Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Why don't you save us all some time and give up now?"

I had a whole other idea for this week's blog and then my aural and visual senses were first delighted and then assaulted by videos on the Web.

The delight was courtesy of Weird Al Yankovic.  This past week he released eight videos in eight days which made Mandatory Fun the first comedy album to debut in the Number One spot on the Billboard chart since Allan Sherman's My Son, The Nut in 1963.  It's a stunning achievement for a musician; it's monumental for a comedian, especially one who writes song parodies (much like Mr. Sherman).  I have discussed their merits with [the two] friends who've seen them all and for me, there are three standouts.

Pharrell Williams' 24 Hours of Happy ( is the song Happy lip-synched for 24 hours, around the clock, in various parts of Los Angeles by various locals.  I like the song, I like the video.  We have danced to it in one of my tap classes.  I've gotten people to watch at least some of it.  It's a damn catchy song.  Ah, Mr. Yankovic makes it more wonderful.  It's now Tacky and if you wear insanely mismatched clothing and do inconsiderate things and have some really bad manners and are not even mildly ashamed of it, you might be tacky, too.  (I admit that I include myself, y'all.)  Weird Al's version features Eric Stonestreet, Aisha Tyler, and Jack Black, to name just three, and is done all in one take.

GRAMMAR!  People have forgotten it exists.  Do schools even teach it?  Do people pay attention to it?  I try to pay attention and Weird Al definitely does.

As someone who blogged about sports for quite a while (and still does on occasion), Weird Al's Sports Song pleases me very much.  Unlike most of Weird Al's oeuvre, it's an original song.  I have probably watched Sports Song ten times.  It's smart and fun and all you have to know when you watch it is the mantra of sports fans everywhere:  We're great; you suck.

And now the assault:  Out of Berlin, Germany, has come a most WTF?, hipster-cool, keep-you-up-at-night piece of internet-only supermarket advertising.  It's from the German grocer, EDEKA, and it's called "Supergeil" (which I gather from a NY Times article is lightly obscene and translates to supercool).  Seriously:  what the fuck?  The moment at 1:33 is one of the top weird things I've come across all year long.  (No, I don't think Weird Al Yankovic is weird.  Weird Al is awesome.)

If you're interested and you've not read your ten articles this month, here's the link to the New York Times article:

You Tube offers a selection of the 30-second EDEKA TV spots featuring the same actor.  Below is a random pick.  Enjoy at your own peril!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It smells like what, now? Part 2

I have a dear friend who is very well employed and sent all over the place by her company.  She is well thought of in her industry and is a terrific person for any employer to have in their corner.  She is also a great friend and we like hanging out, shopping, seeing a movie, splitting a meal (because she has a small appetite, I don't need to eat so huge, so we've been splitting things for years).  Today we made Woodfield Mall happy.

Yes, yes, there was shopping and things were purchased.  The Apple Store got to see us to do a repair on my friend's phone.  We split what we like to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.  We ducked in Brighton so my friend could send things in for repair (so reasonable that I can see why they are the Church of Accessories for some -- they back up the goods and don't gouge for watch battery replacements).  It was a very nice time.

And then we went to Victoria's Secret.

There is not a single article of clothing in VS that is for me.  My top is too ample and my bottom likes Jockey cotton.  My friend has none of these issues.  She selected some items and was waiting in line to pay and I said I would browse the fragrances.  I smelled one that was too sweet.  I smelled another that was too sweet.  A third wasn't terrible but a little too sweet.  And then I caught sight of the names.  My eyes became wide.  A huge grin planted itself on my face.  I dug in my handbag for paper and pen.  The jotting began.

These are the fragrance names (in no order at all):

Body by Victoria
Love is Heavenly
Eau So Sexy
Very Sexy
Very Sexy Now
Sexy Little Things Noir
Sexy Little Things Noir Tease
Bombshells in Bloom
Dark Orchid No. 1 SEDUCTION
Angels Only
Angel Gold
Angels in Love
Angels Forever
So In Love
Basic Instinct
Love Spell

Holy mother.  That's a whole lot of positive energy directed at wanting to feel glamorous, desirable, wanton,  luscious, and in demand.  Aside from the fact that I didn't like any of the actual scents, I don't think those names apply to anything I have going on in my life at present.

I thought long and hard about more suitable names for my current life situation and these are a few of the fragrances I will be launching under the Oh, I Think So umbrella:

Took a Shower This Morning NEUTRAL
I Can't Seem to Give It Away
Maybe But Probably Not
Does My Head Feel Hot?

 [A scent that Oh, I Think So will never ever launch:  Regret.  Regret is for chumps.  Make a decision and live with it, I say.  (Regret would smell like old socks, bile, and the massage tent after a marathon.  See?  I can't do regret.)]

The next time you're cruising around Bath and Body Works or Victoria's Secret or even Nordstrom and you're bedazzled by all the clever names, think about the scents of your life.  What would they be?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

They're called Great for a reason

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, near many of the Great Lakes.  There are five Great Lakes and some are less great than others but all are certainly impressive and large and vital to life in these United States and certainly on Planet Earth for our lifetimes and those of our children and their children, etc.

At the end of the last glacial period, 10,000 years ago, the Great Lakes Basin was formed when retreating ice sheets carved basins in the land that filled with meltwater.  

The Great Lakes are made up of Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.  You can also think of it this way:

The Chicago River and the Calumet River (thanks to manmade alterations) connect to the Illinois River which then connects the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes Basin.

The St. Marys River (home of the Soo Locks) connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron.

The Straits of Mackinac (just five miles wide) connects Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

The St. Clair River connects Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair (which might be considered a lesser Great Lake).

The Detroit River connects Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie.

The Niagara River, including Niagara Falls and the Niagara Escarpment, connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  (The Welland Canal bypasses the Niagara River and the Falls and also connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.)

The St. Lawrence River connects Lake Ontario to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which connects to the Atlantic Ocean.

Sounds complex?  Here's a map.

Image courtesy of the Internet
Lake Superior is the largest continental lake in the world.  Together the five lakes form 21% of the world's surface freshwater and 54% of the world's liquid fresh water by volume.  In other words, while aquifers in the south and west are running dry, the Great Lakes sit with more than half of all the non-ice water in the world right there.  

I like to think of it this way:  when the Zombie Apocalypse or the Great Drought or the Weirdness from Another Planet arrives and people are thirsty and just want to be around some nice fresh water, they will slowly make their way back to Michigan or Eastern  and Northern Wisconsin or Northern Ohio or Northern Minnesota or Western New York (and a little bit of Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania) because if you don't have water, you'll die.  The Great Lakes will make that post-apocalyptic scenario a little less unpleasant.  The infrastructure from days of glory are watiting to be revived.  And Niagara Falls will certainly make the Weirdness from Another Planet say "Holy shit, will you look at that?"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It smells like what, now?

This morning there was breakfast in a restaurant!  It's been months since I've gone to breakfast in a restaurant with my nearby family members and it was very nice to do it again.

On the way over to the restaurant, my brother-in-law mentioned a college jazz radio station they'd heard when they were in St. Louis the day before.  He and my sister said it was way better than the college jazz radio stations in Chicago and as an example they said they heard a trio called The Bad Plus play Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  They said it was great.  After breakfast (and a side trip to Jewel, Costco, and Nordstrom), I came home and found Minneapolis-based The Bad Plus' cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and I was plenty intrigued.  Who else has had their way with it?  It took another five seconds of looking to find plenty of artists who've covered Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  I've chosen five for you to listen to/watch and enjoy (or not - maybe you're a purist and only Kurt Cobain and Nirvana will do).  It's a diverse group -- Tori Amos, Robert Glasper,  2Cellos, Paul Anka, and The Bad Plus -- and for comparison and reference, Nirvana, just in case the 90s were a total blur for you.

First up, Tori Amos:

Next, Robert Glasper from a series called 1 Mike 1 Take (courtesy of Blue Note Records):

Here's 2Cellos:

Paul Anka?  Really?  The man can swing:

The highly-recommended The Bad Plus (videotaped at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago):

Nirvana, y'all:

Who did it for you?