“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” ~ Roger Ebert

vertigo

” A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock 

“Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater” ~ Roman Polanski

Today is at least 25 degrees cooler than yesterday. It’s overcast and windy and therefore, the perfect day to compile my favorite 100 movies.

kill-bill-vol-2Unlike my top 100 rock ‘n roll songs, which contained 115 songs, I have managed to keep this list to 100 movies, almost. In a few cases, I have listed sequential movies as one listing because it makes more sense. For example, I only used one entry for “Lord of the Rings,” as that was always intended to be one story. The same goes for “Kill Bill,” which was intended to be one movie, but was considered too long for one movie.

On the other hand, I have listed two of the Indiana Jones movies separately because I did not like the second movie. But for “Star Wars,” I only used one entry for episodes 4, 5, and 6, as I view those as one storyline with the same group of actors. I know. I know. More Lola logic.

The movies that I have listed are my favorite movies, not necessarily what I would consider the best movies ever made. I did omit any foreign language films, and some cult classics (like “The Lost Boys” or “Rocky Horror”) because those could be lists of their own. However, the list contains movies spanning six decades and includes musicals, drama, a few comedies, and suspense movies. I have included the main actors rather than the directors, just because.

the-godfatherYou can tell that I am fond of certain actors (Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins) and certain directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Minghella, Quentin Tarantino, and Francis Ford Coppola). One thing that may surprise you is the lack of romantic comedies. I am just not a romantic comedy kind of person, preferring instead intense movies with complicated storylines, beautiful cinematography, classics, and science fiction.

I reworked the list at least eight or nine times, removing a few titles and replacing them with movies that I felt were being more true to my preferences. At first, I had included some movies that I like and that were critical favorites, but upon reflection, I realized that they were in fact not my favorites, even though I liked them.

“Movies are like an expensive form of therapy for me.” ~ Tim Burton

You won’t see big blockbusters like “Titanic,” even though I liked it, simply because it was not in my top 100. You will see some movies with which you may not be familiar: “Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai,” “Beyond Rangoon,” “The Red Violin,” “The World According to Garp.” The first and third are movies that have stayed with me over the years that I find much more humorous than the more popular broader comedies such as those by Adam Sandler. “The Red Violin” is one of those movies like “The English Patient” in that its storyline is haunting and remains with you.

beyond-rangoonOf the much older movies, no, I never saw them in the theater. However, I watched many of them over and over again on television in the days before cable. As for “The Ten Commandments,” you are probably surprised by its inclusion, but it was one of those movies that used to be on television every Easter, and I would watch it with my father, who loved it, so I don’t even remember how many times I have seen that or “Ben Hur.” Even though it isn’t necessarily one of my all-time favorite movies, my father loved it, and I loved watching it with him from the time that I was a very young girl.

The rest, well let’s just say that it’s an eclectic list that reflects my eclectic tastes. Please feel free to question entries, suggest others, or argue vociferously over some of the movies that I have included. I would love to hear what other people have to say. Just remember, I called it my favorite 100 movies (a suggestion that I took from Memphis Mafia).

That being said, enjoy.

“The movies we love and admire are to some extent a function of who we are when we see them.” ~ Mary Schmich

 

My Favorite 100 Movies    

1.            “The English Patient” (Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas)

2.            “Lord of the Rings” (Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin)

3.            “The Usual Suspects” (Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey)

4.            “Shawshank Redemption” (Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman)

5.            “Braveheart” (Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau)

6.            “The Princess Bride” (Cary Elwes, Robin Wright)

7.            “Dead Poets Society” (Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard)

8.            “Silence of the Lambs” (Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster)

9.            “Star Wars: Parts 4-6” (Harrison Ford, Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher, Sir Alec Guiness)

10.       Philadelphia” (Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington)

11.       “The Godfather: Parts 1 and 2” (Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro)

12.       “Se7en” (Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey)

 seven usual-suspects

 

13.       Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Harrison Ford, Karen Allen) 

14.       Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (Harrison Ford, Sean Connery)

15.       “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton)

16.       “Pulp Fiction” (John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson)

17.       “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese)

18.       “Henry V” (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi)

19.       “Sleepers” (Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Bacon, Jason Patric)

20.       “Heat” (Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino)

 

heat

monty-python-and-the-holy-grail

 

21.       “Toy Story” (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen)

22.       “The Green Mile” (Tom Hanks, Michael Clark Duncan)

23.       “E.T.” (Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore)

24.       “Gladiator” (Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix)

25.       “Elizabeth/Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Clive Owen)

26.       Brokeback Mountain” (Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal)

27.       “Capote” (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener)

28.       “Children of Men” (Clive Owen, Julianne Moore)

 dangerous-liaisons

sense-and-sensibility

 

29.       “Dangerous Liaisons” (Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer)

30.       “Sense and Sensibility” (Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman)

31.       “Schindler’s List” (Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes)

32.       Mystic River” (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon)

33.       “A Room With A View” (Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sand)

34.       “Dead Again” (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi)

35.       “Alien” (Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt)

36.       “Beyond Rangoon” (Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko)

37.       “Kill Bill: Vols. 1 and 2” (Uma Thurman, David Carradine)

38.       “Witness” (Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis)

39.       “Goldeneye” (Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean)

40.       L.A. Confidential” (Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe)

41.       “Platoon” (Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen)

 

platoonmystic-river 

42.       “The Matrix” (Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss)

43.       “The Bourne Identity” (Matt Damon, Franka Potente)

44.       “Saving Private Ryan” (Tom Hanks, Matt Damon)

45.       “The Untouchables” (Kevin Costner, Sean Connery)

46.       “The Red Violin” (Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi, Eva Marie Breyer, Jason Flemying)

47.        “Star Wars: The Wrath of Khan” (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban)

48.       “Trading Places” (Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis)

49.       “Dead Calm” (Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane)

50.       “Beyond Borders” (Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen)

51.        “Misery” (James Caan, Kathy Bates)

52.       “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” (Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly) 

53.       “Age of Innocence” (Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfieffer)

54.       “Trainspotting” (Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller)

55.       “The Great Gatsby” (Robert Redford, Mia Farrow)

56.       “Running Scared”  (Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal)

57.       “Apocalypse Now” (Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen)

 the-untouchables the-red-violin
 

58.       “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (Jude Law, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow)

59.       “Jaws” (Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss)

60.       “Doctor Zhivago” (Omar Sharif, Julie Christie)

61.       “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed)

62.       “Throw Momma From The Train” (Danny DeVito, Billy Crystal)

63.       “Vertigo” (Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak)

64.       “Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” (Peter Weller, John Lithgow)

65.       “The Blues Brothers” (John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd)

66.       “Amadeus” (Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham)

67.       “Rear Window” (Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly)

68.       “The Graduate” (Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft)

69.       “Animal House” (John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Tom Hulce)

70.       “All The President’s Men” (Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman)

71.       “Witness for the Prosecution” (Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton)

72.       “Ordinary People” (Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore)

73.       “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” (Paul Newman, Robert Redford)

 dead-calmamadeus

 

 

74.       “The Elephant Man” (Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt)

75.       “Psycho” (Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh)

76.       “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher)

77.       “The Piano” (Holly Hunter, Karvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin)

78.       “The Way We Were” (Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand)

79.       “Stand By Me” (River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell)

80.       “White Nights” (Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov)

81.       “2001: A Space Odyssey (Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood)

82.       “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall)

83.       “M*A*S*H” (Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould)

84.       “Some Like It Hot” (Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon)

85.       “Dial M for Murder” (Ray Milland, Grace Kelly)

86.       “The World According to Garp” (Robin Williams, John Lithgow)

87.       “Saturday Night Fever” (John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney) 

88.       West Side Story” (Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer)

89.       “Body Heat” (William Hurt, Kathleen Turner)

90.       “The Dirty Dozen” (Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine)

91.       “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford)

92.       “Oliver” (Ron Moody, Shanni Wallis)

93.       “Othello” (Orson Welles, Suzanne Cloutier)

94.       “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach)

95.       “On Golden Pond” (Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda, Katherine Hepburn)

96.       Casablanca” (Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman)

97.       “Tess” (Nastassja Kinski, John Collins)

98.       “I Want to Live” (Susan Hayward, Theodore Bikel)

99.       “The King and I” (Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr)

100.   “The Ten Commandments” (Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner)

  

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies—all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” ~ Steve Martin

body-heat

Well, I hope that you enjoyed my list. I tried to fit in some of the more evocative movie posters—”Platoon,” “Body Heat,” and my particular favorite, “The Red Violin”— as well as a few of the ones that I think are particularly well-designed, like “Mystic River” and “Untouchables.”

Not to mention Alfred Hitchcock’s wonderful poster for “Vertigo,” which shows Jimmy Stewart clinging to the top border of the poster—great design for something that came out four decades ago. How about that?

So that’s all for now. As always, there will be more later. Peace.

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“When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you’ve growled all day long.” ~ Unknown

adventure-dog1 

 Alfie’s Big Adventure

 “Every dog must have his day.” – Jonathan Swift

Alfie’s has his day and leads me around by my nose . . .

dog-in-glassesWhen I finally managed to fall asleep yesterday after my insomnia bout during the night, it was early evening. I spend most of the afternoon with an ice pack on my head because of the migraine that was brought on from fatigue.  Not until the pain subsided was I actually able to fall asleep. Apparently, while I was sound asleep, Corey and Alexis were out searching the neighborhood for Alfie, that little bugger.

Let me rewind the story a bit.

In the forbidden forest that is the side of the yard outside my bedroom, the overgrowth had become scary. I told Corey that I wouldn’t mind the wild look so much if only I could have my pond back (love the sound of the frogs). Then Brett got the idea that he’d like to make a little zen garden. That area of the backyard would be perfect because it actually has a narrow picket fence that divides it from the rest of the yard.

Corey decided to take the weed whacker to the area and cut back a lot of the growth. Now that part is the good part of the enterprise. The bad part of the enterprise involves the smallest dog, Alfie, and the fence.

There is a very small hole in the main fence that encloses that part of the yard from the front yard. We plugged that whole a few years ago, and don’t really have to worry about it because the dogs don’t go into the forbidden forest because of the picket fence: that is, unless Corey forgets to close the fence to the forbidden forest, in which case Alfie, who yearns for adventure, find his way through the fence and out. He then romps and yells “I’m free,” before splitting like a hare (get it, split hair? audible groan? okay, back to the story).

Well, Corey did not notice at first that Alfie had escaped because he was mowing the back yard (the other part that is not the forbidden forest). When he finished mowing, Corey realized what he had not done and began calling Alfie’s name. Then he came into the house and asked if anyone had seen Alfie lately. Big no’s all around. Hence the hunt ensued.

“The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread.” ~ Portuguese Proverb

dog-peanut-butter-jarThey finally gave up around 8:30 after making several routes through the park, where people had seen “the cute, little white dog,” and after Alexis rode through the neighborhood calling out her window: “Alfie. I have chocolate!”).

To explain: Alfie is a chocolate fiend. We know that chocolate is bad for dogs, and we don’t give him chocolate: the little bugger steals it. If for some reason we have forgotten to move the chocolate out of his reach, he steals it and eats it, sometimes wrapper included. I’ll never forget the time that I had gotten some Lindor Truffles, a personal favorite. Well I left some on the nightstand, which is easily within Alfie’s reach, even with his short little legs. Found the Truffle wrappers under the buffet in the dining room and Alfie with a smug look on his face.

Back to the adventure: I called the Norfolk shelter to report him missing and to see if anyone had brought him in or if he had been swooped up by Animal Control, which occasionally patrols the neighborhood looking for strays. An absolutely delightful woman told me that I would have to call back in the morning because they did not release any information unless it was during normal business hours.

“The greater love is a mother’s; then comes a dog’s; then a sweetheart’s.” ~ Polish Proverb

This morning Corey left for school early because they were going out on the water today, and I waited until 9 a.m. to call. The first woman I spoke with asked me to come in and fill out a lost pet report. I explained that I did not have transportation, and asked if she could take the information over the phone. She did but was not terribly happy to do so. About a minute later the phone rang, and a different woman from the shelter told me that she knew that a dog matching Alfie’s description was there, that he had been brought in last night. The fee to pick him up would be $15 for the bordering and $5 for a city license, which we never remember to get at the beginning of the year because or dogs never leave the yard (almost).

dancing-dogsThat fee was contingent upon having a valid rabies shot. Well, Corey is pretty good about keeping the dogs shots up to date, so I assumed that there would be no problem there. I called the vet that we go to and asked the woman if she could fax a copy of Alfie’s rabies’ record to the shelter. She was actually delightful and said that she would be happy to. She looked up Alfie’s record only to find that his shot expired n February. I was very confused because I thought that rabies shots lasted for several years, but apparently, when Alfie and Shakes were vaccinated last year, they were given one-year shots because we could not find records of their previous shots (new vet).

End result: I have to add to the fee for Alfie to get a rabies shot at the clinic next door to the shelter. Great . . .

Amidst all of this telephone calling, I had asked my mother if she could give me a ride to Corey’s school so that I could pick up the truck. After a delightful conversation with her in which I had to reiterate that we didn’t quite have the exorbitant amount of money needed to fix Izzie the Trooper yet, she agreed to take me to get the truck.

So, my mother picks me up and delivers me to the truck, and then she does something really extraordinary and unpredictable: she gives me a check to cover the fees to pick up Alfie from the shelter. Corey had done some heavy lifting for her, and she said that she wanted to give him something. I told her that Corey neither wanted nor expected to be paid when he helped her, but she said that she wanted to do it.  Snotty comment about earlier conversation with mother retracted.

In between all of this (oh yes, more complications), Brett had called and left a message that he needed to be picked up at 3 instead of 2 because he had to stay after school to work on a project. I knew that Corey would probably need to be picked up between 3 and 4 because that’s when the classes have been ending, but there was no way of knowing for sure since they were on the water in the lifeboats today. The shelter closed at 4:30. Timing was going to be tricky.

I rode to the bank at a few minutes after 2 p.m. Went to the gas station down the street since the little monitor that tells you how far you can go before you run out of gas was reading 0 miles. Put in just enough gas to leave me with enough money to pay Alfie’s bail, then decided to make a run for the shelter before picking up Brett. I hightailed it to the shelter which was in a different direction from the school, all the while keeping a lookout for police cars since I didn’t have time to be pulled over for the expired inspection sticker on the truck (different story).

“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.” ~ Dave Barry

blonde-brunette-and-redheadMade it to the shelter by 2:32. Made a positive identification of the suspect, who was looking very pitiful (in the meantime, tried very hard not to look at any of the other cages, made of mistake of looking into two or three, and immediately wanted to rescue more dogs who were barking and whining to get my attention). Filled out paperwork while one woman took Alfie next door to the clinic to get his rabies shot.

I had assured the woman that Alfie was small, 10 years old, and would be nice to her as he loves strangers (Alfie never goes psycho on strangers, only the family that he loves). The woman came back five minutes later out of breath—It seems that once Alfie was released from the cage and had his collar put on, he managed to break free and run away from the woman as fast as he could. Luckily, there wasn’t too far to run, but this woman was not a sprinter.

She asked me if I was sure that Alfie was 10. I assured her that he was indeed not a puppy but apologized that he was also very fast, a fact that I hadn’t taken into consideration when I was describing the culprit to her.

Alfie comes around the corner and is beyond happy. I fold all of the papers that return him to my custody, pick up Alfie, and head to the truck, whereupon Alfie immediately becomes the Energizer Bunny and wants to simultaneously jump on me, look out the window, help me drive, claw at my arm, and whine. He is not a good bye bye dog, so he doesn’t get in the vehicles very often. Time is now 2:45, and I am on my way to school to pick up Brett, which is approximately 15 minutes away if a take the interstate.

While I’m driving the speed limit, by the way, Alfie manages to crawl behind my neck at one point, wrapping the leash that I have wrapped around my hand, around my neck. I free myself with one hand while maintaining my steering power with the other hand. Alfie is not at all interested in listening to the voice of reason. Somewhere in my subconscious I have a feeling that there is going to be a train at the railroad tracks that I have to cross to get to Brett’s school if I take the usual exit off the interstate. I decide to chance it and arrive at the school at exactly 3 p.m.

“A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel.” ~ Portuguese Proverb

happy-dogAlfie immediately becomes Brett’s best friend, and I am finally allowed to drive. We turn down Little Creek Road and as I approach the train tracks, we hear the train coming. I cross the tracks, and within two seconds, the arms come down blocking the tracks. Brett and I just look at each other, and I tell him that I knew that the train was coming.

We make it home; everyone (meaning Eamonn, Tillie, and Shakes) is happy to see Alfie, except probably Shakes. My phone rings, and it’s Corey asking me to pick him up. It’s 3:57. Once more into the fray . . .

By the way, Alfie is comfortably asleep on Corey’s pillow at the moment, but the first thing that he did when I let him out in the backyard was to run to the fence of the forbidden (although not so forboding anymore) forest. Obviously he was not at all humbled by his adventure.

More later. Peace.

“Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience – unless they are still up.” ~ Ellen Goodman

woman-sleeping-by-sandor-liezen-mayer-1867 

 “Woman Sleeping” by Sándor Liezen-Mayer (1867)

“The worse thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s 5 a.m. Do you know where your good night’s sleep has gone?

sleeping-on-keyboardOkay, so it’s been one of those nights. I fell asleep relatively early for me, around 12:30, but then I woke up around 1:30 and haven’t been able to recapture the bliss of a good night’s sleep since. I finally decided at 5:30 to get up and make myself some tea and begin my day by reading some regular blogs. I also thought that if I went ahead and began today’s post that I might be able to lull myself to sleep with the rhythmic sound of the keyboard.

What I did achieve was waking up Corey around 5:45 who wanted to know what I was doing. Nothing. Go back to sleep. And he promptly did.

I hate nights like these. I dose for a few minutes, then toss and turn, but never manage to get into REM. I listened to the sound of the fan, the sound of the toads, the sound of the birds. I let the dogs out twice (they were very confused as they normally only go out once around 3 a.m.). The reality is that I haven’t actually slept through the night since Alexis was born, but I do know how to stumble out to the dining room to let the dogs out (Shakes initiates it) and then still go back to sleep.

Not this morning, though. There was no sleep for this woman. Of course, that didn’t keep Shakes from curling into my side and snoring loudly.

When I let the dogs out, it was lovely outside: cool air, the sounds of nearby birdsong drifting in. Of course, it’s supposed to get up to 91° today. With any luck, I’ll be able to sleep later this morning for little while at least.

I read a post on Maureen’s blog (White Orchid), and she’s getting snow. Of course, she’s in Australia, so her seasons are the opposite of our seasons. With 91° expected here, I think that I might actually enjoy some snow. It’s like I said, we just don’t get much of a spring, which is unfortunate because I love spring.

“For the economy I want workers and consumers to have control over their own economic lives. I want everyone to have fair conditions that fully utilize their talents and potentials.” ~ Michael Albert 

golden-books-tugboat
Classic Golden Book: Scuffy the Tugboat

That would be a nice change for him, for all of us, actually.  But I don’t want to get ahead of myself (ourselves?). Corey is being cautious as ever. Can’t say that I blame him though.

“With the changing economy, no one has lifetime employment. But community college provide lifetime employability.”  ~ Barack Obama

After all of my anticipation yesterday, I was too tired to watch Law & Order Criminal Intent. Good thing that it’s recorded. I had never planned to watch it live. I prefer to watch the recorded show so that I can speed through all of the commercials. In particular, all of the car commercials.

It seems that every car company in existence is offering incredible deals, which really bites when you need a car but cannot possibly purchase one. I was just reading that used car prices are down by about 17 percent, 9 percent since January of this year (Consumer Price Index). New car prices have dropped about 3 percent. Great for consumers, bad for car companies.

In fact, the article was discussing those things that have gotten cheaper versus those items that have gotten more expensive since last year. The price drops are pretty predictable: homes, cars, electronics, airfares, alternative energy, toys, and clothing. Prices are on the rise for food, medical care, prescription drugs, college tuition, gasoline, garbage collection (huh?), and beer (too funny) (http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney/7-things-getting-cheaper-7-that-are-not.aspx?Gt1=33009?slide-number=1).

So let me get this straight. The things that we really need (except for beer) are getting more expensive. The things that we might like to have but don’t need to survive are getting less expensive. Makes perfect sense.

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” ~ Pindar

Now I have to take exception with another article that I read on MSN Money: “Gift Cards Are Not Gifts,” in which  the contention is that giving someone a gift card is a faux pas because gift cards are not truly gifts . I believe that this statement can be both true and false.(http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/FindDealsOnline/GiftCardsAreNotGifts.aspx)

rack-of-gift-cardsFor example, someone who doesn’t have a clue about shopping and doesn’t particularly care about personalizing usually relies on gift cards. This can be seen as being lazy, or it can be viewed as better than nothing, particularly when you know that the card came from one of those all-purpose gift card racks at a convenience store.

“Hey look. One-stop shopping, and I can get my beer, too.”

Getting a gift card from a significant other: big no-no. Reeks of ‘I asked someone to pick this up for me because I just didn’t want to take the time to put any thought into a special present for you.’ Can you imagine being presented with a gift card to a jewelry store instead of the jewelry? Ooh. Not good. Kind of like getting a toaster on Mother’s Day.

And let’s face it. What is a five-year-old going to do with a gift card? Get her a talking book so that she can learn to appreciate books from an early age.

However, I honestly believe that there are several situations in which buying a gift card for someone is better than buying a gift. Big example: teenagers. Try buying a shirt for a teenager. Chances are very good that unless said teenager was with you during purchase, the t-shirt will never be worn. You will receive a half-hearted thanks, and the t-shirt will be consigned to the never going to wear pile.

Buying a gift card for a teenager is truly akin to giving him or her money, but the gift card is more responsible. Money will be frittered away in the late-night drive through at McDonald’s or Taco Bell, but a gift card to a store that you know they like and can use is a different story. And trust me, a gift card from a favorite store will get you a big smile and a sincere thank you. If nothing else, a gift card from Target is multi-purpose: consider make-up, cd’s, dvd’s, doo-dads for the car . . . you get the picture.

Another instance when a gift card would be a good idea is you have an elderly person for whom you are buying. Consider a gift card to a grocery store or a gift certificate to a cleaning service or a service that does yard work or washes windows. Elderly relatives do not want another vase, nor do they really need a box of chocolates because chances are they are on some kind of regimented diet. But I advise the gift card to the grocery store with a caveat: offer to drive them. Then you can unload the groceries, and the gift card becomes more personal.

Another person who will appreciate a gift card is a bibliophile like myself. Personally, I would much rather have a gift card to Barnes & Noble than just about anything else from people who do not know me well. With that little piece of plastic in my hand, I can go to the bargain book shelves and peruse for hours, or I can purchase that new title that I’ve been anticipating.

A particularly good gift card for someone who is starting out in the workforce is a gas gift card. Chances are good that this person has not factored in the cost of commuting yet and will be surprised when the gas gauge begins to drift towards E faster than usual.

A good gift card for a co-worker is one for a restaurant that you know he or she likes, or, as in my case, to Starbucks. One year a sales rep gave me a gift card to Starbucks, and she made me happy for a week. If she had given me a box of imported cookies or chocolate, I would have felt compelled to share them and to eat them.

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think, though, that that pretty much exhausts the justifiable situations for giving a gift card. In situations with immediate family members, I take a lot of time and care in selecting presents that are personalized. Sometimes I’ll buy a frame and insert one of my better photographs. My mother-in-law has received a few of these, and she really likes them.

Other good personalized presents include favorite things like gourmet hot chocolate mix for Eamonn, who can’t get enough of the stuff in the winter. Or socks, yes socks, for Brett, who seems to eat them because they disappear so fast. All of my children look forward to their package of new underwear and socks at Christmas. Go figure.

But really, it’s the presents that are made or bought with the heart that count the most. The first year that Corey and I were together, I made him a decorated journal. I used to do this for special occasions for people. I take a big blank journal, and then I paste in pictures that I have collected out of magazines, postcards, cards, quotes that I have typed, photographs—things that remind me of that person.

cigar-boxWhenever I come across an interesting-looking picture in a magazine, I’ll cut it out for future books, and I usually store my pictures in old cigar boxes, or if those are overflowing, I find larger decorated boxes, especially for the larger pictures. I have a lot of images from my collages stored in these boxes as well.

It’s actually a pretty labor intensive project, but it is so rewarding once I have finished it and given it to the person for whom I have made it.  I made one for my therapist when she had her first child. I made one for Alexis when she graduated from high school. I plan to make one each for Eamonn and Brett for their graduations. Presents such as these finished books cannot be found in any store, and, I hope, they reflect all of the love that I feel for that person. 

The bitter irony of this is that I began making my decorated books years before scrap booking was a verb in the lexicon of arts and crafts. My therapist asked me if I thought that there was money to be made in such an endeavor, and I told her that I didn’t really think so since the decorated journals were so personalized. Well, we all know how wrong I was about that. I could have been on the forefront of a new wave. Oh well. It’s really just as well. I probably couldn’t handle all of the fame.

On that note, more later. Peace.

“Just living is not enough . . . One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

 

a-birthday-by-emma-florence-harrison-1910  

“A Birthday” by Emma Florence Harrison (1910) (I love this painting)

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air . . .” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

labrador-and-waterWell, the weekend was beautiful, just as the meteorologists predicted. Go figure. It was in the 80’s with bright sunshine, only a few wispy clouds. Corey spent his time outdoors cleaning the pool and trying to get it ready for swimming. Tillie jumped in and was not happy to find no water, well, very little water. She still managed to do some splashing around anyway. Shakes, on the other hand, was mightily put out that there was no pool ball action to be had. I made it up to him by turning on the hose for a bit and letting him attack the water. Don’t ask.

Brett and I spent a little bit of time outside on both Saturday and Sunday. I passed along Glister for him to read, but he wasn’t really enjoying it, said that it was too slow. It is a different kind of book to read. The action is slow in the beginning, but once the first-person narrator takes over, the pace quickens. It’s also a psychological thriller, and I don’t really think that he was in the mood for that.

So he’s decided to reread The Lord of the Rings, beginning with The Hobbit. I thought that for a quick read, in between The Lord of the Rings, I would reread Angels & Demons. I’m hoping that the movie is better than The DaVinci Code movie. Even though I love Tom Hanks, and pretty much anything that he has been in, I just don’t think that he’s the right choice for Robert Langford. Although, I’m not sure who I would have chosen. It’s nothing against Hanks, but more that the character and Hanks don’t seem to be a good fit.

In the meantime, I’m mulling over my choices for my top 100 movies. This is going to be a harder list to compile because I already had the rock ‘n roll list pretty much compiled in my lost notebook, so I had thought about a lot of songs, and they stayed in my brain (hard to believe with my short-term memory loss, huh?). But I haven’t ever compiled a list of my favorite movies beyond my top 10, so this list is going to take some thinking.

And now for an incisive character analysis for no particular reason

law-order-ciAt the moment, though, my big plans for excitement this evening are “Law & Order Criminal Intent.” This is another situation in which I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to be able to handle the casting. Jeff Goldblum, who I also happen to like as an actor, is entering the cast, replacing Chris Noth’s Detective Logan. Noth has been Logan for a long time, first on the “Original Law & Order,” and then reprising the role on Criminal Intent.

Logan grew as a character over the years, which is one of the reasons why I love the whole Law & Order franchise so much. The writers aren’t afraid to change their characters, let them move in new directions and do unexpected things. But this replacement of Goldblum as the new detective in the major case squad has me uneasy. Goldblum is sarcastic and can be hammy.

You would think that those traits would work well with the whole Vincent D’Onofrio quirkiness factor. But who knows. I think that part of me just really misses Logan, and for some reason, I don’t seem to remember a show in which he was going to leave. Did it happen at the end of the season and I missed it? If anyone else is a big L&O fan and remembers, please let me know.

My cold nose does not mean that I am a member of the canine family. Thank you very much. 

shakes-under-cover-bw
Shakes Keeping Warm in Bed

As a result of the very warm weather, we had to give in and turn on a few of the window unit air conditioners for a little bit this weekend. The problem with having very old windows is that most of our screens have holes in them—not huge holes that passersby would notice and be aghast at, but holes big enough for flying critters to make their way indoors (like the bug that was big enough to cast a shadow that kept buzzing my head last night). Hence, opening the windows and letting a breeze in is not really doable until we replace the windows (another thing that got put on hold with the smaller refund that disappeared).

We’re trying not to use the AC too much until we absolutely must. For one reason, I can’t sleep if my nose is cold. No, I’m not making this up. Corey thinks that it’s an excuse not to have the AC on at night, but it’s true: I swear.

If my nose is cold, I wake up, winter or summer. Don’t ask me why, but I cannot abide having a cold nose. It is more uncomfortable to me than having cold ears. Those of you in Alaska are probably snickering right now. Stop it. I know what you’re doing.

“Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety.” ~ Henry H. Tweedy 

The other thing that really bothers me about having window units is the noise. I like to have a quiet house at night so that I can listen for intruders. Yes, I know. I have read entirely too many suspense books and watched entirely too many scary movies for my own good, but if the AC is running and I can’t hear beyond the bedroom, I get antsy.

bone-handled-balison-knifeI used to keep a real Philippine Balisong butterfly knife under my mattress when I was married to my ex. It was an exquisite hand carved, bone-handle knife that my dad brought back from the Philippines. I don’t know what happened to that knife, but my ex used to make fun of me for keeping it under the mattress.

He would say things like, “do you really think that you would have time to get that out and open it up before someone made it to the bedroom?” Actually, no I didn’t, but just having it there was comforting. Sometimes we do things that are impractical, knowing all the while that they are impractical, but if these things provide us with a little bit of comfort, what is the harm?

Another safety issue for me is having the windows open at night. Again with the movies and books. But we live near a park, and people to go this park at night, even when they aren’t supposed to. Granted, living near a park is not like living near a prison. But the point is that I am afraid of someone breaking into the house through a half-open window.

Little fact for you here: “Between forty and fifty percent of burglaries are accomplished through unlocked doors or windows,” this according to Jean O’Neil, director of research and evaluation at the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)

Both my daughter and my elder son never got this, especially since a half-opened, unlocked window is much easier to sneak out of than one that is closed and locked. I may be paranoid, but I’m not stupid.

One time I had to break into the house because I locked my keys—along with my cell phone—in the car. I moved the picnic bench below my daughter’s window at an angle, and kind of hiked up the bench and through her window, which I knew would be unlocked. Do you see how easy it would be to break into my house if I weren’t so adamant ab0ut locking windows and doors?

Let’s Be Careful Out There (and inside too) . . .

heavy-door
Now that's a heavy door

Another more serious example of why the front doors should be locked when you are doing yard work: My other mother-in-law used to have an elderly back yard neighbor, Ella Francis, who is no longer with us. One day, Ella Francis was working in the back yard. While she was in the back, weeding or planting, someone walked right into her house through the unlocked, open side garage door and robbed her. Luckily, Ella Francis was not hurt, except for her pride.

When Corey and I were first married, he would sometimes forget to lock the sliding door when he left for work in the morning, I almost had apoplexy. However, in his defense, Corey comes from a place that doesn’t worry about locked doors, as you will read a few paragraphs below.

Nevertheless, a little known fact is that more women are raped in the morning than at night. Two reasons:

First: Rapists who are staking out houses notice when the husband/significant other leaves in the morning, and if the stalker has been watching the woman for a while, he may know that she leaves later, or is alone after taking the kids to school.

Number two: For some reason, women let their guard down more once it is daylight. They get dressed in front of windows that they would never think of standing before at night, believing that the daylight has provided safety, when in fact the opposite is true. Peepers peep in the morning, too.

Who has the keys? Keys? What keys?

Okay, now that I’ve freaked you out with my little idiosyncrasies, I’ll leave you with a little funny story.

birds-keyhookOne time when we were visiting Corey’s family in Ohio, I was the last one to leave the house, so of course, I locked the back door. While we were gone, Corey got a call from his mom asking if he had a key to the house. He didn’t. In fact, no one had a key to the house with them.

I was completely flabbergasted. Who leaves the house without a housekey? Apparently, a lot of people in their little town. No one locks their back doors. They actually had to break into their own house because I had locked the door. All of the housekeys were hanging on the little keyhook on the kitchen wall by the door.

Not so funny at the time (except to me), but I find it even funnier now in retrospective, but in a positive way—kind of cool living somewhere where you really don’t have to lock your doors.

More later. Peace.

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

alice-dalton-brown-blues-come-through1

“Blue Comes Through,” by Alice Dalton Brown

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself,” ~ Zen Proverb

“If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.” ~ Arapaho Proverb

Okay, so I haven’t posted in two days. I am going through serious withdrawal. I was working on a post called Twenty-six Things That Won’t Disappear when my computer crashed—again. I’m really not going to be able to hold off much longer on downloading all of my files onto flash drives and completely reinstalling everything from scratch.

Corey says that he’ll do it whenever I’m ready, but when do I have time in my über busy schedule to step away from the keyboard? I mean, in between all of the galas and social events that I attend, and my special appearances to talk about my writing career, I just can’t seem to find the time. So many people to do, so many things to see, or something like that.

Damn. There I go being delusional again. Sorry.

“If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him . . . ” ~ Dhamapada Proverb

bush_shrug2
Torture? Who me?

So anyway, I might try to get back to my list of 26 things, but I’ve kind of lost the anger that was behind the post. I’ll bet that you’ll never guess who made me angry . . .

Gee, you’re good. Yep. It was W. and Darth Cheney, and the whole report on torture. So when I get riled again, which could happen the next time I watch Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow, I’ll probably finish my list. I know that you can hardly wait.

“There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.” ~ Basho

Moving along, I got some really great comments on my list of my favorite 100 rock ‘n roll songs, even though I cheated and listed 115 songs. So I was thinking that I might have to do my favorite 100 movies. Memphis Mafia said that he had done his favorite 100 movies, so I’ll have to be checking that out soon.

deniro-and-pacino-in-heat
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in Heat

I do love a good movie. Last night, Corey and I watched the latest DeNiro/Pacino movie: Righteous Kill. I love those two together. Even though they were only on screen together for the last part of Heat, I loved that movie, just knowing that they were playing cat and mouse with each other was enough for me.

In Righteous Kill, they are together in almost every scene. The movie did not get great reviews, but that never bothers me. I decide for myself (what a surprise), and I just think that as far as actors go, it’s pretty damned hard to top DeNiro or Pacino.

Maybe I will have to do that movie list after all, but I don’t know that I would ever be able to do my top 100 books. Maybe if I did it by genre, just my mystery/suspense novels. Hmm. Things that make you go hmm.

“The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki

I got a call from the Stand Up for Virginians people regarding the long comment that I made when I signed the petition. Seems they liked what I had to say.

sally-field-oscar-speech
Sally Field: "You like me. You really like me."

Want to know a secret? It was an awesome feeling. Validation for the first time in quite a while. Don’t get me wrong, all of you wonderful people who support me by reading me on a regular basis and suggest my blog to other people are a constant source of validation. Sometimes your comments make me go all Sally Field: They like me . . . They really like me. (If that reference makes no sense to you, then you didn’t see Field win her Oscar for (not Norma Rae) whatever it was she won her Oscar for.)

But back to the validation thing. Since I stopped working almost two years ago, I have had my dark moments when I just don’t feel that I am contributing anything of value to society. Granted, not all of my jobs involved contributing anything meaningful to society, but in most of my jobs, I was able to leave my mark on something, and even the smallest thing can have some meaning.

So when I got the call about my comment, I really felt good about myself again. I had written something on an open forum, spoken my mind, and it mattered.

Of course this does not mean that I won’t still be sitting here everyday writing about whatever strikes my fancy for anyone who happens to stop in. This blog is my lifeline. It keeps me sane, which is why having the computer act up tends to tweak my temper just a wee bit.

“All of the significant battles are waged within the self.” ~ Zen Proverb

This weekend is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous here. I plan to sit outside and read and soak up the rays. Yes, yes, I’ll be using sun block. Don’t want any telltale sun damage. I already have a hard enough time looking at myself in the mirror.

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No Filipino Faces Here

What a telling comment that is. People who don’t know me might think that I’m fishing for comments when I become self-deprecating. But people who really know me understand just how insecure I am about my appearance. And I can tell you exactly when it started: when I was a young child. Truly. No lie.

Try to imagine how it felt to be half Filipino, half American, sitting in a classroom with a bunch of white English school children. You see, I began school while my dad was stationed in England. So I had an American accent and a decidedly different name: Lolita Liwag.

Then, fast forward a few years, and I’m sitting in a classroom full of American school children, only this time, I have a very proper British accent. Still have the olive skin, dark hair and Asian eyes. Still had the oddest name in a class full of  girls named Kim, Brook, Nancy, Meg, and Linda.

The reality is that everywhere I have ever been, I have been the different one, and because of that, I have always had to prove myself. I have proved myself on my jobs with my abilities, but my quirkiness born of a façade of toughness, has always set me apart. I once had a co-worker tell me (after we had been friends for awhile that when she was first introduced to me, and I shook her hand, that I scared the crap out of her. That really blew my mind, especially since she was known as the reigning bitch. I scared her? Whoa.

“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~ T. S. Eliot

NUP_111711_0887
Battlestar Galactica's Anders & Starbuck

Maybe I’m like Starbuck from “Battlestar Galactica.” Not in the sense that she’s incredibly buff, blond, and fierce. But, you know, all tough talking on the outside, but sensitive and loving on the inside . . . It’s a thought.

Speaking of which, I was longingly looking on Amazon at the boxed sets for Seasons 4 and 4.5. When I get some money (if?), I’m buying those babies. Then, I’m going to sit down and have myself a BG marathon, starting with episode one of the first season. No, wait. Back that up. I have to get the movie first, the one that started the new series. I don’t think that I have that either, and in fact, I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen the two-hour movie. 

501199the-lord-of-the-rings-the-two-towers-posters
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Getting back to my plan: I’m going to sit down and start with the two-hour movie, and then I’m going to watch every single episode from every single series. It will be just like when I watched every extended version of Peter Jackson’s masterpiece Lord of the Rings.

The first version would come out, and we would buy that, and then I would proceed to watch that over and over until the extended version came out. It was sort of a ritual. I remember the boys saying something to me about falling asleep to the music that played as the credits rolled. Think of it as a kind of lullaby, I would say.

I watched each of those at least ten times after they came out. My friend Rebecca would say, “What did you do last night?” And I would get that goofy smile, and she would say, “Not again. You watched it again?”

“There is no fire like passion; there is no evil like hatred; there is no pain like this body; there is no happiness greater than peace.” ~ Dhamapada Proverb

What can I say. I am a woman ruled by my passions. When I’m passionate about something, I am very passionate. Granted, that can have its downside, for example, when I get too intense about something and cannot understand why everyone else is not as intense as I am.

But at the same time, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to certain movies or television shows: “Highlander” (loved me some Adrian Paul) (ooh aside: Plans are in the works to remake the original Highlander movie. Hooray!); “Battlestar Galactica,” such a great remake, “The X-Files,” never the same after Mulder left, but I had an X-Files coffee mug that changed messages when hot liquid was poured into it (too cool), “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” best of all of the series even though Spock was not a character.

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Adrian Paul as Duncan McLeod in Highlander

 And the Underworld movies (what I wouldn’t give to have boots like Selene), one of the best openings to any movie in the first of the three.

You get the general idea. In fact, when I was teaching at ODU, I really wanted to teach a Science Fiction class, but they weren’t ready to add it to the curriculum at that point.

So, my geekiness aside, my point is that my fierce loyalty towards family and friends also extends to certain shows and movies (but I still wouldn’t attend a sci-fi convention; aside from the total geek factor, who would I be?).

Well, I think that I’ll stop now and put on the first Underworld movie. I don’t think that I’ve watched it in several months. Although, Brett and I are in the middle of re-watching Lord of the Rings; the only problem is that we can’t watch it on the big screen because the DVD player that is hooked up to that television is being skittish (like my computer) and will only play CD’s but not DVD’s. Go figure.

More later (as long as my computer cooperates). Peace.

Lola’s Best of Rock ‘n Roll List (for now)

 45s 

 I Love Rock and Roll . . . Put Another Dime In The Jukebox Baby

acoustic-guitarI’ve been thinking a lot about music lately. Let me clarify, thinking about music in an analytical way, rather than just an idle way.

This personal music appreciation phase has actually been prompted by my inability to find a notebook. You see, a few years ago I decided to compose my own top 100 rock ‘n roll song list. I would put names of songs and artists down in my notebook as they occurred to me, with my ultimate goal being to arrange the list, thereby forming my own Top Ten for posterity.

 

But I cannot find the notebook. I’ve been doing a lot of de-cluttering and throwing away, but I haven’t come across the notebook anywhere. I have a feeling that it might be packed up with my office stuff since I kept said notebook pretty handy for those instantaneous recollections from my past.

 

Anyway, without the notebook, I’ve been re-compiling the list in my head, but I thought that I might offer up some entries in a post to see what other people remember and whether or not there are any big disagreements on entries or placements.

 

So, without any further ado, here is my work-in-progress of the best rock n roll songs from the last four decades (or so).

 

born-to-run-cover1.            “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen

2.            “Cry Baby,” Janis Joplin

3.            “Hotel California,” The Eagles

4.            “Imagine,” John Lennon

5.            “Doctor My Eyes,” Jackson Browne

6.            “Baba O’Reilly, The Who

7.            “Lola,” The Kinks

8.            “Sweet Dreams (are made of this),” Eurythmics

9.            “Whiter Shade of Pale,” Procol Harum

procol-harum-695-l10.        “Brown-eyed Girl,” Van Morrison

11.        “Layla” acoustic, Eric Clapton

12.        “No Woman, No Cry,” Bob Marley and the Wailers

13.        “American Pie,” Don McLean

14.        “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding

15.        “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge

16.        “Somebody to Love,” Jefferson Airplane

17.        “Major Tom,” David Bowie

18.        “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” Creedence Clearwater Revival

19.         “Layla,” Derek and the Dominos

20.        “Red House,” Jimmi Hendrix

janis-joplin-cover21.        “Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin

22.        “Star Spangled Banner,” Jimmi Hendrix

23.        “Jungleland,” Bruce Springsteen

24.        “The Long and Winding Road,” The Beatles

25.        “Oh Darlin’” The Beatles

26.        “Into the Mystic,” Van Morrison

27.        “With a Little Help From My Friends,” Joe Cocker

28.        “Our House,” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

29.        “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” Warren Zevon

30.        “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Paul McCartney

31.        “Every Breath You Take,” The Police

32.        “Brown Sugar,” Rolling Stones

33.         “Roundabout,” Yes

moody-blues-days-of-future-passed-cover34.        “Nights in White Satin,” Moody Blues

35.        “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon & Garfunkel

36.        “Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd

37.        “Romeo & Juliet,” Steely Dan

38.        “Allison,” Elvis Costello

39.         “Maggie May,” Rod Stewart

40.        “Fields of Gold,” Sting

41.        Bell Bottom Blues,” Eric Clapton

42.        “Silent Lucidity,” Queensryche

43.        “Cecilia,” Simon & Garfunkel

pinkfloydthemoonjw744.        “Money,” Pink Floyd

45.        “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” Ray Charles

46.        “You Are So Beautiful,” Joe Cocker

47.        “Melissa,” Allman Brothers

48.        “Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Rolling Stones

49.        “Light My Fire,” The Doors

50.        “Respect,” Aretha Franklin

51.        “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin

led_zeppelin_-_led_zeppelin_iv-front52.        “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Marvin Gaye

53.        “Another Brick in the Wall,” Pink Floyd

54.        “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen

55.        “Losing My Religion,” REM

56.        “Sultans of Swing,” Dire Straits

57.        “I Can See Clearly Now,” Johnny Nash

58.        “Desperado,” The Eagles

59.        “I’m The Only One,” Melissa Etheridge

blues-brothers60.        “Purple Rain,” Prince

61.        “Soul Man,” Blues Brothers

62.        “Walk on the Wild Side,” Lou Reed

63.        “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell

64.        Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin

65.        “Life’s Been Good To Me So Far,” Joe Walsh

66.        “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Bonnie Raitt

csny-deja-vu-cover67.        “Southern Cross,” Crosby, Stills & Nash

68.        “I Feel Good” (I Got You), James Brown

69.        “Freebird,” Lynrd Skynrd

70.        “Over and Over,” Fleetwood Mac

71.        “Unchained Melody,” The Righteous Brothers

72.        “Low Rider,” War

73.        “Everybody Hurts,” REM

74.        “Daughter,” Pearl Jam

fleetwood-mac-rumours75.        “Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac

76.        “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” Three Dog Night

77.        “Proud Mary/Rollin on the River,” Ike & Tina Turner

78.        California Dreamin’” The Mamas and the Papas

79.        “Time is on My Side,” Rolling Stones

80.        “Who Do You Love?” George Thorogood and The Destroyers

81.        “Joker,” Steve Miller Band

82.        “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream

83.        “War,” Edwin Starr

84.        “Black Magic Woman,” Santana

85.        “Night Moves,” Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

86.        “Dream On,” Aerosmith

87.        “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” The Temptations

roliling-stones-album-cover88.        “Wild Horses,” Rolling Stone

89.        “Can’t Hurry Love,” The Supremes

90.        “My Girl,” The Temptations

91.        “Legs,” ZZ Top

92.        “Landslide,” Stevie Nicks

93.        “Glycerine,” Bush

94.        “Born to be Wild,” Steppenwolf

95.        “Uncle John’s Band,” Grateful Dead

96.        “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” U2

97.        Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Elton John hootie-and-the-blowfish

98.        “White Room,” Cream

99.         “Long December,” Counting Crows

100.    “American Woman,” The Guess Who

101.    “God Was One of Us,” Joan Osborne

102.    “Let Her Cry,” Hootie and the Blowfish

103.    “All Right Now,” Free

104.    “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It,” REM

105.    “Shine,” Collective Soul

106.    “Iris,” Goo Goo Dolls

nirvana-300107.    “Better Man, Pearl Jam

108.    “Walk of Life,” Dire Straits

109.    “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana

110.    “Jeremy,” Pearl Jam

111.    “Horse With No Name,” America

112.    “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” The Band

113.    “That’s All,” Genesis

114.    “House of the Rising Son,” The Animals

115.    “In-a-gooda-da-vida,” Iron Butterfly

sgt_pepper

Of course, one of the truly great things about vinyl was looking at the album cover for the first time. Album covers went from just basic pictures of the artists to bold creations full of symbolism and decidedly risqué images. I’ll close now with what has often been called the best album art in history: The Beatles: Sergeant Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band.

So that’s my list. It has 115 entries because I have some artists listed two or three times, so in the Lola system of counting, those listings only count as one, which results in my top 100 (approximately) Rock and Roll songs and artists, spanning about four decades (have to leave room for hedging).
 
In the meantime, please feel free to drop me a line as to how you feel about my choices and the order in wich they are listed. More later. Peace.

 

 

                                                                                                             

   

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“The 700 Club and The Weather Channel”

 gay-marriage-sticker1

Stephen Colbert Takes on the National Organization for Marriage

National Organization of Fear-Mongering

gathering-storm-slide-cropped
Image from "Gathering Storm": Woman on Left represents physician; woman on right is "afraid"

On April 8, 2009, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released a $1.5 million ad (using this term very loosely) called “The Gathering Storm” to be played in certain market sectors of the U.S. The ad was set to run on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. The ad is set to air eight times per day in New York (which is considering lifting the ban on gay marriage), Connecticutt, Rhode Island, and California (which banned gay marriages with Proposition #8).

In this ad, a seemingly diverse group of people talk about a “coming storm.” That storm is . . . wait for it . . . Gay Marriage. Quick, hide the children and the dogs (ToTo, too) before they get ideas in their heads.

These seemingly everyday people are standing around hither and yon, with body posture akin to the people in The Invasion,with Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, you know the ones, the ones who have been vomited into, hence causing a psuedo-catatonic state of well-being.

One woman purports to be “afraid” by saying, and I quote: “I’m afraid.” Another woman says that she is a doctor who must choose between her religion and her job;another woman is a parent who must stand idly by while her children are brainwashed in public schools about alternate lifestyles. Ultimately, the message is that straight people will lose their rights if this rampant gay storm thingy isn’t stopped.

Teeth gnashing and hair pulling from the viewing audience. “What are we to do? Oh no. They are among us.”

They being the LGBT community.

Now, I’m not trying to make light of an offensive commercial that tries to scare people into opposing same-sex unions. Okay, well maybe I am, but only because the video is so terribly preposterous. The video doesn’t even really tackle the issue of same-sex marriages, instead focusing on issues of how homosexuality affects people of faith.

wicked-witch-of-the-west
Wicked Witch of the West . . . and flying monkey!

A “storm” coming? (Insert Wicked Witch of the West music here.) What happened to the North Koreans and Iran and nuclear weapons? Aren’t those bigger storms that would affect everyone? How about the man-made economic disaster facing the globe? I don’t remember seeing any trance-inducing videos taking on that really large problem.

Or Mt. Hood? Now that was a real storm coming: an ash storm. My god. Think of the innocent plants that suffered in that layer of sooty sludge.

Or flying monkeys, perhaps?

Okay. I’ll stop being silly.

“Pursuing a mission on behalf of a conjugal conception of marriage” . . . Excuse me, as opposed to a non-conjugal conception of marriage?

NOM was co-founded in 2007 by Princeton professor Robert George and Maggie Gallagher, both formerly of  The Institute for American Values. According to Gallagher, who says that she is “personally very proud” of the ad, NOM “pursues its mission mainly by public education and advocacy on behalf of the conjugal conception of marriage as the permanent and exclusive union of husband and wife” (from an interview with the Prince in September 2008). 

The video includes the following statements made by the 14 individuals (actors) who are supposed to represent everyday, albeit straight, citizens:

“There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark. And the winds are strong. And I am afraid. Some who advocate for same-sex marriage have taken the issue far beyond same-sex couples. They want to bring the issue into my life. My freedom will be taken away.”

“But some who advocate for same-sex marriage have not been content with same-sex couples living as they wish,” the ad continues. “Those who advocate want to change the way I live. I will have no choice. The storm is coming.”

equal-rights-for-all-american-buttonThis video has caused such a stir that spoofs of it went viral on YouTube almost immediately. Personally, I like the one by Stephen Colbert, which I have provided for your viewing enjoyment. This spoof is not a supposed anti-gay attack as I read on one site. Rather, it’s a very clear case of satire.

You know, satire? That rhetorical device that employs irony and sarcasm to hold up for inspection some kind of human folly, or lampooning, my favorite form of satire, which is specifically political in nature and takes no prisoners in revealing, usually through broad humor, weaknesses in opponents—something at which Stephen Colbert is particularly adept.

After airing the original NOM video, Colbert declared “I love that ad. It is like watching The 700 Club and The Weather Channel at the same time.” He then presented his own take:

 

 

“I’m a homophobe and I’m okay.” Now everybody sing . . .

But let’s look at some facts, shall we? The video uses actors to send this message of bigotry and terror. What’s wrong with that, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Instead of paying people to look wooden in a badly-written segment, if you truly believe in something, why not use real people who share your views. We saw from the recent presidential campaign just how well that tactic worked. Who can forget Joe the Plumber sticking his nose in front of the camera at every opportunity in support of the GOP’s ticket?

Or what about delusional lady who McCain had to take the microphone from because she was on a toot about Obama being an Arab? Now these were people you could believe in. They were real. They hadn’t been paid to say the things that they were saying (well, maybe Joe was, but who really cares because he was such a good source for liberals to heap outrage upon).

All of that being said (in my roundabout way), I still contend that given the ad’s purpose and message, real people should have been used, you know, real homophobes. For example, if the female actor was representing a real doctor who was upset about choosing her profession or her religion—and we know that she was because I’ll give you the case in just a sec—why not let the real doctor speak out on the subject? Is NOM protecting her (the doctor’s) right to privacy by insisting that gay marriage is not private?

After all, this physician chose not to give treatment to a patient because of that patient’s sexual orientation. If this doctor is such a staunch believer in her faith, give her the forum to allow her speak for herself. I say, stand up for your homophobic rights. Put up or shut up, as the old saying goes.

(According to the Human Rights Campaign, the video character of the female physician refers to the Benitez decision in California, determining that a doctor cannot violate California anti-discrimination law by refusing to treat a lesbian based on religious belief. http://www.hrc.org/12470.htm. And then there’s little thing called the Hippocratic Oath, but that’s probably just a technicality now.)

LIFE GAYSBut my real point is—and I do have one—the message in “Gathering Storm” isn’t just about gay marriage; it’s also about the imposition of  gay rights’ issues against people of faith. It’s a tried and true political tactic: scare people with misinformation, and for good measure, threaten their faith.

My freedom will be taken away.” Which freedom, specifically? And how will that freedom be taken away, specifically?  These generalizations do nothing but cause anxiety among people who fall prey to fear-mongering, accepting as facts statements that are opinions, and not in an humorous, ‘we’re being silly’ kind of way.

As Gallagher states: “[Gay marriage] is not a private act . . .You change the legal definition of marriage, you change the meaning for everyone, not just the gay couple down the block.” Gallagher’s statement directly mirrors the information on NOM’s website, which contends that “gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, [but] they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

I’m not really sure what Gallagher and NOM mean by that. Not in my neighborhood?  Not down my block? Or probably something more insidious, like, ‘they have a right to live as they choose, but we don’t really want to let them choose.

But there I go again, making assumptions. More later. Peace.