Monday, March 28, 2005
Do you know, in order to send me an email at work, you actually need to look up my email address by typing my name? So presumably, this person looked up my name by spelling it correctly, then decided.... what? What was this person thinking? Seriously, if you think of anything, please let me know.
I mean, come ON.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
With that in mind, imagine my goosebumps when I heard Bruce Springsteen's speech at U2's induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
This? Is amazing. It's long, but if you like music even a tiny bit, do yourself a favor and read it. It doesn't matter if you love U2 or not--personally, I was a little more excited to see the Pretenders were inducted--you must read this transcription. It might be one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.
"Uno, dos, tres, catorce. That translates as one, two, three, fourteen. That is the correct math for a rock and roll band. For in art and love and rock and roll, the whole had better equal much more than the sum of its parts, or else you're just rubbing two sticks together searching for fire. A great rock band searches for the same kind of combustible force that fueled the expansion of the universe after the big bang. You want the earth to shake and spit fire. You want the sky to split apart and for God to pour out.
"It's embarrassing to want so much, and to expect so much from music, except sometimes it happens -- the Sun Sessions, Highway 61, Sgt. Peppers, the Band, Robert Johnson, Exile on Main Street, Born to Run -- whoops, I meant to leave that one out (laughter) -- the Sex Pistols, Aretha Franklin, the Clash, James Brown...the proud and public enemies it takes a nation of millions to hold back. This is music meant to take on not only the powers that be, but on a good day, the universe and God himself -- if he was listening. It's man's accountability, and U2 belongs on this list.
"It was the early '80s. I went with Pete Townshend, who always wanted to catch the first whiff of those about to unseat us, to a club in London. There they were: A young Bono -- single-handedly pioneering the Irish mullet; (laughter) the Edge -- what kind of name was that?; Adam and Larry.
"I was listening to the last band of whom I would be able to name all of its members. They had an exciting show and a big, beautiful sound. They lifted the roof.
"We met afterwards and they were nice young men. They were Irish. Irish! Now, this would play an enormous part in their success in the States. For what the English occasionally have the refined sensibilities to overcome, we Irish and Italians have no such problem. We come through the door fists and hearts first. U2, with the dark, chiming sound of heaven at their command -- which, of course, is the sound of unrequited love and longing, their greatest theme -- their search for God intact. This was a band that wanted to lay claim to not only this world but had their eyes on the next one, too.
"Now, they're a real band; each member plays a vital part. I believe they actually practice some form of democracy -- toxic poison in a band's head. In Iraq, maybe. In rock, no! Yet they survive. They have harnessed the time bomb that exists in the heart of every great rock and roll band that usually explodes, as we see regularly from this stage. But they seemed to have innately understood the primary rule of rock band job security: 'Hey, asshole, the other guy is more important than you think he is!'
"They are both a step forward and direct descendants of the great bands who believed rock music could shake things up in the world, who dared to have faith in their audience, who believed if they played their best it would bring out the best in you. They believed in pop stardom and the big time. Now this requires foolishness and a calculating mind. It also requires a deeply held faith in the work you're doing and in its powers to transform. U2 hungered for it all, and built a sound, and they wrote the songs that demanded it.
"They're keepers of some of the most beautiful sonic architecture in rock and roll.
"The Edge. The Edge. The Edge. The Edge. (applause) He is a rare and true guitar original and one of the subtlest guitar heroes of all time. He's dedicated to ensemble playing and he subsumes his guitar ego in the group.
"But do not be fooled. Take Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Neil Young, Pete Townshend -- guitarists who defined the sound of their band and their times. If you play like them, you sound like them. If you are playing those rhythmic two-note sustained fourths, drenched in echo, you are going to sound like the Edge, my son. Go back to the drawing board and chances are you won't have much luck. There are only a handful of guitar stylists who can create a world with their instruments, and he's one of them. The Edge's guitar playing creates enormous space and vast landscapes. It is a thrilling and a heartbreaking sound that hangs over you like the unsettled sky. In the turf it stakes out, it is inherently spiritual. It is grace and it is a gift.
"Now, all of this has to be held down by something. The deep sureness of Adam Clayton's bass and the rhythms of Larry Mullen's elegant drumming hold the band down while propelling it forward. It's in U2's great rhythm section that the band finds its sexuality and its dangerousness. Listen to 'Desire,' 'She Moves in Mysterious Ways,' the pulse of 'With or Without You.'
"Together Larry and Adam create the element that suggests the ecstatic possibilities of that other kingdom -- the one below the earth and below the belt -- that no great rock band can lay claim to the title without.
"Now Adam always strikes me as the professorial one, the sophisticated member. He creates not only the musical but physical stability on his side of the stage. The tone and depth of his bass playing has allowed the band to move from rock to dance music and beyond. One of the first things I noticed about U2 was that underneath the guitar and the bass, they have these very modern rhythms going on. Rather than a straight 2 and 4, Larry often plays with a lot of syncopation, and that connects the band to modern dance textures. The drums often sounded high and tight and he was swinging down there, and this gave the band a unique profile and allowed their rock textures to soar above on a bed of his rhythm.
"Now Larry, of course, besides being an incredible drummer, bears the burden of being the band's requisite 'good-looking member,' (laughter) something we somehow overlooked in the E Street Band. (laughter) We have to settle for 'charismatic.' Girls love on Larry Mullen! I have a female assistant that would like to sit on Larry's drum stool. A male one, too. We all have our crosses to bear.
"Bono...where do I begin? Jeans designer, soon-to-be World Bank operator, just plain operator, seller of the Brooklyn Bridge -- oh hold up, he played under the Brooklyn Bridge, that's right. Soon-to-be mastermind operator of the Bono burger franchise, where more than one million stories will be told by a crazy Irishman. Now I realize that it's a dirty job and somebody has to do it, but don't quit your day job yet, my friend. You're pretty good at it, and a sound this big needs somebody to ride herd over it.
"And ride herd over it he does. His voice, big-hearted and open, thoroughly decent no matter how hard he tries. Now he's a great frontman. Against the odds, he is not your mom's standard skinny, ex-junkie archetype. He has the physique of a rugby player...well, an ex-rugby player. Shaman, shyster, one of the greatest and most endearingly naked messianic complexes in rock and roll. (laughter) God bless you, man! It takes one to know one, of course.
"You see, every good Irish and Italian-Irish front man knows that before James Brown there was Jesus. So hold the McDonald arches on the stage set, boys, we are not ironists. We are creations of the heart and of the earth and of the stations of the cross -- there's no getting out of it. He is gifted with an operatic voice and a beautiful falsetto rare among strong rock singers. But most important, his is a voice shot through with self-doubt. That's what makes that big sound work. It is this element of Bono's talent -- along with his beautiful lyric writing -- that gives the often-celestial music of U2 its fragility and its realness. It is the questioning, the constant questioning in Bono's voice, where the band stakes its claim to its humanity and declares its commonality with us.
"Now Bono's voice often sounds like it's shouting not over top of the band but from deep within it. 'Here we are, Lord, this mess, in your image.' He delivers all of this with great drama and an occasional smirk that says, 'Kiss me, I'm Irish.' He's one of the great front men of the past twenty years. He is also one of the only musicians to devote his personal faith and the ideals of his band into the real world in a way that remains true to rock's earliest implications of freedom and connection and the possibility of something better.
"Now the band's beautiful songwriting -- 'Pride (In The Name of Love),' 'Sunday Bloody Sunday,' 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,' 'One,' 'Where the Streets Have No Name,' 'Beautiful Day' -- reminds us of the stakes that the band always plays for. It's an incredible songbook. In their music you hear the spirituality as home and as quest. How do you find God unless he's in your heart? In your desire? In your feet? I believe this is a big part of what's kept their band together all of these years.
"See, bands get formed by accident, but they don't survive by accident. It takes will, intent, a sense of shared purpose, and a tolerance for your friends' fallibilities...and they of yours. And that only evens the odds. U2 has not only evened the odds but they've beaten them by continuing to do their finest work and remaining at the top of their game and the charts for
25 years. I feel a great affinity for these guys as people as well as musicians.
"Well...there I was sitting down on the couch in my pajamas with my eldest son. He was watching TV. I was doing one of my favorite things -- I was tallying up all the money I passed up in endorsements over the years (laughter) and thinking of all the fun I could have had with it. Suddenly I hear "Uno, dos, tres, catorce!" I look up. But instead of the silhouettes of the hippie wannabes bouncing around in the iPod commercial, I see my boys!
"Oh, my God! They sold out!
"Now...what I know about the iPod is this: It is a device that plays music. Of course their new song sounded great, my guys are doing great, but methinks I hear the footsteps of my old tape operator Jimmy Iovine somewhere. Wily. Smart. Now, personally, I live an insanely expensive lifestyle that my wife barely tolerates. I burn money, and that calls for huge amounts of cash flow. But I also have a ludicrous image of myself that keeps me from truly cashing in. (laughter) You can see my problem. Woe is me.
"So the next morning, I call up Jon Landau -- or as I refer to him, 'the American Paul McGuinness' -- and I say, 'Did you see that iPod thing?' And he says, 'Yes.' And he says, 'And I hear they didn't take any money.' And I said, 'They didn't take any money?!' And he says, 'No.' I said, 'Smart, wily Irish guys.' (laughter) Anybody...anybody...can do an ad and take the money. But to do the ad and not take the money...that's smart. That's wily. I say, 'Jon, I want you to call up Bill Gates or whoever is behind this thing and float this: A red, white, and blue iPod signed by Bruce "the Boss" Springsteen. Now remember, no matter how much money he offers, don't take it!' (laughter)
"At any rate...at any rate, after that evening, for the next month or so, I hear emanating from my lovely 14-year-old son's room, day after day, down the hall calling out in a voice that has recently dropped very low: Uno, dos, tres, catorce. The correct math for rock and roll. Thank you, boys. (applause)
"This band...this band has carried their faith in the great inspirational and resurrective power of rock and roll. It never faltered, only a little bit.
"They believed in themselves, but more importantly, they believed in 'you, too.' Thank you Bono, the Edge, Adam, and Larry. Please welcome U2 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
~Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen
Sunday, March 20, 2005
(Image from devotedtosmallville.com)
You'd think you wouldn't run into this all that often, but you'd be wrong. And yes, it's nitpicky at the same level of calling a classical radio station to bug the receptionist because some announcer in the 11:00 hour pronounced Tchaikovsky in a way with which you happen to disagree. I don't care, and I've been the receptionist on that call. It bugs.
Even if you don't know much about violin, you can tell the bow movements don't match the notes, you can tell if the fingers aren't moving, and you can tell that a person's hunched-over posture surely doesn't match the beautiful sound piped into the soundtrack. If you know anything about violin, however, then you know that the BS movements you see on screen match the sounds you hear like someone shuffling around in house slippers would match the sounds of tap dancing.
It's just lazy. It can't be that hard to hire a violinist to show you how to pretend to play the instrument believably. I mean, if it's so important to make your character a violinist, then it should be important enough to make that person's playing look real. At least they could try. For me? Please?
Friday, March 18, 2005
As if all of this wasn't enough, my sister Amy also went to all of the women on the shower guest list and asked them for some suggestions for a mix she was putting together for mAc and me. Specifically, their favorite make-out music. Rawr.
The result is below. There's a lot of information, so I'll show you how the system works:
Song/Artist (Album) "liner notes" ~Contributor [My commentary]
Music for mAckin'
- I've Got the World On a String/Frank Sinatra (Classic Sinatra - His Great Performances, 1953-1960) “What a world, what a life - Dinah and mAc in LOVE!!!!”~ Erica
- Twilight Time/The Platters (All-Time Greatest Hits) "One for the Aged" ~Carolyn
- Love Potion #9/Herb Alpert (Greatest Hits) ~Amy
- The Way You Look Tonight/Ella Fitzgerald (Jazz 'round Midnight Again: Ella Fitzgerald) “We love you and pray God's absolute best for you and Mac!" ~Elizabeth
- You're The First, The Last, My Everything/Barry White (All Time Greatest Hits) ~Kristin M.
- Please Baby/Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) “This is a very persuasive one” ~Amy
- These Arms of Mine/Otis Redding (Love Songs) “Makes me want to crawl into the speakers and nestle right into that man's arms. Kinda nutty, but true. The rock-steady piano, the tension-building guitar, the desperate vocal yearning, this is one of the greatest slow jams ever. I defy anyone to listen to it and not want some kinda hug.” ~Matti [There are few things I enjoy reading more than my sister Matti's liner notes. They're thoughtful, passionate, honest and occassionally flat-out brilliant. In addition to introducing me to The Ramones and many others at a tender, single-digit age, Matti is the one who converted me from "music fan" to "true believer." If you're good, I may someday tell you how.]
- You Can Leave Your Hat On/Joe Cocker (The Best of Joe Cocker) “my personal favorite” ~Gretchen Vogel
- The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face/Roberta Flack (Softly With These Songs - The Best of Roberta Flack) “Love, Mom” [Mom gets all kinds of sappy with this song, it's really cute. Also, Amy shared a little song-organizing secret here: first, she lined up the seduction. Then the strip-tease. Then, here it is the first time! Followed by...]
- At Last/Etta James (Etta James: Love Songs) ~Elizabeth [At last! Hee! Also, when we were listening to this during the shower, my old friend Audrey reminded me that I told her, in high school, that I would dance to this song at my wedding. There is an excellent chance that prophecy will come true.]
- Our Love Affair/Michael Feinstein (The M.G.M. Album) “I like the words – from the movie An Affair to Remember” ~Teedle [As in, "Aunt Teedle." Like you don't have an "Uncle Doody" or a grandparent you call "Paw Paw" or something.]
- Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time/The Delfonics (Jackie Brown Soundtrack) ~Amy [Another look into the mind that organized this mix--this is intended to be a, um, post-nookie song. You probably guessed that. I'll shut up now.]
- I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)/Stevie Wonder (High Fidelity) ~Amy
- Lady/Kenny Rogers (42 Ultimate Hits) “Trust me to like something about knights in shining armor!" ~Ellen [Because Ellen, like many girls, was raised to believe that a man would come and rescue her and marry her and make her life complete. In my family, we were raised on The Practical Princess, in which the girl helps herself, helps the guy while she's at it, and feels pretty good about her life whether she's single or not. I'm not ripping on my cousin or her parents, I'm just saying...Thanks Mom & Dad.]
Lip smAckin' Mix
- All I Want Is You/U2 (Rattle and Hum) “by my boys U2. she'll know who that one is from. ;-)” ~Anna
- Save a Prayer/Duran Duran (Rio) ~Amanda
- Heaven The/Golden Palominos (Pure) “the sexiest song ever made. Ever” ~Amanda
- Reel Around the Fountain/The Smiths (The Smiths) ~Amanda
- Fly On the Windscreen/Depeche Mode (Catching Up With Depeche Mode) "It's basically about how we could die at any minute so we'd better get busy right now” ~Audrey [Sing it, sister.]
- Open Arms/Journey (Journey: Greatest Hits) ~Karen [The fact that mAc's cousin's wife put this on here means that I can't help but picture that preppy, church-going, conservative cousin ...makin' out with his equally preppy/conservative wife to Journey. And while it's a little disturbing? It's also totally fantastic.]
- All Kinds of Time/Fountains of Wayne (Welcome Interstate Managers) “But wait, you say, isn't that song about football? Indeed it is. But the dreamy guitars, the soaring vocals, the slow dance groove--this song gives me goosebumps every time despite its inevitable overexposure by the NFL. So, yes, it's about football, but it's also sweet, romantic, and totally apropos ('cause when a groom's getting busy with his 'bride to be' she likes it when he's got 'all kinds of time' ;-))." ~Matti
- Someday/Sugar Ray (14:59) “This unusual pop song is not about teen infatuation, desperate crushes, or unrequited desire. Instead, it's an homage to love over the long haul: 'Someday, when my life has passed me by, I'll lay around and wonder why you were always there for me...' A two-part harmony reminder that we're all gonna die celebrating the mysterious fabulousness of faithful devotion--what more could a girl want to get her motor running?” ~Matti [See what I mean? She makes Sugar Ray sound Deep.]
- Sugar Water/Cibo Matto (Viva! La Woman) “Everyone’s favorite sexy dance song” ~Amy
- Mambo Sun/T. Rex (Electric Warrior) ~Matti
- Dirty Mind/Prince (Dirty Mind) ~Matti
- Eyes Of A Stranger/Payola (Valley Girl (Music from the Soundtrack)) “'cause, you know, it's the love song from Valley Girl.” ~Amanda
- Right back inside my heart/Angelo Badalamenti/Julee Cruise (Twin Peaks Soundtrack) ~Amy
- Let's Get It On (Radio)/Marvin Gaye (Let's Get It On (The MPG Groove Mix) – EP) “ALL TIME FAVORITE makeout song” Kristin M and Gretchen
To all the ladies who contributed, thank you so much. This is a truly wonderful gift. Don't be surprised when you see some of these same songs on our favors on May 15. As for those of you who couldn't get song suggestions in on time, fret not. I'm gunning for a third CD. (Submit your title suggestions under Comments.)
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Aka "The Funnest St. Patrick's Day Ever."
When I was a senior in college, I worked at a brewpub called The Smiling Moose. In addition to our goofy name, we were known for brewing a delicious variety of beers, an amazing chicken focaccia sandwich, and the world's most addictive shoestring french fries.
We were also known for the parties we'd throw on Halloween and St. Patrick's Day.
I only worked there for a year, so I only got to do St. Pat's once, but I knew that the bar & restaurant went all out, and so did the staff. Bartenders and wait staff were incentivized with contests for Best St. Patty's Spirit, most green jello shots sold, etc. (They should have had one for "highest percentage of tips/cash retained after getting drunk on shots in the kitchen while still waiting tables.")
I was determined to win those contests. As it was I came in 2nd on green jello shots and 1st for "Best Spirit," which I accomplished by wearing bright green shorts (the fact that they were practically hot pants probably didn't hurt) with a green vest over a white shirt, all forms of green/St. Pat's jewelry, at least one "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button, and a briliantly decorated green hat, complete with two long green braids poking out either side. (Come to think of it, there may have been a Best Hat contest, which I may have also won.) On top of all this, I drank all night while I was working (a thing you can only really pull off at age 21), made friends with everyone in my section and, despite having only 5 tables in my section, walked out with some seriously fierce tips. I also managed to get in 99% of photos taken that night, and if the Moose hadn't closed down and boarded itself up a couple years ago, you could have gone to Greeley, CO and seen them.
I think in the end my prizes totalled about $20 in gift certificates for The Smiling Moose, which I promptly spent on, you guessed it, beer, chicken focaccia sandwiches, and heaping piles of shoestring french fries.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone!
Monday, March 14, 2005
I'm not sure where the tradition for showers comes from or the official reason they're called "showers." Perhaps it's because they're for showering the bride/couple/mom-to-be with gifts.
Personally, I think it's all about the Love, man.
It's hard to put into words, but I don't think I have ever felt more LOVE in one sitting in my entire life. I mean, I enjoy throwing parties for people and gifting them with treats and wishing them well.
And I treasure my family and friends above ALL.
So when I was sitting at my parents' house, taking in all of the decor and food and favors that my mom, aunt and cousin had pulled together for this amazing tea party, opening gift after thoughtful gift from my sisters and aunts and cousins and friends old and new, and listening to the 2-CD set of makeout music my sister had compiled with all the songs my friends and family had suggested, I was consumed with one singular thought: I am loved.
And the universe won't let it be, either. I came home last night, bags bulging with cookware and slutty lingerie, to find that my fiance had done all these wonderful projects around our apartment for me while I was gone. Then today, I received a package from my dear friend Joe filled with all kinds of goodies including, humorously, a book on wedding cake and a book on getting fit before the wedding (presumably so you can have as much cake as you want).
I am truly loved.
It's such a mind-blowing thing that I barely know what to do with it. The only thing I can think to do is to pass it on.
Because, think about it: YOU. Are truly loved.
If you have ever received a thoughtful gift from a friend or family member.
If you have ever received a compliment.
If you have ever gotten an email saying, "I heard this song today and totally thought of you."
If you have ever been invited.
If you have ever known someone to go out of the way for you.
If you have ever bought yourself a CD or new shirt or fabulous pair of boots, or just treated yourself to a day to yourself with nothing to do but whatever you want.
Sure, it's easy to get all mushy and extol the virtues of Love when you're in a relationship and you're in love. But it's also just as easy to forget about the virtues of Love whether you're in a relationship or not. As someone who was just recently reminded, let me tell you--the Love in your life is powerful. Whether it's the Love of your family, your friends, your lover or yourself, it is a force to be reckoned with.
Remember the Love you have. Enjoy the warm blanky feeling you get when you think about the people who love you. Don't think about why; just enjoy it because it's true.
And then, by all means, thank them, show them you Love them back, and pass it on.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Today, I was trying to send an email to my mom and sister to let them know that the invites for my shower have dropped, and to ask them to double-check the guest list to make sure no one is missing. I composed the email in Hotmail and, because it's been acting up so much lately, I copied the body of the message just in case it doesn't send properly.
Clicked send. Got an error message.
Went back. Pasted copied message into the body of the email again, clicked Send.
So I tried something new--instead of replying to an email from Amy & Mom, I thought, I'll compose an all-new message to them. (Because that'll trick that bastard Hotmail!) I pasted message into body of the new email and clicked Send.
The page didn't even load.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Once more, just in case.
At this point, I'd spent about 15 minutes trying to send a quick email to my family, and I was pissed. So I went to the Hotmail contact/help section, and found a form I could fill out and send to their customer service online. I'd rather call and have a person explain this bullshit to me, but fine. Whatever. I filled out their little form, providing a detailed description of how this extremely basic email function is failing repeatedly. I edited it for clarity and added some colorful language for punch.
I forgot to copy it.
You know what happened next, don't you?
I clicked on the Submit button, and guess what? If you guessed, "The page failed to load and/or gave you an error message, at which point Dinah started laughing/crying hysterically," then gold star for YOU. You win.
I lose. Hotmail sucks. Bite me, you stupid non-email-sending bastards.
In other news, I've been supah swizzamped lately, but I do have stories for you. Here's a taste: TV rocks and people who say otherwise just so they can sound smarter are lame; I met Paul Rudd and asked him for a piggyback ride (he declined, but was extremely nice); I met Adam Scott (recently of The Aviator and Veronica Mars) who asked a couple times what my blog is called, but is most certainly not reading it even though I totally hope he is; this year's Oscars were lame and anti-climactic--what's up with that? I blame the lack of Funch (explanation to come); Hotmail sucks rocks.
Oh, wait. I covered that last one. Stoopid Hotmail.