Sunday, January 26, 2014

And why should I care?

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards is a big ass show that features hugely rich and/or popular musicians.  It's tonight on CBS and today I've been wondering why the hell I should care.  The results, just like the results of the Golden Globes or the American Music Awards or even The Voice or Dancing With the Stars having exactly zero bearing on how I will live my life or what will happen to me tomorrow.  The Grammy nominees have worked very hard in their jobs of bringing their music to the masses to enrich the lives of the masses, get fans who will continue to look for that music, and keep them from having to teach music or work in machine shops or be dance teachers or travel agents or administrative assistants.  Their hard work and perserverance has paid off and their record companies probably appreciate it.  (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis produced and distributed their own album which shows that it can be done if you're talented and one of you is a marketing genius.)  Now they reward their own.  And why the hell should I care?

I guess it's like the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup finals or the Oscars.  There isn't a reason in the world that I should care but I kind of do.  I look forward to seeing what tricks are up the sleeves of the producers.  I want to see Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney sing together.  I like Pink, Pharrell Williams, the aforementioned Messrs. Macklemore and Lewis, Daft Punk, and Bruno Mars.   I like them so much that I actually acquired their CDs -- buying one with my own money and not getting it as a gift or from the library.  Justin Timberlake and Tony Bennett are some kind of wonderful.  The notion of 82 categories boggles my mind.  We've been whipped into a frenzy by the media and anticipation is high and I'm as frothed as the next person who also seems to care.  To paraphrase Samuel Beckett, I refuse to care; I do care.

So today I pay homage to just one of the nominated categories, in this case Song of the Year.  I feature Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and "Same Love."  Love is love, y'all.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Thanks, NY Times and Pharrell Williams

I am a huge fan of the New York Times.  For the past two years I've managed to be vigilant enough to be just ahead of losing my fifty-percent-off subscription price and renewing at the discounted price.  Sometimes it goes for three months, sometimes four, but the most recent renewal lasts six months.  I can almost relax -- but not really because then I might forget.  I have stickies on my calendar at work.  This particular calendar -- I use three separate ones at work -- shows paydays, birthdays of peripheral work friends, my vacation days, and when the NY Times expires.  (Calendar two is just a calendar that shows the whole year; calendar three is my social, medical, and serious birthday calendar.)

On December 25, 2012, the New York Times wrote an article about Pharrell Williams and the video of his song, "Happy."  If you've not read your 10 free NY Times articles this month, you might enjoy it:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/arts/music/round-the-clock-giddiness-in-a-24-hour-music-video.html?smid=pl-share

Pharrell Williams has made a video of his song, "Happy."  It's 24 hours long.  It has Pharrell himself singing the song on the hour -- yes, that is 24 times -- but the rest of the clock is filled with people lip-synching and dancing or just walking and grooving along with the song in various Los Angeles locations around the clock.   Check it out:
http://www.24hoursofhappy.com

Pharrell Williams had a very good 2013.  He wrote "Happy" for the Disney blockbuster, "Despicable Me 2," and the song was nominated for an Oscar (as was the movie).  He sang on the Robin Thicke megahit, "Blurred Lines."  (Yes, the video totally objectifies women; yes, there is that whole lawsuit unpleasantness; it's still a great dancing song.)  He was a guest coach on "The Voice."  He sang on the Daft Punk disco homage album, "Random Access Memories," including the major hit, "Get Lucky."  (Pharrell wears suit and tie on the video and looks very fine.)  Pharrell Williams made a 24-hour-long video of "Happy" which can't be played on any smartphone.  (I just got a smartphone and was pleased that it wouldn't let me watch it; a smartphone isn't enough of a venue for "24 Hours of Happy.")

Here in the Midwest it's cold and terrible.  In my town we're already 40 inches over the average snowfall.  Tuesday it won't be getting over 9 degrees.  Maybe "24 Hours of Happy" will give you a warm feeling.  If that doesn't work, try subscribing to the New York Times.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Post-Polar Vortex Break

The Mid-January thaw calls for the Mid-January break!

No pix, no vids, no nothing.  It's 38ยบ and spring's a definite possibility in the next three months.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My very own reality TV show

Except for the little I've seen about it on TV shows or read in some news piece or other, I know nothing of "Duck Dynasty."  I don't have cable; I'm not getting cable; I will never have cable.  Here is what I think I know:  four guys make duck calls for a living; they are married to really very attractive women; it all seems quite the hoax as the wives don't seem the types to be attracted to the sorts of men they present themselves to be.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of having a late breakfast with my friend, Mike.  We've known each other a long while; we were coworkers who clicked and we became friends outside of work.  He's moved on to another job in the same company but we're still good friends.

Mike explained to me about "Duck Dynasty" and the recent media kerfuffle about what one of the elder ducks said causing some controversy in the media.  Mike is of the opinion that it was all calculated and timed to happen at Christmas when people are buying things including "Duck Dynasty" tie-in merchandise and also right before the start of their new season.  It numbs the mind and his opinion makes good sense.

I have decided that some network or other should have a reality TV show based on Mike and me.  It would go something like this:

Announcer's voice:  It's 4:31 a.m. on the northwest side of Chicago, but Lena's alarm clock says 4:40 a.m. when it goes off.  She hits snooze and then hits snooze another five times before she gets out of bed.  She turns on the TV and stumbles to the bathroom, where she relieves herself and takes her thyroid medication and then sets the timer for 30 minutes.  She can eat when it rings.  She turns on the shower to get the water warm.  While the water heats up, she checks her emails.  This announcer wishes she might start wearing something other than just a t-shirt to bed. 

Meanwhile, on the far north side, Mike's asleep with his partner, Sean.  (Show a dark bedroom with two figures under the covers.)

Back on the northwest side, Lena has showered and washed her hair.  She is applying men's-strength Minoxidil to her scalp, followed by Moroccan Oil to her hair.  She uses a wide-toothed comb to style it.  She puts on eye cream and some face cream, then a pinky-yellow hued eye pencil which she says makes her eyes pop, followed by mascara.  She finishes by putting on her glasses.

On the far north side, the two sleeping figures continue sleeping.

Lena walks back into the bedroom of her northwest side apartment and gets dressed.  She laid out her clothes the night before and doesn't rethink her choice of black pants, a black shirt, and black shoes.  Yesterday she wore a similar outfit.

Lena:  And it will be the same thing tomorrow.

Announcer:  Meanwhile, the two sleeping figures continue sleeping in their bed on the far north side.  One seems to snore; the other is not disturbed by it.

After breakfast of instant low-sugar maple-and-brown-sugar oatmeal with 2% milk, banana slices, and walnuts, Lena dries her hair and gathers the lunch she made the night before and then leaves, double locking her front door.  She walks three blocks to the catch the same bus she catches every day, run F463 of the 56 bus. 

The two sleeping people don't have to wake up until 7 a.m.  Lena will be almost to work by then.  We are not able to go into her job with her as she's still not gotten us a building pass.

Lena:  It's a secure place.  I don't want to gum it up.  See you at lunchtime.

Announcer:  At luncthime, she decides to eat in the office lunchroom with the coworker she's taken to calling her work Boo.  We are left waiting in the building food court and are questioned by building security, the Chicago Police, Homeland Security, three homeless gentlemen, and suburban visitors to the city wanting to know what famous person we're there to tape.  Between us we decide this is the worst assignment we've ever had.

Over by the Chicago River, Mike is answering phones and taking reservations.  His office is cramped and sunless yet overlit with fluorescent bulbs.  We decide to ask about his friend's office.

Mike:  It's pretty nice over there.  Fast elevators.  The layout of that office is well thought out.  There's a northbound view that will never be obstructed.  It's just the skeeviest building you'll ever come across.

Announcer:  When we ask why, Mike's gaze gets distant and tears seems to form in his eyes.

Mike:  No reason.

Announcer:  Mike quickly picks up the phone and calls an airline.

Yes, it's probably as dull as you think but if they want to toss many dollars at Mike and me, we can jazz up our lives so they're as interesting as people seem to think "Duck Dynasty" is.  Mike's working on a beard that rivals anything those Ducks are offering and if I give up visiting a Benefit Brow Bar, I have will some reality TV eyebrows going in no time.  We're perfectly able to make people love or hate us but I suspect they'd love Mike and hate me (which is right because he's a very lovable person and I make a concerted effort to be me).  For the right amount of money, I'm down with that.

Interested producers:  Send me an email!