Guess that Song

If you read my blog regularly, then you know that I’ve written before about my love for different types of music. You may also know that I am not in the least bit ashamed to admit (okay, well, a little bit maybe) that I like my daughter’s music. Although, I do try to keep my dancing in the car to only a slightly embarrassing level. I’ve also written about the great use of soundtracks these days, and how they are instilling in my children (in I hope all children), a love of some of the best music ever released…even if it is creating some confusion in my own music loving head.

I feel like I must revisit this subject because I’ve come to the realization that while I can apparently remember the lyrics to pretty much every song ever written, I can’t remember the titles to those same songs! What I CAN remember is which soundtrack each song comes from because, as you know, all the best songs are found on soundtracks these days. I would feel bad about not being able to remember the titles, but in my own defense, neither can my daughter, and since she is younger, my memory should be worse than hers, right?

So, as we head down the road, running errands or simply on a road trip to wherever, and we’re looking for music that suits the mood, we (okay, it’s more often I as in me) play the game of “guess the song I want to listen to.”

For instance, I’ll say, “hey, play that song from that scene in Guardians of the Galaxy where Peter Quill is zooming back to join them as they make their getaway…you know the one. No, no, no! Play the song from the opening, I LOVE that one! The one where Peter Quill gyrates his hips! And uses the poor little lizard thingy as a microphone. That’s a good one!”

Or “put in that audition song from Pitch Perfect, the one I can’t sing right…you know the one.”

Or “how about that song from the commercial with the actress that used to be in Life with Damien Lewis, love his red hair!, but then she was a lawyer in her own show called Fairly Legal, which is a shame it didn’t last that long, it was a decent show, and the song was on the radio like all the time only I can never remember the name of it…” This is the part where my oh-so-patient daughter always sighs and reminds me that it’s Stronger by Kelly Clarkson because she hears that whole spiel from me so often.

 Or, “I know! Play that song that’s in Delivery Man. NOT the one by Imagine Dragons that starts out like the song in Delivery Man and fools us into thinking it’s the right one, but the actual song from Delivery Man.”

It’s like a game of charades, but it’s guess the soundtrack instead. Maybe we could call it sound-rades? Or maybe track-rades…? I think I like song-rades.

Parenting Styles

Not exactly the best parenting technique in the world, but I’ve never been one to be able to contain my sense of humor…and it’s very difficult to give a stern lecture or punishment when you’re giggling or outright laughing at something your children have done or said. Worse yet, when it involves the very kind of sarcasm that so often falls out of your very own mouth and so you “get it.” Even worse yet is when you hear said sarcasm repeated to you via an authority figure such as a principal or teacher or other parent during a meeting to discuss the troublemaker (aka your intelligently witty impertinent child) and you have to suck it up and be a “responsible parent” until you can get to the car where you can finally, and with relief, let out the laughter or have that vehement shaking of the head moment (not at the child mind you, but at whomever the sarcasm had been directed to) that has been bubbling to the surface the entire time.

Parenting is tough.  Ugh.

golden rule

 

 

Dark Musings

On May 14, 1998, the Seinfeld show aired its last episode.

This was seventeen years ago, but the plot of the show was incredibly perceptive, both of the characters and society as a whole. And as it turns out – prophetic.

In this episode the four main characters of Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George are spending a few hours in a tiny town in Massachusetts. They witness a mugging from an opposite street corner. Instead of trying to stop it, they simply watch and make jokes because the victim is extremely overweight. In addition, Kramer starts to film the mugging with a camcorder. Then they simply turn and walk away from the scene, completely unconcerned with the fate of the victim.

I have to say that when I watched this episode, my feelings for the foursome changed drastically from like to dislike. I’ve never felt the same about the show since. I mean they were always self-absorbed, one and all, but good grief.

So in the finale (should I say spoiler alert for a show that aired 17 years ago??), the four of them are arrested for violating a “duty to rescue” law (which I don’t think actually exists because really, if it did, our jails would be overflowing even more than they are now) and the rest of the two-part show consists of clips from past episodes showing the utter lack of compassion and empathy that these four friends have shown to the people they’ve interacted with during the ten years of the Seinfeld series’ run. Spoiler alert (ha!). They were found guilty and the karma they had been racking up for the past nine seasons came back to bite them in the ass and they wound up in jail.

Fast forward to today.

There are people today who actually do this – witness a crime or a tragedy and not only do nothing about it but actually whip out their cellphones to record it! Or in the case of the recent fire in Dubai, take a selfie in front of said tragedy (before possibly being able to know if deaths are involved or not).

Go to YouTube and you’ll see thousands of videos like this. Someone getting beat up in a fast food restaurant or on a bus or something of that nature (usually in a big city) and instead of trying to stop it, a bystander films it and uploads it to YouTube. It would be one thing if they filmed it in order to help in the prosecution of the criminal involved, but I think their main reason to film it is to put it on YouTube or their Facebook account! Take this guy for example. He saw a car crash, and since helping is for suckers, he naturally just broke into the smashed up vehicle to record the two dying kids to post on his Facebook page instead and oh, hey, wait…maybe there’s some money to be made here… so according to police, he tried to peddle the recording to news stations.

Seinfeld had an uncanny knack for mirroring society right back at you through the t.v. screen, they just made it funny. In real life it’s not quite so amusing.

We wonder why some people, especially young people, have no empathy or why situations such as rape or bullying might get videotaped but not reported (or god forbid, stopped) as its taking place. I mean, it’s no exaggeration to say the first thought of the majority of the crowd is not, “let’s stop this,” but rather, “hey, did you get that!?” or “whoa, are you getting this!?”  Of course meaning on one’s phone.

I think it’s because our society has created – and is constantly creating – voyeurs and people who are just completely immune to or simply don’t care about tragedy or violence, even when it’s right in front of them. There seems to be little respect for, well…anything anymore. People are taking playful selfies at Auschwitz these days for goodness sake. I hear it’s a “thing.”

I don’t know what the solution is. Stronger laws and more repercussions for heinous acts such as, oh, I don’t know, squeezing into a mangled car to film dying children up-close just to make a buck, would be a good start. It’s easy to say better parenting is the key, but is that it? Is that all it will take? Life is never that simple. As a society shouldn’t we do something? But really, are we even capable of pulling together as a group to create change? Or should we all just resign ourselves to the fact that the world is destined for that long trip waayy south in a hand basket when all is said and done?

Michael Scott Ruins Everything

Can we all agree that Steve Carell is a national treasure? I mean, come on. As Gru (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2) he showed us how lovable a tried and true villain can be. Sure, it was just his voice layered with a heavy accent, but the way he puts warmth into such a callous character was something only he could do. I adored him as Hammy, the hyperactive, cookie-addicted squirrel in Over the Hedge. Have you seen that one? If not, don’t feel bad. Not many people did. But – you should. If only for Hammy’s energy drink fueled antics.

Another movie of his that maybe didn’t get the biggest audience was Bewitched, in which he played the Uncle Arthur character. I remember the Paul Lynde performance from back in the day and trust me; Carell filled his shoes to perfection. Then there’s his turn as the naïve celibate with a heart of gold in The 40 Year Old Virgin. I won’t lie. There were a couple of gut-wrenching moments in that raunchy comedy that really made me feel his pain…both physically and emotionally. The scene where he has the heart-to-heart with his girlfriend’s daughter about being a virgin. The fact that he would put himself on the line like that for her. How devastatingly heartwarming. And Carell pulled it off without being sappy. We won’t even talk about his…umm…waxing.

But then everything changed.

My daughter, bless her heart, introduced me to The Office. She introduced me to. . . Michael Scott. Yes, I now know this was the role that allowed all those other roles to happen, but there’s no rule saying I need to watch anyone’s career arc in chronological order. Sheesh.

So I was pretty late in the game getting to know Michael Scott. He came pre-Gru, pre-Hammy, pre-Uncle Arthur. The point being that I already had a sound yet varied base for my pre-conceived notions on what Steve Carell could do as an actor. He could transition from one role to another keeping his distinct signature, but also inhabiting the character enough where I could lose myself in the plot.

Then Michael Freakin’ Scott, Regional Manager of Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton Sales Branch on NBC’s The Office appeared and quickly obliterated everything I thought I knew about Mr. Carell. It’s a testament to his acting ability to say that I am now totally disillusioned by that character for the rest of my life. He did such a good job with portraying the self-centered, insecure, incompetent, big-hearted, crybaby Michael Scott that I just can’t look at him the same way anymore.

Hell, as it stands I can barely get through an episode of The Office for reasons that have everything and nothing to do with Steve Carell’s magnificent acting. I feel the embarrassment and awkwardness of the employees so keenly. Yes, they’re fictitious characters and it’s all just actors reading a script they memorized; a script that was designed specifically for the purpose of making me feel uncomfortable. But even knowing all that, it makes me cringe. Now, on top of that general unease, now I see Michael Scott in everything Steve Carell does.

It’s both a blessing and a curse that an actor knocks a role so far out of the park that there’s no coming back. But congratulations Mr. Carell on what you accomplished with Michael Scott. It’s not often that someone does too good of a job.

 

MichaelScott