Monday, July 26, 2010

Such Random Things (Music Edition)

What tunes are spinning your summer?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Wisdom of Snapple

I drink Snapple almost every day. It tastes good, and apparently, is made from the best stuff on Earth, so you can't go wrong. Plus, under the caps are bits of real facts that are amusing. This appeals to me since I am the queen of useless knowledge.

In any case, my cap today reads "Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15-100 times a day." I don't know who did this research or if it's even true, but it makes you think, doesn't it? The difference between 300 and 15 is huge. And sad.

So, I think about this as my evolution around the sun completes another cycle, and I'm on the verge of turning another year older. How many times have I laughed? How many times have I cried? I can barely remember yesterday so I'm not going to strain myself to think about numbers. But I don't laugh nearly as much as I used to.

Each birthday to me is like New Years, when I think about the past year, the future, things I have done and things I would like to change. I'm not crazy about becoming another year older, but a new year is almost like a fresh start. Almost. I take stock of how far I have come, things I have accomplished over my lifetime, how I have changed and improved, and where my priorities are. I have met wonderful people along the way, have found real love, have earned respect of people around me, and still have my faith in humanity intact. In this respect, I live a charmed life. But I don't always recognize it. That is my birthday resolution - to truly appreciate my life, to embrace the love around me and to enjoy the ride - and to laugh more. Easier said then done, but it's worth a try.

So, as I count down to the next year, I have to sit back and smile today about how lucky I am. Now about getting back to those 300 laughs a day...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This or That?

It's been busy 'round these parts lately, and by the time the craziness winds down for the day, I can barely push out a coherent sentence (this is it, folks.) But I haven't forgotten about you, and I wanted to share one of the best commercials I've seen in years. I will probably never buy a Kia Soul, fine cars at that, but I would buy one of these hamsters:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Case of the Disappearing Concert

Lately, it seems every media outlet is talking about the demise of the venerable concert industry in the U.S., especially this summer when ticket sales are lower than usual and dates are being canceled. Most experts point to our slumped economy and the empty pockets of would-be concert goers.

No doubt, it is a contributing factor. Even those who still have jobs and income are being more cautious with their money. Gone, for the most part, are the days of frivolous spending. We want value for our money - more for less - or at the very least, some sense of satisfaction after our hard-earned cash vanishes before our eyes. For me, It's been a long time since I felt that way about a concert.

I love music and going to concerts, especially during the summer. I wait with anticipation for the slow winter months to inch into the subtle airs of Spring, when all the major venues in my area release their summer concert schedules. I eagerly pore over the schedules, mentally rating each show from must-see to must-skip, ready to determine which are worthy of my money. It's becoming more of a challenge every year. This summer? No concert tickets for me. None deemed worthy.

  1. I'm tired of the exorbitant ticket prices. Paying over $100 for a seat without a view for a lackluster performance is not my idea of fun. I admit, only once in my life did I pay an outrageous amount for tickets - it was for Madonna. The show was mediocre, seats were worse, and I took it all as a learning experience. If I'm paying that kind of money, I want to be brought on stage with the performer and have them sing only to me. And since that's not going to happen...

  2. It's not just the prices but the fees. Live Nation actually just had "No Service Fee June" to lure reluctant ticket buyers. I would like to see some statistics on the success rate of this promotion. One blog from the Boston area reported that ticket sales rose 40% in the first two weeks of the promotion. Still, though, are reports of overall ticket sale slumps. Hmm. And it's July, ya'll. Fees are back.

  3. Concert gods, this is the best you have to offer? I like all kinds of music, I really do. But geez - throw me a bone here! Concert offerings are so disappointing for me this summer: Iron Maiden? (No.) Meat Loaf? (For all that is holy in good music, no!) Lilith Fair? (You know I would have been all over it, 10 years ago, when I went through my girl-power, female rocker, angry-young-girl phase...and though I love Sarah, I'll have to pass on her weak line-up and the fact that her site lists "New York, NY" as the location for my area, even though it's in central NJ. [Sarah, baby, please learn your geography.]). Too old and aware for Bamboozled and too far away for Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and will just miss being in the area by one week for ACL. Too slow to get online for Lady Gaga. Too energetic to hear "Roxanne" set to strings. All Points West is dead because, apparently, New Yorkers can't be bothered to cross the river and New Jersey concert goers are not good enough.
So, it's a grim concert season. My only hope right now? A small, local festival - the Union County Music Festival - that is free (and probably just as hard for New Yorkers to get to) with awesome performances from two of my favorites: Spoon and The Bravery. And maybe the beacon of hope and all that concerts should be will shine brightly for the industry to see...and maybe, just maybe, next year will solve the case of the disappearing concert.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Land of the Free

A few weeks ago, I watched the United States play against England in an early World Cup game. What surprised me, more than that crazy goal made by the U.S. team, was some color-commentary made in the beginning of the game to the effect that the U.S. is England's former colony. Yeah, buddy - that was over 230 years ago. Get over it.

We certainly have changed a bit in those 230+ years, haven't we?

In case you forgot your basic American history, the History Channel recently ran a series called "America: The Story of Us" to remind us. I find several faults with this project, most notably that it portrayed all things about our country in a good light - with the exception of a few minutes devoted to slavery and the civil rights struggle. Don't get me wrong. I love America, and feel very blessed to live in a free country, a melting pot of so many wonderful, different cultures, and landscapes that ring true to spacious skies and purple mountain majesties. But by no means is America perfect. I doubt there is any one living soul in the country that feels we are perfect, even though I'm sure that many outside of America think we are just a bunch of arrogant S.O.B.s. Still, there is a lot to love.

As I type this from the comfort of my own home, on a gorgeous summer day, in shorts, I think about the places around the world where people live in shanty towns of cardboard, smothered in dust and waste, without clean water or food, or a government willing to improve their horrible conditions. I think about the women who are not allowed to show an inch of skin for fear of punishment for indecency, and I think about the children who cannot enjoy such a beautiful day because they are working in sweatshops or worse when they should be playing instead. I think about taking a walk downtown later - and then thoughts cross to people who cannot walk anywhere without feeling terror of being kidnapped, raped, shot or blown up.

America is a fortunate country. Not perfect, but fortunate. We have freedoms that many do not have. We have access to a life that, even in the worst circumstances, tend to be better than what many can even hope for.

So, even though it's been a long time since we've been a colony, we must continue to celebrate our freedoms - and the people who work so hard to keep it so. Happy 4th, America!