Like my books, TV, and movies, I an eclectic in my tastes.
My 1 Year Blogaversary!
August 8, 2013 wow, that seems like a lifetime ago.
That blog post was, Fibromyalgia is a Four Letter Word (it still is).
Since then I’ve made a lot of mistakes, did I say a lot I meant a ton, or perhaps a tad more; probably said a lot of things people don’t agree with; and had some wanting-to-pull-my-hair-out moments, no worries, it’s still there, more or less.
I’ve learned a lot. Had some revelations about people I thought would be supportive, turns they weren’t, and still aren’t.
I’ll take it as a life lesson.
Plenty more people have been extremely supportive.
Thank you to family and friends, those who have pressed like, or shared, or reblogged, or followed, or subscribed, tweeted and retweeted, given me awards, or a combination. It means more than you’ll ever know, really.
I have ‘virtually’ met some awesome people who are kind, supportive, funny, helpful, generous, hopeful, caring, and have mind-blowing things to say and they share it. Thank you.
This year has opened up new portals for me.
I’m reading books I might never have read, learned things I didn’t know my brain could learn, but most of all it’s given me hope that maybe I can be more, it’s given me a glimpse of me, a me that I sometimes fear is gone forever.
So please join me for this virtual celebration of my 1st Blogaversary or Blogversary or maybe it’s a blogbirthday!
Drop by and say hi, read some of my older posts, apparently there are like 450 of them, hey, I did warn you with the tagline, Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure.
Have a slice of virtual cake, wear a silly hat and join me for another year of who knows what!!!
Happy 4th of July
I don’t live in America.
I have visited America many, many times.
I’m Canadian, so we’re kind of neighbours. Hey neighbour (yes, here in Canada we have ‘u’ in weird places…don’t ask unless you really want to know).
Here are just a few random things I love about America:
The Walking Dead,
Captain America, X-Files, Heroes, Family Guy, Star Wars…
Deadwood, Community, Revolution, 3rd Rock From The Sun, escalators, The Addams Family, Mad Men, The Munsters,
Spiderman, Batman, part of Superman (get your minds out of the gutter), X-Men, Star Trek, Six Million Dollar Man, Alice Cooper, Supernatural, Soap, Green Day, The Ramones, Hell On Wheels, The Misfits, The Carol Burnett Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Elvis, ER, Get Smart, Firefly, The Avengers (not the British one), Sonic Youth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Violent Femmes, Animaniacs, The Brady Bunch, Nirvana, American Gothic, Smallville, Angel, cash registers, KISS, Battlestar Galactica, Boston Legal…
Breaking Bad, Maude, Columbo, Scooby-Doo, Quincy, House, sunglasses, Murder She Wrote, R.E.M, V, potato chips, Under The Dome, Metallica, Pushing Daisies, 8-track tapes, Guns’n’Roses, Love Boat, The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, Family Ties, Six Feet Under, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, MacGyver, Aerosmith, The Beverly Hillbillies, Twin Peaks, Parks & Recreation, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Law & Order (you may have gotten carried away there, let it go), Jimi Hendrix, the transistor, Bruce Springsteen, clothes hangers, ARPANET, Jeopardy!, crayons (most of the colours, some are getting freaky)….
Magnum P.I., SNL, Heart, the Cyclotron Atom-Smasher, Hogan’s Heroes, 30 Rock, cotton candy, airplanes, airbags, The Simpsons, Sons of Anarchy, GPS, New York Dolls, Night Court, Faith No More, Wonder Woman, Farscape, Jeff Goldblum, The Waltons, The Big Bang Theory, Hawaii Five-O, John Malkovich,The Lone Ranger, Bill Murray….
Monk, Rockford Files, Yogi Bear, Devo, Johnny Depp, The Doors, Late Night With John Oliver, Seinfeld, Vikings, Pinky and the Brain, Cosmos, The Partridge Family, Police Squad!, All in the Family, Psych, The Twilight Zone, Happy Days, electric guitar, Gang Green, The Colbert Report…
The Muppets, Steve Martin, Sesame Street, John Cusack, Frasier, Terra Nova, The Daily Show, 21 Jump Street, Roswell, Cheers, Spongebob Squarepants, flashlights, skyscrapers, Mork & Mindy, George Clooney,
Falling Skies, Dexter, Garfield, I Dream of Jeannie, Bonanza, George Carlin, Homeland, M*A*S*H, Mystery Science Theater 3000, I Love Lucy, The Flintsones, Patti Smith, Land of the Lost, Veep, The Wizard of Oz, Mallethead, Charlie Brown, American Dad!, South Park, Peanuts, Game of Thrones, Beastie Boys, nylon, Lie To Me, Talking Heads…and way way too many great movies, writers, artists, entertainers, athletes, scientists, and others making things better or at least interesting to name…
Ok, you had some international help with some of these, including Canada, but you’re doin’ stuff and I think that’s great…
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Feel free to tell me if I forgot anything, I got tired.
Parts of America are also stunningly beautiful…and many of the people are amazing.
You’ve also done some very, very naughty things, America, which we won’t dwell on today because you’re celebrating Independence Day, and perhaps watching Independence Day between BBQing, fireworks, being patriotic, watching Dead White and Blue the latest AMC The Walking Dead marathon, spending time with family and friends, and drinking (and hopefully not driving).
Like any neighbour there are things we like and don’t like about each other, but mostly we get along quite well.
Happy Independence Day,
Happy Canada Day Eh
I am Canadian.
Proudly Canadian, most of the time.
Canada is majestic, not merely our stunning landscape, but its people. Our cultural mosaic is a rich montage of various cultures, beliefs, foods, etc. that mostly blend quite well. Do we have differences? Definitely, but that could be part of our strength if we fight the real enemy, not each other.
Canada is the world’s second largest country in land mass, surrounded on 3 sides by oceans which is why we have the largest coastline in the world…I wonder how that will work with rising ocean levels due to climate change?
We have tiny hamlets to sprawling cities. Farmland, fishing, fracking, factories, forests, in fact, over 30% of Canada is forest. Sadly, less each day as so much is clear-cut for timber and to make way for more oil sands projects, cities, roads, highways, shopping malls, etc.
Canadians are an obsessive people. Over 80% of our households have internet and we use it a lot more than other countries, maybe we pay so much, they know they have us hooked.
What else are we obsessive about? Tim Hortons, food, drinking, hockey, shopping, smoking, driving, boating, skiing, beer, gardening, gambling, golfing, traveling, sex, drugs (Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford even smokes crack), rock’n’roll, candy, cake, cookies, chocolate, clothes, porn, baseball, basketball (our Toronto Raptors even have thier own Jurassic Park?), hockey, holidays, cooking, eating, wasting, stuff, video games, hockey, TV (over 125,000 Canadian households even have a TV in their bathroom), movies, books, smartphones, well, you name it, I’m sure we’re obsessed with it. We generate well over 700 kilograms of waste per person per year. So proud.
We gave the world:
James Doohan, Terry Fox, Alice Munro, Joe Shuster, Michael J. Fox,
Gordon Pinsent, Nathan Fillion, Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Yannick Bisson, Graham Greene, Great Big Sea, Mark Critch, Drake, Carrie Ann Moss, Eric McCormack, Cobie Smulders, Avril Lavigne, Peter Jennings, J.D. Roberts (John Roberts), Morley Safer, Leslie Neilsen, Tricia Helfer, Paul Gross,
Kiefer and Donald Sutherland, Tommy Douglas, Barenaked Ladies, Allan Hawco, Stompin’ Tom, Rick Mercer, Michael Bublé, Paul Anka, Jack Layton, Glenn Ford, Ellen Page, Eugene Levy, Sandra Oh, Billy Van, Al Waxman, Fay Wray, Rich Little, Raymond Massey, Norm Macdonald, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Justin Trudeau,
John Polanyi, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Will Arnett, Dave Foley, Lorne Greene, John Candy, ’63 Monroe, Gordon Lightfoot, Sheep Look Up, Rachelle Lefevre, Frederick Banting, Lorne Michaels, Alex Trebek, Dan Akroyd, Ryan Gosling, Adam Beach, The Trailer Park Boys, Spirit of the West, Gordie Howe, The Guess Who, BTO, Wayne Gretzky, The Tragically Hip, Tom Thomson, Emily Carr and the Group of Seven,
Dave Thomas (as the Beaver), Brent Butt, Jim Carrey, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Rick Moranis, Stephen Leacock, Pierre Berton, Robertson Davies, Mike Myers, Tommy Chong, Dave Foley, Douglas Copeland, Farley Mowat, Joshua Jackson, Margot Kidder, Seth Rogen, Chris Hatfield, Ryan Reynolds, Martin Short, Brendan Fehr, Victor Garber, Anna Paquin, Shania Twain, Joni Mitchell, Arcade Fire, Willard Boyle, Roberta Bondar, Rob Ford, Cory Monteith, Colm Feore, Bruce Greenwood, Justin Bieber, James Cameron…
too many to name. You’re welcome and we’re sorry, that should about cover it.
What else? 2 km underground, we have the world’s deepest lab, Snolab, in Sudbury (which rocks!).
6 time zones and the world’s longest highway, the Trans-Canada Highway, over 7604 kilometers (4725 miles). Maybe Canadian Tom Cochrane’s inspiration for Life is a Highway?
Over 75% of the world’s maple syrup produced, mostly in Quebec. Sweet.
We have 2 official languages, English and French. Queen Elizabeth II is somehow still our Head of State.
Canada is also the world’s most amazing water source. Yes, over 20% of the world’s fresh water, more lakes than all the other countries combined, the world’s largest freshwater island – Manitoulin Island, Ontario and of course, the awesome Niagara Falls.
I fully expect our H2O to get us taken over one day, or some government selling it all. Documentaries like: Last Call At The Oasis (CBC), Thirst (Bullfrog Films), Flow (Oscilloscope), Watermark (Mongrel), Liquid Assets: The Big Business of Water (CNBC), Blue Gold: World Water Wars (Purple Turtle Films), Tapped (Atlas Films), The Colorado River: Running Near Empty (Pete McBride) highlight that once we’ve destroyed the water and air nothing else will matter. Watch 1 less trendy TV show, blockbuster movie, or YouTube video each week; watch documentaries, see the world as it is, not the façade the corporations, governments, etc. are showing you.
We have a poor track record with our First Nations people. Sadly we don’t treat our veterans as well as we should either. Too much of the time our government of the day (hopefully that will change soon, very very soon, did I mention soon?) acts like the only good veteran is a dead veteran, oh except on photo-op days when politicians fake smile while shaking hands they’re not fit to shake. We also don’t treat our seniors, special needs, some minorities, or women, well, who does that leave, oh yes, rich white men, they’re treated like gods in Canada, at this time.
Once known for being polite, diplomatic, peacekeepers, kind, caring, hopeful, giving, socially responsible, progressive, innovative, funny, strong, and free, the Canada we are so proud of is slowly slipping away, but hopefully not without a fight.
“My friends, love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.”
Canada’s literacy rate is over 99% so I know if you’re in Canada, you can most likely read this.
Happy Canada Day eh!
The Princess Bride
I would be hard-pressed to believe anyone who had seen this movie didn’t like this movie. I know, it’s seen as chick flick material, but I think it can’t be reduced to just anything. It is so much more. It has comedy. Drama. Love. Romance. Bad men. Good men. Giants. Revenge. Fire swamps. Death. Swordplay. Beauty. Villains. Bravery. Cowardice. Pain. Dreams. Hope.
Some Inconceivable Princess Bride info…
Billy Crystal ad-libbed a lot of his lines. Anyone surprised?
Apparently Cary Elwes thought Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts/The Man In Black should have a mustache, to look more Errol Flynn-swashbuckling piratey guy. Not sure that really worked.
The Cliffs of Insanity are really the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland and matte paintings.
The Princess Bride has spawned parodies, parties, costumes, and of course, it’s inconceivable that people wouldn’t love to quote it.
William Goldman, the author of The Princess Bride also wrote screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, A Bridge Too Far, Misery, Marathon Man (his own novel), and many more.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman is supposed to be an abridged version of the book, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. S. Morgenstern is really a pseudonym as well as a tricky narrative device that Goldman used to layer his novel. Confused yet?
The Princess Bride is a classic representation of Bildungsroman, a literary genre that concentrates on the ethical and psychological development of youth as they make the transition to adulthood. The term was created by J.K.S. Morgenstern (hmmm, sounds similar to S. Morgenstern). Here’s a few coming-of-age books, movies, and TV shows.
Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,
Sixteen Candles, Mean Girls, Superbad,
Varsity Blues, Easy A, Napoleon Dynamite,
The 400 Blows, Somersault, Garden State,
Clerks, Running With Scissors, The Graduate,
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,
Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Harry Potter,
Slumdog Millionaire, Youth In Revolt,
Rebel Without A Cause, Pretty In Pink, Twilight,
War Games, Wuthering Heights, Precious,
The Breakfast Club, Juno, Boy, Winter’s Bone,
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hamlet,
Prozac Nation, Now and Then, Boys Don’t Cry,
Freaks and Geeks, The Spectacular Now,
Trainspotting, American Graffiti,
Moonrise Kingdom, Say Anything,
Romeo and Juliet, My So-Called Life, Blue Lagoon…
Can you think of any others?
Remember the ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size)? Actually people in costumes, with Rob Reiner doing the noises.
Look closely, above the sick Grandson’s (Fred Savage) bed is the hat Rob Reiner wore in This Is Spinal Tap; Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) did The Princess Bride score and insisted on the subtle nod.
That was actually Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin fencing, both left and right-handed. The only stuntmen used were for the flips. Just in case you needed to be reminded how cool they are.
I’m frugal watching commentaries, they can detract from the entertainment of the movie; exceptionally so here.
Despite many gaffs, mistakes, continuity errors, and plot holes in this movie this is a beloved classic that’s been thrilling audiences for 27 years.
I can watch this movie from start to end or start watching it at any point. It’s that awesome.
I think in this film, ‘As You Wish’ simply means ‘I love you’.
Happy 40th Anniversary Blazing Saddles
To celebrate getting over 40,000 views on my blog I decided to say Happy 40th Anniversary to Blazing Saddles. Is it even possible that Mel Brooks’ nod to classic Westerns was released in 1974?
I saw this Mel Brooks masterpiece when I was around young – it was different times, people didn’t assume seeing comedy, even crude comedy was going to affect anyone. I didn’t understand half the jokes, so when I re-watched it later I was more impressed and hurt myself laughing.
Blazing Saddles takes satire to fine art status as Mel Brooks takes us back in time to the American Old West, circa 1874. He pokes fun at Hollywood’s version of the Old West, especially the racism by making a completely implausible scenario – a small Western town hiring a black sheriff, even by mistake and the mayhem that it caused.
Brooks was a pioneer in using offensive humour to mock people’s prejudices. He felt it could make people realize how silly intolerance was by making it funny. Still not sure everyone got the point.
Mel Brooks is a master at breaking the Fourth Wall before it became the cool thing to do. Known for throwing in anachronisms to amuse, bemuse, and possibly defuse any tensions his deliberate political incorrectness could cause, Brooks went to ye olde town in Blazing Saddles with various references like: WW II, Laurel and Hardy, Gucci, Academy Awards, Cecil B. Demille, and The Count Basie Orchestra playing April in Paris.
Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little are an amazing on-screen bromance; it’s clear in most scenes there are many private jokes and difficulty keeping straight faces.
I can never decide who makes me laugh the most, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn or Dom DeLuise or maybe the combination makes it so absurdly perfect.
Less Than 40 Fun Blazing Saddles Facts:
The now defunct Pickwick Drive-In Theater in Burbank, California became a ride-in theater as guests rode in on horseback for the Blazing Saddles première.
Mel Brooks is one of a small group to have every won EGAT – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award and a Tony.
Gene Wilder wasn’t the first choice for the Waco Kid, Johnny Carson among others turned it down and Gig Young became indisposed in early production with an elbow bending problem so Wilder was brought in.
Blazing Saddles was the first movie to have foreground music instead of background music.
Madeline Kahn received an Oscar nomination for her role as Lili von Shtupp. So the Oscars used to be fun I guess. Love her song, I’m So Tired, cracks me up every time.
Brooks’ wanted Richard Pryor who was one of the scriptwriters to play the Sheriff, but the studio thought he wasn’t as well-known as Cleavon Little.
Trailblazing Brooks made this movie the first to have on-screen flatulence. Come on, all those beans and coffee, yer dern tootin’ those cowboys would have been tootin’.
There are 11 men sitting around the fire during the bean scene, Mongo is to the side or it could have been a dirty dozen.
John Wayne said he found the script funny, but declined to actually appear in Blazing Saddles. How cool would that have been?
I always thought Slim Pickens name was funny.
Gene Wilder had the idea and a few pages written for Young Frankenstein and approached Brooks with the idea during filming of Blazing Saddles. They worked on the script together while filming. Blazing Saddles was released February 1974 and Young Frankenstein December of the same year.
Mel Brooks received some hate mail about the horse being punched. He explained the horses were trained to fall, like horses in Westerns, they were acting horses, no one hurt the horses. Brooks always seemed confused because he thought everyone understood how much he loved animals.
He also received hate mail about using the ‘N’ word although he was assured by Richard Pryor, Cleavon Little and others he use it correctly. In retrospect Brooks says he would reconsider using it, but found it interesting he only got hate mail from white people about the word.
Anyone remember how many flavors of ice cream Howard Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlor sold?
How about what snack Hedley Lamarr purchased at the theater? I had to look this one up.
What is most or least favourite of this movie? Mine is when Cleavon Little/Bart takes himself hostage; I think it changed comedy forever.
“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.” ~Dr. Peter Venkman
Ghostbusters was 30 years ago? Wow.
This is probably one of the best movies of all time.
Definitely one of the best comedies of all time.
Certainly one of the best paranormal comedies of all time.
I also believe this movie stands the test of time.
Bill Murray gives one of his most hilarious performances ever.
John Belushi was supposed to play Dr. Venkman, but when he died Bill Murray was brought in. Slimer was affectionately known as the ghost of Belushi on set.
The party scene with Rick Moranis (Louis Tully/The Keymaster) and his guests ad-libbed the whole scene. Bill Murray ad-libbed most of the movie.
Ghostbusters was originally titled Ghost Smashers.
The whole cast is out of this world.
30 years. That doesn’t seem possible.
I may have to go watch this again.
Don’t cross the streams.
Who you gonna call?
THIS IS SPINAL TAP
In case you haven’t seen This Is Spinal Tap, it’s a mockumentary about a heavy metal band and their downward descent. It’s not merely a satire about bands, but about documentaries themselves.
It was so different and groundbreaking, fans and bands alike thought it was about a real band and believed this was an actual documentary.
Many bands and musicians can identify with This Is Spinal Tap, like, way too much.
This Is Spinal Tap wasn’t popular at first, but since has grown into a cult sensation.
Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer did their own music. In the decades since, they’ve released albums as Spinal Tap.
Guest, McKean, and Shearer received writing credit with Rob Reiner because they ad-libbed most of the movie.
Christopher Guest is actually a British peer, the 5th Baron Hadon-Guest. Brilliant in Waiting For Guffman. Tragically exceptional in The Princess Bride.
Michael McKean, best known for playing Lenny on Laverne & Shirley. Former SNL alum, also in Clue, A Mighty Wind, American Dad, my fav is still when he changed X-Files.
You may know Harry Shearer as Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, etc. on The Simpsons. Did you know he’s 70? That he was mentored by Mel Blanc? And also on SNL and Laverne & Shirley?
Rob Reiner is best known for his amazing writing and directing, but has appeared in many films and TV series, the most obvious as Michael “Meathead” on All In The Family.
There is a legend told of 4½ hour bootleg version of This Is Spinal Tap, traded among fans and collectors for years.
Do you know at least one of the original names of the band, Spinal Tap? And how many members they’ve had?
Some bands actually believed the writers of This Is Spinal Tap had bugged their tour buses and hotel rooms because parts of it were so familiar.
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler wasn’t pleased with the movie. Gee, was it because Rock in a Hard Place had Stonehenge on its cover?
Many people believe the tiny Stonehenge was a parody of Black Sabbath’s too-large-to-fit-on-stage-monument during their 1983 Born Again tour, yet this Spinal Tap joke was actually first filmed in 1982 as a 20-minute short. Life imitating art?
Cherie Currie (The Runaways) appeared as the singer of The Dose, sadly, by the release her whole character lay on the cutting room floor until deleted scenes became en vogue.
A running gag during the film was bizarre drummer deaths, including a gardening accident. Strangely enough, drummers from ABBA and Toto died in bizarre gardening accidents within a few years of the film.
Jamie Lee Curtis allegedly fell in love with Christopher Guest after seeing him as Nigel. She said she was going to marry him. She did. They’ve been married 30 years.
Many movie sites that usually rate movies out of 10, rated This Is Spinal Tap out of 11. Of course.
Spinal Tap attempting to sing Heartbreak Hotel when they visit Graceland is still one of my fav scenes.
I made not one, but two cheese Stonehenges for gigs when a band I knew were doing a Spinal Tap cover band many years ago. I wish I had taken pictures, then again maybe they weren’t as good as I remember, er, the Stonehenges that is.
I could go on and on and on and on about this movie. Really.
30 years later and this documentary is just as hilarious and as realistic as ever.
MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU
Some call this Intergalactic Star Wars Day, but really, isn’t that every day?
Yet this one has an added feature, we now have a date, December 18, 2015, of the next Star Wars movie, as I’m calling it, Star Wars VII: An Old Hope.
Also, cast announcements. The latter has brought a torrent of indignation from many fans.
I think this is unfair in many ways to the new cast.
Of course any comparison can’t be helped and it’s not likely to be favourable.
Many of us grew up with the original cast and still think of Star Wars IV: A New Hope as the first SW movie.
In 1977 Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill weren’t even known.
Carrie Fisher hadn’t said, Help me Obi Wan Kenobi you’re my only hope or aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?
Mark Hamill hadn’t inadvertently kissed his sister, stood in the iconic pose against the twin suns, lost his hand, and screamed his famous nooooo!!!
Harrison Ford had never swaggered about the Millennium Falcon, said I know to Leila’s I love you, been encased in carbonite…
Alec Guiness hadn’t uttered the now famous, That’s no moon, that’s a space station, or said Use the Force Luke or become a cool ghost.
We had never seen or heard the rasping menace of Darth Vader or the twisted malevolence of the Emperor…no Chewie or R2 or C3PO or Jabba or Lando or Boba-Fett.
So fear not, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and John Williams are returning.
I think we should give the new cast a chance.
Adam Driver (he’s the best part of Girls, also in J. Edgar, The Unusuals, Your Don’t Know Jack, etc.),
Oscar Isaac (Sucker Punch, W.E., Inside Llewyn Davis, etc.),
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, Einstein & Eddington, Longford, The Simpsons, Avengers: Age of Ultron, etc.),
Domhall Gleeson (Harry Potter as Bill Weasley, Black Mirror, About Time, When Harvey Met Bob, etc.),
John Boyega (Attack the Block and 24: Live Another Day),
Daisy Ridley (Mr. Selfridge, Silent Witness, etc.) and
Max von Sydow who’s been in I can’t even begin to list the work he‘s done since 1949, but he was Ming The Merciless.
Keeping an open mind, I am.
Hope for the best, you should.
Now go get your comics, watch Star Wars movies, get your nerd on, and May The 4th Be With you!
We stand in line for various new smart phones.
We have to decide between multiple versions of coffee. There are literally too many TV shows and movies to watch.
Too many pod casts, audio books, and musicians to listen to.
Too many books to read.
Giant grocery stores where you practically need a GPS to find your way around. I just wanted an apple. Sure, there are 20 varieties. Aaaaargh.
Huge malls where you need maps, like you’re on an Indiana Jones adventure.
Clothes, shoes, jewellery, cars, toys, restaurants, tablets, bars, news, clubs, blogs, theaters, social media, stores, computers, alcohol, laptops, medications, make-up, information, games, video games, apps, services, oh my!
We’re destroying our future and our children’s futures so we can have stuff.
We’re being controlled by our ability to choose.
Scarcity is unknown to too many of us. It’s difficult to even comprehend people still live in squalor with no safe water, no heat or cooling, no medical care, selling themselves, dying, even selling their children for food.
Comfort and abundance has lead to sloth, entitlement, intolerance, apathy, and waste.
“Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting; it is not logical but it is often true.” ~Spock
The less you have the more you appreciate it. People dreaming of winning the lottery are often happier than those who win it.
Ever been eating something delicious and realize it’s almost gone? Those last few bites are savoured.
Reading a book, watching a show, time with family or friends – all taken for granted until you realize they’re almost over.
You’ll actually use less toothpaste as the tube empties, without conscious thought.
The last days of your vacation you’ll do more.
You’d think we’d be happier with more things, more choices. If stuff made us happy why are more people on meds for stress and depression with higher debt, more drama, more shopping, more self-help books, more diets…apparently more isn’t always better.
If you have one glass you will take care of that glass, cherish it because otherwise you will have difficulty drinking.
If you have one pair of shoes, you will treasure those shoes for without them you will walk in bare feet.
I’m not advocating poverty, just moderation. The ‘M’ word was more popular before we were told by corporations selling us stuff that we needed more stuff.
I love having the ability to choose, but there comes a point, especially with products and services that super saturation directs us to confusion, stress, worry, and disorder.
Abundance should be shared.
When will we ever have enough?
The book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir (Times Books/Henry Holt and Company) is a well-written, amusing, comprehensive explanation with examples of why scarcity is so important. Scarcity in all forms. I borrowed it from the library…one less book.
The Shawshank Redemption
For those that have read the novella by Stephen King I will alternately title this Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.
For me, both have been irreparably damaged by the Family Guy version, oh great, now I’m humming Hollaback Girl.
This book and movie hold many messages, the most obvious one, hope.
I used to think, many years ago when I was young that no matter what anyone did to you, no matter what they took from you, you’d always have hope.
But then I began to slowly realize that hope itself could be dangerous.
When nothing or no one can hurt you.
When nothing or no one can take anything more from you.
When nothing or no one can break your heart.
Am I cheering anyone up yet?
This is the moment when people have to choose, to take a chance that hope is a gift. Just because you’re in a hopeless position doesn’t mean you’re hopeless.
For people with chronic illness we cling to hope like it’s the side of giant mountain and we never want to look down.
That’s the power of hope. And the danger. It depends how you use it.
It’s been 20 years since we were given Frank Darabont’s (The Walking Dead) vision of Shawshank. Hey, it starred: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, William Sadler, James Whitmore, and Clancy Brown, how could it be anything but cool?
I recommend you also read King’s story and if so inclined, destroy both by watching the Family Guy take on this brilliant celebration of how you can be free or imprisoned wherever you are, it’s all about perspective.
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”~Jack Layton
tHE LiFE aNd LIfE Of KurT CObAiN
I was in my 20s when Kurt Cobain died. At the time of his death I was a music critic, for want of a better term.
I met Cobain. While interesting, it didn’t change my life nor his. He seemed sweet. Messed-up. Like a little boy, even though we were around the same age. Too sweet to be in the music industry.
I still enjoy Nirvana for what they were, I don’t try to figure them out. People constantly philosophized and misinterpreted their message. Still do. The media and public hounded Cobain. These and other demons rode him hard. Unstable to begin with, massive success was the final nail in his coffin.
Some people say Cobain was the voice of a generation, some say he was a mixed-up young man who didn’t really know what he wanted. I’d say he was a bit of both.
Cobain mentioned to a few people over the years he was thinking of suicide. When he was young he even said he wanted to die like Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix died of a drug overdose. Cobain also mentioned he wanted to die before he got old. Several members of his family committed suicide.
Cobain left or was taken from his daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.
Cobain was a strong opponent of sexism, racism, and homophobia. He grew increasingly offended by the alleged ‘fans’ he felt were posers jumping on a bandwagon. Well, duh silly, how many hours of people’s lives are spent doing what’s popular instead of what they like? Music, movies, TV, hobbies, friends, games, clothes, etc.
While I understand the frustration, forcing people to do stuff they don’t want is as just wrong as them doing stuff they don’t want to do. We all make choices.
Music that challenges the mainstream is easily neutralized by the music industry – they sign them. Make them popular. If for some reason they can’t be controlled or changed, then sales figures do the work for them. Problem solved either way. In Utero was a stunning album yet sales were low. People only wanted Smells Like Teen Spirit. Grunge was no different. It died young, like Cobain.
I wonder, without drugs, mood swings, chronic illness, revising his history, etc. what Cobain would have become? Then again, without those things he wouldn’t have been what he was. That’s why trying to find meanings in his lyrics or art is pointless. He didn’t know what he was or saying most of the time, how could anyone else? Maybe just enjoy what you enjoy and don’t pick it apart…who knows what you’ll find? Teen Spirit was a deodorant that smelled to cover other smells.
Cobain wanted the world to be a different place and since it wasn’t changing, he left.
I hope there’s plenty of Kraft dinner wherever he is.
Here we are now, entertain us…yup, that about sums it up.
WHO COULD HAVE IMAGINED THE BEATLES?
From screaming fans to scoffing critics to worried parents, the world might not have been ready for The BeaTles, but there they were.
50 years ago The BeaTles stepped onto North American soil and into the history books and hearts of millions.
Crashing in on the first wave of the British Invasion of North America, Beatlemania was just the edge of what they had in store.
Their diverse techniques and elements ensured that The BeaTles music appealed to wide audiences.
Songs that ranged from mindless love songs to pop hits to anthems of a generation looking for change, with a few quirky bits thrown in to remember just how much fun they must have been having, recreationally.
The music was driven by whatever they were thinking and doing, crunching in novel ideas and technologies.The band played with mediums, expressions, and thoughts like children enthusiastically playing with Christmas morning toys.
I wonder in this more homogenized world if we would ever allow bands like this again? There have been great bands, but they seem fewer and farther between.
So whether you love them, hate them, ardently mock them, or try to ignore them, The BeaTles left their shiny boot prints all over the world…
Living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see. It’s getting hard to be someone. But it all works out, It doesn’t matter much to me. Let me take you down…~The BeaTles
Who could have Imagined The BeaTles? You can’t make this stuff up.
I’ve never been sure if Labyrinth was meant to be a children’s film that grown-ups love, or a grown-up film that some children just might like as well.
I guess it doesn’t really matter.
Either way it’s certainly a brilliant lesson in be careful what you wish for.
Remarkable performances by David Bowie (of course) and Jennifer Connelly (a vision of things to come), but we all know, the Muppets are the real stars in this fantastic fantasy flick.
Bowie is the perfect choice (again, of course) for Jareth, the Goblin King. Edgy, intense, mature, and smooth, he embodies a very, very adult world. Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is drawn to him (of course) as she teeters on the brink of becoming a woman while still desperately clutching onto her childhood with a grubby fist. Jareth is the embodiment of temptation, to want, to yearn, to cling…he compels her, offering what she thinks she wants, fighting herself to take responsibility for her own actions.
In the throes of teen angst, Sarah blames everyone for her restlessness and discontent. Jareth seems the answer to all until she sees the truth (“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.” ~Jareth) and the consequences – losing not only her baby brother, but herself.
Sarah‘s lesson? There are so many to choose from, but the most important? That accepting who she was, is, and will be has its own rewards…instead of running from the future, she must embrace it and the present. The past will take care of itself, it always does.
OK, this definitely isn’t a new story, but this was beyond well-told, all the same.
And it has Bowie. And Bowie singing. Sigh.
Sarah: That’s not fair!
Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?
War on Christmas
There’s a War on Christmas? Using terms like Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings suggest that Christmas is being attacked? Wow, I didn’t know Christmas was that insecure or vulnerable. Kind of makes a mockery out of the soldiers who fight in real wars.
I love Christmas. Especially what used to be the spirit of Christmas. People caring about others. Although that seems to have dimmed over the years. Now it’s about rushing and shopping and whining and complaining and First World Problems…
Stores use terms like Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays to allegedly be inclusive. It’s really to extend the shopping period. The sustained commercialism has made for sustained greetings. To sell more.
Christmas decorations in malls, city streets, etc. up before Halloween, before Remembrance Day.
They blast Christmas music into stores for months.
Santa Claus parades block the streets.
More cars congest the streets and highways.
Christmas movies swarming the airwaves for 2-3 months per year.
Others started using Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings to reflect the Christian holiday wasn’t the only religious or non-religious celebration this time of year. Wait, we wouldn’t want to include others in a time of giving.
What about people who don’t celebrate Christmas? Or those who don’t want it extended? Can you imagine Christmas if you weren’t Christian? Or maybe didn’t like Christmas? Or don’t have family and friends to celebrate with?
You can’t go to a store to get a pair of socks without crowds; blaring Christmas songs; people running around like it’s the zombie apocalypse (that might be more fun); low or no stock; and very harried store personnel.
I suppose some believe the ‘Christ’ part of Christmas is being attacked. Times have changed, people seem to worship their cell phones more than Christ. And I doubt all the scandals that have rocked the various religions have helped.
Does someone saying Happy Holidays offend you? Does it offend Christ? If you have a strong faith in something, don’t you believe despite the odds?
If you receive a Christmas card that says Season’s Greetings does it make the fact that someone bought a card, wrote in it, addressed it, sent it to you via snail mail mean less?
The term, War on Christmas was popularized by a FOX News host, that should tell you something. Politicians, pundits, celebrities, charities all exploit Christmas to further their agendas just as many corporations, stores, charities, churches, etc exploit it to make money. John Gibson was simply regurgitating the whining with his book, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse than You Thought.
Yet Christmas is bigger than ever. Santa is still selling Coke. Jesus is still praised at midnight masses. The War On Christmas is failing. Commercialism is still going strong.
If you want Christ in Christmas, he’s there.
If you want the Grinch in Christmas, he’s there. If you want to just enjoy the season…enjoy it.
Looks like we’re stuck with Christmas three months a year and for me, it’s a bit much, but it doesn’t steal away my love of Christmas…but it does keep me away from shopping.
PEACE ON EARTH/LITTLE DRUMMER BOY
“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy“ is one of my favourite Christmas songs…The duet is amazing, David Bowie and Bing Crosby, two unique, powerful, stunning, and shiver-inducing voices ever.
“Little Drummer Boy” is a 1941 Christmas song (originally known as “Carol of the Drum”, based on a traditional Czech carol) written by the American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis.
“Peace on Earth” was written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, and Alan Kohan, to add to especially for that recording because Bowie hated “Little Drummer Boy” so they had Bing Crosby sing most of it.
It was recorded September 11, 1977 for Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas special. The dialogue they exchanged was scripted. Bowie was attempting to normalize his image by appearing on Crosby’s Christmas special. Crosby was doing it for the ratings, Bowie was a huge and attention-getting name. Sadly Bing Crosby died on October 14, 1977 and the TV special aired posthumously, November 30, 1977.
This is an oft parodied (some of my favs include: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! Sung by Stephen Colbert and Willie Nelson; Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly for Funny or Die – wait for the end, it’s worth it; and Craig Kilborn and Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü on Comedy Central) and referenced duet; most likely because the improbability of its performer
Pump Up The Volume
Pump Up The Volume explains why adults can’t seem find a way to stop teen bullying, self-esteem issues, suicide, etc. They don’t listen.
Instead, they spend so much time, money, and energy trying to control the situation, create laws, studies, ‘make-work’ projects about bullying that are either a joke or cause more bullying, and wringing their hands saying, why oh why…
Seems we’d rather place teddy bears and flowers, post pictures and hold candlelight vigils than fix the problem. Kind of symptomatic of the problem really, wasting yet more money, time and energy on symbolic gestures when people could be actually helping others.
Teens are worried. They have eyes, they have ears. They can see they’re living in a broken world, that we’re leaving them a broken world. They want some real hope, not just a slogan about it.
Teens (and many adults) are tired. Tired of the lies, scams, hypocrisy, scandals, cover-ups, pretending to care, destroying of their world by those that put power and profit ahead of humans. Adults complain that teenagers don’t respect them. Look around, would you?
Ever wonder why everyone is so obsessive? About: cars, sex, celebrities, toys, religion, exercise, video games, junk food, fast food, TV shows, decorating, news, alcohol, politics, Christmas and other holidays, drugs, fashion, cigarettes, work, crafts, gambling, consumerism, cooking, movies, cell phones, reality shows, weight, shopping, technology, the past, the future, music, well, just about everything?
Everyone is looking for something to cling onto, something to believe in, a way to feel. Teens defy because they want someone to acknowledge their pain and reassure them they have a future.
Is this a great film? Yes and no. The concept is fantastic, the frustration genuine. Christian Slater has to crash his way through some very sludgy, boring bits, nonetheless handing over that apathetic, frenetic amalgamation that does it every time. Of course, Samantha Mathis is great, as always.
Watch this recognizing we haven’t fixed the problems…doesn’t mean we can’t. And enjoy the music, it saves the day. Talk hard.
THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF SCOOBY-DOO
1. Stay away from glowing stuff.
2. Never trust an old lighthouse keeper.
3. Being asked for help is actually an opportunity to extort free food.
4. Haunted houses always have the ingredients to make sandwiches. We won’t ask why Scooby and Shaggy are always so hungry, what’s in those Scooby Snacks anyway?
5. Mysteries involve some interesting clothing choices: short skirts, ascots, werewolves with pants, tattered Civil War uniforms, cloaks, capes, etc.
6. ‘Let’s split up’ actually works for this group, they all find clues, but still work together as a team.
7. Don’t let the handsome guy be your de facto leader, his plans are overly complicated and never work. Bumbling acts of panic save the day!
8. Dogs actually talk, but have speech impediments.
9. Running between various doorways in a hall is fun.10. Driving around in a van called the Mystery Machine solving mysteries is not only a lucrative job, but you get to meet celebrities like: KISS, Batman, Fred Flintstone, The Addams Family, Jabberjaw, Sonny & Cher, Davy Jones, Josie & The Pussycats…I do realize some of these celebrities aren’t real people, ie. Davy Jones, but it’s still cool.11. Seniors come up with some wacky schemes to make money.
12. We’ve all sometimes felt like we’re running past the same background over and over and over.
13. Once you remove the ‘mask’, people are just people. Or alternately, humans are the only real monsters.
14. All the members of the Scooby Gang were really different, but all were able to add something to the group, even if it’s just as bait to attract a mummy, or Neanderthal, or witch, or miner or pirate.
15. Bad guys always say the same thing when they’re caught: “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids”.
I sat watching Edward Scissorhands in 1990, mesmerized.
I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I railed against the injustice, and gave my heart to Johnny Depp. No worries, I’d given it before and since; it’s still in good working order. I’m sure he’d reciprocate if he knew I existed…or not.
Themes of bullying, prejudice, isolation, teen angst, self-awareness, hope, pain, betrayal, lies, dignity, honour, and love weave a dazzling web of stunningly brutal tragedy, comedy, and enchantment, in and out, in and out, each thread of this film somehow masses together in utter brilliant film magic.
The castle is gothic and delightful, but a place of secrets and loneliness.
The suburban neighbourhood is weird and flawed, but with creepy optimism and veracity.
The contrast shows that hope and love can flourish anywhere, as can pain and deceit.
Lauded, loved, mocked, hated, and parodied (best, when Depp reprised his role on Family Guy…you have to see it to believe it). And still it has stunningly stood the test of time.
Caroline Thompson, Stefan Czapsky, as well as the astonishing cast and crew did a superb task of articulating Tim Burton’s vision of Edward and his challenges and his triumphs. This film is truly a gift.
Vincent Price is categorically flawless in what turned out to be his last performance on film, ending a dramatic and spectacular career as the great gentleman of horror.
When Winona Ryder (Kim Boggs) is dancing in the ‘snow’ that Edward creates from the angel ice sculpture, it’s so heart-cutting because their love can never be, but they will always know it really is. Perhaps it’s so poignant because Depp and Ryder were a real-life couple at the time…and not meant to be.
This is a perfect movie for Halloween, Christmas, or any day of the year.
Love, love, love this movie. Did I mention I love it, not sure if that was clear.
Shatner’s World: We just live in it
I don’t care what anyone says, I adore watching William Shatner, in just about anything.
Sure he’s narcissistic, but he uses his superpowers for good, not evil.
He’s also funny, silly, asinine, but always charming. If you can see this one-man show live, awesome, luckily there’s also a DVD.
Dressed casually Shatner leads us on a magical tour of memories, ours and his.
He shares very personal stories, famous encounters, ridiculous exploits, and talks about Star Trek (of course) all in that oddly heartening, exaggerated style that’s so many have mocked over the years.
It might be his age, but in this one-man show (then again, isn’t that everything he does, really?) Shatner ponders death, those he has lost as well as his own mortality. Yet somehow it’s all comforting and poignant, not morbid. “Love is the difference between the cold light of the universe and the warmth of the human spirit and life doesn’t have to end when love is present.”
If you’re a Shatner fan you’ll enjoy the well over an hour of Trek talk, how his kidney stone became $25,000 for Habitat For Humanity, picking out a pine casket for his father because he thought his Dad would appreciate the thriftiness, his, er, singing career, broke living in his truck, meeting Koko the signing gorilla, acting with Christopher Plummer and James Spader…
If you’re not a Shatner fan, watch something else.
The whole show was pure Shatner – eccentric, engaging, and egocentric, but with a heart as big as his head (tough to do). He makes me smile.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
I went to see this movie on opening day 1993 and a few more times in the following weeks. I had no children with me. I also bought the VHS tape when it came out, the soundtrack, and later the DVD. I may or may not have some small toys from the movie and a few TNBC T-shirts over the years, one possibly bought as recently as today.
To say I love this movie is too serene.
Like most Tim Burton films TNBC is funny, dark, deep, and stabbed full of obvious messages.
The main character is a skeleton named Jack Skellington.
He’s the Big Mouldy Cheese of Halloween Town, he’s the Pumpkin King, he has it all, fame, fortune, adulation. But he’s bored with his job. He wants more.
He discovers Christmas Town and sees it’s marketing potential. He figures this must be what he was destined to do.
So he rebrands himself and retrofits Halloween Town to do this new gimmick, Christmas.
Things go terribly, dreadfully, horribly wrong, of course.
The day or should I say eve is saved, mostly with the help of Sally who has loved Jack just as he was.
The Christmas brand is salvaged, as is that of Halloween.
Short story extended, Jack realizes he had everything he needed to make him miserably happy in Halloween Town all along. Cue a gruesomely romantic scene.
Crushed into all that? Lots of cool songs by Danny Elfman (sigh, I still love Oingo Boingo), mayhem, fun, drama, lots of funny lines…one of the best films every made.
It’s a marketing dream in one nightmare.
The making of this film is almost as interesting as the film itself. Astonishing. Many have poached from, peeled back, and tried to copy the mastery of this movie in the 20 years since it’s release, but this masterpiece is incomparable.
Makes sense that it’s really just a remake of another perfect classic, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Can’t see it? Think about it.
TNBC combines Christmas and Halloween so naturally, I’m in.