Category Archives: Entertainment

Why Oprah shouldn’t run in 2020

I along with I suppose gazillions of people on earth watched the Golden Globes last Sunday night. Oprah’s speech was a major highlight, as she inspired us all with hope for the future. People cried, cheered, and many took immediately to Twitter, declaring “Oprah for 2020”.

I get it. If the election was held today, I would vote for her. She has earned the trust of the American people by her inclusiveness, her honesty, and her integrity over the span of many years. And I suspect she’d probably win by a wide margin, especially if she was running against Trump. 

While I could just as easily pen a post declaring the reasons why Oprah should run,  I maintain she shouldn’t run for POTUS.

Why, you ask? In a nutshell, I think she’s got more important things to do. I also suspect that in her heart of hearts, she doesn’t want to be POTUS. I’ve heard her say multiple times in interviews that she has no interest in serving our country in this capacity.

Oprah is an expert, in my opinion, of lifting others up. I loved that unlike some people, she used her podium in this speech not to talk about herself and her own accomplishments, but to lift up the #metoo movement, making sure to note that this movement includes women from all fields, all walks of life, who have been sexually abused or harassed by men in power. She lifted up Recy Taylor  (who I had never heard of before this-thank you Oprah) and Rosa Parks. She emphasized the need for all of us to speak truth to power in these tumultuous times. She said what I think we all needed to hear.

You see, Oprah has exquisite judgement of who it is that deserves our attention. Our support. Our loyalty. I think we need to pay close attention to who she champions as our next political leaders. The female leaders that have political experience. The female leaders that have the right combination of heart and intellect. The female leaders who have the vision to move our country forward, in a positive direction.

Oprah has the financial means and the social influence to shine a bright light on whoever our next candidate for POTUS should be.

That should be her role. At least for now. I would suggest that whoever is our next POTUS, that she appoints Oprah to her cabinet, perhaps as Chief Advisor. That’s something I could really get behind.

One Word Prompt: Enjoy

When I first started blogging, I often checked the daily word prompt, hoping for inspiration for a fresh and witty blog post. For the most part, I found myself coming up empty with the word of the day. So I would click for a new word. Ponder it for a moment. Nada. Then I’d clicked again, certain the next word would unleash the uber creative writer lurking inside of me. Bupkis. 

Having several sort of “meh” moments this week, it occurred to me that what I most need to do right now, in this moment, is to enjoy life. Savor it. Make the most of the ordinariness of it all. Laugh. Play. Enjoy. 

According to Merriam-Webster, the word “enjoy” is 1) to take pleasure in and 2) to keep, control, or experience as one’s own.

For my purposes this weekend, I’m going to focus on 1) what I’m enjoying, 2) who I’m enjoying it with and 3) how I’m enjoying my chosen subject of enjoyment. With the Christmas holiday upon us, this is surely not too complicated a task.

The what: Our church Christmas pageant rehearsal this afternoon. Hubs and I accepted a request from the mother of the writer/producer of this year’s production to play Mary and Joseph. I find this absolutely hilarious! Here we are, him just a couple of years and a few months from turning 50, and me, careening towards 51, playing Joseph (who I always presumed was in his 30’s when Jesus was born) and Mary (just a teen at the time). Hubs comment upon receiving this request was “I could see us playing Abraham and Sarah-but Joseph and Mary? Really?!”

More of the what: Watching Christmas movies. Eating good food plucked from our beloved crockpot. Making more Christmas cookies whilst jamming out to my favorite Christmas cd (Michael Buble). The simple things. Nothing fancy for this duo this weekend.

The Who: Hubs, of course. Duh. I intend to find that Santa hat he dons when he’s feeling especially merry during the holiday season. I’m going to insist he wear it for my enjoyment. He will tell me that his favorite Christmas song is “Silver and Gold” from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. He, the only human in this family of four who doesn’t possess a sweet tooth, will tell me that his favorite Christmas cookies are the spritz ones. He will mimic the character’s lines while we watch Christmas Vacation, telling me his favorite one is at the end, when the policeman tells the grinchy old boss that good old cousin Eddie kidnapped and brought to the Griswold’s with a big red bow tied around his torso, “That’s pretty low, Mister, if I had a rubber hose…”.

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Santa Hubs, circa 2004

The How: With a joyful spirit. With music in the background. Dressed in comfortable clothes (wisdom of being 50 is that comfort trumps fashion). With a sense of playfulness.

What will you be enjoying this weekend? This Christmas season? As one of my Christmas wishes is to receive more comments on this blog, please share with me what you are or will be enjoying!

About my DVD collection

I’m not one of those people who has an extensive library of DVD’s. I feel like I’m in the minority, based on the massive DVD collections I’ve seen from friends on Facebook, friends in real life, and even former clients from my days as a social worker.

My reasoning is that I believe there are better things (and experiences) to spend my money on. And seriously, if I’ve seen the movie already, I know how it ends. Why would I spend my precious time  watching something that will not surprise me in the least? And why would I spend $24.99 on a new DVD that I haven’t seen and may or may not even like? Seems like a silly waste of resources to me.

However, that is not to say I don’t have a DVD collection. I do.  It’s just a bit on the small side.

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My DVD collection used to be approximately 3 times this size, but we sold most of them at the garage sale we held prior to moving to Colorado. The only DVD’s that were actually difficult for me to let go of for a pittance of $3 was 2 seasons of Arrested Development. Funniest show ever, IMHO. I could re-watch episodes over again and laugh just as hard each time. Kinda like Seinfeld, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock, for me anyway.

You see, I have requirements for buying DVD’s. I will not pay $24.99 or even $14.99 for that matter for a new DVD. I will pay $5 at Target for one I always meant to watch but never got around to. I will pay up to $10 for a DVD that I absolutely, truly loved with my whole heart because I am certain I will watch it again.

The following is a justification/review of my meager DVD collection: 

As Good as it Gets: I think this is such a special movie.  Jack Nicholson is at his best, playing a cantankerous man afflicted with a severe case of OCD who despite everything, Helen Hunt’s character falls in love with. And Greg Kinnear. What an under-appreciated actor he is. I feel such affection for his character and the scene where he is beaten up by a group of punks broke me. And there’s that dog, a brussels griffon. This is the breed that won best in show at the Westminster dog show on Thanksgiving this year.

This is 40: Purchased this fall at Target for $5 (an example of one I had been meaning to see since it came out in the theaters several years ago). After finally seeing it, I can safely say I would have paid $14.99 for it in a heartbeat. It featured the great comedy duo of Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd in very often almost too close for comfort relatable married couple scenes. I loved it so much I tweeted at Judd Apatow.  Much to my chagrin, I got no response.

Forrest Gump: Need I say anything here? I think any right minded American DVD collector worth their salt owns this one, right? Absolutely charming, classic, and thought-provoking.

Love, Actually: This is an especially charming, feel-good Christmas-themed movie which I absolutely adore. And it features some of my favorite British actors speaking in their lovely British accents: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Keira Knightly. It’s a great, heartfelt mix of romance and comedy. Must watch it again soon.

Christmas Vacation: This is Hubs and my favorite Christmas movie. We know all the lines, to the point where we find ourselves quoting from this movie year round. For instance, when I suggest to Hubs that we could adopt a cat, I hear “Well then we’ll have a cat running around the house”. Or when I am utterly shocked at something I just heard, I might say “I wouldn’t be more surprised if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet”. Or if he can’t hear something I just said, I will channel Uncle Leo by emphatically mouthing “they want you to say the blessing”. One of these Christmases, we’re going to host a “Christmas Vacation” themed holiday party, with guests costumed as characters from the movie. I think, however, that Hubs and I should not do the obvious thing.

It’d be more fun to go as these two, in my opinion.

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Dan in Real Life: I think this is one of those movies I purchased impulsively from a clearance rack at Target or something. It was worth whatever it costed. It features Steve Carrell as a widowed father of three cheeky daughters who finds love during his family’s annual holiday gathering. It is heartfelt, funny, and charming. And the scene where the whole family is playing charades spend makes me wish I could have been there, perhaps as a long lost cousin or niece.

History of the Eagles: Hubs gave me this for one of my 40 something birthdays. I have always been a huge fan of the Eagles and appreciate seeing footage of them playing live and the behind the scenes stories from when they started playing together. Did you know that they lived in the same apartment building as Jackson Browne (who also wrote Take it Easy, which they later recorded)? Well, now you do.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: This is a movie I bought on impulse this fall, with the plan in my head that I would include it in a special Halloween box of treats and whatnots for our 3 year old grandson. I remember enjoying this movie as a kid, but hadn’t seen it since. When I came home and showed Hubs, he commented that this might not be age appropriate for little guy. Then I remembered the scene with the little girl who blew up chewing bubble gum and realized he was probably correct. So I think I’ll hang onto this one for a few more years.

Chocolat: This is the most romantic movie ever! Hubs and I first watched it on a very cold, snowy Wisconsin night several winters ago and we were enthralled. It features a very handsome and charming Johnny Depp. Be sure to have good quality chocolate on hand when you watch it, because I guarantee your chocolate cravings will be activated.

Legends of the Fall: Brad Pitt is looking his very finest in this flick. It’s a beautiful, romantic story about three brothers and one very sought after and beloved woman. I haven’t seen it in years, despite owning it forever, so I need to make time to watch it again soon!

American Hustle: Hubs and I first saw this one in the theater, a rare occurrence for the two of us. It features a great story line and memorable characters with a sweet 70’s soundtrack. I appreciate the detail put into the set designs in every scene as it brings one back in time. And Jennifer Lawrence is an absolute hoot!  I love it so much I’ve seen it twice since I bought it!

Hocus Pocus: This movie seemed to re-surface this fall, whether it be people commenting about it on Facebook or the t-shirts being sold online with quotes from it. I hadn’t seen it in years, but thought it’d be a fun one to watch this Halloween season. And for $5 it was totally worth it. After seeing it again right before Halloween, I realized it is the classic movie to watch every Halloween, just like Christmas Vacation is the one for us to watch every Christmas season.

Blue Planet: I bought this one for Hubs when we bought our first and only blue ray/dvd player. He is a scientist after all so he has an especially keen interest in the topic of climate change. It is quite an amazingly beautiful film.

Grand Torino:  This is a deeply thought provoking movie. Clint Eastwood’s character was so memorable, and it was amazing to see his character’s development from start to finish. This movie blew my mind and made me cry at the end.

So, fellow movie lovers, what’s in your DVD collection?

 

 

 

Surprises and Songs by the Hiatt’s

For one of our wedding anniversaries, Hubs surprised me with a trip to Madison, WI. He was very tight lipped about the itinerary. I went along with it, because I am one of those oddballs that actually loves surprises. And boy, was I surprised. In the best possible way.

Once we arrived in Madison and checked into our hotel, Hubs instructed me to get in the car with him and drive to our surprise destination. I seriously had no clue whatsoever what was in store. He slowed the car down as we approached our destination and he directed me to look to my right. We were directly in front of the Majestic Theater. As I looked up at the marquee, I was beyond excited.

We were there to see the inimitable John Hiatt perform. 

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Now, for several years prior to this, Hubs and I had been fans of this prolific, soulful, uber talented singer/songwriter/guitarist/performer. Mr. Hiatt is one of those artists who has had more critical success than commercial success. That seriously confounds me, because his music-the lyrics, the melodies, the beats, the feels it evokes-is just, well, everything to me from a musical standpoint.

And I learned recently, while live streaming MPR’s The Current that Mr. Hiatt also has a mighty talented singer/songwriter daughter. Her name is Lilly.

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Lilly Hiatt

First, however, for those of you who may not be familiar with Mr. Hiatt’s work, or for those of you who have an unabashed appreciation for him as I do, I’d like to highlight what IMHO are his truly best AF songs. Then I will introduce you to the music of his daughter.

 Thank you, Google Play. You rock. You have given me the best toy a girl could ask for. The joy I get from creating playlists of my favorite artists, like John Hiatt, is immense. 

Here are my top picks from Mr. Hiatt’s collection:

“Thing Called Love” was written and performed originally by Hiatt, though most folks likely are only familiar with Bonnie Raitt’s cover of it. Both versions are great, but I personally prefer Hiatt’s. My favorite line in this song is “But Baby, we can choose you know, we ain’t no amoebas”. And I love when he sings/screeches out “just a crazy little thing called love” towards the end. Supercool.

Thing Called Love

Most likely my “favorite” favorite John Hiatt song is “Feels Like Rain”. It is simply gorgeous. It is sensual. It is soulful. It is tragically beautiful. It is best appreciated during a moment of solitude. You don’t have to take my word for it. Here it is. You’re welcome.

Feels Like Rain

“Perfectly Good Guitar” is a stand out for me also. It features some seriously tight guitar riffs and an extraordinarily catchy melody. And it pays homage to Mr. Hiatt’s appreciation for the instrument. And I found the below video of him and his band playing it live. John Hiatt is probably the best performer I have or ever will see live. For reals.

Perfectly Good Guitar

I could seriously go on for eons about all the other John Hiatt songs I love (like “Riding with the King”, or “Crossing Muddy Waters”, or “Real Fine Love”), but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to highlight Lilly. I was very pleasantly surprised when I learned of her existence. She surely has her father’s musical genes. She has her own sound nonetheless, which to me is an interesting cross between Liz Phair and Lucinda Williams. She, like her father, writes tremendously thoughtful, raw, and beautiful lyrics. Here is a sample:

If I’m lucky, one day I’ll be able to see her perform live as well. I know I’d jump at the chance to see her dad perform live again.

 

Monday Music Musings: Covers

I’m not generally much of a fan of song re-makes, aka covers. I prefer originality in my musical artists. It often appears to me that an artist is simply trying to make a buck the easiest way possible when they churn out their version of a classic song. It frequently feels disingenuous to me.

But, that said, I believe firmly that there are always exceptions to every rule. 

I could provide examples of truly terrible renditions of original songs but that would be negative and pointless. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few covers that IMHO are so well done that they might even surpass the original version. 

I also have proposals for original songs that I believe should be re-imagined by new artists. But first things first:

Killing me Softly-Originally sung by Roberta Flack with such vulnerability it brings tears to my eyes. The Fugees had quite a different, but very cool take on it:

Fugees killing it

Sweet Child ‘O Mine-Originally performed by Guns ‘n Roses. A classic rock and roll song from my younger days with one of the best guitar openings ever thanks to Slash. There’s a newer version that caught my attention while I was watching the movie “Captain Fantastic” (quirky, unconventional movie about a unique but lovable family which I highly recommend). This version is very stripped down and all about the harmony. And it’s freaking beautiful. Check it out:

Guitar Man-This song was originally performed by the 70’s mellow rock band, Bread. Growing up, I always loved it. I loved the melody and the story it told. Last year, I heard a much different, but quite brilliant version of this song by CAKE, a band of which I am especially fond. No one sounds like this band, no matter what the song is. Noone.

Guitar Man by CAKE

Sara Smile-To me, this has always been an absolutely gorgeous song, originally performed by the great pop duo, Hall and Oates. Hubs is a huge fan of the music of Joan Osborne (from “What if God was One of Us” fame). She crafted it into a sultry, soulful serenade yet didn’t stray far at all from the original version, for which I give her much credit.

Sara Smile by Joan Osborne

Sunny-Originally performed by Bobby Hebb back in 1966. It’s a sweet, simple, jazzy pop confection that stands the test of time. However, the version by Bryan Adams, which I first discovered watching Scandal (that scene with Olivia and Jake on a beach far away from their normally scandalous lives), elevates it to a new level thanks to the gravelly vocals of Mr. Adams. Btw, Shonda Rhimes and her crew are geniuses when it comes to choosing the right songs for the right scenes, especially in Scandal. 

Sunny by Bryan Adams

Proposals for new covers that my songbrain would so love to hear and see:

Imagine a cover of this song being done by, say, the Foo Fighters or Green Day. It would be so very timely given the political unrest in Trump’s America. Perhaps this could be the opening song for a televised fundraising event for the #resist movement? Or sales of this cover could directly go to the #resist movement? Or Planned Parenthood?

A Little Good News, originally performed by Anne Murray. This song is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when it came out in 1983. I would love to see a version of this (perhaps as part of the above mentioned televised fundraising event for the #resist movement?), with Anne Murray, along with Jewel, and the Dixie Chicks. How cool would that be?

 

Movies that should be made

This post is courtesy of a conversation Hubs and I recently had where we concluded that despite having approximately 488 channels on our Direct TV, not to mention Amazon Prime, this time of year there is very little television we are interested in viewing.

I know-total First World problem right? 

I do realize that we are quite fortunate to even own a t.v. and have the ability to afford our monthly Direct TV bill. 

With the lack of truly engaging, creative, entertaining television happening in this moment, I’ve come up with a few ideas of movies I would happily consume if ithey were to exist. Movies that could be seen on the big screen or the little screen (once they were put on cable or Amazon Prime, or whatever channel we may add when the temps fall and we just want to stay in)

  1. A movie about Amelia Aerhart. Starring Hillary Swank, Michelle Williams, or Maggie Gyllenhal in the title role. It would include what we don’t yet know about her life after her plane crashed. The History channel is planning a documentary on this. That’s a good start, I think.

She may have survived the crash

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2) Biopic of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. They were married for 61 years and worked together as a comedy team for several of them. They were opposites, him being Jewish, and her being Catholic. She made the decision after they married and  gave birth to their first child to convert to Judaism as per Anne: “I wanted my children to know who they were”. I believe they had quite the love story. I think it would be extra special if their son, actor Ben Stiller, played Jerry and perhaps Emma Stone could play Anne.

Jerry and Ann article

3) Biopic of the love story between Paul and Linda McCartney. Michael Sheen and Cate Blanchett would be my top pics to play these two. I’ve always loved Paul’s music, not only from the Beatles of course but from his second act, Paul McCartney and Wings, along with his solo ventures. I think of Paul as being the ultimate optimist. I have the impression that he was the “cheerleader” within the Beatles. And only an optimist and probably a hopeless romantic would marry again after losing the love of his life in 1998, not once but twice. And I feel like we haven’t learned much about Linda over the years at all. I think Paul and Linda had quite the love story, and I’d like to see it on the big screen. This song, written by Paul for Linda, is why.

My Love

My curious mind would love to know any ideas of t.v. shows or movies you’d like to see. Please share!