2/28/2008

Medley in my head of the day:

"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin combined with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by the Beatles.
These two actually go together, I swear.



2/26/2008

Worst Cultural Reference of the Day:

My Assessment and Treatment of Articulation and Phonological Disorders in Children textbook titling a section on babbling stages "Babbling Revisited."

I'm sorry F. Scott.



2/25/2008

A Childhood Well Spent

Now, I was a big of fan of the Animaniacs, Sailor Moon, and The Secret World of Alex Mac as the next person, but I feel like I got an extra amount of culture in my childhood. Maybe I'm just getting that vibe because I go to an LDS school where most people weren't raised with cable TV and plenty of free time. So, the spirit of procrastination of studies, I've delineated a random selection of some of my favorite things I remember from my childhood:

Music Videos:
I remember watching TV during the half-day school days of kindergarten and preschool. The one I remember the most vividly is Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" complete with necrophilia.


Although I also loved Prodigy's "Breathe." Such a great/creepy song to grow up to:




Pepper Ann:
This show came out about the same time as Recess, but didn't get as much credit for being hilarious. Probably because half the jokes didn't make sense to 10-year-olds. My favorite episodes include
  • One where the opening conversation is about whether or not Paul from The Wonder Years is Marylin Manson.
  • Pepper Ann's mother becomes a successful comedian with her "You Might Be A Single Working Mother..." bit (this was during the hey-day of Jeff Foxworthy).
  • Pepper Ann's sister Moose wants the new town statue to be of Patrick Swayze and wears a "Crayze about Swayze" shirt while collecting signatures. The Evel Knievel nomination wins out.
I hope this show makes it to DVD someday.


Daria:
I watched this show concurrent to Pepper Ann. I miss after-school cartoons. At one point in my life I earned the nickname Daria, not really for my misanthropy as much as my monotone. Thinking about this show makes me lament the loss of MTV's good programming and how much I hate it now and how much I wish they would release the series on DVD already. Seriously. Anyway, I would recommend this show to any "tweener." It gets you over high school drama before you get there, successfully guiding you to real life.
Anyway, the show is so good, the French love it too:



Real World Seattle:
This was one of the last seasons that the cast had souls. I actually liked the people on the show because (they actually had to do a job (work at an alternative station in '90s Seattle?? Awesome), and they seemed like they wanted to do something with their lives other than be drunken whores*. Plus, I felt really bad about the Irene situation. That was real.

As a note, there weren't any good clips of this to show. But trust me, it was one of the better seasons.

Earth 2:
I was raised to be into Sci-fi/fantasy, although with grain of salt (see below). Star Wars, Sliders, The X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer all contributed to my love. The most obscure show (that I believe was on either right before or right after Lois & Clark) that my family watched was Earth 2. Off the cuff, I remember a curly-haired man and Tim Curry (who ended up being the villain on the new Earth, maybe?) inhabiting a new Earth--with any luck because old earth was overpopulated/polluted/war-torn. I love the concept of space travel and hibernation and this show had plenty in its one season. Mostly, I use Earth 2 to show the sheer amount of television watching I did as a child.
Looking on YouTube, I found some unfortunate fan videos. I'll spare you and instead show you the intro en espanol (Tierra dos):



Mystery Science Theater 3000:
This show really just enables anyone who thinks they're funny to comment on movies. This show contributes to my love to snark at anything; my only wish is that I'm actually funny. Plus, the amount of pop culture dropped in all the jokes makes it even more educational. Here's a great example:



Well, this is just a taste of my childhood. There are so many more examples to choose from, but these are some of the more original. I can only hope my children will be as lucky as I was.

*I refer you to How I Met Your Mother and Marshall's rant from Season 3 Episode 7: "Ted, how many times have I told you to put the lid back on the peanut butter jar?! It's this inconsiderate, immature jackassry that makes me feel like I'm living in The Real World House! And not the early days when they all had jobs and social consciences, I'm talking about Hawaii, and after! I can't take it anymore! Ted, Lily and I are married now! It's time! We're getting our own place!"

2/18/2008

Two for the Road

I first encountered Two for the Road early one summer morning when I was procrastinating finding a job and the parents were out of the house. It was magical moment when I turned the channel to AMC as the movie began, and I was instantly hooked by the stylized credits and the draw of Audrey Hepburn; I knew I would love this movie.

Last night at 2am I watched the movie again. It had been a a good 8ish months since I'd last seen it, and I was craving something tragically romantic in my insomniac state. I always find the best romances are the ones that hurt to watch (no, this does not count 27 Dresses, PS I Love You, A Walk to Remember, et al). Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but this is still a great film.

Two for the Road tracks the relationship between Joanna (Audrey Hepburn and her sunglasses) and Mark (Albert Finney and his rakish-est) through a series of flashbacks of road trips they've taken together. The present day trip that begins and ends the film shows the couple several years into their marriage and cynical. They begin reminiscing about how they got to this point in their relationship: we see the trips where they first met, traveled with Mark's ex-girlfriend from the States with husband and annoying child in stow, had fun and playful trip full of mishaps, and traveled child of their own. The vacations are shown in a seemingly stream of consciousness pattern, with only image matching and emotional connection/contrast to connect them (Hepburn's hair plays a key role in orienting the viewer to the time period, thank goodness).

The most impressive thing about the film is how well Hepburn and Finney create a different tone to each segment while maintaining solid chemistry. They have to play young lovers, excited newlyweds, and exhausted cynics. Hepburn shows the change in her character with heartbreaking commitment. Both the actress and the character are fully invested in the role and relationship. Hepburn never looked so natural and spunky; she shows a sincere girl next door quality that she never truly achieves in other films like My Fair Lady or Sabrina. Finney's character is charming throughout, grudgingly revealing sparks of pure emotion between the usual sarcasm and feigned seriousness. These two working together is magical. Few romances are lucky enough to have both leads be so charming and convincing, but Two for the Road has two very charismatic actors excellently playing their parts.

For all its cynicism, the film really breathes of optimistic romance. To get to the end, the audience endures heartrending drama broken up by bouts of physical comedy and flirtation that keeps Two for the Road from ever becoming painfully realistic. The middle of the film drags when it focuses for extended periods on some of the flashbacks, but the character's charm lasts throughout bringing us safely to the conclusion that leaves us somewhat happy--or at least comfortable with where we've gotten.

2/07/2008

2/04/2008

My Hopes for Super Tuesday

I want my president to be eloquent and inspiring. I don't want to be embarrassed every time he/she opens his/her mouth. I want to be proud about my country. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Being president probably hasn't been as a big of a disappointment since Herbert Hoover. People are desperate for a strong leader they can get behind, and I think it's time the presidency is legitimate again.

No one can dispute the political exhaustion of America these days. 24-hour news personally makes me sick as it hashes and rehashes every detail of politics. Debates are reduced to buzz words and catch phrases. Party lines are defined by abortion, gay rights, and war while other issues are ignored.

How do we open dialog in politics? It's notoriously combative, and maybe that's the way it should be, but I can't help respecting someone who wants to talk openly and honestly about issues facing America. That's why I love Barack Obama. His speeches are inspiring, his writing well thought out and thorough. I want a president who sounds smart, and I feel like Obama is someone who I would be honored to call my president.

I want someone smart in office, no matter what party they're on. I'm an independent voter because I honestly can't say one side is better or defines me more than another. A recent article by Stanley Fish disputed my very existence. Sure, our political system is driven by a party system, but what it really comes down to is that I can't stomach a lot of the partisan disagreements. I'm convinced answers come somewhere in the middle. I'm cynical about government and can only get excited about politics if someone shows a glimmer of humanity and idealism.

Honestly, I'd rather have a president dream big than stick to the status quo. I want someone to get America thinking, debating, and coming up with solutions. I want a president who tries. We need a new FDR to restore hope and I think that Obama could be that man.