Humor

One Night with Blanche

 

On May 18, 2007 I finally met Rue McClanahan who played my idol, Blanche Devereaux, on “The Golden Girls.”

On the show, Blanche is a man-crazy sexagenarian looking for love in all the wrong places. Anyone who knows me will understand the disconnect/similarity there.

However, the person who portrayed Blanche was, in my experience, a nice, occasionally witty, woman who was patient with the hordes of autograph seekers that had gathered in a bookstore that evening at a tour in Chicago promoting My First Five Husbands and the Ones Who Got Away.

Comparing the woman to her character, Blanche Devereaux is pretty unfair. By the time it was my turn, Rue McClanahan seemed tired.  Bored, maybe.  Definitely ready to be done.  I mean she was seventy-three years old.

I read her book cover to cover and I hope I do half as many things as she has done.

We can all be dynamic at some points, and it would be nice if we were remembered for those moments, rather than brushing our teeth, drinking our coffee, and our feeble attempts at being amusing.

blanche

At the time that I met her, McClanahan acted as a timeless classic.  Even today, if I’m in a bad mood, I can just put in any one of the seven seasons of “The Golden Girls” and within ten minutes, my mood has lifted and I am lost in the brilliant writing and acting of a great team of showbiz veterans.

When I met her, I told her this. Not as eloquently as I have stated above, but in my own rushed and socially awkward way.

“Ah, the power of laughter,” she said, politely.

Those were Blanche’s five words to me.

I will live by this.

Forever.

 

 

 

 

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New Songs for Old People: “Voices of a Traveler” by Souvenir Driver

Portland shoegazers take a page from eighties anthems for new release.

I hear a lot of older people say they don’t have time to discover new music anymore. Allow me to remedy this issue with a series of blogs that I will be doing most Fridays. I will pull up something brand new and liken it to something older that people will remember from when they used to discover music on their own.

If you like The Cure or any track on the Pretty in Pink movie soundtrack, you may enjoy the new song called “Voices of a Traveler” from a band called Souvenir Driver.

With “New Songs for Old People,” individuals can get into a new song that sounds similar to something old that they liked. It won’t be scary or weird or unlikeable to listen to new music, because it will just feel like a sequel to music they already know and enjoy.

For instance, if you like the sadness of The Cure as well as the hopeful teenage sound of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, including the infectious “If You Leave” by the unpronounceable Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark, you may enjoy “Voices of a Traveler” by Souvenir Driver.

PrettyinPink

Eighties babes like Andrew McCarthy grace the cover of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack in vinyl along with The Cars Greatest Hits, also in vinyl, and a guitar for no reason at all.

There also seems to be a nod to David Robinson, drummer for The Cars, not to be confused with the David Robinson of “Mr. Robinson” fame, formerly of the San Antonio Spurs.

On top, for flavor, is a sprinkling of Midnight Oil and early REM.

Put ‘em all in a blender circa the late eighties, mix until smooth, and freeze until 2017. Voila, friends.

Listen to “Voices of a Traveler” from Souvenir Driver on SoundCloud Now

This small connection to an ever-changing cultural landscape will be especially helpful when people go on Tinder dates. They will want to seem hip and know about current music, but in reality, they have no idea where to start.

Sample Dating Interaction

You can have the song playing in your car and they’ll be like, “Great song, where did you hear about it?”

And you can shrug and be like, “Some music blog.”

You can read even more about the band Souvenir Driver in this Atwood Magazine article. However, don’t appear to know too much about the band or the song, or really anything though. It is important to make life look effortless so your Tinder date doesn’t think you have too much baggage.

3 Basic Things to Know About Souvenir Driver:

  • They are from Portland, Oregon.
  • They don’t like that guy USA chose for President that terrible day in 11/16
  • “Voices of a Traveler” is their first single off the new record

PRO TIP: Going to a show is a great date idea. You don’t have to talk very much and you can react to a shared experience. Have dinner first so you don’t get hangry, though.

You Can See Souvenir Driver LIVE at:

Uhhhh, I’m not sure since they don’t have any tour dates listed on their website. Maybe you can ask them: souvenirdriver@gmail.com

Tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-Pdlxd_rro

New Songs for Old People is a music blog episode series specifically designed to ease older Millenials and Gen Xers into new music in a way that is simple and non-threatening. Building from familiar cultural references, New Songs for Old People helps restore relevancy to aging populations with fun and rewarding content.

P.S. – I ain’t pickin on ya, Souvenir Driver. Just trying a little satire to get people out of their bubbles and listening to new music.

P.P.S. – I’ll change the repetitive intro once we get this episodic column feeling solid, with a regular flow of readers…or something.

Tequila Tuesdays: TSA Stands for What?

It was the shortest airport security line I had ever seen. That should have been my clue that something was amiss.

There have been a few airline incidents lately where passengers, or in some case, potential passengers, have been treated less-than-stellar. With that in mind, I will share a fun anecdote from a recent flight of mine.

IMG_2574

I was going through security, minding my own business when something truly unexpected happened. After setting off the nuclear-radiation, full-body molecular scan sensor, I was herded over to a giant man who growled something indistinguishable.

Suddenly a lady appeared and groped my crotchal area noting that my pants were “saggy.”

“Well, you took my belt,” I offered helpfully.

She asked if I wanted to go someplace private. I figured the genital exam would go much faster, with fewer liberties taken, if I allowed them to perform it in the middle of the concourse. It reminded me of my last trip to Vegas – minus the cocktails.

By the time my clothing and personal effects were returned to me in plastic bins, I wandered unsatisfied to a bar for two shots of Patron (not enough). I also ate nachos and my wife and I posed with matching sweatshirts in front of a Minnesota Twins sign for an impromptu selfie. A girl striding by this red carpet experience took pity on our contortionist routine as we struggled for the perfect shot and offered to snap our picture.

Some time after that we boarded a plane.

Oh, and TSA stands for Tequila Somewhere Ahead. Just remember that.

Tequila Tuesdays: I’ll tell you a story, often involving tequila. You can drink.

 

P.P.S – I usually post stuff European time because they get up earlier. Go figure! LOL 🙂

New Songs for Old People: “Bed” by Cende

I hear a lot of older people (not teens or twenty-somethings) say that they don’t have time to discover new music anymore. That is often evident by their aging classic rock playlists.

Allow me to remedy this issue with a series of blogs that I will be doing, or attempting to do every Friday. I will pull up something brand new and liken it to something older that people will remember from when they used to discover music on their own.

If you like Bryan Adams “Cuts Like a Knife” and Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away),” you may enjoy the new song called “Bed” from a band called Cende.

With “New Songs for Old People,” individuals can get into a new song that sounds similar to something old that they liked. It won’t be scary or weird or unlikeable to listen to new music, because it will just feel like a sequel to music they already know and enjoy.

IMG_2814

Cusp-born Millenial (me) thoroughly enjoys “original vinyl copy” of  Bryan Adams record.

For instance, if you like Bryan Adams’ 1983 hit “Cuts Like a Knife,” and Flock of Seagulls, “I Ran (So Far Away),” that many will remember from the Playstation 2 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – you may enjoy “Bed” from a band called Cende.

Listen to “Bed” from Cende on SoundCloud Now

This small connection to an ever-changing cultural landscape will be especially helpful when people go on Tinder dates. They will want to seem hip and know about current music, but in reality, they have no idea where to start.

Sample Dating Interaction

You can have the song playing in your car and they’ll be like, “Great song, where did you hear about it?”

And you can shrug and be like, “Some music blog.”

You can read even more about the band Cende in this SPIN article. However, don’t appear to know too much about the band or the song, or really anything though. It is important to make life look effortless so your Tinder date doesn’t think you have too much baggage.

3 Basic Things to Know About Cende:

  • “Bed” is the first single off their upcoming first album, #1 Hit Single
  • It’s coming out May 26, but you can pre-order it now
  • The band is made up of four guys from Brooklyn

PRO TIP: Going to a show is a great date idea. You don’t have to talk very much and you can react to a shared experience. Have dinner first so you don’t get hangry, though.

You Can See Cende LIVE at:

  • Jun 13

The Rebel Lounge

Phoenix, AZ

  • Jun 15

Echoplex

Los Angeles, CA

  • Jun 16

Irenic

San Diego, CA

  • Jun 18

The Chapel

San Francisco, CA

  • Jun 20

The Crocodile

Seattle, WA

  • Jun 22

Holocene

Portland, OR

  • Jun 24

Kilby Court

Salt Lake City, UT

  • Jun 25

Larimer Lounge

Denver, CO

  • Jun 29

Double Happiness

Columbus, OH

  • Jun 30

Mahall’s Locker Room

Lakewood, OH

  • Jul 01

El Club

Detroit, MI

  • Jul 02

Velvet Underground

Toronto, ON

  • Jul 08

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

New Songs for Old People is a music blog episode series specifically designed to ease older Millenials and Gen Xers into new music in a way that is simple and non-threatening. Building from familiar cultural references, New Songs for Old People helps restore relevancy to aging populations with fun and rewarding content.

P.S. – I ain’t pickin on ya, Cende. Just trying a little satire to get people out of their bubbles and listening to new music. I love this track and can’t wait to hear the rest of the record! ~ Much love, M.

Top 5 Gifts for Eccentric Relatives

Let’s face it, everybody has a couple of relatives that are just a mystery. Their love of trilogies, puns, and small bits of wire confound the most well-meaning family members. What do you buy these people? Don your tinfoil hat and get a load of the Top 5 Gifts for Eccentric Relatives.

  1. SmartWool PhD® Slopestyle Medium Lincoln Loop Socks

While most of the northern hemisphere is plunged into darkness and glacial chill, a good pair of warm socks are always appreciated. Interesting patterns and colors are a hit with creative folks of many stripes.

$26.95

http://www.smartwool.com/shop/men-socks-shop-all-socks/phd-slopestyle-medium-lincoln-loop-socks-sw0sw327?variationId=109

socks

 

  1. Raspberry Pi™

For the tech geek who has everything comes the Raspberry Pi. Never heard of it? It’s a tiny little computer thing that can be used to build pretty much anything. Give your anti-social loved one a reason to hole-up in the extra bedroom and figure out how to sync the Christmas lights to Rock Me Amadeus.

$35.00

http://www.alliedelec.com/raspberry-pi-raspberry-pi-2-model-b/70465426/

raspberrypi

  1. Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with your Cat Book

Yes, this is a real book. It’s perfect for the crazy cat lady in your family, young or old. Take that raggedy old calico, brush it profusely and you too can enjoy hours of fun with cat hair finger puppets, tote bags, coin purses, and more.

$9.96

http://www.amazon.com/Crafting-Cat-Hair-Cute-Handicrafts/dp/1594745250/?tag=dodogag-20

cathair

 

  1. Game of Thrones Stark Infantry Shield

Your quirky kin can pretend he or she is one of the brave Starks of Winterfell with this officially licensed Game of Thrones shield product. Fans of the hit HBO series will be howling about the realistic direwolf sigil emblazoned on cold rolled steel (and you’ll feel extra safe that you didn’t buy them a sword).

$300.00

http://www.valyriansteel.com/shop/swords/stark-infantry-shield/prod_19.html

Stark Shield

 

  1. BioLite® Wood Burning Camp Stove

From doomsday preppers to friendly tree huggers, everybody loves the BioLite wood burning camp stove. And why not? This handy gadget allows you to gather a few twigs and charge your cell phone – while cooking a hearty dinner off the grid.

$129.95

http://www.biolitestove.com/products/biolite-campstove

 

CampStove_1

 

About the Author: Melany Joy Beck is a writer, filmmaker, and content strategist who frequently fraternizes with techies, musicians, artists, and other eccentric individuals. She understands that it is difficult to shop for anyone who doesn’t want a Keurig. You can watch her award-winning short film Bring It 2 Peter on Amazon Instant Video.

Devil Music

I have a terrible song stuck in my head.

Something about a devil inside. This guy moans really breathy and he’s talking about this “devil inside, devil inside,” over and over again and it’s freaking me out because I really believe in the devil. And if there is a devil and it has to be inside someone, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to choose me.

I’m the perfect devil host even though I have been trying my whole entire life to not be the devil. I even used to read the Bible every night before I went to bed and said this really long prayer where I blessed every single person I had ever known because if I didn’t, they would probably meet some horrible carnival-ride decapitation death.

I wonder when I stopped doing that.

When do little kids stop saying their prayers? I can’t picture an adult saying ‘Now I lay me down to sleep,’ but there isn’t any kind of alternative adultish prayer that is widely publicized. Maybe more people would pray if they didn’t feel silly saying a nursery rhyme about it.

Devil inside.

It’s back. Like hiccups. I try holding my breath.

My mom had this article one time about rock music being the work of Satan. Or maybe it was at church, I forget. It seemed true, though, when they were talking about all these different lyrics and old vinyl record albums that could be spun backwards on a turntable to play hidden messages to teens that would make them want to worship evil or do other bad things. Skin cats. I don’t know.

Devil inside.

I assess my music collection. There’s probably some devil stuff in there. I can’t have that kind of bad juju in my life.

I decide to take the obvious next step and destroy every CD, every album, and every cassette tape that I own beginning with the genre of Metal, since it is the most egregious offender.

boombox

I slip on my high-heeled boots and place a handful of media into a paper grocery bag.

My mom washes the supper dishes. My sister plays quietly with her My Little Ponies. I disappear out the side door with a bag of classic satanic loot; Guns ‘N Roses, Mötley Crüe, Cradle of Filth.

I lug the sack over to the side of the house, out of the glare of prying eyes, and set it down. A gust of wind blows through the tree branches above my head sending a flurry of wet maple leaves toward me. Some of them stick to my face.

I lift my foot and step onto the bag. It lets out a little crunch underneath my heel, which infuses me with a new burst of confidence.

I do it again, harder.

The snapping of plastic jewel cases echoes through the naked trees. I am doing God’s work. I can feel it. So I stomp those suckers into a mosaic of plastic bits.

I jump up and down, panting, and wheezing with great physical effort and little restraint.

When there is nothing but dust and shards, I gather up the torn bag and its contents and hurl it off the side of the hill where the septic system drains.

I climb the porch steps, back to the house where a bowl of corn flakes and a Saved by the Bell re-run waits for me. These are good things. Wholesome things.

Tiffany Amber Thiessen has noticeably larger breasts in season three than she had in season two.

Devil inside.

How Writing About Boring Stuff Made Me a Better Writer – and Rich

When I graduated from college with a Master’s Degree in Writing I was ready to write the Great American Novel, a few cover stories for Rolling Stone Magazine, and probably an Oscar-Winning independent film.

Looking back at my hubris, I can only shake my head. There isn’t anything wrong with wanting those things. In fact, it’s important to have long-term goals.

In my case however, I thought I should have all of these things immediately. When immediately turned into a year, two years, a couple babies, and a divorce later, I became panicky. My empty bank account let me in on the sad truth that in order to make a living I was going to have to write about *gasp* boring things.

Omigosh, boring things. healthcare, computers, vitamins, exercise, insurance, you know, boring things. Things my parents did.

I did not get to write about rockers with hot tattoos, or moody declarative statements about the world, or the Cannes Film Festival, or the tiny house movement, or if I did, it cost me more to research the article than I ever made from it.

What was I supposed to say about boring things? Yay, insurance. You pay too much and it’s boring. Vitamins: Healthy people take them. Boring. Fish oil and male enhancement supplements, eww (and boring).

I was a writer, a real writerly writer. I had deep stuff to say, epic stories to tell. But noooooooo, I had to sit at a desk and write about boring things.

I kept this attitude up for a year. Okay, three.

Then something happened. I dug in and started understanding and researching. Not the products themselves, but the stories. What the products did and how they made people feel. I stopped phoning it in and imagined life being better. Conflict. Resolution. Concrete words. Stories.

Suddenly the stuff I was writing wasn’t boring anymore. Not because insurance, vitamins, exercise, or missile technology is any more inherently interesting, but because I can make them interesting.

missile

I didn’t ramble on and on, stating the same idea three times. Sentences were leaner due to the strict editors and creative directors with whom I worked, even though in the beginning I hated these boring people just like the boring things. But with their patience and insight they got me to the point where I could make toothpaste sound like a chapter in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. For that I will always be grateful.

Then the money came. Well, the numbers came first, as in people were responding to the copy in a way that made the analytics guy smile, so I got a raise. You know, that whole corporate, measurable results thing. That’s real if you actually have results to show.

MORAL: There’s no such thing as boring stuff, just bad writers.

HOMEWORK: If you want to be a better writer, pay your dues and, if you can, spend a few years writing about “boring stuff.”

In the process you will:

  • Make more money
  • Learn to employ more effective storytelling techniques
  • Become a better editor
  • Become a better researcher
  • Write tighter copy
  • Learn humility**
  • Act less entitled**

*What I am would not be considered rich to some people. But I’m a writer and I pay my bills, so there’s that.

** I think the last two were more of a gift for the people around me, as these qualities made me more likable as a teammate, friend, mother, wife, adult, person, human being.