12.05.2017

Unbelievable by Katy Tur

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American HistoryUnbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. I listened to the audio version and shook my head in disbelief more times than I can count as Katy was describing the various stages of the campaign. It's like I relived the whole thing, which isn't really a good thing. However, I like Katy Tur and it was interesting to see behind the curtain of a journalist following a presidential candidate.

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11.25.2017

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I loved this story about Auggie--a young boy born with severe facial disfigurement who enters school for the first time as a 5th grader. (He'd been home schooled previously.) There's a good message for everyone, no matter the age. My only issue with the book is that it seemed sometimes the author forgot she was writing about 10-year-olds. It often felt like I was reading about high school freshmen or sophomores rather than 5th graders, and I'd stop and ask myself, wait, aren't they only 10?! Overall though, this was a very enjoyable book and I look forward to seeing the movie.

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10.06.2017

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing WorldThe Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


With all of the negative emotions I've had over the past year, and after seeing the Dalai Lama and his joyful belly laugh during his interview on 60 Minutes, I really wanted to read this to try to have a better outlook with what's going on in the world. There is a lot of good information in the book and good advice from these great men, but I fear that the people who most need the message about being compassionate towards one another, wouldn't seek out a book like this in the first place. I LOVED the exchanges between Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama, but could have done without the author/interviewer's explanations. It would have been sufficient for him to ask his question, and provide their responses without further summarizing and interpreting what they said. That's the explanation for 3 stars instead of 5.

If there's a movie of this, I would love to see it.

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9.26.2017

Back by Popular Demand - My Fall TV Schedule

Yes!  You heard that right.  Back by popular demand!  What that translates to is, my mom asked me when I'm going to do my list.  So, here it is.  What I'm watching this fall.

I'm more excited about this season than I have been the last couple of years.  I'm adding 13 new shows, but two of them don't count because they've been on before:  Will and Grace and Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Looking forward to the return of both of those.  

Last season I added 10 new shows, and five of them lasted.  Insecure aired this summer and was great and Atlanta is coming back at some point.  For the fall, the others include This is Us, Speechless, and Better Things (love!).

The show I was most looking forward to (and just finished watching) is This Is Us.  It's such a good show.  

The show I'm most dubious about is Ghosted.  I'm watching because I love Adam Scott, but I read a really bad review of the show.  I'll give it a couple of rounds and then decide.  

Other new shows include Ten Days in the Valley, which I'll watch because, Kyra Sedgwick.  I'll be watching 9JKL to 1) figure out what the title means, and 2) Mark Feuerstein.  White Famous looks funny.  Law & Order - Menendez Murders is on my list because of Edie Falco.  I just saw a few minutes of it and see that Joel from Parenthood is in it too, so, BONUS!  Kevin (Probably) Saves the World has Jason Ritter--I really like him too.  The actors and actresses are really what is drawing me in this year.  Star power!

I'm disappointed that black•ish is no longer on Wednesdays and that they moved American Housewife to Wednesdays.  That was one of my new shows last season, and though I like the lead actress, I didn't care for the show.  BUT, it looks like black•ish will be a good lead-in for The Mayor which is about a rapper who runs for office to promote his album but then actually wins. It's gotten good reviews, so here's hoping it works out.  

The biggest surprise on my list is Young Sheldon.  I watched the first couple episodes of The Big Bang Theory when it first started, and it just wasn't my thing.  Something about Young Sheldon intrigues me though--a lot of it is 80s/90s nostalgia, and aslo, I like the little kid who was in Big Little Lies.

So, that's the scoop.  If there's anything else I should be watching, please let me know!

9.16.2017

My Top 25 on iTunes - September 2017

I just revisited my Top 25 Most Played list on my iPod recently.  I created a Spotify list of those songs.  Some of the list isn't surprising to me at all because a lot of these are my favorite songs, but some of the songs are quite surprising.

Here are the Top 25--note that there are only 24 songs on it.  That's because "Rock with You" by Michael Jackson is on their twice, from two different albums.



The biggest surprise is Trent Harmon's "Falling" -- he was a contestant on Amercian Idol and this was his final song and I love it, but I haven't listened to it in a long time.  I clearly listened a LOT when I first downloaded it.  Another surprise is Madonna's "Keep It Together," because again, although I love the song, I didn't think I listened to it that frequently.  Most of the other songs are on a playlist I created called "Makes Me Happy" which I do listen to all the time--it includes "Mercy," "Love on Top," "Outstanding," "Love Never Felt So Good," and others.

I don't remember the last time I reset the count, but the range of "listens" on this list is from 137 times ("Drink You Away") to 285 times ("Can't Feel My Face").  "Love on Top" is second at 241.  That surprises me too, because based on how I listen to music, I would expect "Love on Top" to be #1.  I often listen to that song 3-4 times in a row when I hear it.

I'm going to reset the count on my iPod now and see how it looks after six months, just out of curiosity.  (I'm going to have to put this on my calendar, because otherwise I'll forget!)

9.07.2017

Summer TV is ending

I'm looking forward to the new fall TV season, but until it starts, here a few things I've been watching.

Ozark - great show!  The finale was crazy.  I heard it was renewed for a second season, so I look forward to that.  It's in the show's description that Jason Bateman is playing a financial adviser who launders money for a drug cartel.  Things go awry and he moves his family to the Ozarks.  Besides starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney--both of whom I love--what I really liked about this show (and I don't think this is a spoiler, but maybe it is, so if you don't want to read it, skip to the next section) is that Jason was always completely honest with his wife about what was going on, so there was no part of the plot where he was trying to hide secrets from his family.  I feel like we have enough shows like that, so this one was a bit original.

World of Dance vs. So You Think You Can Dance

So a while back, I mentioned that I kind of liked World of Dance better than SYTYCD.  Now that SYTYCD is getting close to the finale, I can say that at least for this season, I like them both equally.  What I liked about World of Dance is that each week, the participants danced in their own style and were judged numerically, highest score wins.  It moved quickly, the judges were likable and the performances were great.  Last season of SYTYCD is the first season I didn't watch, and that was because it focused on young dancers, and I just wasn't interested.  I also get a little creeped out at young kids dancing ballroom--they remind of of Jon Benet Ramsey with the makeup and costumes.

Anyway, I digress.  What I've liked about this season is that they brought back 10 All Stars from previous seasons and during the audition process, they each select a partner to dance with.  So you get to see the new talent, and you get to see old faves.  Once they got down to the Top 6, I think, the contestants were paired with each other, but we still got to see them perform with the All Star.  It's been really good and there are so many great dancers this season.  My favorite personality of the group, Mark, was unfortunately voted off last week, but everyone remaining is so good, I'm rooting for all of them.  I think that Lex is in the running to win.

Dave Chappelle 

I had some friends over last weekend and because our weather was so crappy, we scrapped our plans to visit a few neighborhood haunts and instead ordered in Italian food and watched Dave Chappelle's two specials on Netflix.  We laughed SOOOO hard.  He is just a funny guy.  We thought the first special was funnier (The Age of Spin), but they both had us cracking up with tears streaming down our faces.  (The second special is called Deep in the Heart of Texas.)  I just called my dad and told him to watch, but also warned him that it's not appropriate for my mom.

My mom asked when my fall TV schedule will be posted.  I'm hoping my Fall TV Entertainment Weekly arrives tomorrow and then I'll be able to pull my list together.  Stay tuned!


7.19.2017

Blown away

This week on World of Dance, they selected the top two performers from the teen group.  These two young ladies have stood out from the very start, and wow, did they bring it this week.



In case you're wondering, their final scores were separated by 1/2 a point. Diana (11 years old!) in the first video got 92, Eva (age 13) got 92.5. Next time they compete head to head. How do you choose a winner from these two?! Amazing.

7.16.2017

Quick TV Review

I've said it once, and I'll say it again--there's too much TV!  There are so many shows to watch and it's getting harder and harder to keep up with what everyone's watching.  I've watched a lot of TV over the last few weekends and just wanted to give a quick review.  (And keep this as a reminder for myself of what I've watched!)

Orange is the New Black, Season 5 - did I already write about this?  I liked some of it, I hated some of it.  I hated the sadistic nature of the whole season.  It was really kind of gross.  I also hated that the whole season covered maybe 5 days.  The riot storyline got old.  But then it had some great moments like Tastee fighting for the memory of Poussey.  It did end with a good cliff hanger leaving me wanting to know what happens next.

House of Cards, Season 5 - this season left a lot to be desired.  I don't find it as clever and smart as I used to.  However, the last line of the finale will keep me watching.

Veep - Same thing.  Selena was particularly mean this season.  She's always mean, but this season I didn't find it as funny.  I kind of think it's because of all the mean-spritedness in real-life politics.  Watching Veep is no longer an escape.  It's too real.  This was my least favorite season.

Suits - Suits is back on.  It's not the same without Jessica, but it'll do.  As I was watching the season opener, I was thinking about the cast and wondering if working with Meghan Markle is any different now that she's close to being royalty.

Glow - I liked this Netflix series a lot.  It's about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, which was apparently a show in the 80s that provided a lady version.  In the series, Marc Maron casts a bunch of down and out actresses to create his show.  I read that some of the writers came from OITNB, and that's why this show has a similar feel.  All the ladies have their own back stories.  I've never had any interest in wrestling, but the show isn't really about that.  It's about the characters.  I liked it.

Friends from College - I really wanted to love this Netflix show, but in the end, I kind of hated it.  The first episode was promising, but then it just got icky.  There's no one to root for.  Well, I like Fred Savage's character, but he's not the main focus.  If this gets renewed for a second season, I'd be surprised.  I also don't plan to watch.

Playing House - I thought I had written about this before, but apparently I hadn't.  I LOVE this show.  It's about two best friends--one of them quits her job and moves home to help the other through a divorce to raise a new baby.  I love the women on this show.  Season 3 is out, but I decided to go back and watch the first two before I start 3.  I read that one of the actresses, Jessica St. Clair, had cancer in real life and they wrote that in to Season 3.  I'm sure it will be bittersweet, but also well done.

Handmaid's Tale - whoa!  I'd read that the show is better than the book, and it is!  They added a lot more dimension to the story and created storylines that I wondered about when I read the book.  It's very well done and Elizabeth Moss is great, as always.  Can't wait for season 2.

I think that's everything.  If I think of anything else, I'll come back later in the week.

7.10.2017

The unexpected juxtaposition of two books

The last book I read was The Handmaid's Tale.  I enjoyed it, but decided not to write a review because as I read through the reviews on Goodreads, I didn't think there was anything else I could add.

The day after I finished that book, I started listening to the audio version of Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, which is read by Trevor, and which I am thoroughly enjoying.  What keeps hitting me, though, are the similarities between the two books.

The Handmaid's Tale is a fictional account about the subjugation of women by white men (this was true in the book--I've seen the first two episodes of the Hulu show and they seem to have taken race out of the equation).  In Born a Crime, Trevor describes the real-life subjugation of black and colored (mixed-race) people by white people under apartheid in South Africa.  A true story that's not too distant in our past.  (Trevor was born under apartheid in 1984.)  That just blows my mind.

There's a lot of discussion in both books about how the men in power separate groups and maintain control over them.  In The Handmaid's Tale, the women were not allowed to read or talk with each other for fear of the women spreading ideas of uprising.  In South Africa under apartheid, black people weren't supposed to learn languages outside of their own tribe's.  Those in power had to keep the various tribes separate and apart.  It's strange to read these things back to back and it's  disheartening to think of how badly those in power can treat people in order to maintain that power.  And of all of these thoughts are happening in my head in the midst of today's political landscape where they're trying to kick millions and millions of people of health insurance.  

Sigh.  So, that's what been on my mind for a few days.  I'll do a proper review of Trevor's book when I'm done.  For now I can say it's quite educational and thankfully, also quite funny.  I can use the laughs.

6.06.2017

It all started with an alligator

Are you ever in a conversation with someone and then you say something out loud and the other person has no idea what made you say that? You may have been talking with your friend about mashed potatoes and then all of a sudden you mention something about having to take the car to the shop. The friend is wondering where that came from and then you have to explain that mashed potatoes reminded you of your trip to the grocery store to buy potatoes and how when you came out of the store, you discovered your check engine light was on in the car and therefore you have to take your car to the shop.

This happens to me a lot. Sometimes I'm not sure what the connection is so I try to solve it like a mystery and then when I realize the connection, I feel so excited.

Maybe it's just me.

5.22.2017

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow SunHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook and give 4 stars for the writing and story, and the extra star for Robin Miles' narration. This is probably the best narrator I've heard. She does Robin Miles does a different tone of voice and accent for each major character, so you can easily distinguish who's speaking. It was fantastic to listen to. I see that Ms. Miles has also narrated Hidden Figures, so I will listen to that at some point.

The story is historical fiction about the main characters' experiences during the Nigerian-Biafran war, a subject I knew nothing about. It's always painful to read about how people suffer during war, but this really helps you understand life living as refugees and really tugged at my heart considering all that's going on in the world now.

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Update:  I just came across this interview of a man who describes when the war came to his village.  So much of this is described in the book.  Wow.

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/magazine-25737837/the-day-the-biafran-war-came-to-my-village

4.24.2017

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That HappenedHyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book had me laughing until I was crying, many times. Yet, it also has the best description of what depression is like that I've come across, so it was also very thoughtful. I wasn't familiar with the blog of the same name, but I will now be an active follower.

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4.16.2017

Mission: Tackle the TBR list

I came across this blog the other day about an approach to whittling down a "To Be Read" list of books.  I have an ongoing problem of buying books but never reading them.  I get distracted by new books and feeling like I need to read them right then and there, so I set aside whatever I was reading at the time (or what I was intending to read next) and then never go back to the original book because something else comes along.

In this blogger's approach, she only allows herself to bring in one new book for every two books of her own that she read.  Two out, one in.  I like this idea.  She set up some rules for herself and I'm adopting two of hers for myself:

  1. Rereads don't count.  I don't often re-read books but I do from time to time and these won't count for my "out" list. (It's almost time to read To Kill a Mockingbird again.)
  2. Books that are given to me as gifts don't count toward my "in" list.  As the original writer says, I can't help if people want to shower me with books.
  3. This one I'm adding -- books can include those on my shelves, those on Audible, and those on my Kindle.

The blogger uses a bullet journal to keep track of her books.  If you haven't clicked to go see the original post, her journal looks like this:

OUT: 
OUT: 
IN:

OUT:
OUT:
IN:

etc.

Then she fills in the books accordingly.  I'm going to keep a similar journal here on my blog.  As I just finished a book that had been on my shelf for quite a while, I'm starting there.  Another goal of this endeavor is to clear my bookshelves so that I'm only keeping books I love and I want all of my books to fit on the shelves I have, without having to expand to new shelves.    Here's where I'm starting:




I don't like how I have books in front of others, or books sitting on top of others.  I want this shelf to be orderly and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  Looking at these photos, I have a few other rules to add:

  1. I'm not going to read The Bible. 
  2. I'm also not including instructional books like the ones I have for photography. 
I also have a bad habit of starting challenges and not finishing them, so we'll see how this goes.

4.02.2017

The sounds of Big Little Lies

Tonight is the finale of HBO's Big Little Lies.  I've really enjoyed this show and can't wait to find out who got killed and who's the killer.  At this point, I honestly have no idea.  They've done a really good job of making you believe it could be anyone and that everyone is under suspicion.   I never read the book, and I'm glad I didn't because I've enjoyed how this showed has laid out the mystery with the snarky police interviews with the other parents at the school and the glimpses into the messed up lives of the three main characters.  I'm really looking forward to the finale.

The other thing I've REALLY enjoyed about the show is the fantastic soundtrack.  I love that Reese Witherspoon's daughter on the show is so into music and listens to these obscure, haunting, soulful songs.  A couple weeks ago, I checked iTunes to see if the soundtrack was available, and lo and behold, discovered it was coming out on March 31.  I just downloaded it and look forward to listening.  It seems like one of those albums you'd put on for quiet times or maybe when you're feeling melancholy.  I don't think it's something you'd put on to cheer you up.  Hopefully it won't have the opposite effect and depress me though!  I don't think it will, but I do think it will help when you're in a reflective mood.  I'll let you know.

3.09.2017

Like Real People Do

This game came up for me as a memory on Facebook--my original post was dated March 9, 2009.  Hard to believe I've been on FB that long.  Anyway, it's been a while since I posted so I figured I'd go ahead and play this again today and see what comes up.

[Note:  After I went through this, I realized some commentary was necessary, so I've added that too.]

Rules:
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, i-pod, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the "next" button to get your answer.
3. You must write that song name down no matter how silly it makes you look.
4. Title this note what the answer to your last question is.
5. Good luck and have fun!


IF SOMEONE SAYS 'IS THIS OKAY' YOU SAY?
On & On (Eryka Badu)

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Take Good Care of My Heart (Whitney Houston/Jermaine Jackson)

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
They Can't Take That Away from Me (Ella Armstrong/Louis Armstrong)

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
The Big Bang (Katy Tiz)

Yeah, like my head is going to explode from allergies.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
Mean (Pink)

My life's purpose is to not be mean.  I try really hard, anyway.

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
The Tracks of My Tears (Adam Lambert's version from American Idol)

This makes it sounds like I caused my parents a lot of grief.  That is not the case!

WHAT DO YOU OFTEN THINK ABOUT?
Like a G6 (Far East Movement)

As in, what is a G6 anyway?

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Come to Me (Mary J. Blige)

Kerri, in my original Facebook post, the answer here was, "'The Secret Life of You' (Kerri Arista)" :o)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Jack & Diane (John Mellencamp)

First, I didn't know this song was on my iPod.  Second, I had to listen to the lyrics again to see how this could possibly be my life story.  It makes sense...the whole song is about life and growing up. 

Hold on to sixteen as long as you can
Changes come around real soon
Make us women and men....

Life goes on
Long after the thrill of living is gone 

Interesting.

WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
It's Alright With Me (Harry Connick, Jr.)

WHAT WILL/DID YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Berzerk (Eminem)

This would make for an interesting dance.

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Ooo Baby Baby (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)

Tracks of my Tears would've been more appropriate here, I think.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Trio #1, Movement 3 (Mark Sylvester)

This is my friend Mark's song, and it makes it's not as scary as this question makes it sound.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Paso En Tampa (not sure, from the ¡Cubanismo! Mardi Gras Mambo CD)

Does this mean "Time in Tampa"?  If so, I got nothin'.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Village Ghetto Land (Stevie Wonder)

This one made me laugh out loud.  Me and my friends--Village Ghetto Land!  Ha!

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO NAME THIS NOTE (POST)?
Like Real People Do (Hozier)

2.20.2017

Book multi-tasking

Britt-Marie Was HereBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I liked this book but didn't love it like I did My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry and A Man Called Ove (my favorite of the three). I really enjoy Fredrik Backman's writing, but this one was disjointed, and I didn't eventually fall in love with the Britt Marie character like I did with the "unlikeable" characters in the other books. Still, I was touched and moved several times, and chuckled several other times.



Scrappy Little NobodyScrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I like Anna Kendrik a lot and like her even more after listening to this audiobook, read by Anna herself.  She's quirky and funny and her essays are mostly relatable. I say "mostly" because I obviously can't relate to presenting at the Oscars, but Anna helps you understand how that experience might be for someone brand new to it. She feels like "one of us" and I enjoyed that.


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2.13.2017

It's the Grammys

Just a few thoughts on last night's Grammys show.


  • Yay for two Bruno Mars performances!  I wish he had done Perm or Finesse instead of Versace for the first song, but I was so glad he was back for the Prince tribute.  He was fantastic!
  • So great to see The Time.  Morris and Jerome look great. 
  • I was pleasantly surprised by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood's performance--I probably liked it because it didn't sound much like a country song.
  • I loved that they mentioned Sharon Jones' passing and that the Dap Kings performed with Sturgill Simpson.  I'd never heard of him before, but it was a great performance.  Horns and country music--who knew?!  I can't find the video yet, but I'll post it when I do.
  • It was great to see A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes referring to "President Agent Orange" cracked me up.
  • Beyoncé and whatever the F she did.  No.  I just can't.  (Apparently everyone on Twitter can, but I can't.)
  • Needless to say, I was pleased that Adele swept Beyoncé in the big categories and so was a bit disappointed that in Adele's final acceptance speech, all she did was gush over Beyoncé.  Groan.  I told my sister that maybe Adele was just being proactive in keeping Kanye from bum-rushing the stage.

2.10.2017

Powerless

No, this isn't going to be a post about how I've been feeling the past three weeks under the new administration (even though that is an apt description....)

Rather, this is a post about a cute new show on NBC called Powerless.  It stars Vanessa Hudgens as eager project manager, Emily, who goes to work for Wayne Enterprises, as in Bruce Wayne Enterprises (as in...Batman).  She and her team invent products to protect consumers from the dangers put forth by all the superheroes and supervillains in Charm City.  During the first episode, it's Emily's first day on the job.  She thinks she'll be working for Bruce Wayne, but learns that she actually works for his cousin, Van Wayne, who gets no respect from Bruce.  It's a pretty clever premise and I've enjoyed the first two episodes.  It's also a pleasure to see Danny Pudi on TV again, Abed from Community.

The Daily show... by Chris Smith

The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and GuestsThe Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I'm a huge fan of Jon Stewart and his years on The Daily Show and thoroughly enjoyed this oral history of the show from behind the scenes. They author talked to everyone...Jon, Colbert, Steve & Nancy Carell, writers, producers, frequent guests, even Glenn Beck. It was interesting to see how it all came together and the respect that everyone had for Jon Stewart.

All through the past election season, I kept saying that I wished he'd waited until the election was over before ending his show. As I was reading the book, I could see how that job could suck you dry and I forgive him for ending when he did. If he had stayed in, I'd be concerned for his health.

In describing the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, the author writes: "Otherwise he and Colbert were an excellent fit for the jittery moment in American politics—a moment very much in need of a few laughs and a dose of civility." Those words are still true today and I really wish those guys were still around to help me get through the current situation.

As an aside, this comment from Jon about the Rally cracked me up: "The night before the rally, I remember working with Hillary Kun. We were trying to figure out how to send a jet to pick up a variety of O'Jays. For some reason I had this stupid idea that the O'Jays lied together in the O'Jay house. They all wore the same outfit every day. They did their moves at the breakfast nook. It was a little more complicated than that." I really miss that humor.

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And that, ladies and gentlemen (really, lady and lady....aka Deb and Kerri) concludes my January challenge.  It was tough but I'm glad I did it.  I do feel back in the habit and though I won't be posting daily, I do hope to be here more often when I have something to say.  Thanks for reading!! 

UPDATE 2/10/17Holy moly.  I came to Blogger to write about something else and just realized I never published this.  OOPS!  

1.30.2017

Makes me happy

Continuing the music conversation, and something I've mentioned a few times over the past couple of weeks--with the current political climate, I need to find different outlets where I can decompress and stay away from the news of the day.  Music is the outlet I turn to most often.  I created a playlist on my iPod simply called, "Makes Me Happy."

For the most part, I only add to this list.  Very rarely to I delete songs from it.  Kerri had mentioned in response to my last post songs that you never tire of...this list is full of those songs.  One that I did delete, ironically, was Pharrell's Happy.  That one was just overplayed and I got sick of it. 

Without further ado, here's my current "Makes Me Happy" playlist:

Love on Top - Beyonce
Just Fine - Mary J. Blige
Outstanding - The Gap Band
Rock with You - Michael Jackson
Lovely Day - Bill Withers
Mercy - Darcy
I Try - Macy Gray
You Rock My World - Michael Jackson
Upton Funk - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
Before I Let Go - Maze feat. Frankie Beverly
Voices Inside (Everything is Everything) - Donny Hathaway
Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake
Remember the Time - Michael Jackson
Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd
Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake
24 K Magic - Bruno Mars
Perm - Bruno Mars
Finesse - Bruno Mars
Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
1+1+1 is 3 - Prince


1.29.2017

Forever's a long time--plan accordingly

While out to dinner tonight with my family, my sister posed a question:  if you were going to be stranded alone on an island for the rest of your life and could take the music of 10 artists with you, who would you take?  (I might be paraphrasing some of that, but that was the gist.)  Instead of coming up with my list at dinner, I said I'd save it to write about on my blog.  I heard some good ideas from my parents and sister, and my list overlaps a lot with all of their.  Here we go, in no particular order:
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Prince
  • Michael Jackson
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Adele
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Otis Redding
  • Bruno Mars
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Al Green
If I were allowed to negotiate and add 5 more, I'd also include:
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Teena Marie
  • Donny Hathaway
  • New Edition (I've been listening to them non-stop since the movie aired...this would be good, and would have to include the members' solo projects (Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, and Johnny Gill), and Bel Biv DeVoe.
Oohh....one more, if I could for an even 16:
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers (Hmmm....one of these is not like the others.  However, sometimes I might just need to rock out on my island)

1.28.2017

Red riding hood

My friend Kerri commented the other day about a post I wrote a few years ago about knitting.

As I mentioned in response to her, I haven't knitted anything in a while and will get back to it after I finish a crochet project I'm working on. Kerri asked if I've ever knitted a sweater for myself. I haven't yet, but I would like to. I tend to stick to square or rectangular items (washcloths, scarves, blankets), and a few occasional round items like hats. My ultimate dream, though, is to knit this beautiful coat:


I found the pattern several years ago and hope to attempt it some day. There are some additional pictures on Ravelry.com. You can also see some photos on Google images. I love it in red best, but the purple looks nice too. It's so beautiful and looks so comfortable. There's a lot I'll need to learn first before attempting this, such as cable knitting, but one day, I will get it done.

1.27.2017

A little joy today

I've had a rough couple of days...and I'm SO glad today is Friday. On my Metro ride home from work, I checked out one of the happy Instagram places that I mentioned the other day. And that's when I saw this. And it made my day. I already shared it on FB, but wanted to spread the joy here too.

I bought Bikini a custom made, fleece lined, puffy jacket. Sure it sounds snooty that Bikini won't buy "off the rack" but it turns out not having a neck necessitates very specific dimensions for your clothing if you don't want them to slide right off. I got it fleece lined and insulated to make sure she stays warm because if she's cold, Bikini won't got out and play. And when Bikini doesn't go out and play she gets bored. And when Bikini gets bored, we all suffer. Her favorite inside game is to "gently" bite the dogs on the butt when they aren't looking. Not hard enough to break the skin but hard enough to cause a yelp and a jump and a slight neurosis as they constantly look over their shoulders. She enjoys this game immensely, they do not. Or she unties my shoes.....while I'm still wearing them. Or she goes through all the cupboards, or spills her water bowl on purpose, or turns over the recycling bin. I don't want to throw out any unnecessary labels, so let's just say she can be "difficult". So, to battle Bikini's boredom during the winter months, I sprung for an expensive, custom made, pig jacket. Now let's just hope she still fits through the doggy door while she's wearing it. #idlehoovesarethedevilsworkshop
A photo posted by Steve (@wolfgang2242) on

1.26.2017

Ralph was always the one for me

I'm watching the first episode of the three-part miniseries, The New Edition Story that's airing on BET this week. I've been looking forward to this for so long, and despite the long commercial breaks, it hasn't disappointed.

Ralph Tresvant was always my favorite and in this story you see that he really was a good kid, and not just good looking. :) He was loyal to his friends. He was offered a solo contract, but said no, it was all of them or none. Awww.

In the episode I'm watching, they just performed "Candy Girl." I bought that 45 record at an outdoor festival at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, just about a full year before I ever heard them on the radio. To this day, I feel like *I* discovered them before any of my friends did. I knew all the lyrics to the song by the time it came on the radio. Candy Girl brings back such fun memories!

Look how young they are!

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1.25.2017

RIP Mary Tyler Moore

I was sad to hear of the passing of Mary Tyler Moore today...she was 80 years old.  The Mary Tyler Moore Show was ever-so-slightly before my time, but I remember my parents watching it.  I have friends for whom Mary was the model of how they wanted their lives to be when they entered the real world.  Over the years I've seen bits and pieces of the show, as well as The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mary was great.  I came across this clip today, and thought it was a great testament to what talent she had as a comedic actress.


I'll have to add Ordinary People to my list to see her dramatic side--I saw it years ago, but don't remember much about it other than Pachelbel's Canon playing throughout. 


RIP Mary.

1.24.2017

Huh? Who now?


I started watching the new season of Homeland where Saul and Dal go to meet the new president-elect. Elizabeth Marvel plays the pres-elect:


Several thoughts went through my head...the first was, wait, didn't she run for president on House of Cards? Yep, she sure did. Here she is on that show:


That's when I checked the characters' names.  On Homeland, she's Elizabeth Keane.  On House of Cards, she's Heather Dunbar, so no, even though they look exactly the same, there's no crossover situation, and these are two different characters.

Then I started thinking...but, isn't "Elizabeth Keane" on another show?  I first thought of Madame Secretary, where Téa Leoni's character was, I think, contemplating running for president the last time I saw the show (last season).  I looked her up, but no, while that character's name IS Elizabeth, her last name is McCord:


Then it hit me, Elizabeth Keane is on Blacklist!  But there, her name is spelled Elizabeth KEEN.




Conclusion:  There are just too many Elizabeths! 



1.23.2017

There is still beauty and good in the world

The last year and a half, even two years, have been so ugly.  All the politics, hatred, racism, misogyny, on and on and on, have really impacted my mood.  I know I should turn off the news and stop reading the paper so that I don't go insane, but I also worry about missing out on important information, so I'm trying to find some sort of balance.

One thing I do is seek out funny videos.  I've got a regular rotation of videos I go to that  I know will make me laugh.

Another thing I've done lately is to look through my favorite Instagram accounts. 

The photos on the National Geographic account show the beauty and wonder of the world.  Despite all the ugliness we see on TV, beauty is still out there.  This account helps me remember that.  It also shows different cultures around the world, which is a good reminder that it's not all about the U.S.

Another favorite account is Humans of New York, which, if you're not familiar with it, shares the personal human stories of everyday regular folks.  People's stories help to keep my faith in humanity when it feels lacking.

And a third favorite is Wolfgang2242, which is run by Steve--the description of his page says:  "Life with Senior Dog Rescues, Bikini the pig, Stuart the rabbit, Oprah the chicken and etc."  What can be more charming than that?  Steve adopts senior dogs and provides the best life they can have in a loving and caring home and not in a shelter.  Bikini the pig isn't a dog, but she's my favorite character.  I also love Enoch the wolf hound, and sweet Edna.  Seeing these guys just makes my heart swell.  Check out their lovely Thanksgiving!


We definitely need more of stuff like that.

1.22.2017

To Sir, with Love

Last night on Saturday Night Live, Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata paid tribute to Barack Obama with a rendition of "To Sir, with Love" from the movie of the same title.  It was very sweet and a touching tribute.  Seeing it reminded me that I love that movie and haven't seen it in years.  It's one of those movies that I'd stop and watch any time I came across it.  It stars Sidney Poitier as a teacher who winds up teaching a class full of "hooligans."  He not only teaches them their school work, but he also teaches them manners, self worth, and respect--for themselves and for each other.  Sidney Poitier's so great, and this movie just brings me joy.

I just had a thought about it--so often these days, there's talk of all the movies with the "white savior" who goes in to a situation and saves all people of color.  To Sir, with Love is the opposite--it's a distinguished black man who saves the white children.  And this movie is from 1967!  Imagine that!

So, To Sir, with Love is on my to-do list for this weekend.  In the meantime, here's Lulu singing the title song.



1.21.2017

THIS is what democracy looks like

Holy cow.

Today I attended the Women's March on Washington with my sister and some friends.  I'm sure you've seen the coverage on TV.  Coordinators were expecting 200,000 people, but at least 500,000 showed up.  Just in DC.  That doesn't count the 600+ demonstrations that took place around the world.  There were so many people there, they were unable to follow the designated route to march to the White House.  The police had to mark off new routes to accommodate all the people.  We saw men, and women, and black people, and white people, and latino people, and native americans, and asian people, and muslims, and gay people, and young kids, and senior citzens, and people with disabilities.  It seems that everyone was represented.  Hmm.  Dogs.  I didn't see any dogs or other pets, but I'm sure they were there in spirit.

With the exception of President Obama's first inauguration, this is the biggest event I have ever been to.  I had been on the fence on whether to attend--it seemed unorganized for quite a while, and then I wanted to see what the weather would be.  After feeling so dismal and disappointed on inauguration day, it felt so great to be among all of these people.  It was incredible and quite inspirational.  And I'm so glad I went.

Here are some photos from the day:










1.20.2017

Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and WritingHungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio version of this book, read by Jennifer Weiner, and really enjoyed it. It was interesting to hear essays about her childhood, college years, and early 20s, and her family, and see how those pieces of herself fit into her books Good in Bed and In Her Shoes. I was particularly moved by the essays about her father, her miscarriage, her pets. She has a couple of chapters about tweets she shared--one was interesting, but the other was all about The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. On the audio version, each tweet is introduced by a birdie tweet sound, and in The Bachelor chapter, it was quite annoying. I follow her on Twitter and find her Bachelor tweets annoying there too. But beyond that, I found the rest funny, honest, sad, cute, and/or charming (especially the parts concerning her Nanna).

View all my reviews

1.19.2017

Moonlight

I was off work today and decided to go see a movie.  I had two thoughts in mind--one was that I hadn't seen a movie in a long time and the other was that seeing the movie would give me something to blog about today. 

I can't wait to see Hidden Figures, but today I selected Moonlight because it's been out a while and I thought it might be leaving theaters soon.  I didn't know much about the movie but had heard such good things about it.  Now I know why. 

Now that I've seen it, though, I realize there's really not much for me to write about.  It's difficult to describe what the movie is about, beyond saying, "It's a coming of age story," because it's so much more than that.  It tells the story of Chiron, in three parts of his life--as a young boy, as a teenager, and as a man.  Each part is played by a different actor, who were all great.  Each part shows different moments in time that influenced Chiron's life.  I didn't read any reviews of the movie until after I saw it, and I'm glad I didn't because I feel they give away too much of the story and I don't want to do that, so I'll stop here. 

1.18.2017

A Bronx Tale - part 2

I wrote the other day about seeing A Bronx Tale on Broadway at Christmas time.  In the comments, my sister mentioned that the cast performed on the Today show, so I wanted to share that with you.  (I can't embed the video, so you'll have to visit the link.

A Bronx Tale performance on The Today Show.

I also wanted to mention:  can you imagine if Tommy Mottola was still married to Mariah Carey??

1.17.2017

Thanks, Stevie!

This morning, for whatever reason, I woke up with Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need of Love Today" running around in my head, so I decided to listen to his album, Songs in the Key of Life, on my way in to work. It's such a great album that reminds me of my childhood.

My commute takes me to Union Station in DC, and you can see that they're amping up for inauguration activities this week. Most of the rotunda is closed off and it looks like they're building a stage. Fake blossoming cherry trees surround the area, and there were three moss-covered obelisks that look like mini green Washington Monuments. Once you get outside, there are three huge U.S. flags hanging from the front of the building. It's really quite lovely, but I couldn't really enjoy it because of what it represents and what's happening at the end of the week. I found myself feeling negative and refused to take any photos of the decorations, because I don't want to commemorate this inauguration in any fashion.

Just as these negative thoughts were flowing through my mind, "Isn't She Lovely" started playing through my headphones. What a pick me up! It's such a peppy song and great to walk to. By the time I walked to my office, I was in a great mood! I love the audio of Stevie and his daughter Aisha at the end. It's so sweet.

I think today I'll just listen to Stevie and keep the good mood going. Thanks Stevie! Turned my day right around!

1.16.2017

For the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King!

Today's post was easy to come up with.  Thirty-one years ago, the third Monday of January was declared a Federal Holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  That same year, this song and video came out, and I've been watching it every year ever since.

It first started with me recording the video from a local video show, "Friday Night Videos."  That video was on a VHS tape and I'd pull it out every year to watch.  Eventually, I transferred the video to DVD and watched it that way.  My sister and I lived together for 3 years, and we had the ritual of watching it each year.  Then YouTube came along and made it SO easy!  I love the song, I love the message, I'm glad Dr. King is honored each year.  His words are still as relevant today as they were when he spoke them. 

1.15.2017

In Her Shoes

I've been listening to Jennifer Weiner's book, Hungry Heart on Audible.  After hearing her tell about how her book, In Her Shoes, came to be a movie with Toni Collette, Cameron Diaz, and Shirley MacLaine, I decided to watch the movie again this evening.  It'd been a long time since I'd seen it, and even longer since I read the book, so I only remembered bits and pieces.  Now I can say, it really is a good movie about the strong bond between sisters.  Although Rose and Maggie had a pretty tumultuous relationship, they're ultimately there for each other no matter what.  I can't help but think of my own sister--our relationship wasn't as fraught as Rose and Maggie's, but we did used to fight a lot when we were younger.  In college, we became friends, and now we're the best of friends.  I don't know what I'd do without her.  Watching the movie tonight made me reflect on that, and I'm so grateful that she's my sister.

1.14.2017

A Bronx Tale

My family and I spent Christmas 2016 in New York City and had the opportunity to see A Bronx Tale on Broadway.  I'd seen the movie years ago, and loved it. It starred Robert DeNiro and Chazz Palminteri.  I didn't realize when I'd seen the movie that Chazz wrote it and that it was based on his real life until I read all that info in the Playbill.

A Bronx Tale originated as a one-man show that Chazz did off-Broadway, then the movie came along, and now it's a Broadway musical.  We really enjoyed the show, which is a coming of age story about a kid (Chazz) who struggles between the influences of his blue-collar father, a bus driver, and the richest man in the neighborhood, who's a mobster.  In the movie, Chazz played the mobster, and DeNiro played the father.  The musical was great and is being compared to a mix of The Jersey Boys and West Side Story.  I can see that, because there's a subplot where Chazz falls for a black girl--this was in the 60s and interracial dating wasn't really accepted by either side.

We heard that Chazz was in the audience the night we saw it, but we didn't see him.  Talk about pressure for the actors!  They all did great though.

As an aside, after the show, we made our way over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree.  That was quite the scene, but it's always fun to see.  You just have to have patience.  I know we're long past Christmas, but here are a couple of pics:


Window at Saks Fifth Avenue - dreaming of The Nutcracker


1.13.2017

Throw some perm on your attitude!

When I get a new album that I love, I listen to it over and over and over again, and generally, don't tire of it.  When I like every song, I try to pick out which one is my absolute favorite.  Then I listen to that over and over before moving on to other songs.  The latest album I'm doing all this with is Bruno Mars' 24K Magic.  I LOVE the whole damn album.  (I still call these things albums...even though I haven't touched an album in years.)

I loved the song "24K Magic" when it first came out.  Then when I downloaded the whole album, I decided that "Finesse" was my favorite song.  Now that it's been several weeks, I've decided that for the dance songs, my favorite is "Perm."  You can't go wrong with a lyric like:

Throw some perm on that attitude....
Girl, you gotta relax!  

There are certain parts of this song where I can picture the choreography and type of moves that would go with it.  I found this video that nails it.  Especially at 1:40 when they start pop locking like ReRun from What's Happening.  I just love it.


There's a part around 1:53 where I picture James Brown moving across the floor on one foot.  The video above doesn't capture that, but I see it so clearly in my head.  It looks like this:  https://youtu.be/ZF_rZrH4yBY?t=148.  (I couldn't embed the video and get it to start playing at the right point.)

Of the slower variety, "Too Good To Say Goodbye" tops my list.  This song is fun to lip sync to and I sometimes want to break out into a full lip sync performance as I'm walking to work from the Metro.  


Instead, I sing quietly inside my head.

1.12.2017

Words to live by?

Today's email for the blog challenge suggested selecting a favorite quote and talking about it.  I decided to go ahead and do this one, because I need to get to bed (I'm SO tired!) and it shouldn't take me too long. 

I'm selecting the quote that's on the right side of this blog:
I wish there was a way to know you're in the 'good ole days' before you've actually left them.
 That quote was spoken by Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) on The Office series finale.  I remember when he said it, thinking, that's SO true.  The best example I can think of is childhood.  When I was in high school, I couldn't wait to get out of my town.  There's nothing to do here.  We were always SOOO bored.  But now I long for those days, when I could hang out with my friends at school, talk on the phone with them at night and in the summer, be with them from morning until dark.  We thought we were bored, but we really did have a lot of fun.  I'm so glad we weren't bogged down with technology like kids are today.  We were active, imaginative, and creative, in creating activities for ourselves.  Those *were* the good ole days, but when I was 15, I could only think, "It can only get better."  It's all about perspective.  And nostalgia, I suppose.

1.11.2017

Bittersweet Bright Lights

I just finished watching the HBO documentary, Bitter Sweet,  about Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.  It was interesting, sweet, funny, and of course bittersweet.  Knowing that they each died one day apart makes some of the scenes between them so poignant.  They definitely had a special relationship that shines through.

There's a scene at the end, where family and friends are gathered after Debbie was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Screen Actors Guild.  Carrie asks Debbie if she'd like to get another lifetime achievement award.  Debbie responds that she can't answer because she will have gone on.  Then she says, "You don't get a chance to have a moment like this very often.  Not like any moment...it's its own special moment."  It's a sweet moment with Debbie, Carrie and Carrie's brother Todd. 

There are a lot of laughs in the movie--Carrie was very funny.  Debbie too.  There's a scene where Carrie's working out with a personal trainer in preparation for Star Wars VII.  Carrie's on an elliptical and she muses:  
If you die when you're fat, are you a fat ghost? Or, do you go back to a flattering time?
Hmm.  Good question. 

If you can catch this on HBO, I do recommend it.  It was an interesting glimpse into their lives and relationship and I'm so sorry they're both gone.  Variety's review says it best:  "Watching “Bright Lights,” it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to presume that they’re still together, and always will be, holding up their mirrors of love."

1.10.2017

Thank you, President Obama

I just finished watching President Obama's farewell speech.  I was doing fine until they showed Michelle and Malia, and then Malia wiped away some tears.  That's when my own tears started up.  I'm so glad to have been alive for this presidency, and so proud to have been there when it all began, on that 19-degree morning for his first inauguration.
Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

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Thank you Mr. President.  I wish you and your family all the best.

1.09.2017

The challenge is getting challenging

Ok, this is a quick post because it's time for me to go to bed, but I didn't want to miss posting today.  I'm not sure what to write about, so I'll just go with some random thoughts.

  • Because I had to get to bed early last night, I didn't watch the Golden Globes.  I did, however, hear about Atlanta winning best comedy, and Donald Glover winning best comedy actor, and I felt so pleased. 
  • I didn't meet my reading goal for 2016--I was supposed to read 24 books, but I only got 21.  I've got three separate books going right now, so if I finish those up soon, this year will be off to a good start.
  • Also, if I finish those books up soon, I'll have something to post about here on the blog.
  • The other day, I was with a musician friend of mine and I was telling him how I wish I hadn't given up music (I used to play the flute) and that perhaps I should take up an instrument.  He immediately said I should play the ukelele.  I looked them up online, and you can get one pretty cheaply--I just might do that.  What I really miss, though, is knowing how to read music and the tiny bit of music theory that I used to know.  I'd like to get back into that again.  I haven't made my goals for 2017 yet, but one of them will involve this topic.  I have the bonus advantage in that the friend who suggested the ukelele also teaches it (and other stringed instruments). I just have to find a way to fit his schedule.
  •  I'm in the process of moving--I sold my house and am living with my parents temporarily.  While I'm going through all this house stuff, I've become addicted to HGTV.  Chip and Joanna on Fixer Upper and the Property Brothers are my favorites.  
Like I said, random thoughts.  Good night!

1.08.2017

Mark this momentous occasion on your calendars!

Uh-oh, world.  It's happened again...I downloaded a country song.

I actually had meant to do this a while ago, but I forgot.  Then today, I came across this video of a dad singing Tennessee Whiskey while his daughter records it.  I love this guy's voice and I love the pride you see in his daughter's eyes and smile.



Seeing that video reminded me of the performance on the CMAs last year or the year before with Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake singing Tennessee Whiskey AND Drink You Away. That was a fantastic performance and I meant to download Tennessee Whiskey at that time.


So, today, I finally did it.  I downloaded Chris Stapleton's version of Tennessee Whiskey. Time didn't stop, but I thought it might since it's such a rare occurrence for me to download country music.

THEN, I took it one step further. A while back, I discovered MediaHuman's app, YouTube to MP3, which lets you create MP3 files from YouTube that you can then listen to on your iPod or iPhone.  I downloaded the whole performance too because of course I LOVE the version with Justin taking part.  The only problem with YouTube to MP3 is there's no way that I could see to clip Brad Paisley's introduction at the beginning.  A quick Google search led me to Audio Cutter, which did the trick.

Now I'm all set on country music for a while!


Close enough to January 7

It's 3:30am on what is technically January 8 but since I haven't gone to bed yet, I'm considering this my January 7 post.  It was a busy day and fun (albeit late) night, but I wanted to get something posted to meet the challenge. 

Let's continue with the funny videos. A cousin of mine recently started posting videos from a comedian named Tony Baker.  This one, so far, is my favorite.  I couldn't find a way to just embed the video, so here's a link to it. 


High knees! High knees!

That is all. 

1.06.2017

And now, another George Michael (and Jim Vance)

This video came up today in response to a friend's Facebook post.  I've posted it before, back in 2007, but it's always worth re-posting.  This is my favorite funny video of all time.  I have it bookmarked and it's my go-to when I need or want to laugh, or when anyone else needs a laugh.


By the way, the sportscaster, on the left, is also named George Michael.  This is from my local NBC channel and I remember seeing it live when it happened.  George, sadly, passed away several years ago.  He and Jim used to laugh like this a lot--it was always fun to see them together.

1.05.2017

George Michael

This morning, George Michael's "Praying for Time" was running through my head.  Then, when I got to work, I saw that a friend of mine had posted a link to "Freedom" so I was thinking today's a good day to write a few words about George Michael.  We were in NYC for Christmas when we learned of his passing--I was so shocked and saddened.  I told my family that we'd listen to George on the way back home to Maryland, which we did.   My dad pointed out that he had forgotten how many songs he had.

My sister Debbie and I shared our experience of seeing him in concert a few years ago, where a really nice usher moved us from nosebleed seats down to near the floor.  I'm so glad we had that opportunity--it was a great show.

We also talked about how Debbie first heard "One More Try" during Debbie Thomas' exhibition performance at the 1988 Winter Olympics.  I'd forgotten about that, but enjoyed watching the video this evening.  George sounds so young on the recording. This was the year I graduated high school. Wow.


And then as tends to happen when I watch one thing on YouTube, I started going down the rabbit hole and came across this great video from James Corden.  Who knew that George Michael was part of his first Carpool Karaoke?!


And finally, I've been trying to pick my favorite George Michael song--there's Careless Whisper, Praying for Time, Freedom, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me....but the one I always come back to is Kissing a Fool from the Faith album.  Any time I listen to George and get to this song, I always replay it two or three times in a row before moving to the next song.  (As I type this, I've listened to it three times...) I just love it.  And I loved George Michael.  May he rest in peace.


1.04.2017

Hate is such a negative word, but...

When I was in junior high, my best friend and I would walk to the bus stop playing "I hate ______" and we'd take turns filling in the blank.  On a rainy day, it might be stuff like, "I hate when it rains and all the worms come out," or "I hate when it rains and it stinks," or "I hate when it rains and my umbrella blows up and I can't get it back down."  You get the idea.  We'd do this on the way to school and on the way home.  I know "hate" is so negative, but this game amused us to no end.

Nowadays, I still play this game from time to time (in my head) and I realize a lot of what I hate now has to do with new technology, the internet, and social media.  For example, I hate when someone shares a video on Facebook and it takes you to one of those sites that gives a long description of the video while at the same time raising your expectations of how great the video will be.  Then you watch it, and it's not all that.  This happened to me today when someone shared a video from Shareably.com, a huge offender.  The title was:

Groom steps out onto the dance floor, performs an incredible Michael Jackson-inspired dance

1.03.2017

So much admiration

As I mentioned the other day, I'm participating in a challenge to write one blog post a day for the month of January (Ultimate Blog Challenge).  I should mention that I'm only loosely participating in it--I signed up to receive daily emails and posting once daily, but since I'm really not focused on gaining a larger audience, nor am I selling anything, I'm not following all the rules such as tweeting about my posts, or posting them on Facebook or commenting on others' posts.  

The daily email for Day 3 suggested the topic: Who Do You Admire and Why?  I thought this was a good topic and with only 17 days left of his presidency, I have to say President Barack Obama and his whole family.  I admire how he remained so eloquent and measured and reasoned throughout his term while facing so much opposition.  He's a man of integrity and I greatly admire that.  There's a meme going around talking about how there have been no scandals in his presidency--no affairs, no drunken children, wholesome family, etc.  All of that is to be admired.  I will miss the charm and grace he and his family brought to the office.  It will be all the more missed considering what's coming next, but this is not a political blog and I'll save that for others to write about.

I just wanted to tip my hat to President Obama.  Pete Souza, the official White House photographer, posted a wonderful collection of his favorite photos from 2016.  The ones with kids are my favorites. 


1.02.2017

And the Oscar goes to...

Or, it should go to:

Casey Affleck!


Now granted, Manchester By the Sea is the first movie I've seen in a long time, and I haven't seen any other actors that are being talked about for the big prize, but man, Casey brought it in this movie.  He gives an understated performance that just got to my heart.  Michelle Williams does too, even though she was only in it briefly.  In case you don't know, in this movie, Casey's character is named guardian of his nephew after his brother passes away and for various reasons that reveal themselves, he doesn't really want to do it.  It requires as many hankies as it sounds like it might, but there were also moments that made me smile.  I had a small issue with the ending, but that didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the movie.  It's worth watching just for Casey's great performance.

1.01.2017

One blog a day challenge

Happy New Year everyone!

I'm joining my friend Kerri in doing a challenge to post one blog a day for the month of January.  I told her I have a hard enough time posting once a month, but I'm going to go ahead and give it a try.  I don't know what I'll talk about all month, but I'll see what comes along.

For today's post, I am wondering if anyone has seen the previews for A Monster Calls, and wondered if Groot grew bigger and got himself a new role?

Here's the trailer:


And here's Groot (from Guardians of the Galaxy):