Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hey! That Sign Just Blew Off! Hey! That Sign Just Blew Over!

Today is Leap Day! Hooray!
While the Earth has been busy catching up on those 0.04327 seconds of daylight we miss during those pesky three years prior to election year (Super Tuesday is next week, folks), I've been busy putting up with stupidity of all manner. It's like the extra day in our calendar year decided to also us catch up on the never-lacking stupidity ratio; well, it was decided for me, anyway.
Would you like to hear about it?
Just nod and smile; it'll be over soon.
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Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Yesterday, I went to the dentist for some fillings. It was an innocent thing to do; all I wanted was for the doctor to make my teefies stop hurting. Instead, my brain hurt.
I was called back, and taken to a private room at the end of the hall, where I was adorned with a fabulous little fluorescent green paper bib (which was of no use; my Up And Coming Tour shirt was soaking wet, because someone lost control of the water squirty thing).
As the nurse-lady took my blood pressure, she struck up a conversation; somehow, it got turned around to the upcoming Leap Day. This is sort of how it happened.

Lady: I was looking at the calendar the other day to see when Christmas was going to be this year, and it said it was on Wednesday. But last year, it was on Monday, so it threw me off, until I was all, 'oh, it must be leap year'!

Me:

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Lady: Hey, do you know how often leap year happens? 'Cause I don't.

Me:

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Umm. It happens every election year. That's a pretty good indicator.

Lady: Oh! I'll try to remember that!


Do I have to tell you who lost control of the water squirty thingy? Or who was responsible for me nearly choking to death on my own saliva right in the middle of a dental procedure because she refused to use the little spit-sucker tube thingy?
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What about the email I got from my college? I mean, an institution of higher learning allowed this to be sent out. Read it, and try not to lose faith in humanity.

Subject: Officer Mister Dude

Officer Mister Dude's father passed away Monday evening!
His name was Man-Man Dude and his services are pending in Nowheresville, Oklahoma!
We will keep you updated on service arrangements!
Thanks everyone!


For those of you who are maybe a little rusty in the English language specs department, English is your second language, or maybe to feel a little better about my AP Language Arts standing, let me tell you folks something. Listen closely, now, everyone. You must not over-use exclamation marks! I had an entire workbook every year on proper use of the exclamation point. You cannot use them this way, people. If you read that email as it is written, instead of how it was intended (I'm assuming surprise), it sounds slightly morbid. Are you expecting a big fat inheritance from Man-Man Dude? Why should you be so excited he's dead?
I could understand if it was just a random email sent out to friends and family, but that wasn't the case; it was sent every-frickin-body, from a college.
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My mother, the escapades of whom we've talked of extensively, had a Nanecdotes moment today.


There she was, flipping through some junk mail (you know, real paper, Thomas Brown shoved it through our government-property-but-we-still-paid-for-it-letterbox), saying random words from the selection of drivel. Here's how that went.

Mother: Pickle. Chicken. Cheese. Spice. Delicious.

Me: Delicious Spice! It sounds like a good name for a Spice Girl; 'hello, I'm Delicious Spice'.
(This went on for a few a little while longer, so I'll skip that bit.)

Mother: Were you saying something?

Me: Well, what was I saying?

Mother: Something about the Old Spice guy?


Yes, mother, because this...
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...is so easily mistaken for this...
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If she hadn't been busy raising me in the 90's, I'd ask her where the hell she was for those ten years.
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We're going. McFly!

After the sheer volume of stupid (excluding my mother), you would think I would be tired of laughing at all of it; well then, you thought wrongly, sir. I left my favorite stupid story for the very end.
Can you handle it?
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WORDPLAY!

My dad's mother in in her mid-80s. I think old age is getting to her brainbucket, 'cause there is no other explanation for this.
She was talking about the Whitney Houston funeral thing, and she said -- well, read it.

Her: Those black people just scream and hollar, they don't sing. I don't like it.

Me: Billie Holiday was black.

Her: No, he wasn't. He was white.

Me: Billie Holiday was white?

Her: Yes! He was white!


Maybe we were talking about two different people named Billie Holiday? (Answer: No.)
This was the one I meant.
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Like I say, she's old. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.
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Well, there we have it, folks. Such an analysis proves that Leap Day makes people crazy, just like that episode of The Golden Girls told us.



I'm just going to take solace in the fact that this video exists, and crawl under the covers for the rest of the day.

Fun Fact: Ten years later, I will still fangirl Rupert Grint.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Big Time Rush: The Long Awaited Rant

I sit here, at 4:34 in the morning, listening to Frank Turner, sipping my tea under the comfortable blanket of darkness. Most nights, this would be a beautiful moment; let's be honest, I wait all day for the house to go quiet so I can sit back here until all-hours in my insomnia-riddled stupor, but that is neither here nor there. It's been another busy day, and the next week is already planned out. With little time during my day to check the news I find important, I make the rounds in the wee small hours. Perhaps, though, I shouldn't check the news this late at night, because when something makes you mad, you tend not to sleep.
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What has my dander up?
Big Time Rush.
Sure, I'd heard of them, but paid very little attention to them. After all, I've never been big on that aimed-toward-the-teeny-boppers pop 'music', devised by a certain branch of the record business to do nothing more than cash in on a vulnerable age group in need of an object to fangirl (yes, I've been there, AND done that, so don't look at me that way). The extent of my knowledge of this band is that they have a television show on Nickelodeon (as a 90's child, that sentence felt awkward to type). That, and there was somewhat of a fuss made about them semi-covering All Time Low a few months back (it was a big deal at the time; I even wrote out a blog post for it, but decided against releasing it to the wilds of the Internet). Personally, I wasn't too pleased about it, especially after hearing how they completely lost the meaning of the original song.

Original...


Cover...


However, when a band makes a statement saying that another band's cover is OK, then it must be so (even if the cover makes your skin crawl).
That being said, imagine my surprise when I see Big Time Rush in my Beatles news feed.
What have the industry big-wigs decided to destroy this time?

Um. What?
The article I read included a synopsis of the film: something about a spy gadget called "The Beetle"; shock of shocks, the film is set in London; and they named a character Penny Lane.
Really?
I mean, really?
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Sure, calling something Penny Lane is OK in certain instances; my favorite doll, which was a present for my seventh birthday, was named Penny Lane.
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A red haired doll I named Penny Lane. My mother should have known I would turn out exactly as I am.

After I had an internal fit about the plot points, I realized that there was going to be an EP of Beatles covers being downloaded by well-meaning nine year old girls to their little iPod shuffles. Covers of The Beatles, for God's sake, sandwiched between Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus. I mean, people cover The Beatles all the time; this one just really set my blood to boiling.
As my outrage started to flare up, I decided to see if I could find any previews or clips from this predestined disaster (you know, for those of us that can tell good music from... well, anyway). The furthest I was willing to take the search was found at the end of the preview for the film.


"Help"? How on earth can they cover "Help"?

In this instance, imitation is not the best form of flattery. It cannot be, simply because The Beatles do not need to be flattered; they need for their catalog to be left the hell alone. Of course, this is coming from someone who boycotted the LOVE mixes for the first two years of their release (but later found her way to the promised lands). And, big surprise, newsflash of the day, I didn't care for "Across The Universe", either.

I may have been wrong about LOVE, but I'm not wrong about this. George Martin remixing the catalog to the satisfaction of Paul, Yoko, Olivia, and Ringo is far different from the cheaper end of the music industry taking iconic songs, and cheapening them for the notion of a few bucks. And, let's be honest, it's the record industry, not the band. The band is merely fulfilling their contract, and no one can blame them for that; we can, however, blame the narrow-mindedness of a continuously stagnating industry fighting tooth and nail to grab onto something that's left them behind, and that they lost sight of far too long ago.

It's reasons like this that Michael Jackson is swapping pineapples with Hitler.

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Hey, There's A Man In That Trailer!", Or, Sea Funk

You know what I just love about blogging? It doesn't matter if I'm a week late in writing a post. No one cares when something happened in relation to when it appears on a blog. Hell, this could have been a year ago, instead of a week; it just doesn't matter.

In other news, we went to Galveston last week. Oh boy, another tropical location. We all remember how much I love tropical places, right? So what better place for someone like me to go than a tiny little island. I have a bit of a history of going slightly bonkers on islands, and this trip was no exception. I spent almost the entire week whispering "sea funk" under my breath.

We still managed to have a somewhat decent time.
Would you like to hear about it?
Really?
Well, lie.
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Reginald Kitty is not amused.

*I have traveled all over this great state -- except the Houston/Galveston area. That is, until now! The road from Dallas to Houston was just lovely, including the pine forest (which I had never realized existed). It was pretty darn neat to see those large, green trees, listen to Miles Kane, and devour a bag of Riesens.

I think I enjoyed the drive so much because it reminded me of driving in Illinois -- and I liked driving in Illinois.
Well, that and the Riesens.


*We had two lovely pic-nicks at the very end of the island. There were some birds there (see slideshow). I screamed a couple of times, because they decided they wanted to come into our car.

*The cemeteries there were beautiful. (What, you don't like to visit a cemetery or two on your holiday?) They were reminiscent of the ones in New Orleans, which was interesting.

*We visited a couple of mansions on the main boulevard. Surprisingly, they were magnificent on the outside, and plain on the inside. I don't understand it, either.

*Our hotel was built on top of Fort Crockett. When you walked the grounds, you were actually climbing on top of a fort.

Would you like to see the slides now?
Well, lie again.



Yes, it was a bit of a slow week. And, what's more, we missed two of the Six Nations Rugby matches on BBC America, because our DVR decided to ignore my programming prowess.

We'll get the February 25th game, and lament the fact that we didn't get to see Scotland play. Bloody technology.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Five Valentines, An Oscar, And Paul

Over the years, we've celebrated Valentine's Day in a couple of different ways.
Back in 2009, it was a rather modest affair; in 2010, we upped the anty, and passed out cyber-cards to some lovely people (and Carl Cameron); last year, we talked about showing people you love them every other ruddy day of the year.
So, all week, I've been asking myself what direction this year's Valentine's post should take (and, more to the point, why I write a post on this day in the first place). Wish me luck, y'all.

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I kind of have a habit of playing a stupid little game. Don't tell me you don't play stupid little games, because it's how we all get through the day without violently assaulting innocent bystanders (or is that just me?).
My stupid little game (or, more accurately, one of many) is to pick out uncommon words, and see if I can find them in songs. It started with 'cellophane' in "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", and I've been doing it ever since. With that in mind, here are five songs with the word 'valentine' in them. As an added bonus, 'valentine' is also in the title of each one!











I'm sure there are so many more, but these five were the first to come to mind.
In other news, I got this in my inbox yesterday. I wonder who it's from (can you feel the sarcasm in that sentence?).
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Thanks, Ma. He'll always be Oscar to us.

Oscar may be my mother's valentine (or is it Mr. Bates/Timmons?), but we all know mine.
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Have a good one, folks!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blog Casserole: Nobody Likes Stinky Ham



Opening a post with Binky The Clown can only mean one thing: it's Blog Casserole time! That's right, folks; anything that doesn't match up with something else just gets thrown into a slum-gull'yun of randomness -- rather like a casserole (hence the term Blog Casserole). A recent Google search for the term "blog casserole" mentioned the fact that readers don't actually like to read random jibberish, but that's the only mention of "blog casserole" I could find. Either that blogger ran across this here little blog (hiya, folks!), or someone else thinks it's a better idea to call it blog casserole than, say, blog cottage pie.
Besides, y'all like blog casserole, right?
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Reginald Kitty is not amused.

So, how are we all liking Paul's new album?
Oh, come on; a standards compilation from the greatest living songwriter on this entire planet doesn't excite you? You aren't ready to see a musical genius give us a cover of Paper Moon before he releases another all-original studio album (which, by the way, he has not done in five years)? Will a full preview of my favorite song from the album change your mind?

Only Paul could get away with saying that The Beatles should have done an album like this, but were too busy writing Sgt. Pepper, or The White Album to do so. I laughed.
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Ringo didn't laugh 'cause his new album is getting lousy reviews.

Yes, yes, it sounds lovely, very well done, all that and a bag of chips; but surely he could have put this material into the McCartney Vault for a much later release (don't look at me that way, deary, we all know he's got enough material socked away for Beatrice to release well into her twilight years). Or, more to the point, why on earth does it sound so ruddy serious? When Paul has attempted to do this sort of thing in the past, it still has that signature Paul stamp on it. For example, the fabulous "Did We Meet Somewhere Before?" bootleg...

Why is this copy better than mine?

...or with the fuller version of "Suicide" (not the outtake from the McCartney remaster, even though that one is hilarious)...

They both have those standards-type elements, but with that signature McCartney flare. Another good example is "Baby's Request" from Back to the Egg...

That version was wonderful! It had Linda and Denny in it. It screams "PAUL!" It's just damn cute. Why did he cover it? Why? Was he suddenly transported back to the 80's and decided covering himself was a good idea (again)?

Paul, my darling, my sweet little Paulie-pants: why?

Personally, I still think there should have been an official version of "Baby Face", but I guess we'll just take what we can get.

A more adorable human you will never find.

And now, it's time for "Hey! He looks just like!..."
Have I ever mentioned that I loved "Upstairs, Downstairs"? The original, not the new version. Yes, alright, I watched the entire first season of the new version, and keep looking for a ruddy air date for the second season (as in, it's-been-over-a-year-why-are-you-making-us-wait-this-long-we've-already-had-eight-episodes-of-Downton-Abbey-since-we-last-saw-Upstairs-Downstairs), but that isn't the point. I'm talking about the original series, with the Bellamy family upstairs, and Mr. Hudson running everything downstairs. Sure, the series had its weird moments (like that whole Mrs. Bridges stealing a baby thing, which I never quite understood), but was so full of opportunities to create a spin off, I'm surprised it took them four years to do it after Up-Down went off the air. We've finally gotten round to watching Thomas and Sarah, though, and let me tell you, it's been a real treat. Not because the story is as intriguing as Up-Down, but because John Alderton's Thomas character looks remarkably like Paul, circa the Strawberry Fields Forever video shoot.
Believe it.

Paul...
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John Alderton as Thomas Watkins...
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Is this as entertaining as the point in the day where Miles Kane...
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...also looks like a young Paul?
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Yes.
Alas, there is only one Paul.



Who wants to hear a real life anecdote?
Come on now, show of hands.
I don't generally make a habit of talking about college, or my major; the minute people find out I'm training to be an American Sign Language interpreter, they ask me to demonstrate; if pushed into this dreadful situation, I generally sign something rudely inappropriate that I think they should do, then translate it to something innocent in spoken English. Unfortunately for me, all of my ASL classes are traditional ones. I haven't been in a traditional class since the Clinton administration, so I don't especially like it; I work best alone, thank you. That being said, with the 74% of my degree I have earned at a distance, plus my homeschooling past, I obviously developed interests other people of my generation may not have. The best example I can think of is my fascination with the British Isles; well, Tuesday night, that quirk of my personality shone like the crown jewels (see what I did there?).
It all started when a discussion of the differences in ASL and British Sign Language turned into a YouTube excursion, in which this video was shown.


The teacher proceeds to tell the class that the British have a "weird" sense of humor, "like that one show", as she obviously tried to grasp the name of a Britcom she knows. A voice in the back of the room said "the one where they work in a shop, and they're all old people?"
My eyes may have rolled, simply because I know the pattern. Generally speaking, there is only one British show Americans are somewhat familiar with.
"Not 'Are You Being Served?'," I thought to myself...

"...she's looking for 'Monty Python'"...

Because the two shows are so easily confused, right?

With the appropriate answer coming from elsewhere in the room, the discussion continued. My internal monologue was just one giant laugh, really; a show where they work in a shop, and they're all old? I would have loved to have told that person that a good portion of the cast were in their twenties when the show started in 1972.
"What do they know of it?" I thought to myself, "They just see the British as strange people with bad teeth." For a moment, I sat and reveled in the secret of knowing what Britain truly has to offer, and I probably outwardly grinned a little bit. After all, "weird" though their sense of humor may be, I simply cannot understand American humor (I watched Saturday Night Live when Dan Radcliffe hosted, and I didn't laugh once. Americans just aren't funny to me [I've also gotten to the point where I have trouble understanding American accents; I refer to my mother on several occasions. I can translate Scouse for her, but she translates certain American accents for me now. Make of that what you will]).
As I sat there, thrilled with having a grasp on a concept those narrow minded classmates that surrounded me will probably never understand, I heard the teacher say the words that just sent my internal giggle scale over the edge: "There are a lot of differences between American English, and British English, too. Like... I can't remember what they call sweaters..." The pauses while I waited for someone -- anyone -- to answer her were long, and difficult. I finally couldn't take any more, and told her they were jumpers. I felt like going over a brief introduction to British slang, right there from the front row. Or talking about how The Mighty Boosh is far better than Monty Python ever could have been (there, I said it)...

...or that Rowan Atkinson has done more than Mr. Bean...

I actually expected people to start saying "they talk funny" as the discussion progressed; if that had been the case, I would probably have felt the need to establish myself as the resident Anglophile, and tell them where they are so very wrong.

This scene from High Fidelity (another British creation, from the brilliant mind of Nick Hornby) kept flashing through my head; how many different ways could I tell these folks they had wandered right into an area I could really tell them about?

The moral of the story is that, if you are talking about Britain, I will want to bombard you with facts; also, don't ask me to sign for you.
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And I really don't, either.


I trust that everyone has been watching The Bachelor this season, yes?
If not, this is what you've missed.


And, if I may channel my inner Frank Luntz, how many of you have been watching The Bachelor with Chris Harrison?

And to think that ten years ago, he was just "that guy on Designer's Challenge" (this biography from HGTV probably hasn't been updated in ten years, either).
Speaking of folks in the not-so-distant past, and the fact that I have brought up some of my favorite films in this post, let's talk about "The Sixth Sense" for a minute.
When I first saw this film (I believe it was in 2000, since my family has never been big on actually going out to the pictures), I just loved Cole, played by Haley Joel Osment. (Yes, I was eight, but you have to work with me, here.) He was such a fantastic character (and, for me, one I related easily to [I was the weird kid then, too, remember?]), and the film itself was simply genius. The birthday party scene has stuck with me from the very first time I saw it, if that tells you the impression this film had on little me. Incidentally, I was also locked in a closet against my will at a birthday party once, but that's a story for another time. Several viewings helped to solidify this film as a major influence in my "growing up years" (here's one for the kids: it was a special VHS with twenty minutes of "bonus footage", because we didn't have DVDs back then). Here we are, thirteen years later, and it occurred to me that I never wondered what became of the actor that portrayed one of my favorite film characters. Actually, it never dawned on me to even consider the notion, until my mother said to me last Friday night "that kid from The Sixth Sense sure has changed".
With my curiosity piqued, she showed me this photograph.
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I don't care if it's for a role (by the way, who knew he was still acting?), I was shocked.
Let's just say, it was almost as bad as the time she showed me a recent picture of Danny Tamberelli. I'm told the look on my face suggested I could have been knocked over with a feather, or some such affair. One good thing has come of this experience: I realized that it's been a while since I've seen The Sixth Sense.

Now, where's my VHS?

With that, I leave you with a song that remains unreleased. I don't know why, it just is.

My copy is better than this. YAY!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mitt Romney: A Rant

I contemplated not writing this, because I was afraid it would fall under the "political" mental tag. I know I don't particularly like to read other people's views on politics (unless they're pollsters, 'cause they're great fun), and I also don't fancy shoving my ideology down anybody's throat; it has just occurred to me that, in fact, what follows has nothing to do with politics, so this is somewhat neutral ground.


Just a few minutes ago, Mitt Romney gave a speech in Denver; in it, he spewed his repetitive one-line soundbites, set the groundwork to start pummeling Rick Santorum in the same fashion as he slaughtered Newt Gingrich, and kept giving that stupid "they really like me" look to the cameras between glancing at his teleprompters.
Something he said in that speech sent me on at least a two minute rant involving some spilt tea, and figurative boiling blood. I can't quote him verbatim, but it was something along the lines of "the soul of America can be corrupted", in reference to the current state of our government.

Well, I have news for Romney: the soul of the United States is not corrupt, because the government has nothing to do with America's soul. The government is America's heart; when everything functions, America ticks along contentedly. America's soul is something entirely different, and only sounds proper flowing from the pens of poets, and the acts of true patriots.
America's soul, Governor Romney, is the tenacity of the American spirit. Our forefathers who fought an oppressive government for their God given rights; the ideas immortalized by those thirty-nine men who placed their signatures on our Constitution; the citizens who gave their lives in the hopes of preserving liberty, and opportunity -- from the Revolution, all the way up to those brave folks in our military today. That feeling that some of us get when we think about our flag flying over Fort McHenry in the dawn's early light, and knowing that those same stars and stripes still symbolize independence the whole globe over. That we, as a society, cannot be tied down because someone else says so; and, perhaps the most important, that we have hope for our futures, and those of our children -- and I'm not talking about election propaganda, I mean real hope.
That, Governor Romney, is the American soul.
What we have to remember is that we are the keepers of this legacy. The moment we forget, we're back at square one. If we're back at square one, we've lost everything we've ever fought for, and the government is back in control. We must keep in mind that Americans -- not the American government -- are the soul of America. And, by the grace of God, government will never, ever corrupt that soul.

Is It A Subscription Box, Or Something More Sinister? (It's A Subscription Box. Maybe.)