Stand By Me

Because everyone needs to see this:

This video is from the award-winning documentary “Playing for Change: Peace Through Music.”  It is an amazing piece of filmmaking.  Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me”, with street musicians around the world adding their parts to the song as it travelled around the globe.  And New Orleans, naturally, is represented.  Anyway, it’s one of the most moving covers of one of my favorite songs.  Enjoy: 

Or you can go old school.  Either way, still a classic:

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Overthinking Facebook

I have been locked in a soul-struggle about joining Facebook.  Even though my natural curiosity about “hooking up” (only in the good way) with old friends tantalizes me, my natural inclination toward procrastination whispers that Facebook might require maintenance at a level I’m not ready to commit to.  I hate the word “maintenance.” It conjures up images of gardening, pedicures, and waxing—you know, all those things that need constant tending to.

With Facebook, it seems like you have to update your profile picture every other day, and it’s just too taxing to have to search for the perfect shot of yourself looking your best AND having a fantastic time, AND not looking too smashed.  You have to come up with clever status updates, like, every five minutes.  This seems like too much work to me.  And my avoidance of work is well-documented. 

I don’t know why I don’t feel the same way about this blog.  I just drink three cups of coffee, get an idea for an essay, tweak it a little, drink more coffee, and hit “Publish.”  And then after a glass of wine or two at night, when my caffeine-induced mania is gone and my good judgment returns, but before I’m drunk (the timing is the tricky part), I’ll edit it about ten more times.  Easy.  And then a week later, when no one will ever read that post again, I find a better way to word something and then I update it again.

But I have viewed others’ Facebook pages and I noticed some things.  A few months ago there was this “25 Random Things About Me” list that made the rounds.  I realize this meme is somewhat dated now, but I made a list anyway, thinking I should be ready in case I ever join, but mostly because I hate to waste a perfectly good list.  

25 Random Things About Me 

1.  I would put out for Thin Mints or Pinot Grigio. 

2.  I consider myself somewhat of a savant about the Kennedy     Assassination.  Go ahead, ask me anything. 

3.  Knows that in Sonoma, it is not considered bad form to begin drinking at 10:00 a.m.  After all, that is when the wineries open. 

4.  Wishes she lived in Sonoma. 

5.  Would like to find out if  Sean Hannity would change his opinion that waterboarding is not torture if he submitted to it himself.  Would pay good money to see that.  (Edit:  Apparently Keith Olbermann would pay even better money to see that, too–but Hannity has declined the offer.) 

6.  Is starting to feel uncomfortable when my dog looks directly into my soul. 

7.  Knows that all the really good writers were drinkers.  

8.  Wonders which comes first–the good writing or the drinking, and worries that maybe I’m doing it wrong. 

9.  Wonders if Pope Benedict XVI has a Facebook account.  Imagines his update status might be something like this:  “Slipping into my red Prada loafers, getting ready to deny the Holocaust.”

10.  When my daughters were little I sometimes slept in their beds.  Dreamt of unicorns and rainbows there.  Wonders if when they slept in my bed, they had terrifying nightmares about not attending a class for an entire semester and failing the final. 

11.  I was born in the Bronx.  I know–fascinating! 

12. Things I learned from frequenting the White Castle establishment on Fordham Road, in the Bronx, at 2 a.m., circa 1976-80:                  

  • that while the glass window between the patrons and servers at this establishment may have been bullet-proof, sadly, it was not cockroach-proof;     
  • some people actually experience painful, physical cravings that only a White Castle chocolate shake can satisfy.  The cause of these cravings is, as yet, unknown.
  • what those marks on the White Castle lady’s arms really were. 

13. Thinks a gap between the two front teeth is sexy.

14.  Referring back to item # 5:  You can substitute Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, or Ann Coulter in place of Sean Hannity for that waterboarding gig.  Oh yeah, and Glenn Beck, too.   He might confess to being bat-shit insane.

15.  Wishes the economy would collapse already–the suspense is killing me.

16.  Did absolutely nothing with the fabulous education I received from Fordham University.  Except this.

17.  I am a big fan of my own cooking.  (My post from April 21, 2009 supports this.

18.  I have never fainted. 

19.  God, aren’t we at 25 yet?  I am running out of random things to say about me. 

20.  Secretly wants to write her own blog.  (Update: Yer lookin’ at it.

21.  I am an excellent driver. 

22.  I paid good money to see Bob Dylan in concert—twice.  Big mistake.  Twice. 

23.  Would like to learn to play the violin. 

24.  Should really get to the gym more often.  (Just kidding; not really feelin’ it.) 

25.  Might be overthinking this Facebook thing.

Know Your Audience

My husband says that the giant wall of text I am capable of generating with each post is intimidating to some potential readers, but I don’t know if I agree with that.  The best advice ever given to me about writing is:  “Know your audience.”  This advice has proved invaluable.  If some readers click on this blog and then flee when confronted with a giant wall of words, then they are not my intended audience.  You got to scale that wall, man.  No free rides.  If Rule #1 of writing is to “know my audience,” Rule # 2 is they have to know me back. 

Keeping this symbiotic relationship between writer and reader in mind–wherein the writer knows his audience and vice-versa–(and here’s my pithy observation today, honey) then why on earth would Sci-Fi Channel re-brand itself as “SyFy” Channel?  I’ll let them explain:

“By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond …blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Here is a sampling of the comments this press release generated:

     “Pointless, yet interesting.”

     “OMG!  Stupid!”

     “Wait…what?”

The truth is, they actually changed the spelling of “Sci-Fi” to “SyFy” to make it easier for people to search it.  Really?  People wouldn’t know that if they crave science-fiction they should Google “Sci-Fi?”  Talk about not knowing your audience.  The intended audience would certainly know how to spell the abbreviation for “science-fiction.”  They know everything–THEY ARE GEEKS! 

Except how to glue those Spock ears on straight.  See you all at the opening of Star Trek this weekend.

Hope this post was pithy enough.

No Post Today

Oldest child moved into her own apartment today.  It’s not the same as going to college or moving into a dorm.  The word “dorm” has such a soothing, temporary connotation.  They always come back from the dorm, with all their crap in tow.  This is the first one to leave the so-called “nest.”  A couch has been purchased.  From a real furniture store.  Not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this.

I suppose I should be able to formulate a deeper and more insightful post than this.  I wish I could come up with something.  At least, I should probably have written something longer.  Sorry to let all 4.2 of you down.  But it takes more words than I can think of right now to describe how I’m feeling and I am having trouble choosing the right ones.  Let me give it a shot:   I’m simultaneously excited for her, worried about her, happy for her, missing her already, and rationalizing that at least she is not moving to California, but only to northern NJ, barely an hour away.  So I have to think I will be OK about this soon–actually, better than OK–very proud.

So, because I am having trouble finding words, no post today.

Jesus H. Christ!

Please watch this video, then read the post: 

I don’t know why this video strikes me so funny.  I watched it three times in a row, mesmerized, and by the third time I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  I don’t know what this says about me.  It’s just a dog barking at an unfamiliar inanimate object.  It’s what dogs do.  Even if that object is Jesus Christ (or a reasonable facsimile) enthusiastically preaching the Good News.  To a dog.  Dogs don’t care, and this does not mean they are heathens; I have it on good authority that all dogs go to heaven.  They just know that there’s something terribly wrong when humanlike sounds come out of rubberized objects that smell vaguely like one of their chew toys.  Which brings me to Sean Hannity.  I’ll explain in a moment. 

It occurred to me—it wasn’t the talking Jesus doll that was cracking me up.  (Maybe a little.)  It was that poor puppy’s reaction to it.  Metaphorically speaking—and I am qualified to speak in Metaphor; all English majors are fluent in it—THIS is what I found funny:  If you substitute the talking Jesus doll for Sean Hannity (and forgive me, folks, there is nothing about Sean Hannity that remotely resembles Jesus, but hear me out); if you substitute the dog’s completely visceral reaction to the sound of that voice, then—THERE IT IS—you have captured my exact reaction whenever I hear Sean Hannity’s voice.  I don’t even have to see him.  The dog’s agitated behavior—its witless barking, its total contempt for the sounds emanating from this plastic mannequin’s pre-recorded microchip, the foaming and frothing at the mouth—IF I were a dog, this would mirror my own reaction.  Except for the foaming and frothing at the mouth—I cannot help it—especially when it involves Hannity. 

If I were a dog, it would probably be best if Sean Hannity were nowhere near me.  Because I would have to bite him.  Or at least pee on him. 

P. S.  Once again, apologies to Jesus for comparing him to this bloviating jerk.  They are nothing alike, and I really hope it’s just a coincidence that Jesus’ middle initial is H.  That just wouldn’t be right.