A bit of a milestone marker to start off: This week is my 13th week at my current work assignment. Yeah, I did apply that term to my previous work assignment when it got to that point over a year ago. But it needs to be applied for this point in time for where I’m at right now. The bad news is that I do have a feeling that it’ll end sometime in the first quarter of the new year. I knew that going in, really. But the good news is that I’m truly enjoying the role. The tasks are right in my wheelhouse, and I’m not afraid to ask questions since my supervisor and teammates are friendly, understanding, and quite approachable.
Time for an unofficial version of “Allison’s Jukebox,” unofficial in that someone else deserves credit for bringing to the world’s attention these songs on this day (I’ll credit him later). Here in the United States, this day when I write this is Independence Day. This is the day when, 243 years ago, the “thirteen original colonies” gave a big “screw you” to a certain royal monarch, declared their independence, and tried to live happily ever after.
Emphasis on “tried” in that last paragraph, of course, for the past 243 years have not been all peaches and cream for our fair country. For one, there was a brutal civil war whose side effects we still can’t overcome over a century and a half later. As well, if you haven’t been paying attention to the news the past two and a half years, we’re being led into darkness by a certain man wearing an ill-fitting suit, bad-looking toupee, and a petulant ego that makes him think he’s a royal monarch.
Three years ago, I went on a tear over something everyone’s ears will put up with at least once or twice, if not a heck of a lot more than that, this time every year: The Christmas carol. Shop at any mall or turn on any radio and it’s for sure you’ll wind up listening to some old chestnut of a carol. It’s a natural occurrence during the holiday season. It gets people in a holiday (and holiday shopping) spirit. It can brighten one’s spirits.
And it can also get on one’s nerves, for various reasons. One is that they’ve heard those songs over and over and over again. Another may be that someone may not want music to get them into the holiday spirit, or at least certain versions of these carols. And a third reason may be that some of these carols don’t have anything to do with Christmas directly.
That above “#NowPlaying” tweet from over 6 years ago is how I commented on the song I want to go into detail in this post: “Don’t Give Up,” a duet by the English artists Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. Before I get into how moving a song this is, have a listen to it first. Really, listen to it and don’t just watch Peter and Kate in an embrace.
As I write this (Friday evening in Wisconsin), polls have been closed for a few hours in the Republic of Ireland, where citizens voted on a proposal that would amend the country’s constitution and allow its parliament (the Oireachtas) to relax the country’s strict laws against abortion. Today’s vote comes three years after voters approved an amendment to permit marriage between two people “without distinction as to their sex”; it was also that same year that legislation passed allowing transgender citizens in Ireland to freely request a change in legal gender identification on government documents.
If early exit polls are any indication, today’s proposal will be approved by a sizeable margin of voters, just as the marriage equality amendment passed by a wide margin in 2015. For a country where religiously conservative viewpoints have long held influence on society and laws, it’s sure seems that progressive attitudes are starting to take root in Ireland in the past 20 years or so. But don’t think that Ireland had been a country where everyone had to strictly follow the edicts the Roman Catholic Church would pass down every Sunday regarding, say, what people should think, who people could love, or how people could express themselves. On the contrary, for the Irish are a pretty progressive lot; it’s just that the laws of Ireland have taken some time to catch up to that fact.
After a Friday full of trying to keep up with my supervisor’s demands in the morning, volunteering in the afternoon, and getting together with a support group in the evening… and then spending all Saturday morning composing a blog entry, I spent Saturday afternoon camping in front of the TV set. And “camp” also meant “campy.”
Saturday (May 12) was Grand Final day of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. If you recall my write-up about the 2016 contest, Eurovision is part of a consortium of European television broadcasters that produces and distributes TV content throughout Europe. The Eurovision Song Contest is by far their biggest event, and this year it was held in Lisbon, capital and largest city of Portugal, whose entry in last year’s contest took home the title. Continue reading
Even with a busy weekend ahead of me, I thought I’d keep my writing juices going by adding another tune I’ve been meaning to add to “Allison’s Jukebox.” And it’s a relatively recent addition, I must admit. The inspiration for this entry came from the podcast Crybabies, where guests talk about the things that make them cry. The guests’ admissions about what activates their waterworks makes Crybabies a pretty candid show (and, yes, tissues are available in the studio during recording).
One episode of Crybabies from September of last year featured the actress Shannon Woodward, whose list of “crying cues” included a scene near the end of the film My Girl 2. If you’ve seen that film, or at least read the plot synopsis at the link I just posted there, you’re probably familiar with the scene and the song that’s included. “Smile” had its roots in another movie long before My Girl 2 or even the original My Girl was conceived: Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 silent classic Modern Times. That movie’s own final scene features Chaplin, in his tramp persona, sitting on the side of a highway alongside the film’s gamine, Ellen (played by Paulette Goddard). The two are… well, rather than let me describe it to you, look and listen for yourself. Listen especially.
First off, I may be ranting in a couple of spots in this post, so please accept my apologies in advance. Okay, as I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times on here, I don’t get into watching awards shows very much. Oh, sure, I may sample some of the pre-show red carpet coverage. And I’ll catch a moment or two of the ceremony as I’m surfing through the channels. And I’ll certainly read up and/or watch some of the highlights the next morning. But watching 3+ hours of one award after another and performance after another can feel like a tedious slog. On top of that, there’s the fact that most awards shows occur on a Sunday night, when I tend to turn in early so that my body and mind (the latter especially) can rest up for the week to come. (Notice I’m leaving out politics; a certain segment of the populace will sneer at whatever statement of social/cultural import a host, winner, or presenter may say, but I’ll never dissuade them from saying it, especially these days.)
I’ve been meaning to add this song to “Allison’s Jukebox” for a while, and it took hearing it played on the radio while driving home tonight to finally put it to pixels: George Harrison’s “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth).”
Just as with Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls,” which I sung the praises about here, “Give Me Love” is one of those drop-everything, sit-at-attention-and-listen songs that are my all-time favorites. Truth be told, George Harrison had at least a couple other works in his repertoire that could fit the bill, including “What Is Life” and “All Things Must Pass,” two songs that predate “Give Me Love” by a couple of years.
While I’m spending part of my Saturday morning bathing in the euphoria from and thinking up a post documenting my poetry performance Friday night (an awesome evening all around), I want to make a quick addition to “Allison’s Jukebox.” Have a listen to “Diamonds and Pearls,” the 1991 hit by Prince and The New Power Generation.