Tuesday 

Hahahaha! First time I’ve ever reblogged someone else’s post, but I couldn’t help myself–this cracked me up too much.

“ICH LIEBE DICH, MEINE SCHATZ!!!”

My father was fond of shouting at us in German when my brother and I were children. His favorite thing to shout was reserved for those times when we were restless after we’d been tucked into bed, and it went something like “MACHEN SIE AUGEN ZU UND SCHLAFEN BALD DEIN!” I’m sure I’m butchering that, because mein Deutsche ist nicht so gut and I’m remembering what he yelled strictly phonetically, but roughly translated it meant: “CLOSE YOUR EYES AND GO TO BED!”  We knew he meant business if he was yelling at us in German.

Wonder Of My Worlds

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Behind Every Great Man…

A few days ago I posted “behind every great man is an even greater woman” as my thought for the day.  Well, I have thought about it, and now I’d like to take a moment to briefly expand upon that thought.

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This old adage has been around in one form or another for what seems like forever (usually as “a great woman” rather than “a greater woman,” because that would just be giving the fairer sex too much credit, now, wouldn’t it?).  As much as I might like to consider myself a feminist, I’ve never fully bought into this proverbial nonsense.  I’ve always believed that a man (or woman, for that matter) is capable of his (or her) own greatness, independent of the assistance or even presence of any kind of “significant other.”  Well, I recognize now that I was wrong.

MrWrong

That’s me.  Well, some of the time, anyway.

History is chock-full of examples of men made stronger by even stronger women:  Jacob had Rachel; Abraham had Sarah; Menelaus (and Paris) had Helen; Odysseus had Penelope; Arthur (and Lancelot) had Guinevere; FDR had Eleanor; Bill had Hillary; Juan Peron had Evita; Caesar and Marc Antony BOTH had Cleopatra; hell, even Macbeth had Lady Macbeth (which is actually kinda macabre when you think about it, but it still serves my point).

My favorite example, however, is Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine.  Conventional wisdom tells us that Napoleon conquered most of Europe because he was overcompensating for being short (hence “Napoleonic Complex”), but in all honesty he wasn’t really that vertically challenged.  Rather, it was the love of that black-toothed beauty (yes, Josephine had rotten teeth–look it up) that lit a fire under Napoleon’s ass and subsequently spurred him to whip the asses of damn-near everyone on his continent.

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The little Emperor and his blushing black-toothed bride

In the world of creative arts, the phenomenon is even more apparent: Robert Browning had Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Percy Bysshe Shelley had Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; Diego Rivera had Frida Kahlo; Bob Dylan had Joan Baez; Ted Hughes had Sylvia Plath; Stieglitz had O’Keeffe; Man Ray had Lee Miller; Lindsey Buckingham had Stevie Nicks; Paul Newman had Joanne Woodward; Charles Eames had Ray Eames; Ike Turner had Tina; Sonny had Cher; Pollack had Krasner; Christo had Jean-Claude; Bogey had Bacall; Tracy had Hepburn; Johnny had June; the list goes on and on, but the song is still the same–“It Takes Two, Baby.

“It takes two, bay-baaay, to make a dream come true”

I’m almost convinced now that to be truly successful in life, or at least to reach one’s full potential as a human being, one absolutely needs the love and support of a significant other.  “People… need people…,” to paraphrase Barbara Streisand.  We need someone to hold–someone to be there for us in our most desperate times of need; someone who not only offers encouragement in our moments of doubt and pushes us to be a better person, but someone who actually makes us want to be a better person.  I once had someone like that in my life, but I blew it because I ceased wishing to be a better person.  I ceased wishing to be, period.

Companionship isn’t just the key to success–it’s the key to happiness, I believe, because it’s one of the most vital components to the human experience.  And by “companionship,” I’m not talking about casual companionship or flavor-of-the-month relationships ala Sex in the City.  I’m talking about the whole enchilada–something real and permanent and inexplicably linked to the human heart’s acknowledgement of something greater outside itself.  When someone loves you enough to recognize your potential, and helps you to recognize that potential yourself, they’re a keeper.  When you can look into the eyes of someone you love and know that not only do they love you back unconditionally, but that they’ve got your back unconditionally as well… THAT’S what it’s actually all about, Alfie.  To love and to be loved.

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Send In The Clowns

I get five channels now (six if you count the Mexican soap opera network), but the one I watch the most is MeTV.  It’s one of those nostalgia channels in the spirit of Nick-at-Nite, or at least what Nick-at-Nite used to be.*  Their lineup is brilliant, and I see no reason why I should be wasting my time watching reality shows when Rockford Files is on.  Seriously, there hasn’t been a cop drama in the last few decades that could rival either Columbo or Kojak.  Networks are literally littered with Chuck Lorre “comedies,” none of which can hold a candle to real comedies like Cheers or M*A*S*H.  I’ll take Christopher Lloyd’s bat-shit-crazy “Reverend Jim” from Taxi over the real-life bat-shit-crazy Charlie Sheen any day.

Well, I’m watching The Carol Burnett Show tonight, and I saw something that made me go, “Whoa,” so I figured I’d share it.  People tend to forget that the show wasn’t actually a sketch comedy show–it was a variety show, which meant they had a variety of entertainment, including musical numbers, monologues, and even the occasional dramatic bit.  Carol Burnett may not have the greatest set of pipes to have ever sung this song, but I honestly believe she performed it with more feeling than Judy Collins, Shirley Bassey, Barbara Streisand, or even Frank Sinatra ever did.

* [EDITOR’S NOTE:  Apparently “Nick-at-Nite” is now “Nick@Nite” and the lineup consists of decidedly non-retro shows like George Lopez and How I Met Your Mother.  Bring me the heads of the television programmers who decided a show that ran a year ago is “retro,” and I’ll stick them on pikes along with the heads of the executives who took the music videos away from MTV.  The “M” is for “music,” not “morons,” dammit.]

You Are Invited

I got it in the mail one morning,
there was no return address–
just my name in gold leaf on the front.
There was no time or location,
there was really no info at all–
no date, no place, no time, no RSVP,
but it said:

You are invited by anyone to do anything–
you are invited for all time.

I didn’t think much about it,
it seemed like a really dumb joke.
But later that week it was Friday once again.
So I took it down to a disco
that wouldn’t have me in a million years.
I flashed it once and I was inside with a drink.
I really didn’t stay too long there
’cause no one was having much fun.
I made my way to a party all the way across town.
It was thrown by the friend of an ex-thing,
I wasn’t sure if I should go,
but when I got up in the place
there were smiles all up and down.
I grabbed my ex in the kitchen,
I told her I was sorry I came,
but she looked at me with a glazed smile and said:

You are invited by anyone to do anything–
you are invited for all time.
You are so needed by everyone to do everything–
you are invited for all time.

I headed for home kinda early,
the party wasn’t all that great.
I saw my neighbor out crying on his front porch.
I stopped to see what his deal was,
I didn’t catch much through the sobs–
something about a party and he didn’t go.
I thought about it for a second
with the invite in my hands.
I threw it down at his feet and I said:

You are invited by anyone to do anything–
You are invited for all time.
You are so needed if you really want to go–
you are invited for all time.

(apologies to The Dismemberment Plan, AGAIN… two D-Plan songs in back-to-back blog posts is a party foul, I’m sure, but I don’t care–to this day, I still can’t make it through this song without getting choked up)

The City

Now I notice the streetlamp’s hum,
the ghosts of graffiti they couldn’t quite erase,
the blank-faced stares on the subway
as people go home.
The parks lay empty like my unmade bed,
the streets are silent like my lifeless telephone,
and this is where I live,
but I’ve never felt less at home.
So I’m not unsympathetic,
I see why you left.
There’s no one to know,
there’s nothing to do–
the city’s been dead
since you’ve been gone.

Sometimes I stand on my roof at night
and watch as something seems to
happen somewhere else.
I feel like the breeze
will pick me up and carry me away
out and over the iridescent grid,
up and away from the bar fights and neon lights
and out and away from everything
that makes me what I am.
So I’m not unsympathetic,
I see why you left.
There’s no one to know,
there’s nothing to do–
the city’s been dead
since you’ve been gone.

Oh, I never had just whatever it is you want, baby.
Oh, I really tried, tried with all of my might–it made me crazy
to try to figure out what it is I’ve done wrong every time
when everything I love, everything I hold dear,
heads out sometimes–
all I ever say now is good-bye.

(apologies to The Dismemberment Plan)

Movie Night: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

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I watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the umpteenth time tonight, and I swear, it just might be the most underrated comedy of all time.  The film follows the story of sad sack Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) as he desperately tries to get over Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), his longtime girlfriend who has recently left him for an English rock star.  In a last-ditch effort to get her out of his heart, he takes a vacation to beautiful Hawaii, only to discover that she and her rock star boyfriend are also vacationing there. Hijinks ensue.

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On the surface, one might easily dismiss the film as a formulaic Hollywood rom-com replete with just enough sophomoric humor to satiate the masses, but the truth of the matter is that this movie is so much more than that.  First of all, everyone (and I mean everyone) is brilliant in this movie–even Russell Brand. The casting is (surprisingly) perfect. But even more surprising is that this is a smart film. Sure, there’s some crude and vulgar humor in the movie, but guess what?  Life itself is both crude and vulgar.  And even the basest elements of the film still manage to be at once both clever and hilarious, as is the trademark of most Judd Apatow films.  But what separates this script from any of Apatow’s other productions is the fact that it was written by Jason Segel himself, and Segel wrote one gem of a screenplay.  It seems clear to me that Segel wrote this movie from the heart without any consideration of or concern for what the box office might think, in very much the same way as his character writes his Dracula musical in the film.  It’s easy to tell when something is created out of love or passion rather than commercial interests. This film was a labor of love for Segel, and it shows.

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At its core, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is not just a funny film–it is an unabashedly moving motion picture that touches on the frailty of the human heart and the indescribable pain of getting over a lost love.  In my mind, the best comedies are those which make us think and feel as well as laugh–something deeper than slapstick–and beneath all the clever jokes and funny moments, Forgetting Sarah Marshall manages to successfully address the human condition in a way that few comedies have been able to:  uncontrived and honest.  And I swear, I pick up something new every time I see it.  Tonight it was the moment where a very large Hawaiian dude gives Peter (Jason Segel) advice about moving on:

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“You’ve got to stop talking about her.  It’s like The Sopranos–it’s over!  Find a new show!”  [pause]  “You need a hug.  C’mere.”

 

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scenes from the movie. There are so many scenes in this film worth sharing, but if I had to choose just one, it would be this one: