Sunday, April 30, 2006

I WIN!!... Thanks to the Sandbag Showercap!

I have been a woman obsessed for the past three days... ever since the return of "the woodpecker." I was so completely annihilated from exhaustion yesterday that I didn't even really start my Islamic Law paper, and instead I sat at my desk staring wanly into my computer screen while dreaming up MacGyver-style tactics to be rid of the bird forever.

Whether real or imagined... he is the man, the myth... MacGyver

Since the professional bird trapper at Desert Wildlife Services never called me back, and the $15 plastic owl I purchased at Home Depot was pathetically ineffective, I decided that I truly needed to take action myself. After talking to several friends, Miguel, and my mother for some quality advice, I solidified my plan... AKA the sandbag deterrent.

It works like this: I took approximately 25 large cupfuls of sand and dumped them into a small plastic grocery bag. I then put this bag of sand inside an old pillowcase, tying it up tightly. Then I wrapped another larger plastic garbage bag around the other two bags. This triple-layered bag of sand would then be placed on top of the tall pipe so the woodpecker could not land on it and peck downwards, which is his usual M.O.

The problem was that my apartment manager's husband, Igor (another good story right there, BTW... but for another time), was not home to climb onto the roof for me. Seeing as he is about 21 years old, approximately 110 lbs, and nimble as a Cirque du Soleil gymnast, I quickly discovered that I could not quite as easily heave myself up onto the roof as he could, using only a kitchen chair. After huffing and puffing and making a total mockery of my upper arm strength, I decided to turn to Plan B.

This Plan involved me climbing onto the roof using my neighbor's bar stool, the fence around our building, and my sense of balance.

As you can see, I did get up. The hard part was getting down...

I had Shauna help me balance the chair and assist with handing up the sand bag.

Shauna also acted as official photographer...

Here I am on the roof with the useless plastic owl and the sand bag.

I couldn't reach the top of the pipe -- or Silver Saguaro, as I've been calling it (it must be over six feet tall)...

So I had Shauna hand me up a folding chair that I then stood on to put the bag on the pipe... (Uhhh, I suddenly just had thoughts of bagpipes...)

Shauna thought the whole thing was pretty hilarious, as she was cackling away while I was trying not to slide off the folding chair on the slanted roof. Luckily I didn't end up breaking anything.

And here's what it looks like now...

Even though the owl is worthless, I still like him up there. He's kind of sinister.

As for the bag, it seriously looks like the pipe is wearing a shower cap now. It's also slightly jellyfish-like.

However, despite its homely appearance, the bag worked like a charm this morning... NO WOODPECKER!


(As a sidenote, you probably noticed that I changed the "look" of my blog. I kept getting these weird blank spaces in the blog entry sections, plus I thought the font was hard to read. I like this clean look better with the bigger font...)

Saturday, April 29, 2006


This is how I feel right now...

I'm in the midst of writing my Islamic Law paper today, and unfortunately, I still haven't gotten very far on it because I am absolutely exhausted. Why? Well, the woodpecker has returned the past two mornings from 0545 until 0800. He hammers away on the metal, pauses just long enough for me to go back to sleep, and then starts again, waking me up. I'm in hell. Yesterday, I bought a plastic owl and had my apartment manager's husband, Igor, place it on the roof, but that did not work at all. I even called an animal trapping specialist today, but he hasn't called me back. My next tactic is to try putting a bag of sand on top of the pipe to see if that will remedy the solution tomorrow morning. Miguel thinks I really should buy a beebee gun.

And on that bitter note, I must get back to attempting to write something about anything... sigh.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Marching Band & The Miami Sound Machine

Can anyone think of anything worse than the following combination: high school marching band and the Miami Sound Machine? (which I shall refer to as MSM)

Thanks to Laura's friend, Lovey, I remembered that I'd completely forgotten to include any Latin-infused Gloria Estefan tracks on my "worst songs" blog.

I have no idea how I could have been so remiss... especially given the fact that one of my most traumatic teen memories occurred in conjunction with the following MSM song...

The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You!

Watch out everybody... it's contagious! My legs... I can't control the rhythm in my legs, and now my feet... they're tapping, ooo, they're tapping... and my
fingers are starting to snap involuntarily... the rhythm, is, in fact, getting me!

First of all, before I begin to tell my tale of woe, I want you to know I really do have nice parents. I love them very much, and they provided for us well... but, they just didn't understand that high school band is the equivalent of a social death sentence for a young teenager.

My older brother was in band. He played the drums. If there were to be a cool instrument in marching band, it was the drums. These were the guys that sat in the back of the school bus on the way to "band tournaments." They drank in the back, they had private jokes, they were the "cool kids" of band.

A typical all-male drumline, bordering on cool.

Now, I had always wanted to play clarinet, flute or piccolo. But my father, bless his heart, thought these instruments "too wimpy" for his daughter. Oh, no... he wanted a girl with attitude... a girl who wasn't afraid to make some noise... a girl who could jam in a jazz band. Therefore, I was talked into the saxophone, which I knew absolutely nothing about when I started playing it in fifth grade except that it was damn heavy to lug home from the school bus, and I was the only girl playing it. In sum, I wasn't really very into it.

Lisa Simpson, I was not...

However, my father (having been a band nerd -- trombonist -- in his younger years) was convinced that this experience was a good thing for me. So, I continued honking away through eighth grade band, always a rather average player, and forever jealous of the popular girls having fun up in the clarinet and flute sections. Instead, I was stuck next to a bunch of pimple-faced adolescent boys, who I had nothing in common with and no desire to be friends with, in the back center of the band.

When it was time to enter high school, I decided to make my move: I was quitting band once and for all. For one, not one of my friends was in the band. They were all in the chorus. Second, I hated the saxophone. Third, I didn't want to go to band camp in the summer. Fourth, I wanted to have fun with my cool non-band friends during football games. And finally, I did not want to wear my high school's god-awful bright orange marching band uniform in front of my cool friends at very cool football games. Umm, this was not cool. You see, our school colors were black and orange, but some genius decided that orange polyester would be much classier than, say, black wool.

So -- you have probably already figured out that my father would not even consider letting me quit band. I was told that I had to play "at least one year" since my parents had bought my saxophone and paid for lessons all those years. Apparently, it was the least I could do to repay my debt, and most importantly, our family didn't raise "quitters." But oh god, it was such a blow to my fragile teen self. Just the thought of hanging out at half time in orange polyester was more than I could handle. However, there was no arguing with my dad.

And so, this was my future in the fall of 1988... except
imagine bright orange with white plumed helmets.

I went to summer band camp and met the truly seasoned saxophonists, the juniors and seniors, (dorks, all of them) who lived and breathed the MHS Knights marching band. While at camp, we had to learn the marching patterns for the songs we were going to play that fall season... which were... ohhhh!!! A whole medley of Miami Sound Machine music!!!!!! That's right... just imagine "The Conga" and "The Rhythm is Gonna Get You" re-scored for marching band. Yes, it was very edgy. I do remember vividly having to sway my sax to the beat, while forming a "conga line," and then engaging in some exotic Latin footwork while marching on the field.

If you can believe this, I still haven't gotten to the traumatic memory yet ...

Well, it was toward the end of fall and the end (thank god) of marching band season. Our band had secured a position at the Annual Mid-Atlantic Marching Band Show and Competition in Allentown, PA. The morning of the show, my brother, who was a senior, drove us from home over to the school around 6 am. I didn't really want to be there. Disgruntled, I boarded one of the school buses and plopped down in the first seat. (My brother, of course, went to a different bus with his "drum crew"). I must have chatted with a few flag corps girls (ie: overweight wannabe cheerleaders), the only people I recall talking much to, and then shut my eyes for a few moments until the bus left the parking lot.

We got to the first traffic light in town when I popped my eyes open in horror. I suddenly realized that I never went into the school to get my saxophone. It was still sitting back in the band room. OMG, I was on my way to the biggest band competition of the year without an instrument.

For those of you who know me, this is a classic Kit sort of predicament. I hollered up to the school bus driver to see if she would stop the bus and take me back a quarter-mile to the school. No, she said, she could not turn around.

Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fucking fuck. I was in a total panic, mainly because I was trying to imagine how I was going to tell the band director, Mr. Rupert, who was one of the meanest, anal retentive, asshat teachers I've ever had in my life. He was on one of the other buses so I had the whole drive to Allentown to imagine the scenario playing out... "ahh, Hi Mr. Rupert, I sort of forgot"... no no, how about... "Mr. Rupert, you know I've never done anything this dumb before"... or perhaps... "Hi Mr. Rupert! How was your bus ride? Let's see, I have something to tell you"...

Imagine a perm-haired young woman in orange
polyester freaking out in a seat behind the driver...

Once we finally got to Allentown, my stomach was in a series of knots. I gathered some deep breaths and approached my bearded nemesis teacher, Mr. Rupert. To be honest, I really don't remember what I said, but I do remember the look of incredulity on his face as he sputtered, "You, you, you... what?!?" After I shamefully repeated my bad news, he curtly told me to "figure out a solution" to my problem.

Although I tried to find a saxophone to "borrow" from another band, there was little time to go gallavanting around the stadium chatting up saxophonists, and frankly, I was far too embarrassed to tell anyone in another band what I had done. I was secretly hoping that I just wouldn't have to participate.

However, give it to Mr. Rupert... when our turn came to play, he made me go out on the field with the band holding "an invisible saxophone." Mmhmmm, I had to march around to the Miami Sound Machine pretending to play an instrument that didn't exist. I've never felt like such a moron in all of my life.

It was almost like air guitar... except 100 times as lame.

And that, my friends, is the story of marching band, the Miami Sound Machine, and me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

James Taylor and Getting Braces

So, tonight, as promised -- another addition to the "bad song" blog and associated story of teenage misery that you've been waiting for...

The song: "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor (just imagining this song in my head gives me very bad shivers, as does JT's voice)

Here's the video:


Telling people you hate James Taylor is akin to telling people that you think Robin Williams is lame (which I do... I don't think he is funny in the slightest), but people always get this look, like, "What? What is wrong with you? Are you a real American? Do you have horns?..." However, my dislike of James Taylor has specific roots that go back to one day in the late 1980s...

Picture it... rural Maryland, 1988. I was about to enter my freshman year of high school, and it was "time to get braces." Secretly, I was always rather excited about having braces, which I considered to be the hallmark of teendom. For years, I'd taken lollipop sticks and bent them around my front teeth "like a retainer," but now was my chance to get the real deal.

Lying back in the orthodontist's chair, I relaxed to the soothing melodies of James Taylor piping out of the office's audio system. Ahhh, this isn't so bad... first, the teeth cleaning (chilling to James Taylor), then the braces fitting on the molars (ehhh, still James Taylor), next, the prep work to get each tooth ready (still that James Taylor song! And no, I'm starting to think I really don't want you as a friend right about now...), then the adhesive (holy shit, is that James Taylor STILL playing?)...

... And then lying in the chair for at least half an hour while the glue dries (I am really fucking hating James Taylor right about now), and finally the tightening of the braces (OH MY GOD!! This is the eighth time I've heard "You've Got A Friend" in the past fucking hour! Please, oh please, end my misery...).

No kidding... it was about four straight hours of one James Taylor CD looped over and over and over and over and over -- the songs "You've Got a Friend" and "You Are My Only One" particularly stick in my craw -- until I thought I would jump up on the dentist chair and rip the speaker out of the damn ceiling. I mean, I wasn't a fan of James Taylor to start with, but I will forever associate that nasal voice with my multiple-hour braces initiation, which sucked, and the braces themselves, which, by the way, were really not as cool or fun as I'd hoped.

In fact, here I am in 1990 with my brother (who had just chopped off his mullet) two years after surviving the "I'm in hell with James Taylor" incident. I'm hiding my metal mouth behind a non-smile:

Also, please note the requisite late-80s/early-90s "claw bang" and "spiral perm." As a total side note, I was also working at Domino's Pizza -- answering the phones -- at this juncture in time.

So... I planned to also include a story on a different bad song and my marching band experience in this post, but alas, it is 9:45pm here, and I have Islamic Law to prepare for tomorrow, therefore I must go...

Look forward to sheer dorkiness tomorrow! Ta-ta...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My Early Morning Wake-Up Call

My 4-year old niece called me at 7:45 am this morning. Seeing as I'd stayed up until nearly 2 am finishing my economics paper, I didn't answer my phone. Instead, I put my pillow over my head and willed my phone to stop ringing.

This is what we each looked like this morning:

Something ugly happens between age 4 and age 31...

However, upon rising at the ripe hour of 9 am, guilt got the better of me, and I called Isabella back as I was making coffee. She had a lot to say today, most of it involving -- again -- birthday parties and Dora the Explorer.

When I asked how my old Cabbage Patch doll was faring, she said, "We washed her face," and then recounted in great detail how she and my mother (who was visiting her in Denver a couple of weeks ago) washed Jacobina Jessalyn's face with soapy water and a washcloth (have I mentioned that my mother is a complete clean freak?... this sort of thing was run-of-the-mill in my childhood), and "we even cleaned her eyes, Kit." Ahh, yes, I'm not surprised...

BTW, this is what happens when
you Google search for "dirty doll."

Interestingly, this isn't the first time I had heard about "the great Cabbage Patch face wash"... in fact, Isabella called me right after the scrub-down took place, while my mother was still out there. It appears as though the cleaning of the doll has left an indelible impression upon her little mind. Let's hope she actually has some fun with the thing now.

Well, I'd love to write more, but I have another final paper to write (this time on Islamic Law in Saudi Arabia, which I am completely dreading). Too bad though because I thought of two more really terrible songs that I wanted to write about (each of which has a "story" behind it), but I will save that until tomorrow. Two hints though: marching band and braces. That's right, the stuff high school nightmares are made of...

Until then... I will think about the golden days of my pre-teen youth, when I too was up at the crack of dawn to enjoy another day of parties, pinatas, and playing house.

Waking up seemed so easy then...

Time: 6:30 a.m. and smiling.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Coffee Clutch

Tonight I went to yoga and discovered something about myself that I didn't know: when I sit on the floor, with my legs bent outward and the soles of my feet touching each other, I can turn my ankles so that the soles of my feet point to the ceiling. I was the only person in my class that could do it, which made me feel pretty special.

Seeing as I absolutely suck at just about every other flexibility exercise (ummm, I still cannot touch my toes or do "downward dog" correctly, even after four months in yoga class...), this was pretty major for me. In fact, it boosted my yoga confidence so much that I'm now aspiring to this:

This picture was entitled: "flexibilitea.jpeg"

However, I'm going to call my pose "the coffee clutch" because it's my hot drink of preference.

Until tomorrow... Yogi Kit

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Legendary Sondra Prill

I have decided this evening that in lieu of my own attempts at creativity, I will introduce you to someone else's. I encountered a talented young lady named Sondra Prill when I was unearthing old videos for my "worst song ever" blog last week, and I absolutely must share with you her amazing voice and artistic musings. With no further ado, I shall "cut and paste" the rest...

The following is courtesy of a blog entitled,
"UBU Web: The 365 Days Project", written by a witty guy named Eric Williams in December 2003 , to give you some background on Sultry Sondra (videos attached below):

The mid-eighties to early-nineties were a golden age for public-access cable in Tampa, Florida - at least judging from the "highlight" tapes my brother sent me. But no wannabe who appeared before the cameras of Jones Intercable Channel 12 has left a more indelible imprint on my consciousness than Sondra Prill.

Sondra was the star of the imaginatively titled "My Show". (Hey, Charlie Chaplin wrote a book called "My Autobiography" and he was a genius, so maybe we should cut her some slack.) In its three installments aired over the course of several years, "My Show" provided a showcase for Sondra's ever-evolving range of things at which she tried to be talented.

Episode One was the most primitive technically. Most of the segments were studio-bound, shot in front of that all-purpose cable-access backdrop: a trellis. Sondra introduced her guest, Dave Turner, a mountainous Charlie-Daniels-esque country singer, who ably began to sing the male half of the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duet "Islands In The Stream". Then came time for Sondra to fill Dolly's vocal shoes (or whatever) in a voice simultaneously so shrill and so flat that it's remarkable Turner could remain on pitch…or refrain from crying. But Turner proved impervious enough to Sondra's shrieks that they went on to perform two more duets ("Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Behind Closed Doors"), with Sondra over-exaggerating her facial expressions and body movements to drive home every nuance of the songs. In "Islands In The Stream", when she sang the lyrics "No one in between", she waved her hands between herself and Turner like a "Price Is Right" model or David Copperfield assistant, just to make it absolutely clear that there was indeed no one standing between them.

Then it was time for Sondra to take the solo spotlight, where her abilities could truly shine - first on a version of Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You", with enough sustained flat notes to shatter all the china in your neighborhood. Finally came the show's production highlight, an out-of-studio video of Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love", shot at a local fern bar with a handful of uncomfortable-looking extras. For some reason, Sondra decided to sing as if she were the bride of Frankenstein, with her vocals taking on a high quavery Elvira-doing-the-Monster-Mash quality and her face contorted into a fright mask of wide eyes and gnashing teeth.

Episode Two showed considerable evolution, both in higher production values and in Sondra's range as an entertainer. No longer content simply to be the next Dolly/Whitney/Elsa Lanchester, Sondra now wished to be Lily Tomlin as well, introducing the songs while dressed as an old lady character named Marjorie and a four-year-old girl named Miss Melissa. Some of Marjorie and Melissa's bits were crude -- tending toward the snot-fixated range of the comedy spectrum - but their defining characteristic was their utter incomprehensibility. Here's one of Miss Melissa's "jokes" in its entirety:

"When my brother was in the third grade, his teacher told him that he needed to see a psychiatrist. My parents said, 'Uh uh, no way, we're movin'."

Musically, Sondra got down with her bad self by performing Janet Jackson's "Nasty", while wearing a fur coat onstage with a couple of male strippers, and Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam", while wearing a fur coat on a Florida beach. (She also wore a baffling beaded something-or-other during this segment.) Sondra the balladeer made her presence known via "Memory" from "Cats" over the closing credits, as well as an original composition which I assume is titled "Just A Smile", although I prefer to refer to it by the much more cumbersome lyric, "A Smile Must Be The Most Extravagant Thing To View". Intercut with black-and-white footage of Sondra singing, we are shown numerous stills of Sondra, which suggests either that she's singing the song to herself or that Sondra is letting us know just how important she knows she is to us, because she's able to make us smile. (Hey, wait a second. Charlie Chaplin wrote a song called "Smile"! And why is Sondra shot in black-and-white during this song? Is it an homage because all of Chaplin's films were in black-and-white? These parallels are starting to get eerie. If only Sondra had stuck with silents.)

In the unfortunate tradition of "The Godfather", "Alien", the original "Star Wars" trilogy and the "Look Who's Talking" franchise, Episode Three of "My Show" is by far the weakest. It consists primarily of footage shot at a party where Sondra gave out "thank you" presents to the people who had helped her make "My Show" number two, including a twenty-five-dollar gift certificate for vitamins and a six-foot Blimpie submarine sandwich. (SPOILER ALERT: This is also essentially the plot of "Godfather 3".)

But the show did include a few new characters, including Nellie Pineapple, a husky-voiced broad with stained teeth who inherits a fruit market but dies from smoking, leading to the timeless Aesopian moral: "Sondra Prill Says: Don't Smoke If You Wanna Own A Fruit Stand". She also played Mario Muscleman, wearing a plastic chest complete with nipples which was meant to suggest that she was a weightlifter but, due to her completely unconvincing performance (including a high squeaky voice), it just looked like Sondra was flashing her audience.

The musical highlights of show three were a new video for the "Smile" song - breaking in yet another fur on the notoriously frigid streets of Tampa, Florida -- and Sondra's take on Bette Midler's "From A Distance". Around this time, Sondra also recorded a version of "The Star Spangled Banner" to be used when access channel 12 signed off. In the video, she stands before a chromakeyed American flag, hugging herself coquettishly as if she were singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President".

Sondra and "My Show" disappeared from Jones Intercable after the third installment, but Sondra made at least one more attempt to bring her talent to the masses. In 1992, Sondra and her mother/benefactress Regina rented the 900-seat Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Playhouse Theatre to present "A Musical Fantasy", for which a portion of the proceeds were to be donated to victims of the recent Hurricane Andrew. I'll let Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Tribune fill in the rest:

"Ticket prices for her show ranged up to $50, a testimony to a rather intriguing assessment of her talents considering recent (and slightly better known) TBPAC performers such as Al Green and Patti LaBelle charged a maximum ticket price of $25.

"Of course Green and LaBelle lack Sultry Sondra's unique way of handling a melody - a cross between the dulcet sound of setting one's hair on fire and sticking one's hand into a garbage disposal.

"Friday night's show was not without its highlights. First, it started about 20 minutes late and in an inadvertent gaffe much to the delight of the audience, Sultry Sondra's microphone failed during one of her songs, which meant we were all spared from having to listen to her.

"Fortunately for the rest of the city, there weren't that many of us in the audience. Only 41 tickets were sold to Sultry Sondra, a commentary on the good sense of the populace. Of course they did miss that dramatic moment during the performance where Sultry Sondra had honey poured all over her for no particular reason. Say, That's Entertainment!

"Needless to say the victims of Hurricane Andrew won't be benefitting much from Friday's extravaganza of the banal. But then again, perhaps the folks down in Miami could send Sultry Sondra a few bucks - as professional courtesy from one disaster to another."


Here's hoping at least forty-TWO people get to hear her this time around.

- Eric Williams

So, now that you know the background, here are my two favorite Sondra videos (again, hit the pause button and let them load if they keep stopping):

"Addicted to Love"

This made me laugh out loud the other night. I mean, it's just SO bad.

"Nasty Boys"

And what can I even say about this? It's just... wrong. Although I'll
take the hot blonde guy with the muscle pants and feathered hair. Ohhh,
wait, which one?... hahahaha...

Finally, if you're just dying to see more (and really, I can't blame you), you can go here to see the whole terrible collection! It's also fun to read the poster's hilarious comments about each video...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fun in the Tucson E.R.

Don't worry, I'm fine... but my friend Greg was really sick today and called me early this evening to take him to the hospital.

Having never been to an E.R. (except for one lone visit when I was five years old and accidentaly fell head-first on our linoleum floor while wrestling with my dad and brother... I suffered a concussion), or at least not having any memory of an E.R., I thought it would be an interesting adventure. Of course, my first concern was my friend Greg's health, but I have to admit that I also had a bit of curiosity about seeing the TV show put into reality.

Although I was out walking on campus (for exercise, you know) when Greg called for assistance, I told him I'd be over to pick him up in 15 minutes. Hello, underestimation. As I tried to pick up the pace after realizing that I was far more than a 15 minute walk from my car, I imagined this gravely ill person was probably looking at his watch, waiting for the Grim Reaper, while I was dilly-dallying my way home from my "speed walk." Finally arriving at his house about 25 minutes later, I peeked with a certain amount of fear through his screen door, expecting to find a limp, pale lifeless form collapsed in a heap, but luckily I discovered him alive and talking to his mother on his cell phone.

I can only imagine the guilt that would stay with me forever.
(I love that someone has copyrighted the photo of this pasty hand)

Once we got to the E.R., I discovered that it was not nearly as interesting as I'd imagined. In fact, it was downright awful. The waiting room was grey and an orange-tinted maroon with chairs upholstered in some sort of floral fabric I can only imagine my grandmother might have found attractive in 1930. Greg went in to the "patient" area for some sort of diagnostics, and I attempted to read a book on Algerian fundamentalism. However, I found it hard to concentrate when there were six screaming babies surrounding me. The entire waiting area was full of worried young parents, with a handful of scabby old people milling about. In fact, I only saw one ambulance arrival, and on the stretcher was a middle-aged woman wearing Isotoner slippers, who I later saw walking around like a champion.

The slippers were of this style.

After three hours, Greg told me to go home, and I wasn't going to argue. He appeared to be feeling better, and the nurse said he would have to wait in the "patient area" (where I was not located) at least another hour just to see a doctor. While I felt bad leaving him there amidst the wailing infants, I didn't really see the purpose of staring around the waiting room any longer, serving no purpose, as my economics paper lingered in its unwritten state.

So what I really wanted to know was: Where were the defibrulating EMTs? Where were the "code blues"? And, where, for the love of god, was Dr. Doug Ross?

Now, this is the kind of action I was hoping for...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Worst Songs Ever!

Today, as I was preparing to work on one of the two final papers I still have to write (AKA procrastinating), I read a fun little article on about what musical malady should be rated "the worst song ever." Being the rather negative person that I am, I much prefer this sort of contest to "the best song ever" --- I mean, it's really much more entertaining to deride a truly bad tune.

If you don't actually want to read the article, I'll just tell you that the author really hates the song, "Honey," by Bobby Goldsboro (I can't recall it, but it's from 1968).

He also mentions the following songs as contenders for "worst song ever" as voted for by the staff (click on the song titles to see their equally rocking videos):

"Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band (sidenote: No way! I like that song!)

"Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister (yes, god awful)

"Heartbeat" by Don Johnson (so bad it's funny... especially the video)

"I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred (ummm, I embarrassingly owned the single cassette tape)

"Disco Duck" by Rick Dees (I met Rick Dees nephew in Tucson selling cellular phones)

"Just a Friend" by Biz Markie (if the song isn't the worst ever, the video should be...)

Also nominated:
Any song by Celine Dion --- I completely agree, however, I would like to specifically nominate one of my most hated songs ever sung by her... that
god awful, sappy song from Titanic. I dislike that song almost as much as I disliked that wretched and ridiculous movie (especially the scene where the hand slides down the fogged up window... I nearly walked out of the theater at that point). I couldn't believe it won the Academy Award. Worst. Movie. Ever.

I believe this is the post-coital, and post-hand smear on the car window, cuddle.

Here were the ten worst songs according to "Blender" magazine:

"We Built This City" - Starship (1985)

"Achy Breaky Heart" - Billy Ray Cyrus (1992)

"Everybody Have Fun Tonight" - Wang Chung (1986)

"Rollin'" - Limpbizkit (2000)

"Ice Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice (1990)

"Heart and Soul" - Huey Lewis & The News (1984)

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" - Bobby McFerrin (1988)

"Party All the Time" - Eddie Murphy (1985)

"American Life" - Madonna (2003)

"Ebony and Ivory" - Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder (1982)

I agree with the votes for "We Built This City" (that song is in my top three most hated songs ever), "Achy Breaky Heart," "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," "Heart and Soul," "Don't Worry, Happy," and "Party All the Time," but the others don't bother me all that much...

Don't knock the Vanilla, man.

However... (drum roll, please), there are still a few unnamed bombs out there, and here they are (according to me, anyway):

"Sussudio" by Phil Collins. Oh my god, I loathe this beastly tune with serious gusto. It's definitely got to rank at the top of any bad song list. If it comes on my car radio accidentally, my hand moves like quick lightning to avoid hearing even one note of its repetitive hell. It sssuusssuuusuuucks.

"Land of Confusion" by Genesis. There's just something bad about Phil Collins. Also, this video is plain disturbing... and gross... what's up with the monkey in bed with the Reagans? And Phil Collins singing as a puppet? Thanks to Miguel for suggesting this one!

3. "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon. In my top-tier bad song group. I consider it pure evil -- enough said... (sorry, no video for this poopy song)

"Mandolin Rain" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Please note Bruce's rat tail.

"Right Here Waiting For You" by Richard Marx. American cheese, on top of cheddar, on top of Velveeta.

"How Can We Be Lovers" by Michael Bolton. I had to follow Richard Marx with this one.

"From A Distance" by Bette Midler. You really must watch this video of some woman named Sondra Prill covering this song... it's sooo bad, and yet sooo funny! Also read the poster's comments... I love it!

"The Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler. Since I'm on the corny song genre, I might as well keep going. I actually like some of Bette Midler's songs... OK, maybe it's just "The Rose"... but she really cheesed out in the late 80s and 90s.

"Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. Better yet, this video is a photo montage of that drippy American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken... I, along with the majority of voters, picked big boy Ruben Studdard over him, but Ruben's never been seen again. Of course, neither of these two has anything to do with Rick Astley, but whatever...

And that's it for tonight. I thought about going to ten songs, but then, why does everything have to be an even number or end in five? I'm happy with nine... number nine, number nine...

PS - Please feel free to leave your opinion of "worst song ever" in my comments section! However, you are not allowed to disagree with me. After all, this is my blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Semi-Deaf with Alzheimer's

I am a terrible listener. I always have been, and I continue to be a bad, bad, bad, bad listener...

This is not a good trait. As a child, my parents and brother would tell stories at the dinner table. When the story would end, I would often ask something like, for example, "so what happened to Marge then?" Well, the whole ENTIRE STORY was about "what happened to Marge then," but I would get too transfixed on thinking about the initial parts of the story, like what Marge looked like, where she lived, the name Marge... is that short for "Margaret?", Marge, Marge... sounds like margerine... I'm sure glad my name isn't Marge...

And then, two minutes later, after emerging from my catatonic state, I would ask "oh, wait, so what happened to her?"

Thus, annoyance from the storyteller ensued...

While annoying to a number of my friends, who often ask, "Where have you been? We were just talking about that, and you were sitting right here!," it can also be very annoying to me personally, especially when I miss important details because I am "zoned out"...

Last week, I was clearly zoned out in my Islamic Law class, which is easy to do since the topic is so completely dry. Our teacher told us that our class was being moved to a different classroom this week, and then (according to my classmate Sarah) told us "at least three times" the room number for the new room. Was I in the class? Yes. Was I listening, not once, but three different times? No, apparently I was not.

Maybe I was feeling for chin whiskers instead.

So yesterday, I showed up to class to find a totally empty classroom. Figuring I must have missed something, I sped on my old bicycle over to my department...

However, once I got there no one seemed to know anything about where the class had moved, or why I was the only person who didn't know where to go. So I then borrowed a professor's computer to check my school e-mail to see if a message with the new room number had been sent out. (Surely, it must have been...)

But no...

I vaguely remembered hearing something about the "social sciences" building so I decided (30 minutes into class now) to head over there and see if I could walk the halls, look into classroom windows, and hopefully see a familiar face. After about four hallways, two floors, and 25 classrooms later, I actually spotted my class, by a stroke of complete luck.

But I missed nearly half the class by then...

On a totally separate, but equally forgetful note, I also think I am contracting an early form of Alzheimer's...

Last Friday, I woke up, made coffee, read a book in bed for a while, watched some Maury Povich, and then started getting ready for my 11am economics class. I got on my bike, I leisurely rode to campus, I parked my bike in front of the economics building, I went into the building, headed toward the classroom, and hmmm... it was empty. This was indeed odd!

And then it hit me... OH SHIT!

Today is Friday... not Thursday, and my 10:15 Arabic class had been going on for almost an hour by that point. Duhhhhh...

And so... the bottom line appears to be that my life is falling into total disarray because I'm a semi-deaf old coot. Fabulous.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

David Hasselhoff Rocks My World!

Absolutely nothing interesting happened to me today except for the sudden re-realization that I am 100% ready to get out of this god awful hellhole town... and soon. Truly, I hate Tucson with a passion, and I am missing a "real city" something fierce.

To reinvigorate my mood, I decided to entertain myself by watching David Hasselhoff music videos... this was my favorite:

I noticed a few things while I was watching it:

1. I knew David Hasselhoff was tall, but he looks like he's about 6'8" next to his band. Seriously, how short is that little guitarist in the middle with the dark ponytail? He's like Tom Thumb.

2. I also knew Germans liked David Hasselhoff, but I never realized to what extent. For their sakes, I hoped the Hoff-love was just an "urban legend," but this is indisputable evidence of bad taste, and there's apparently lots of it.

3. I love the Hoff's outfit... from the rhinestone biker jacket to the dangerously naughty black pants to the pointy "Whitesnake" boots. Grrrr, tiger...

4. How hot is the blonde keyboardist on the left with the mustache? The curly top guitarist isn't so shabby either... but he reminds me of that annoying guy "Buddy" on "Charles in Charge" for some reason.

5. Did anyone else enjoy the crystal clear visual of David Hasselfhoff banging his (now ex-) wife when he sings the line, "I just want to love her and then love her some more?"

6. And finally, I dig the mullet on that sweet French chanteuse... tres chic, Davide.

However, I have to say that his mullet can't even come close to this guy's:

I want you to know that I took these pictures myself at "Dave and Buster's" arcade in Denver, Colorado. I have to give credit to my brother for spotting this mega-mullet first though. It's a real beauty...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Miming and "The Puff Factor"

I started writing this blog entry back in March, when Miguel was here visiting me over Spring Break. However, I never finished it because I got distracted -- go figure -- by my houseguest. However, I thought I'd finally finish it up and send it out...

Written on March 11, 2006:

Today, we went to Tubac to check out the artist's colony and shopping there. We also had to satisfy our geeky history interests by touring the Tubac Presidio, which was the first European settlement in Arizona. Of course, the highlight of our self-guided tour was meeting a clearly unbalanced tour guide, dressed in period costume, who talked to us for at least five minutes about her interest in acting as a mime. Apparently, when she's not re-enacting an 18th century Jesuit minister's wife, she's walking around Tubac with a black and white face pretending to pull on ropes and run into walls. Unfortunately, we were the only visitors in the Presidio at the time so we got a lot of one-on-one attention from her. Miguel pretty much ran out of the fort's gates once we extracted ourselves from her grasp.

Just about everybody hates a mime, except for
this crazy lady.

Changing gears (imagine a mime turning the cog of a wheel, please)... Miguel and I were talking about Morrissey and the Smiths, and Miguel commented how much better Morrissey looked in the 1980s than now...

He asked me (and this is why I love this boy), "Have you ever noticed how certain men get puffy and bloated when they get older?"

I replied that I was, in fact, familiar with this bad side effect of aging. Of course, Val Kilmer is one of the most obvious suspects (as discussed in
an earlier blog about 80s movie star hotties), but look at Morrissey's "before (on the left) and after (ummm, on the right)" pictures:

Something is going on here, and it's called "The Puff Factor."
(BTW, please ignore the "Myth is Morrissey" and "Pulp Fiction-mystery-glow-on-the-necklace" weirdness... I got it from a Japanese website)

Here are some other famous victims of "The Puff Factor" that Miguel and I thought of ---

John Travolta:

I never really thought JT was so cute, but now he's even less cute and

rather round and bulbous. He's so puffy his chin dimple is nearly gone.

Simon Le Bon:

Oh god, this is just so sad. H-O-T to N-O-T...

William Shatner:

Captain Kirk was definitely the hottie of the Starship Enterprise...
but now he reminds me of a pierogie-eating Russian peasant.
Dasvedanya, Captain Kirk.

Speaking of the Russian language, can you believe what happened
to that Ukrainian president last year who got poisoned by the KGB?

Now this is a serious case of chemical-induced puff. That poor man.

James Spader:

Sure he played a dickhead in all the 1980s movies... but I
secretly found him very sexy. But check out his big, puffy
bloated face in "Boston Legal" -- ironically acting with William
Shatner. Maybe it's something in the water on set?

Micky Rourke:

Quite the sexbomb in "9 1/2 Weeks" --- now he's so creepy I can
hardly stand it. Not only is he puffy, but he tried to mask "the puff
factor" with plastic surgery, which clearly did not help things.

Nick Nolte:

Nick Nolte always had that "dumb thug" look about him, but the

older, puffier face just exacerbates the homeless man lurking inside.

Harrison Ford:

Sweet Harrison, you were Indiana Jones and Han Solo, for
heaven's sakes! Now look at you... you're just skinny Calista

Flockhart's puffy boy toy. Sigh.

Elton John:

Oh my lord, Elton. Who are you now? You look like my old lesbian chorus
teacher, except she was more attractive.

Axl Rose:

This is just plain disturbing. Pretty boy to embalmed wax figure

in just a decade and a half...

Alec Baldwin:

Yet one more depressing case of buff to puff...

And saving the best for last ---

Corey Haim:

Pin-up idol of the '80s turns into has-been Stay-Puffman.

Truth be known, I think he's just gotten fat, as he's not old enough to get "The Puff Factor," but can you even believe that our sweet little Corey has gone downhill so fast? I guess this is the price we pay for living in the fast lane...

Until next time...

This mime says, "au revoir."