Friday, September 22, 2006

Musical Mental Escapes

The time I first heard of "Desert Island Discs" they meant those Frisbee-shaped black discs, not the small, sleek silver ones of today. And it was WNEW-NY, back when it was the home of rock and roll in NYC.

Driving to work this morning, my mind wandered out of the "Oh God, how am I going to pay for the car repairs/vet bills/IRS, etc. personal hell of the past few months" and into a happier place. For a little while. And then I got to work where hell is less personal and more communal.

Top 20 songs that I can listen to repeatedly without getting irritated, and more importantly, usually make me happy to hear them (in no particular order):

  1. "Losing My Religion" REM
  2. "Hotel California" The Eagles
  3. "Thunder Road" Bruce Springsteen (of course, he's on here, I'm from Jersey for God's sake!)
  4. "Boys of Summer" Don Henley
  5. "Kashmir" Led Zepplin
  6. "Sweet Emotion" Aerosmith
  7. "Let It Be" The Beatles
  8. "Skylark" Ella Fitzgerald
  9. "Sloop John B" The Beach Boys
  10. "Incident on 57th Street" Bruce Springsteen
  11. "The Only Living Boy in New York" Simon & Garfunket (thank you "Garden State")
  12. "Goodbye to You" Michelle Branch
  13. "Holiday" Green Day
  14. "At This Point In My Life" Tracy Chapman
  15. "You Send Me" Sam Cooke
  16. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" U2
  17. "40" U2
  18. "With or Without You" U2
  19. "Kitty's Back" Bruce Springsteen
  20. "Tangled Up in Blue" Bob Dylan

This started out as a list of 10, but I view music as I do a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate at this time in the afternoon: it's both essential and quantity does not devalue the quality. Besides, with 500+ CDs and 4,000 mp3s, coming up with 10 was near impossible.

Even a cursory review of the list, it's possible to discern that most of it was probably played on WNEW-NY, back when it was WNEW-NY and not what corporate America did to one of America's premier radio stations.

I am officially old.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Signs of Intelligent Life at the Movies

I saw a great movie last night and would highly recommend it to anyone interested. The movie, Little Miss Sunshine, has received excellent reviews, so it's not surprising that I liked it. The writing was outstanding, the characters were deftly sketched and highly individual without being caricatures, and the acting was very, very good.

It lingered with me on the drive home and I realized that what made it stand out from other movies I've seen lately was that it assumed its audience was intelligent enough that it didn't have to underline or explain anything.

Of course, seconds after I realized that, I was immediately depressed to think that giving the audience credit for intelligence is worthy of note.

[Spoilers ahead for anyone who wants to see the movie and has not done so already]


Three things in particular stand out in a movie full of subtleties:

1) the scene in the field after Dwayne has discovered that he is color-blind and that means he cannot fly jets. In the background is a washed-out billboard with a message "United We Stand" at a moment when the family seems completely fractured.

2) near the end, when Olive is faced with the decision whether or not to perform her dance routine, she chooses to do so. That in itself is not worthy of mention. What stands out for me is that the standard Hollywood approach would have included a flashback of her recently deceased grandfather telling her just days before that losers are people who were too afraid to lose to even try to win. It wasn't necessary for the scene, it would have made it maudlin and the audience had already seen him tell her those words, but standard Hollywood would have put it in.

3) The entire "Little Miss Sunshine" pagent is filled with sexed-up preteens, flirting outrageously and suggestively, whirling their bodies, make-up, hair - the whole JonBonet picture. Yet Olive's dance routine, which the viewer realizes with dawning horror is a strip routine, appalls the 'audience' of people attending the pagent.

The movie just presents the hypocrisy, the contrast between sweet, childish Olive's relatively innocent dance and the tarted up preteens 'acceptable' flirting without comment, allowing the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.

Now only if Hollywood would sit up and take notice.

Friday, September 01, 2006

If I were a dog, I'd be 6.10058708414873 years old.

Here's yet another way to find out interesting but essentially useless information about yourself. Check out the Birthday Calculator

Here's what I learned about myself:

I was born on a Sunday, which is rather nice to know since Mom and Dad aren't around to provide details like that anymore.

Your date of conception was on or about 7 April 1963 which was a Sunday.

Um, definitely didn't need to know that. That brings up the whole notion of Mom and Dad having sex and that's not an image I need in my head, now or ever.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Goose; your plant is Bramble.

I can definitely see where that could come in handy. The old 'what sign are you' is such a tired pick-up line. This is a whole new area of possibilities.

Your date of birth on the Hebrew calendar is 14 Tevet 5724.

As of 9/1/2006 8:05:58 PM EDT, You are 1,346,789,158 seconds old.

That sounds so much nicer than admitting it in years.

Celebrities who share your birthday:

Jude Law (1972)Bryan 'Dexter' Holland (1966)
Ted Danson (1947)Marianne Faithfull (1946)
Mary Tyler Moore (1936)Andrew Johnson (1808)

Wait! Jude Law and I have the same birthday? Really? Skipping over the fact that he's just a bit younger than I am. Would that we shared the same cheekbones.

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 6.10058708414873 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)

Apparently I can boil 4.91 US ounces of water with the BTUs produced by the amount of candles on my next birthday cake.

I did tell you this was essentially useless information, didn't I?

Your birth tree is Apple Tree, the Love

There are birth trees? How can Hallmark have missed that all important holiday opportunity?