl so many times "in his mind". Everything else about his feelings remain open-ended. "'Cause I wonder where you are and I wonder what you do. Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you? Tell me how to win your heart, for I haven't got a clue. But let me start by saying, I love you." Of course these lyrics could also be decoded as borderline stalker-like. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

6. Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?- Def Leppard: It's hard to think that any Def Leppard song is on the best of anything list, ever, but this song has always stuck with me. The chorus alone says it all, "Have you ever needed someone so bad? Have you ever wanted someone you just couldn't have? Did you ever try so hard, that your world just fell apart. Have you ever needed someone so bad?"

7. My Heart Can't Tell You No- Rod Stewart: This song is a bit of a twist on the unrequited love theme. Here the guy is torn up because the girl has another boyfriend, but strings him along anyway. He can't turn her away though, because his heart, can't tell him no, see? "When the one you loves in love with someone else, don't you know its torture, I mean it's a living hell. No matter how I try to convince myself, this time I won't lose control. One look in your sad eyes and suddenly, my heart can't tell you no."

8. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend- The Party: Back in the early nineties, one of my favorite bands was the underrated The Party. They were written off, because they were manufactured, teenagers, and born out of the Mickey Mouse Club, no less. Despite all of this, they had a great few albums with some songs that remain my favorites till this day. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend was a song about unrequited love for the teen set. Simplistic in nature, and entertaining, too.

9. When You Walk In The Room- Paul Carrack: Another lesser known gem, in both the song, and the artist. When I had a crush on a boy back in high school I used to play this song. It's a remake but I love this version the best. It's all about the other person and how they don't know you are alive. It also describes how someone in this position feels that everyone else must know how they are feeling, even though it's rarely true.

10.Have You Ever?- Brandy: This is a song I would have easily overlooked had I not seen someone else write about it not too long ago. Have You Ever? is another song about the belief you've found the right person for you, but how the other person just doesn't feel the same.

11. I Want You To Want Me- Cheap Trick: How could you not include a classic unrequited love song like I Want You To Want Me on a list like this? I Want You To Want Me because it takes a serious topic and actually makes it fun, completely forgetting how a person with true feelings might really feel.

12. I Can't Make You Love Me- Bonnie Raitt: There's something haunting about the song I Can't Make You Love Me. In this song, the two people are together, but they are either not in love or no longer in love. It's unclear where they stand really. I prefer to look at it from the perspective of the one person is hoping the other one starts to have the same feelings but in the meantime, they'll take what they can get.

13. Oh No- The Commodores: Before Lionel Richie said Hello, he was keeping it real with The Commodores on Oh No. There aren't a lot of lyrics in this song, but that doesn't mean the message still isn't there. Oddly enough, I remember this song being used in the movie The Last American Virgin. It fit perfectly for the teen who wasn't getting the girl and stayed with me all these years.

14. Crazy For This Girl- Evan and Jaron: When I listen to the lyrics of Crazy For This Girl I hear a story of a guy and a girl who have a relationship, but they are friends and nothing more. The girl cares about the guy, but she still doesn't like him in "that way". "Would you look at her she looks at me, she's got me thinking about her constantly, but she don't know how I feel. And as she carries on without a doubt, I wonder if she's figured out I'm crazy for this girl."

15. Dream- Everly Brothers: Dream is such a simple song, but it's also one of the first of its kind to capture such feelings. It's sweet-natured approach is also refreshing. "I can make you mine, taste your lips of wine, anytime night or day. Only trouble is, gee whiz, I'm dreamin' my life away."

16. At the Library- Greenday: Although Greenday has gone on to have major success with many, many hits, At The Library is one of my favorite songs of them from the "before they were famous" days. It's all about the high school angst, a whole other sub-category of pining. Staring at someone in chemistry or say, "at the library".

17. Just My Imagination- Babyface and Gwenyth Paltrow: First of all let me say that I'm fully aware of the fact that Just My Imagination was not originally done by Babyface and Gwenyth Paltrow. That doesn't mean though that this isn't my favorite rendition. I love the daydream aspect of this song. I also like the fact that they turned it into a duet. As an added bonus, I think Paltrow kicks ass here.

18. Brass In Pocket- The Pretenders: One day, in the not so distant future, I plan on doing a music video related post. You remember those, right? Anyway, when I do, be forewarned that Brass In Pocket will make the cut. It's a song all about a girl who's determined to pull out all the stops to get the guy of her dreams to notice her, but to no avail.

19. Alone- Heart: I can still remember how huge Alone was when I was growing up. I don't know if I picked up on it's pining significance back then, but I made up for it in time. It's all about how the girl really was fine being on her own, and then she met HIM. Now she's wondering, how can she manage to tell him, to get him alone?

20. Can't Get You Off Of My Mind- Lenny Kravitz: I always thought this song was a bit haunting. This is a guy who isn't sure he wants to be in a relationship, but his mind has other plans for him. So now he's wondering, could she feel the same?

21. Love and Affection- Nelson: Before we had Evan & Jaron, there was Nelson. Two guys who sang about the girl they couldn't have. That's why I consider Love and Affection the Crazy For This Girl, part one. Say what you will about Nelson, but they hit the nail on the head when it comes to wanting what they couldn't have.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Today Seven Years Ago I Met The Boy I'm Going To Marry

I've never really cared too much either way about Valentine's Day.

For the first twenty-something years of my life, I didn't really have a special someone to please or to please me. Sure I had crushes, unrequited loves if you will, but they were few and far between. Whether or not they happened to overlap with any major holidays is all a blur now. It's the classic glass half full/glass half empty approach to life. It all depends on where you're standing when they do the pouring.

One Valentine's Day, however, seven years ago, I started working at my dead insurance job. Everything about that job, in a nutshell, sucked. Now when I look back on my time there, I know what they mean when they say everything happens for a reason. I was meant to take that position. One, because being fed up with jobs like that led me to the job I have now. Two, because that is where I met the man I was going to marry.

I didn't know back then that I met the boy I was going to eventually end up with. What I do remember though is walking through the door and, since the secretary was MIA, having to find the first available cubicle to inquire where I should go and what I should do. Lo and behold, that was the first time I met my eventual boyfriend.

Nothing about him grabbed my attention at first. Then, a month so into working there, I remember getting a random flash when he passed by. Suddenly it came to me that this co-worker of mine was the man I was going to marry.

Now you have to remember that at this point, nothing romantic has transpired between him and I. In fact, I didn't even think I thought of him that way, at least not on a conscious level. Apparently, my subconscious felt differently. As a result I started to realize feelings that I didn't know were there, or develop feelings that weren't there until my premonition.Looking back on things now, events developed quickly. Of course in the moment it didn't feel that way though. It felt like everyday dragged, not knowing what was going to happen.

Once we got together I'd love to say it was smooth sailing from there, but I'd be lying. Relationships, as most of you know already, take a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of compromise. It took us a long time to try and find a balance of the three. There were even times when we gave up entirely because it was too hard. For us, however, all roads led back to the same destination.

Now coincidentally, I thought that Valentine's Day, or there whereabouts, might be somewhat monumental yet again. That's because I knew that boyfriend was on the verge of proposing to me.

How I knew is another story entirely. The fact that we were planning on getting married one day wasn't a surprise. We've discussed this, and the time line for everything to follow, for sometime now. I even went with my boyfriend right before Thanksgiving to get "ideas" for rings. I say "ideas" because I pretty much led the horse to water with this one. I thought for sure we would have to jump from shop to shop, the blind leading the blind, asking about the 4 C's of ring buying. You know, Cost, Conceded-ness, Condescension and Chaos, or something like that. But we didn't make it nearly that complicated (an honorary "C" of carat buying, by the way). We went to one store, in the mall no less. It was a mom and pop type shop where I tried on a few different styles and in under a half hour, I chose the one I wanted the most. And just like that the "circle" was complete.

Since I knew my boyfriend was going to purchase said ring, we decided together that the actual proposal would be a surprise. Thanksgiving passed, but I wasn't too shocked I didn't get anything then. After all, Christmas was right around the corner. Plus he had told a number of people he was going to do this soon, so many people in fact, that one person even congratulated me before anything even happened. Talk about awkward.

But then New Years came. And when I asked my boyfriend if we were doing anything, he said no. Just for future reference ladies, if your boyfriend says you're not doing anything special, chances are good you're really not doing anything special. I learned this the hard way. Still, I knew deep down that there would be a time and place for the proposal. After all, I knew the man for seven years, what would a few more weeks hurt? Still that didn't make the return to school after holidays, with my tail between my legs so to speak, any easier.

Naturally your mind wanders to the next big holiday.

At Christmastime, Valentine's Day still seemed so far away. Of course, it actually came a lot quicker than I realized. I thought perhaps he was going to do it then, but neither one of us are "traditional" people, so the idea that he would center his actual proposal around the holiday at hand seemed far-fetched to me. Plus, like I mentioned earlier, I had already figured his proposal to be around Christmastime. To be wrong once is ok, but to brag about it twice is just downright embarrassing.

So last weekend we went out to dinner in Philadelphia in "honor" of Valentine's Day. We don't go out for fancy dinners often, much less for every major holiday. Typically, fancy to us is a night out at Carrabba's with a pitcher of Sangria and an appetizer of Fried Calamari. I even commented to him that I'm sure that the establishment wouldn't approve that my blouse had been purchased in Walmart, of all places.

But there were other signs, too. When we got to the restaurant and had been seated, my boyfriend told the waitress that he had wanted a table a bit more private, something he never requests. So they proceeded to move us, to something actually that was even more public, but we stayed put.

Still, with these little signs, he still seemed extremely calm considering someone who was carrying around a carat of a diamond in his pocket. He even talked about going out to the movies afterwards. Finally he said to me that he had gotten me something for Valentine's Day and out comes this beautiful ...necklace.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great necklace. But when you're expecting fillet mignon and you get a cheese steak, it somehow doesn't seem to matter how tasty the latter is. So I think I did a good job of hiding my confusion. He had me try on the necklace, which I really did like, but it was too long. So I spent a good amount of time fumbling to get it on and off and put my original necklace back on, all by the light of the dimly lit candle.

Our expensive dinner plates cleared, the waitress then brought the dessert menus. I didn't even get to look at them when my boyfriend announced that he had known what he wanted since the place (and the dessert) had been recommended by a friend. When the waitress came back she placed a miniature cake in front of me. On the cake said the words, "Wanna get married?"

Before I knew what had happened, my boyfriend had come around the table and gotten down on one knee. Naturally I said yes and people in the restaurant began to clap. The wait staff had known all along, but the patrons, of course, had not. It didn't matter whether they knew or not. Though flattered, I was still thoroughly embarrassed about hate being on display.

He tried to give me a heartfelt speech to go along with the proposal, but when a waitress comes over asking if you want coffee and opening a bottle of champagne, it kinda ruins your train of thought. Despite all of this though, it truly was an awesome night. I was doubly psyched to get a necklace and a ring, but my boyfriend (excuse me, fiance)still insists that the necklace was a decoy gift, purchased at Target for $12.00 earlier that very same day. In his mind it was expendable. In my mind it was, and still is, a nice piece of jewelry. It just goes to show you I care nothing about being "high class".

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all though was that he managed to surprise me, even with my knowing it was coming. This was actually no easy feat when you think about it. Then again, it's fitting when you consider our relationship began just as unexpectedly.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday "I Want You To Want Me"

On the eve of Valentine's Day everyone is going to be all about how "All You Need Is Love". While I do believe that everyone needs love and that there are right someone(s) out there for everybody, sometimes feelings of love remain hidden and unrevealed or simply, unfulfilled.

So today I decided to go in a different direction with cupid's arrow. The TITMT question of today asks...

What are, in your opinion, the best songs about pining or unrequited love?

Remember, the more longing, the better! Valentine's Day is for lovers, but think of all the pent up feelings out there. Some of the best love stories have blossomed out of such premises. The sleepless nights! The butterflies in the stomach! The soap opera-like angst!

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

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, February 11, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Live To Tell"

Thanks again for all the quick responses to the previous post. I do want to clarify something. The page you are viewing NOW is not the page that was there yesterday afternoon. Nearly all of the content is removed, not just the posts she stole. If it was just the question, as some of you pointed out, that would be inoffensive enough, but it wasn't. It was also two other posts, full of content, not questions.

She also, in her former blog, had other posts that she had seen somewhere else and had given credit to. So in my mind, she knew what she was doing, as she presumably knows how to give credit. She just didn't think she'd get caught. While I accept the apology and appreciate the retraction, I'm still left with a bad taste in my mouth. At the very least though, it's resolved.

On to greener pastures...The last few weeks have been bad blogging wise and I apologize. I just haven't had the time to update as readily as I wish I could. I want to thank the people though that continue to hang in there with me and visit. I know AOGB is a shadow of what it used to be, but hopefully, in time it will make a serious comeback, not unlike the career of John Travolta in the nineties.

They say things can change in a New York minute and last week's blog entries are evidence of this. Take for example the reason we are all here, to see my answer to this week's TITMT:

If you could have heard the deathbed confession of one person from history, who would you pick and why?

Now here's where it gets freaky. The day after posting this question I blogged about Kevin Bacon being a celebrity that gives back to the people. Of course to drive this point home I compared him first to celebrities who seem to think more of themselves. As a result, the opener from the post before this one was...Anna Nicole Smith created a website where she charged for people to get a glimpse into her life.

Stay with me here. Of course I couldn't know that when I wrote about Anna Nicole Smith in jest on Tuesday that she would then die two days later. I also couldn't know that my TITMT request of receiving a deathbed confession could technically tie into Anna Nicole Smith's death. I don't know if any of y'all are creeped out by this but it's ok, cause I'm sufficiently creeped out for all of us. As if all of this wasn't creepy enough, someone out there decided to try to steal my mojo on this very question and subsequent post.

So actually I thought about just saying that the deathbed confession I would most like to hear would be Anna Nicole Smith's but that would be a lie. For starters, I don't know what she'd be "confessing" to exactly. Maybe her baby's daddy? But honestly, I don't really care about what Anna Nicole has to say, dead, alive or somewhere in between, which is where she seemed to hover for most of her "life".

Understand that I know way am trying to speak ill of the dead. I'm just saying I didn't understand Anna Nicole while she was alive so I sure as hell don't expect to understand her any better now that she is gone. Of course the whole thing, her life and sudden death is equally sad in my eyes since she led a life of tragedy, not to mention the fact that leaves behind a love child whose paternity will probably be the question on everyone's lips for months to come, but I digress. After all, that is more time than I ever thought I'd spend on Anna Nicole on this blog, period.

So whose confession would I choose then? I'm still uncertain. I think the word "confession" is what trips me up. For instance, there are a slew of people I would love to talk to from beyond the grave. Elvis Presley would be intriguing. John F. Kennedy would be classic. Even Marilyn Monroe, arguably the Anna Nicole of her time, would be interesting. But then again not one of these people truly fall under the category of confessions.

There were so many celebrities that were taken away from us too soon because of drugs, alcohol, crashes, natural causes or even murder. But these people don't fall under the heading of confessions exactly. If I wanted to know more about Abraham Lincoln's death or JFK I suppose I should want the confession of those responsible for their deaths instead of the other way around. But at the same time, requesting some random crazy person's motives seems to be giving that person exactly what they wanted, never ending notoriety.

And then what about the people who we know personally who we never got closure with? Some of us chose fathers, grandmothers or other family members to speak to again. I don't have any skeletons in my closet, so I don't think I could choose any of these people either. That doesn't mean though that I wouldn't like to talk to family members who have passed on, it just doesn't fit the question entirely.

So as a result I decided that playing by the rules with this one was easier said than done. Call it a cop out if you will, but I can't think of any one person I'd like to talk to hear the confessions of. I think the confessions of the living are far more interesting. That being said, I guess you could say I'd like to hear the confessions of priests. After all, they hear a slew of interesting things and can't say anything about them. They have their own crosses to bear, and then some.

In the end, perhaps some things are better left unsaid. I mean they say that curiosity killed the cat, but really, only the cat knows for sure.

Maybe for some reason, it's meant to stay that way.
Saturday, February 10, 2007

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery?

ALERT! I suppose it was bound to happen eventually (Who knows? It may have even happened before), but it seems AOGB may very well have a plagiarizer in its midst. Yes, when browsing the internet for ideas for responses to this week's TITMT I came across Trudie's blog. Trudie, it seems, asked this very same question to her readers this week. Coincidence, right? Well then I scrolled down and noticed that she also just "happened" to write the EXACT. SAME. KEVIN BACON POST. on Thursday. Of course all parties are innocent until proven guilty and if an explanation is forthcoming, a retraction will be printed. So to Trudie, if that is even her real name, I sent this message.

I came across "your" Kevin Bacon charity post and deathbed confession question. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is not any credit or link to the original author, myself. So I have to ask, do you make a habit of stealing other people's work without linking or crediting or did I just miss something?


I'm currently working on a REAL response to MY question as I type this. In the meantime, feel free to give Trudie a piece of your mind for me. It is much appreciated!

P.S. Apparently it doesn't stop with these two posts. As I scroll through her blog, there are others that have been taken from mine. This has been going on for longer than I thought...

P.S.S.- Thanks to all of you who responded so quickly and commented on her blog, too. Unfortunately I can't see your comments as it seems she has since conveniently taken them down. The following are the messages I received from her.

i have edited my blog to reflect that you page is where I got it.. I am sorry that I didnt mention your name. Honestly didnt think about it.

to be followed by...

I have decided to remove your posts from my blog.. none of your blogs are on my page. I am sorry that I had offended you by using your blogs for subject matter.. It was an honest mistake and I am deeply sorry for making you angry. I liked your blogs and some of your topics were very good. Again I am sorry ...take care.

Take this as you will. I know I have.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Let's Hear It For The Boy

Most of the time we hear about a slew of celebrities who have one interest and one interest alone, THEMSELVES.

Anna Nicole Smith created a website where she charged for people to get a glimpse into her life. A few years back, Gary Coleman baffled former fans by asking for sympathy in the form of compensation, leaving them to ask, What you talking about, Coleman? Meanwhile Dustin "Screech" Diamond of Saved By The Bell continues to scrounge for pity money to "save his home", as well as his career. It's a move that's just too sleazy, even by Zack Morris standards. Yes, they are pity parties, plain and simple, table for one. In fact, there's only one person in this world who pities these fools and that my friends, is none other than Mr. T.

This is why it's so refreshing when a celebrity comes along and tries to turn their big time status into big time profit for others. Paul Newman, a man I've blogged about before, is the first name that comes to mind. Sure, he gave back to the people by making some kick ass movies, but he needed a little something on the side, sorta like say a side salad. And so he launched a line of foods like salad dressings, popcorn and spaghetti sauces, all in the name of a good cause. Millions of dollars have since been donated in the name of charity due to Newman putting his money where his mouth is, nearly literally.

So now, jumping on the do good bandwagon, we have Kevin Bacon. Bacon isn't stupid. He realized that any venture needs a gimmick. Only problem is, he didn't have to think the gimmick up, he just had to capitalize on one that was handed to him. This is the popular "drinking game" known as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

In case you've been living under a rock the last ten years or so, let me explain. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was born out of the idea of Six Degrees of Seperation, a movie that does not, in fact, star Kevin Bacon but is a mere few degrees away from him when you consider Donald Sutherland who was in Six Degrees of Seperation was also in Heaven Help Us with Mary Stuart Masterson who was in Digging To China with...Kevin Bacon. Discuss.

The premise itself, is a simple one and follows the adage that it really is a small world after all. Basically anyone in the world, rich or poor, black or white, can be connected within a few short steps. This idea caught fire with character actor Kevin Bacon's career, merely because he was seemingly showing up in everything at the time, many projects of which featured ensemble casts which made connections even more apparent. Not only has he done sixty-one films, he also starred in television and has directed and sung as half of a duo featuring him and his brother, known as The Bacon Brothers. Ten years ago you played in your dorm room. Fast forward a decade and you're making the dream a reality on shows like ABC's semi-defunct, Six Degrees and places like MySpace Facebook and Friendster.

But Kevin Bacon looked around and saw that these types of ventures were looking for connections in all the wrong places. And so was conceived. In lamest terms, SixDegrees the website is like the supermarket of charity donations. Simply visit the site, choose a participating celebrity and link up the charity of their choosing, just like that. The celebrities themselves even range in status from the well known celebrities like Jessica Simpson, posing for not so well known causes like, Operation Smile, Inc to obscure "celebrities" like Dash Mihok campaigning for more well known conditions such as Tourette's Syndrome.

Of course the star charity to donate to on SixDegrees is that of Kevin Bacon's link to Network For Good which in turn once again leads you to a link that lets you donate to anything you want to, within reason of course. Some might say this is a bit like walking around in circles and leaves Bacon coming across as quite the noncommittal fellow, but then again, having many loose connections is what Kevin Bacon is best known for, right?

Whether it be uniting a desolate town under one nation of rhythm or getting people to raise their glasses at happy hour on a Friday night, leave it to Kevin Bacon to find the rainbow connection. The rockers, the actors, the drunkards, the donaters...and even, me.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Midnight Confessions"

This week's question is a bit of a weird TITMT that I thought up months ago. In fact, I don't even know if I thought it up or not, it's been that long since I originally wrote it down. Regardless of where it came from, some creativity is required for this response.

I want to know...

If you could have heard the deathbed confession of one person from history, who would you pick and why?

Yes, if you want to write about more than one person, of course you can. Really, who am I to say no?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

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, February 04, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Celebrity Skins"

This week's answer to TITMT is a bit later than usual. Then again, so are my visits to all of your blogs. I'm trying my best to catch up (and keep up) with everything so bear with me while I do!

The TITMT question for the week was this: If they were making a Hall of Fame for your state, who would you think should make the list and why?

I thought of this question after hearing about a real, live Hall of Fame that is being created in my home state of New Jersey. Maybe it's because I'm from here, but I do feel like NJ has its fair share of famous folk. Not only do we have a lot of famous people to come from our state, many native New Jerseyans have a very strong allegiance to such stars. If I was from another state I might say the exact same thing but I don't know for sure because I'm not from "there", I'm from HERE.

The following is a partial list of just some of the great entertainers that have hailed, in whole or in part, from the underrated state of New Jersey. I attempted to break them down by category too in order to better accentuate the areas in which each shines the brightest.

1. Whitney Houston- Whitney Houston was born in the capital of our state, Newark New Jersey. In the past twenty years, her fame has transcended being a local starlet to being a global superstar. She's also managed to transcend the former label of being the "whitest black person ever". That, and everything else, went down the drain when she married Bobby Brown.

2. Jon Bon Jovi- Growing up, Jon Bon Jovi was the definition of "Hometown Boy Does Good". Hailing from Sayreville, Jon Bongiovi gave working class rock a good name when he rode the hair band wave of success in the eighties. But while many hair bands have come and gone, Bon Jovi's music managed to rock on. Say what you want about NJ, but don't you dare come to Jersey and mess with Jon.

3. Bruce Springsteen
Before Jon Bon Jovi's signature smile moved many locales, Bruce Springsteen set the stage for his debut. Another working class local boy, Springsteen made it big in the late seventies and early eighties, also moving past the popularity of being a local hero. If Springsteen and Bon Jovi are any indication, New Jersey is all about the money being tight and the jeans being even tighter.

4. Frank Sinatra- If you wanna go even more old school, you can take it back to the days of Sinatra. Despite many New Yorkers who claim him as their own, the classic crooner actually grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey. If you have ever been to NJ though you'd know that towns like Hoboken are really honorary New York towns anyhow. Years ago my grandparents "met" Sinatra and introduced themselves, only to be snubbed by the man. That stuck with them. Rudeness, unfortunately, is another local characteristic trait.

5. Frankie Valli- Born Francis Stephen Castelluccio, Frankie Valli made it big in the sixties with his band, The Four Seasons, racking up over 25 Top 40 hits. But before Valli made it big, he was just a tiny guy from Newark, New Jersey who was waiting for his winning "season". When I was a kid, I was exposed to Frankie Valli's music early on. In fact, in nursery school, when they asked if anyone knew the seasons I raised my hand and said, "Yes, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons". It's a classic family story, still to this day.


6. Ray Liotta- Another Newark native, Liotta was born and raised in the Northern part of New Jersey before heading off to the sunny state of Florida and studied at the University of Miami. Nowadays though he's perhaps known best for his turn as a classic "Good Fella".

7. Andrew McCarthy- Perhaps one of the least famous on this list, I've always had a soft spot for Andrew McCarthy. In the eighties in fact, I was a HUGE fan. Back then I didn't even know (or care) that he came from Westfield, New Jersey. The fact that he has New Jersey roots only further solidifies his cool status in my book.

8. Jack Nicholson- Good time actor Jack Nicholson was born in Neptune, New Jersey. There isn't much to say about Nicholson that hasn't been said before. Despite how you feel about him, he's arguably one of the coolest actors, ever.

9. Joe Pantoliano Joey "Pants" Pantoliano is from Hoboken, New Jersey. If you haven't picked up on it already, many famous New Jerseyans are from the same few towns and are of Italian American descent, or merely want to be. Joey Pants is no exception. Although not as famous by name as most on this list (including Andrew McCarthy), Joey Pants has a face you know when you see him and a stellar acting resume to boot.

10. Meryl Streep- Going against the New Jersey grain is two-time Academy award winning actress Meryl Streep. I say this because the Summit native is decidedly
classier" than many other famous people from New Jersey. There is a segment of New Jersey though that gives off an air of sophistication. I know that sounds impossible given what you've all seen on television all of these years, but it's true.

11. John Travolta- Triple threat Travolta is another actor that has commonly been mistaken for a native New Yorker when, in fact, he's actually from Englewood, New Jersey. Over the years however, he's one of the many celebrities that the states have acquired somewhat of a joint custody over, just because.

12. Bruce Willis- Speaking of actors who do more than one thing, or at least try to, we can't forget Bruce Willis. Unlike many others on this list, Bruce Willis was actually born in West Germany. His father was American while his mother was German. At the age of two years old, however, the Willis family moved to Penns Grove, New Jersey. His wise guy mentality has since made him a household name due to success in roles in projects such as Moonlighting, Pulp Fiction, and being Demi Moore's ex-husband.

13. Susan Sarandon- Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon was born in New York, however she grew up in New Jersey, ultimately graduating from Edison high school. When she made the move from New York to New Jersey remains unclear, but does it really matter?


14. Michael Ian Black- Another technicality, Michael Ian Black (also known as Michael Schwartz) was actually born in Chicago, Illinois. He's a lesser known comedic actor, best known for his portrayal of wacky character actors on shows like Ed or his contribution to the MTV, SNL-like staple, The State. Most recently he's surfaced as himself on projects such as the VH1 I Love The...series. Anyway who reads this blog with any regularity of course knows who I love though. HIM.

15. Jon Stewart- Those who aren't of Italian American descent and from Jersey seem to then be of Jewish descent. Jewish comedic actor Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz grew up in Lawrence Township, NJ. He is associated with NY these days due to his massive success at the helm of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He's a witty, intelligent comedian who also just happens to be from New Jersey either. Both him and Black prove that wit can prevail, even in the land of acid wash.
Friday, February 02, 2007

AOGB Classic: There's No Business Like Snow Business

Unfortunately with parties, report cards and lesson planning (though not necessarily in that order) I was unable to sit down and write a new post for today. You know, for all ten of you who have been, God bless you, faithfully reading this site?

So, in lieu of a new post, I hope you'll except this repeat from last February all about the wacky world of snow. With a potential slushy commute on my hands tomorrow it seemed more than appropriate.

No matter what is going on in the world, I find it funny how weather-related stories soak up so much on air time. If you are a semi-famous celebrity who happens to die around a big snowstorm? You're lucky if you get a mention sandwiched in between how much snow will fall and how much snow has fallen. Water, be it snow, rain or ice, is such a publicity whore.

This past weekend, the tri state area was hit hard with the first significant snowfall of the season. Up until now, winter had been remarkably mild with barely a hint of a flake in sight.

A few days before a potentially "big storm" meteorologists everywhere are always clamoring for the exclusive, Barbara Walters like scoop on...snow. Will it snow this weekend? If so, how much? How long? And how much will be outside the window? The one one mixed with rain, sleet and hail? Snow! I love you! Over here!

This leads me to something that irks me; What is the study of meteorology anyway? Apparently meteorologists are scientists who interpret the weather and atmospheric science. I don't know about you but I'd like more detail as to what they are "interpreting" because as far as I can see meteorologists, Huh. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing.

I understand that the weather can be an unpredictable creature, but you would think with all the advances we've made in the world that at least meteorologists today would be able to tell us if it was going to snow tomorrow, but they can't. All they can give us is a definite maybe.

In my book, definite maybe is only acceptable under certain circumstances. Will Arrested Development come back next season? Definitely maybe. Will I go on vacation this summer? Definitely maybe. These are questions where "definitely maybe" is an acceptable answer because there are numerous factors that are out of my hands at this point.

Snow plays games with meteorologists. One step to the right and we get a foot of snow, one step to the left and we just get rain. In the world of meteorology it's always anyone's game. And I get it. The meteorologists just don't know if it will snow. So you snow what? Why do these people get paid to not tell us what they don't know? Why do we need meteorologists to tell us what we can figure out for ourselves?

For instance, when it's about to snow, I often feel a little under the weather (no pun intended). I also notice that just before it's about to snow, the sky gets grayer and the weather is not all that cold. I did not go to school to figure these things out. I have just been living and walking around the state of New Jersey for the last 28 years and put two and two together.

And what about the meteorologists that live in warmer climates like California? Where's the conundrum in that?! There's always two choices, sunny or partly sunny. Ok, sometimes it rains. But it will defintely maybe always be sunny. Yes, de- def, definitely maybe. I'm an excellent describer.

Then, when the weather finally does whatever it decides to do, the meterorologists surface again and again to regurgitate mundane snow related updates: It snowed. This is how much it snowed. Here's a guy shoveling that snow. Here's an idiot who tried to drive in that snow. Look at all the places that are closed because of snow.

Yes, it seems the only thing that's certain in the partly wacky world of weather is that no matter when or where, snow always has a 100% chance of being a topic of conversation.



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