Happy Birthday, War

 

U2’s third studio album, War, was released on this day in 1983. It was the start of international path to being the BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD. It took the #1 spot on the UK charts from Michael Jackson’s Thriller! How bonkers is that? Songs from this album gave me my first exposure to the band, although, I must admit: I wasn’t impressed. My nine year old MTV addicted self much preferred Michael Jackson videos to four depressed looking dudes singing in the snow and awkwardly riding horses.

Fortunately, my music taste broadened a few years later and I realized this band would be MY band.

War is a pretty raucous record, which is apt considering the title and theme. The singles  absolute classics (“New Year’s Day”, “Two Hearts Beat As One”, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”), but my favorite track is “Like A Song”.

This track not only features some beautifully raw vocals from Bono, but it ROCKS. And the lyrics are applicable……

And we love to wear a badge, a uniform,
And we love to fly a flag.
But I won’t let others live in hell,
As we divide against each other,
And we fight amongst ourselves.

 

A Magical Visit to New York City

We stayed at The Wellington Hotel again. 10 years ago, we booked a room there; don’t remember why exactly. I assume there was a good deal, and it’s located near all the cool stuff. After that trip, we discovered Borat stayed there in his movie. Nice!

We saw no reason to try another hotel on this trip, since it’s very much what I love about staying in the city: Confined spaces, cramped in a tall building. The shower almost boiled me alive, our Saturday night neighbors were partying hard, and I swear there was a rat colony building Barad-dur in our heater. What I mean to say is it was wonderful.

Our first meal happened on our way to “Middle-earth”. Fortunately, it was right next to Rockefeller Center, my favorite NYC locale. Always nice to gaze upon the source of all that NBC/SNL history.

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The restaurant in question was By Chloe. And holy moly, it was MOBBED. So unusual for us non-big city vegans to experience! We both got the Pesto Meatball sandwich and split some french fries. If we weren’t planning on a big fancy dinner later, we would have pigged out more here (their menu is chock full of tasty looking treats!), but our choice was delicious. The mix of veggies/mushrooms in the meatballs was perfect, and the condiments had heavenly flavor.

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We managed to snag a table in the packed dining area and enjoyed people watching as we nommed. Bliss. I hope we go back soon because I need to try their brunch menu.

Time to start our expected journey to the Morgan Library and Museum! I was delirious with excitement to see the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibit. To be in the same room as The Professor’s massive collection of poems, maps, photos, artwork, doodles, and memorabilia – I wanted to move in there.

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Tolkien’s hand drawn maps were so precise and detailed. Marvelous. His handwriting was too perfect to believe, no matter which language he was writing in. There were intricate shapes and symbols drawn on top of newspapers he was reading at the time. Stunning to look upon. Honestly, words fail to communicate what it felt like seeing such an assemblage of genius. If you appreciate J.R.R. Tolkien’s material like I do, be sure to check this out.

Dinner time! There were so many vegan places we wanted to experience in New York, but we decided to make Blossom our fancy meal destination. It’s in a cute townhouse, with a cozy atmosphere. The diners on both sides of us were very friendly; we ended up admiring and influencing each other’s meal choices! Our first course was the Chef’s Tasting Plate. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Quinoa sushi, deviled tofu (I didn’t know you could devil tofu! Brilliant!), fig bruschetta, seitan empanadas, and seaweed caviar canapes. Everything tasted so magical, I wanted to devour it quickly, but I made sure to take my time and savor the tastes.

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The nice woman to my right had the lasagna for an entreè so that’s what I had too, as it looked gorgeous. It didn’t disappoint. It’s intriguing how us humans (it also helps if you’re a gourmet chef) can create scrumptious dishes without a bit of animal flesh.

The next day was Cursed Child day! First time seeing a show ON BROADWAY! And it’s HARRY POTTER! I was filled with excitement for sure. We had some time to kill before heading to the theater, so we took a stroll around Central Park. There were SO MANY GOOD DOGGOS, most of them wearing snazzy coats. Because it was FREEZING. Well, to us anyway, due to not bringing the warmest of winter clothing. No doggos were photographed, but here are some pics of us and other things (mostly Strawberry Fields).

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We looked for the famous mandarin duck but it was nowhere to be found. *sad face*

Our next quest was FOOD. Sadly the restaurant we walked to was closed, but I did come across a hair salon named in my honor. I’m grateful, but please don’t ask me to do your hair.

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We ended up at Peacefood Cafe, which couldn’t have been more LOVELY. A nice and warm orange apple cider made all chilly perception vanish. I wolfed down the tofu scramble (best I’ve ever had no lie), greens, and potatoes. We also ordered some baked goods to snack on later. Fantastic.

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Feeling full and toasty back at the hotel, it was time to get fancy for Potter. Dress courtesy of Redbubble:

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It would have been silly to take a cab to the theater since it was a 15 minute walk, so yep, back out into the cold for us. My giddiness canceled out the wind chill, however. That and the Times Square sights (Fake Elmos and all – even the Naked Cowboy was doing his thing STILL). Oh snap, there’s the Lyric!

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Because the play itself is so special, I’m not going to say much about it. The only thing that does it justice is the experience, so GO. The story, music, acting, effects, choreography, production, costumes…. Just overwhelmingly breathtaking. So there’s that. I will share some stuff unrelated to the play that made the day so fun. First, we got to pose for photos with our house flags. Slytherin, represent! Oh, and Ravenclaw too.

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There was an usher who had the only job of herding ladies into a single file line for the bathroom during intermissions. He was both militant and fabulous. “Are you with someone? They need to be either in front of you or behind you.” Priceless.

I had a “frozè” in a Cursed Child souvenir cup. That’s frozen rosè, people. A wine slurpee. What a world.

What a world, indeed. But to be more precise, what a city. New York, you are so fantastical and magical on your own, but you’re so adept at surrounding me with the fictional environments I adore so much. I went to Middle-earth and Hogwarts along with Manhattan and Queens, and cherished every single second of it.

Quick Book Review: Stephen King’s Revival

“We came from a mystery and it’s to a mystery we go Maybe there’s something there, but I’m betting it’s not God as any church understands Him. Look at the babble of conflicting beliefs and you’ll know that. They cancel each other out and leave nothing. If you want truth, a power greater than yourselves, look to the lightning – a billion volts in each strike, and a hundred thousand amperes of current, and temperatures of fifty thousand degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a higher power in that, I grant you. But here in this building? No. Believe what you want, but I tell you this: behind Saint Paul’s darkened glass, there is nothing but a lie.”

The above quote says a lot about this novel. As a Constant Reader of Mr. King, I went into this one blind (only because I put off reading it for years and forgot the plot by the time I finally started it). I thought the little boy, Jamie, would be one of King’s “gifted kids” and Jacobs, the minister Jamie befriends, would be some kind of monster. Well, I wasn’t 100% wrong.

We see Jamie grow up to be a drug addicted musician who reunites with Jacobs at a very vulnerable moment that cements a forever connection between them. And boy does it get creepy after that. No spoilers from me, but believe me, this book’s climax is DARK AND EXTRA EVIL. Totally worth the slow build up. Kudos to Uncle Steve for yet another story with emotion and heart that will also scare the hell out of you.

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The Case Of The Mysterious Photographs

Last night (Christmas Eve), someone left these three pictures of my grandfather (Emile Cormier), taken during WWII when he was stationed on the USS Gratia in Philippines, wrapped around my parents’ doorknob while they were hanging out at my house. My mom recognized one of the pictures. I need to know who left these pictures and why. This is weird. The only thing I can think of is since Mom’s been on an Ancestry/23 & Me kick, maybe someone tracked her down from there? WHAT IS THE DEAL? Who does that?!

 

 

Breaking Down That Top Ten Albums Meme Part 2

Back in May, my friend Jennie tagged me in a Facebook meme. It went like this:

“I was nominated by So & So:
Day whatever of 10. In no particular order- your 10 all time favorite albums which really made an impact and are still in your rotation, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same. Today I nominate So & So.”

Check out Part 1 if you feel like it; not needed, but go for it.

So yikes, the next album I’m picking is a doozy: Revolver by The Beatles.

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Oy, how do you write about the freaking BEATLES? It’s all been written, photographed, opined, screamed at, etc. etc. etc. *holds nose and dives in*

Released August 5th, 1966. Right after Rubber Soul, right before Sgt. Pepper. The guys had enough of touring, and discovered the studio was a playground for creativity (of course George Martin and some acid helped, right?). The greatest band in the world was evolving into…. Ummm…. the SUPER GREATEST BEST GENIUS ROCK AND ROLL BAND IN THE WORLD.? Seriously, it’s very difficult to put into words how much I love them. ANYWAY.  Why did I pick Revolver? It only features one of my favorite songs of theirs (Tomorrow Never Knows, although Rain was recorded during these sessions). I guess for two reasons: 1. It’s a lovely collection of songs that reflect each member in an individual way, songwriting wise; a pretty decent premonition of things to come. 2. I have been fortunate to experience four of the 14 songs live!

It’s weird to say this, but I’ve seen Paul McCartney twice. Once as a 16 year old in Washington, D.C., and again a few years ago in Charlottesville, VA. At both concerts, he performed Got To Get You Into My Life and Eleanor Rigby (GOOSE BUMPS), and bonus Good Day Sunshine in 1990.

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Last year I was fortunate enough to see Richard Starkey himself, in Norfolk, VA. His All Starr Band was so fun; members of Toto, Mr. Mister, Todd Rundgren, among other awesome dudes. Naturally, Ringo performed Yellow Submarine, which was quite incredible. He may have pointed me out in the crowd and said something like “hello lady in red” that night too, but hey, no big deal. 23435196_155749355170327_9045370847788195341_n

Above, me, my dude, and my cute mom (who saw The Beatles in Boston Garden, in 1964) prior to Ringo shouting me out.

I consider myself EXTREMELY LUCKY to have seen two of the Beatles. Paul & Ringo are in their 70s, for shit’s sake, and they are still able to express the beauty and happiness their songs have given the world for the past (I’m not saying how many) years. I miss John and George desperately. Part of me is grateful they’re not around to witness the awful things happening in the world today, but a selfish part of me wishes they were here, since they’d obviously be making great music and helping us all cope.

 

What are your favorite Beatles albums/songs/members/movies/eras/solo stuff/WHATEVER? Comment away! I’d love to find out your Beatle faves!

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Reunited With Mouthy Broadcast!

I wanted to do a quick post to plug this super fun episode of the podcast I used to be on regularly with some of the greatest and most badass ladies (and one dude) I know. It was great to get back together with the Broads, catch up on what we’ve been up to, wax nostalgic on the past episodes we recorded, and do some straight up laughing. Check it out, won’t you? It’s the 200th episode, so if you’re a new listener, you have 199 other eps to delve into as well! Warning: Not safe for work or easily offended brains. Filled with Hidden Valley Raunch. 

 

BROADS…… ASSEMBLE!!!!!

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Thanks to Jennie, Lauren, Peter, Char, and Jen for a fantastic afternoon. I’d love to do it again.

I Love A Playlist. Even Better When It’s Personal.

I challenge you to make a playlist based on these questions and share it with a blog or social media post of your own. I’m on Spotify, but if you have another platform, do it that way. Share in the comments. I love listening to personal playlists, yo. Here is mine, with the questionnaire/answers below. Oh, and if it looks weirdly alphabetic, you’re like Sherlock or some shit. I used my massive shuffled playlist as a reference. I need things to trigger my old and beleaguered brain.

 

1. A song you like with a color in the title:  Back in Black – AC/DC. Black has a lot of meaning for this song. Brian was introducing himself after Bon Scott’s death, and even though I’m not a huge fangirl of the band, I’m about to rock almost 90% of the time, so I know when to respect it, and be saluted for it. That and the iconic guitar riff.

 
2. A song you like with a number in the title4 Degrees – ANOHNI. Fuckin’ A, this song is POWERFUL. Climate change is real and depressing, and when I first heard this tune full of emotion and realness, I almost died of emotion. It’s so cinematic. And I don’t mean that in a Disney way, I mean montages of awful destruction. Like those slo mo shots of a dead animal decomposing.

 
3. A song that reminds you of summertime: Freeway of Love – Aretha Franklin. I was thinking this tune reminded me of the summer of ’84, but after doing research, it came out a year later, so there’s middle age for ya. It’s kind of silly, but also perfect for an 11 year old kid who really hadn’t acknowledged the power of Aretha yet. Plus American Idol’s own Randy Jackson played bass on it.

 
4. A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about: Good Time – Counting Crows. The last dude I hooked up with before I met my wonderful partner of 16 years liked Counting Crows, and Hard Candy was their latest one back then. He was a waiter at TGI Friday’s, and we had sex with a tarantula in the room. YIKES. Nothing really against him, but I’d rather not recall doing it with a large spider close by.

 
5. A song that needs to be played LOUD: I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys. COME ON. When this jam comes on I crank it and pretend I give a shit about boy bands. This is a good song and you can’t sing along unless it’s super loud.

 
6. A song that makes you want to dance: Hey Ladies – Beastie Boys.  Do I need to explain this?

 
7. A song to drive to: Mother Nature’s Son – The Beatles. In my cinematic mind, I picture myself in some sort of convertible vehicle, or a Volkswagen Bus, with my hand out of the window, making waves.

 
8. A song about drugs or alcohol: Gimme Some More – Busta Rhymes. Yo Spliff, where the weed at? Also, remember when Flip Mode was the greatest?

 
9. A song that makes you happy: Finally – Cece Peniston. There has NEVER been a time when I heard this song and didn’t smile, or pretend I was a drag queen, or remembered Cece’s adorable face in the video.

 

 
10. A song that makes you sad: I Just Shot John Lennon – The Cranberries. Why would you make this song, Cranberries? Shit, it made me sad for obvious reasons back in the day, but now that Dolores is gone, it makes me want to cry even more. Ugh.

 
11. A song that you never get tired of: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. A masterpiece of a song. Harmonies, catchiness, and did I mention HARMONIES?

 
12. A song from your preteen years: Victims – Culture Club. I kind of want to pat myself on the back for appreciating songs like this when I was 11 or 12.

 
13. One of your favorite 80’s songs: Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure. I caught on to Robert Smith and the gang in the late 80’s, thanks to some junior high pals and some weird Half Hour Comedy Hour skit on MTV (does anyone know what I’m talking about?).

 
14. A song that you would love played at your wedding: On My Mind – Damone. I was married once, and our wedding song was a good one. It sucks that it’s attached to something that didn’t work out. This gem would totally be in the wedding I have no intention of ever having. Because once is enough.

 
15. A song that is a cover by another artist: Street Spirit (Fade Out) – The Darkness. Do not even joke with me – this version FUCKING RULES.

 
16. Your favorite movie or TV theme: The Batman Theme – Danny Elfman. This needs no explanation. EPIC.

 
17. A song that would sing a duet with on karaoke: Dancing In The Street – David Bowie & Mick Jagger. Who wouldn’t want to recreate those… interesting dance moves? And hint that you’ve slept together? And wear those badass 80’s outfits (in your head at least)?

 
18. A song from the year that you were born: Waterloo – ABBA. One of the greatest pop songs to ever pop. And be a Eurovision WINNER!

 
19. A song that makes you think about life: People Are People – Depeche Mode. I remember dancing around to this song in my grandparents’ pool cabana as a kid, innocently thinking how silly it is that people are mean to each other.

 
20. A song that has many meanings to you: The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga. I belted out this jam for quite a while, thinking it had something to do with telling your haters to screw off & live like you’re dying. Then Gaga said this (from Wikipedia): “It was about how when my grandma was standing over my grandfather while he was dying. There was this moment where I felt like he had sort of looked at her and reckoned that he had won in life. Like, ‘I’m a champion. We won. Our love made us a winner.’ They were married 60 years. I thought about that idea, that the glorious moment of your life is when you decide that it’s okay to go, you don’t have any more words to say, more business, more mountains to climb. You’re on the cliff, you tip your hat to yourself and you go. That’s what it was for me in that moment when I witnessed it.” FUUUUUUUUCK.

 
21. A favorite song with a person’s name in the title: It’s A Shame About Ray – The Lemonheads. I saw Evan Dando sing this two feet in front of me. It was beautiful.

 
22. A song that makes you laugh: Jizz In My Pants – The Lonely Island. Anything Andy, Jorma, and Akiva do is fucking hysterical.

 
23. A song that you think everybody should listen to: Me & Magdalena – The Monkees. I cried tears of nostalgia and joy when I heard this. Nesmith & Dolenz have some beautiful harmonies.

 
24. A song by a band you wish were still together: Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle – Nirvana. I wonder what the hell Kurt would be doing musically if he was still around….

 
25. A song by an artist no longer living: Ten Crack Commandments – The Notorious B.I.G. I also wonder what stuff Biggie would be doing. Hopefully none of this Trap shit.

 
26. A song that makes you want to fall in love: Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney. He may be hokey at times, but dammit if this song doesn’t melt me.

 
27. A song that breaks your heart: Purple Rain – Prince. Always has, always will.

 
28. A song by an artist with a voice that you love: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen. The world was a better place with Freddie in it.

 
29. A song that you remember from your childhood: Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr. That infamous summer of ’84. I had a purple iron on tshirt with the famous “no ghosts” logo on it, but was not allowed to wear it when staying with my Jehovah’s Witness aunt and uncle that summer. *EYE ROLL*

 
30. A song that reminds you of yourself: White & Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic. Because yeah, yeah, yeah. IT ME.

 

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