RSS

Category Archives: Good Stuff

Modern Family, Modern Funny

Absolutely the best show on TV, Modern Family continues to entertain me (no small task) each Wednesday at 9pm EST, 8pm CST on ABC.

Now, I used to be a huge situation comedy fan when I was younger, dedicated to M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Barney Miller, Maude, and Good Times. However, in my adult years, not even Seinfeld held my attention for long — until Modern Family.

A serious LOL for the 21st Century, Modern Family centers around three families in the larger context of one family. The conventional unconventionalness of the family dynamic among the families is what really makes this show so appealing. Everyone can find themselves somewhere in the Modern Family.

Here’s a family tree of characters (click for larger picture):

If I had to choose just one favorite character, it would have to be Cam (actor Eric Stonetreet). The flamboyant yet tough former football player partner of Mitchell (actor Jesse-Tyler Ferguson). Together, they adopted Asian baby, Lily.

While I actually love ALL the characters in this show, my next favorite would have to be Manny (actor Rico Rodriguez). The young, latin impresario is the son of Gloria (actress Sofia Vergara) who is the young, Columbian wife of Jay (actor Ed O’Neill a/k/a Al Bundy), who happens to be Mitchell’s father.

And, then, there’s the Dunphys. Perhaps the most traditional family among the group, with a Mom, a Dad, and three kids who are all their’s together. Father Phil (actor Ty Burrell) and mother Claire (actress Julie Bowen) tackle everyday issues with their teenage/pre-teen daughters and young son with humor, love and a little neuroticness. Claire is Mitchell’s sister and Jay’s daughter — hence, the family connection.

The writing on this is show is brilliant. Christopher Lloyd, Steve Levitan and their talented staff of scribes no doubt pull from their own family and life experiences which is likely what makes the show and characters so identifiable. They delve into sometimes dark places like OCDness, prejudice, fears and phobias, etc. but do it with authenticity and self-depreciating wit.

Each week, I look forward to see where the Modern Family will go. Currently, it’s right to the top of the ratings. Well done, Modern Family, well done.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2011 in family, Funny, Good Stuff, Modern Family, TV

 

An Unlikely “Champion”

A long-time music milestone was broken this week.  LeAnn Rimes’ How Do I Live was toppled as the longest-running song on the Billboard Top 100, which held the previous record of 69 weeks.  So, you’d think such an accomplishment (I mean we’re talking a nearly five quarters, here) would be championed by the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift or any of the plethora of other bubble gum rockers that are always being thrown in our face.  But, no, this time the record goes to the unlikely champion of Jason Mraz, and his stalwart release, I’m Yours.

jason mraz

Now I love(d) this song.  I first heard it through my kid, who recommended it because he knows “my style”.  However, he liked it too.  So did his guy friends and of course, so did his girl friends.  Like most popular songs that are well liked, I’m Yours, spent several months around and on the top of the charts and got decent radio play, but nothing to indicate that it would still be around over a year later.

This song has lived since 2005, when it was written.  Mraz started performing it live in 2006 and the audience always had such a positive reaction that he eventually included it on his 2008 release We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.  (Yes, Mr. Mraz is quite amusing…for more, see his website www.jasonmraz.com)

But, 71 weeks with no sign of dropping off?  Why?  I mean, I’m Yours is catchy and highly entertaining, has great lyrics and is performed with great emotion, but isn’t it similar to Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy?

As far as I can tell, the song hasn’t had significant label backing, hasn’t been featured in any movies, isn’t attached to a mega star, and isn’t a novelty sensation.  It just keeps hanging around…and is now nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year.

Is it the coffeehouse delivery of Mraz that is so familiar?  Or, is it the simple pleasure of the song?  The appeal across age, ethnicity, or geography?  Is it the connection of the lyrics?  Is the simple “happiness” of the song?  Is the song just that good?   You tell me…

Take a look/listen to Mraz’s performance of I’m Yours and give me your theory as to why it has been “the little single that could”.

Note:  I included this extended live version because I think it really demonstrates the song the best.  Here’s the lyrics to review, as well…

Well, you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but your so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks, now I’m tryin to get back
before the cool done run out I’ll be givin it my best test
and nothin’s gonna stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it’s again my turn to win some or learn some

But I won’t hesitate no more,
no more, it cannot wait
I’m yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
open up your plans and damn you’re free
look into your heart and you’ll find love love love love
listen to the music at the moment people dance and sing
Were just one big family
And it’s our godforsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved

So, i won’t hesitate no more,
no more, it cannot wait i’m sure
there’s no need to complicate our time is short
this is our fate
I’m yours

Scooch on over closer, dear
And I will nibble your ear

I’ve been spendin’ way too long checkin’ my tongue in the mirror
and bendin’ over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass
and so I drew a new face and I laughed
I guess what I’d be sayin’ is there ain’t no better reason
to rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons
it’s what we aim to do
our name is our virtue

But I won’t hesitate no more,
no more it cannot wait
I’m yours

well open up your mind and see like me
open up your plans and damn you’re free
look into your heart and you’ll find love love love love
listen to the music of the moment come and dance with me
ah, la one big family
it’s your god forsaken right to be loved, loved, loved, loved

open up your mind and see like me
open up your plans and damn you’re free
look into your heart and you’ll find love love love love
listen to the music of the moment come and dance with me
ah, la happy family
it’s our god forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved

it’s our god forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved
listen to the music of the moment come and dance with me
ah, la peaceful melodies
it’s you god forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved

 

Tags: , ,

50 Years Ago Today…

Thanks to Cocodrie Pat for bringing this to my attention!

It’s the Golden Anniversary of the release of this 1959 classic.

I made reference to Sleepwalk in an earlier post about Shelby Lynne’s Where I’m From, but didn’t expand on the Johnny & Santo eclectic composition that has been an inspriation for many steel guitar riffs in popular music.  While steele guitar was a staple in Country Music, it was not a factor in “Pop” music until the Farina brothers’ 1959 chart topper.

While it might be a bit of a stretch, I’m thinking that Sleepwalk may have been a bit of an inspiration to Robert Randolph, no?

  The March, Robert Randolph

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Boat Songs

img_3526

A few weeks ago, I shared that we have begun our journey down the road to river living.  There’ll be more enthralling stories to come, but for now we’re enjoying our new toy.  Last weekend was our first real foray into the waters.  Now, I find myself anxious and excited to get to the end of the week for more than the aspect of “getting my drink on”.

In my ‘weekend’ post, I mentioned taking advantage of the boat’s awesome on-board CD player and my Boat playlist.  Little Deb requested to see/hear it and who am I to deny Little Deb.  So, without further adieu….the Music Maven Weekend Out on the Water Thank the Lord for the Weekend Boat Playlist.

Captain Jim’s Drunken Dream, James Taylor

Life is Beautiful, Keb ‘Mo

The Heart of Life, John Mayer

Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles

Luckenbach, Texas, Waylon Jennings

Old Blue Chair, Kenny Chesney

I’ll Follow the Sun, The Beatles

My Father’s Eyes, Eric Clapton

Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney

Free, Donovan Frankenreiter

Sweet Wanomi, Bill Withers

Sea of Heartbreak, George Straight with Jimmy Buffett

The World Ain’t Slowin’ Down, Ellis Paul

You Really Got a Hold on Me, The Beatles (w/ Billy Preston)

She’s Got a Hold on Me, Hacienda

Too Much Stuff, Delbert McClinton

Walkin’ to New Orleans, Fats Domino

Sending Me Angels, Delbert McClinton

Melissa, Allman Brothers

Pirate Looks at 40, Jimmy Buffett

Really, no rhyme nor reason…just various tunes I dig, especially on the water.  Livin’ for Saturday.

Hope you have a great weekend.  I KNOW I will…

img_4042

 

Tags: , ,

Covers are deceiving…

Along the lines of the old adage of “judging a book by its cover”, the following performance shows that the cover doesn’t necessarily tell the story. 

It appears that frumpella, Susan Boyle, who was once bullied and teased has suddenly been thrust into the British spotlight as an unlikely hero of those who certainly can identify with her.  (Check out the number of views on that YouTube.)

Nearly 48, never been kissed and living with her cat, Pebbles, Susan strikes a blow for those who are not quite perfect on the outside but possess gigantic talent and beauty on the inside.

Bravo.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 13, 2009 in Good Stuff, inspiration

 

Tags: , ,

New Finds…Share and Compare

Some stuff I’ve recently been exploring…thanks to Shrew on Ellis & KJ…she’s been busy. 

Somebody to You, Lelia Broussard

  Hurricane Angel, Ellis Paul

  Little Mary, KJ Denhert

Share your finds…Post some of your “finds” in the comment section.  After all, word of mouth is what “sells” these indie artists.

 

Tags: ,

The Bacon Explosion…Mmmm, Bacon.

The Fruit of Life
The Fruit of Life

God Bless the caveman who figured out how to cut wild boar fat into small strips and cook it over the campfire.  Without it, we would not have the carniverous goodness that is quickly making a comeback.

One of the compatibility criteria that both Mr. D and I considered when looking for a mate was the common adoration of bacon.  I was quite concerned to find that Mr. D was a fitness freak.  However, he has one, pathetic food vice.  That, which is BACON.

Thank goodness, as I have a definite aff-FECK-shun for pork bellies.  But, even this Bacon Conessieur was taken aback on my first vacation with “the family” when we showed up for the breakfast buffet.  The equivalent of a 4-H prize hog was scarfed up in the matter of ten minutes. 

“My kind of people”, I remember thinking.

For Cajuns, bacon is revered right up there with such culinary shangra la as crawfish, onions, garlic and beer.  Through the years, we’ve enjoyed bacon-wrapped Oysters, Shrimp, Scallops, Redfish, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, and String Beans, among others.

Many of the specialty meat providers in South Louisiana have made “bacon-wrapped”, a staple of their offering.  Recently, bacon-wrapped boneless chicken breasts have made the “gotta get it” list.  

No doubt, some forward-thinking Cajun tried this:

turkey29020081004002557 

But nothing prepared me for the bacon rapture of the Bacon Explosion, as extolled by the NY Times.  If this is not pork per-FECK-shun, I don’t know what is.

bacon-12

YouTube has plenty of examples, but I think this one  is my favorite. 

Weeee, doggy. 

Can’t wait to break out this recipe.  But, perhaps in the true Cajun tradition, I will put a little twist to it by substituting BOUDIN for the italian sausage. 

For now, I’m off to make some BLTs for supper.

  Piggies, The Beatles

 

Tags: , ,

A WONDERful Christmas Time…

stevie20wonder2013

Sorry for being so absent lately.  Not that there’s not alot of music thoughts going through my head, it’s just that something has to give, sometime.  With work, hauling down the decorations, decorating, gift searching, gift buying, gift wrapping, cleaning, cooking, college searching, and the various asundry tasks on my To Do list, that there is no “free time” to write the type of meaningful posts that I like to do.  And, after all, I can’t give up “The Midgets” on Monday night or Biggest Loser on Tuesday or the host of mindless crap (a quote from my husband) that I consider valued entertainment after 5 p.m.  Truth is, after a long day, all I want is mindless crap, but that’s another topic for another day.

While I’ve been busy, I haven’t been void of music and of course my FAVORITE genre of Christmas music.  We officially kicked off the Holiday season with some festive tunes on our drive back to Alabama from Louisiana after Thanksgiving and each day, I’ve been sampling my vast Christmas collection and compiling my list for the 2nd Annual Music Maven Christmas Playlist.  Be on the lookout over the next week or so for that compilation of Christmas goodness.

I’ve always LOVED Stevie Wonder’s Christmas music, particularly What Christmas Means to Me.  It just gets me in the right Christmas spirit and is such a happy song.  And, the other night, I was watching the movie This Christmas and heard an old familiar Wonder song that I hadn’t thought of in a long, long time.

The WONDERfulness of Twinkle, Twinkle is the fact that just like the Christmas season it’s joyful, melancoly, introspective and warm….just one of the great tunes of Stevie’s enduring Christmas repetoire.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Me is one of those soulful songs of the period when a plethora of non-traditional Christmas music was introduced, capturing the spirit of Christmas in new ways.  In 1967, Little Stevie Wonder having just dropped the “Little” and fresh off of hits like FingerTips, Uptight (It’s Alright), A Place in the Sun  and For Once in My Life, Wonder released an epic Christmas compilation, Someday at Christmas and Twinkle, Twinkle was one of the hidden gems on this wonderful collection of the man entering his heyday. 

Someday at Christmas is a mix of traditional and non-traditional Christmas songs and was released right after Thanksgiving in ’67 and was, no doubt, well-received.  However, I don’t recall hearing much of Stevie’s Christmas music until I was an adult and largely through movie soundtracks.  That’s how I got turned on to What Christmas Means to Me, the anchor song on Someday at Christmas.

This song always puts me in such a festive mood.  The kind of Risky Business, Tom Cruise in tighty whities, sock sliding across the floor in sunglasses, strummin’ air guitar kind of mood.  It is one of my absolute favorite Christmas PARTY songs.

But, Someday at Christmas has a little something for everyone and is a superbly well-rounded record, particularly for a specialty CD.  But then, it IS Stevie Wonder, after all.  A Warm Little Home on the Hill and Bedtime for Toys bring a sweetness and longing for family, home and hearth.  A new find that I am particularly enjoying this year is The Day That Love Began, which is a combination of doo-wop, Motown, and classic Wonder:

I like that one almost as much as the inspiring, soulful One Little Christmas Tree.  (NOTE:  The video for One Little Christmas Tree was pulled off of YouTube, so the others may vanish, as well…another subject for another post.)

Of course, Stevie doesn’t stray too far away from the standards with traditional takes on The Christmas Song, Silver Bells, Ave Maria, and The Little Drummer Boy…all of which are superbly sublime.

If you’re looking to expand your Christmas collection, Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas CD is a “must have”.  Unfortunately, the original album/compilation is no longer available, but fear not…all songs from this CD, plus a couple more are available on iTunes and Amazon via 20th Century Masters under The Christmas Collection: Stevie Wonder.

stevie-wonder-xmas1

Click here to order from iTunes.

Many times, when I’m doing research for these posts, I find unanticipated nuggets.  This time, I found a wonderful cover of Someday at Christmas, by a very talented young man named Justin Bieber:

Just goes to show that good music endures.  BTW, Stevie Wonder re-released For Once in My Life as a single this past Monday…40 years after original release. 

Everything old is new again. 

 

Tags: , , ,

A Brighter Day

xmas_grinch_heart

Ok.  So, Friday I’m pissed and generally surly throughout the day.  I wake up Saturday with a chip the size of Texas on my shoulder and trudge out to Wal-Mart, i.e. Purgatory. 

SUN0730 Walmart 9.jpg

Big mistake.  I needed toilet paper and paper towels and, let’s face it, Wal-Mart has the best prices.  Of course, I’m in uber-saver mode because of the sad state of our economy (see previous post) so I have no other choice but to enter the gates of hell, that is Wal-Mart.

I trudge the store for other items such as wine (I’m on a Gallo Cabernet-Sauvingnon kick) where I can save $2.00 a bottle, egg rolls (there are no good egg rolls at the Winn Dixie near me), and the new People magazine with The Obamas on the cover.  Naturally, I get in line at the check-out (three deep) and just as it’s my turn, realize that I didn’t get Beef Broth.  I need Beef Broth.  It’s one of the things I went to the store for.  I’m making Pot Roast in the Crock Pot, so I’ve got to have Beef Broth.  Crap!

I impatiently turn my cart out of the line, knowing I’d lose my turn in line and have to wait another 20 minutes when I returned.  Feeling utterly defeated, I sulked all the way to Aisle 5 and back to the check out.  I waited (again) for my turn to check out and I must say that the checker lady was very cordial and nice, chatty even.  I manage a polite conversation because, after all, she’s just trying to make a living, right?

Then, I get to my car, unload my loot into the backseat, and go to pull out.  The guy who gathers up all of the loose carts had left a 50 ft. line of carts IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE, causing gridlock among the Saturday errand-runners.  There were raised voices, horns honking and fingers flying, but finally he got his electric mover working and the steel dragon out of the way.

As I pulled out and exited the parking lot, I found myself murmering to myself about stupidity, laziness and inconsiderateness.  To say I was in a bad mood would be the understatement of the year.  I got home, where I was alone as Mr. D was playing golf and Mini-DD was at a friend’s house.  I hauled all of the bags into the house and put it all away and then looked at the war-torn kitchen in disgust. 

“When does it all end?!?  Can’t I get a break?!?  What about ME?!?  What ABOUT me?!?”  My mind raced with these thoughts as I walked to the front porch to get the mail.  A bunch of junk, but then I saw two hand-written envelopes.  My heart always races with handwritten envelopes because it’s generally personal correspondence and someone sending something special to ME.

As I opened the envelope addressed to “Dee Dee & Gramps”, I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three times to normal size.  For when I opened the card thanking us for the recent gifts, here’s what greeted me:

scan0001

handh

hdd11

scan0002

Suddenly, I was gobsmacked.  These wonderful images, provided by my wonderful and talented daughter-in-law, brought everything into sharp focus.  I became starkly aware that, in fact, it is NOT “all about me”, but rather about what I do for others…my family, my friends, total strangers.  I will feel better about me and my situation if I DO for others.

So, today is a brighter day.  Today, I will put ME aside and look outward rather than inward.  The above images will serve as a standard under which I will serve.  I will take my talents and multiply them.  For those of you so inclined to hear a “word” on this, listen to this message from Joyce Meyer:

Joyce has a way of putting practical life situations and challenges into faith messages.  I love her directness and self-depriciating humor.

For those of you not so inclined, here’s a wonderful ditty from Kevin So, who I had the pleasure of seeing this past year at the Saenger Theatre, here in Mobile.  Hopefully, it’ll make you feel bettah…

  Brighter Day, Kevin So

Perhaps Obama should make THIS his theme song.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Mad About Mad Men…

Oh my Lord in Heaven.

I’m not one for watching “series” on TV.  I usually can’t get interested in a story line long enough to watch for any length of time.  However, a few weeks ago Shrew recommended Mad Men.  “You will love it”, she said.  While skeptical, I decided to puruse Hulu to find it, but evidently AMC (American Movie Classics), the cable network that carries Mad Men, does not license through Hulu, BUT did have one episode — the second season premier.  I decided to watch this episode and if it garnered my interest, I would download season one from iTunes, to keep me company on my many business trips.

Naturally, I LOVED IT.  I have completed season one and am anxiously awaiting the weekend when I can catch up on season two, which is conveniently available (for free) on On Demand.  YAHOO!!!

If you watch Mad Men, you know how I can love it so.  If you haven’t watched, YOU HAVE TO!!  Set in the early 60s, the characters lives revolve around a Madison Avenue advertising agency.  The nostalgia is phenomenal, to the point where you think you’ve entered a time warp and are right there with the girls in the secretarial pool, adjusting your Playtex bra and dodging the wayward hands of your boss.

The show is so honestly unpolitically correct that it’s realism captivates.  Here is a video I found on YouTube that lists the Top 10 politically incorrect moments in Mad Men (so far):

Of course, the brilliance of this is that in 1960, this was perfectly accepted behavior.  And, there are many more where these came from.  Women smoking and drinking while pregnant, drinking in the office (at any hour), incessant smoking — anywhere and everywhere by everybody, and the perfect mother worrying about her six year old “getting fat” are just a few of the issues that folks today would simply be mortified over.

And then there’s the sex.  Everyone is doing or trying to do everybody else.  While likely a little over done, the show does expose “the greatest generation’s” proclivity for extra marital dalliances — particularly in action-packed New York City when commerce and culture were seeping from every pore of the city.

Oh, and the music….I love me some nostalgia music, as I call it and Mad Men does not disappoint.  Here’s a few of my favorites from the first two seasons:

  Band of Gold, Don Cherry

  P.S., I Love You, Bobby Vinton

  Babylon (Written by Don McLean)

  Botcha Me, Rosemary Clooney  (ignore the drag queen)

  The Twist, Chubby Checker

  Fly Me to the Moon, Julie London

  Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, Bob Dylan

  Theme from Summer Place, Percy Faith Orchestra

  Break It To Me Gently, Brenda Lee

  I’m Through With Love, Marilyn Monroe

Man, I just LOVE this stuff.  The songs, the era, the stories, and oh, the characters.  My favorite is Ad Agency owner Roger Sterling, played superbly (and oh so handsomely) by John Slattery.

Yeah buddy.

Anyway, even though the story of Mad Men takes place a couple of years before I was born, there is something oddly familiar about it all.  Even though things had changed (and not necessarily for the better) by the early 70s and my formative years, alot of what is portrayed in Mad Men was still happening.  While society continued to become more “open”, it also became much less tolerant of, and dare I say militant against, the obvious sexism and male dominance of everything in business and otherwise.  

Even through the bawdy behavior and pervasive deceptiveness, there’s still a wonderful innocence of a world before assassinations, marches in the streets and really, really bad clothes.  Watching Mad Men provides a glimpse into the end of an era…likely the most exciting time in recent U.S. history.  Post WWII society, drunk on money, sex and freedom. 

While you may be shocked by some of the behavior of these peers of our elders, I dare you not to have a few good laughs when you watch Mad Men and relish in the fact that yes, “you’ve come a long way, baby”.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2008 in Good Stuff, oldies, Reviews, TV

 

Tags: , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.