Thursday, January 19, 2012

Milk Crisis: A Nightmare in G Major

About six months ago, I came across this charming little clip from Sesame Street, which I had long since forgotten but I'm convinced had a formative effect subconsciously, and may even be responsible for some of the problems in my life. Unfortunately, I was only about a month in to what became a seven-month sabbatical from blogging, so my thoughts are diluted and full of cobwebs. Maybe it's for the best. As Dave Barry says, I am not making this up. Not a frame or note has been changed. It definitely belongs in the "What Were They Thinking?" category. It's the story of a milkman, arriving just in time to feed a hungry baby. Sound cute and cuddly? See for yourself:

Yes, that just happened. What begins as an innocent demonstration of where milk comes from quickly turns into a descent into hell. When the music turns ominous, I'm sure that the truck is going to crash and the baby is going to starve. Before long, I'm sobbing. "Please, someone, anyone get the kid some milk!" And indeed, all ends well, except for some emotional scarring that will surface decades later after the kid's third divorce and a bout with alcoholism. Perhaps American kids are just too spoiled. In the Old World, fairy tales used to end with naughty or disobedient children being disemboweled or skinned alive. But I digress.

The good news is, that kind of horror show would never air today. But unfortunately, Sesame Street producers seem to have no balls at all nowadays. Even Katy Perry's cleavage was deemed too offensive to make it to the final cut of a show last year. Thanks a lot, overzealous Christians. The Cookie Monster has been neutered, having undergone electro-shock therapy to adjust his diet to be well-balanced. Thanks, pantywaist granola-eating hippies. I'd like to think that there's some kind of happy medium. But I'm afraid the sheer weirdness of my childhood can now be enjoyed only on YouTube. Here's to the 1970s and early eighties. And now, as an apology for the disturbing content from before, once again with the help of Sesame Street, we take you back to a happier time. Who of us doesn't have a cherished childhood memory of walking through Manhattan, alone, to take your pet llama to the dentist? Fair warning: if you watch even half of this video, this song will be stuck in your head for weeks. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

James Earl Jones + Justin Bieber 4Ever

Okay, so this is neither original nor thought-provoking, but I came across it and it made me laugh: James Earl Jones reading the lyrics of a Justin Bieber song. Read aloud, it's even more asinine, and making him do it is probably elder abuse. He could have at least thumbed his nose at the retards on The Gayle King Show by saying, "Oh, baby, baby, I find your lack of faith disturbing". But I hope you enjoy. And even more, I hope he will agree to narrate my life. Good night, everyone.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

So, I know it's been almost seven months. I intended to come back after a summer sabbatical, like a new season of your favorite sitcom, but time got away from me. I'm going to make a point of blogging during breaks from work in 2012. But I had a great idea about Boxing Day: a Rocky marathon, except for Rocky V, which never happened. (Get it, boxing?) Unfortunately, I failed to implement it, despite ideal conditions (cold outside, day-after-Christmas blahs, a bit of stomach cramping and relatively low demands from the fandamily). But that led to an even better idea. Every December 26, we dispense with the feel-good peace-on-earth mumbo jumbo and box the ears of the person who has most pissed us off that year. You can only pick one, so it doesn't descend into all-out war. This also increases your chances for success in your 2012 resolutions (for those who are inclined to do such things), because if you play your cards right, you're ridding yourself of your worst frustration and have one less albatross dragging you down. I, of course, claim exemption for mine own ears, having come up with an idea that may revolutionize the holidays. Gina, please present your ears at 5:30 pm tomorrow. And to the rest of you, Happy New Year. See you again in 2012.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Song of the Sea

So, I just happened to find out this morning that the theme song from Southland is an actual song, with lyrics, and not only is it beautiful, but it's Portuguese, and the lady who made this version of Cancao do Mar (Song of the Sea) an international hit, Dulce Pontes, is from Montijo, a town I served in for four and a half months that is not much bigger than my hometown. I don't know how I missed not only this, but her. I was out from 1998 to 2000, when she was around 30 and had already had some success. I knew the Portuguese had some cool fados, songs of mourning and loss that, I hate to say, are basically Portugal's only music worth a damn. I went to Portugal figuring that, like the rest of Western Europe, they'd have some great singers and musicians. Not only did I play the piano in sacrament every week, including in the largest ward in the country, but the Portuguese have some very unfortunate singing voices (as well as some very unfortunate-looking women, but that's a story for another day). They belted it out better than most stateside congregations in volume, but pitch-wise, they sound about like badgers getting a proctology exam from Captain Hook. I am going to have to do some research to see if any of my old cohorts know this woman. I hope you enjoy, especially my friend Mary, who is of Portuguese descent and is much easier on the eyes, but has had a rough couple of weeks.

Also... Gina, don't lust too much after the naked guy who appears on the left at around 1:50. He does have great abs. There was a video on YouTube that I liked better, but embedding was disabled, so you'll just have to look at the paintings courteously provided by MariaSlide. Have a great Memorial Day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Legacy of a Generous Heart

21 years ago today was the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson. This is the final song of a medley of Henson's favorite songs, sung at the end of his funeral in New York on May 21, 1990. I dare you not to cry. Richard Hunt, the voice of Scooter, died less than two years later, and seeing his face among other early Muppeteers who are now gone or retired makes it even sadder and sweeter. I grew up with the Muppets during what was possibly the height of their popularity when I was a very small child in the early 1980s, and was a regular viewer of the early(ish) days of Sesame Street. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that Jim Henson is responsible for many children's happiest moments. His vision and imagination rival virtually anyone born in the past century. My mother told me I had a particular love for the Swedish Chef, and would laugh uncontrollably when he came on. (In fact, he's still one of my faves).

Anyway, this month has been pretty good so far, breaking me out of my recent stretch of crappy Mays, but last week I was getting fed up with some of the shitty news out there (the Botox mom, among two or three other stories), and needed something to give me hope in humanity. Somehow, I stumbled across this, and I was able to break out of thinking that mankind is irretrievably damaged and think on the people who have been touched worldwide by one of my heroes, and put my focus back on the possibilities in the world that every single person represents. There is also a new Muppets movie coming out the week of Thanksgiving, starring and written and produced by Muppet enthusiast Jason Segel, with Amy Adams co-starring, and cameos up the wazoo. So really, that's a double rainbow. At any rate, I hope this clip brightens your day, and that our children, and children everywhere get to enjoy simple, innocent days with goofy Muppets cavorting and scampering across the screen and bringing pure joy with them.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

And now, some curmudgeonly grumbling...

Get ready for bitching, moaning, grumbling and grousing. Apparently I am much closer to old farthood than I thought possible. This morning as I was driving home from Burger King with my Croissanwich, I heard a classic rock station playing More Than Words. AND I OBJECT MOST VOCIFEROUSLY! What the hell? I have heard some 1980s tunes from U2 creeping onto the Arrow playlist (103.5, Utah's most popular classic rock station), but I have to object to this. Admittedly it's a little older than I thought; it was released on single in 1991 (I was thinking more like 1995, mostly because it sounds like most of the crap that came out after Kurt Cobain died during my freshman year of high school). And the band that made it, Extreme, definitely had the look of butt rockers. And I get that it's been twenty years, and I'm not that young any more (I'll be 32 on August 25), but I'm not that old, dagnabbit! And to be honest, More Than Words only barely qualifies as rock anyway. If I start hearing Breakfast at Tiffany's or Blues Traveler's Run-Around, or Kiss From a Rose, or God help me, anything by Green Day or Weezer on classic stations, I'm gonna start handing out compound fractures like a Chinese lady handing out free Szechuan chicken samples at a shopping mall food court. I will do it. I expect at least another decade before I have to start feeling middle aged. That is all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why I Love Barter

Most of you know what I do for a living... kind of. I own what's called a barter exchange (mine is called All Business Barter), which way too few businesses are utilizing, and many don't even realize exist. The short and skinny of it is that I help bring new business in that almost drops into my clients' laps because it's being offered on trade, and help them spend it on things they need that they're either using cash for or that they'd like to do and don't necessarily have in their budget. It's really quite magical. You can get a $1300 couch or a couple grand worth of dental work for much less in actual cash cost. Business used to be done that way almost exclusively (as in "I'll trade you that there mangy ole mule fer that sack of flour and a wagon axle"). I just use technology to facilitate the whole deal, safeguard against one party getting the short end of the stick, and broker their needs and wants. I've been in the biz for over five years, and in addition to making a real difference in the lives of others, have gotten some amazing things for myself and my family. Meals at restaurants, carpet cleaning, auto repair, furniture, and new tile for our kitchen, and more than I could probably even remember. At any rate, the video below is from Saturn Barter in the Seattle area and is a pretty good quick sum-up of what I'm all about. I'm hoping in the coming months to get a videographer to do a similar video for my website (on trade, of course). Hopefully this is something that will be of interest to many of you who haven't quite gotten a firm grasp of what I actually do, and be interesting at the same time. I promise, this post is not a phone-in. It's one I've been meant to do for a long while, and if even one person gets some ideas of the possibilities that are out there, and is able to incorporate it in some way, through an exchange or just being more active in trading on their own, I'll consider it very worthwhile. Enjoy!