Tag Archives: jimmy buffett

It’s Banned Book Week!

I took the summer off from watching, reading and listening to the news. I did my best anyway. It’s really hard to do that. I’m still hopelessly up to date with the major events of this round ball we’re all stuck living on.

But I gave it the ‘ole college try and mimicked the See-No-Evil and Hear-No-Evil Monkeys for three whole months. It wasn’t the first time I did that. Every now and then I have to take a break from all the nattering or I would go a little nuts. I always  know when it’s time to plug my ears and run from the room screaming “la la la la la.”  It’s whenever I start to feel anger or fear on a non-stop basis.

I’m not a big fan of fear and anger (though I loved Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). I believe, as Jimmy Buffett puts it, Anger can make you doubtful and Fear can cloud your mind. And I was blessed with a personality that encourages me to look at life from the TASFUIL perspective (that’s an acronym for Things Are So Fucked Up It’s Laughable).  I’m usually able to make a joke or find humor in most situations (except for when I have to tell my bleeping children more than five bleeping times to pick up their bleeping toys!).

Thankfully, regarding life in general, I’ve reached a stage of self-control where I can silently amuse myself while the folks around me are gathering kindle and gasoline to storm the castle. However, things still seem to build within me and on occassion I reach a point where I realize I’m taking it all a bit too seriously and need to cut myself off from the media. For example, back when I was watching the second John Kerry/George W. debate, I literally had a panic attack. I didn’t know that’s what was going on at the time (I wound up spending the night on WebMD trying to decide whether or not I was having a heart attack to be sure). But my fear that the public would love GW sent me over the edge and I realized I was taking it all a bit too seriously. I had to take a break until after the election back then. (I had to take many more during his presidency.)

As oil oozed into the Gulf last spring and the masses started taking the Tea Party seriously, I realized I was losing my sense of humor again and needed another break. So I named it the Summer of My Content and decided to ignore the news as best I could.

It’s fall now and I’m sucked back into CNN and the BBC. I’m reading all the RSS feeds from everyone who thinks there is only one answer or one correct spin. And I’m finding it hilariously absurd. The best part is, I came back into the world of streaming media this past Saturday, which happened to be the first day of Banned Books Week 2010.

To mark the occasion, I dressed in black and went to my local Barnes and Noble in an attempt to find a copy of Lauren Myracle’s ttyl. (Her book “won” the honor of being the most challenged book in American libraries last year.) They didn’t have any copies on the shelf. I joked with the woman at B&N and asked her how the lunatics will hold virtual burnings when all the books are digital. She either had no sense of humor or she didn’t understand. Regardless, I had to order it from Amazon.com.

But it occurred to me that perhaps more people should take time off from external stimuli. I mean if you think Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is a bad influence, or that And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson is a danger to all children everywhere, you might want to look at your anger and fear levels. Seems to me you might be filled with doubt or have a cloudy mind.

Take the season off from the news. Relax. Find a little humor in life. Or better yet, find a lot of humor in life. After all, one of these days you’re gonna die. And on that day, are you going to be content to look back on the years you spent bitching and bellyaching because not everyone thinks the way you do? Or would you rather go with a grin on your face?

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iPod Personality Test

I popped into the office I share with my husband last night, grabbed my iPod and announced I was going to “bless the universe with my music” while I cooked dinner. He smiled at me, followed me to the door and shut it behind me–the office is right next to the kitchen and I guess he felt he didn’t need a blessing.

Actually, he just doesn’t like some of the music I do.

I docked the little machine in the kitchen speaker, hit shuffle and started crooning away while I began my evening shift as short-order cook, because no one in my family can possible ever eat anything someone else is eating (but that’s a blog for another day). The first song was Rickie Lee Jone’s “Magazine.” She was followed by the Clash’s “Overpowered by Funk.” By the time dinner was ready for I’d performed alongside Jimmy Buffett, Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Rosie Vela (am I the only one who remembers her?) and other favorites. It was an almost exhausting concert.

When hubby appeared asking if it was safe to enter the kitchen, I was feeling groovy and happy. I love the “shuffle” concept: no decisions to make and it’s all good. A true stress antidote.

Anyway, it got me thinking . . . has anyone done a psychology test based on the music on a person’s iPod? I haven’t read Cosmo for a couple decades–do they still do tests like that? We all have eclectic tastes–one would think those tastes said something deep and profound about our personalities. Do they say something about the real us? Aside from suggesting I’m at least partially stuck in the 1980’s, if someone found my iPod on a beach and listened to everything on the shuffle setting, what else would that person be able to glean about me? Would he or she be able to pick me out of a crowd?

I’ve a friend who is such a Parrot Head (for those of you not in the know, that’s NOT an insult; it just means she’s a big Jimmy Buffett fan) that I’m sure if someone found her iPod they’d look for some deeply tanned, bleach blond chick in a coconut bra speaking with a long-drawled twang. But no, she’s a tall brunette from Chicago, and she’d have to get seriously drunk before she’d even consider the coconut bra.

I was surprised one day when a rather conservative woman I know confessed her iPod was full of expletive-filled rap music. She claimed it got her fired up when she was working out. I was about to suggest she look up the Violent Femmes, as they always get me going, but there was a glint in her eye that made me retreat. I got the feeling I could be the nudge that sent her over the edge.

Then there’s the 13-year old kid in my neighborhood who likes Frank Sinatra. Whoever would have thunk?

My kids’ iPods definitely reflect each of them. The daughter’s is loaded up with just about everything she heard on Radio Disney and my son has U2, ColdPlay and Linkin Park in all their glory, which seems to match his deep, young and yet powerful mind.

Perhaps our iPods could be the next litmus test for public office. What was it Obama listened to on the campaign trail? I can’t remember. But I think next time I learn about what someone in a position of power listens to on his or her iPod, I’m going to pay better attention. Though I’m not sure if I’ll be able to interpret the results all that well.

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Midlife ain’t so bad

It may be too early to say this, but I think my generation may have discovered the preventative cure for mid-life crises.  I say this because I’m surrounded by people in their forties who, despite the fact that they’re living in a country at war during an economic downturn, are just fine with their lives.  I don’t know of one man with a jones for a new, hot red sports car, or who just got his ear pierced, or who is ready to leave his wife for the first sweet young thing to look his way.  Likewise, I don’t know of one single woman who is ready to follow-up with her ogling of the bag boys at Whole Foods, who is designing the perfect first tattoo, or who is ready to leave her husband for another female.

So why are we so emotionally stable with our age?  I believe it’s because we’re all a little surprised we’re still alive and kicking. 

Just about everyone in my generation grew up expecting die sometime shortly after their 30th birthday. They may never have thought about it consciously, though many of us did, but I can guarantee you the thought was always percolating in a hidden recess of our brains at all times.  It started in Kindergarten when we learned how to prepare for fire, tornadoes and Cold War bombs whose existence demanded we die.  (Am I the only one who wondered, while curled in fetal position on the floor during a bomb raid drill, why they didn’t just build everything out of the same metal and wood that they made the desks we had to cower under?) The follow up began when we started watching TV.  News coverage proved the previous generation’s motto of Sex, Drugs & Rock-and-Roll was really warning us of new causes for our natural end.  We watched, spellbound, as the footage of dead-via-over-dose celebrities, suffering AIDS patients, and the horror of being trampled to death at a Who concert streamed before us.  Religion didn’t offer much comfort.  All the Southern Baptists in my geographical area were convinced the world would end in 1980 because some kid born somewhere had some mark on him and there was some building that symbolized some beast that rose out of some sea.  After they were proved wrong, they were replaced by New Agers meditating at Lake Eola park telling us the Earth would be destroyed when the planets aligned in 1988.  During junior high our science teachers, the first Global Warming preachers, taught a curriculum detailing how the entire history of mankind only served to create an environment too toxic for the earth to survive.  We’d leave the lab and stumble down the down the hall only to read Alas Babylon in English class.  Who knew Argentina would be a world leader after the US and Soviet Union were destroyed?  No wonder they keep saying we should learn to speak Spanish.  And meanwhile, Y2K loomed ever closer.

Thirty?  Who was gonna live to thirty?

Us! And we did!  But we did it a little differently than our predecessors. 

Perhaps it was a natural inclination toward a joie de vivre in the face of death.  We insisted on having a good time while we waited for the killer asteroid to hit (no, that wasn’t a new fear from the early 2000’s; we started it back in ’86 with rumors about the real reason the space shuttle Challenger exploded).  We never gave up our fast cars; we had one in the garage alongside the family sedan—or better yet, we had two sexy SUVs.  We never thought we’d work only one job that would burn us out.  In fact, if you had only one company on your resume you looked like you had no experience.  So we bounced around from company to company, industry to industry.  Many of us waited until we were in our thirties to get married and start a family, and our kids only help us maintain our juvenile habits.  We ski on the Wii with our children and we buy them sodas to drink while we sip on cocktails at our favorite restaurants.    We teach them how to tail gate at rock concerts and foot ball games.  And when the kids aren’t around, we still act like we did when we were barely out of high school.  We’ll tuck our babes in bed and head down stairs to indulge the frat-boy mentality that still resides in both sexes as we watch Entourage or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  We said to hell with social conservative customs and jeans are now accepted everywhere, even in high-end dining establishments.  Our president says “it’s all cool” and we’re buying Lego sets to ease our stress.

Maybe it’s all Jimmy Buffett’s fault.  He did give us the line “I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.”  Or maybe it was Prince’s dictate to “Party Like It’s 1999.”  Whatever it was, we never disconnected ourselves from our youthful appetites, never questioned the validity of our desires, never censored our tastes.  So instead of arriving at mid-life in anger and fear, feeling unfulfilled and resentful because we’re missing out on something as we age, we seem to be mildly amused. Already pierced, tattooed and in possession of a drawer full of current concert T-shirts, we go out to dinner with friends when inevitably someone says something like “have you noticed how impatient you’re getting as you get older?” And we laugh because we realize we’re becoming crotchety old fools and it’s no big deal.

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Filed under Age, Chaos, Commentary, Definitions, Relationships