Archive | January, 2011

A Quick Word on Marooned Pianos…

30 Jan

I was really into this story about a baby-grand piano that mysteriously appeared on top of a sand bar in Florida. For the past week, no one knew where it had come from or why it was there–though the Miami New Times did compile a highly entertaining list of guesses. It was a compelling sight: a lone piano perched atop a strip of sand in the middle of Biscayne Bay. There was something mystical about the whole thing. Was the baby-grand waiting for a magical musician to tickle its ivories? Was it perhaps buoyed up from the bay by otherworldly music? Was it aliens? An act of God? A sign of the music missing from our lives?

Well, a few days ago the New York Times reported that the mystery was officially solved. You can read for yourself about the less-than-magical reasons behind the piano’s appearance. The point of this Quick Word is that I’m a little disappointed with the truth. I liked the speculations about the piano better than the reality. Plus, the piano has since been removed which ends the story on a bit of a flat note. Oh well, it was a fun mystery while it lasted.

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Sing-Along With All the Right (Oh My) Words

28 Jan

I recently learned that one of my close friends knows all the words to R.E.M’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” This, as you must know, is an impressive accomplishment—right up there with knowing how to fold fitted sheets and do open heart surgery. This is a pal I’ve known for about eight years and naturally I called her a liar. “Prove it!” I dared. And she did.

My usual reaction to an impressive feat looks something like this. Only cuter, and less naked.

Sure, she missed a few lines because she was laughing at my awestruck facial expression.  But somehow, miraculously, she did know the lyrics. When I sing along to this particular song, my accompaniment ends up being more noise than wordsI’m totally with it at the chorus. I feel fine as I sing that it’s the end of the world as we know it. But the rest of the song? I catch phrases or words. Eye of a hurricane. Book burning. Leonard Bernstein.

I’m pretty proud of the fact that I know all the words to Salt n Peppa’s song Shoop. Random, I know, but it’s something Ellen Degeneres and I have in common. But my friend’s total familiarity with “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” takes the cake. I’m shocked that she can decipher the words, and I’m flabbergasted that she can keep up with the high-speed song. Ever since I discovered her secret skill (maybe I’ll suggest that she put it on her resume), I’ve been thinking about songs that are hard to sing along to. If I met someone who knew all the lyrics to these songs, and could sing them like the real thing, I would be mightily amazed. I think I would even be speechless, which, as the voice of Oh My Words, is the highest compliment I could give you.

*Click the song titles to be taken to a youtube video with appropriate lyrics. I challenge you to sing along!

Dog Days are Over—Florence + the Machine

The radio hasn’t quite ruined this song, and I still attempt to sing along whenever it’s played. Lead singer Florence Welch’s voice is beautiful and mesmerizing but there’s something almost yodel-like about it, no? I’ll admit that during research for this post, I looked up the lyrics and realized that the part of the song that I always thought was just a demonstration of pretty vocal range is actually words. (What do you sing after “the dog days are done?”) That means that I’ve been singing something akin to  Heh oh hee oh heh oh ee la he cooo for no good reason.  

 Dynamo of Volition—Jason Mraz

First off, I love Jason Mraz so if you know the words to this song I’m going to assume that you too are a fan and then I will assume that we have the potential of being best friends or soul mates. I adore Mr. A-Z’s clever lyrics with their interesting rhymes and occasional sexual innuendo. This particular song has the trademark Mraz wit, and it’s fast. In theory, I know the words, but I am incapable of singing them as quickly as him. (There goes my rapping career…darn.)

 Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag—James Brown

I’m not sure why I consider this a difficult song to sing along with. Okay, James Brown’s soul sort of muddies the clarity of the words. But maybe the real reason is that it’s because it’s pretty much scientifically impossible not to dance along to “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” so who can spare the brain space and energy to sing too?  I’m not talking about the tapping-your foot-and-bobbing-your-head kind of dancing, but the get-down-and-boogie kind. If you can pay proper dance tribute to this song and sing the words properly you deserve praise, accolades, and a million hits on youtube. (Seriously, could you film yourself singing and dancing because that sounds like a blockbuster to me…..Are you uploading yet?)

One Week—Barenaked Ladies

This song is probably in the same category as “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.” By the time your brain processes the words they’re 12 stanzas ahead of you. I can sing certain parts, but put it all together and I tumble all over myself. In case you’re dying to know, and I’m sure you are, I think my favorite parts of this song that I can never sing along with are:

Gotta get in tune with Sailor Moon/Cause that cartoon/Has got the boom/Anime babes/That make me think the wrong thing.

AND

Like Harrison Ford/I’m getting frantic/Like Sting I’m Tantric/Like Snickers,/guaranteed to satisfy

You Can’t Stop the Beat—from the musical Hairspray

According to the movie trivia on imdb, the cast of the 2007 Hairspray movie called this song “You Can’t Stop to Breathe” because of the speedy singing it demanded. Apparently, Queen Latifah was one of the few who had no problems singing it because of her rapping experience. I found “You Can’t Stop the Beat” with accompanying lyrics on youtube and I’ll tell ya, even when I can read the lyrics as I attempt to sing it’s hard not to gasp for air partway through like a wigged-out fish.

And of course, here’s the song that inspired it all:

Happy singing!

Have You Seen Her?

26 Jan

I haven’t written in a while.  Instead of telling you why not, I thought I wouldn’t tell you why.  Clear as mud, right? Chew on this: why would I tell you about what was, when I could tell you what almost was or might have been? We’re talking about a lack of action–not blogging–so it only makes sense that I would not respond with what I’ve been doing. Get it? Not really?  Just follow along and do not not get lost because I was for nearly 4 months and that’s the point.

The following is (NOT) a list of reasons why I have not blogged.

  1. I was hired as a legitimate writer with an actual paycheck and have been professionally busy putting thoughts into words. It’s true what they say about the importance of networking and connections because my dream job was achieved through my fifth grade teacher’s sister’s neighbor’s hairdresser’s ex-boyfriend’s college roommate. Talk about six degrees of separation.
  2. I left several weeks’ worth of crossword puzzles go unsolved and when I finally sat down to ponder the grids I was sucked in until I lost all sense of time. I mentally fell head first into a crossword black hole. (Or would that be a black and white hole?) I ate rarely, slept sparingly; my only focus was the acrosses and downs of my puzzles. Blogging? Unless that was the missing word of 32 across, I didn’t spare it a thought.
  3. I decided to clean out my closet. I have a friend whose closet is so organized and beautiful, that to look inside is practically a religious experience. There are no clothes hanging haphazardly from hangers. Her various pairs of boots are lined up like little leather soldiers. If I remember correctly, there’s even a color scheme going on. Anyway, I was so inspired by this altar of order that I rushed home to tackle my own closet. Unfortunately, my cleaning tactic is usually to move messes from one place to another. Once I cleaned and organized my closet I realized that the excess stuff had ended up in the rest of my room. Remember the classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Well, what followed was a testament to the mouse…or maybe the cookie. I rearranged my things so many times that now I have no idea where anything is.  I’m pretty sure the moral of my story is that I should never try to clean and organize. That sounds like a moral, doesn’t it?
  4. I’ve been suffering from craft fever or, as it is medically known, Obsessive Crafting Disorder (OCD). (Check out the identically named blog, it’s pretty inspiring.) This is a common affliction; the unemployed, retired, housebound, and fabulously creative populations are at the most risk. It starts out innocently enough with a small project, a simple idea. The crafter’s commitment soon escalates, each craft project growing bigger and more intricate. Soon, the people at Michael’s know his or her name and the eating and living spaces in his or house are covered in beads, mod-podge, and fabric. I’m happy to say, however, that after an intervention by friends and family (“Put the glue gun down”) my crafting involvement is much more healthy.
  5. My goal of teaching my dog to sit was finally achieved. High on dog-training glee, I decided to proceed until she could beg, roll over, speak, jump, fetch my slippers, figure out restaurant tips, prevent me from hitting the snooze in the morning, and change the radio station whenever Lady Gaga’s voice hit the airwaves. After a string of morning talk show appearances (Regis really does talk like that!) and magazine covers (is it ironic for a dog to be on the cover of People?) my pup then sued in order to be legally emancipated from me. There was a happy ending though: the suit was dropped after we reached a settlement that included, among other things, 10 tummy rubs a day.

 

The truth is not stranger than these fictions. The truth of why I haven’t blogged involves life, death, and laziness—but that’s no fun, is it?