Friday, March 26, 2010

Such Random Things (2nd edition)

  • Let Donna Martin Graduate? No - something more important. Let Constance Go to the Prom! With her classmates. Even though her backwoods school decided to cancel the fun for everyone because this teenage girl wanted to attend in a tux with her girlfriend. This is still a hot topic, and the comments posted to this article on range from total support to total bigotry. Is it really that big of a deal, Mississippi? Hey ya'll - it's 2010. Get yourself educated and learn to not be so hateful.

  • NaPoWriMo approaches next Thursday. Am I ready for that kind of discipline?
  • Wow - the Barenaked Ladies are back! sans Steven Page. This band was staple listening in my college years. I still listen to Rock Spectacle all the time and think "Brian Wilson" is one of the best songs ever and would have been my American Idol audition song if I wasn't way past the age limit (but I digress). When Page was charged with drug possession, and then later left the band, my heart sank. So, will the rest of the band continue like nothing happened and make happy tunes again? All in Good Time.
  • Oh, Glastonbury and your super-awesome line-up! You mock my Stateside being every year.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire from the late, great Stieg Larsson are two of the most shocking, violent, complex, dark, mysterious and extraordinary works of fiction I've ever read, and I'm so psyched that the first book has been released as a movie (by a Swedish director who now lives in NJ, thank you). The only other book that got me so excited was Dennis Lehane's violent and mysterious Shutter Island (no, I haven't seen the movie yet. Please, no spoilers!) So, with all this violent, mysterious reading going on...what does that say about me?

  • V returns next week! Finally!

[If you're curious: Such Random Things (1st edition)]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Census 2010

Folks living in the United States:

If you have not filled out the Census form, what are you waiting for? It's very simple. Like, ridiculously simple. I thought I missed a page or something, but no - they just want the basics. Even if you're not good at counting or only work part time:

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'll Tell You Which Exit...

When I was a freshman at an out-of-state college, little naive Chrissy was asked by her professor "Which exit?" when I told him I was from New Jersey. Believe it or not, I didn't get the joke. I know.

It's really amazing that my little home state has endured such a horrible reputation. Why? I never understood. All the jokes and comments and stereotypes are based on biased feedback from out-of-towners who only drive down the NJ Turnpike (yes, I'll admit - I hate that road, too and will avoid it when I can) or see the hideous sites around Newark Airport. Or watch TV.

I've heard enough about Snooki and her poof, and the rest of the gang at Jersey Shore. For all the hype about how offensive the show is to Italian-Americans, we have to remember: these kids aren't even Italian. And they're not from Jersey. And they're they reason, for at least 30 years - probably more, it's known as "Sleaze-side." And they truly need to grow up and get off TV.

We'll soon have more of the same with the upcoming Jerseylicious. I'll tell you, I wouldn't want any of them touching my hair.

We have our loudmouthed Cake Boss, who does make some amazing cakes - but he just needs to cool it with the attitude a little. But then again, there wouldn't be a show, would there?

Before that, we had our desperately gaudy Real Housewives of NJ. Oh, my gawd. Seriously. My sister said she knew someone who flipped a table like that. If that's true, it's sad. But not "real."

I won't even get into talking about the Sopranos.

With gems like these, it's no wonder the rest of the country hates us. Do we have our quirks? Of course. Do we have corruption and crime and guidos and all that New Jersey is known for? Sure. But we also have "normal" people - wonderful families, with normal jobs, that talk in normal tones and care about things a little more important than bronzer and hair gel. Where are the shows about that? Do people realize that we have lovely countryside, mountains, streams - beautiful, quiet beaches! Our state is steeped in tradition and history, but you would never know it. Maybe it's not as captivating as the charade taking place in a nasty hot-tub, but to TV viewers, it would certainly be something new. "What do you mean, put normal people on TV?" Yeah. Just a little cibo for thought.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Even though I'm just a dash bit Irish - today, it doesn't matter. Everyone's Irish today. Except if you're British. That would just go against the sacred code of the day. Sorry. We still love you anyway.

Next to Christmas, today is my favorite day of the year, so rather than babbling about why it's my favorite, including why I think corned beef with cabbage, soda bread and a good pint of Guinness is the best meal ever, I'm going to share some of my favorite songs to celebrate the day:

Lick the Tins: Can't Help Falling in Love

The Corrs: Toss the Feathers

Afro Celt Sound System: Dark Moon, High Tide

Flogging Molly: What's Left of the Flag

Black 47: Funky Céilí

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Love Rock & Roll

[go ahead, finish singing the Joan Jett song in your head. I'll wait.]

OK, so the day: March 15, 2010. The place: New York City.
The event: 25th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

And this year's inductees? Including but not limited to:
ABBA (yeah, that ABBA)
Genesis (for the record, Genesis 1.0 with Peter Gabriel was way cooler and more progressive/art rock than the lite-FM Genesis 2.0 with Phil Collins as the lead vocal. Although I admit to having Phil in my collection. But I digress...)
The Hollies
Jimmy Cliff
The Stooges

So, love 'em or hate 'em, they're now a part of one of the most sacred institutions (in my book).

An old classmate of mine was outraged when the inductees were first announced. "ABBA?!? Are you kidding?" I admit to indulging in a bit of Swedish cheese from time to time, although - yeah, it's pretty campy but I don't know if it's ever been considered rock. Genesis - well, just see my note above. The Hollies are ok. Jimmy Cliff is more reggae, and I'm sorry, but not the best that I've heard. The Stooges rock and are way out there, but that's why they're here.

It's not surprising that there are many, many artists who are overlooked when it comes to induction time. Depeche Mode and the Cure? Yeah, the likelihood of them getting nominated are pretty slim. I'm a big, big fan and think they continue to influence...but it's been over the required 25 years, so where's the nomination? I think it's time to start including some of these alternative bands who really broke new ground in rock. We'll see who is nominated next year, but I hope we don't have any more watered-down pity votes for bands that were great in some capacity except in rock and roll.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crystal Clear

I've been watching American Idol since the first season on and off...mostly off. There is, after all, a little thing called Life that sometimes gets in the way. Either that, or the season's just not that exciting and the good singers get booted off while the marketable ones stay. Sure, everyone watches the try-outs to see which sorry loser will make a huge fool of him/herself in the process or to discover that hidden gem. Then Hollywood Week comes and goes, and the predictable few are selected.

Some seasons, I'll pick my favorite, thinking he/she will bring it home and be the winner at the end of all those silly theme-weeks, semi-fake Ford commercials and poppy opening group numbers where you're never sure if they're singing or lip-synching. After all, if you're going to become a super-star, a little humiliation for TV ratings and corporate pandering is worth it in the end. Isn't it?

So, this year, I've been watching faithfully every week. Much to my husband's amusement. He's amazing to let me watch this show each week like a 12 year old girl (no, I haven't reverted to pig-tails and tears streaming down my face, thank you). He'll never admit it, but I think he's getting into it, too. Or not.

So, this year, my favorite is Crystal Bowersox. She's the clear front-runner, hands down. Every week, she's consistent and has the soul like no one else on radio today when she plays. I wait impatiently until she takes the stage each week, knowing she'll blow the competition away with her easy stride. If she doesn't take #1, I'll be surprised, but would be just as happy if Michael "Big Mike" Lynche wins. Now, if only they don't get thrown for a loop with one of the very soul-less disco.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Today is International Women's Day, a global celebration of social, political and economical achievements made by women and a call to action for continued progress toward equality and empowerment.

In fact, this entire month is Women's History Month. Did you know that? I have a feeling most people don't. It's just not publicized the way other observances are, which is a shame.

I think there is the sense that we have achieved equality and empowerment, so what's all the fuss about? Well, for starters, I think as a society, we have become apathetic to the fact that women are still marginalized, still suffer abuse and violence and objectification because it all has become such a "normal" part of the culture. What's worse is that even some high-profile women, like Britney Spears, objectify themselves as a marketing ploy in the name of empowerment. Britney owns her sexuality about as much as that stop sign on the corner. This is not empowerment, and no one is telling her any differently. Not to mention how much of this empty culture has infiltrated what our kids absorb and emulate. When will it stop?

Women in developing countries suffer the most - often, they do not have any rights at all and could even be killed for the slightest breach of cultural protocol. Who is standing up for them? As a side, this site has some interesting information on the topic.

I was reading an article in my local paper yesterday and how strong women are still often overlooked in school textbooks. If it were left to the textbooks, our young girls would think that Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman and Sally Ride are the only American women who achieved anything worthwhile. That's not to downplay their achievements, because they were extraordinary, but there are so many other women, in the US and abroad, that have shaped society. Most times, their actions were about achieving something for the greater good, not purposely breaking the gender barrier, but as it turned out, they did both. Our girls should learn about them and now...and not just what they did but why they did it and what it all means.

So, today, let's remember the amazing women in history, the amazing women in the world today and in our lives, but let's also show our support for those who are still fighting for basic rights and equality. We have come so far but have so far still to go.