Does A Confession of Love Require A Soundtrack Or, Boomboxes Deserve Love Songs

NPR poses the question – “Does a confession of love require a soundtrack?

For the most part, I’m a Bukowski Girl. I want the guy who holds my hand instead of buys me flowers (or you could go for extra credit and Bruno Mars it).

BUT – I’m also a girl who grew up on a steady diet of pop culture and I’m kind of a sucker for the musical confession of love.

Or like.

Or hell, even basic acknowledgment of existence.

Tom Cruise serenading Kelly McGillis with You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin‘ in Top Gun? It’s a great moment…even though he’s accompanied by a bunch of drunken flyboys.

Say Anything’s In Your Eyes moment is iconic and I’m pretty sure that 90% of all women who saw that movie had the same soft-focus daydream that maybe someday, someone would do that for them.

(Sidebar: This is a cheap, easy and effortlessly romantic gesture and yet, I don’t know one person whose significant other has shown up on their driveway avec boombox. What the hell? You don’t even have to do anything! Just show up and press play. Violation of noise ordinances aside, why hasn’t this happened more?)

I’m relatively certain that Heath Ledger’s brassy serenade of Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You can get a girl pregnant.

Oh wait. I’m right.

biancabelly

See?

So, I say YES. A confession of love requires a soundtrack because LIFE requires a soundtrack.

When I’m cleaning the bathroom, I shimmy like Beyoncé. Yes, it’s as unattractive as it sounds. No, you cannot come by, watch and laugh.

When cooking (actually cooking, not just making popcorn and calling it dinner), I have to listen to music. Tomatoes simmering with basil and garlic need a little Sinatra to help them along. It makes them taste better.

That’s science.

And the science of sound is important. I mean, it’s all well and good to lumber under the weight of a boombox but if you’re lumbering while playing Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton – you’re doing it wrong because that song sucks. Seriously, it is insipid pablum propagated by unimaginative wedding DJs and when you play it, you’re announcing to the world that you’re a chowderhead incapable of original thought.

Wow. I really hate that song, huh?

Anyway, I started thinking about love songs. The love songs that I love – the ones that I want sung to me in a bar or blasted from a boombox or sung in a stadium with the accompaniment of a full marching band. In other words, the good ones that make for a perfect soundtrack when accompanying a confession of love.

P.Y.T. by Michael Jackson – C’mere. No closer. Seriously, lean in because I’ve got a secret to tell you. You ready? All girls want to hear that they’re pretty. Not hot, not cute but pretty. And we don’t want to hear it from some leering letch at the bar or some undersexed bozo on the subway. We want you to look at us and smile and tell us that you think we’re pretty. And we want you to mean it (because we can tell if you don’t). And if we’re real pains in the ass (which some of us are), we kinda want there to be a little choreography involved.

By Your Side by Sade – This is a song upon which to create a moment. I’m a big believer in tiny moments and have a tendency to remember those much easier than the big moments. So, put on the song, grab your girl or guy and dance barefoot in the living room. Trust Sade. Trust me.

Diamond Ring by The Black Crowes – I hate public proposals. You’re asking one person to marry you; not the whole world. It’s intrusive and woe betide you if the girl says no. But, if you must – make it a full scale production that involves your ass clapping and stomping around like Chris Robinson, a full gospel choir and a finale that culminates with you getting down on one knee.

Thirteen by Big Star – Having a crush turns you into Neurotic Mess Crazy Person. NMCP overthinks everything. NMCP changes her outfit more than any person alive. NMCP pores over mix CD tracklists with the intensity of a hardcore Talmudic scholar. But all of that ridiculousness is worth it when you hang out with the person and get a buzz on just being in the same room as them. That is what this song sounds like – the buzz and blissed out feeling you get just being close enough to touch. And if you learn how to play this on an acoustic guitar, you’re pretty much guaranteed to save the world and get the girl

Realizing you love someone is kinda a big deal and I can’t think of anything more deserving of a little pomp and circumstance than that.

Well, other than when you eat a really amazing sandwich and Handel’s Messiah kicks in, but that happens to everyone, right?

Guys? Guys…? Seriously, we all hear the Hallelujah Chorus when we eat sandwiches? Guys…?

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50 Reasons To Love America Or, Holy Shit I Love You: The Stars and Stripes Edition

Today, America turns 237 and I have but one thing to say – Holy Shit, I Love You.

And here are fifty reasons why.

1. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

I love the fact that Americans don’t ask for perfection but continually strive towards it as if every day is a promise to be a little better than the day before.

2. Heterogeneity. When I was in college, this bubble-headed girl asked me what I was. When I replied, “English,” she responded with, “You don’t look English.” That chapped me a little. I mean, what does an English person look like? Then, it got me thinking about what an American looks like and I realized that there is no answer to that question. There is no idealized portrait of an American for we are straight. We are gay. We are transgendered. We are black. We are white. We are various shades of brown. Some of us were born here and some of us came here from far-flung lands. And yet – we are all American. There’s something really beautiful about that.

3. Pixar’s ability to break your heart (if you didn’t sob hysterically during the first ten minutes of Up, there’s a strong likelihood that you are a serial killer) and heal it better than new within the span of two hours.

4. Dan Marino – also known as the right arm of God Himself, the promise of Ryan Tannehill, Don Shula, JT, Zach Thomas and the 1976 Miami Dolphins. Keep poppin’ that champagne, boys.

5. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean.

6. Sesame Street. I still count to 12 using the cadence I learned on this show.

7. The silver-lined cynicism of Charles Bukowski, the black tar noir of Raymond Chandler, the lush lyricism of Jack Kerouac and Walt Whitman, the way F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway will break your fucking heart and the way Rob Sheffield writes as if we’re best friends, hanging out and just shooting the breeze about music.

8. Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

nighthawks

9. Diners – open all night, buzzing with neon and cup after endless cup of strong coffee served in thick ceramic mugs by a waitress who calls you ‘hon.’

10. Bruce Springsteen – a man whose words I believe in so much and hold so dear, I want them indelibly inked upon my flesh.

bruce

11. Christmas lights on palm trees.

12. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 which made the United States of America a little more united.

13. Drinking an ice-cold Bluecoat and Tonic with a lot of lime on a balmy summer afternoon and feeling civilized once again.

14. The look on Neil Armstrong’s face after he walked on the moon.

neilarmstrong

15. Blue jeans, white tees, aviators and Chuck Taylors.

16. Joss Whedon, Bill Hicks, Tina Fey, Matt Taibbi, Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ken Burns, Mel Brooks, Bill Simmons, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Dave Grohl and Aaron Sorkin – tellers of stories and truths.

17. Public libraries and the wrath of public librarians when it comes to fighting against banning books.

18. Singing Sabotage by the Beastie Boys really loudly in the car.

19. Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

20. “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.” Badlands by Bruce Springsteen.

21. The view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

22. Free refills.

23 The stars on the Stars and Stripes. That is excellent design work. Thanks, Betsy Ross!

24. The Rock. His quads are bigger than my entire body and his Instagram is my new favorite thing ever.

25. American Thighs. The Veruca Salt album and pretty much any lady with some luscious curves.

26. The fact that you can totally get a quesadilla at Chipotle if you ask for it. Dudes, it’s so good. The cheese gets all gooey and when you dip in guacamole, there’s this like, two second moment where you swear you’re gonna pass out from happiness.

27. The National Park Service.

28. Policemen, Firefighters, Paramedics and anyone who runs towards the danger instead of away from it.

29. The implicit understanding that all sandwiches are to be served with some sort of potato-based side.

30. Ron Livingston. Particularly the fact that he’s going to be in the new season of Boardwalk Empire. Can we please take a second to appreciate the fact that I get to see this man dressed up 1920s style?

He pops up around the 0.14 second mark, winks and then I pretty much black out because I legit cannot handle how handsome this man is.

31. The Grand Canyon, sequoia and banyan trees, Hawaiian volcanoes, amber waves of grain and the majesty of purple mountains.

32. Southern men who call you ‘honey’ and ‘darlin” and ‘sugar.’

33. Coach and Mrs. Coach. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose y’all.

thetaylors

34. Thug Kitchen. Because I eat like I give multiple fucks.

35. The first ever ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon.

36. Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child, Jose Garces and David Chang.

37. Appalachian bluegrass + zydeco + SoCal punk rock + Southern rock + Chicago blues + Chicano rock + Miami bass

38. NASA

39. Senator Robert Kennedy. Senator Patrick Leahy. Senator Al Franken. Mayor Cory Booker. State Senator Wendy Davis. Senator Elizabeth Warren. President Barack Obama.

40. HBO.

41. Marshall Raylan Givens

raylan

42. The Goddamn Batman.

43. Axel Foley. Particularly his laugh.

44. Fender Strats and gold-top Gibson guitars.

45. Thanksgiving. It’s the greatest day of the year – you get together with the people you love, you eat so well, you express genuine gratitude for your life and there’s football. And possibly a nap. It’s perfect.

46. Photobooth pictures

photobooth

47. The Great American Roadtrip – open windows, loud music and blue skies for miles.

48. Calvin and Hobbes

c&h

49. My parents and my sister who, after twenty years, are finally Americans.

50. Americans. A vast majority of whom are kind, decent people eager to share their stories and hear yours. People who are always down to grab a bite. People who are quick to laugh. People with a sense of ingrained unabashed optimism because tomorrow is another chance.

Happy 4th of July. Be happy, be safe and remember – if you use Miracle Whip instead of mayo, you’re a jerk and the Founding Fathers hate you.

Does That Make Me Crazy Or, That Shit Cray…

I’m not really a huge fan of Someecards. I get it – they’re edgy and funny but after seeing them slapped up everywhere online, I’m just kind of over the whole thing.

But this one actually hit home:

I recently learned that more people than just Paps read this blog (sidebar: Ha ha! You have to love me because I’m your kid!) and these people actually voluntarily spend time with me.

Like, they talk to me and call me and hang out with me and sometimes, we engage in the joint quantum inhalation of carbs.

It’s pretty spectacular, actually.

I figured embracing the cray was the way to go here. Like, just get all up in there and cuddle with it.

If you still love me after reading this, I’m making you a mix CD. And some sort of delicious food item that isn’t a baked good.

Five Admissions Of Batshittery:

1. I hate having my in-betweens touched. That flesh in between your digits? Ugh. It disgusts me out to no end and I get irrational and panicky whenever anyone attempts it.

When Augs and I first started dating, he found out about this little quirk and thought it would be funny to squish the in-betweens on my feet.

My reaction was panic, tears and almost kicking him in the face.

Let me reiterate – I almost kicked the man I love in the face because he touched my foot.

Hooray for rationality.

(No, I have no idea why he loves me either. I make good cornbread. That could be it…?)

2. I want a fox as a pet. I read Fantastic Mr. Fox as a child one too many times and now, Adult Jaime thinks it would be peachy keen to have a wild canine as house pet.

This is a terrible idea for numerous reasons (the primary one being that it’s a feral dog) but every time I see one darting across the road, I think, “I could steal you and take you home and name you Nicholas and LOVE YOU FOREVER.”

Also, last time I saw a dead fox on the side of the road, I was inconsolable for a good ten minutes. Ten minutes is a really long time to fixate on roadkill, y’all.

In my defense, though? They’re really damn cute. See?

His. Little. Paws.

3. I don’t wash my face at the bathroom sink because I live in perpetual fear that I’ll look up and Michael Myers will be right behind me, staring at me in the mirror.

I am scared of being brutally murdered by a fictional psychopath.

4. I really, really, really love songs where the singer whispers lyrics. For example, when Brian Fallon whispers, “If you just do this for me” in Black Betty & The Moon by The Horrible Crowes – I just want to buy him things. Expensive things. Like goldtop Gibsons. And vintage cars.

If you want me to do something for you/want me to fall for you like a bag of hammers, whisper to me. It’s effective…unless I can’t hear you in which case, I’ll just yell “What?!” a lot, end up getting annoyed and shooting you the death glare all evening – “Asshole. What? You’re too good to enunciate, Mumbles?”

Oddly enough though, Wait (The Whisper Song) by the Ying Yang Twins scares the hell out of me.

5. I talk to myself constantly.

Constantly.

In the car (“Dude bro, a turn signal is a thing in this world”), grocery shopping (“Do I need garlic? I probably need garlic. Not too much, though because what am I gonna do with it once it starts sprouting? Can you use it once it’s sprouting?”), while watching TV (“Ugh! I hate you, Voodoo! You don’t call the plays! Coach calls the plays!”).

Once, I even scared a small child at the farmer’s market. I was muttering underneath my breath about raspberries versus blackberries when I catch him giving me a terrified look. I smiled at him and said, “Oh, I’m not crazy. I just talk to myself sometimes.”

Which is exactly what a crazy person would say.

So yeah — totes cray, right?

But – it’s the Good Crazy as opposed to the Boil-Your-Bunny Cray and I’m embracing it.

Y’all aren’t gonna be hanging out with me so much anymore, right?

Yeah. Just checking…

50 Reasons I Love America Or, Yeah, My Entire Life Consists of Ripping Off Esquire

I love Esquire Magazine. I’m not really their key demo (XX chromosome and all) but hey, good writing is good writing and it transcends gender.

They recently did a feature on the 162 Reasons It’s Great to be an American Man. I agreed with a lot of it (#2, #12, #30, #94, #122, #144) and started thinking about all the reasons I love this country.

I’m not an American (yet) but I am wholly mesmerized by this place — it’s all open roads and guitar solos and opportunity and taking disgusting gourds and turning them into delicious pies.

So, in a nod to my favorite publication and the land I love, here are 50 Reasons I Love America:

1. The First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. Shane Black writing, “The kind of house that I’ll buy if this movie is a huge hit. Chrome. Glass. Carved wood. Plus an outdoor solarium: A glass structure, like a greenhouse only there’s a big swimming pool inside. This is a really great place to have sex,” in the Lethal Weapon script.

3. Sitting at Citizens Bank Park on a warm summer afternoon with crab fries on your lap and beads of condensation from a cold Bud Light sweating all over your hand. Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight blasts through the stadium and you get excited ’cause you know that Carlos Ruiz is up to bat and you get to scream ‘CHOOCH’ at the top of your lungs without anyone thinking you’re insane/a foul-mouthed pervert.

4. The Great Gatsby.

5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live. Especially when Brother Bruce takes the pulpit.

6. The 1972-1973 Miami Dolphins, Don Shula and the Right Hand of God also known as Dan Marino.

7. Bluecoat Gin and Tonic with lots of lime.

8. The Hollywood sign, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Smurfit Stone building, the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore, the Space Needle.

9. Batman’s Rogue’s gallery.

10. Blue jeans, white t-shirts, Chuck Taylors and aviator sunglasses.

11. Southern rock, Motown soul, Appalachian bluegrass, East Coast hip-hop, Miami bass, SoCal punk, Chicago blues, zydeco and Chicano rock.

12. Barbecue smoke.

13. Reef leather flip flops

14. “If you go home with someone and they don’t have any books, don’t fuck ’em” — John Waters.

15. When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer by Whitman, Howl by Ginsberg, There’s A Bluebird In My Heart by Bukowski, For Jane by Bukowski. Barfly by Bukowski. Actually, pretty much Bukowski’s whole catalog.

16. Back To The Future

17. Lisa Vs. Malibu Stacy (The Simpsons), The Dinner Party (Seinfeld), The Constant (Lost), In Exelsis Deo (The West Wing)

18. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean at Lake Worth Beach.

19. Senator Robert Kennedy, Senator Patrick Leahy, Mayor Cory Booker, President Barack Obama

20. The implicit understanding that all sandwiches must be accompanied by some potato-based side.

21. Southern men who say ‘darlin’

22. Fender Stratocasters.

23. Hell in a Call Cage Match between The Undertaker and Mankind.

24. The iPod. Hey, you know every song that you’ll ever want to listen to ever? It fits in the back pocket of your jeans and you can listen to it whenever you want.

25. Security in the knowledge that right now, there is a diner open where the waitresses call you ‘hon’, the hash browns are crispy and the coffee is hot, bottomless and served in those thick, ceramic mugs.

26. “Hey! How are you?” – Six years ago, my sister and I were in London. We popped into Marks and Spencers to grab a bottle of water and headed to the check-out. When it was our turn, we stepped up and smiled at the cashier — “Hey! How are you?” Typical, right? Everyone does this because….well, it’s what you do. I think the cashier would have been less shocked had I pulled out a snub-nosed .38 and held up the place.

27. Joss Whedon, Bill Hicks, Tina Fey, Rob Sheffield, Matt Taibbi, Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Ken Burns, Mel Brooks, Bill Simmons, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert.

28. Primo Hoagies Veggie Diablo with bruschetta, no long hots. You can’t get a sandwich this good anywhere but America. Hell, you might not be able to get a sandwich this good anywhere but the Mid-Atlantic. It is glorious.

29. Sesame Street. If you’re under 40, this show taught you how to read, write and count. Also, if you don’t love muppets – I don’t love you.

30. “Smart girls have more fun and you’re one of them,” – Aaron Sorkin. See also: The Bartlet administration, Matt and Danny and, “I love writing but I hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says. ‘You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy, I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?’ and I really, really don’t. I don’t want any trouble. I’ll go peaceable-like.”

31. Muscle cars – all gleaming chrome and butter-soft leather.

32. Stevie Ray Vaughan. His music settles deep down in my bones and after listening to an album or two, I get angry. Like, irrationally infuriated. Stevie Ray Vaughan should not be dead. He should be an old man with graying hair and soft, crinkled smile. He should be crafting blues music so tasty, so drippingly delicious, you need a biscuit to sop it all up. But he’s not and that’s a goddamn tragedy. BUT, despite it all — the music lives. Fate is a malicious bitch goddess but even she can’t take away the music.

33. Public libraries.

34. USPS. You can send a letter from San Francisco to Brooklyn for like, $0.44. How does this not amaze more people?

35. Central Park in summer, the Philly suburbs in the fall, South Florida at Christmas.

36. Brian Fallon’s tattoos

37. Tex-Mex cuisine.

38. Carl Sagan

39. Grams — she makes you breakfast potatoes and dessert, gives you hugs and tells you she loves you.

40. Boston Terriers

41. Boston accents. Particularly Matt Damon’s in Good Will Hunting.

42. “Got to got to, na na na. Got to got to na na na” — the scatting in Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness is unmitigated joy.

43. NASA.

44. Cinnamon-flavored gum.

45. The American Brown Bear. It can swim, it can climb, it eats pretty much everything and one swipe of the paw will end your life. If the Zombie Apocalypse comes and it turns the bears, we are beyond screwed,

46. Everything Bagels

47. Food trucks.

48. The way Axl says, “Oh My God…” in the beginning of Welcome To The Jungle.

49. Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

50. Americans. A vast majority of the people I’ve met here are good people. They’re kind, warm and quick to laugh. More often than not, they’re down to grab a bite, hear your stories and share theirs. And above all, they’re hopeful. And with good reason. I mean, look at the bedrock of their nation — believe in whatever you wish, speak your mind and if you don’t like the way things are going – you have the power to change it and make it better.

There’s a lot wrong in America and to believe otherwise is delusional and does a massive disservice to the nation. However, the spirit of America is indomitable. Americans believe in the prospect of a brighter, better tomorrow and from what I’ve seen, they want to work towards that reality. I know I quote it all the time, but when it comes to America, Fitzgerald said it best — “Tomorrow, we will stretch out our arms farther, run faster and one fine day….”

The End Is Extremely Effing Nigh Or, No. Not At All, Dudes. Not. At. All.

Two weeks ago at work, I got this odd little envelope in the mail – No point of contact and the return address was the same as the mailing address (despite the fact that the postmark indicated it had been mailed in a city over 40 miles away).

So, I open it up.

(If real life was anything like the movies, I’d be the moron who dies in the cold open thus launching the Jack Bauer-esque antics to follow).

Good news – it’s not anthrax.
Bad news – it’s even more annoying than a neurotoxin.

It’s a business card proclaiming the END IS NIGH from some batshit organization that’s batting about .0000 in the prophecy department. About fifteen years ago, they predicted the second coming of Christ and to the surprise of pretty much no-one, they were wrong.

However, if it turns out that these screwballs are right and the world really is ending on Saturday, I am going to be super pissed for the following reasons:

– Totally screws up my vacation plans. How’s a girl supposed to dip her toes in the Pacific if it doesn’t exist anymore?
– I won’t get to see Hermione finally kiss Ron. Come on, nerds. You know you’ve been waiting for it as well.
– Football won’t finally coming home to England in 2014 (shut up, McGillis. It could happen)
– I won’t get to spend quality time with my sister eating Primo Hoagies and Capogiro gelato, crafting and watching truly terrible reality television.
– And speaking of reality television, I won’t get to see Adam kicked off the new Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I’m calling it now. His antics might fly with Nany, but CT will straight up house the dude.
– I’m pretty sure Rob Sheffield has another book in him.
– I won’t get to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in concert again. It’s the closest I’ve ever felt to spiritual, so I figure it’s important that I see them again. For the sake of my eternal soul.
– I haven’t eaten fried avocado tacos in Austin, Texas yet.
Cabin in Woods will never, ever be released. For really real this time.

So, fingers crossed the world doesn’t end on Saturday. But if it does – heathen afterparty at my house? You bring the chips, I’ll make the salsa?

I Used To Be With It But Then They Changed What It Was Or, Yeah, I Don’t Get That…

Things I Don’t Get:

– Wearing leggings as pants. Dudes, leggings are not pants. If they were, they’d be called pants.
– Why people think Michele Bachman is a viable presidential candidate.
– Yogurt. It has zero textural integrity, often tastes like artificial fruit and it never fills you up. You eat a pot of the stuff and then five minutes later, you’re ravenous again. Yogurt is stupid unless featured in Eight Layer Mediterranean Dip.

– SillyBandz. Note the look of utter confusion on my face as my sister tries to show me what is supposed to be a bird of some sort. Why is this a thing? Why do children treasure/hoard these things? The only person who looked good in jelly bracelets was Madonna circa 1985.
– Charlie Sheen’s popularity. Why are we rewarding an abusive, egomaniacal douche? This is why we can’t have nice things, America. Because we’re a nation that hangs on Charlie Sheen’s every word but would rather drive a Phillips Head Screwdriver in our eyeball before listening to a physicist or oceanographer.
– Why Dramarama wasn’t huge in the 80s.
– Why Jennifer Aniston keeps making crappy rom-coms, the appeal of Megan Fox and why there are magazine covers dedicated to the poor decision-makers of Teen Mom.