Every Word Handwritten Or, Pull It Out, Turn It Up, What’s Your Favorite Song?

I have this really great knack for making friends with people who love music.

Like, really LOVE it without being pretentious Barry-esque chowderheads.

Barry is judging you. With his eyes.

Barry is judging you. With his eyes.

A couple of days go, Dana texted me with lyrics to Prince’s Raspberry Beret. Let’s be honest here – ain’t nobody gonna love you more than the person who texts you Prince lyrics. True love is Fountain Diet Cokes, Prince lyrics and shoulder kisses and if anyone tells you otherwise — they’re lying.

A friend and I have been having this ongoing conversation about the generational shift in listening to music. My boy is a little older than I am so he grew up in the album era where you let your tape rock til your tape popped whereas I was an album girl for a hot minute when I still bought CDs but made the smooth transition over to individual songs via mp3 and haven’t really looked back since.

Lately, I’ve come to a realization. Listening to individual songs is like reading favored quotes from a novel. They sound good but you’re not seeing the whole picture.

“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

It’s beautiful, right? A great love story – lush, poetic and effulgent with hope but unless you read the entire text, you have no way of knowing that this gorgeous scrawl is actually about how the very hope that sustains a man will eventually destroy him (unless you’re a real cynic who thinks all stories about pretty girls end in heartbreak).

That being the case, I’m coming back around to listening to entire albums straight through. And that has a lot to do with Spotify and The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten.

Spotify is like being best friends with a really good DJ who doesn’t try to make you listen to shit you don’t care about and Handwritten? It might just be a perfect album.

It is a labor of love – every word handwritten. Every track painstakingly handpicked. These songs have this incredible ability to make me nostalgic for my own life. I’ve never been down to Biloxi Parish or driven on Mulholland Drive, but I get it.

The sentiment is universal and listening to the record, your nostalgia kicks up like dust swirling in a summer breeze.

My favorite thing about this record is how I don’t have a favorite thing.

However, I play this game where I try to choose and much like picking your favorite sandwich, it’s an exercise in futility (Go ahead. Try to pick your favorite sandwich. You can’t do it, can you?) as well as a testament to Brian Fallon’s skills as a songwriter:

I love the cadence of the chorus in Howl – “From your hips on down like elec-tric through the ground.”
It’s the Van Morrison-esque Oh-Sha-La-La sweetness in Here Comes My Man.
Biloxi Parish. Totally Biloxi Parish because he’s right – nothing truly matters that you cannot find for free.
I take that back.
Desire has that great line about giving anything for the touch of your skin and the song is damp with longing. Like, the same kind of longing that Bruce sang about in I’m On Fire.
Oh and God, Mae! Because it’s rooted so deeply in Thunder Road and damn if it ain’t pretty…

I’ve always had a space for this album inside me. I just didn’t know it until I heard it and I’m so glad I did.

Having heard it, I feel a little more complete and isn’t that the whole point? To find missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle until you’re whole?

All My Life I’ve Looked at Words as Though I Were Seeing Them for the First Time Or, Smart Girls Have More Fun

This is Max from Happy Endings (a show you should be watching).


In the winter, Max basically hibernates to the point where he takes on the characteristics of the most frightening mammal in the animal kingdom – a bear.

Yesterday, my sister texted me to tell me that The West Wing is now on Netflix.

That being the case, I’m basically pulling a Max and spending the rest of this winter underneath the covers with the Bartlet Administration (my beard will probably be a little thicker, though…)

I love The West Wing for all sorts of reasons – the walk-and-talks, the fact that the show’s politics align pretty closely to mine, the staggering crush I have on Bradley Whitford/Josh Lyman (yes, I realize he’s 53 and that’s a little weird but watch this and tell me he’s not the coolest guy ever) as well as the rest of the cast who are pitch-perfect, but the primary reason I love this show with a fierce and intractable passion is because I love words and Aaron Sorkin writes some solid fucking oratory.

My own vernacular is wet garbage during a heatwave. Peppered with ‘ums’ and ‘uhhhhs’ and ‘dudes’ and ‘bros’ and just barely cogent asshattery that makes people wonder, “You grew up in England? Where they speak English?”

But Sorkin (and by extension, his characters) speak with the kind of bluster and bombast that no-one uses in real life.

When was the last time you heard someone quote Lincoln’s first inaugural address as trash talk during a basketball game or curse out his creator in Latin?

I’m guessing never because why would you bother with oratory when you can just hiss the word, ‘asshole’ and call it a day, right?

One of my 30 Before 30 Goals was to read Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories (so far, I’ve purchased a cheap copy of the bard’s collected works and I’ve read Hamlet).

I chose this lofty goal because I call myself a writer (which is akin to someone who subsists on a diet of instant noodles referring to themselves as a chef) and I feel as a writer, I’m obligated to be familiar with his works. Actually, I feel as a human being, I’m obligated to be familiar with his major works. Another reason I decided to do this is because I felt reading Shakespeare would give me a better insight into the human condition because let’s face it, he kinda covered the entire spectrum of humanity in his work – jealousy, lust, love, passion, madness, anger, ambition, greed, life and death.

But mostly, I wanted to read all of Shakespeare’s works because I watched CJ Cregg effortlessly quote Julius Caesar and the eloquence of that moment floored me.

I want to be that erudite and well-spoken. I want to be that well-versed in literature and most of all, I wanna be smart because as Aaron Sorkin told his daughter when he won the Oscar for The Social Network – smart girls have more fun and honey, you’re one of them.

Bitch Bad, Woman Good, Lady Better Or, Hip Hop Heteronyms

I can rhyme every word of Juicy by Biggie, I took a hip hop class in college where I wrote papers about the Geto Boys’ Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta and the whitewashing of hip hop culture and I can, have and will continue to get into raging arguments who can truly be considered the G.O.A.T. (Hov’ obv’)

Despite this, I don’t consider myself a hip hop head.

Mostly because the hip hop I listen to is equal parts party and bullshit and party and bullshit.

I know that hip hop can be lush and poetic. Lyrical, gritty, eloquent, intellectual and socially-conscious. As someone who loves words, I should devour this stuff. Gorging myself with a half-mad ferocity but for reasons utterly unknown, I don’t.

Instead, I shimmy shimmy ya and gleefully boast that I see some ladies tonight that should be havin’ my baby, baby…

Luckily, I have a litany of people in my life far more plugged in than I am and who have no problem dropping some knowledge.

A couple of months ago, Biffle sent me this video:

I didn’t know much about Lupe Fiasco other than I really liked the track he did with Jill Scott (Daydreamin‘) and The Show Goes On – a gem that based on a Modest Mouse sample but after one listen, I was hooked.

Bitch Bad is a pretty interesting commentary on misogyny in hip hop culture and the double-edged duality of the word ‘bitch.’

(Tangential aside: I Googled ‘Most Misogynistic…’ and it immediately auto-completed to ‘rap songs’ which I feel is slightly unfair.

Yes, the Ying Yang Twinz says some really shitty things about women but you know what, dudes? So does Mick Jagger.

And as utterly repugnant as the words to The Whisper Song are, Under My Thumb is so much worse.

I love the song. I really do. I think it is a great piece of music and when it comes on, I turn it up loud but the lyrics terrify me.

“It’s down to me, oh that’s what I said /The way she talks when she’s spoken to/Down to me/A change has come/She’s under my thumb,”

Kaine and D-Roc are practically vibrating with testosterone-fueled bullshit braggadocio. But Jagger? He genuinely seems to abhor the woman in his life. That is real misogyny, not some pissing contest between two clamheads)

There’s a school of thought that reclaiming a negative word abjures it of its power, thereby empowering the formerly disenfranchised. The grande dames of hip hop like Missy, Nicki and Queen Bitch herself, Lil’ Kim brandish this word like a flaming sword.

Oh, you think I’m a bitch?
No, no, no, honey.
I’m the bitch.
The meanest, the prettiest, the baddest mofo lowdown around this town.

And there’s the other razor-edge of the scimitar.

Where a bitch isn’t all She-Ra powerful and in total control of herself but rather a conniving harridan who betta’ have your money or a gyrating, semi-naked piece of bubblegum – delicious and disposable.

So, which one is it? The latter? The former?

Personally, I believe it’s both. Words are malleable and intensely personal. A revolutionary can be a freedom fighter or a terrorist depending on which side of the line you’re standing on just as a bitch can be a zenith to which a woman should aspire to or a nadir to which she can sink.

I’m not a fan of the word ‘bitch.’ I never have been. I just feel there are better ways to extol your bad-assery than repossessing venom and spitting it back out with equal rancor. There are just too many good words out there to merely settle on an arrow shot in your direction

And despite never being mistaken for a lady or ever being called a woman (‘Muppet-esque baby child’ is much closer to the truth), I’m with Fiasco on this one: bitch bad, woman good, lady better, but my name is probably best.

Or if you wanna be real sweet, call me honey. Seriously. It’s ridiculous how far that’ll get you.

I’ve Got A Feeling I Can’t Hide Or, I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster

The Hulk is always angry and he keeps it in check for the good of humanity.

I’m kinda like The Hulk.

Instead of being bad-ass, green and angry all the time, I’m smart-ass, tan and I feel all the feelings all the time.

And for the good of humanity, I tamp that down as much as possible.

Because feelings are gross.

They’re messy, make you vulnerable and sometimes, they result in tears and dudes, ain’t no-one uglier than me when I cry. Puffy eyes, snotty nose, pouty face and general disarray. It’s spectacularly grotesque.

However, there are times when it is acceptable to be feelingsy.

Here are five of them:

While listening to Fix You by Coldplay

Chris Martin wrote this song for Gwyneth Paltrow after her father died (haters, back and to the left, to the left. My girl gp is awesome, Goop rules and you know this).

The lyrics are so earnest — “And I will try to fix you…”

He might not be able to and he’s not saying everything little thing’s gonna be alright, but he’s going to try and honestly, you really can’t ask a man to do more than that.

When this song goes electric, I swear it feels like all the hope in my body rushes to the surface and buoys me amidst a flood of inevitable tears.

When encountering cute animals

Like Fitz:

The ASPCA knows what’s up. They know that those commercials with the sad-eyed puppies and kittens will destroy your soul and get you to cough up cash.

Also acceptable, baby-talking to them and saying things that sound utterly insane out of context. Like when I tell dogs that they are so cute, I want to eat their faces.

And on that note, it is totes acceptable to get all feelingsy…

When watching certain movies

Because if you didn’t break during the first ten minutes of Up, if you didn’t sob for days when Dobby died and if the words, ‘He can’t see without his glasses’ don’t form a lump the size of a beehive in your throat, you’re probably an automaton like Mitt Romney.

While watching anything about sisters

Because my sister is better than you. I get to see her in a couple of weeks and we are gonna eat all of the pizza. All of it.

While eating really good food

Look, I’m the girl who routinely tells sandwiches she loves them. Getting feelingsy over good food is not only acceptable but kinda necessary if we’re going to be friends.

A couple of years ago, I went out to dinner with Dana and I ate a cheddar so sharp, it was rife with calcium lactate crystals and eating it felt like the world’s most wonderful kick to the throat.

I literally had to stop and remind myself to breathe because Oh My God, it was glorious.

Then, I drizzled it with honey and ate some more.

And everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

So, feelings? Kinda gross. But good food, good people, good music, good movies and good dogs?

Kind of amazing and worth every single moment.

* The Hulk and I are also similar because we’re both punchy.


Six Songs Of Me Or, Dude. You Need To Chill With The Parentheses

A few days ago, I came across this – an NPR article about music with information culled from The Guardian which features a link to a Spotify playlist.

As a result, I have a painful bruise on my knee (I got excited and smashed my knees into my desk. It wasn’t cute) and a mind that will not stop effervescing about this topic.

(Yes. I’m that girl. I also get excited about the feta-mint quinoa salad at Whole Foods, handmade jewelry and fonts. Come at me, bro).

My life is defined by music – I listen to it constantly, I write about it, I read about it, I talk about it and say remarkably insulting things when I disagree with people in regards to music. I’m a musical moron twin.

Music is the foundation on which I have built my existence. The one thing I have always loved. The one thing I will always love. The one thing that makes me believe in the concept of the human soul.

So obviously, I’ve been fizzing and ruminating about the Six Songs of Me Project.

My Six Songs can be found here (you should do this too! And then send me the link so we can talk about it!) but as usual, I felt the need to elucidate:

First Song You Bought

I cannot really remember the first song I bought.
Does anyone remember the first song they bought?

I’m old, dudes.

I didn’t spend my formative years buying songs at $0.99 a pop. We bought vinyl, tapes and CDs. We raced home, furiously peeled off that thin layer of plastic, popped the CD into the stereo and then spent the next hour poring over the booklet and trying to memorize the lyrics.

Alright, I’m gonna stop yelling at clouds now.

For the sake of this project, I’m going to say the first song I bought was One Headlight by the Wallflowers because Bringing Down The Horse was the first tape I bought and I’m sure that song had a lot to do with it.

Gets You Dancing

Despite being terrifyingly bad at it, I love to dance. I’m the first girl at the wedding to take off her heels and shimmy around the dance floor, splashing her G&T all over the place.

70s funk and soul makes me want to dance – Wilson Pickett, The Commodores and Earth, Wind and Fire.

Latin-inflected rhythms make me want to dance – Pitbull (shut up. I’m from South Florida), Proyecto Uno and Shakira.

Buoyant pop music makes me want to dance – Madonna, Prince, The Go-Gos, Justin and Gaga

But the one song that I cannot resist, the one song that fills me with unmitigated joy is I Want You Back by The Jackson 5. I literally cannot sit still after hearing that slip-n-slide tickle of the ivories and that irrepressibly funky bassline. I will shimmy in my seat, I will drag your ass out onto the dancefloor and I will do so with the sunniest smile on my face.

Takes You Back

Because Paps is a bad-ass, he let my sister and I watch all sorts of awesome albeit inappropriate movies when we were children – Commando, Robocop and my personal favorite – Beverly Hills Cop.

We loved it so much, we had the soundtrack – a delicious piece of vinyl encased in white cardboard with Axel Foley on the cover- and that was the first record I learned to put on the record player – “Gently, Jemmy! Now drop the needle carefully….”

Whenever I hear the opening of Glenn Frey’s The Heat is On, it takes me back to when I was kid – dancing with Paps in the living room and playing ‘thumb saxophone’ (two shaka signs joined together pinkie to thumb).

Great movie. Great song. Great memory.

Perfect Love Song

I’m obviously going to pick Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones. BUT, I am blogging the shit out of my top ten love songs in a bit.

Your Funeral Song

I’ve been working on my own obit for the past couple of years.

I’m fine and don’t have any plans to die anytime soon but I figure if I’m going to die — I want to be the one eulogizing.

This way, I’m guaranteed of a eulogy devoid of sentimental pablum and references to the afterlife.

That being said, I’ve put some serious thought into the song I want played at my funeral.

Ain’t No Sunshine by Freddie King is a great song but seriously? Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone and she being me kinda makes me sound like an asshole…but who cares? I’m dead. And the one nice thing about being dead? People are all about blowing sunshine.

Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison is another contender because I think Van Morrison should be played at all major life events – weddings, funerals, births, graduations, divorces – but the whole, ‘she’a an angel’ refrain? Yeah. Not so much.

After much deliberation, I think La Cienega Just Smiled by Ryan Adams would be a good song to play at my funeral. It’s a pretty piece of music and it features a lyric that I figure would be apropos in the event of my death:

How’d I end up feeling so bad/For such a little girl?

I figure you feel bad because I’m deader than Lindsay Lohan’s career and we didn’t hang out as much as we could have. It’s cool, dude, but if you still feel bad — give someone a really good hug today. Like, hold them tight and breathe them in and don’t say a word. Just let the hug tell them how much you love them. Oh and eat the shit out of something delicious that you know I would have loved. Like huevos rancheros with avocado and chipotle hot sauce.

The Encore – The One Last Song That Makes You You

This one was tough because I’m torn between two very disparate songs. In the red corner, we’ve got Into The Groove by Madonna – a song I’ve been shimmying and bopping to since childhood. A song I’m shimmying and bopping to right now as I type this sentence. If music can be reminiscent of personality (and I believe it can), I think this is what my personality sounds like – fizzy and kinetic. Seriously dude — you can dance! For inspiration! Come on!

And in the blue corner, we have Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen. A song that hits me where I live – right there on the sleeve where I wear my heart. It’s the chorus that gets me — “Everything dies/Baby, that’s a fact/But maybe everything that dies/Someday comes back/Put your make-up on/Fix your hair up pretty/And meet me tonight in Atlantic City.”

I believe in second chances and that hope dies last.

I don’t believe in much but I do believe in the promise of a better tomorrow so for that reason, the song named after an overpriced shithole by the sea is what I chose for my encore. To best represent the person I am and the person I want to be.

And really, when you pick Springsteen to best represent who you are – you’re doing something right.

As a Symbol, I Can Be Incorruptible. I Can Be Everlasting Or, I Am Entirely Too Stoked About The Dark Knight Rises

Dinner and a movie.

It’s a standard and at this point, probably a little staid. However, it’s a date that I would never turn down.

Because this guy right here?

Best guy in the world to watch movies with. He gets there early, he finds the perfect seats and he stays until the houselights come up. Oh and he shares his popcorn (even though I hate movie theater popcorn. It’s awful. It has that terrible chemical aftertaste and the consistency is like styrofoam. Stove-popped or bust, dudes. With brown sugar, salt and cayenne pepper)

After the holidays, we’re planning to see see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

I’m looking forward to the movie – the Mission Impossible franchise is an entertaining way to spend two hours and you know, Sawyer BUT more than that — I’m really excited to see the eight minute prologue to The Dark Knight Rises.

Augs is telling me to keep my expectations in check, but I’ve been looking forward to this movie since the last shot of The Dark Knight.

Before Nolan came along, screen adaptations of Batman were essentially a joke (of course, we’re discounting Batman: The Animated Series which is just excellent) .

The 1966 television series was campier than the annual Boy Scout Jambaroo and subsequent iterations of the movie were just….no (Look, I’m not denying Nicholson and Pfieffer were amazing as The Joker and Catwoman but there’s no way you can say Burton’s movies were better than Nolan’s. They have their place but they’re not better. Also, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin never happened).

Batman Begins changed all that – Batman’s genesis was fully fleshed out. A skittish little boy witnesses his parents murdered in cold blood and something inside of him snaps. He embraces the dark in hopes of preserving the light.

Then a couple of years later, Nolan follows up a truly excellent character study with a gritty, dark and intense crime drama disguised as a comic book movie – The Dark Knight.

It’s a movie of countless perfect moments but my five favorite things about it (I’m from the Championship Vinyl school and live my life in lists)

– The IMAX sequences. They speak for themselves and if you haven’t seen the film in IMAX the way God and Nolan intended, well — I pity you.
– Ledger’s sublime performance as The Joker. It’s the second best Joker of all time behind Mark Hamill.
– The practical effect that features the upending of a full-sized truck. We live in a world where directors seem to be increasingly reliant on computer wizardry to make movie magic. The fact that Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister kicked it old school and actually flipped this big bastard? Highly impressive.
– It features a cameo by Senator Patrick Leahy (let me crack an egg of knowledge about Senator Leahy — if he ran for President, I would gladly volunteer for the campaign. The man shares a lot of the same ideologies that I do and he’s kind of a bad-ass. In addition to a cameo role in The Dark Knight, Senator Leahy did voice work for Batman: The Animated Series, wrote the foreword to The Dark Knight Archives and once, Dick Cheney told Senator Leahy to fuck himself)
– The score. Hans Zimmer is responsible for some of my favorite music ever created (Beach Song – True Romance) and in The Dark Knight, he winds nickel strings tighter and tighter until your nerves ache. Perfect mood music.

Watching The Dark Knight made me a little nervous.

“This is a good movie. This is a really good movie. I don’t understand how Nolan is going to top this.”

And then, I saw Inception and decided that from now on, I should just keep calm and have faith in Christopher Nolan.

I have this theory (now’s a good time to pop a beta blocker, nerds) about The Dark Knight Rises. If you’re not familiar with Batman canon, this might be construed as a spoiler, so heads up.

Bane’s biggest claim to fame is that he’s the dude who broke the bat, right? As in took Batman, lifted him high, broke his back and left our hero a paraplegic.

Batman may be a bad-ass but you can’t really fight crime in Gotham when you’re confined to a wheelchair, so the world needed a new Dark Knight. Cue Azarael – a man hand-picked by our boy Bats to replace him as the Caped Crusader.

No, Not him.


(Straight ladies and gay men – I know. I KNOW)

You get a great actor like Joseph Gordon Levitt and you pop him in a seemingly inconsequential role as Commissioner’s Gordon’s underling. Yeah, no. Something’s rotten in Gotham.

So, here’s what I’m thinking — the movie ends with Bane breaking the Bat and Gotham getting the hero it deserves. A silent guardian. A watchful protector. A new Dark Knight.

Now, I open the floor for mockery, threats and general displeasure from the nerd community.

I Wrote A Song For You And All The Things That You Do Or, Being A Muse Might Just Be Overrated

If a genie popped out of a lamp and offered 17-year-old me a single wish, odds are I would have wished for a cute musician to write a song about me.

Yeah, 17-Year-Old Jaime was an idiot.

(Seriously, 17-year-old me? Seriously? You couldn’t have wished for hair that you never have to flat-iron? Or a basic understanding of mathematics? Or guitar virtuosity so you could write a song about your own damn self?)

A decade later, I’ve realized that being immortalized in song ain’t no great shakes.

Songs named after women usually fall into two categories:

A) God-awful sentimental pap
B) Bitch broke my heart and now, I’m putting her on blast.

(Yes, there is a sub category for songs named after children – Annabella’s Song by Art Alexakis, Flowers for Zoe by Lenny Kravitz, Jessica by The Allman Brothers Band – but that is a blog post for another time)

Obviously, Category A has some exceptions – Rosalita by Bruce Springsteen, Lenny by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Josie by Blink 182 (shut up – I like it) – but odds are that if some dude is writing a song and using a girl’s name as the title, it’s either going to be an eviscerating invective or cloying crap.

There are countless examples, but I’ve chosen to highlight three of each.

Three Bad Songs About Good Women

Beth by KISS — At the risk of offending an army of grown men in black and white facepaint, Beth sucks. It’s not a song so much as it is a voicemail to Glam Rock’s Penelope:

“Hey Beth! It’s me! Yeah, I’m out playing with the boys and won’t be home.  Oh, what? You miss me? You’re lonely? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yeah. Me too babe. What…? Yeah, I gotta go! There’s like, six trampy groupies in the back of the bus and Gene can’t possibly take on all of them…I hope. Love…holy shit, Ace! What are you doing? Dude….Babe, I gotta go! (Click).”

Sara Smile by Hall and Oates — I would rather eat my own fist than listen to this trite pablum ever again. It’s so bad, dudes. Like, so bad even the Oatestache can’t save it. I can’t even type out the lyrics because they’re so vacuous. Trust me — it’s awful. If you are dating a girl named Sara and you put this on a mix for her, she has every right to punch you in the solar plexus, sleep with your best friend and take a baseball bat to your PlayStation.

Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond — It’s fun. I get it. You get hammered and you sing/shout the lyrics at the top of your voice. But if your name is Caroline, you’ve experienced at least one douchebag ex trying to get into your good graces by singing this song. And it never works, right? Why? Because barking, “So good! So good!” and getting handsy with a girl while singing, “Touching you, touching me” is not, never was and never will be an appealing quality.

However, songs about the eponymous woman who done did you wrong? Good, if not great. Anger and bitterness make for good writing. Look at Bukowski — that guy was perpetually pissed off.

Three Good Songs About Bad Women

Billie Jean by Michael Jackson — Billie Jean is a liar who busts out with some Maury shit by slapping MJ with a false paternity suit.  But the song is amazing. In addition to that skittering, irrepressibly funky bassline, Billie Jean also features one of my favorite lyrics in the history of music — “Be careful what you do when a lie becomes the truth.” Bold statement about a bold statement and ain’t it the truth?

Roxanne by The Police — Our boy Sting falls for a hooker and to some, that could be considered hot. It’s all illicit and sexy….until the poor sap realizes that she’d rather purrohnnn a red laiiii than spend a night cuddling on the couch, watching Law and Order reruns. Our girl Roxy knows she doesn’t have to sell her body to the night. She wants to. Also, bonus points for the reinterpretation of the track featured in Moulin Rouge. Because I am all about the musical blasphemy, I’m gonna come right out and say it. I prefer that version. What? I like the melodrama and the lead’s anguished growl.

Layla by Derek and the Dominos — This is the anthem for every poor bastard stuck in Unrequited Hell. Read: everyone ever at one point or another. Layla is the unequivocal la belle dame sans merci and best of all, she’s real. For those who didn’t spent entirely too much of your adolescence holed up in your bedroom, poring over rock biographies, let me crack an egg of wisdom here:

Eric Clapton and George Harrison of the Beatles were close friends. Clapton falls in love with Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd and this song is born out of that torment. Eventually, Clapton and Boyd got together and he wrote the glurgey wedding staple Wonderful Tonight about her. They divorced in 1989 due to infidelity on both parts and Boyd will forever be known as the woman who inspired Layla, Wonderful Tonight and Harrison’s sublime Something. Looking at her, it’s not hard to see why these men were so enraptured.

Yeah. She’s the number one stunner.

Anyway, back to the song. You beg, you plead, she gets you on your knees and it still isn’t enough. Every night, she goes home to someone else and your heart feels like a cigarette butt being crushed into the pavement.

So, the question remains — what would you rather have? A crappy song singing your praises or a really good one condemning your very existence?

Seventeen-year-old Jaime would take the ego boost, but as we mentioned before — she’s a dummy.

Older, smarter Jaime (with the cuter hair) would take the vitriolic hit.

See, OSWTCH Jaime has a much better sense of self and understands that sweet nothings are a dime a dozen. Seriously, ladies. Walk into any bar in America wearing a pair of heels and a little mascara. Order a drink and within half an hour, some random dude will approach you to blow sunshine.

A passionate song, however? That’s a rarity. And I’m much rather claim culpability for a piece of great (albeit character assassinating) music than a track that’s going to lead to eye-rolling and the rapid-fire gulping of alcohol at weddings.

But hey, if Dave Grohl or Brian Fallon wanna whip out their pens and write a diabetic-coma inducing ditty about me, I’m OK with that and it’s spelled J-A-I-M-E.

I before M, guys.

Oh, what? I am large. I contain multitudes….as well as laminated list crushes on both men.

MTV Killed The Video Star Or, Thoughts on the 2011 MTV VMAs

There is no better way to feel like a decrepit relic from a forgotten era than watching the Video Music Awards. For some utterly preposterous reason beyond the limits of my understanding, MTV insists on holding this annual event despite the fact that they haven’t shown a music video since 1996.

Like with most things in my life, I’m pulling a straight-up Murtaugh – I’m too old for this shit.

But I’m a mouthy dame and a pop culture addict, so here are my thoughts on the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards:

– Gaga spent the entire night channeling Andrew Dice Clay as her alter ego, Jo Calderone – a man burned by the white-hot flame that is Lady Gaga.

She performed You and I with Brian May (much to the delight of Dave Grohl — the only man in the audience who knew who Brian May was) and made some high school drama club audition speech about how the only honesty exhibited is during orgasm. It seemed really familiar, so I Googled it. Pretty sure I’m on some pervert watchlist now. Thanks, Gagaloo!

– Foo Fighters won for Best Rock Video for Walk. In other news — I want to be Dave Grohl’s girlfriend.

– Adele killed it, surprising no-one because holy damn — that girl’s got some pipes.

– Jay Z and Kanye performed Otis from their epic album, Watch The Throne. I’ve gone back and forth on both this track and album, but after spending all weekend listening to it — I dig it.  And hey, anything that exposes a new generation to the sweet soul of Otis Redding is definitely a good thing.

– Then, this happened:

Prompting the following exchange between me and Augs:

Sorry family, but Augs and I will not be having any adorable little biracial babies anytime soon. But when we do, we’re probably going to reveal it just like Bey and Jay did. ‘Cause that’s how we roll (No. Not at all).

– Someone needs to go Chris Brown all over Chris Brown. Not only does the homophobic douchebag beat women, but he also seeks redemption by donning all white, flying around on wires and performing a truly atrocious medley of 3x, Beautiful People, Protect Ya Neck by Wu Tang and Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Listen up, C.Breezy – you’re a bad person and you can prance around like an angel all you want but at the end of the day – you’re a subhuman piece of shit who beats women. Also, Kurt Cobain hates you for interpolating his work.

– Britney was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award with little fanfare. Kind of surprising considering how much mileage MTV has gotten out of Spears.

– The Jersey Shore girls came out with Cloris Leachman. Deena looked like Prostitute Rainbow Brite and Leachman said she’s DTF. Oh dear God. This woman worked with Mel Brooks! She’s so far above this asshattery.

– Bruno Mars performed a surprisingly good tribute to the late Amy Winehouse. I know Valerie was originally by The Zutons, but Winehouse owned this track in the same way Tina Turner owns Proud Mary by CCR.

– If Toys R Us became a sentient being and took a shitload of acid, it would probably look like Nicki Minaj:

I give up, dudes. I have no idea what the what is going on here.

– And speaking of things that befuddle me beyond all human comprehension – Lil’ Wayne’s performance. I’m sure that in person, it’s electrifying but when you have to contend with the FCC and approximately 45% of the track is bleeped out, it sucks and Weezy just looks like a kid who spit out his Ritalin, pulled down his pants and decided to smash a guitar (not cool, bro. You’re not Pete or Jimi).

All in all, the show was what it has been since I turned 22 — a stark reminder that I am older and less cooler than ever.

But I’m OK with that.

I’d much rather listen to the Stones and drink a G&T than groove to Tyler The Creator and slam Four Loko Bomb any day.

I Would Have Drownded Pacey In That Creek Or, Don’t Come Between A Man and His Sandwich

I saw James Vanderbeek in an Italian market last weekend

My friend looked over and asked, “Isn’t that the guy from Dawson’s Creek?” and immediately, my head whipped around. Yup. It was him — buying a sandwich and getting the typically surly service associated with old-school South Philly guys who don’t give a shit – “Rye bread?! NO! It comes on a hoagie roll!”

Growing up, I was Team Dawson through and through. Yes, Pacey was quippy with the grand romantic gestures and the hipster lite wardrobe but Dawson would watch movies in bed with you, engage you in passionate, articulate conversations and probably make you pancakes too.

16-year-old Jaime was all about that.

Hell, 28-year-old Jaime is all about that.

Filled with pluck (and by pluck, I mean the interminably strong Pimms Cup I had with brunch), I decided I wanted to say hi, so I marched on over, waiting in line behind him and when in the surly sandwich maker asked what I wanted, I mumbled something about beet salad and slunk away.

Yes, I chickened out, but with good reason.

While waiting in line, I realized that by interjecting myself into the situation — I’d be coming between a man and his sandwich.

Do you know what I would do if someone came between me and my sandwich? Particularly an Italian Market sandwich?

Buildings would be razed! Throats would be punched! By the time I was finished, that place would look like Nero’s Rome.

What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

As we were leaving, we were clustered in a narrow part of the store. Everyone around us jostled and shoved wordlessly but Vanderbeek politely said, “Excuse me” and walked on by. Nice guy.

Oh and for the record, I would have been polite had I been gutsy enough to speak with him – “Excuse me, sir? I just wanted to say I’m a fan of your work. You were great in Rules of Attraction and I really liked your cameo on Franklin and Bash a few weeks ago. Thanks!”

The Silent Brotherhood of Pro-Wrestling Fans Or, And There Goes Everyone Who Ever Read My Blog….

Wrestling fans come in two stripes:

1. The obvious Hillbilly Jims who buy the merch, attend the shows and firmly advocate the ‘it’s still real to me, damn it’ position. These knuckleheads can be found throughout the country and basically exist to reinforce the notion that some people should be sterilized in high school for the good of all humanity.

2. The Silent Brotherhood. They’re smart, they’re well-informed, they know their history and they’re totally inconspicuous.

That cute girl you dated last year? She’s a member.
The nebbish accountant who files your tax return? Him too.
Hot gay bartender who makes the best mojitos this side of Havana? Oh yeah. Big time.
Your history professor? In like Flynn.
Your mom? Ever since the days of Ricky the Steamboat, son.

The brotherhood functions like a speakeasy — you gotta know the right people and right password or you’ll be left out in the cold.

You know who you are.
I know who you are.
You know how I know you know who you are?

Because I know that you know that Virgil was the greatest wrestler of all time. He has the technical prowess of Bret Hart, the mic skills of Mr. Perfect and a gimmick as enduring as The Undertaker’s.

Of course, if you’re one of the Silent Brotherhood, you haven’t read a word of this. You’re still stuck on the last paragraph, red-faced and sputtering the fact that I named such a sub-par jobber as the greatest of all time.


I started watching pro-wrestling as a kid. It was essentially a living cartoon – mustache-twirling Heels, freshly scrubbed Faces and the kind of animated violence that would make Wile E. Coyote wince. I stopped watching once I moved to the States, but picked it up again in college when I realized that both Biffle and McGillis were part of the same secret society.

We’d spend one Sunday every month at Winghouse, drinking beer and yelling like spectators at the Coliseum.

Yeah, I didn’t date a whole lot in college. Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses hang out with two big (albeit very cute), drunk dudes who spend their night screaming for blood.

You can tell this is an old picture because I still have dark brown hair.

Now that I’m a grown-up with sensible shoes and a 403b, I no longer frequent wing joints to watch Pay-Per-View specials. BUT, the world of pro-wrestling still fascinates me.

It’s less the spectacle and more the ethos behind it.

It amazes me that so many are willing to dedicate themselves to it. They spend days on the road getting the shit beaten out of them (you can crow that it’s not real all you want, but smashing face-first into a canvas hurts. Whipping against the ropes and colliding with a turnbuckle? It’s painful. The Vertebreaker might not actually snap your spine, but dude, come on. It doesn’t feel like a massage) and for what?

The roar of the crowd and a jank-ass belt.

Is it really worth it?

As a general rule, wrestlers lead Hobbesian lives — nasty,brutish and short — and every year, the list of dead wrestlers gets longer and longer.

Since a majority of these deaths are due to drug abuse, the WWE finally launched a program to offer rehab assistance to any former talent in need. It’s an big gesture and undoubtedly an important one, but in all honesty, this is the equivalent of closing the stable door about thirty years after the horse bolted. At this point, Trigger’s been ground up for dog food and the dog who ate him has been dead for the past fifteen years.

And yet, young men come in droves. They know the life-span is short. They know the path is dangerous. Hell, they know there’s no union to stand up for their rights, but no matter. Theirs is a compulsion, An almost masochistic desire to bleed all over the canvas, pulverize the flesh and drive out whatever demons haunt them through brutal exorcism.

In The Godfather III, Michael Corleone laments the fact that every time he thinks he’s out, the old lifestyle pulls him back in.

That’s pro-wrestling in a nutshell. An old-school guy retires, finally giving his body a moment’s peace. A break from the bumps, bruises and bleeding…only to come lumbering down the aisle a couple of years later for a cheap pop.

It’s been years since I saw a match and I couldn’t tell you who currently holds the world championship title if my life depended on it but I know I’ll never leave. Not really.

Because every time I think I’m out, another wrestler (and part of my childhood) dies and I get pulled right back in.