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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dissecting A Christmas Song

I know I've written about this before.  In fact, it was this particular Christmas song that I wrote about and because I'm writing about it 10 years later can only mean that it bothered me enough to put the effort in for a second round of bitching about a song that many love.

"Do They Know It's Christmas Time"

Today is December 4th and this is the time when we begin to hear Christmas songs.  There are a handful of ones that make me turn the channel on the radio faster than others.  Most are from Mariah Carey, one is from Madonna, and the worst....Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas Time".  But because I work in radio...I listen.  And because I remembered hating that song so much, I listened even closer.

Here is the original version:

Paul Young
It's Christmas time
There's no need to be afraid
  (Except of my bank account)
At Christmas time
We let in light and we banish shade

Boy George
And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world
At Christmas time

George Michael
But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time it's hard

(See it is a little confusing because one minute we're praying for the other ones and that Christmas tine is hard.  But right after that, we're having fun (see below).

Simon LeBon (Duran Duran)
But when you're having fun
There's a world outside your windowAnd it's a world of dread and fear

(I'm not trying to seem cold hearted because I'm a pretty empathetic person, but when I listen to Christmas music and I want to get in the spirit of things, "dread and fear" are not words I associate with.

Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
(Are you sure, Sting?  Are you sure that's the only water?  Have you looked at the map of Africa?)

Bono & Sting
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom

(What does that sound like?  Chimes of doom.  Hmm.  Chimes. Of. Doom.  No idea - but I think I don't like that).

Well tonight thank God it's them
Instead of you

(You know, Bono - I love U2 but this both shocked me but also cracked me up.  You nailed it.  Thank god it's them instead of you...well, yeah.  But don't you think this is an aggressively shitty and self serving thing to say?  I can answer that.  Yes.

Boy George & Others
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life(Oooh)
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow

Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
(There is a ski resort in Drakensberg called the Tiffendel Resort.  Whoops!  It also snows in the Atlas Mountains.  Nothing ever grows.  How is there ANY life there on the continent?  I mean, the whole song is about Africa, not a particular country in Africa, right?  No?  Oh.  Central parts of Africa have accumulations of rain that can exceed that of parts of Scotland, you know, because of their rain forests. So...things RAIN FORESTS.

"No rivers flow" - The Nile located in Egypt in AFRICA.  The Nile is just the longest flowing river in the world.  But who's checking?  Not these writers.  I am.

Marilyn & Glenn Gregory
Here's to you

Paul Young
Raise a glass for everyone

Marilyn & Glenn Gregory
Here's to them

Paul Young, Marilyn & Glenn Gregory         
Underneath the burning sun

Do they know it's Christmas time at all

(Do the writers know they're all Christians??  I'm going to take a wild guess that they don't know...because less than 50% actually are)

Chorus: All
Feed the world
Feed the world
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again

They're singing about a continent.  You know that Africa isn't a country, right?  Surprise!  It isn't.  The time the song was written, it was about the starvation that was going on in Ethiopia.  But who needs to know specifics?  Growing up, I assumed all of Africa was Ethiopia.  At the time, something needed to be done to help, but the song was not the answer.  Sorry, folks.
Also...the chorus finishes with "Feed the world"...well?  Ethiopia or the world.  I'm confused.

Again, I don't want to seem like I'm heartless or whatever, but I know I'm not the only one that has noticed the incorrectness of this song.  In fact, I was looking up the song and found that there is a newer version (where Bono doesn't make us all feel like shit for being thankful it's the people in Ethiopia starving instead of us - making it less traumatizing).  So there it is.

Merry Christmas and God Bless Us, Everyone.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"Yo Kat!"

I learned today that a good friend passed away and while I'm crushed and my heart breaks for all that loved him, I've been flooded with so many awesome memories of Mr. Michael Lawrence.

"Kat" was the name he called me, even when I introduced myself as Kathy.  Apparently, that just wasn't going to work for him.  Mind you...Michael had the thickest Brooklyn accent and all I could ever think about when he'd talk and tell stories was the movie, Goodfellas.  Michael was loud and when he wanted your attention, he got it.  With me, it was always, "YO, KAT!!" followed by whatever he felt like talking about.

People would joke that he had mob ties...I flat out asked him.  Just a tap on the nose and a wink and a smile would be the answer.  So, of course I'd always flip him shit about it and poke at him and ask him how many people he whacked.  It was always hilarious because he knew I did it because of the accent, but also because of the black leather jacket he'd wear from time to time and whatever hairstyle he had going back then.

Michael always had your back - right or wrong...but only if he cared about you.  If he thought poorly of you, you knew.  You knew because he was honest and caring and was a no-bullshit kind of a guy.
He had his quirks just like everybody else and sometimes he'd piss you off, sometimes he'd get your eyes rolling so far in the back of your head you swear you saw your own brain, but all the good he put out in the world overshadowed anything that could ever be construed as imperfect.

Michael's laugh.  Completely loud, raspy, and hearty - if that even makes sense.  AND you could somehow hear the Brooklyn accent even in his laughter!  How is that possible?  He loved to laugh.  He loved to smile.  But he really loved seeing those things in the people around him.  No matter where that man went...from WA and all the way to Fl, he made friends wherever he went.  It came easy for him.  And if you were lucky enough to be one of his friends, you always got big bear hugs.

He knew how to read people, too.  He had a sense to figure someone out, whether they were someone worth knowing...or someone to kick to the curb.  There were a couple times I got warnings about what he thought of someone's integrity, and looking back, I should've listened.

There was one time that I was going through some hard stuff and there was a person he disliked very much who was the cause of my grief and he told me he'd take care of it.  No one else was in a position to do anything for me in that moment except for him and he promised to make what was hurting me, stop.  I cried when he said this because I knew he meant it and I knew he'd help me because I knew how much my friendship and my happiness meant to him - and him seeing me unhappy was unacceptable.  Of course, I said no - but knowing that he was again, no-bullshit, he'd take care of bringing my happiness back was overwhelming.

Michael was a good influence and a bad influence.  He was real.  We'd have chats from time to time about life, about his love life, about any upcoming surgeries he was not excited about, and about a whole lot of nothing.  He was a fun person.  He was a good person.  He was a brave person.  Who packs up all their things and moves clear across the country to try a new place, make new friends, and STILL maintain the old ones?  He did that.  I was sad when he moved because it felt like I was losing a part of my family.  But when I learned how happy he was out there, I was happy for him too.

So, I guess I had to write this as a means to deal with this right this second, knowing it will hit me again a little down the road and it will hurt all over again.  But I needed to get it out.  I will miss him. I will miss him terribly.  And the dumbest thing is I'll miss being called Kat...because he is the only person who has ever called me that and it stuck.  It was our thing.

Yo, will forever be loved and you will be missed.  Never ever forgotten because there's just too much to remember, my friend.  Not good bye...good journey.

Monday, May 08, 2017

An Early Traumatizing Experience

I remember being in the first grade and seeing my first violent death scene in real life and I wanted to share it here.  

I would've been about 6 or 7 and was waiting at the bus stop when I noticed a crow in the street just hopping around.  I could tell right away that there was something wrong with him as he was struggling terribly and I assumed he must've had a broken wing and even a possible broken leg.  The thing that warmed my heart was seeing a group of his buddies screaming at him to hurry and get out of the street.  I could tell they wanted him back to safety.  They cawed and cawed loudly, hopping around crazily, encouraging their dear friend that he needed to get his ass out of the street and they knew he could do it.  "C'mon, buddy!!!"

And then it happened...

A truck came storming down the street at a horribly fast 25mph, and the cawing got louder, the hopping got crazier, and the bird in the street knew he could make it if he could just get..that...last...bit...of...strength...


Feathers everywhere.

Crunch.  Crunch.

One car after another rolled over the bird and it was suddenly quiet.

His friends sadly came to his side and to say good bye to this soldier that tried hard to make it home to his family to live on a crippled, yet good life.

One of his friends bowed his head in what I can only assume was a prayer to send his buddy up to crow heaven.

Until he started to peck at his dead body.  He started to eat his friend.  One at a time, the crows came down and pecked and swallowed up his still warm body - flew away when cars came, then flew back and proceeded to enjoy their breakfast of champions...or losers.  He lost.

I don't remember why I watched this entire tragedy, but I did.  It was horrific as well as intriguing.

Oh well, waste not - want not.

It truly was the Circle of Life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Children's Movies and Their Dead Parents (Straight Forward Title, Huh)

I had a conversation with Farrah on our drive home about animated movies.  She had recently seen the movie "Beauty and the Beast" and asked me why in the realistic versions of movies, they go into more detail about things.  I had explained there was more time that way and more adults were watching in order to justify giving a better back story to the story being told.  I said with the movie "Cinderella" they showed that the mother was very sick and that she died. No young child wants to see that.  Farrah told me that's what they did in "Beauty and the Beast", too. (We already knew the mom was dead, people.  Nothing got spoiled there - settle down).

So...after thinking about it for a minute, I pointed out something that I realized...

There are soooooo many animated children's movies that show that one or both of the parents of the main character are either dead or taken from them!  Seriously.  Think about it.  We did.  In fact, Farrah and I found ourselves horrifically entertained by listing the various movies that showed exactly what I'm talking about:

Cinderella (mom dies and gets replaced by shitty stepmom)
Finding Nemo (mom gets eaten by barracuda)
Sleeping Beauty (Aurora is taken from her parents - but, in the movie Malificent, the mother dies)
Tarzan (parents are dead)
Frozen (parents are dead)
Lilo and Stitch (parents are dead)
Jungle Book (parents are dead)
Lion King (dad dies)
Snow White (mom is dead)
Bambi (mom is alive...then dead)
Beauty and the Beast (mom is dead)
Little Mermaid (mom is dead)
Aladdin (parents are dead - then he finds his father in another movie, but mom...still dead)
The Princess and the Frog (dad is dead)
Kung Fu Panda (parents are dead)
Hunchback of Notre Dame (parents are dead)
Big Hero (Tadashi - Baymax's maker aka dad...dead)
How to Train Your Dragon 1 (mom is dead, dad is alive)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (dad is dead, mom is alive)

And then there's the "not quite dead, but close enough" scenarios in theses movies:

Dumbo (mom gets taken to prison)
Pinochio (he's kidnapped and taken from his dad)
101 Dalmatians (pups are kidnapped)
Tangled (kidnapped and raised by fake mom)

So, those are the only ones I could come up with and I know I'm missing some.  For instance, I forgot to mention I need to tell you how her parents died?  Because they did.  Both of them.

Why do the story writers decide to go after children's deepest fears?  Seriously.  I get that they are showing how the characters grew up through such a tough experience and persevered, but did they really need to do it without their parents?  Why'd they have to die?  Why was it having a tragedy like a parent dying be the thing that made the kid strong?  I don't think that's how it works or what makes a person show their strength.  How about they lose their first job?  Or maybe they got an F on a test.  Or perhaps the parents are just divorced.  For shit's sake...Bambi's mom got shot.  SHOT!  Tadashi was blown up.  Quasimodo's parents were brutally murdered.  Elsa's parents were on the Titanic...I think.

Maybe the writers of these stories were actually parents themselves and knew if in real life, their child broke out in song one more god damn time and swung from the rafters and let a bunch of forest animals in the house, that would be the last freakin' straw and CPS would be knocking on their door.  That being the case, removing a parent or both parents for that matter, made the most sense.  It sounds like too much work to write them into the story, anyway.  Whatever the reason might have been, it's safe to say that apparently a kid without a parent can grow up to rule an entire kingdom and if that's the case, then Disney has given me permission to allow Farrah to do the rest of this growing up on her own because she'll probably be more successful at life without me.  Looks like I'm going to leave her the house and I'll go travel the world and I'll conveniently find her when she's the CEO of a major corporation.  Seems like the theme to follow.