I Feel Bad For The Woodpecker

Remember that amazing photo that turned into a “hilarious” meme? The weasel riding the woodpecker? Here, look:

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It came from amateur photographer, on a lovely walk with his wife, who wanted to show her a Green Woodpecker. He got his wish, he snapped this picture when he heard its distressed call, and that turned into stuff like this:

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Comical, right? Well, not really. Sure, it’s an incredible wildlife shot, the kind of stuff you’d never normally see, unless Sir David Attenborough was narrating in the background on your television. I understand that something so magnificent does things to the Internet. It inspires creativity and whatnot. But it’s not cute or laughable to me. When I look at it, honestly, it reminds me of this:

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I’m not comparing weasels and woodpeckers to a monk self-immolating in protest, I’m saying my emotions were jarred looking at both photos for the first time. I saw faith and sadness and selflessness looking at the above picture. When I looked at that woodpecker’s horrified eyes, I felt its terror. There was a predator on its back, trying to snap its neck and it was fleeing in a desperate attempt to save itself.

Animal photos and videos are a major staple of the internet. They can be adorable, funny, mean, goofy, and everything in between. However, things can be misinterpreted. I don’t think it’s funny or viral when there’s an animal in distress featured in a video or photograph. Here’s another example:

A Cute Cat With A Funny Meow? No, that cat is clearly upset about something and I don’t think it’s amusing.

Not everyone can realize when a critter is scared or reacting negatively to something. It’s not a perfect world, but I wish humans would educate themselves about our fellow citizens of Earth. They are going through some tough things too.

 

 

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Top Ten Madonna Songs, AKA Hard Decisions

Before I get to what the title of this post indicates, I want to say I tried out the new live streaming app, Meerkat, yesterday, and it was pretty fun. I have no idea if I’ll use it on a regular basis, but I streamed a short bit, chatting about Madonna and the songs I’ve picked for this list. I had five people watching at one point; one from Mexico and another from The Netherlands. It seems like a pretty cool “on the go” way to stream something and interact with other folks. If you’re reading this because you watched my goofy stream, thanks and hello!

Well, let’s get to it. Madonna has a new album out, Rebel Heart. As you probably know, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone has been the queen of pop music, fashion, reinvention, and provocation since the early 80s. It’s hard to remain relevant for such a long period of time, but, despite a few bumps along the way, Madge has managed to do it. Rebel Heart is a pretty decent pop album, more so than the previous two (Hard Candy and MDNA). When a legend releases a new album, however, we like to think back to the beginning. Us music lovers want to compare and contrast the new stuff to the old stuff. Instead of doing that, I began to think about the songs that have meant the most to me over the years. Should I make a top 20 list? Top 10? Ugh, THIS IS HARD! There are so many songs! Seriously, so many. I have a Spotify playlist of 44 favorites, for Pete’s sake!

I grabbed a pen and my trusty notepad, and made a damn list. Because I am an adult and I can do this! *deep breaths* I’ll probably change my mind in the future, or wish the order was different, but who cares. For the most part, these Madonna tunes give me the feels and/or the urge to dance around the room.

10. Don’t Tell Me

The standout track from 2000’s Music. I love the guitar sample at the beginning. I love the strings and the emotional, sweeping ending. The lyrics are great, as well. And who doesn’t think Madonna looks fab in a cowgirl outfit?

 

9. Hung Up

Does this make you want to bust out a leotard and get to grooving? If not, you might be a weirdo. Between the sample of ABBA’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) and the actual pounding beat, Hung Up is one of the greatest dance tracks ever. I dig the breakdown towards the end; just that beat and the ticking clocks. A strange thing I love about this song is the way Madonna enunciates “hesitating”. Alrighty then! Fun fact I learned about the video – it was shot only a few weeks after our queen had a horse riding accident and broke some bones. The woman has some determination.

 

8. Beautiful Stranger

Madonna. Austin Powers. Could that combo be wrong? Nope. This uptempo number has a great feel to it. It’s a total ear worm, too. The swingin’ 60s sound mixed with the late 90s production is a win. Let’s talk about the video for a second: How can Madonna make a pair of khakis sexy? I mean, they seriously look like something I sold when I worked at Lerner back in the day. But somehow she throws on a pair of heels and dances like she does, and those pants become HOT.

 

7. Causing A Commotion

This was one of my favorites as a kid in 1987, and has remained so. Back then, I don’t even think I knew exactly what a commotion was, other than it rhymed with motion and sounded fun. I recall memorizing the dance moves and wishing I had a conveyor belt in my living room. I recently learned this song was written about Madonna’s marriage to Sean Penn. Which makes sense.

 

6. The Power of Good-Bye

One of Madonna’s best ballads, for sure, from the Ray of Light record. Perhaps this is a companion to Causing A Commotion? I’ve read rumors that this one was about ol’ Spicoli as well. Regardless, it’s a lovely, sad, but hopeful tune about a breakup. The electronic bleeps and bloops blend well with the guitar. Since we also have to discuss the video as well as the song, how sexy is Goran Visnjic? Talk about hubba hubba. I adore the blue tint of everything, as well. Matthew Rolson always makes things and people look gorgeous in his videos.

 

5. Rain

Damn, this song is pretty, hiding among all the sexy songs on the Erotica album. That awesome crescendo, though! So good. I also love the homage to Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles. I could do without the spoken word part, however. As for the video, it’s beautiful. Madonna in short black hair and perfect eyebrows? Yes please.

 

4. Deeper And Deeper

Put this track on and you are guaranteed to see me start boogying. It’s super fun to sing, too. Deeper And Deeper also gets cool points for referencing Vogue. I have a soft spot for artists dropping their previous hit song lyrics into new songs. Why? Don’t ask me. I have to say that the video for this song is…. weird. I get the Andy Warhol references, but I thought he was weird too, so there you go. Udo Kier is a total creeper and watching Madonna fawn over him disturbs me. At least she looks badass in an afro wig.

 

3. Ray Of Light

Ray of Light is Madonna’s best album, in my humble opinion. The title track blew me away the first time I heard it. It was like she rose like a phoenix from the ashes of a naughty pop princess and became an electronic Mother Earth. The beat is so fast paced, I don’t know if I want to dance or start a mosh pit. The video has that same crazy frantic feel. Brilliant!

 

2. Oh Father

Madonna at her most vulnerable can be incredibly outstanding, and this song is an example. It tells a story about loss and coping with that loss, breaking free, and coming to terms. We all know this is autobiographical. Madonna lost her mom at a young age, and had difficulty with her father as well. The odd sounding violin arrangement complements the melody extremely well; it’s my favorite part of the song. As for the video, there really isn’t much to say, since it’s a perfect representation of the song.

 

1. Live To Tell

This will always be my favorite Madonna song. Period. It was the first song I heard of hers that hit me in the gut. I was 12 years old and had no idea why a man would tell a thousand lies, but I knew that holding a secret until the death was some powerful grownup stuff. I remember being impressed that Madonna could release a serious ballad – she wasn’t just a sexy minx for us girls to admire and the boys to drool over! Now that I’m an adult, the song still packs an emotional punch. I love her soft and simple look in the video, as well. I never did see At Close Range, so I’ve no idea what the hell is going on with the movie scenes. Christopher Walken’s mustache is scary to this day.

 

What did you think? Could you list your favorite Madonna songs? Feel free to leave your list in the comments. I’m curious! I’m glad Madonna has graced us with so many tunes, and I’m proud that she continues to do so.

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Shadowfax, Lord Of All Horses

This scene is guaranteed to give me goosie-bumps and/or tears every time I see it.

Why is this? I’m not a big horse lover. I mean, I love all animals but I’ve only ridden a horse twice in my life. The first time, the big black stallion had an itch in a sensitive place, and insisted on scratching it while my terrified 10 year old self sat on top of him, waiting to be thrown off and stomped on. The second time was only a few years ago. She was a lovely mare named Cinder, and I chatted her up the entire trail, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Anyway, that’s it. So what is it about Shadowfax, appearing out of nowhere, running in slow motion in response to his friend Gandalf’s special whistle?

Perhaps one reason is his pedigree. Legolas seemed pretty damn impressed, didn’t he? Well, he’s right to feel that way. There aren’t many horses in Middle-earth who come from the most majestic and swift Mearas. They’re said to have been tamed by the first King of Rohan, and they can understand human speech. Shadowfax was the current Lord of the Mearas, and was “given” to Gandalf by King Theoden. Apparently Shadowfax wasn’t going to be tamed by any Rohan royalty. He was bigger than that.

Which brings me to the special bond shared by Shadowfax and Mithrandir. They trust each other. They’re both super brave and have the confidence of good over evil to spur them on their quest. It’s like Shadowfax knows how important it is to defeat Sauron and will do whatever it takes. He speeds Gandalf all over the place, gathering the Rohan army to help at Helm’s Deep. He takes Gandalf and Pippin to Gondor so Denethor will get his shit together and fight Mordor (so that doesn’t work well, but you can’t cure crazy). And look at this friendship!

He isn’t going to run away and leave his wizard and hobbit bros to suffer at the hands of pure evil. Oh no, he will STAND STRONG. That is one amazing horse.

How could such an amazing fictional horse be portrayed on the screen? It should be quite the talented actor, right? Also, he’d have to be ridiculously good looking. I don’t know much about horses, but what I do know, in relation to their participation in the LOTR trilogy, is from the most excellent DVD extra feature called Home of the Horse Lords. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you correct that. You’ll learn how the amazing equines were acclimated to movie sets, the friendships they made with their human costars, and the lasting effect their fellowship had on everyone involved. Shadowfax was played by two stallions: Domero, who was used in mostly stationary shots, and Blanco, who is the one you see galloping around Minas Tirith and Rohan with Ian McKellan or his stunt double. Both of those beautiful horses are no longer with us, sadly. They are immortalized in these films, however, and for that I’m grateful.

I suppose it’s a combo of my immense love of all creatures, my adoration of Tolkien’s stories, and Peter Jackson’s movies that give me the special feels for the 54 second sequence, in which The White Wizard calls for his friend. It sums up the sentiment of the LOTR trilogy, in a way. When your friends need you, they’ll be there to help fight for good. Thanks, Lord Of All Horses!

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Let The Wookie Meet Meri?

Holy crap, folks – in a few weeks, I will hopefully meet the man who portrays one of the most iconic, tall, furry, badass characters in the Star Wars universe. I’m talking about Peter Mayhew who plays Chewbacca!

Not only is this an amazing possibility (by the way, the event he’s attending is here – ROFCON in Virginia Beach), but we have a brief history. He named a freaking goat after me!!!!

Is that awesome or what? I don’t know what’s going on with Merideth the goat, but I hope she’s happy and being chill, making cool goat noises.

Back to the man himself. What should I say when I meet him? What should I wear? Should I bring a stuffed goat? Where does one get a stuffed goat (I mean like a plush toy, not a taxidermic thing)? I’m legit nervous and excited.

 

UPDATE: I just purchased tickets to the Con’s Star Wars themed dinner, and Peter will be a guest. RIP ME.

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Meri’s Top Ten Songs of 2014

Hello, legions of readers who have been dying for a post from me! *sarcasm* First of all, I apologize for neglecting this here World of mine. I’ve had no inspiration whatsoever. Everything I’ve considered writing about ended up just a “eh, no one cares about that mess” dismissal, and I went about my business of curling up in various blankets with various cats on my lap (currently Ollivander is on me, making it very difficult to accomplish anything).

Music has been berry berry good to me these past 12 months, so I wanted the comeback entry here to be related to all the songs that made me happy, emotional, dance, and impressed. LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!

10. Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

I didn’t want to like this one. Lil Jon tends to annoy me most of the time, with his yelling and songs that grate my ears. But this Snake DJ feller eased my pain. I just want to stand up and boogie like a goober every time I hear this.

 

9. Handy – Weird Al Yankovic

Al’s Mandatory Fun album is stellar; there isn’t a non-brilliant song in the bunch. Handy, however is PERFECT parody-wise.

 

8. Fancy – Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX

So  let’s celebrate the tune Al parodied, shall we? I mean, this jam is so catchy, I don’t think I EVER turned it off when it came on. Between Iggy’s rap style and Charli’s super hook, it’s totally the song of the summer. Or fall. Or winter.

 

7. Flawless (Remix) – Beyonce & Nicki Minaj

Are you kidding me? Queen Bey is on a whole different level with this pop/hip hop/r&b thing now. No longer the squeaky clean diva. She gangsta now. When Nicki saunters on the stage in this video, which is where I first heard this version of the song, I knew shit was going to get real. And there was no disappointment.

 

6. Slippery Slopes – Jenny Lewis

There are so many great songs on Jenny’s latest album, The Voyager. But this one sticks with me the most. Its laid back telling of a tricky, drug fueled, possible threesome, along with the lovely nod-your-head beat. Good stuff.

 

5. Lonely Girl – Weezer

A wonderfully solid Weezer album made me excited about them again, and dammit if this tune isn’t pretty much one of their most perfectly Weezer-ish creations. I hope they tour near me this summer.

 

4. Birth In Reverse – St. Vincent

I wish I had discovered Annie sooner – she’s just oddball, immensely talented, and I really wanted her hair this year. I tried to achieve that look in November, but it didn’t work out. ANYWAY. This song is amazing. Love the off-kilter beat, the guitar riffs, and did I mention I love her hair in the video?

 

3. Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay) – Sky Ferreira

I could have picked at least three of the songs on Sky’s album, Night Time, My Time. But I wanted to have 10 different artists’ work on this list. I love the feel of her album; it’s like a movie soundtrack from the 80s. I relate to the lyrics of this song the most, so that’s why it’s on the list.

 

2. Every Breaking Wave – U2

I’m welling up with tears just listening to it right now. This is another in the “I could have picked a million songs off this album” category. I mean, U2 is my favorite band in the world, and they put out their best album since Achtung Baby in 2014. Forget the whole IT’S ON EVERYONE’S IPHONE thing. That really took away from how excellent Songs Of Innocence is. From start to finish. Every Breaking Wave was in my top five from the first listen, but when I saw this performance from the MTV EMA Awards, my heart exploded and it quickly became my most favorite on the album. I mean, Bono hasn’t done a raw, searing, heartbreaking execution like that since I DON’T KNOW WHEN. It reminded me of that Unforgettable Fire making of video, when he’s in the recording booth singing Pride (In The Name Of Love).

 

1. Chandelier – Sia

Basically, Maddie Ziegler’s dance routine in the video for this song is the representation of 2014 for me. The song is a representation of 2014 too. Thanks Sia Furler. 1000 Forms Of Fear was the best thing my ears received this year.

I Need A Favor – Help Me Help Raju, The Elephant Who Cried!!!

This is going to be quick and to the point, because time is short for this guy. I love elephants. Along with hippos, they’re my favorite animal. so large, majestic, intelligent, intimidating yet adorable, and precious. When I first heard about Raju, the elephant who cried, in a Buzzfeed article, I was incredibly moved. This poor creature suffered decades of torture and abuse, and he was finally being rescued. Sure, those tears were from pain, but I’m sure they were also from relief. Elephants can’t talk, but it is obvious they are social, loving beings, and I’m sure there was a feeling of something good happening in his heart.

So get this, apparently, the complete bastard who kept Raju in chains is trying to get him back – WHAT THE HELL? This can’t happen. I mean, NO. Watch this video and tell me you’d be ok with that (I don’t know what’s with the weird audio – maybe it was google translated or something?).

So do me a favor, folks. PLEASE. Check out This link – it has instructions on how to help stop this maniac from getting Raju back. Sign the petition. Email the government officials. Donate to the legal fund. Whatever you can. And most of all, share this sweet creature’s story. He touched my heart, and hopefully he’ll touch yours too. And others. I love animals a lot more than most humans, but I don’t care to preach about animal rights and stuff too often. But Raju means a lot to me. I’ve sponsored him, so every month, money comes out of my paycheck to help with his veterinary care, food, and such. That’s how much his plight spoke to me. If you could do the same, it would RULE, but if all you can do is spread the word, that is AWESOME too. He’s been through so much, and look at him now – he’s gaining weight and meeting chicks!

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Don’t let him return to a life of slavery and starvation.

 

 

 

What Has Made Me Happy This Week

You know what? This week has been incredibly depressing. Robin Williams, one of the most gifted and treasured actors on this planet passed away. He gave so much to this world, through comedy and the movies/shows he performed in. Not to mention the fact that he was also a really great human being who did a lot of nice things. In addition to losing a fantastic artist, the news gave us some horrible displays of humanity’s darkness. Racist, abusive police forces in small town America? Check. Clashes in the Middle East? Uh-huh. Some asshole MMA fighter beating the shit out of his girlfriend? Great. Corrupt politicians? Natch. It was too much to take!!!! So here are the things that kept a smile on my face and reminded me how much awesome there is on this ball of life we call Earth……

 

1. Daniel Radcliffe. The boy who was Harry Potter has grown up to be charming, funny, good looking, humble, and adorable. Listening to his episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast made me grin. The fact that he can name every starting quarterback in the NFL is weirdly impressive to me for some reason. I don’t get sports, but hey. I also watched this video of Dan surprising fans after a screening of his new film, What If  – it’s too cute.

Giggity, Daniel, giggity I say.

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2. Lee Pace. The tall drink of water that is Lee has been all over the place lately. On movie screens as the psycho Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy, on the internet (he recently joined Twitter, yay!), and on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. I finished the first season about an hour ago (I sure hope there’s a season two, y’all), and damn. It just got better and better, and the ending really left me wanting more. Sure, it’s a great drama about the 80s’ computer revolution, but Mr. Pace is dreamy as all get out.

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3. Andrew  W.K. WTF?! Meri, are you talking about the Party Hard guy? YES I AM. He’s the king of positive partying. We should all strive to be like him. His tweets are majestically uplifting, and he wants nothing in this world except super duper harmonius fun. How can that be wrong? Read his weekly advice column – This is a great one! And if you ever see him live (I did back in… 2001 or 2002?), it will turn you into a Tasmanian Devil of celebrating.

 

4. My friends, man, and cats. I got to eat pizza and chill with some of my pals this week. I brought home some veggie burgers and fries so me and my hard working honey could have a fun dinner and watch Twin Peaks episodes. I got lots of snuggles with Isobel & Selina, but mostly this turd (Ollivander):

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What’s kept you from turning to the Dark Side of the Force lately?