Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
"Why did he make a 20-minute video?" she asked.
"Because he could."
It was as if Michael Jackson was constantly asking, "Why can't I?" And most of the time, we shrugged and said, "I dunno..." so he went on and did whatever ticked through his brain--no matter how glorious, no matter how weird, no matter how fantastic or seemingly awful. He did what he did in life because he could. He operated outside of many (some would say "most") confines of society, and that obliviousness allowed for the creation of some of the greatest art of our time. That same question, "Why can't I?" was used to answer for a lot of other things with which many of us we were far less comfortable.
Over the course of the coming weeks and months, we are all going to learn a lot about Michael Jackson. We will hear the details of how a young boy with an extraordinary gift made an excruciatingly difficult journey, surrounded by a lot really unsavory characters and a lot of people who dearly loved him and worried about him, but could never really get near him.
Imagine being 11 years old and being a breadwinner for your household, and we're not talking about "bread" in the sense of Bread and Water, we're talking about serious money, serious success--enough to take you and your entire family, and all kinds of other hangers-on, out of poverty and into a life they could have only dreamed of before you came along. Imagine THAT being your implied "job"--help the family, help the record company, help so-and-so, because somebody asked you to. Even the biggest human heart is still only human. While he was a seemingly bottomless well of talent and giving, he was still just a person. Forty years of intense pressure. If you think about it, it is almost surprising that he didn't die even younger. Age 50 is a testament to sheer force of will. Incredible.
I refer to the death of Michael Jackson as a culmination of an American tragedy because of all of the things you and I could take for granted as kids growing up in this country. Society dictates that Kids are Kids, and kids should be celebrated in a sense, and also that children are a great responsibility. What kind of person are you, the parent, unleashing onto society? Is this person going to be a "good" person, or are they going to do harm? Is there a balance between celebrating their childlike enjoyment and teaching them the hard lessons?
Those of us who are "balanced", with parents that put us in music classes but also insist that we get good grades and stay out of trouble, for example, end up being doctors, lawyers, etc. But even those who end up putting in the focus required to make art for a living don't have a life nearly as off-kilter as that of Michael Jackson. It was a part of the reason why his talent became so incredible. It was also the reason why, as a human being, he had hardly any idea of how to function. To measure him against any society norms is impossible. Whether he was doing amazing things or "weird" or "bad" things--I don't think he knew the difference.
It's tough right now, and we're feeling a lot of things--sadness, to the joy of being able to share what Michael Jackson offered artistically, classic White People Guilt. Frankly, I think most of us failed this man--We weren't nearly as unconditional in receiving as he was in giving. Some of us are admitting to it, and some of us are not. The good and the bad characters will reveal themselves in the coming months--I just hope that the whole story is finally told.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
- My children are healthy, intelligent, challenging, and may have quite literally saved my life, just by being born. They give me focus and purpose, pride and absolute amazement, every single day. And they're gorgeous.
- I have a car that is not making any weird noises, runs great, doesn't have any ominous dashboard lights currently lit, has room for me and everybody who wants or needs a ride somewhere, has a killer stereo, and the AC works like a dynamo.
- I have the ability to honor all of the agreements that I make, including paying all of my bills.
- I have the ability to find amusement in the fact that one of my co-workers wrote a letter to a police department, accidentally addressed it "(blank) County Lawn Enforcement" and MAILED IT THAT WAY, alone with many, many other delightful and harmless boo-boo's that happen at the hands of myself and others, every day. Even when they are damned embarrassing...
- I have the ability to write and read, which will bring me infinite joy and satisfaction for the rest of my life.
- I have an amazing group of friends, who do all kinds of nice things for me all the time, for no other reason than because they want to.
- I am free from crippling mental or physical ailment.
- I can hear the birds singing!
- The world is FULL of amazing, creative, witty and intelligent souls who make stuff!
- I work in a beautiful, air conditioned building.
- There is always a good story to tell.
- We have the ability to instantly communicate with each other.
- I can make weird, random lists and call it "writing".
- Somebody invented Pandora.
- I have a closet stuffed full of great clothes that are all clean and fit me.
- Coffee is readily available.
- I mentally sing the alphabet song while filing.
- Ever since I moved to Minneapolis, I have been losing weight.
- Nick Cobbing's ice pictures actually make me forget it is hot outside.
- I'm a lot more than what people think I am, and surprising them is not only very satisfying, but also wickedly fun.
- Playing Monkey-Ball on Game Cube with Punky. (yes, we still have a Game Cube!)
- I don't have to wear thick glasses or contacts any more.
- Everything in life comes in heaps and gobs.
- Every time I date stamp something today, I am reminded that it is my birthday, bitches!
- It's perfectly acceptable for me to pretend I don't have grey hair and wipe it out with cool hair colors--it's even acceptable for me to pretend any one of those cool colors is my "real" hair color, which I haven't actually seen in years.
- Most of the time, I get what I want.
- I have the ability to see past what people say, and get to what they actually mean.
- I still get hungry.
- I have access to lots of things that more than satisfy my hunger.
- There are people out there who's observations of the world completely humble me.
- Cute Boys. Cute boys who stare at you across a room full of people. Cute boys who keep an eye on you and pretend like they're not. Sneaky.
- Sunshine. Sunglasses.
- I can get on the internet from my phone. (one of those things I will never take for granted...)
- Diet Peach Iced Tea is also readily available.
- People who know things about me that I don't want the whole world to know, and they don't judge.
- Those little works of art called "shoes".
- Somebody is making music somewhere, right now.
- Someone is making pizza somewhere, right now.
- There is little or nothing that ever gets thrown my way that I can't handle.
- I am inspired, and also inspiring.
- Food! Glorious Food! Starting with the tequila-lime chicken I had for lunch, and the chocolate chip cookie that I had for dessert.
- I spend so little money on gambling that when somebody gave me scratch tickets for my birthday, after I scratched them, I had to ask if I won anything.
- I have a much better perspective about what I want today than I have at any other time in my life.
- I have friends I can call when I'm pissed, sad, mopey, weepy, or feeling generally bad.
- My friends know that they can call me for the same reasons.
- I have the ability to change my mind about more than just clothes and food. I can actually change my brain, and turn a lame day into a great day.
- As long as this list is, it is just the tip of the ice berg
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
- I don't like the word "meeting". I was walking in to the office today when ran into one of my co-workers in the hall. I greeted her, and she responded by saying the word "meeting". My immediate (mental) response was "Meeting? What meeting? Why do we have so many f*cking meetings?" Turns out I didn't have a meeting, she was just telling me that she was on her way to a meeting. As many meetings as I have, she has more. Very, very few truly productive meetings ever take place. I am waiting for the day when Corporate America finally realizes this and just lets people do their work....which we currently don't have time to finish because we're trapped in meetings all day.
- The sum-sum-summertime has me all screwed up. Apparently I'm really, really good at making sure that everybody else in the household is where they need to be, on time. When they don't need to be anywhere, because they have no school, I lay in bed way too long in the morning, hit the snooze a dozen times, and finally get up at the last possible second that would allow me enough time to get ready and leave. And the "get ready" portion of the program varies depending on how long I've waited to get up: Fix my hair? Or, just put some goop in it and joosh it around a little? Eat something? Or, tell myself I'll pick up a breakfast sandwich somewhere? Iron that shirt? Or, wonder if I can get away with it? Pack a lunch? Or, hope that there are quesadillas on the menu at the cafeteria? Make coffee? Or, .....well, I think we covered that yesterday. Of course, each time I hit the snooze, one of the "get ready" items falls by the wayside. By the end of the summer, people at the office are going to start assuming that Wrinkled, Rumpled and Bleary-Eyed is my latest fashion statement. Having said all of that, I feel much better having caught this behavior early on. I'm not known for my stringent self-discipline, but now would be a good time to work on that...either that, or put my teenagers back in daycare, so they have to be somewhere in the morning, too.
- Filing is the dumbest thing, ever, in the history of mankind. And I'm not talking about putting something somewhere where you can find it, because you actually USE it, I'm talking about paper that you don't need, but are required to keep, just in case you have to cover your ass sometime in the future. I'm not a big fan of saving ANYTHING for a "just in case I need it" purpose. Ah, but I work for an insurance company. We save copies of everything. Kind of funny actually, because everytime I call MY insurance company regarding a particular piece of paper, they usually claim they don't have it, but I know that's not true--trust me, they made six copies of it the minute it arrived. More likely, somebody thought it should be filed, didn't feel like filing it, and it's sitting in a box somewhere...just like MY filing. Because filing is dumb. Dumbest thing, ever.
- The universe has an incredible sense of humor, as evidenced by the fact that I have John Mayer's "No Such Thing" stuck in my head. And I don't like filing. Or being on time. Or going to meetings.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I am not one of those people. Oh, I can go a few hours in the morning, and I probably won't kill anybody, but after a while, the fact that I don't feel like myself will lead me to be, uh, not myself.
So today....got up late, just enough time to bathe and leave. No coffee. I stopped at a store on the way into work, but didn't fill my travel mug because I figured that I was only a couple of minutes away from The Land of Flowing Caribou, and I would be just fine until I got to the office.
Then, when I got to the office, I walked straight up to the Caffeine Trough on our floor, only to find that the caffeinated was all out, so, someone would have to make some more.
I made more.
Before it was even close to done brewing, I grabbed a half-cup, just to stave off the twitching, and ran back to my desk with every intention of returning within 10 minutes for a refill.
I returned a half hour later to discover a major malfunction--no caffeine, because all the "good" coffee was already all gone (!!!!) and when someone tried to brew another pot, all of a sudden, the coffee pot stopped working! Meanwhile, the decaf ("bad" coffee) pot was over-flowing all over the place, for reasons unknown. And the flavored coffee, which not too many people like, but hey, it's caffeine in a pinch, was all gone, because nobody wanted to wait around for the building facility people to fix the disaster that could one day come to be known as the June Massacre.
Which brings us to 9:30 on a Wednesday morning, in which I have had only a half-cup of caffeine. I'm surprised I can actually type.
Off in search of provisions...send help...
***And as most of you may have noticed, it is actually Tuesday, not Wednesday, so that should give you some idea of where my head is at...
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
OK, I actually had a couple of more thoughts, but they all sort of circled around the "whaaa?" thing.
I don't know about you guys, but when I think of this band, I don't necessarily think of quiet summer evenings, seated in an amphitheatre. Or a 10:30 curfew.
So, I'm kinda glad this is moving...and to my friend Mellie Mel, don't worry, you will see them before you die. :-)
The Minnesota Zoo pisses off Chrissie Hynde
By Andrea Swensson in Upcoming Shows
Wednesday, Jun. 10 2009 @ 2:57PM
The Pretenders concert, which is also slated to feature openers Cat Power and Juliette Lewis, is being moved to another venue after frontwoman Chrissie Hynde wrote a critical letter to zoo officials. Hynde was upset over the way the zoo handles its Family Farm exhibit.
"How can a zoo invite children to touch and play with and express joy over animals for their uniqueness, only to turn around and sell those very animals to slaughter?" Hynde wrote in a letter to zoo director Lee Ehmke. The zoo says that they have always been very open about the process that they follow in the exhibit, which includes graphics portraying the processing of animals. "Goats, sheep, calves and pigs from the exhibit are sold at livestock auctions at the end of each summer season, just as they would be on a regular farm," the Star Tribune writes.
The band was originally slated to play the zoo's Weesner Amphitheater on August 13. According to the Star Tribune, concert promoter Sue McLean is searching for an alternative venue, possibly the Orpheum Theatre.
McLean says that Hynde's disapproval of the zoo's practices is only one aspect of their decision to move the show. Other reasons for the shift included "high ticket demand, the size of the show -- two warm-up acts are also on the ticket -- and the zoo's 10:30 p.m. curfew."
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
But my favorite one was the pamphlet regarding "The (Jesus People) Manner of Dress".
Before I continue, let me just say that I'm a fairly conservative dresser and probably no Jesus People would have any issues with my clothing, except for maybe that one black knit skirt that I wear with The Sweater, and the ridiculously-fab, shiny high heels. It's the outfit that makes men spill sh*t on themselves when I walk by--but honestly, it's not a lot of skin showing, and I can't help it if some men have truly delightful imaginations. That ensemble would pass for appropriate business attire in any corporate office in America...let 'em spill. It's not like I'm using that attention to get ahead (much), it's just that sometimes, in between working my ass off from dawn til dusk, it's nice to have a bit of attention based on something other than how my brain operates.
Then again...as conservative as my clothing is, I have a lot of outfits that draw that same kind of attention. I'm not bad, I was just drawn this way. Most women have the exact same problem--no matter what they wear, there's always someone that wants to rip it off of them.
The Jesus People say that "suggestive attire draws attention to the human form and promotes lustful thoughts and desires."
Welcome to Sales...
...without lustful thought or desire, nobody would ever buy anything. And all the fine, fine Jesus People, along with their sinful counterparts, would be out of work. Then the real fun would begin.
And please allow me to draw attention AWAY from the bikini babes in the beer commercials--those not-so-subtle messages are for the stupid people. Lets talk about the REAL sales jobs that go on all day, every day, in every situation you encounter in your life, and how the only way to 'win' at selling your thing, your thought, your idea, your ideology, your product, is to dress it up better than the other guy--not necessarily by showing a lot of skin, but by introducing WANT and DESIRE into a place where previously there was none.
And let me further mention that without WANT and DESIRE, this species would have died out a long time ago. I mean, really...even if your whole thing is "No sex until marriage" (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that), what is it that compels you to marry someone in the first place? DESIRE.
The person you ended up marrying somehow did a better job of selling themselves than all the other schmohs who applied for the job. They were more desirable. Bigger, stronger, faster, smarter...whatever. Or maybe they weren't bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, but somehow managed to convince you that they were, with an elaborate series of sales pitches. No matter...since the dawn of humanity, that's how it has been done.
The only sales tool used as often as Want or Desire is Fear. Fear, the most insidious evil of all. Fear, the tool most often used by The Jesus People--used to convince you that you can't handle yourself (literally or figuratively) without something really, really bad happening.
Changing gears, just slightly...I've seen plenty of women out there, not at the office, necessarily, but, say, at a concert, or on Halloween night or something, tramping it up for the attention, and, I have to ask "Why?" Considering that I'm just a normal-looking woman who doesn't do that and I've gotten plenty of attention and a half-dozen marriage proposals, even without having ever owned a leather mini-skirt or thigh-high boots, I must say that I just don't get it. I'm sure that the trampy women are the ones to whom the Jesus People are speaking. I wish they would stop trying to convert them. The chick with half her ass hanging out makes the rest of us look really, REALLY good to the decent guys, and I'd like to keep her around to draw the creeps away from me. Seriously, if you're out and you see someone dressed like that, it's sooooo much simpler to determine which men to avoid--they would be the ones that are hovering around the trampy chick. Please, Jesus People, please! Do not take away this valuable community service!
Of course, that does create the added problem of stupid people mating....hmmm...
Then again, without a vast audience of insecure people, who would the Jesus People have left to talk to?
**"Jesus People"--those who might determine that you are somehow less of a good person than they are because you don't happen to practice or believe in their incredibly specific, yet constantly changing ideology. They are recognized by the way they pick and choose what is "good" and what is "bad", and how their definition of "good" and "bad" changes based on what their leaders can get away with. Most true "Jesus People" don't care if you are happy or not, they just have some kind of ego wrapped up into getting as many people to join their club as possible. Their sales methods often border on evil, and as such, they are often mistaken for regular narcissists, who also don't give a shit about you...
Monday, June 8, 2009
- If you're smiling right now, you're doing something right.
- It's not so much what you say that counts, it' how you make people feel.
- The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you're scared to make a mistake.
- No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win.
- Freedom is the greatest gift. Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.
- If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don't stop. You're on to something big. Because hard work ain't hard when you concentrate on your passions.
- It's not about getting a chance, it's about taking a chance. You'll rarely be 100% sure it will work. But you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won't work. Sometimes you just have to go for it!
- Complaining is like slapping yourself for slapping yourself. It doesn't solve the problem, it just hurts you more.
- The one with nothing to hide is always the one left standing tall.
- You can press forward long after you can't. It's just a matter of wanting it bad enough.
- There's a big difference between knowing and doing. Knowledge is basically useless without action.
- In work and business, when they need you more than you need them, you have succeeded.
- Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad. It just depends on your perspective.
- We are all weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we call it love.
- True friendship and true love do sustain the tests of distance and time.
- You can't change who you are. You can only change what you know and how you apply this knowledge.
- It is okay to be angry. It is never okay to be cruel.
- Even when you feel like you have nothing, someone else likely has far less. Find them and help them. You'll see why.
- Having a thousand credentials on the wall will not make you a decent human being. But genuinely helping one person everyday will.
- Remember, change happens for a reason. Roll with it. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
- I was in an "online chat" with one of those automated "online chat" customer service machine thingy's this morning. I would have called an actual person (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA--oh, sorry...I'm sure that somewhere, within that company, an "actual person" speaks to customers...I wasn't implying....oh, fuck it, yes I was...), but when I called them, it was "all lines are busy". Wow....a major company that doesn't answer it's phone...must not be a lot of competition if they think they don't have to talk to people. BUT ANYWAY...on the "chat" with the computer, long periods of NO conversation took place while "Analyst is typing" appeared right above the dialogue box. The analyst is a very, very, very, very, very sloooooooow typer. Also, because the analyst is a machine, and I am what you might call a "conversational" writer, I was all, "Hey, can you get me an itemized list of that charge on my bill?" but I think the machine interpreted that to mean "Go to a high bridge and jump off." I momentarily entertained the idea of messing with the machine by continually typing "RedRum!", but, on the off chance that "Rosario" was an actual person, I refrained.
- OH! There is a new Elvis Costello album out! Woooooo-Hooooooo! It's super-good...If you're reading on blogspot, see the linky-doo on the right side of the page to listen to bits of it. For the rest of you, go here for Secret, Profane and Sugarcane.
- Last night, I was actually watching paint dry. Woooooo-Hoooooo! Paint drying! Um, yeah, sorry...but anyway! When I moved into my apartment, I bought a gallon of high gloss paint in a color called Bitter Chocolate. It is the darkest, richest, brown paint in the history of brown paint. Damn, I love Behr. As I buy things or find things for the apartment, a lot of them are getting painted Bitter Chocolate. The 20 dollar unfinished dressers from Ikea? Bitter Chocolate. Kitchen Shelves? Bitter Chocolate. Curtain Rods? Bitter Chocolate. Wooden tray that I bought 20 years ago? Bitter Chocolate. Baby blue bookcase found at a Junior High School building auction? Yeah--that ugly thing was the first to be transformed. I really, REALLY love the unified look of things--it's freaking Gorgeous, OK? Very calm, very zen...Plus, I got my curtains up--kind of a natural-colored linen tab curtain, also from Ikea, and they are fabulous. I got a couple of paintings up (including "perros con sombreros"--oh, the whimsy...!) and it's starting to look like a really cool place. I LOVE my apartment. LOVE it!
- If you're looking for a little light reading, check out "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music". OK, maybe it's not "light" like you are thinking "light". Maybe the handsome heroes in the book are actually some of the so-called "bad guys". Maybe there are no "romantic" sex scenes like you might find in your other summer beach-reading materials. So what? How could you possibly resist that title?
- I'm thinking I might eat nothing but chicken burritos and watermelon for the duration of the summer. Just sounds good for some reason.
- OK, I might throw in an occasional hunk of beef, but not a burger--gotta be prime rib or a steak or something...girl needs her protein you know.
- Please, no dirty jokes about "girl needs her protein". Thank you.
- Wait, wait...I happen to know that a couple of you, at this very moment, are doing the "Girl needs her protein" nudge-nudge thing while you sit in your comfy chairs with your filthy minds. Let me just take this opportunity to say one thing: OhMyGawd I love you sick fuckers...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
No, that's not Reason #22.
The concert was of the "pops" variety, where instead of requiring the discipline of traditional choral arrangements, they let those whacky kids play around with popular music.
16 songs into it, there was an intermission.
Let me say that again. SIXTEEN songs into it, there was an intermission. Sixteen songs was about half.
I'm not entirely sure about this, but I believe that you can go to see the Rolling Stones and not expect 30 songs....so it would seem that for some reason, the choirs around here just like to show off. I mean, the Rolling Stones can play their whole damn library in one shot if they want to and nobody's going to bitch--they're the Rolling Stones. They've earned it.
There were some truly delightful highlights. And there was some dumb stuff. Think Glee Club Corny. It's a high school pops concert, what-are-ya-gonna-do?
The 16th song, the last one before the intermission, was 'Livin' On A Prayer', which I consider to be one of the stupidest songs ever. I don't really care that pretty much everyone in Bon Jovi can retire because of how hugely successful that song is, and good for them, but, I think that particular song is far too corny for human consumption and should not be performed by anyone, anywhere. Ever. It should also never again be played on a radio, or on anyone's car stereo within my earshot.
But that's just me.
On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, the sun was shining, and it was warm and gorgeous outside. Inside the auditorium, shivering at the hands of some sadistic maintenance person who opted to set the air temperature to "bone chilling", I sat watching a large group of high school students in costume, singing AND DANCING to 'Livin' On A Prayer'. I sat mostly still through the entire song--didn't pull out my phone and text people about the horror of the moment with any "OMG, they're singing f*cking Livin' On A Prayer'" or anything like that. I was a very good girl...very respectful. It took every ounce of strength in my body.
After the students cleared the stage, I leaned over, looked at my daughter and said, "Yeah....we need to ditch..."
To which she nodded and definitively replied, "Yeah."
We got up and left, weaving through a lobby full of people who were all happy as banana cream pie to be there and (mostly rightfully) proud of their kids, hoping they wouldn't notice us hurrying toward the nearest exit. Once we were back in the daylight and I was sure none of the performer's parents were anywhere nearby, I exhaled my distaste, threw the kids in the car and took them to a fast food restaurant, where we laughed about the concert and also about the dude who hit on my at the ketchup station, as the children described a scenario of hooking up with someone you met at Burger King and therefore having to go back there every year on your anniversary. God, I love my children. We have a lot of obligations--school stuff, work stuff, family stuff, friend stuff. Sometimes, it's nice to be able to call something "Lame" and blow it off, together, eat food that's not good for us and see which one of us can be the snarkiest. This is my family. My beautiful, beautiful family.