Tried and true:
Count the number of people apart from you also not paying attention. Generally, this will be everyone but the person talking.
Imagine everyone in their underwear. If two or more look appealing, arrange an after work get together.
Work out the choreography in your head for a movie scene where you all break out in song, preferably to something funky like Car Wash by Rose Royce (mp3).
Keep a count of all word bastardizations (1. laxadaisacal 2. asterik 3. I think there was another but I stopped listening)
Try and figure out where you could have possibly heard the word ridonkulous.
Saving for a special occasion:
Leave the room and go get a haircut or change clothes and see if anyone notices on your return.
I can still remember the look on my mother’s face as I walked around the house singing along with Afternoon Delight. What’s wrong Maw? That’s a dirty song and I don’t want you singing it! Oh Maw, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
When I eventually did realize she knew what she was talking about, I was suitably horrified and wondered how my mother, Edith Bunker had figured out what it was about. My guess is she was tipped off by one of her priest friends; I mean they’re a pretty sexually aware group right?
When Elvis Costello came to my attention, I'd just begun to realize there was more to musical life than the local AM radio station was telling me. The album My Aim Is True was just the sound salvation I needed. I was so happy as I watched Elvis go all punk and disobey the powers that ruled SNL by launching into Radio, Radio when he'd been told not to.
One of the songs from that album, I enjoyed for the quirky organ and beat. I had no clue what it was about even though the title might have tipped me off. Pump It Up.
When I saw in a rock book of lists that it was one of the top 10 songs about masturbation, I was shocked. Then I realized the instructional power or art and began practicing furiously. Pump it up until you can feel it, pump it up when you don’t really need it. Oh yeah.
And for you ladies? She Bop by the tricky Cyndi Lauper. Oh Cyndi!
You're Inherit the Wind!
by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
To you, the learning process is inherently about controversy. If
people aren't having their minds stretched, how could they possibly be learning? This
makes you a good but unpopular teacher, and the people around you are ready to make it
a federal case. All you're asking them to do is evolve a little. But they would like
you to be more creative. You would make an excellent lawyer, even though people think
you love monkeys.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I like the song but I'm not sure Aretha's should be sing-shouting at me: You better think (think) think about what you're trying to do to me...
I'm not trying to do anything except love you babydoll. Quit hollering at me!
1. Karvel - Bjork
2. The Largest Elizabeth - The Roches
3. Last Night - The Strokes
4. Telepathy - Emiliana Torrini
5. She Took A Lot Of Pills (And Died) - Robbie Fulks
6. Here's To The State of Mississippi - Phil Ochs
7. La Vie, L'Amour - Edith Piaf
8. Kyrie Eleison - Sinead O'Connor
9. Fragile - Nanci Griffith
10.Tower of Song - Martha Wainwright
It’s refreshing to see that the format and people are pretty much identical to last year's group. The adorable ragtag band of mental defectives, kids on a lark and a few people who might get the break they deserve are all here. If I was stuck in a room for days judging people for a singing competition where most of the contestants shouldn’t have made it to this point, I’d be a lot more vicious than Simon, on more medication than Paula and even more worthless than Randy.
The person who doesn’t seem to get painted with the same mean brush might turn out to be the cruelest of all. Ryan Seabreeze. What are you doing? How can you be creating those awful TV moments and getting away with it?
The dippier contestants land outside the audition room for their exit interview and Ryan asks them a question or two they can’t answer because they don’t know what’s just happened. And then he stares. And stares some more. The not so TV savvy contestant tries to answer, eyes darting around for safe haven and then little Ryan stares just a little big longer.
Excruciating and brilliant.
I also posted this over on funtimegoodsnarkyplaceblog We Judge The Idols where other incisive commentary is available. Act now.
In the coffee line, someone behind me tapped me on the shoulder and went into the whole Hi, how are you?! thing. First of all, that’s way too cheery a start before 8 a.m.
I turned to see who it was and gave the standard Not bad thanks, and you? Great! Everything okay with you these days? I grabbed my coffee and said Yep, see you and off I went. I know, this type of typical exchange occurs everywhere all the time but the difference today was, I’d never seen this guy before in my life.
A moment later, while walking through the lobby, someone else called out to me as they went by Hey! How’s it going!? I nodded back. Another one, no idea who that was.
I'm not sure who I look like today but clearly, it’s not me.
Why is it that I can sleep sitting upright on an uncomfortable molded train seat all the way to work in the morning but at night, I lie awake tossing and turning in what is a pretty damned comfortable bed? I've been drinking soothing hot chocolate and coffee at night and nothing seems to work.
Chelene, you graciously agreed to have lunch with me on Friday and didn’t even bring a police escort, I find that encouraging. We ate at Bar Americain which was very cool. I think the food was pretty good too although I couldn't say for sure because I was busy focusing on how sweet, funny and sessy you were and our great conversation. I was sad when it ended but I wasn't going to be the one to argue with your probation officer.
To help others share in our special moment, here’s a shot of us on our way in…
If New York ever tires of the I Heart NY thing, they could always go with Come for the City, Stay for the Chelene!
Kristin Chenoweth – thank you for a great one night only performance at the Met. You sounded and looked great and you were very funny too which goes a long way with me. I didn’t notice until after you acknowledged that she was in the audience, but there was Bette Midler sitting barely a nose job away. She enjoyed the show nearly as much as the rest of us and I know this because I could see her people pulling on the wires concealed in her cheeks that help her smile.
Kristin herself is a tiny little thing and this ‘no cameras or recording devices allowed’ shot that I snuck, shows her at actual size. She had a 12 piece orchestra, a couple of dancing boys and a lot of fun. Thanks Kristin!
On Saturday, we met Coaster Punchman and Poor George. They were so charming, funny and damned likable that shortly after we parted ways, I hear they were captured and caged so scientists could try and clone them for mass consumption. If this fails, plan B is to have a reasonably priced body spray based on them hit the market come springtime.
We thrilled to their tales of woe, wonder and Mama Gin and shared some laughs, conversation and dinner at the Algonquin. I knew the Algonquin as home to the famed Round Table but I also now know thanks to George that they have a pepper grinder larger than most 5 year olds.
Another one night only attraction was the very flexible Asian senior at the next table who at one point hoisted his leg up in the air over his head, don’t ask. Later as we were leaving, he started to fall off his chair and I helped right him before he completely hit the floor. Honest.
We went to see a funny play called And The Little Dog Laughed and then went for drinks at the lounge in the Royalton. Thanks guys for the very excellent company.
To the 70ish year old lady who dropped into the diner we ate breakfast at, a hearty toasted thank you. You proved that real New Yorkers know how to rock the hell out of a look. She had on a very beautiful fur jacket with what looked like white pants. On closer examination, it turned out to be white ribbed long johns! With a fur jacket! Sensible running shoes completed the ensemble.
City Club Hotel -- that whole fresh faced and happy looking staff thing works really well with me. Thank you for that. Even though I did eventually find something to complain about, you resolved it quickly and without treating me as poorly as Simon Cowell might have.
With that, I hope to very shortly return to being cranky about all the mundane things in my life.
The line at LaGuardia for cabs was really long so John and I did what they tell you not to do and agreed to a cab ride from one of the many poachers skulking about the terminal.
The guy looked like Terence Trent D'Arby and since I always liked that Wishing Well song, I figured it would be alright. If only I'd remembered back to the time Terence pulled this stunt, waiting in line mightn't have seemed such a bad idea.
We got into the back of his shiny Escalade and started on our way. I heard a woman's voice and was very interested to see that my spider sense hadn't even detected a being in the front seat but there she was, the driver's girlfriend I guess, talking away on her cellphone. She looked like my favourite rebellious Cosby kid circa Angel Heart only with less blood.
As we approached the toll booth, Terence was in one line and it seemed busy so he swerved over into another. He and Lisa both started yammering away with the lady in the booth who in addition to taking his money, handed over something wrapped in foil.
Oh fuck! Drugs! my brain shrieked. We're all gonna die in some sort of deal gone wrong. It turned out to just be some sort of shawarma which they shared as we drove on. With the windows cracked to let out some of the visible waves of flavour, order was slowly restored to my worried mind. I said a little prayer I Guess The Lord Must Be in New York City and we ended up exactly where we were meant to be, in front of our hotel.
See you in a few.
When you haven’t purchased video content specifically from the Apple Core, there’s a trick to it. The trick is to pray to the internet gods scattered throughout the realm.
They did eventually smile on me with information and now, I'm primed to enjoy filmed entertainment with all the crispness and detail a 2.5” screen can bring. If only they had picture in picture. I think I’ll start my journey with old friends; Frodo, are you ready for your close up?
Disclaimer: Although video capability is very cute, I got the video iPod for the storage capacity.
This morning outside of Union Station, we bleary eyed travellers were serenaded by young 'uns singing their little hearts out in favour of reminding us that the season premiere of American Idol is on tonight. Plastic microphone? Okay.
Considering it's a Canadian television station doing the promotion, let's hope they do something at least as cheesy for Canadian Idol when it returns to the airwaves!
If you'd like to check out what promises to be some excellent commentary in the weeks to come on the juggernaut that is American Idol, check out We Judge The Idols hosted by purveyors of style and finer blogging Coaster Punchman and Melinda June.
Now, for my first number, I'd like to do a little something I debuted in the shower a few years back...
Remember my friend Peaches? Well, she got on the train tonight and sat across the aisle from me. We exchanged glances and a smile and my train friends and I went back to discussing the topic of the day, the sudden onset of winter. We rolled along peacefully like so for several minutes when up from the aisle, there arose such a clatter!
One of Peaches’ shopping bags had tipped over with a thump and from it spilled 4 or 5 plush and brightly dressed Christmas elves and lots of other rooty toot toots and rummy tum tums.
As her cubicle at work rejoiced, freed of the season's embellishments, I imagined these poor toys plotting a bid for freedom, not yet ready to give in to another year of storage. If only they'd factored in the noise the bag would make as they scrambled to make their escape.
Time froze, a whole group of people staring silently as they tried to make sense of so many Christmas items all out of context. As Peaches stuffed her treasures back into their temporary home, all I could do was loudly declare "Now that’s a bag of fun!".
I secretly hoped she’d leave the bag behind so I could liberate the poor creatures. Right into a garbage can. The only thing I hate more than elves are rogue elves.
Is it Easter yet?
She’s a little late (yes, I meant that) so it may have just been her way of telling me that winter has finally arrived. I got eyes woman! A little snow, some freezing rain, Jack Frost nipping at your nuts, yep, it’s winter.
Today, I had a bit of congestion. This typically wouldn't be much to worry about except that sometimes, my sniffles turn into the sexiest little sinus infections this side of the border. I can’t afford to be sick but I can afford free health care so I ran to the walk in clinic near my office building today.
Over the ¾ of an hour it took me to get in to see the doctor, I luxuriated in the people watching peculiar to a doctor's waiting room. It's all fun and games gazing upon the misery of the well dressed when all they really want to be is home in their jammies. They seem caught between two worlds, their pain exquisite, while back at the office, people who look like they are wearing their jammies are running the place. Salt of the earth, that lot.
This medical clinic shares walls with a dental clinic. To barely be able to sit upright and have to listen to the sound of a drill keeping time with that suction tube is pretty ridiculous and adds to the dejected feel of things. One two spit, one two spit.
Overall there seemed to be a lot of complaining going on about the wait times but I say, if you're not fighting in a war or curing cancer, you can shut the hell up and wait 45 minutes for something you don't need an appointment for.
When my turn came, I was surprised to see what a sight Dr. Sally was; she looked in rougher shape than many of the waiting patients. I gave her as much an examination as she did me. It looked like her 50ish frame was not happy about its many forgotten maintenance checks and her long stringy grey hair seemed ready for an end to it all. I wanted to ask her if she'd washed her hands but luckily for her, I was on my best Canadian behaviour and simple stared at her clogs while she told me what I already knew.
After pronouncing my self diagnosis correct and handing over a prescription, I waved good bye to all the miscreants and proceeded to la farmacia. The wait there was going to be twenty minutes so I had time to almost buy lunch (the debit machine was broken) and actually buy shoes (black - who can't use another pair of those?).
I made it back to work and trust that Dr. Sally made it through and treated each and every one of the other miseries, the damned babies.
1. The Field – Sound Providers – a little jazz hop name dropping goodness
2. Stacked Actors – Foo Fighers – a little shake up
3. We Belong – Pat Benatar – where have you gone Mrs. Robinson?
4. Clean Hands, Dirty Hands – Nick Cave – dirty please
5. The Mystery At Ogwen’s Farm – Jane Siberry – mystery solved in line 1: Bessie's gone. Bessie is a cow. I hope they find her, she's needed on set for the 'One More Colour' video.
6. Llorando – Rebekah del Rio – I was alright for a while, until this song started haunting my random lists, if I drop dead, call David Lynch
7. Bowling Green – Neko Case & Her Boyfriends – I’ve sent my application in just in case there's an opening in the boyfriend ranks
8. Everywhere I Go – Junior Kimborough – poor Junior, man I wish I could help
9. Born, Never Asked – Laurie Anderson – story of my life (come on, that was good!)
10.Mother and Child – David Sylvian – see number 9 revelation
Barbara’s tales of potential hairdressing disasters was harrowing enough to get me thinking about some of my own heady escapades.
For many years I went to the old tyme barber shop down the street and enjoyed it. It was like a little bit of small town friendliness in the big city. Usually, I avoid that kind of crap but I somehow fell into an easy routine with the proprietor, a little small talk, the usual shorter on the sides, longer on the top and everyone went home happy.
This guy was older and wore huge glasses but I was sure that this was just a failure to progress with style rather than a serious vision issue. My opinion changed the day he put the wrong attachment on the clippers and took a swipe right down the middle of my head starting at the front and working back.
He’d cut me to the quick. He said ‘oh…I guess I’ll have to do it all that way to even it out’. I gulped and said ‘okay’ and went into shock for the next two days. Luckily for me, the escaped mental patient look was ‘in’ for the 3 weeks or so that it took for my hair to really start growing out again.
From there, I went to a new guy who was personable and very capable. After a few very satisfactory cuts and small talk that wasn’t too tedious, he died of stomach cancer.
That led me to my ice fishing, blouse wearing guy who may or may not have degenerative sight issues and then to another new guy who I was not impressed with.
Before booking a flight to try out Bubs’ guy, I made one last attempt to reconcile with the industry. I went to a new place near work, looked the guy square in the mirror and told him if he didn’t do a good job, I wouldn’t tip him, I wouldn’t be back and I’d make sure everyone in a 20 mile radius knew that it was his fault I looked like crap. Somehow, it worked. Let’s hope the fear keeps him consistent.
Now, can anyone tell me why hairdressers always seem to have the shittiest looking hair?
The more she thought about it, the more annoyed she got at the girl. She wrote an email to her friend about how unbearable it was when the girl barged in like that and talked about her boring life. She pointed out how everyone in the office really disliked this girl and wondered how she could be so oblivious. As she hit send, the horror set in. She’d sent it to the coworker she was talking about rather than the one she was talking to.
Panic in her heart, she weighed her options. Fleeing the country or even the office seemed to be more work than it was worth and so, after a short while, she thought she'd go over and possibly intercept and delete the email, maybe the girl wasn't even back at her desk yet.
She went over and found the girl slumped in a heap at her desk sobbing. My sister weakly offered a Hey, you know I was just joking with that email right? And the girl turned around and said I know you weren't, just leave me alone! She never talked to my sister again.
I did something just as boneheaded today. I made a couple of not very nice remarks about someone and then sent it to the wrong person. My work email (shouldn't I know better?) picked someone else out of the company directory and I hit send before I realized my stupidity. I sent another email to that person asking them to disregard the prior email as it wasn't meant for them. Here's hoping they're not as malicious as me!
No fallout yet but if you see me blogging several posts a day where I seem to be really drunk or crying a lot, you'll know it's bad.
Somehow I was outside and saw off in the distance at the entrance to a park near my house, a friend who I'd been avoiding. She had a brightly coloured very large purse and motioned for me to come and look at it. It folded out like a very large child's storybook. I shook my head no and started to walk away.
There was a storage area filled with dvds and I chose some and brought them upstairs. In bed was a really hideous man I see often on the commute home from work. He picked one up off the stack and gestured that it was the one he wanted to see.
He started to tear the outer packaging on the dvd and I got very angry because it had been borrowed from someone at work. I snatched it from him and threw it across the room damaging it more than he had.
I woke up.
A much nicer dream: Dream I Had II - MMOH
Part of the fun in good planning is exploring options. For example, if you're thinking of taking a trip, considerations may include when the best time to go is, what types of activities there are available and just what to call the thing - is it a getaway, a break or is there another word to best describe it?
Then, if you've switched to the new version of Blogger, there's the quandary of choosing labels for your post. Do you use a lot of different terms to describe the same things you're writing about or do you generalize and keep it simple?
This may well be the furthest I've travelled for a lame joke. But then, I do enjoy a spot of travel.
1. Volcano - Damien Rice
2. It Keeps You Runnin' - Doobie Brothers
3. La marée haute - Lhasa
4. (Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads
5. Sleep Over It - Controller.Controller
6. H'Babi (Remix) - Cheb Mami & Samira Said
7. Each Night I Try - Robbie Fulks
8. Other Girls - Eux Autres
9. Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Damien Rice
10.Michael Caine - Madness
What keeps me doing this each week quite apart from my love of music are the interesting threats from Justacoolcat if we don't post them on American Idle.
I took great care in composing my letter not only to ensure a good grade but to provide a friendly, inviting and topical read for the recipient. When I got a letter back, I was excited but also surprised at the limited length and scope of the reply. This couldn’t have been more than a C- for this poor kid. We were encouraged to continue the correspondence and so I wrote back. I never got a reply and moved on to other disappointments.
My parents, being people of letters, could have taught this kid something about writing. Dad has his journals, Mom’s a letter writer and they're both worth much more than their weight in xu at Scrabble.
In 1944, when my father was 16 years old, he was one of many who contracted tuberculosis which was rampant at the time. The prize for a diagnosis of this sort was a free ticket to the sanatorium.
Although treatments included fresh air therapy, the main attempt at remedy was through complete bed rest. From the ages of 16 to 21, my father spent most of his time in a hospital bed. I can only imagine the toll a theft like that would have taken on me.
To help pass the time, there was a pen pal program at the hospital and patients were encouraged to write letters. My Dad got matched with someone in South Africa and before long they were learning about each other and their worlds. The letters became something nice to look forward to.
Dad also began looking forward to visits from a young hospital worker who’d begun working there. My mother had begun work at the TB hospital to support herself after leaving home at 17. In my Dad, she definitely had a captive audience and put her charms to work.
Although not deeply religious until some time later, my mother was skeptical that the Lord would approve of her visiting a fortune teller when her friends suggested it as a lark one day. She tagged along but felt guilty and parked the things the fortune teller told her that day in the back of her mind should any of them ever come to pass.
My Dad began to show improvement over time and was eventually proclaimed cured. He was asked to pose for before and after photos for a health campaign and these showed him in bed and then up and working in the on site woodshop, a paragon of health.
Years of laying in a hospital bed had one lasting effect on my Dad. All that bed rest caused a muscle contracture in one of his legs and left him with a slight limp. It’s barely perceptible now but my mother used to love to dramatically lower her voice while telling us kids what the fortune teller had told her that day: You will marry a man with a limp.
As for the South African pen pals, my parents still exchange cards, letters and news. Several years ago, one of their daughters visited and eventually settled here in Canada.
I’ll probably never know who my disappointing American pen pal was. Wait a minute, how old is George W.?
The message describes a singles gala dance to be held on New Year’s Eve. The email wasn’t sent until December 28, 2006. Who doesn’t already have plans by that point? Oh, right, the singles.
The larger tragedy is not that the singles have to pretend to cancel other plans to attend but that the the heading of the email was New Year's Eve Single’s Gala. Why am I picturing a solitary sap in an ill fitting suit holding a dried up corsage while the light from the disco ball mocks him? And why would I mention my prom night at a time like this?
No matter where you put the apostrophe, it’s all a bit of a catastrophe isn't it? Singles? You’re sad. And even my building concierge knows it.
The film, now on dvd, features artists performing Leonard Cohen's songs at a 2005 concert and intercut are their comments, anecdotes and also interviews with the man himself. There's a bit of clunky editing and foreshadowing of a particular performance but that doesn't dilute the overall enjoyment.
The stand outs for me were Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, Antony, Nick Cave and Beth Orton and also excellent were Rufus Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker and several other of the performances. The reverence and joy shine through even if several people rely heavily on lyric sheets. The musicians, including Chris Spedding, are all in fine form and provide tight backing.
Leonard Cohen describes himself as someone with no time for 'regrets and self congratulations' but goes on to provide examples of each proving ultimately that he's as human and contradictory as the next soul. To hear him provide perspective on the work of his work, his journeys through life and the need to sometimes abandon your masterpiece to sink into the real masterpiece is inspiring and provides me hope that age may yet bring me wisdom and not just forgetfulness.
Although the film is an incomplete portrait of a man and artist, it manages to be deeply satisfying and makes you want to know more.
4 out of 5 famous blue raincoats.
Blog Post Extra Features:
Bono, is his wraparound flystrip glasses, pronounces the word chasm as chas-zum rather than ka-zm. He may not be sitting at the right hand of Oprah for much longer with language like that!
By the second song in, I'd gone to iTunes and bought the soundtrack. Like many other things, it's magically delicious, extra tracks and all.