guilty pleasure monday: call to your heart (giuffria)
Feb 28th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

it’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s a HAIR BAND!

yeah, i know. i usually loathe these sorts of things. i am not exactly a fan of ’80s hair bands or The Power Ballads That Made Them Famous. but i loved this song back in the day, and i was thrilled to see it on youtube. at the time, i didn’t know much about the band giuffria, but i have since learned they were actually a DC-based outfit. all i knew was that the guy in the video played two keyboards, side-by-side, without looking; and i thought that was cool. i also thought the lead singer, david glen eisley, had an amazing set of pipes.  and it probably helped that, at the time, i felt very isolated from all my friends who were hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from me, cooling my heels in miami.

check out the video. ah, the days when all you needed in a video was a wind machine and the hair to blow through it… and men comfortable enough to wear white polka-dotted spandex. (for the record, i have never been courageous enough to wear polka-dotted spandex.) you’ll see loads of big-haired women — none with boob jobs. if this were made nowadays, i don’t think you’d see a natural pair in the bunch. but here, the only thing big was the hair.

anyway, february is american heart month. don’t let your heart call you back with bad news. start doing those things you ought to be doing with diet and exercise. i know i’m trying. cos now that i’ve found call to your heart after losing it for about 25 years, there’s no way i’m going anywhere if i can help it.

guilty pleasure monday: don’t let the man get you down (fatboy slim)
Feb 21st, 2011 by wrekehavoc

…and don’t be a bully.

a few weeks ago, i crushed on the housemartins. this week, i am crushing on a former member of that band, norman cook, aka fatboy slim.  while an old friend of housemartins’ leader paul heaton, cook eventually left to go do the type of music he truly loved — a mish-mosh of danceable sampling. i was never a huge fan of sampling — i always thought it was the lazy person’s way to music. but then, when i heard what fatboy slim did, i was hooked. (in fact, one of my fondest memories is of my then-two-year-old daughter dancing around the family room to praise you.)

in don’t let the man get you down, cook samples an old hippie anthem, signs by the five man electrical band.

anyone a little older than i am (or my age with older siblings) can remember that song and how it talks of society’s push to make us all conform. just that first line in don’t let the man get you down is enough to make a person feel a little hippy-righteous. and now, it’s danceable. what could be better? sure, the video is a bit creepy; but it could have been creepier… it could have featured christopher walken.

oh wait — he did that a different time, didn’t he…

anyway, at this juncture, the man is getting me down. the house just passed a bill that is so riddled with insanity, i just don’t know what to think. instead of tackling the real 800 pound gorillas of defense or entitlement programs, the cowardly republicans picked on basically everything and everyone else. one congressman was unhappy that planned parenthood provides abortions as part of their services  (not with federal funds, mind you — they do all sorts of counseling and other stuff with federal funds, but they are not allowed by law to provide abortions using federal money), so he put in a provision to eliminate ALL federal funding from that specific organization, legislating his own personal vendetta.  (and for you folks out there who think that funds can end up providing abortions anyway, they don’t. they can’t. and established and above-the-board organizations like PP know better than to even try something like that for fear of losing their needed funding.)

oh, and instead of discussing  and debating the clean air act, the republicans have taken passive-aggressive behavior to new levels, slashing the EPA and it’s ability to regulate dangerous air pollution in this same legislation. no, it’s too difficult to talk about clean air — which by the way has provided a great return on investment — $4 to $8 in economic benefits for every $1 spent on compliance, according to the non-partisan U.S. Office of Management and Budget. not sure what these folks have against clean air, but this is not the legislative vehicle from which to essentially create such a huge policy decision without any conversation.

let’s see… defunding PBS? WTF did Big Bird ever do to you, GOP folks? do you have any idea how valuable a resource PBS is and has been to our nation? one of the rare safe places for my kids to watch TV without getting bombarded by half-hour-long cartoons which serve only as infomercials for some toy. i adore american masters, i adore american experience, i adore my eastenders, i adore so very much about my local PBS station! nature, science, news, art, history — it’s all here at PBS. i cannot begin to tell you how much i have learned all my life thanks to PBS. and you’re taking this away?

other highlights, according to the washington post:

If enacted as is, the GOP plan would eliminate numerous programs, including the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs the AmeriCorps program, and it would terminate federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It would cut $600 million from border security and immigration programs. It would eliminate nearly $80 million for the District and slash funding for the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.

so let me get this straight: we’re against fostering community service. we’re against border security and immigration programs that work with the people who are trying to get in here legally. oh, we know you hate the District and its denizens (oh, and btw: fuck you back for doing this when we truly have taxation without representation.) and what do you have against the crabs you love to eat from the chesapeake? i’m so very, very confused about the messages you people are sending.

but you’re terrified of the giant and true drivers of the federal deficit — medicaid, medicare, defense, social security. oh, and why would that be? oh, well, those are thornier problems that require actual intellect and serious thought, something you apparently are incapable of accomplishing. and something which can’t easily be explained to your constituency in a solid, 30-second sound bite. so instead, you pick on all these other items, showing your constituents that you have the courage of your convictions and the balls to carry it out. only what you’re doing sounds to me a lot like what we moms call bullying. you’re feeling afraid of something or someone bigger than you, so instead, you’re taking it out on weaker things. someone ought to give you people a time-out.

what you’re doing isn’t going to mean diddly-squat in the big budgetary picture, but it sure is going to screw your constituents down the road. (look up pyrrhic victory.) and you will eventually get that long-deserved time-out.

so yes, the man has gotten me down a bit this past week. but i’ll be damned if i stay down.

guilty pleasure monday: ready for love (bad company)
Feb 14th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

happy valentine’s day! here’s something bad…

okay, so it isn’t bad. it’s supergroup bad company, with free’s paul rodgers and simon kirke; mott the hoople’s mick ralph; and king crimson’s boz burrell. none are probably household names to anyone now except for possibly paul rodgers, whose distinctive vocal delivery makes him one of the people on my top ten people i wish i could sing like list. but together, they made it quite big in the ’70s under the management of zeppelin’s infamous peter grant. i suspect a monotone singer whose material included yankee doodle would probably succeed with peter grant, but as these guys were pretty amazing, it’s no wonder, at least not to me.

anyway, i thought of many sappy songs i love. i thought of all sorts of videos with cute kitties and hearts and flowers. i vetoed them all. so if bad company’s not your cup of romantic tea, i’m sorry. i’m sure some easy listening station is playing celine dion right now.

go for it.

guilty pleasure monday: sunshine (go away today) (jonathan edwards)
Feb 7th, 2011 by wrekehavoc

no, not that john edwards.

back in 1971, things were looking grim on the american homefront. the vietnam war was still raging; citizens, particularly the young, were feeling restless and anxious about a world in which they believed was dangerous and in which they were essentially voiceless. remember, back then, you couldn’t vote until you were 21; and yet lots of 18 year olds were being shipped off to fight a war they thought was pointless.  jonathan edwards added his thoughts to the landscape via this wonderful protest song, sunshine.

recent events in egypt have made me think about this song anew. the people are speaking out against a government which they believe is not democratic. i believe that people have the right to determine their own government; i always thought that was what we were taught in school. you know, the whole american revolution thing, right? dropping tea into the harbor? making our own rules?  i mean, as the scholar jeff spicoli once explained:

and yet some on the right — those who champion folks like the modern-day tea party and who claim to love america more than you and i do — are demonizing the protesters.

beck seems to believe that the entire middle east is going to blow.  his inflammatory talk doesn’t give us any ideas as to how to make things better. and frankly, i think he’s played fast and loose with a lot of his so-called data. i find it confusing as well that he seems to not support people forming their own governments. are we happy when religious zealots form a government and rule a nation? no, we are not. but who are we, as america, to tell another nation who should run it and how it should be run? boy, we were so successful putting people into power (iran and egypt, i’m looking at you, among others too numerous to count) that i think we ought to rethink our strategy a bit here.

do i have the answers? of course not. i wish for peace every day; and i wish for people to be free the world over. and i will continue to monitor the events as they unfold.

but i can’t help but hear edwards refrain as i watch the news.

How much does it cost, I’ll buy it
The time is all we’ve lost, I’ll try it
But he can’t even run his own life
I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine, Sunshine

i know
Feb 3rd, 2011 by wrekehavoc

the truth is, i don’t.

one of my old friends used to contend that the ultimate unknowable was fire. i don’t know whether he was wasted when he would wax poetically for hours on the topic — i never really understood half of what he rabbitted on about — but as i get older, i tend to disagree with his assessment. frankly, i think the ultimate unknowable is what’s in other people’s minds.

i’m a girl who appreciates resolution, yet there are many questions in life which will never have answers. it’s like those movies that end on an unfinished note: sure, they’re deep. but i hate them, just the same. no one is ever obligated to explain anything to me, i’m aware, but so many things puzzle me incessantly. i probably missed my calling as a journalist; i always want to ask tough questions, but in real life, you’re simply not allowed to do so unless it’s with someone with whom you’re very close. and even then, sometimes not.

so tonight, i was just thinking about some of the mysteries i will never understand: why this friend stopped talking to me, why that perfect couple divorced, and so on. there are more global questions that stymie me as well about people whom i don’t even know, celebrities even. maybe i wouldn’t like the answers if i knew them, but i prefer the awful truth to psychic tumbleweeds.

until then, i’ll just live in suspended belief.

science fiction double feature
Feb 1st, 2011 by wrekehavoc

…because i want to graduate from disney movies!

you watch enough disney channel and nickelodeon fodder as a parent to make you want to sprout a permasmile and lose your mind. while some of the offerings from pixar are actually quite good, any film-loving parent really clamors to watch something a little better than the film adaptation of yogi bear. nevermind i have friends who have let their kids watch all sorts of adult films from babyhood; i knew my kids couldn’t handle the violence. they’re just not ready for clockwork orange. (in all truth, i don’t think i ever was.)

but now that we are 12 and a very hardy 7, i took a leap of faith and borrowed the gods must be crazy from my local public library.  i had a dim recollection of the movie as being very sweet and probably okay for my kids. and, worse comes to worst, a lot of the DVDs/CDs from my local public library are often scratched, so if everyone hated it, we would likely have the opportunity to call it quits prematurely.  so we all settled in for the show.

first came the laughter: the laughter over all the old fashioned cars, that is. oh mom, BC pointed out, these cars are ANCIENT! well, young lady, if they are ancient, your mother walked with dinosaurs. no one cared about people driving on the wrong side of the road; all we could see were the tin boxes racing around.

then, of course, there was the nudity. jools cracked up at all the naked butts. i’m sure the girl noticed more than butts but was too polite and/or mortified to say anything. those bushmen of the kalahari wore loincloths that looked a lot like the forerunner to butt floss/thongs. how they could be comfortable like that, i don’t really know. (i still don’t understand the fascination with thongs.) anyway, after a short while, no one cared about people’s bare butts (or other hanging things) and we moved on…

to the violence. yes, virginia, i had forgotten that there was a small band of terrorists in this movie. they are mostly comical, but when they first show up, they shoot up the cabinet of a small african nation. the boy became fascinated by that, and not much later, he was even more fascinated by the moment when a helicopter was blown up. i try to remind myself that there are a lot of grown boys who love to watch things blow up; but i still am not thrilled by this fascination.  in short, the kids were less bothered by it all than was i.

fortunately, the rest of the movie is charming, with slapstick comedic moments and some occasionally cussing thrown in for good measure. my kids ultimately focused less on the violent parts and much more on the animals, the beautiful people, and the setting.  and once i relaxed and stopped worrying about whether the movie was going to turn my kids into serial killers, i enjoyed it, too.

watching grownup movies with my kids reminds me of how i feel about riding roller coasters. when i was young, i loved riding roller coasters and had little fear. when my oldest decided she loved roller coasters, i was thrilled that she loved something like i did and that we could do this fun thing together. but then, i was frightened — she was still so thin and small — would she be safe on this thing? would she fly out and be crushed way down on the ground below? i would get headaches and couldn’t ride the ride with her at first.  but as she (and ultimately he) grew bigger, i noticed she was safely ensconced in her seat, strapped in and raring to go. i realized that i, too, could just throw caution to the wind.

and enjoy the ride.

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