Early ’90s Reverie: Sohie B. Who? Oh Yeah!

Nothing beats hitting “Shuffle” on the old iPod, unless of course you are driving a long distance and hit “Scan” on the old radio. I can’t tell you how many songs and mem’ries I’ve rediscovered by letting Jesus be not only my co-pilot, but my DJ.

Which is how Sophie B. Hawkins got back on my radar. Perhaps best known for “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” and its provocativly Sapphic (for a Midwestern Catholic girl in 1991) lyrics, Ms. Hawkins is a pioneer when it comes to the sincere use of the word “Shucks!” in relatively modern pop music.

For those who like their Sophie B. on the softer side (like Jesus did while we were listening to the radio the other day), I’d like to recommend her “As I Lay Me Down.” Not only does Sophie nail “gentle emoting with tree and rowboat” in this performances, but she brings it down with the lyrics “And it sounds like churchbells, or the whistle of a train on a summer evening” as well as “Like a flower, I need the rain.”

Mr. Belding, take note the next time we go to the farm to plant trees: Yes, one CAN wear make-up and a denim-and-plaid work outfit at the same time.

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Hans and Franz

Last night, Mr. Belding and I went to the DC Improv to see the hilarious Kevin Nealon. You may remember him from such comedic pursuits as his stand-up act or “Weekend Update,” or from the hit show Weeds, but to me, nothing beats Hans and Franz. Not because that is necessarily Kevin Nealon  at his finest, but because it brings me back to an era of SNL that I love. (Don’t worry, I’m not launching into some “SNL used to be great” or “is only great now” or “would only be great if so-and-so were back on” rant right now. I’m just re-living a moment in time where I would watch the show religiously and feel cool that I could make references to it with my awesome aunt who lived it up as a glamorous single person in DC while I was plodding through middle school in a back brace in Indiana.

Please enjoy the best deployment of the phrase, “Hear me now and believe me later,” via this video.

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Suburban Goth

Yes, it might be the weekend. And you are in some way reading this online, which means you are in some way a person who lives in comfort or at least has access to comfort. And you have the time to read ’80s/’90s nostalgia blogs, so yeah–thinks are looking up for you and me both, Reader!

But still. We have a lot that gets us down–parents, kids, the petit(e) ami(e), the spouse, the ex, the future ex, the boss, The Man, the discontinuation of Lemon Jolly Ranchers*, etc. You know, heavy stuff.

So what are we gonna do about it? We’re gonna go Suburban Goth.

We’re going to line our lips in black liner, or at least liner several shades darker than the rest of our lips. We’re going to rock the “smoky eye” before that was even a thing. And yeah, we’ll rock it even if we are GUYS. Guys who aren’t even Adam Lambert. We’re going to paint our nails black long before the Chanel team even DREAMED of “Black Satin” nail lacquer. (In the word’s of Tim Gunn, “Black nail polish, where is thy sting?”)

We’re going to cite gasoline as our favorite scent and Nine Inch Nails as our favorite band. We’re going to replace our black satin and silver heart chokers from Khol’s with dog-collar chokers, also from Khol’s. We’re going to utter phrases like “I’m not having a birthday this year” and “I’ll just take another Study Hall period.”And you know we’re going to go to the mall…because this multi-pierced part-time-vegan still eats gummy worms in bulk. And don’t call me “Rachel” anymore, it’s “Shadow,” OK?

CDs? You can keep your capitalist fodder. My friends and I are mixing tapes. Tapes full of songs you wouldn’t even call “songs.” I’m from EAST CENTRAL INDIANA. You don’t understand my pain!

And ultimately, we’re going to get confronted by an earnest, adorable Butters in an inappropriate way, and re-embrace the light. AFTER it stops raining…

*Yes, I am aware that I’ve referenced the demise of Lemon Jolly Ranchers twice in one week, and yes I am going to reference it again, and yes I AM that sad about it to this day.

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#OccupyWendy’sClassicGreekPita Starts Now

In the late ’90s, Big Sis was a vegetarian. Now, before you lazily assume that she was the type of high school/college girl who was only a vegetarian for a year to be “unique” and get attention (like me), please observe a moment of respekt for the fact that homegirl was a vegetarian for something like 15 years. Now THAT is dedication.

Now, just because Big Sis did um…how do we say… “overly direct” me a bit while we were growing up–and just because I have a vivid memory of her kicking me under the Thanksgiving table at my grandparents’ house every time I had the audacity to take a bite of turkey–does not mean that her vegetarianism compromised our sacred snack time. Nay! For while Big Sis, Lil’ Bro, and I frequently argued about many important things (which lame Internet chat room we would harass by way of Friday night amusement, who would have to “take out the dog” by literally just opening the back door), we always worked in perfect harmony when it came the obtaining and enjoying of tasty treats.

During the glorious years when my sister could drive and had not yet gone off to college, we were in our element–hitting up the Village Pantry or Ricker’s for junk food (and later, lottery tickets), pulling up to Taco Bell for Bean Burritos and Cinnamon Twists, and driving thru at Wendy’s for the most awesome “healthy” fast food of all time, the Wendy’s Classic Greek Pita.

Do you guys remember this thing? It was warm, salty, olive-y, feta-y, and always hit the spot with either a Frosty or a soda. (Or a water, if it were during swim team season.) To this day, I crave these things like crazy. I mean really–what even comes close to the Classic Greek Pita when one is craving a slightly healthy yet tasty fast food meal? Every now and then, when my husband and I are driving a distance and he asks what I’d like for lunch or dinner, I deadpan, “A Wendy’s Classic Greek Pita and a Junior Frosty.” If he loved me, he would find a way.

But it is going to take more than just the ramblings of a humble blogger to get Wendy’s to DO THE RIGHT THING ALREADY AND BRING BACK THE BEST ITEM THEY EVER HAD ON THEIR MENU, AND YES I AM INCLUDING THE FROSTY AND THE FRIES AND THE JR. BACON CHEESEBURGER WHEN I MAKE THAT STATEMENT. Ahem. Sorry. What I meant to say is that this noble effort is going to take ALL of us, dear friends. That is why I am formally asking you to join me in creating the #OccupyWendy’sClassicGreekPita movement.

“Oui, mon capitaine!” you shout! “Tell us, our leader, what do we have to do?” Well…you know. Maybe leave a comment here, I guess. Hey, maybe I’ll “@Wendy’s” and link to this post or something? Or maybe one of you could start a FB group? It’ll go viral, right?

But on the real, Wendy’s…what argument could you possibly make against re-offering this delicious dish of “retro” awesomeness? If not for your loyal, tested Greek Pita fans, then surely for the young global citizens who were born too late to remember or even to have ever tasted your finest offering? By your own admission, it is a “classic.”

Do the right thing, Wendy’s. Heaven just called. It’s Dave Thomas. And he endorses this message.

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This is ’80s Karaoke, NOT an ‘American Idol’ Audition

Hi, Sheila, is it? Yeah. I couldn’t help but notice that you are signing up AGAIN to sing karaoke tonight. Yeah…’80s Nite is amazing and you totally did just kill “Alone”…vocally. Vocally, you nailed it. What’s that? Why yes, Sheila, yes it did indeed remind me of Carrie Underwood. Well, at least a version of Carrie Underwood who constantly had to glance at the monitor because she didn’t have her lyrics off-book.

And I know this might be hard to hear, Sheila, but the fact that it reminded me of Carrie Underwood is the problem. The problem I would like to calmly address with you now. You see, Carrie Underwood did not originally make that amazing song famous, Heart did. In 1987.

No, no, not at all! It’s not that I want you to not sign up again…I was just wondering if maybe:
a) You could give some other people the chance to sing for the first time before you sing for the fifth time
b) You could stop dragging your friends into the handicapped stall of the ladies room to “practice” your next “set”*
c) YOU COULD HAVE THE SELF-AWARENESS TO REALIZE THAT THIS IS KARAOKE, NOT AN AMERICAN IDOL AUDITION.

Sheila, you are super cute, and obviously edgy and savvy, what with that taupe-ish greenish-gray nail polish you and all of your friends are wearing. So I’m not trying to “hate,” as it were. But I want you to know that no one here cares that you have an above-average singing voice, or that you were the lead of your high school musical, or that you actually did audition for “American Idol” and you almost got in to see Simon, Paula, and Randy (or Sugar Ray, Ke$ha, “Fire” from Earth, Wind & Fire, Nick Carter, and Smokey Robinson, or whomever the H they’ve got propped up there now.) No, my darling. Singing eight times in one night, vocally “grinding” more than Xtina, wearing a bubble-hem dress, and not knowing the words to the song you are singing are not Kara-OKe.

Kara-OKe =
1) Singing a song not because it is in your range or vocally impressive, but because you love it or you know it to be a crowd-pleaser, in the “let’s everybody have fun!” sense of that term.
2) Knowing enough words to the song/knowing its breaks and patterns enough not to get lost, so that you can focus on having a good time with the audience, not checking out the monitor or yourself
3) Remembering that there is no prize, there’s no contract, there’s no boy worth going out with who is only going to want to go out with you if you can hit the high note in “Lady Marmalade”…this is just good times, and you don’t need to sing, you need to perform.

OK, girlfriend. Now go out there and have fun, OK?

What’s that? You don’t know who Heart is AND you were not yet born in 1987? Excuse me, I have to go kill myself really fast. Have fun with your friends Edward, Isabella, Hermione, Madison, Addison, Mason, and Harper.

*In the interest of full discolsure of lame-ness, I’d like to confess that I, Miss Bliss, have been guilty of this very sin.

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Heart to Heart Bear!

(See post below)

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Heart to Heart Bear

Now that Christmas 2011 has come and gone, there is a lot to be thankful for–it was my first Christmas with Mr. Belding, I attended a lovely midnight service with “Silent Night” by candlelight, I pulled off Paula Deen’s oyster cornbread dressing, and I got some really nice gifts. But it was a hard Christmas, too. We were with Mr. B’s family in New Jersey, and it was my first Christmas away from my family in Indiana.

Plus…I know it’s not “about” gifts, but every adult Christmas feels a bit of a let-down in some ways. As a kid, there was always at least one toy, one present, that felt magical. My favorite present ever was my Heart to Heart Bear, which I was given by Santa in 1986.

On Christmas Eve, my sister and I snuck down as usual very late to see by Christmas tree light the bounty that Santa had left. All the usual suspects were accounted for and obvious, thanks to the unique shapes of both Barbie and Nintendo game boxes. But most importantly, Heart to Heart Bear was sitting in our small rocking chair, just waiting to be hugged! He was little, cute, wearing pink pajamas and a nightcap (he was devoted to ease and sleep, just like adult me!), and his little heart really “beat!”

I remember a lot about this little guy, especially the promise in the commercial that “Heart to Heart Bear will be there when you need him!” And he was…until Mom gave him to Goodwill behind my back when I was 12.
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