Thursday, May 24, 2012

Overheard... Anywhere.

You need not be on the streets of a large city, in a museum, at an art gallery or at any specialized location to be privy to a dolt's commentary.  Yes, they make cute little snarky books sold in gift shops as fairly cheap souveniers,  but really they're just the stuff any experience outside the house is made of.  Visiting a local "place of interest" recently, there were a lot of exhibits to look at.  Each one had labels with artifacts and descriptions for context.  There was a timeline to keep events in perspective.  A man said to his daughter, "Really?  Ten bucks for this?  Hell, this ain't nothin' but a bunch of stuff to read."

Down with Literacy.  Bring on the Picture Menus at McDonald's.

Incorrect Lyrics.

There is a most wonderful musician named Josh Ritter.  Alternative.  A little alt-country at times, maybe.  And I am sure that he's been around for awhile and those that are in the know have loved him for a long time.  I, however, did not know about him until one of his songs was used to conclude an episode of Bored to Death.  It was instant love.  (The song in question was "Dark Shadows.")  I downloaded iTunes Essential songlist, adn I've loved it.  I must say, while it was pretty perplexing that the NFL chose to use his "Change of Time" to promote the 2011 football season, it was still pretty nice to hear the song on the tv during commercial breaks.

Part of what makes these songs so fantastic are the lyrics.  Ritter is wonderful with words.  (And I am nothing if not a sucker for a man who is wonderful with words.)  Somehow, though, I have discovered a few instances where I've heard lyrics incorrectly the first few times around, and I've actually preferred my mistakes over the actual words.  I think my versions give the songs a sweeter notion.  Most likely, I am simply making these songs fit me a little more closely,  but I like them better all the same with my alterations.

In "Right Moves" the lyric is "Am I giving you the right moves?  Am I singing you the right blues?  Is there a time when I can call you, just to see how you are doing?"  But I like it much more with the second line as "Am I sending you the right clues?"  I like to think of this song as one about a couple that keeps missing opportunities to be together because of timing.  I don't want them to have hurt the other in some former stage of a relationship.  I don't want for him to have pined away for her, thinking that she'd never return and fearing a renewed relationship with her as much as he is looking forward to it.  If he refers to the right moves and the right clues, then it's a song of remembrance.  Do you recall when I used to drive you wild with this?  Does it still work?  Can you see how I never forgot?  Can you see that my body never stopped wanting to be with yours?  For me, it's a much more romantic, much less forlorn song with a single line in the chorus changed.

And then there is "Bright Smile."

The actual lyrics are:

Now my work is done
I feel I'm owed some joy
Oh Imogene and Abelard
I'm your homeward boy
But there's another one
Who brings me to your door
And the boat she weaved from the tidal reeds
Was always tied to shore

With bright smiles and dark eyes
Bright smile dark eyes
Everywhere I went, oh
I was always looking for ya
Bright smile dark eyes

It's a really lovely song about a search for a girl who has always been his to find.  And though the names in the first stanza are Imogene and Abelard, I like to hear Elosia and Abelard.  Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Can't I forget you so I can move on?  Can't I be rid of your presence?  He's heading home, but it's not for them.  It's for the girl he loves. I also assume it has to do with Tennyson's Lady of Shallott -- the notion of being so intense a force that all else is forgotten, just for the chance to be together.

 The real intent of the song?  I don't know.  Who ever really knows a poet's intent?  A song writer's intent?  Anyone who is an artist has a very specific intent when they create their work.  Maybe other people hit the nail on the head when they regard it, maybe they don't.

But this is what I like to hear.  It alters the songs to suit me.  If Ritter's going to appeal to me so much, I may as well really make him mine.

Always Happens in Three's.

Celebrity deaths are a strange phenomenon.  No one really stops to recognize that except for a very select few, the world doesn't actually know these people.  They are not our friends.  They are not our family.  We have grown up with their work, been influenced by their personas, been enamored by their talent -- but they do not know us and we do not know them.

Despite this, we all seem to take it so personally when a celebrity passes away.  I've heard all my life that "it always happens in three's."  (Never does a famous person's death occurs without my mother making this statement.) There does seem to be a lot of famous death going on this spring, though.

If memory is serving me properly (it's been a little crazy with work; I think I'm getting this right), the first was Dick Clark.  An icon.  An icon for a million years.  There's an apocalyptic gatherer at work who tried to prove his point that the world was destined for destruction by using Dick Clark as justification.  "There can't be a New Year's Eve without Dick Clark, can there?  So there, you go.  No new year, so 2012 is clearly the end."

And then Davy Jones.  Sweet Davy.  I wasn't old enough for the Monkees first run, by any means.  But in Junior High, MTV aired the series.  And I fell in love with the show!!!  I hated Mike; Mickey sort of annoyed me, Davy didn't do anything for me, and I loved, loved, loved Peter.  With time, though, I realized it was Davy that had the best sense of who he was.  He embraced who he'd become.  He didn't fight it; he didn't fight the fans who wanted him to remain the sweet little guy who had wacky adventures and showed up at Marcia Brady's prom to save the day.  I actually saw Davy Jones in concert once.  There was a mentally challenged man dancing with delirious delight in front of the stage.  Davy seemed concerned, and right before the man fell to the ground, Davy had called out for someone to bring up some water to help the guy who'd become over-heated.  I don't know that this necessarily makes Davy Jones some sort of great humanitarian, but it does say something about him not being a big asshole.

MCA.  How many times have you heard "Sabotage" in the last month?  Who didn't love this song?  Who didn't love this video?  Who didn't come to embrace the Beastie Boys?  If you were of a specific generation, it was just unavoidable.  He was so young.  Death is always pretty tragic,  but when they go so young, it makes it all the worse.

Donna Summer is the last in this line.  I was pretty stunned to see her added to the list.  I certainly never participate in the Death Pools that others seem to be obsessed with.  Even if I did, hers would not have been a name I'd have thrown into the hat.  You think back to Thank God It's Friday, and she's just a sweet young thing with giant frizzy hair, a disco ball shining over her, and a dream.  I always really dug Donna Summer.  Even when it was decided that disco was devil's spawn, I kept a very soft spot for it in my heart.  Donna Summer lived there, for sure.

I know I didn't actually know any of these people.  I'm not sitting about crying over their passing, mourning their loss with any serious grief.  But it does mark a passage of time, and it definitely makes you aware of your own mortality.  That, and make you wonder a little about the Mayans.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dark Irish Girl

I love the idea of a nickname.  Back in 6th grade after seeing Dirty Dancing, I'd hoped somehow "Baby" would catch on for me.  A teasing fact revealed about the super-cool guy of a clique several years later was he had at one time tried to get people to call him "Cricket."  While this was pretty hysterical because of Young and the Restless connections, I secretly understood.

When I was quite young, I had a few nicknames.  My mom called me "Tiger."  This was probably due to my beloved tee shirt that featured a cartoon tiger.  (We were a pretty inventive, cutting edge family.)  Then there was "Cherry Pie" which morphed into "Pie" over time.  The worst of the worst was an uncle that insisted on calling me "Lovey Howell."  I'm not sure why he started calling me this, but the reason he continued was how furious it made me.  Wretched, wretched name. (At some family gatherings, I'm still greeted with this name.  I don't find it so dreadful anymore.  Now, I find it quite endearing, actually.)

No clever little nicknames, no sweet pet names since then, however.  Not heartbroken by this, but a tad bit disappointed, I guess. Whether it was the extra attention that a special little name indicated, or the silliness of a shared joke, I don't know.  Whatever it was, I just wanted some name to be called that wasn't my own.

Finally -- after many years of having nothing more than an occasional "Sweetie,"  I found someone that showered me with nicknames.  Heaven!  I adored them all.  I don't even recall most of them, now.  Most of them weren't all that long-lived, just momentary names said either making fun, or pointing out some foible.  But one that actually stuck was "Dark Irish Girl."

I'm not entirely sure how this was meant.  Just a recognition of coloring, and some sort of affection, I suppose.  To me, however, this name meant a lot more.

Ever since I'd been a child, I knew about the Irish curse.  An Irish father, a mother of English and Irish descent -- it was almost a doubled sense of doom.  The Irish may be known for the excess of drink, but none that I had ever known.  The curses that I knew well were split second bursts of anger and long-lasting depressions that came from nowhere but went on for days, or weeks, or months.  No reason behind these fits, just rueful sadness.  Being Dark Irish to me meant a recognition of these things.

I had never even heard of the concept of being Black Irish until I was an adult.  A fellow dark brunette from the isle of keening and loss laughed with me about students who assumed that "Black Irish" referred to African-Irish.  He laughed a bit, and he said, with a little too much familiar lamentation, "We both know what it really means, though, don't we?"

To have this association shaken away by a moniker that is not my given name is a lovely gift.  Not only do I not have to settle for "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," I can be the Dark Irish Girl. I can be a little different from the rest, and associate the former weight of curses with a sweet endearment from someone who took the time to adore me a little.

An Unpaid Upgrade: A New Title.

I made the decision that my blog's title "Things That Sort of Suck" made me sound like quite the petulant child.  While it was intended to be a snarky but well-intended amusing list of things that --well -- sort of sucked -- it never really evolved into that.  The name became moot.  Unless I change the entire url, I am stuck with the name to some extent.  I am fine with that, though.  Now those things that sort of suck can solely be my musings and the poor way they are crafted or perceived.

As for the new Title --if you're not a fellow Dr. Whovian, I suppose it makes no sense at all.  For so many of us that are, however, it speaks volumes.  Number Ten (played oh-so-well by David Tennant) was perhaps the moodiest, most morose and most glum of all the Doctors.  This is not to say he didn't have his moments of levity.  Nor does it imply that he wasn't filled with an adventurous spirit and moments of pure joy, especially when he could share those things with his companions.  But when Number Ten was dark, he was very, very dark.  Is there anything so heart-breaking as his long farewell prior to regeneration into Number Eleven?  He visits all those people that made up his adventures, that touched his soul.  He knew he would go on, at least in part, within Number Eleven, but he also knew that the bulk of who he was would be dominated by the shiny and new.  The Doctor that mourned his own loss couldn't fathom that soon he'd be dining upon fish fingers and custard.  He was as human as the Doctors were ever allowed to be.  He broke the rules and loved Rose from afar; kept a firm distance from Martha knowing that she'd do anything for a spot of his real attention, and then chose the  most obnoxious woman in all of Great Britain to join him for sailing round all of time and space, presumably so that he would feel nothing but agitation and contempt.  (Yes, this is conjecture on my behalf, but I really, really, really hated Donna.)

I don't like to think of myself as a sad sack, mopey Eeyore.  Looking at a lot of my posts here, though, I'm confronted by the fact that I really am.  I do put forth a real effort to share happy thoughts about things as well as pensive, dark feelings. ( I think that when I'm happy, I'm outgoing.  It's when I'm filled with sadness, or feeling contemplative about the negative that I turn to the laptop and the blog.  Really, I ought to buy a journal and stick to that.  The world doesn't need to know all my rueful thoughts.  But don't we all have them?  Aren't they really a part of all of us?  Because I am able to throw them out and work them out accordingly, I'm giving mine up.  I'm not waving them like a banner and screaming "LOOK AT ME; I NEED ATTENTION BUT I WON'T TELL YOU WHY." )

So, I have decided that I, and others like myself, are really the perfect companions of Dr. Number Ten.  We may not break one another out of lonesome, dismal moments.  But neither would be be full of annoying false cheer that never really works.  We could go and visit the planets where it always rains and be content.  We could find a place inside the Tardis (which is much, much larger on the inside) where King sized beds covered in pillows provided solace for a few hours from demons who needed slaying.  Consider a platonic, secure nap with Doctor Ten.  It sounds rather nice, doesn't it?  Ultimately, we would visit those places where other species endure much more difficult real-life issues, and the gloom of our lives would dissipate as action to rescue was employed.  All good actions in their own good time.

I am very much a fan of Number Eleven who is filled with confidence and almost prances about to meet his next adventure. Tto be fair, I also loved Number Nine whose vigilance at protection of the universe was stalwart.  But Number Ten's righteousness, his outlook on the world  tinged with sadness at its realities and just a hint of foreboding fatalism, speaks to me like none of the others could possibly do.