March 25, 2007

Irony Can Be Ecstacy

"O to the ZZY"
So I'm sitting here yesterday morning and banging my head to old Black Sabbath as I watched a television biography about Ozzy Osbourne.

Now, I am a lot of things but mostly - they're all part of a down to earth, fairly conservative, laid back and easygoing me. I will say, however, that I absolutely loved Black Sabbath back in the days when Ozzy still had most of his gray matter intact. My musical tastes have broadened since then, but they haven't changed.

Anyway, here I was sitting on the couch in the morning, cranking up the volume every time they ran bits of his old concerts, when a knock sounded at the door. I looked out in front and there were no cars in sight. I went to the door and opened it gingerly, peeking out at a man in a suit.

Through my closed storm door I said, "Can I help you?" in a tone that really meant, "This better be good - having interrupted my delicious trip back to my youth and all ..."

The tie-clad gentleman helped himself to opening my storm door and handed me a flyer bearing the image of J.C. in a crown of thorns. "Good morning ma'am. I just wanted to present this invitation to you ~ thank you and have a nice day."

I took the thing and chuckled as I remembered a great little comedy bit where the presenter said that every time someone on the street gives him a handout, it's as if they're saying to him, "Here, you throw it out**." Walking to the garbage recepticle in my kitchen I quickly eyeballed the image and small print inviting me to the Kingdom Hall (Jehovah's Witness) next weekend. Tossing it in the trash, I thought about the irony as I sang out in my best pretend-Ozzy voice while flipping my hair over one shoulder.

I wondered if the man in the tie could hear the lyrics, sense the symbolism and feel the darkness that filled my living room as he stood at the door hoping I'd be an easy target. I wasn't - but not because I resent his beliefs - I just don't think door-to-door is the most appropriate way to sell your religion. Heck, even Avon and Stanley Home Products have given up on that method! But I digress ...

Ozzy (to my thinking) is such a joy to listen to. You would be hard-pressed to fully understand more than three words out of every twenty ~ between his nifty accent, his malfunctioning tongue and his partially spent brain ~ but just like the man at my door remains faithful to his cause, I remain faithful to this aging, poetic prince of darkness*.

In closing - I haven't fallen away from the blog world again. Let's just say that if I could have been around, I would have been around. With spring in the air now, maybe I can finally lose these winter blues and get with the program.

Until again, I leave you with two Oz-man quotes:

"Trouble always seems to find a way to live inside my mind"

"I got rabies shots for biting the head off a bat but that's OK - the bat had to get Ozzy shots"

**Ed and I have established a little nickname for all the junk mail we receive. We have come to call it HYTIO mail, pronounced "high-tee-oh"... as in "here, you throw it out."

March 08, 2007

The Other "B" Word

This is the real deal
The one and only
The one whose creator will sue the pants off you
if you even use the name OR sing the song and
no, I'm not kidding
So I was driving along a bendy country road when my car broke down. It was the kind of breakdown where you couldn't even pull all the way to the curb, which was fine, since there were no curbs on this road. There were no curbs ... there was no sidewalk ... there was no sign of human life.

Lebanon - not the country. That was the name of the farm town where, on this hot and humid summer day, my birthday party/balloon delivery was located.

It wasn't enough that the humidity was hovering around eighty-five percent. It wasn't enough that the temperature was swiftly climbing from the crack-of-dawn-eighty-five that woke me up in a pool of sweat. And it still wasn't enough that the air conditioning in my car was not working at all. No. All of this clearly was not enough.

Even under such conditions, I had to blow up ten helium balloons, load them into my car and get into my sickening, furry, crinoline-stuffed, purple dinosaur costume - all for the sake of putting a smile on some little kid's face.

Certain rules needed to be followed when you were pretending to be something you weren't.

Under no circumstances were you to be seen or heard out-of-character. No way, no how, not ever! You put on that costume and you simply became the character until you were at a safe distance from your party people. The most important rule, however, was to keep your head on - come hell or high water - keep your head on unless you were one hundred percent sure there were no children in sight; don't want to traumatize little Stan or Wendy now, do you? I can hear it now, "AAAAAH! They took B**ney's head off! Bastards!"^

You needed to know those rules to fully appreciate the dilemma I found myself in as my car broke down on a desolate, winding road in Lebanon (not the country) in the hellish heat of one afternoon I will never forget.

Here's the clincher. For some ungodly reason, before leaving my home on that evil day, I decided to strip down and go full-body commando* beneath all the net and fur that unbeknownst to me, was to become my personal chamber of horror later on. I had never done this before, but after all, I was tired of baking in my costumes all summer long, while fighting off dogs and children and pathetically smartass adults. Besides, who would ever know?

Aside from the fact that I never made it to my delivery, a large herd of Holsteins started to take a liking to me - in a very frightening way. Lucky for me they have the intelligence of an empty bucket or they might have made their way through the shoddy, wooden fence between us and done unspeakable things to me. I could swear they were whispering amongst themselves - probably making up some Far Side-ish jokes as the big purple girlosaur paced back and forth in her enormous, stuffed feet.

I can't make this crap up, people.

Keeping in mind that the average Joe wasn't packing a cell phone back then, you can read the awful chain of events while I try once again to forget the whole thing:

*Car broke down

*Cursed and swore, very much out of character, at the sun-god, the humidity-god, and the B**ney-god

*Again, out of character, was forced to leave big dino head off (can't drive with head on) while I sought help

*In barefooted stupor, had no choice but to put on exaggerated costume feet and step away from car while looking up and down road in hopes of spotting a house or oncoming vehicle

*Said three Hail Mary's for leaving head off and risked being within eye-shot of any kids who would see B**ney headless

*Decided to remove crinoline-stuffed, furry costume so that I could breathe and stay alive long enough to seek help


*Started walking (and wheezing) in the direction I had been driving as I knew there was no sign of human life at least two miles in direction I came from

*Stopped in tracks - swore loudly - prayed not to be found dead in two-thirds of costume on winding road in Lebanon (not the country) in 90+ degree heat

*Suddenly detected a series of low, rolling "moos" coming from pasture to my right. Looked over to see large herd of cows slowly approaching and -- I could swear, nudging one another and winking

*Headed back to car realizing there's no way I could walk another step in this get-up and in this ghastly heat

*Sat with door open and fake feet off - back zipper pulled down and now pouring warm water bottle over shoulders and head to try to cool down

*Had sudden outburst of uncontrollable laughter as I sat wondering what someone would think if they drove past me looking this way

*Cried hard as someone drove past me, slowed down, noticed flailing, purple, headless furball and kept going

*Eventually breathed sigh of relief as a kindly soul stopped and taking pity, agreed to call my road service and party-store owner for me

When all was said and done that day, I realized I might be getting a bit too old for this kind of gig. The money was nice, but so is sitting on your ass in your air conditioned living room on your day off from your regular job. I was finished ... I would do up the dates that were already booked (which sadly took me into December), but that was the end ... at least, for that particular character.

I'll leave you with a catchy little tune that evolved from my character-acting days. Come on - sing it together now - you all know the song (sung to melody of "I Love You, You Love Me"):

I hate you, you hate me, we're a screwed up family
With a purple butt and a tail so frigging long
Shoot me while I sing this song ....


^ kindly note South Park references
*(nude, naked, bareassed)

March 03, 2007

American Glam Sexy Cutsie Pitiful (oh yeah, and) Singing Idol

You know, I've watched this show from its inception. I get a kick out of it. I enjoy the actual talent that fills my living room with song, two and sometimes three nights per week. Early on in the competitions, I even like watching the non-talent. It's entertainment.

I do not believe anyone is being exploited. A person would have to live under a rock to audition for that show completely ignorant of all the possible consequences.

I like the judges and I think, for the most part, they are each doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

Simon is gruff - I'll give you that - but he's usually spot on with his judgements on the actual singing.
Randy is there to teach us new street slang every week and personally, I think he's doing a marvelous job of that.
Paula is the mediator/hand-holder who sometimes gets so bored with her purpose there that she forgets to show up completely straight and sober. Still, Paula is cute and is a personality we all wish we had in a friend. I like her.

I was never going to post about American Idol. Not because I'm ashamed that I watch it, but because it's all such a matter of personal opinion and preference. Then I realized, so is every other aspect of blogging - from our template styles to our post topics and frequency.

So let's take a quick look at all of the remaining contestants thus far in this season.

Gina Glocksen - This is the girl who would like very much to have many tattoos on her but is truly afraid she may lose her job or her family's respect so instead she went out and got a long sleeved tee shirt with fake tattoos imprinted on it for her audition. Now - I really like this girl. She'll never win in a million years, but I think she has a great little rasp to her voice and I think she could probably use a lucky break in life. It's just going to come from somewhere other than AI I'm afraid.

Lakisha - We all know by now that Lakisha is the whole package without the looks. She's a little dynamo - and I'm fairly certain that unless the voters get lazy and assume "oh she already gets plenty of votes" - she will be at least among the top three. I do, however, think she 'kicked back' this week and didn't give it her all. She'll fix it though - she's not going anywhere.

Melinda Doolittle - Odd. She's just an odd looking little creature, but goodness - she can sing! What surprises me is that a person whose chin rests on her chest can get so much air out of her lungs. Maybe it's because she lifts her shoulders so darned high. I'm sure there is some physical defect and I'm sure some people reading this might be a little put off by my descriptive. She's just plain odd to look at, but I very much like her singing abilities and am sure she too will rise to the top three.

Antonella - Everyone knows Antonella by now; someone very clever saw to that. Granted, she is a drop dead gorgeous girl and has great potential as a model of either the clothed or unclothed type - but my peeps ... man ... this broad cannot sing! Two thumbs down at this hotsy totsy Joisey gal. Not because of photos of her with no clothes but because of the singing from her with no voice. Christ - the girl can't stay in tune worth a damn and has no right to be up there ... she not only lacks vocal quality but also stage presence. It's clear how and why she has made it this far, but come on people - wake up already and be a little more fair to those who really deserve to stay in this singing contest.

Jordan - She's pleasant to look at, pleasant to listen to. For such a young lady (17 I think) I feel she handles herself very nicely before an audience and before the judges. I'm not sure how far she'll get because of the strong competition, but I wish her well.

Stephanie - She's definitely a talented girl. Immensely. She's also poised, yet not afraid to make friends with the entire stage while she's up there. No matter what ... she'll be a wonderful and successful performer. She has also chosen clothes that suit her well but don't distract. I can also see her in the top three or four ... easily.

Leslie Hunt - I put her in here even though she's not in the running anymore. To me, this was a crime. I thought Leslie had a wonderfully unique quality to her voice (too bad she didn't stay in her upper range more often) and had a sweet personality as well. She was one of those people who, when you look at her - the strong and powerful voice didn't match her small frame. I really liked her and I know, just like she knew, just like many of you knew, that there were far worse contenders in the line-up this week. Far worse. I'll miss this girl.

Haley - Sometimes there's someone you just can't bring yourself to like - she's one of those people (for me). I didn't like her from the start - didn't think she was really good enough to make it to the top 24 and I'd like very much for someone to tell her to stop being so smug because she AIN'T all that and she's already skating on thin ice.

Sabrina - This is the one I think everyone else really needs to watch out for. This girl has serious talent and an incredible amount of control over her voice. She too has a sweet disposition and an outstanding stage presence. Another tiny girl with a huge sound - wow.

A real quick rundown on the boyz (in my humble opinion) would be as follows:

My top four picks at this time - Phil, Blake, Jared, Chris

My least favorite four dudes in this order -

Sundance (just EW - everything about him)
Sanjaya (adorable and has a 'nice' voice but way too weak for the competition and doesn't belong there anymore. I really wanted him to do well and kick butt, but it just didn't happen)
Brandon (again, nice voice but maybe a smidgeon too cocky for my liking)
Chris Sligh (I have a bit of trouble getting past his "I'm just oh-so-funny and oh-so-clever" attitude - but he can sing well - can't take that away from him).

Honorable mention: AJ Tibaldo. No way did he deserve such an early boot. This kid had a lot of talent and I think there were two other singers this week who should have been gone long before him. One of them had much longer hair and a pretty smile and the other one really needs to either break out the Gillette or shut the top buttons on his shirt.

But like I said - it's all just a matter of opinion.