Urban (mis)Advantures

Tunes to Add to the July 4th Playlist…. — June 30, 2012

Tunes to Add to the July 4th Playlist….

Image from Indie Music Filter.

‘Tis the season where we Americans celebrate our independence.  Our freedom to choose religions.  Our freedom to say what we want.  Our freedom to make stupid decisions.  And our freedom to listen to alternative, punk, rap, country, or rock ‘n roll music.  One way to celebrate this independence is by blasting your favorite tunes.  Now this list of patriotic tunes is not the run-of-the-mill, totally predictable songs like “Born in the U.S.A.” or “God Bless the U.S.A,” because those songs are given guesses.  This list of tunage includes songs from all across these united States, songs disagreeing with Uncle Sam, and even a few picks from artists on the other side of the Atlantic.

First ones on my list celebrate these United States of America, singing about towns and cities from sea to shining sea:
“Born on the Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  This is my first choice because I was born kinda sorta close to the bayou in Louisiana.
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.  Deep down in Louisiana, close to New Orleans….
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Lord, I’m coming home to you….
“Hey Dixie” by the Dixie Chicks.  One for the proud Texans.
“Take it Easy” by the Eagles.  Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…..
“California Girls” by the Beach Boys.  And by David Lee Roth.  And by Katy Perry.  But mostly by the Beach Boys.
“Dani California” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Although this song ends in Dani’s death, it takes us from her being born in Mississippi, a black bandana in sweet Louisiana, and robbing a bank in Indiana.
“An Open Letter to N.Y.C” by the Beastie Boys.
“Miami” by Will Smith.
“Empire State of Mind” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.  Broadway, the Knicks, Nets, and Yankees, let’s hear it for New York.
“Shipping Up to Boston” the Dropkick Murphys.
“I’ve Been Everywhere” by the Original Man in Black, Johnny Cash.  Fargo, Chicago, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Shreveport, Dodge City, Colorado, Idaho.

Let’s explore the flipside of patriotism.  These next few artists exercise their freedom of speech by disagreeing with the government, pointing out racism, protesting war, and telling it like it is for many of us Americans.
“American Idiot” by Green Day.  I’m talking about the whole album, y’all.  From not wanting to be part of a ‘redneck agenda’ to walking down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
“Words I Never Said” Lupe Fiasco featuring Skylar Grey.  This song is not for the right-wingers.  He takes on the war against terrorism, budget cuts, and how we spend our money.
“Wretches and Kings” by Linkin Park.  Steel unload, final blow, we the animals take control.  Wretches and kings, we come for you.
“The Catalyst” another by Linkin Park from A Thousand Suns album.  God bless us everyone, we’re a broken people living under loaded gun.  God save us everyone….
“Stand Up” by the Flobots.  Stand up, we shall not be moved…..
“We’re a Happy Family” The Ramones.  There are no white picket fences in this part of Queens, where they eat refried beans and make a fortune selling Daddy’s dope.
“Not Ready to Make Nice” Dixie Chicks…remember when they were ashamed of W?
“Cowboy” by Kid Rock.  He’s not straight out of Hampton, but straight off the trailer, folks.
The Dead Kennedys.  America’s in-your-face punk band, who fought the law and sing about a foul-mouthed old lady who speeds from Pasadena and through Nevada.

There are a few artists whose majority of songs give us that patriotic feeling:
The Presidents of the United States of America.  Duh.  They move into the county, eat a lot of peaches, and sing about bo weevils.  They are officially elected “to rock your asses until midnight.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Everybody knows the lyrics to these tunes, from Free Falling to American Girl.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many of their songs are about the not-so-glamourous life in California.  Some include references to lead singer Anthony Keidis’ Apache heritage.
Kid Rock. Although born in Michigan, he has a very Southern sound.  And he has a song called “American Badass.”
John Cougar Mellencamp.  This long time supporter of American blue-collar workers completely captures the life in our country.  Plus, there’s R.O.C.K in the U.S.A

Okay, so July 4th is when we Americans celebrate our Independence from an old empire.  But freedom should be universal.  And the British have some great songs that also reflect a desire for independence and a better life.  Here’s just a few.
Born Free by British rap/alternative artist, MIA.
United States of Eurasia by British alternative band, Muse.
I Still Believe by British folk artist, Frank Turner.  A great song about rock and roll.
Where the Streets Have No Name by U2.  This song reminds me of freedom.
Bullet the Blue Sky U2.
For Those About To Rock by ACDC, the Scottish/Australian rock legends.  This tune became the anthem for our soldiers who served in Iraq.

There are many, many more.  Feel free to add yours to the list!

Let’s set the record straight about Zombies. — June 23, 2012

Let’s set the record straight about Zombies.

The Miami “Zombie” attack and a couple of others in the South have made news lately.  Most of us have heard the horrific story of a drugged out man, eating the face of a homeless man in Florida.  Since then, another man under the influence bit a police officer and threatened to eat him.  Another high man needed police intervention in Louisiana when he bit a chunk out of someone’s face.

And the media are calling these “zombie” attacks to draw attention.  Well, it works.

But these aren’t zombies, people.  They may be cannibals.  And they are certainly drugged out of their minds.  But they are not zombies.  There are different types of zombies, and even Webster’s dictionary offers a definition that I completely disagree with.  Yes, I am taking on Webster.  Allow me to make my point.

First of all, this is a zombie:

Image from AMC’s The Walking Dead

Notice the rotting flesh, the deep sunk eye sockets, and milky eye color.  Notice that this is a dead person walking about.  This fits one definition of a zombie: “the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose.”  This is the “reanimated corpse” zombie type.  There are stories of a zombie curse that slows the heart rate and breathing down, rendering the victim in a mute and obedient state.  This supernatural type of zombie was around way before our flesh-eating Walking Dead friend here.

Popular modern fiction has made the “reanimated corpse” into a disease carrying flesh eater.  The disease is usually spread by a bite or blood contact from the infected zombie, carrying a man-made or radioactive virus.
Secondly there is a zombie drink, and no it is not the virus, but a cocktail.  The “Zombie” is made of several rums mixed with citrus juice and often with apricot liqueur.  Chelmsford’s Hong and Kong restaurant makes a Zombie cocktail that renders one quite clumsy with the chopsticks and fried rice.  In fact, the cocktail menu advertises that you will “join the ranks” of the walking dead with one.
Apparently, Zombi is a deity worshipped in some West African and Haitian religions.
So, Webster also defines a “zombie” as a “person who has a strange appearance or behavior.”  Another source states it as “a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton; or an eccentric or peculiar person.”  And this is the definition I disagree with.  Why?  Well, what is “peculiar,” “eccentric,” or “strange?”  Who defines that?  As a mental health therapist, I see most “normal” behaviors as “peculiar,” such as people willing to sit in traffic for two hours each morning and evening to commute to work.  My muscle relaxer causes me to slouch, blink slowly, and drag my feet when walking about, which is “peculiar.”  There are times when most humans will behave strangely.  If this is the case, then we are all “zombies” and the so-called Zombie Apocalypse has already happened.  And none of us seemed to have survived it.  What a lame apocalypse…..
A Beautiful Moment from the Blue Man Group — June 20, 2012

A Beautiful Moment from the Blue Man Group

Lately, I’ve been listening to my Blue Man Group CD in the car.  Recently, I find the lyrics to one song to be particularly inspiring:  “Up to the Roof,” featuring Tracey Bonham on lead vocals.  I am simply tired of working stressful jobs with low pay and dealing with a few people trying to tell me how to run my show.  I hope you all enjoy also:

All I see is not for me. What I want you have not got.
Tried to use things you sold me, no matter what the cost.
Tried to go the way you told me, but each time, I got lost.
The stairs didn’t lead me anywhere!

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof.
Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth.
Time to make this climb: to rise above.

This room and all of you who say I should do like you would.
Tried to live the life you sold me, no matter what the cost.
Tried to walk the way you told me, but each time I got lost.
The stairs didn’t lead me anywhere!

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof.
Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth.
And when I get up that high, I don’t know what I’ll find.
But I’d rather look at the sky than wonder why I let you take my time.
Time to make this right: to rise above.

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof.
Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth.
And when I get up that high, I don’t know what I’ll find.
But I’d rather look at the sky than wonder why I let you take my time.
Time to make this climb: to rise above.
Time to make this climb: to rise above

Nice, But Positively Unconstitutional…. — June 14, 2012

Nice, But Positively Unconstitutional….

*WARNING: This blog contains explisit curse words!*

Earlier this week, the town of Middleboro, Massachusetts passed a fine of $20 for people heard swearing in public.
Ain’t that a &*^@#.
Apparently, just over 200 townspeople participated in voting for this, and it passed with a 183 to 50 vote.  But I’m sure not everyone’s voice was heard.  As of June 12, police had created a specific list of words that could be fined, stating that for right now, it is up to the officer’s discretion.
Well, this could be nice.  Perhaps punk kids who misuse the F-bomb and say it every fifth word will get a vocabulary.  Maybe men will learn that we women do not tolerate being called bee-otches.  Maybe kids will learn not to call their mothers bee-otches when they are told “No” in public.  Hmmmm…..


This law goes against the very first amendment of our Constitution:  Freedom of Speech.
It also brings up a few questions:
What constitutes a “swear” word?  I don’t like the term ‘douch bag.’  Yet it is a very common noun in New England.  Other people love the F-bomb because of the way it feels coming off their lips.  So, how will this be defined?
What if someone is wearing this shirt?

Image of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Will he/she get fined?  I mean, they are not actually speaking the curse word in this instance…..

What if someone drops something really heavy on their toe and screams out “@#%^ !”  Will they get fined?
What if a cop screams &^%$  !!  ?
What if the president calls someone an a-hole in Middleboro?

I suppose my point is that I am uncertain if any good will come out of this law.

And the Award for “Best Cameo” Goes To…. — June 5, 2012

And the Award for “Best Cameo” Goes To….

The MTV Movie Awards rolled out this past weekend, which I did not watch this year because we do not have cable.  But this is the movie award show I truthfully enjoy watching because it celebrates movies people actually watch.  Another reason I dig the MTV Movie awards is the categories:  Best Fight Scene, Best Hero, Best Dirtbag.  But I’d like to propose my own category, along with my winners:  Best Cameo Appearances.

The Cast of “Dawson’s Creek” in Muppets From Space (1999) :
The Muppet Movies are riddled with great cameos, from Brook Shields to Jim Parsons.  But one of my faves is when the cast of teen drama “Dawson’s Creek” waited in the fields for the alien arrival.  The piece included a young Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson (of Fox’s Fringe fame).

Whoopi Goldberg, The Little Rascals, 1994.
A dread-locked Buckwheat skips along just before the big soap box car race.  He smiles and points into the audience, seated in the bleachers.
“Look, there’s my Mom!”  And Whoopi Goldberg smiles are waves back.  Sweet.

Kathy Bates in Stephen King’s The Stand (1994): 
As the Super Flu plagued humanity and thousands dropped dead, disc jockey Rae Flowers (played by Bates) ran a radio station all by herself for a day.  Yet her views of the flu cost her her life, which was shockingly aired on her radio show….

Pegg (left) and Wright. By the way, in case of zombie apocalypse, I would so get my Picture With a Zombie….

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead (2005): Around the time  of Pegg’s performance in the amazingly funny  in Shawn of the Dead, he and his friend, Edgar, were zombified for Romero’s fourth installment of his legendary franchise.  Simon and Edgar played “photo booth zombies,” where people could get their pictures taken with a pair of zombies securely chained out of harm’s way.

Timothy Olyphant voice over in Rango (2011):
A pet tropical lizard gets lost in the dry American west.  The poncho wearing Spirit of the West, gruffly and mysteriously voiced by Mr. Olyphant, guides him.  Hey, animated films can have cameos also.

Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End (2007): Our favorite pirates gathered at the Brethren Court, and Captain Teague (Richards) made sure no one broke the pirate code.

Christopher Knight and Florence Henderson in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995):
What Generation X kid did not love the Brady Bunch?  Peter, played by Knight, was my favorite Brady.  Knight appeared as a teacher in a cafeteria, getting onto one of the newer Brady Boys.  And Grandma Brady visited the family at the end of the movie.  Who better to play her, than Mrs. Brady herself, Florence Henderson.

Image from All Movie Photos.

  Dr. Phil and Shaquille O’Neal, Scary Movie 4 (2006): This is my absolute favorite opening in the Scary Movie franchise.  Dr. Phil cuts off the wrong foot and admits he’s not a real doctor.  Shaq misses a shot.  Dr. Phil drops the “mother” of all curse words.

Although I did not rank the above cameos, I did save the best one for last.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present
Bill Murray as himself in Zombieland (2009):

Tallahassee, Columbus and the girls need a safe place to crash on their way to Pacific Playland as zombies have taken over America.  Tallahassee (portrayed by Woody Harrelson) drives them to Bill Murray’s mansion, where they drink wine, practice shooting, and play a scene from Ghostbusters.  In this photo, Murray shows the few survivors how to make themselves up like zombies in order to walk around with the Dead.  For those who have not seen the film, I will NOT spoil the moment that makes this the Greatest Cameo Ever.

Supposedly, Stephen King appears in every film that was based on his books.  Also, master of suspense and horror, Alfred Hitchcock, has cameos in all of his films.

A Beautiful Moment with a Sector 9 Longboard — June 3, 2012

A Beautiful Moment with a Sector 9 Longboard

Thankfully, the Boy has shown interest in something other than video games:  longboards.  The first time he rode one, he was about six years old.  And when he dismounted and held the board longways up beside him, it was as tall as him.  So cute.  Recently one of his neighborhood friends got a couple of longboards for his birthday, so they go riding together.

Being in need of a new helmet for biking, and earning money from a neighbor a few days ago, I took him and a friend to the mall yesterday.  We were supposed to start off at Zumiez to check out helmets and longboards, but Newbury Comics highly distracted the boys for a while.  When finally making it to Zumiez, a salesperson was very helpful as my son stood on a few complete longboards.  His adolescent feet dwarfed one of the thinner bamboo boards.  It was decided that he needed to start with a cruiser, since it’s mostly flat around here.  The last board he stood on was a Sector 9 black deck with some blue pattern on the bottom.  It also had wide, soft wheels, which is what I preferred.   The Boy said he really liked it as he leaned to and fro, testing its flexibility and handling.  But, I explained, you need a helmet today, and we won’t be buying a longboard today.  (Birthday coming up in July)  He understood completely, and picked out a Triple 8 helmet.  Now I’ll feel a bit better about him biking to his drum lessons.

I separated from the boys at this time, heading out to purchase the first of at least four wedding gifts we’ll be buying this year for various couples.  Yet, I whispered to the Zumiez salesperson to please hold the last Sector 9 longboard from the front display case.  I’m sure the boys went to Gamestop while I bought the wedding gift.  Then I was back at Zumiez, and the salespeople instantly pulled out my son’s future birthday gift.

But with no box and no bags large enough to hold the longboard, I carried it with the soft underside against my hip through the Pheasant Lane Mall.

I glanced down at the Sector 9, suddenly transported back to when I was 13 and zipping along my streets on my own skateboard.  I grinned softly, fighting back the urge to pop the longboard down on the tiled floor and skating towards Target, which is where I always park.  Yet, with my lack of gracefulness, I’m sure my polka-dotted goloshes wearing feet would have slipped off the deck, and I would have impaled myself with my umbrella.  Plus, how embarrassing would it be to tell a 30-something year old woman with a Macy’s bag to stop skateboarding in the mall?  But it would have been pretty awesome though.

Now the Sector 9 rests under our bed for another few weeks until the birthday.  And I’m still fighting off the urge to ride it through the lanes.