Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Grammy Awards - No Idea What I'm Talking About

Tonight, we are pausing life at our house to watch, via slight DVR delay, the Grammy Awards. And so, in the interest of bringing my 8 readers (yes, I know, I exaggerate) the most informed coverage of the music universe, I Steve Norris, shall be your personal reviewer of the festivities.

After thorough research, it has been determined that there are only about 14 other people on the planet with less musical knowledge than myself. So, who better qualified to bring you the most pithy and astute observations of the hip and cool Grammy scene. Buckle your musical seat belts, people. Off we go.....

Opening Number - Lady Gaga. Those shoes look dangerous. Nice
Orwelian backdrop. Now its Elton and Lady. They both look like they did some serious chimney sweeping. That is one serious earring that Elton is wearing. Nice "hands" on the pianos; they paid some pathetic set designer serious coin for that; I want THAT dudes job. Clearly, Elton definately cannot see out of those glasses. He needs Stevie Wonder's escort off stage.

Beyonce wins song of the year. Seems like a song about men needing to make commitments in relationships. This is good.

Green Day - 21 guns. Eh. Seems big hair (and black) is important here.

Best Country Album. I can feel the
Mid west starting to pay attention, and come in from making Rice Krispy Treats in the kitchen. Taylor Swift wins. My daughter is happy. Taylor is shocked she won; Ringo is sitting next to Taylor's Mom. Wow. I like Taylor's apparent humility.

Beyonce appears with black Star Wars dudes. This girl has got it going on. Star Wars guys left early in the number. They have nothing to contribute musically, it seems. There is an arrow guitar dude that has chains connecting his legs together. Bad fashion, very 70's.

Pink! I want to be referred to by a color; I choose Mauve. I would have hurled in the trapeze device. she somehow got wet. Thats interesting. Next. Carlos Santana liked it.

Best New Artist. Zac Brown Band. They wear bad hats and beanies; and they all taulk funnahy. Never hear of them. I have heard of the Ting Tings.....I love them and will be filing a personal protest.

Its Da Black Eyed Peas, Peeps! Now this is fun music! What is with the Silver Robot Dudes? I love it. Welcome to da Futcha!

Lady Antebellum. Now this is good music. Something to clean your guns by, or perhaps oil your fly fishing reels. They reference being drunk in their music. I like these guys. Big guitar solos.

Record of the Year! Get ready......Kings of Leon. Eh. I always make my daughter change the station when they are on the radio. They said they were drunk, but they wear suits. Bad clothing.
Meh. These guys will not uplift the moral complexion of our nation.

Jamie Fox. Boring. T-Pain is my man. He wears his pants way to low. Saw him on the MTV Awards last year and thought he was gonna have a pants malfunction.

Ke$ha. Needs to eat a good meal, and loose the eye makeup. I have to listen to her tunes on the way to school in the morning with my daughter. No thank you very much. From now on, call me $teve.

Taylor Swift. This is good stuff. Very American. Stevie Nicks! I all verkelmpt now. Rihanna was huge in high school for me. Taylor is getting major air time here. I want one of those short banjos.

3D glasses on, people! Its Michael Jackson tribute time. We did not go to Target, we are loosers. Pretty creepy with Michael singing from beyond the grave. Weird having the kids Prince and Paris up there. I am sorry for these kids. Forever. They need to permanently stay OUT of the public eye. Very sad.

Bon Jovi. Eh. Next.

Jay-Z got some rap award. Eh. I am too white to appreciate this.

Andrea Bocelli; singing for the people of Haiti?! What happened? Mary J. Blige. "I will ease your mind...." Wow. Worth sitting through the whole thing for this!

We have caught up to live TV. I am done. Good night peeps.

Frozen Man

What would it be like to come back to life, hundreds of years following your own death?

James Taylor was inspired
to write a fictional account of this, after seeing an issue of National Geographic magazine with a portrait photograph of a man who had be uncovered after being frozen in ice for a hundred years. The man had died while on expedition in the 1860's searching for a Northwest passage to the Pacific.

What would this feel like for us?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jonathan Winters

When I was a kid, Jonathan Winters used to make me laugh so hard, I would cry. He still does.

Really now, how much can you do with just a stick?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Too Long In The Country Club

I Used to Dream...About Who I Would Become

When I was younger, I used to dream about what my life would be like someday.

Someday. When I grew up and married, and had a family. When I lived in a big house in the suburbs. My lovely wife would be busy in another room, cooking perhaps, while I watched the Masters golf tournament in my wood-paneled den. And then maybe, after it was over, I would head out to the country club to hit a bucket of balls. I used to dream about this when I was a boy.

It would be nice there, at that country club. Everyone would know my name, and treat me with deference; perhaps a form of vague reverence, as I would be so well respected in the community, such a successful, well-groomed, nice person. That club would feel so safe, and warm, and homey, and comfortable. It would make all the trouble, pain, and confusion of the outside world seem, well, so far away. Outside those metal gates that opened only to the select; those who knew the right secret combination on the keypad.

My only worry would be
my back-swing, my slice, and my handicap. The hurt of reality outside those ivied gates would be muted by the thick carpeting, the hardwood walls, the hush of the lounge, and the security fencing around the perimeter of the course. No trouble here in the clubhouse locker room. And, next to the sinks, all those men's toiletries lined up so neatly - looking like no one ever used them. Order, tradition, respectability, good grooming. So safe, so insular, never changing. Comforting.

What I Have Become Instead
I never joined a country club. Too expensive, and a waste of money, if I just want to feel comfortable and insulated.

But recently, I have been wondering if, subtly and over a very long time, like slow growing vines, I have not become a part of something similar to the country club. Entrenched and insulated, apart from the world. Warm and cozy. Safe, non-threatening. A refuge from reality. An escape.

That something is my church. And really its not the church itself, but more, its me, and the way I approach what my faith means to me. And, as I think of it, that thought is sad
. Very sad.

How do we get like this, we "church people"? How do we, in middle age, turn into those things we most disliked about the older generation when we were in our twenties? What has happened?

Maybe its just too much time inside. Inside the country club, with the warm wood tones, and people who make us feel good, valued, important. We form our little committees, and move on with our little agendas. There will be a potluck. Cookies will be served. There is that painting of a smiling Jesus on the wall over there. He always smiles.

But outside those warm church walls, outside the carpeted committee rooms and Sunday school classrooms there is a real world. Its noisy, and in a hurry. It is hurting, and there is seems to be no soothing that pain. It doesn't really care much at all what we church people do. Because much of the time, what we church folk do is irrelevant to that real world. Men sleep on cold and rainy streets, children are born without families that will really love them, couples fight and separate and never come back to each other. Lives are fractured. Sometimes it feels hard to take in a deep breath, out there in that real world. Your chest hurts too much, you can't really take it all in.

And so, we church folk, turn around and head back inside. Inside the Country Club.
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