Here it is May already and summer is knocking hard at the door like the determined home exteriors salesman I just had trouble shaking. For many of us there’s summer vacation; time off of work and school. In the meantime, there’s your stunningly crafted Bucket List that you want to complete. Here’s the perfect opportunity to hammer at it.
Instead of catching up on multiple seasons of cancelled Joss Whedon TV shows while lounging in your neighbors’ pool, challenge yourself to to work on your Bucket List this summer. Pick 3 or 4 or more items from your list and do them. If you don’t already have a bucket list, make a list of your hopes and dreams, the things you’d like to do before you die (if you want ideas, here’s mine- My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die). Maybe you want to take a road trip across the US in a rusted Pinto or visit all the National Parks and take pictures while only leaving fingernail clippings. Maybe synchronized swimming with the dolphins is your thing or walking the Great Wall of China in a dirndl as you grow your beard. Read the rest of this entry »
In every election season, there’s a tough vetting process for the candidates. Sometimes it’s accidental vetting, but occasionally the candidates are forthcoming with their quirks. We want someone who fits us. I know many of you guys are dragging your feet on dating or committing because, well, you’re just unsure whether that girl you like has what’s needed to complement your own quirks. In other words, you’re not sure how much like your mom she really is. This fixes that. Just hand her this questionnaire and sit back while she fills in the magic. You’ll know soon enough whether your girl is the perfect cross between Giada, Megan Fox, Natalie Wood, and your mom. Also, don’t be surprised if she high-tails it out of there, slaps you, or turns the tables and hands you a questionnaire of her own.
In my generous effort to help my fellow helpless men who inexplicably find themselves in situations where they’re receiving ‘love’ applications and/or resumes for a certain position, I’ve made this excellent questionnaire. Start vetting your ‘love candidates’. You are welcome. Read the rest of this entry »
Poll time: Who’s Your Favorite Hottie Actress of the ’50s?
If you’re retirement age, you might have adored these talented (and magically delicious) actresses the first time around during Hollywood’s Golden Age (circa 1950s). Some of us younger folk have since grown to appreciate the grooviness of women who could be our grandmothers. I think I mentioned before that I’m a bit of a Natalie Portman fan (see exhibit A & exhibit B), but there’s just something swell about the classic elegance of these fine Hollywood hotties. A few of these actresses hit their heydays before the ‘50s, some just after, but they all did great work in the ‘50s. There were other excellent actresses from the period, but these are the 6 I like best (I’ve left out Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe because they’re overly popular and just not my favs). Please vote for your favorite and tell us why in the comments, then check back for the results (you can see the results of the Favorite Fictional Bachelor Poll and still vote!). Feel free to research their film catalogs and get back to us.
The secret word is classic.
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by Jonathan Bombpop Perry
I don’t have a fallout shelter, but if I did (and I really should, just so I can get one of those signs) I could start filling it right now with these unused and under-consumed foods that have been long-neglected in my cupboards and freezer. Yes, I tend to overbuy and not plan meals very carefully, often eating whichever frozen meal sounds tastiest. I might as well store the surplus in a very special bomb shelter pantry. These 9 foods are mostly great foods, but they’ve been sitting in my house for years in some cases and they’ll probably last forever anyway (the underused veggies and half loaves of bread won’t). Besides, they’re taking up precious kitchen space.
1. Soup-If I’m in the mood and the weather is cold, I’ll eat soup, but I really haven’t been in the mood and it hasn’t been cold for at least 6 months. I like soup. I mean, it’s easy to heat up, but ehh. There’s always too much sodium.
2. Ramen Noodle-Also a soup, Ramen Noodle is the vestigial tail of my college years. It’s cheap, doesn’t take up much space and is pretty yummy. I should eat some. I wonder how old that package is. I wonder if it’s buggy.
3. Quinoa-There were samples of quinoa (keen-wa) at the grocery store a few months ago. It was delicious and I wanted to make the food sample lady feel useful, so I bought a package of the weird ricy/pastafarian/grain-stuff the Incans feasted on after sacrificing a virgin. I know that I’m too lazy to recreate it the way she did (the food sample lady not the sacrificial virgin) since this would require planning so that I return to the store and purchase ingredients for the fancy preparation. In the nuclear fallout shelter, I’d be less picky and would just steam it or whatever. Maybe use soy sauce. Or spaghetti sauce. I also need to make more rice.
4. Spaghetti-Last year after I moved into my house I was really getting to know my kitchen and made attempts at growing up and cooking food like an adult. It lasted about 3 months. During this time, my big food was pasta. Mostly spaghettis, but some raviolis. Somehow I overbought sauce in jars, which I should eat. I think there really is some sort of expiration/BPA leach date I should heed. There are 4 jars of tomato sauce in the cupboard and one jar of opened pesto sauce in the fridge. Oh, and noodles.
5. Cake-I have many boxes of cake mix. I’ve made a couple cakes, but have several still sitting there aging, luring bugs. I’ve been making lots of tasty brownies instead. Of course, cakes would be great in a bomb shelter. Why not celebrate the end of civilization? Also, I could just eat pudding.
6. Instant Pudding-Honestly, this probably came from mom’s house 10 years ago before she moved out of the state (braised gluten also came from mom’s house). These days if I want pudding, I’ll buy the pre-made stuff in those little prepackaged cups in as many weird flavors as I like (Blueberry Muffin Pudding, anyone?). They’re cheap, too. They may or may not require refrigeration.
7. Potato Pancake Mix-What the heck? Yeah, I saw this at the market and being the impulsive buyer of weird stuff that’s not too expensive that I am, I brought it home where it decorates my cupboard (I found hummus and falafel mixes, too). 10 years ago when I was visiting Castle Neuschwanstein in Germany, we ate at a restaurant at the bottom of the hill between bits of tourist nirvana. It just so happened that the potato pancakes dish was 1 of 2 vegetarian items on the menu. It was magically delicious. Anyway, maybe I’ll make it sometime. Mom used to make potato pancakes out of leftover mashed potatoes. Tasty.
8. Fancy Exotic Dishes like Indian or Thai-I eat a lot of microwaveable meals, even Indian and Thai, but they’re mostly frozen microwaveable meals. Of course there are microwaveable meals that don’t require freezing. These sit in your cupboard all sealed up nicely waiting for Iranian nuclear warheads to destroy all electronic devices via EMPs (electromagnetic pulses), rendering microwaves useless. I suppose a living room campfire would still heat up the stuff. You could eat it with quinoa.
9. Canned Veggie Meat-Being a vegetarian, I have occasion to eat veggie meat (and tofu and braised gluten). I don’t really do it much these days, but if I would just bother to cook more, it might happen. However, I have prepared for those times when I do have the perverse urge to cook. Seriously cook. That bit of cooking will require some great canned veggie meats from the likes of Worthington, Loma Linda, and Morningstar Farms. It also usually requires 3 or 4 people to consume it at a meal. If I dare open a can, I am basically committing myself to eating the stuff within the next week or before it goes bad (whichever comes first). That’s maybe 4 or 5 meals of the stuff over several days. I really need more variety. The frozen versions of the stuff seem to be more useful to me at this point.
I don’t have a bomb shelter, though. More is the pity. I have lots of food waiting to go into it. There might even be popcorn, crackers, and chips. Can you say fallout party? What do you overbuy and why?
Stay tuned for my interview with Maureen Wurtz with the U of Nebraska’s College of Journalism. That is, if it’s not worse than I recall. Also be on alert for future DB eBooks!
The secret phrase is fallout party.
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by Sir Jonathan Boniface Perry
My fellow blog readers, we do not harass Caesar with tickle fights to haze him, but to Epilady him because he’s Mediterranean and obviously pretty hairy (Mediterranean men recognize their condition and are not offended. Especially Caesar.). Yea, verily, here’s the state of the bachelor: Hungry! No, really, here it is:
1. Whenever the theme song for “The Office” plays, I make up another song on the spot and sing it over the top of the theme. Sometimes there are lyrics which may or may not include “Shake your butt. Shake your butt, baby.” I’m working on that. On a related note, I’m sad to hear that Steve Carell plans to leave the show at the end of next season. Bummer.
2. Last week I was accidentally subscribed to Ladies Home Journal. Also Parents Magazine and Family Circle. Probably a sweepstakes entry gone bad, though I don’t rule out a clever prank. My issue of Family Circle arrived in the mail today. Really, I did cancel them.
3. Found a dead bird. 1st bird this year. 3 last year. My yard might be cursed. I also suspect vuvuzelas. Or soccer in general. I left the bird because it was on the edge of the yard and had already been sitting several days. It smelled a bit & its little claws were sticking up all twig-like. I mowed around it, so there’s a small square patch unmowed on the side of my front lawn being fertilized a special way.
4. Yes, I realize DB could also stand for Douche Bag. Oy.
5. I traced several lines of ancestors back into Switzerland for a few hundred years to as early as the 1500s. Crazy awesome! That’s 500 years! Didn’t know we had any Swiss. I knew about a few of our German lines, as well as Chippewa, Cherokee, likely Welsh and Dutch, but not about the Swiss. Still haven’t found how my dad might be related to Benjamin Franklin. (More to come later on this genealogy business. Probably.)
6. Average daily blog hits in June- over 100!
7. Found a great Belgian Chocolate Gelato sold by the pint at the supermarket. Need to quit buying it so I can lose weight.
8. (Update on nicknaming post.) a)Darrin at work has started calling me Pretty Pretty Princess. Retribution is required. b)I’m trying out other nicknames for Paul J. who was non-plussed by the nickname Paulina. Paolo was also apparently inadequate. I’m thinking Polyglot or something else with Poly-. Maybe Polymer (not Polyamorous). c)Still need a good nickname for Randy besides Bookie and Wizzer (not a spelling error from me). Randalina doesn’t quite do it. Maybe the Great Randini. d) Nickname for Dave Micek, DJ Mice K, is still super awesome!
9.Today, the aforementioned Apollo Polyglot at work guessed I was only 27 years old (he’s 10 yrs off). This, of course, rocks. Not sure whether this guess was based on my maturity or if my vampire white skin is paying off.
10. Need to renew my passport for that cruise in Dec. It needs to be valid for 6 months after the trip, but mine would only be good for 5 1/2 months after. Oh, hey, I’m taking a cruise. I’ll sunburn in style.
11. I now have over 13,000 songs on my iPod! Sure, a few hundred tracks are chapters of audio books. Sure, I had to finally upload a few of those Mozart CDs last night that had been sitting around unused for a few years. Sure, 135 of those tracks are of my own poorly recorded music and of those maybe 30 are duplicates. Do I have a 2-disc set of a Bulgarian women’s folk choir singing Bulgarian folk songs leftover from a world music binge in the ’90s? Yes, I do. But I’ve reached a special milestone. If you figure that each album averages 10 tracks, this would mean I should have about 1,300 albums. According to my iTunes it would take 35 days to listen to this 58GB of songs. Will I listen to all of these songs straight through uninterrupted over those 35 days? I will not in a boat with a goat. But I can, if I wish to kill myself that way. Also, there is chocolate gelato.
12. Thwarted a kitchen invasion by ants last week. They were probably displaced by the recent heavy rains. I gassed my house with poison that probably was the cause of my subsequent sickness.
13. Put down 120 lbs of topsoil near the foundation of the house to fill low spots that were pooling with water during those heavy rains. Need more. A little water was leaking into the basement. On a positive note, I could set-up a Slip-and-Slide in the garage.
In conclusion, that is the recent state of the bachelor. Will there be changes? Probably. Will they be snail-paced? Most certainly. Will you have a good Independence Day/July 4th Holiday? I hope so. May the force be with you.
The secret word is Polyphonic
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by Jonathan B Perry
Yes, we’re halfway through 2010, but I’ve gathered my 30 favorite songs of 2009 anyway. Like any good self-respecting music snob and addict, I think my music taste is pretty darn good. All music snobs feel this way and usually hold that their taste is superior. But taste is taste. You might not like the sort of stuff I like (if you’re crazy) and vice versa. I used to keep a spreadsheet of around a thousand bands and albums I rated as I sifted through reviews and recommendations. It’s always great finding a new good band you can sink your teeth into. And for me, there’s this need to share these niftiest sounds with my friends. It’s sick, I know.
For reference, 80s New Wave might be the base of my popular music-food pyramid. That and mid-to-late Beatles. I especially like songs with strong melodies and harmonies with unique instrumental sounds. More recently I favor Indie/Alternative music and listen to the U of Nebraska’s radio station (90.3 KRNU) to hear new stuff that circumvents mainstream radio, though I still listen to mainstream radio sometimes.
(Most of these songs were released on albums in 2009, though in some cases there may be a song or 2 that came out in 2008, but didn’t hit it big until 2009. There’s an unhealthy number of break-up songs in the list. Maybe 20%. It’s demented.)
So, here they are: The Domesticated Bachelor’s Favorite Songs of of 2009.
1. “Heads Will Roll”-Yeah Yeah Yeahs:
I can’t seem to shake the lyrics to this song. I keep walking around all Tourette’s-like chanting “Off off with your head! Dance dance dance ’til you’re dead! Heads will roll… on the floor!” I imagine people are concerned, but they should know better by now. For this reason (crazy hooky lyrics), I’d say this is probably my favorite song of 2009. And like any red-blooded Goth-wannabe guy (minus the weird clothes, makeup and ultra-gloom. Ok, I’m not Goth.), I have a little thing for Karen O of the YYYs. I suppose she and the band are not really Goth (more weird/cool), though the video for this song might bend a little that way. In some performances she looks like she’s doing semaphore or some sort of bizarre sign language, and she often has this incredible look of joy or amusement or ecstasy on her face when she’s singing. Pretty swell. I also appreciate her whisper-singing-cooing sweet nothings into my earbuds (in the bridge). Anyway, “Heads Will Roll” is a super song. It really gets a good bit of synth going in a minor key while Karen O sings her headless dancing fantasy.
2. “Two Weeks”-Grizzly Bear:
Lyrics for this song aren’t as clear for me as for “Heads Will Roll”, but that’s ok because “Two Weeks” is really a beautiful tune. Gorgeous even. This song opens with a simple piano plinking, a bass, then some great ascending vocal harmonies. The soaring melody and harmonies are awesome and happy and I’ve installed this song in my iTunes “Happy Songs” playlist that I use as self-medication for depression and pining. I heard “Two Weeks” on a tv show, maybe “How I Met Your Mother”, and Googled it immediately. Turns out I already had the album. Apparently I’d downloaded it from Amazon.com while it was their cheap promo of the day, but for some reason hadn’t really listened to it much. The band has some other good songs on their 2 albums, but this is probably the best and deserves lots of attention.
3. “Hundred Hearts”-The Swimmers:
The local college radio station played this a lot and it was right down my alley. It’s a well-written song all the way around: great tune, harmony, instrumentation, and a great beat. I especially like it when the phrasing gets faster then slows in the middle of each verse, then there’s that keyboard that climbs up and down. I seem to be appreciating songs more with male and female vocals. Adds nice texture.
4. “Chinese”-Lily Allen: Share Chinese by Lily Allen
I was introduced to this song when my brother Jay showed me a video of a children’s choir covering it. They do a really great job, but the original is awesome. My iTunes list says I’ve listened to this one over 50 times already. I love the wall of sound. It’s beautiful and sad. She sings about a comfortable evening at home with her mom and for the longest time I interpreted from the lyrics that her mom had died, but apparently she’s not dead, so…
5. “Young Adult Friction”-The Pains of Being Pure at Heart:
The entire album is actually quite listenable, but this is a standout. To me the sound is a little similar to My Bloody Valentine, but a bit more accessible. Not so dense or distorted, but this is still one of the ‘noisier’ songs on my list. I like the boy/girl vocals on this, too. A few of the band’s videos are in 8mm, which is a pretty great effect that could be used more.
6. “Did You See Me Coming?”-Pet Shop Boys: Share Did You See Me Coming? by Pet Shop Boys
I’ve been a huge PSB fan since “West End Girls” came out when I was in grade school. A high school ex even mailed me mix-tapes of largely PSB music. The band has been going strong for a good 25 years now, and though the recent quality has been more mixed than in the golden age, this last PSB album was probably their strongest in a while. Almost a perfect song, except for an unremarkable bridge, but it’s ok. Still awesome.
7. “Carol Brown”-The Flight of the Conchords:
I had this song stuck in my head for weeks, too. “Carol Brown just took a bus out of town, but I’m hoping that you’ll stick around.“ Flight of the Conchords‘ song “Carol Brown” is a modern “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover“, except it’s happening to you and it’s a little sad, though it’s also funny and a bit hopeful. Good for therapy. Jemaine bemoans the different ways women have left him and those exes form a choir to explore his issues. It seems that whenever my brother Jay and I get together we find ourselves watching episodes of FotC’s HBO music comedy series or video clips on YouTube. I’m sad they won’t be making the show anymore. I kind of wish I’d done a list like this last year, just so I could put up “Prince of Parties” from their last album, but I digress.
8. “Bang!” & 9. “Last Dance”-The Raveonettes: Share Bang! by The Raveonettes
I’ve really enjoyed the Raveonettes ever since their first album came out. This Danish duo who sound like a more tuneful Jesus and Mary Chain (reverby alt group from the 80s & 90s) would sell more albums in a perfect world, but then they’d be less of a rare find. Really, though, they don’t do too badly. The albums are consistently very good. I’m surprised there’s no video for “Bang!”. Hopefully there will be an awesome video to push them into the stratosphere (like videos mean anything these days). In “Bang!”, I’m not sure what those kids want to do out in the street all summer long, but it can’t be too obscene if it’s played on the radio. In the song “Last Dance” we have another potential prom song about impending end of love (and maybe death, I guess). Great songs, both of them.
10. “Fireflies”-Owl City:
This song is like a warm blanket of colorful sounds and lyrics. The band sounds almost exactly like The Postal Service, with the intricate electronic beeping and the singer’s voice resembling Ben Gibbard’s (who also fronts Death Cab For Cutie). It’s a hopeful tune about insomnia and has a special unspeakable meaning for me that must be pushed way down into my gut until it squishes the life out of those dumb stomach butterflies.
This French group put out a great album and the song, “1901”, was used endlessly in a car commercial, which is great for exposure and not nearly as frowned upon as it once was by the snobby music community. It’s accepted that the music biz is broken, so bands need exposure any way it can be gotten. I love the band’s sound and I always get the feeling that the singer is going through puberty with the voice cracking and changing.
12. “A Better Love”-El Perro Del Mar: Share A Better Love by El Perro Del Mar
Is that hammer dulcimer? I think so. Pretty cool (even if it’s synthesized). This sad break-up song insinuates itself in the brain with stuff like “This isn’t over ’til I say when. When. When.” sung in a quiet voice. I suspect that if you listen to it in the wrong frame of mind, it might be a tearjerker (I actually want to hear it backwards). I have way too many break-up songs on this list, maybe 20% (what’s up with that?), but it could just be that break-up songs are written with more emotion and get a bigger helping of love and junk, so they end up being the cream of the crop.
13. “Use Somebody”-Kings of Leon:
“Use Somebody” was played endlessly on the radio and deservedly so. It’s a fantastic song full of longing. It seems the brothers and cousins in Kings of Leon have only been improving their Indie/Southern Rock songwriting with each member taking a turn at songwriting on the album. I’m afraid I may have OD’d on this one a little.
14. “Silver Moons”-Sunset Rubdown:
I heard “Silver Moons” around the same time I heard “Hundred Hearts” by the Swimmers on college radio, so in my head I pair these 2 together. To me, the singer for Sunset Rubdown sounds a bit like the lead singer for Men Without Hats (“Safety Dance“), though more so in other songs. The song builds from piano to full band and goes back and forth. The chorus is probably my favorite when they sing “Maybe these days are over over now. And I loved it better than anyone else you know.” Sweetly passionate and sentimental. I am officially a sad sack.
15. “Love, Save the Empty”-Erin McCarley:
At first I was unable to figure out the title of the song. Now it makes me think of recycling (save the empty). Probably one of my guilty pleasures, I listened to this song and “Chinese” by Lily Allen about the same time frame. I often find pairs of songs that go together for me, usually because I discover them almost simultaneously. “Love, Save the Empty” was used in the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, which I actually saw with humans and enjoyed. Apparently Erin McCarley attended Baylor University, though about a decade or more after my dad finished up his PhD there (yeah, we lived in Waco for a bit). This is a sweet song, starting with a simple piano part that eventually builds to a full band with strings. Great tune and excellent sound.
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16. “Fitz and Dizzyspells”-Andrew Bird:
Andrew Bird is known largely for two things: whistling and playing the violin. However, he’s a great songwriter and incorporates the violin and whistling in ways that best fit the orchestrations of his pop-songs. The songs are usually a bit complex, but not in a way that loses the listener. He knows how to fit in decorative bits and unique twists and turns which one-ups songwriting that slides by with the basics. Super orchestration and production.
17. “I Know”-Zeus:
I really like the reverby synth riff in this song, but that’s partly because I wrote one a lot like it a few years ago, so it feels familiar. This song got some good play on the local college radio station. I especially like the verses with the synth riff behind the singing. Cool band name, too. I mean, I would’ve gone with Thor myself, but Zeus works.
18. “Love Letter To Japan”-The Bird and The Bee: TB&TB is one of my favorite active bands. There’s a nice mix of old girl-group sound and synth-pop. “Love Letter To Japan” expresses the band’s appreciation to its Japanese fans in sort of a dance package, while incorporating a slight Asian-music undertone for super-fun-dancy time.
I sort of wish I was doing the list for my favorites songs of 2006, because Muse’s “Starlight” would hit number 1 with a bullet (maybe), but 2009’s “Uprising” is another well-written and powerful song. Muse has a propensity to use battle and war themes in the songs. Strange, but it works. Great band.
20. “Zero”-Yeah Yeah Yeahs:
If this song was scored based on ideal definable attributes of a hit song, it might outscore YYY’s other song, “Heads Will Roll”. Wait. Maybe not. I take that back. It doesn’t have the visual image that the lyrics for “HWR” brings. Also no whisper-singing-cooing in my ear buds.
21. “Already Gone”-Kelly Clarkson:
I didn’t realize at first that this was Kelly Clarkson singing. I thought it was a black and/or English artist. Not sure why, since I’d heard Clarkson sing before. She seems to have had a fair amount of success for an American Idol (he said a little smugly). “Already Gone” combines strings and drums in a bittersweet breakup song about mercifully breaking up with someone when you realize there’s no future. This is another moving breakup song that might make the lip quiver. And junk.
22. “Lisztomania”-Phoenix: (Link to YouTube Video) Apparently “Lisztomania” was a term coined back in the days Franz Liszt performed the piano to large crowds (in the 1840s) and the fans went a little batty for him. Who knew. I like how the lyrics are repeated in succession. Nice effect. I need to listen to the rest of the album now. I mean, I have it, but I’ve been stuck on the 2 songs mostly.
23. “Summertime Clothes”-Animal Collective:
Animal Collective is one of those unique ‘out-there’ bands that march to a different drummer. The band’s songs often deviate from a normal song-writing form. Sometimes this is perfect and brilliant, while other times annoyingly incomplete. The band creates a thick wall of electronic sound that’s probably served as the soundtrack to lots of drug-tripping. “Summertime Clothes” mixes the conventional and unconventional enough to be awesome. Wild video.
24. “Love, Etc.”-Pet Shop Boys:
As I said earlier, this last PSB album, Yes, was really quite good with some nifty tunage. Be sure to check out the video-game-like music video. PSB often manages to harvest some great electronic beeps to go with their strong songs.
25. “Polite Dance Song”-The Bird And The Bee: This song was originally released on a 2006 EP, but was also included on their 2009 album, so I don’t mind adding it to the list. The band’s songs often have some incredibly clever lyrics and this is no exception. This implores the listeners to clap their hands in sort of a technical robotic way. Weird-cool.
26. “Love Story”-Taylor Swift:
“Love Story” was released in 2008, but still charted into 2009, so I’ve included it as one of my guilty pleasures. I’m self-conscious about liking Top 40 music, what with it being uncool, let alone country pop, but good songs are good songs and Taylor Swift has written some really sweet teenage girl-type songs. She’s kind of cute, too.
27. “Oh No”-Andrew Bird:
I limited my list to 30 songs and limited my Andrew Bird songs on the list to 2. The 3rd song would be “Not a Robot, But a Ghost”. I’ll have to look up the lyrics to “Oh No” sometime, since I don’t quite understand all of them, but what I catch are pretty great. “Across the silver bridge in nothing but a onesy and a veil”. Strange. Oh, and this song has some nifty whistling.
28. “Blue Skies”- Noah and the Whale:
“Blue Skies” tries to get us past the heartbreak and to the blue skies that are calling. “This is the last song that I write while still in love with you…while you’re even on my mind”. Pretty tune working both the sad and the hopeful. I like the video, too.
29. “Flaming Arrow”-Jupiter One:
I saw Jupiter One open for Regina Spektor in CA last fall with my friend Cami and was surprised by how great the band was live and how many swell tunes were played. Of course, one must always beware of live performances and how they can act as ‘beer goggles’ to the music, making the songs seem better than they are. Jupiter One has some really good songs, though, & Flaming Arrow is probably my favorite of the band’s 2009 release. It’s a fun tune.
30. “Paparazzi”-Lady Gaga:
I avoided Lady Gaga as long as I could, but she’s nearly unavoidable. She comes across as style over substance, but this isn’t purely true. There’s just so much weird style, that the substance seems secondary. Anyway, I really like her song “Paparazzi”. It’s a great tune, especially the chorus (which I mix into “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Simon and Garfunkel, though just as often I’ll turn it into “Papa Smurf Nazi”). Don’t judge me.
(note: I prefer to use the singular when referring to a band and it’s name “as in Radiohead has lost me” rather than “Radiohead have lost me”. I’ll have to study up on the reasoning for the plural (maybe ask my sister-in-law), but in my mind a band is a collective, a group united in one singular entity. Some band names have plurals in them, like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, so using the plural sounds better (for all I know, that may be where the plural started, unless it’s a Brit v American thing), though with my line of logic the singular should still be used. I still mix them up, though. I also refer to a family as a singular unit. Whatever. I’m probably wrong. I’m going to bed now.)
“If”-House of Heroes
“Say Hey (I Love You)”-Michael Franti
“Hot N Cold”-Katy Perry (disqualified because it mostly charted in 2008. This is probably a double standard, since I included Taylor Swift. Oh well.)
“Not a Robot, But a Ghost”-Andrew Bird
2 songs by Lonely Island (one is kinda dirty)
“Lush Life (remix)”-Nat King Cole (great remix, but it’s a remix of an old song, so)
“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”-She and Him (it’s a cover used in a movie, which weakened it’s case for my list, but it’s a beautiful cover of a beautiful song”)
“Fallin’ For You”-Colbie Caillat
Links to Lists:
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by Jonathan B Perry
I have good news and I have bad news. First, the bad news: Guys of 2020, there will be a surplus of competitive males as there never has been before at any time in history. 30 million extra men to be approximate. In just 10 years there’s going to be such a glut of guys of marriageable age it’ll seem like one endless frat party where there are maybe 2 women in the back. Granted, these extra men are in China where the population is about 1.5 billion (and where 30 million is relatively small, though not really), but still they’re not all going to stay in China and there will likely be some domino effect flopping around the globe, so you’ll need to work extra hard to trick women into hanging out excessively. Drat.
Now the good news: Ladies of 2020, there will be a surplus of competitive males of marriageable age, so the dude options will be greater and more desperate than ever before. The scarcity of women makes each of you even more valuable (think higher pedestals) and you can be choosier and make guys grovel more. Many of you look forward to this. If you hold out just a little longer, say 10 years, some of you current bachelorettes might have better luck snagging younger, awesomer studs.
Of course this imbalance all stems from China’s one child per household policy that often saw families choosing to have boys as their only child and to abort the female fetuses as a practice of population control which retained males who would theoretically provide better for their families. It’s been called gendercide. Now aware of its severe gender imbalance, the Chinese government is making a strong push to the public to look more favorably on girls, hoping to stem the tide of aborted females. So far it’s only been slightly effective (there are banners saying stuff like “Girls are swell”), and it will still take generations for things to even out.
This sort of situation hasn’t really been an issue in previous civilizations. You could draw some similarities with the imbalances after the world wars, when there was a surplus of women when many Johnnys didn’t come marching home again. It’s believed the feminist movement even gained traction from the higher number of single professional women of the 1920s and 1930s. I just thought I’d point that out.
Concerns have been voiced that this excess of single men, unable to mate, may create many more societal issues in the years to come: wars to cull the surplus males, a rise in crime (particularly rape), an increase in prostitution, a rise in homosexuality, and many more sloppy apartments.
Since it will take many decades to correct the situation in China, what other solutions might there be to help the problem? I’ve come up with a few ideas and only one of them uses bachelors as human batteries a la The Matrix.
Chinese Bachelor Solution #1: Promote religions, like Buddhism or Catholicism, where bachelors become monks or priests. You might have to lure them in with church bingo at first, but do whatever works. This would require a moderate change in the government’s stance toward religion (I’m not pushing either religion. Baptist or Methodist monasteries could be developed, just to mess with things.).
Solution # 2: Chinese mail order grooms- When one thinks of arranging spouses to order, mail order brides from places like Eastern Europe spring to mind. Now with many young Chinese men potentially unable to find mates nearby, they’ll need to cast wider worldwide nets and this may include making themselves available for marriage by mail order. Bigger boxes. More air holes.
Solution # 3: Human batteries a la The Matrix– In the movie The Matrix people lived in watery pods and existed in a dream state, while powering the evil machines. Never mind that you could put caviar on iv and call it a spa weekend. Forget that Beijing and Shanghai could be powered cleanly and cheaply from now until Chinese New Year. No, I suppose it’s not an option (or even a good human rights thing), unless you just do Gilligan-style power-maker with the coconut bicycle making electricity (come to think of it, gyms around the world could do this bit and harness the power to run their tv’s). I’m sure there’d be some way to do it, though it doesn’t really fix the mating thing, does it? Hmm. Forget this one.
Solution # 4: Men dating outside their age groups- I realize guys throughout history have been dating outside their own age group, but it’s usually been scary old rich guys dating younger helpless and/or money-grubbing women (the dudes have more cows for dowries). The Future Army of Chinese Bachelors (cool band name!) may need to consider the limited options and be more open to dating older women, widows and retirees even. And if China can find way to pump out extra females (without aborting males), say through in vitro fertilization or some genetic magic, then the extra dudes could date younger without skewing things too much for the younger guys.
Solution # 5: Cryonics? I’m just putting it out there.
Solution # 6: Find female alien life. I think there have been B-movies about this.
Solution # 7: Import women- Let’s face it, China may do well to find incentives to import women to China. It might be useful to pay women to move to China and marry Chinese men. I can see it now, in 10 years time there will be specials on 20/20 and Oprah about how China has an army of bachelors just waiting for all available women to come for marriage and money. Perhaps special women-only schools could be set up to draw female students from around the world. Maybe it could be something like marketing the acrobat schools to Bollywood dancers (that’s the group I’d aim for).
So, China has a big problem, but there are often viable solutions to difficult problems. Hopefully something can be done to improve the potential for millions of Chinese, while avoiding a catastrophic future involving millions of filthy bachelor pads.
When I re-edit, I’ll find a way to sneak in Bowie’s song “China Doll”.
The secret word is imbalance.
Vaguely Related Reading:
Not Really Related, but Nifty Reads:
Bachelor Step #1: THE BACHELOR PAD
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Do you have a bucket list? What do you want to do before you die?
I usually have a small list of life goals banging around my head & bits written down, but I challenged myself to write it all out & was surprised. Some of the list is comprised of half-crazed dreams that seem like a stretch, but would be swell to accomplish. Sure, I’ve just created more identifiable ways to fail. Good stuff.
I’ve divided my list into 5 groups: Learning, Creative, Travel, Adventure, Domestic. If I’d made the list 10 years ago, it would’ve included things I’ve done since like seeing castle Neuschwanstein, lurking about Stonehenge, buying a house, visiting Asia (Taiwan), etc, & I’d have more of a sense of completion to this point & the existing list would be shorter. Maybe in 5 years I’ll have knocked off a dozen more & will have replaced them (If I can survive a 5k race without dying from asthma, then maybe a 10k would be in order. Junk like that.).
By the way, a few items I don’t think I’ll add are bungee jumping and skydiving, since I don’t want to die trying to check something off my death list. Am I an incredible chicken? Yes. Yes, I am. But accomplishing most of these things requires me to get off my lazy chicken butt and get with it. So, the gauntlet has been dropped.
1. Learn a new brass instrument
2. Learn a new stringed instrument
3. Learn to play the accordion so I can annoy friends and loved ones (in a different way)
4. Take the IQ test before the mind starts going.
5. Learn to play decently at cards/poker (I’ll have to work on my P-P-P-Poker face)
6. Learn to play golf properly/get my own left-handed clubs
7. Learn to play piano by ear/Be the Piano Man!
8. Learn conversational Spanish (my 8th grade Spanish didn’t stick well)
9. Study another language like German or French or Mandarin
10. Learn to surf
11. Learn to sail
12. Study a martial art (Karate, Tai Chi, etc)
13. Take an art class where I learn how to draw, paint, create visual junk
14. Learn to juggle
16. Record oral histories of my family (I’ve done 3 now. Need more details, though.)
17. Travel the country/world to see gravestones of ancestors/relatives
18. Attend family reunions for @ least 2 branches of my family (eg Hinkles & Gottschalls)
19. Learn super debating techniques
20. Give a speech to a large group (while awake and wearing more than underwear)-> Sort of Done.
21. Be able to identify more constellations (beyond Orion & the Dippers)
23. Read all the books on a snobby list of classics
24. Be able to identify 10+ birdcalls
25. Learn the main arguments for creationism
27. Write at least once for a national/int’l magazine
28. Make a scripted home movie with a story line
29. Finish writing my Christmas Cantata (for a choir) & have it performed & recorded
30. Finish Writing my rock musical: music, lyrics, story
31. Write a screenplay for a movie (possibly for that rock musical)
32. Publish at least one book
33. Design and landscape my backyard (possibly with help)
34. Start a magazine
35. Build a proper treehouse (not like that awesome bit of childhood @my grandparents’)
36. Record a semi-pro album
37. Perform a full set of my own music (+some covers)
38. Write a stand-up comedy act, even if I don’t perform publicly
39. Write several comedy sketches, enough to match an episode of SNL (or In Living Color or Kids in the Hall or Monty Python or Mad TV)
40. Perform the aforementioned sketches with friends in an improvised version of SNL. Videotape it. My band could be the featured music(could be just the sort of thing to organize over an extended Christmas holiday)
41. Write a script for a tv show
42. Design a family crest/coat of arms
43. Invent something & take out a patent
44. Become handy with some new dangerous tools (probably something that ends in -saw)
45. Build some fairly simple furniture without help from former felons or summer camp dudes
46. Build an instrument from a kit
47. Write a Christmas story
48. Write a non-Christmas hymn (another one, but one that doesn’t suck so much)
49. Design a Lord of the Rings amusement park for fun
50. Design a Christmas-themed amusement park for fun
51. Visit all 7 continents. Yes, this includes Antarctica.
52. Visit all US national parks
53. Visit every US state
54. See the pyramids & the Sphynx (Egypt, not Vegas)
55. Walk the Great Wall
56. Visit the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian and buy tacky souvenirs
57. Visit Beijing, China
58. See New England in full leaf-peeper season
59. Visit Machu Picchu, Peru
60. Visit the Taj Mahal, India
61. Visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia (carefully stepping around the landmines)
62. See the 7 Wonders of the world
Visit France- -> DONE!
Visit Switzerland -> Officially done! Do longer.
Go back to Austria, but for longer than 2 hrs this time. DONE!
66. Sleep in a castle
67. Take a Euro-trip just to visit castles & cathedrals (the 2 previous trips nearly qualify)
See Italy -> DONE!
69. Visit the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera
70. Visit Japan (see more than just the airport next time)
71. See the Acropolis in Greece
72. Visit Russia
73. See the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (not Constantinople), Turkey (yeah, I called you a turkey)
74. Big heads on Easter Island, Baby!
75. Visit the Holy Land between bombings
76. Run in a 5k race without stopping partway through to get a rock out my shoe
77. Ride in a Hot Air balloon and/or a Zeppelin (possibly while singing “Stairway to Heaven” or “Immigrant Song” or saying stuff like “Oh, the humanity!”)
78. Walk longish segments of the Appalachian Trail
79. Take a cruise (I’m probably going to sign up for one in the next week)-> DONE!
80. Travel the Trans-Canada Hwy from coast to coast
81. Canoe the boundary waters or a waterway (but book woods with showers & toilets)
82. Travel by train across the US
83. Take a US roadtrip from coast to coast
84. Get SCUBA certified (if asthma allows)
85. Take flight Lessons
86. See the northern lights
87. Take a helicopter ride
88. Go whitewater rafting
89. Live in or travel around another country for a few months at a time
90. Take a proper cabin/lodge/ski vacation
Domestic Bliss Goals
91. Marry someone swell
93. Become self-employed (make a living off my creative work for at least 1 year, but preferably always)
94. Get back under 200 pounds (and stay there)
95. Build my own house (by which I mean have someone else build it to my specs)
96. Regain my 6-pack
97. Develop a unique recipe that’s pretty darn good
98. Grow a decent backyard garden by myself that survives
99. Learn to make at least 5 dishes from memory
100. Help plant an orchard (preferably mine on a large acreage)
What’s on your bucket list?
The Secret word is Falafel
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(I was going to title this “Nicknames: Another Tool in the Guy’s Arsenal”, but decided it sounded fairly perverse, so I didn’t.)
Jonathan Blarney Perry
I like it when someone gives me a nickname. At least a good, non-insulting nickname. Nicknames are for friends and buddies. They’re cool and kind of endearing. It’s said that one’s name is one’s most precious possession, so it’s important to mess with those, but only a little. And really, being the nickname-giver grants you a certain power. It’s like naming a baby and if the nickname sticks and everyone starts using it, then you’ve really started something.
I was kind of named for my Uncle John, but not really and my mom doesn’t like it when people call me Jon. She’s weird.
Nicknames I’ve had:
- Jonny (by family & people who’ve known me since I was little)
- Jon (by a lot of my friends who don’t know my mom)
- Donger (High School. Sounds worse than it is. Maybe.)
- Goat (Mostly by Roland & Lenny. I use it for them, too, and randomly for everyone else.)
- Jonathanatos & Thanatos (Thanatos is Greek for death. I took a year of Greek in college.)
- JonPerryJonPerry (Teri D probably started it)
- JB (My dad calls me JB. It was the name of one of his mentors.)
- Jap (This was in middle school. Not sure if anyone besides Elizabeth Franks called me Jap. I had a huge crush on her.)
- Jack (a nickname I’ve envied, but it’s only been slightly used for me)
- Jon-dong-athan (by my brothers. My bro Chris sings a little song when he says this twice. Kind of cool.)
- JonnyBear (by my friend Heather. She’s too cute.)
- Wookie (Randy in the office calls me this a lot)
- Jon-Jon (my old friend Jeannine calls me this)
When I visited Taiwan, my friend Roland helped me pick a Chinese-y/Taiwanese-y name, ‘Pan Yuwehan,’ so I could have a rubber stamp made using Chinese script. It was pretty awesome to see my Chinese nickname in pictograph and perhaps one day I’ll find a use for the stamp, maybe in government work that involves rejection letters to Asia. At least I didn’t get a tattoo.
‘Tyson Chicken‘-Besides being a dude thing, giving nicknames is useful as a mnemonic device. I seem to have a crap memory, so sometimes I’ll give people nicknames so I can remember what the heck to call them. Recently 2 engineers started working at the office and I found it helpful to call Tyson ‘Tyson Chicken’ and Paul ‘Paul Bunyan’ (Paul is tall, but Tyson is not a chicken, so…). For years I confused Larry and Gary in another part of the office, though they look nothing alike, and eventually figured out that since Gary has gray hair it was helpful for me to think of him as Gary the Gray (like Gandalf the Grey), but I’ll never actually call him this, since he might not be so keen. Also ‘gray’ is an anagram for ‘Gary’, so bonus. Anyway, I no longer confuse them.
‘Paolo Weisskopf”-Some nicknames are just fun. I know 2 other Pauls from work, one I call ‘Paolo’ or ‘Paulina’ (at some personal risk to myself), and the other is a former supervisor who’s now retired, Paul Whitehead. For Paul Whitehead I came up with ‘Paolo Weisskopf’. ‘Paolo’ is a Portuguese name and ‘Weisskopf’ is a German rendering of Whitehead. This made me think of Nazis who escaped to South America (Brazil in this case) and gave their children mixed language names. I never called Paul this (that’s a shame) and certainly never meant anything bad by it, but thought it was awesome and should’ve been widely and obnoxiously used.
‘Stinger‘-One of the techs I work with is Brian Walker, who I refer to as Brian Walker ‘Texas Ranger’. He always wears a cowboy hat. I just found out that another tech, Bob, has been called ‘Boonie’ for 32 years by the other techs because he lives way out in the Boonies. This is useful since it can be rhymed with Goonie, loony, and Clooney. Maybe ‘Debbie Boonie’. Bill has been called ‘Stinger’ since he got into a nest of yellow jackets and had to visit the ER because of a bad reaction. I’ve called my college friend Allison ‘Allisonogram’, Pat ‘Patapan’, and Sue ‘Sousaphone’, but they ignore me, which is probably best. Usually anyone I know named Scott becomes ‘Scotland’ or ‘Great Scott!’.
‘DJ Mice-K‘-My buddy Randy at work (he calls me ‘Wookie’) admitted he was called ‘Nerd’ a lot growing up, but now is known as ‘Wizzer’ (not Wizard), because of his great betting and gambling prowess. I asked around and learned Dave Micek was called ‘Meats’ (for Micek) and Matt was called ‘Bones’ because he’s very tall and thin. Great names, but they could use some fresh stuff. For Dave Micek, I’m pushing the name ‘DJ Mice-K’. It’s only mostly stupid.
‘Hildegard‘-Randy mentioned picking out the Catholic confirmation name ‘Francis’ when he was a kid. When I discovered the coolness of the confirmation names, I asked a few of the other Catholics. Dave’s was ‘Paul’. One woman was also ‘Frances’ and another claims to not remember, so I suspect it to be something awesomely embarrassing like ‘Gertrude’ or ‘Hildegard’. Picking a confirmation name is like Asians picking out their Western names. It seems that in grade school many Asians pick out their own Western nicknames. It’s kind of cool, but if you’d picked out your own name as a kid, what would you have chosen?
‘Mikhail‘-My friend Mike, a former Mormon, once told us he was given the Mormon temple name ‘Mikhail’, which at first he thought was pretty great considering his name is Michael, until he overheard other guys in the temple that day getting the same special name.
‘Tenderloin Vanderbeek‘-I like trying out different nicknames on friends. It’s great to mess with them until something really fits. In emails, my friend Cami (who’s been known as Spam, Moose and Chamomile for years) and I use different nicknames each time for both ourselves and for the other person. For example, in a recent series of exchanges, she called me Red Man, Monkeyboy, Yoda, Spanky, Cracker, and Captain Congo and referred to herself as Django, Moosetart, Otto, Tarbaby, Samurai Smack, and Scarlet Pimpernel. Then I called her Moosey, Super Bon Bon, Manhands, Hydroponic Mosquito, Crotchety Crocheter, and Racist Casseroler while referring to myself as The Waffler, Chewbacca, DonkeyKongKublaKhan, Blarney the Gaelic Dinosaur, Snorklefish, Cap’n Crunch, Kim Jong Ill, and Tenderloin Vanderbeek.
‘Geritol‘-Of course, nicknames can also suck and be hard to shake. You always hear about those bad names kids get in school that turn them into the next David Koresh or Ted Kaczynski. Darrin and I use nicknames as good-natured insults. Darrin, who harasses me about my old man car, usually calls me some variation of ‘Old Man’, which is ironic because he’s about 5 yrs older than I am and is pretty gray. We go back on forth on names along the line of ‘Grandpa’, ‘Geritol’, ‘Ben Gay’, and ‘George Hamilton’ (Darrin is tanned). I think we’re still looking for the best nickname insults, though I’m proud to have told him “Go fold your Cosby sweaters, grandpa.”
Quality nicknaming doesn’t always come easily. They often take time to figure out and shouldn’t be forced. You have to try them on, like a Cosby sweater at the store. It might look nice on the rack, but end up looking crappy on you in the dressing room.
If all else fails, I’ll call you ‘Goat’.
Famous Nicknames: Wild Bill Hickock, Johnny Appleseed, Lucky Lindy, Lady Bird Johnson, Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill
Famous Sports Nicknames: ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, Reggie ‘Mr. October’ Jackson, Karl ‘The Mailman’ Malone, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Wayne ‘The Great One’ Gretsky, Michael ‘Air’ Jordan
What nicknames do you like?
The secret word is Tenderloin.
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