and in your teeth, you’ll find enlightenment

After avoiding it for over 10 years, I’m finally having my wisdom teeth removed tomorrow. I don’t know what it is about this whole ordeal I find so terrifying — I don’t have a problem with the dentist and have breezed through many minor-major dental/orthodontic procedures with little trouble. Okay, so maybe the crazy coconut cream pie addiction I picked up while I had braces — getting those wires tightened is no joke! — was a bit disconcerting. But it ended as quickly as it began when my braces came off (and when my San Francisco pie pusher, Bepples Pies, closed its doors…what a sad day that was).

I think I’m afraid of the general anesthesia (a first for me) and I know I’m afraid of the subsequent pain, the tales of which have become legendary thanks to everyone I know having some story of dry socket or TMJ or another equally horrific sounding mouth malady. But maybe, just maybe, I’m suffering from the Samson syndrome. Is there a corner of my brain that believes I will come out of my post-surgery haze with markedly less wisdom than when I went in? Do those insanely long wisdom tooth roots hold some as-of-yet untapped enlightenment that I would be loathe to forgo?

Not likely. But the image from this cheesy 1996 made-for-TV version of Samson and Delilah starring Dennis Hopper and Elizabeth Hurley has done much to put my mind at ease. I mean, if the gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley can survive starring in what looks like a stinker of Biblical proportions, than surely I can survive having a couple of teeth pulled, right?


new name, new look

Some of you may remember from a recent Facebook post that I was toying with the idea of changing the name of this here blog to something a little more, well, weird. Then I received a sign from the deja-vu-niverse and I think I’ve found my title. The wordpress blog URL already exists, but that’s okay, as it’s in Polish and hasnt’ been updated since 2008. So I think it’s relatively original?

Anywho, I’ve designed a few ideas for new headers to go along with the “re-branding” and I would love your input. Please post a comment letting me know which one you like and/or what changes you suggest and/or if you hate them all (including the name). Thanks for your help!

Choice A:

Choice B:

Choice C:

a tribute to the best song tributes

I’ve been curating a list of my favorite cover songs for quite a while now, but I just learned that a former student hosts a radio show called Take Cover at KLSU 91.1 FM in Baton Rouge, so I thought it was about time I get to posting it.

I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that most of the covers are female artists covering male artists, or that many of them were originally Beatles (or members of the Beatles) songs. But for whatever reason, I find many of these covers to be at least as awesome — if not even an order of magnitude more awesome — than the originals.

The Dum Dum Girls covering The Smiths’ There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out:
Maybe the best cover of the best song by the best band ever. Ever.

Roxy Music covering John Lennon’s Jealous Guy:
I know there’s only one John Lennon, but there is just something about Bryan Ferry’s silky smooth voice.

The White Stripes covering Tegan and Sara’s Walking With a Ghost:
This song is pretty cool whether it’s sung by doll-voiced twin sisters or the master of the weird warbly voice, Jack White.

The Bad Plus covering the Flaming Lips’ Feeling Yourself Disintegrate:
I love the jazzy sadness The Bad Plus brings to this beautiful song.

Neko Case and Nick Cave covering The Zombies’ She’s Not There:
Although I have never seen an episode of True Blood (curse you, HBO, and you’re high subscription rates!), I do love this sort-of scary cover, which reminds me a bit of that creepy Little Red Riding Hood song by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs for some reason.

Siouxsie and the Banshees covering the Beatles’ Dear Prudence:
I believe the incomparably cool Siouxsie Sioux did this beautiful song, which was written about Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence, justice … and then some.

The Sundays covering The Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses:
This is just such an emotional song, made all the more poignant by Harriet Wheeler’s sad vocals:

Kindness covering The Replacements’ Swinging Party:
Credit must go to my dear friend Katy Page (and perhaps her husband Ryan?) for introducing me to this fantastically groovy cover.

Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, David Bowie, Roger Waters (and everyone else) cover the Beatles’ Across the Universe:
Who doesn’t love this song? And furthermore, who doesn’t love every version of it (for a complete list, visit the song’s Wikipedia page)?

What are your favorite covers?

bad, bad = good, good

They say there are no new ideas, a thought that is particularly evident in today’s cineplexes — Friends with Benefits/No Strings Attached, anyone? (Thanks to Blind Film Critic, now you don’t have to see either of them.)

But in the world of music, I would think it’s especially difficult to come up with unique titles for songs. So I don’t blame musicians for going with one-word titles that will inevitably get (or already have been) co-opted by others. In fact, I think it’s pretty cool that one song title can represent two (or more) entirely different but equally awesome songs. I took a quick trip through my iTunes and found these musical homonyms, which I present to you face-off style. Any more to add to the list? Any thoughts on your favorites? Post a comment below!

Bad, U2 vs. Bad, Michael Jackson:  The ultimate same-name song-off, and also the genesis of this blog post, thanks to Tim’s astute observation (thanks for the blog title idea, too, dear!). Although both are marquee tracks in their respective artists’ libraries, I think we all know I’m gonna go with U2 on this one. If I could (vote for both), you know I would, if I could, I would…

All I Want, The Cure vs. All I Want, LCD Soundsystem: This is a tough one — do I go with the moody aggressiveness of the former, or the up-tempo melancholy of the latter? I think LCD Soundsystem takes it by a nose.

All I Need, Radiohead vs. All I Need, Jack Wagner: Can I really choose an ’80s soap opera star over one of the greatest bands of all time?  Yes, I can. Frisco Jones, come home to Port Charles ASAP.

Amsterdam, Coldplay vs. Amsterdam, Peter Bjorn and John: I much prefer the peppy Peter Bjorn and John version, even if they do tend to abuse the whole whistling thing. This song better captures what I believe Amsterdam to be like…and I just think it’s fun.

Black, Pearl Jam vs. Black, Pete Yorn: This is one of my favorite songs from both artists. One makes me feel a little sad, and one makes me feel a little happy. So I think this one has to be a tie.

Bye Bye Love, The Everly Brothers vs. Bye Bye Love, The Cars: As adorable as The Everly Brothers are, and as much as I love a good harmony, no one beats The Cars in my book.

Cherry Bomb, The Runaways vs. Cherry Bomb, John Mellencamp: It’s been tough for me to forgive Hollywood for casting Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, but obviously I’m gonna go with The Runaways on this one. To be fair, I should mention this is probably my least favorite John Mellencamp song (not to mention one of the stupidest music videos ever made), so it was never really a competition. P.S. How great are the Japanese subtitles on the Runaways clip?

Crazy For You, Best Coast vs. Crazy For You, Madonna: As I much as I love Best Coast and the short and breezy version of this song title, Madonna takes this round. Mainly for her terribly off-key performance in the best ever ’80s wrestling movie starring Tim-doppelganger Matthew Modine. You’re going to have to watch the movie to hear how horrible she sounds — this video uses the studio recording. I’m sure Madonna has expunged every clip of that performance from the Internet. But she can’t destroy all the copies of Vision Quest, now can she?

Creep, Radiohead vs. Creep, Stone Temple Pilots vs. Creep, TLC: This is hardly my favorite song from any of these beloved groups. But TLC clearly is the winner for a number of reasons: 1) They use creep as a verb. 2) They use creep to mean how they go about cheating on their man. 3) They were gigantic oversized pajamas with waistbands that make them look like boxers (the fighters, not the underwear).

You Talk (Way) Too Much, The Strokes vs. You Talk Too Much, Run DMC: Okay, the titles aren’t exactly the same, but I just love both of these songs so much. A total tie.

Dreams, Fleetwood Mac vs. Dreams, Van Halen: I happen to be a Van Hagar fan, and I always loved the Blue Angels video. In fact, when I would watch those cool planes fly by during SF Fleet Week this song always played in my head. But Fleetwood Mac’s is undoubtedly the superior Dreams-related song.

Forever Young, Rod Stewart vs. Forever Young, Alphaville: Not even a fight. While the cheesy, graduation-song sentiment of both songs really turns me off, only Stewart’s version actually makes me want to vomit. And you don’t have to be a musical genius to know that Jay-Z was never going to sample that crap.

Gloria, U2 vs. Gloria, Laura Branigan: Bono, I love you, but Laura Branigan always wins this fight. Watch this performance on VH-1, you’ll see.

I Go Crazy, Flesh For Lulu vs. I Go Crazy, Paul Davis: I truly had no idea that Paul Davis could be mistaken for a member of ZZ Top until just this minute, which kind of makes me want to choose him. Never has a voice less fit a face (except for maybe Christopher Cross). It’s a beautiful song and it brings back fond memories of cruising around with my parents in their maroon Chevy Caprice Classic in the ’70s. But it’s not featured in Some Kind of Wonderful, which is the best movie soundtrack of all time. So Flesh For Lulu wins, because I have even more fond memories of the ’80s.

Honorable Mention — Boys Don’t Cry, The Cure vs. I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Boys Don’t Cry: So it’s not exactly the same thing. But I always loved that there was a band called Boys Don’t Cry and that this song of all songs is what they sang. It just makes me laugh — and the video is absolutely remarkable. As for the Cure’s version, it’s definitely in the top 5 of their catalog.

my ’80s-inspired fall wardrobe

Most ’80s fashion trends can hardly be considered retro at this point — the ubiquitous legging is just one example of how that totally tubular decade has gone mainstream in today’s fashion. What was once old really is new again. Sure, there is still plenty to laugh about when it comes to ’80s fashion — most notably giant shoulder pads and an over-reliance on satiny fabrics. But after discussing with friends the awesome fashions from such notable working-woman-themed ’80s movies as Baby Boom, Mr. Mom and Working Girl, I’ve decided to dedicate my fall work wardrobe to the smart but subtly sexy stylings of women like Teri Garr and Elizabeth McGovern. Continue reading

my Netflix streaming summer TV schedule

I watch a lot of TV during my summer vacation because, come on, it’s 116 degrees outside and I can’t afford to go to the mall every day. These days there is so much quality TV programming out there that it’s impossible to keep up without devoting some serious time to the tube. While school is in session I only have time for a basic schedule of my go-to shows, so I love to explore new programs when I have the time. And thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly, I have a plethora of titles to choose from. (There are also a lot of great documentaries available instantly, but I’ll get to those in another post.) Continue reading

oh summer, you double-edged sword

It’s 7:38 a.m. I’m enjoying a smoothie made from fresh fruit and vegetables I bought at the farmer’s market, and a nice cup of coffee. This morning I’ve cleaned the pool and my yoga mats and taken Maggie for a walk. I’m listening to my iTunes on shuffle, tapping my toes to the beats of Mike Doughty, The Joy Formidable, Empire of the Sun, The Crocodiles, Kid Cudi and The Strokes (wait, how did that Ashlee Simpson get in there?).

Continue reading