I grew up in Long Beach, Long Island and I think the highlight of every summer for my father was that one day when we had to tape the windows with big x's because a hurricane was coming up the coast.
GUY OUTSIDE MY DOOR: Is everything all right?
ME: There's a photo on the internet of Britney Spears and Madonna French-kissing!
OTHER MALE CO-WORKER: What do you mean, 'Ewww'?
Two men run into my office.
ONE: That's full-on tongue! What led up to that?
TWO: Can you play the film?
(This apparently happened at the MTV video awards last night).
Here's the link, for all you guys out there. But I suspect this is already halfway to becoming Old News.
That, I think, is one of the biggest selling points of playing. You may not always win a prize, but hopefully, you always get to laugh.
>>Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It's a secret no one knows
It's a secret no one knows
In an mmm bop they're gone, in an mmm bop they're not there
In an mmm bop they're gone, in an mmm bop they're not there
Until you lose your hair
But you don't care
Mmm bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
In eighth grade, we moved to a really snobby town. Middle school is hard enough without that. Anyway, for several weeks, the homerooms competed in a music contest. Each morning, the music teacher went to the office and played a snippet of a popular song over the PA system. Each homeroom sent their guess for which song it was to the front office.
My class was one of those in the lead, thanks, in part, to a kid named Jim who was in the band and chorus and knew a lot of songs. But one morning, they played a snippet of a Billy Joel song. Most people agreed that it was "Big Shot." Since I had played a lot of Billy Joel songs for my piano lessons, I was pretty sure I recognized it as the less-well-known "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." But should I say something? Opening my mouth in school at all generally got me picked on. Jim wrote down the pick and gave it to April, our elected class representative (and one of the most popular girls in school) to bring to the office.
I made a quick decision and said, "April! It's not 'Big Shot.' " I told her what I thought the song was. Then, I saw the girl in front of me, who was unpopular and very nice, look at me, scared. Another girl looked at me, too, her eyes wide. April and Jim changed the name of the song to "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" on our answer sheet, and as April left the room to deliver it, the girl in front of me said to me, "You better be right." She knew that if I'd screwed up our homeroom's chances, I'd be a goner. Particularly with the way I'd called out.
I was scared to death, too. What if I was wrong? Why had I spoken up anyway? If I'd kept my mouth shut, I would be just fine. But I took a risk. I kept remembering what I'd done for the rest of the day and being scared. I assured myself I'd heard right, but there was no way to be 100 percent certain.
The next morning, we found out that it was, indeed, "Say Goodbye to Hollywood," and we were probably the only homeroom that got it, and we stayed in the lead. We might have even won a pizza party in the end; I can't remember. I didn't get thanked, but I knew I wouldn't -- I was just glad not to get picked on.
If I had it to do over again, I probably wouldn't have taken the risk. I don't know what motivated me to call out on that particular day. But I think the most interesting part, and what I remember most, is the two girls looking at me scared, knowing what a real risk it was -- a risk just because I opened my mouth and said something essentially meaningless to a popular kid.
Blockbuster is planning to sell off all their videotapes, one of their cashiers told me a few weeks ago. It's odd how things pass into obsolescence before you even realize it. It reminds you how old you are. All of a sudden -- boom -- you realize you haven't heard a busy signal on the phone in years and the TV doesn't take a minute to warm up anymore.
They started late, so first, I got to watch Chad Pennington break his wrist live on TV. And then see them announce 10 minutes later that he'll be out for six to eight weeks. Knowing next to nothing about sports, I would like to ask why the most important players are put in these games that aren't part of season play, when they can hurt themselves before the actual season. I know it may seem like a dumb question, but I honestly don't know the answer, so please explain.
Speaking of explanations, Mickey, a reader, has this to say:
"The dead guy is of the Philadelphia Chemical Ali’s. The one they just caught is of the New Haven Chemical Ali’s. Same name different branch of the Chemical Ali's family"
Oh. Whew!! I thought our gov't just lied to us again.
Is there a "Jump the Shark"-like website for songs? Not about them Jumping the Shark, but maybe where people can pick apart all the stupid things in songs. For instance, in the New Kids on the Block song "Tonight," they at one point sing, "We met a lot of people...and giiiirls." Aren't girls people? Also, one could complain about certain songs that sound strangely like other songs. If anyone knows of a site like this, let me know. Otherwise, a new blog will have to be created. I have the perfect name for it, too.
Meanwhile, Mr. Malice writes: "Pop Muzik was one of the first synth hits (1979), one (if not the) earliest New Wave songs and is about pop music being an end in itself. It is, as you said, highly relevant.
Anyone who says otherwise is obviously an idiot who knows nothing about the history of pop."
Well, I'm glad my blog finally tackled a tough issue. I'll close the topic for discussion now, as I can see that this will take time away from getting up, getting dressed, going to work, and drinking my eight glasses of water per day (note subtle introduction of new plot line!!!)
"Okay, I have this song on a 45 record (remember those?)
It's called Pop Musik by "M", 1979
Now I have the song in my head. Here are the lyrics:
Boogie with a suitcase
Your livin' in a disco
Forget about the rat race
Let's do the milkshake, sellin' like a hotcake
Try some buy some fee-fi-fo-fum
Talk about, pop musik
Talk about, pop musik....
Oh, you win nothing.
"People aren't normal these days," he said.
"Can you elaborate on that?" I asked.
"You used to be able to go out and have a good time and call someone the next day. Now it's three days, five days...people say they don't play games, and the reason they say that is because everybody DOES!"
What's weird as a writer is hearing someone praise or quote a passage of the book that you think needs more work or is flawed. You smile on the outside, cringe on the inside. Anyway, it was a nice discussion, and there was even participation from longtime family friends.
He gave me some porno sentences to add here, but I know it's a sunny day out and no one wants to be inside reading such trash.
1. Caller ID: 2:55 a.m. Probably correct.
2. CD/stereo system: 11:26 a.m. Behind due to power outage.
3. Digital in room: Still unplugged from when I put a 9V battery in during blackout and it didn't work.
4. Clock radio/VCR: 2:55 a.m. Probably correct.
5. Battery-powered clock in middle room: 2 a.m. Never adjusted after Daylight Time switch; too high on wall.
6. Digital in middle room: 8:09 a.m. Behind due to power outage.
7. Battery-powered clock in kitchen: 9:45 p.m. Battery ran out months ago; rarely looked at.
8. Cool 1971 plastic-flipping-numbers digital: 10:05. Behind due to power outage.
In the time I took to write that, I could have set all the clocks. Oh well. Priorities.
None of the TV stations are working except CBS.
I got the Daily News. "BLACKOUT," is their headline. I have to come up with something different for our papers today. The Post and Times haven't come out yet. I love historic newspapers. When I was a kid, I hid the Iranian hostage release under the den couch for weeks, but eventually it disappeared. The idea to actually put it in a drawer didn't occur to my eight-year-old mind.
Tonight's top team name: "Arnold to Arnold: 'What you talkin' 'bout, Arnold.'
Thanks to all who tried to cheer me up about feeling bored with myself.
I'm looking forward to the movie. Glass was a year behind me in college in Philly. I have no lame stories about him to whip into a 2,000 word essay as some people have done. Sorry. Nor did I ever meet Monica Lewinsky. Sorry again.
I have to finish revisions of book 2 this weekend, as per editor's suggestions. I will be happy to put finishing touches on it and ship it off. This fall, I'll be continuing work on the third book, which takes place in fall...I usually have to work on books in the season in which they take place. It's just how I am. It's hard to write in summer, anyway. More of my books are fall books than summer books.
This week, I got a photo of a pet and put it in. But then our art director got one from the other group. She asked if we could put in their pet instead, and hold off on the one I got.
"No," I said. "This pet could be dead by next week!"
"Hmmm," she said.
"Why don't we hold the OTHER pet for a week?" I asked.
"Because then THAT pet could be dead!" she said.
We put in both pets.
I've been whistling the "Silver Spoons" theme. Most people here don't know what I'm whistling. I think our intern wasn't BORN in 1982.
Ah, to be back on technology's cutting edge.
A Confederacy of High School English Teachers, July 28, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from Not New Hampshire
This is a wonderful book, the discussion of which, up to this point, has been quite enjoyable. However, if you're the English teacher at a preppy New England boarding school, in the future please refrain from having your ENTIRE CLASS of trust-fund dolts post their endless, pointless, insipid, identical reviews on this site, okay? While I'm certain they are VERY special and represent some of our nation's finest families, no one comes to here to be subjected to 25... book reports. Thanks.
What's funny is that I read some of the "book reports," and they call the book "The Confederacy of the Dunces" and make mention of winning the "Pulitzer Prized." I guess the trust funds weren't high enough.
The only scary thing is how many newspapers are being joined and condensed these days. Every time we lose a newspaper, we lose a little bit of pressure on our gov't to be honest. The loss of dailies has strengthened weeklies (like the chain I edit), but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have plenty of both. Unfortunately, some newspapers lose money, and they can't exactly get government grants like maybe your business does.
One more thing I'd like to say is that the media doesn't focus on "bad" news, as the Black Eyed Peas imply by saying that we show the same images over and over. We show evocative images, sure. But the more we wake people up, the more we can prevent tragedies from happening again. If you'd like us to start reporting every safe landing of an airline so that when one crashes you'll know it's a rare thing -- rather than just focusing on the crash and why it happened and how to stop it from happening again -- you just let us know. I don't think the media should spend its few resources covering every safe landing at the airport.
UPDATE: Faithful blog reader Brad writes:
You defend the media and its eager cub reporters so much, but you fail to mention that the media is a business, and like so many businesses, it boils down to money. As Robin Quivers says, "Anger and fear sells". So the media prints shock-value headlines (some media outlets are worse than others) in order to tempt people to buy the paper and see their advertisements. They don't lie outright, but they certainly color the facts for a particular agenda (whether economic or political). Your paper isn't affected by this concept because it's free. For proof of this concept, see the movie "The Insider" with Al Pacino.
It's true that SOME media outlets print shock headlines, but that's my point. They don't ALL do so. If you judge "the media" by what SOME of them do, then that's unfair. I e-mailed Brad and told him that, and he still said there are people at the top who want power and money, and they make decisions like "Hire Jayson Blair." True. But when criticizing the media, remember all the good they do. And most of the Times reporters are doing the best they can with what they have. As for "The Insider," the journalist did his best to expose big tobacca. Nobody else did. And such a story being squelched is the exception rather than the norm -- which is why it's in a movie. Where is the love?