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Posts tagged ‘opinion’

Things I Love For No Good Reason

Although joy is as good a reason as any. 

So I guess what I really mean is things I don’t know why  they bring me such joy.

  • Wind chimes. Not all wind chimes, just certain wind chimes. But if I find a wind chime with just the right sound, it makes me so happy.
  • Cactus plants. I really just like them. A lot. I always want to buy any cactus plant I see. Except the ones with fake flowers glued to them. Or really, I want to buy them too, and take them home and tear off that fake flower.
  • Plants in general. Green plants. Any kind of ivy especially makes me happy.
  • Notebooks. Pads of paper. Any kind of paper bound together.
  • Blue Ink Pens.
  • Desk organizers. Pencil cups and phone stands and in-boxes and all those kinds of things.
  • Books. Although I know why books make me happy.
  • Blankets. I loooove blankets.
  • Scarves. And gloves. That I never remember to wear.

These are things that if I see them I want them. I just have an instant desire to have them and keep them.

And even though I don’t buy them, just seeing them makes me happy.

 

What makes you happy? (Whether or not you know why.)

 

Movie Quote Monday – Saturday Night Fever

I found Saturday Night Fever in the $5 discount bin and thought, “Why not?”

The movie centers around 19-year-old Tony, who’s stagnating in his Brooklyn neighborhood after graduating high school. He’s in a dead-end job and lives at home with parents who are beyond unsupportive. His mother only seems to care about his priest brother, and his father ridicules his successes and goes out of his way to make him feel like nothing. Tony’s surrounded by friends who idolize him, but just like him they’re going nowhere.

His respite comes in the form of dancing on Saturday nights at a disco, 2001 Odyssey, where he’s a local dance hero. That’s where he first sees Stephanie and is captivated by her dancing. He pursues her, but at 21, and seemingly moving up in the world, Stephanie sees herself as ages apart from Tony:

Stephanie:  You work in a paint store, right? You pro’bly live wit’ your family, you hang out wit’ your buddies, and on Saturday night you go and you blow it all off at the 2001. Right?
Tony:  That’s right.
Stephanie:  You’re a cliché. You’re nowhere. On your way to no place.

Stephanie is almost desperate to move to Manhattan, where everything is “beautiful, just beautiful.” I can’t decide if it’s admirable or just heartbreaking the way she’s constantly correcting her own speech, trying to scrub the Brooklyn out of it every time they have a conversation. Her brutal honesty with Tony can be hard to tolerate, and I found myself wondering why he continues to pursue such a caustic woman. Except what he sees in her, whether he knows it or not, is the next level up – something beyond where he is now. And she’s only telling him what he already thinks himself:

 

Tony:  The thing is, the high I get at 2001 is just  dancin’, it’s not, it’s not bein’ the best or nothing like that. The whole thing is that I would like to get that high someplace else in my life, you know.
Stephanie:  Like where?
Tony:  I don’t know where, I don’t know. Someplace. You see, dancin’, it can’t last forever, it’s a short-lived kind of thing. But I’m gettin’ older, you know, an’… You know, I feel like, I feel like, you know… So what? I’m gettin’ older; does that mean like I can’t feel that way about nothing left in my life, you know? Is that it?

I popped in this movie to play in the background one night while I did other things. But almost immediately I couldn’t stop watching. It was just…compelling. I’m not saying I loved this movie. There were parts that I didn’t enjoy and parts that made me super uncomfortable. I just couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Saturday Night Fever came out in 1977, and writer Norman Wexler refused to pull any punches in his script. Watching this in 2015, the foul language is nothing too surprising. However, the cultural slurs were quite jarring, and nothing was left out: racial, ethnic, homophobic, misogynistic, you name it. Wexler wanted the script true to the scene, real and, to use his own word, gritty. Though I didn’t like hearing it, I have to say I agree with him. Because this is the story of a moment in time. A moment in time for a handful of characters, for a family, a community, for a culture, an era, and a social consciousness.

But what makes this story, and other snapshot films like it, so iconic, so compelling? Ultimately I think it’s that many of us have had these moments, these almost frozen moments when we’re asking ourselves what’s next. Where should I go from here? Times in our lives when we know things can’t stay the same; even if we stay right where we are, it won’t feel the same. The moment will have passed us by.

And maybe we live these moments over and over again, of change and choice and uncertainty. 

I guess really what movies like this are asking is, who am I? And more, who do I want to be?

And I think many of us, however old we get, are still – and will always be – asking ourselves that question.

 

Movie Quote Monday – Die Hard

Not everyone considers Die Hard a Christmas movie, but I do.

For one thing, it takes place at a Christmas party. There’s even a tree…that falls over after the roof explodes. But still, Christmas.

And the hero, John McClane writes “Now I have a machine gun, HO HO HO” on a dead guy’s shirt. So Santa! Christmas!

And throughout the film, there’s all kinds of talk about miracles…
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Hans Gruber: It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles, so be of good cheer.

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Ok, so those are the bad guys.

But hey, that’s okay too, because even the bad guys believe in the magic of Christmas!

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Do you think Die Hard is a Christmas movie?

Or are you a die hard Christmas purist – it’s only a Christmas movie if the movie is about Christmas?

Do you believe that Christmas is a time of miracles?

Are you a good guy or a bad guy?

 

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the Infinite Monkey speaks: on body shame

Random brilliance from across the internet…

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If you’re not the weight that you want to be – if you’re fat or if you’re thin, whatever – it doesn’t matter. If you’re embarrassed or ashamed about your body, you don’t have to be. You’ve got to start living now in the body that you have today. And from that, you will gain confidence.

- Whitney Thore

Today Show interview

NoBodyShame.com

A Year in the 80’s – I Want My MTV

When I was about 14, my whole family got together to celebrate my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Music was playing while we decorated the hall, and somehow my cousin and I got to naming the songs as they came on the radio. I guess she’s about 10 years older than me, and she knew a lot of them. But it’s one of those silly memories that has stuck with me, that she was so impressed because I knew every. single. one. Title, artist, album…and most of the words too.

It was only because I stayed up half the nights most weekends watching music videos. First it was Friday Night Videos – remember that? – and then it was all MTV, when it finally came to my neck of the woods.

I was the MTV Generation.

MTV ain’t what it used to be, but then neither am I for that matter. Of course, I don’t guess either one of us would have benefited from staying the same all these years. But I can still keep a place in my heart for those late nights, sitting in the good chair, one leg kicked over the arm, watching 3-minute movies set to music.

Here are some of the videos I remember most, and you might remember too:

The Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star, 1981
This is the first video played on MTV when it debuted at 12:01 am, August 1st 1981.

 

Duran Duran, Hungry Like the Wolf, 1983
Duran Duran probably owes their US success to MTV, which put this video on heavy rotation at a time when the band was not getting radio air play. They became known for their highly stylized music videos and exotic locals, and in 1984 this video won the first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.

 

Wham!, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, 1984
“You put the boom-boom into my heart.” If this song doesn’t take you back to the 80’s I don’t know what will. It’s still catchy – you know you remember most of the words. And neon everywhere!! Love those fingerless gloves there, Michael.

 

The Cars, You Might Think, 1984
This was one of the first music videos to use computer graphics, and maybe that’s why it made an impression on my brain. Even though it seems pretty simple and rudimentary now. It won Video of the Year at the first ever MTV Video Music Awards, and five awards at Billboard’s 1984 Video Music Awards.

 

Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It, 1984
“WHAT is that? A Twisted Sister pin! On your uniform!”

 

A-ha, Take On Me, 1985
I always liked this awesome video, and I’ll probably never forget it exists. Well, maybe some day I’ll forget. Anyway, it was cutting edge at the time, and made this song A-ha’s most successful recording in the US.

 

Dire Straits, Money for Nothing, 1985
Considered ground-breaking at the time, this video was one of the first uses of computer-animated human characters. Ironically, Dire Straits founder/lead singer Mark Knopfler was anti-video and thought that videos “would destroy the purity of songwriters and performers”. But MTV loved the song and wanted a concept video or they wouldn’t play it. Knopfler eventually gave in, and the video went on to win Video of the Year at the third annual MTV Video Music Awards.

 

Robert Palmer, Addicted to Love, 1986
Remember these girls? This video was ranked number 3 on VH1’s Top 20 Videos of the 1980s; pretty memorable video for such a simple concept. Palmer went on to copy the idea in three subsequent music videos as well. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

Michael Jackson, Thriller, 1983
I’m out of order, but sometimes you’ve got to save the best for last. Directed by John Landis, this 13 minute video was MTV’s first “world premier video”. It’s hard to exagerate its influence on the music video industry, not to mention how many times the Thriller dance shows up in movies and television. In 2006, Guinness World Records listed Thriller as the “most successful music video”, with over nine million copies sold. And in 2009, it was the first music video to ever be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Pretty impressive.

 

So that’s just a few of the videos that stick out in my memory.

What about you?

Were you a part of the original MTV Generation?

What was your favorite music video of the 1980’s?

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the Infinite Monkey speaks: the next right step

Random brilliance from across the blogosphere…

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A new day means another chance. Another chance to take the next right step. If I’m being honest, I’ve lived too much of life focusing on the problems at hand, too scared or too full of self-pity to simply do the next right thing. Dreams aren’t realized in a day.

- Jeff R

A New Day