Saturday, August 14, 2010


I had a plan for today's blog and I WILL STICK TO IT. However, I want to detour for just a second to respond to your comments on yesterday's blog. I am so anal that I would normally link it, but it was yesterday's blog so I think you can find it if you didn't read it. I agree with what each one of you said. Let me explain something to you and see if it makes sense. After I divorced my ex, who I think I will call from now on "The Operator," because it fits, I started dating in Florida this guy who seemed really nice. In actuality, he was just a more polished version of The Operator. We will call him Flash. Not because he left quickly (if only) but because he was all flash and no substance. Anyway, eventually, push came to shove, and I couldn't stay with Flash any longer. There was just nothing there. I didn't actually have to tell him to take it through the middle finger, but just about everything but, in order to get rid of him. The difference between Flash and The Operator was that Flash really couldn't "hurt" me. There was no emotion left and he had no pawns.

With The Operator there is no emotion left, but he has two pawns. And each time I gear up to tell him to take it through the middle finger, he reminds me of that. Would it hurt me if he yanked the kids out of my life? Absolutely. Would it hurt them more? Definitely. And this is where The Operator has the power and knows it. He hasn't hesitated to make the threats. Threats and follow-through are different things. I know that. I suppose I won't really know if he has it in him until I push him to the wall the next time (metaphorically) push comes to shove. We pretty much argue over email these days. Although, all it would take is me publishing something on facebook about him and he would hit the ceiling. (It's not like it would be hard.) Basically, if I was as brave as Lucy March, it would be war. Then again, Lucy doesn't talk much about her ex. Their situation is/was different. If I talked about my ex like Marshall Mathers does, well I think it would be wise for me to move to Ohio and live with my dad. Better yet, my brother. Make that my cousin. He's been to jail a few times. He's scary looking and wouldn't mind killing The Operator. He's already offered once when we were married, but on the verge of divorce. Maybe I shouldn't write that on here in case The Operator shows up dead all mysterious-like. For the record, I turned my cousin down on the killing.

I guess what I am getting at is that it is a very healthy thing to tell people to take a hike that are bad for you. It is when they are holding people you love hostage that it gets tricky. Particularly if they are more than happy to not play by any rules. Or they make the rules. And then bend and twist them. Whatever. Everything is cool between me and The Operator so long as I don't make waves. As long as his life is smooth sailing he leaves me alone. Period. End of story.

Now, let me move on to Inspirational Song Day. Don't you feel inspired? I may not go with my original music choices after all of that. I had a plan, damn it. Let me take a minute and try to recover my zen.

Okay, I think inspirational song day is more fun if there is a story to go with the song. It seems like I always have lots of stories to go with songs. What can I say? This story is about me and my friend, Megan, from high school. Megan became one of my best friends in high school. She wasn't one of those instant connects. It was a friendship formed over time and a love of music. Megan is also a person who is somewhat hard to get to know. I was always a throw it out there person and she was always a play it close to the vest kind of person. Well, you know that intrigued the crap out of me. I had to get to know her. People that I don't understand I must figure out:-)

Turned out that she was really smart and funny. That was always strange. She was the person who always delivered the joke with the totally straight face so you never saw it coming. She was also on the quiet side. I am more quiet now than I ever have been, but then I talked constantly. So, it is safe to say that I carried the bulk of the conversation. Naturally, when Megan did talk it meant that whatever she had to say was WORTH listening I admired her so much. I spent about six months trying to adopt Megan's personality traits into my personality. I had gotten fairly good at this once I figured the whole thing out. (Figure out what you like about your friends and then adopt their best stuff into your personality. It is all part of becoming a better person, friend, etc.) What can I say? I was theatre geek and it worked. Megan was the one person that it did not work on. Our personalities were too far afield. It made me admire her more.

Anyway, her parents bought her this sky blue Ford Mustang. It was a stick shift and I was her most frequent passenger. Sometimes other friends got the back seat, but I always got shotgun. What did we do? Nothing. We were high school kids with no life. We rode around town blasting music and talking about the lives we didn't have. Yeah, we sucked. Whatever. However, Megan always had awesome cassette tapes. Yeah, I said cassette tapes. We were pre-CDs. I am that old. Step off. If I were MM, I would have inserted a curse word there. I restrained myself. Anywhooozle. There were lots of choices. However, I am going to give you one that I had NEVER heard of before, and probably would never have found, if not for Megan. Megan loved music. Megan went on to a music college after graduation. Megan heard things in music that I will probably never hear. She did really well at a music college. That music theory class wouldn't have had her crying every day. No... Megan and I were two very different people.

I am having to put in an aside about the photo of the car. I thought it would be easier to find a Ford Mustang in good condition. Not so. Of course, I began to remember Megan's vitriolic hatred for that car as time went on. It was very cool in high school and at the beginning of college. As it started to break down, their relationship began to strain. At the end, that car was held together with duct tape and paper clips. The maintenance was ridiculous. It was constantly in and out of the shop. She finally threw up her hands and spent time underneath the behemoth herself. When she found the source of the trouble it got duct taped. Yeah. She went through a lot of duct tape. When they finally parted ways, she loathed that car. I compare that relationship to a marriage. The dating was great. The beginning of the marriage was fun. The end was a nightmare. And the divorce was looked forward to with anticipation and then relief. So, I am not surprised that most of the photos were of rusted out Mustangs or ones with their hoods up. This was as close as I could find, but it doesn't look right. Oh well. Moving on...

Keep in mind that we were children of the 80s, so we listened to popular radio, alternative 80s, we even found some 60s, 70s, and other stuff that I don't even know how to classify, that went through her sound system. Whatever it was... it was always LOUD. Don't forget to turn off my music player at the bottom. Sorry for the inconvenience...

I know. That wasn't what you expected, was it? Turns out that my Nylons tape got a lot of play my freshman year in college. We would play euchre in our little lounge area of the dorm. I know many of you are doing some head scratching. What is euchre? It is a card game, people. The south is clueless about it and everyone in the north plays it. What is up with that? I went to school in Michigan. I could have majored in euchre. I would have done significantly better in euchre than Music Theory, that is for sure!

Well, on to our last inspirational song for the day. I have decided to make the first song personal for me, and the second one to be a song that I think was significant insofar as videos go. Right now we are sticking with the 80s. MTV has just come to life and we are looking at the artists who are using it as vehicle to build momentum OR the artists who made just really cool videos. Last week we looked at a really cool video that should have propelled a band somewhere and...didn't. Don't know what happened there. This week we are looking at an artist who did.

The first video I remember of Madonna was Borderline. People, I would look up this crap up if the details were important. They aren't. It is about what I remember. What can I say about that video? It was intriguing. It told a story (sort of) and she dressed oddly. But cool (sort of). She had the indefinable something. It wasn't long before Like A Virgin came along behind it. I could cheat and watch that video, but I won't. All I remember was a lot of black lace and rolling around on a white floor (I think) and lyrics that would have made my mother go, "I miss the 60s." And I knew that was when she would be a star.

In hindsight, Borderline was taking the temperature of the people. It was good. So, they came out with Like A Virgin and the tops of teenagers' head's exploded. In a good way. After that, it was all about pushing the envelope for a long time. Eventually, though, Madonna did what I call "reinvent herself" and she became the queen of that. In other words, she hit a point in her career when she knew she that had arrived and she could call the shots. At that time, she started doing things her way. And it meant constantly reinventing herself because she didn't want to be boxed in to anything. She did movies. She did movie musicals. She pretty much did whatever she wanted. It is a wonderful place, when you know that you are free to tell everyone to take a hike. In the words of Frank Sinatra, "I am going to do this my way."

both images of Madonna were found here
As an aside, before we watch the video, I just read a post on a literary agent's site, about novels that break all of the rules they keep pushing for debut novels. This agent put the hammer down concisely. Mind you, all of these novels people threw in his face are classics. His answer was that even those classics were not debut novels. All of those writers had published many times over before they whipped out their rule-breaking novel. In other words, they had a following. They had people buying their novels (aka a fan base) and a publisher that might not like it, but was going to give it a whirl, because this person had become a master at their craft. The literary agent says that when you have enough "wins" under your belt, and a huge following, and are a master at your craft, then you can break all of the rules and play the game the way you want to play it. Until then, listen to your agent and your publisher.

I guess what I am saying is that even Madonna, the queen of the rulebreakers, wasn't always the queen of the rulebreakers. She played it their way for quite a while. She built her fanbase. She stretched herself by being in some really good movies, and showed that she could pull her weight even when she wasn't singing and cut some more records doing it their way. When she felt that she knew enough about the business, had the fan base she needed, she made the break and did it her way. I present to you the Queen of Reinvention:

Of course, now that I spent an hour cruising through Madonna footage, I am wondering if Lucky Star wasn't actually her first video.... A mind is a terrible thing to lose. It all sort of blends. I also had to watch the music video for Burning Up. It was one of her early songs, meaning it must have been on the first cassette tape, and it got blasted frequently out of Megan's car as we rode around town. Yep. I still know it word for word. It is funny what sticks and what goes. There are some days (the bad migraine days) when I can't quite pull up the right word for normal every day objects. Then there are days like today when I know every single word to a song I haven't heard in almost twenty years. Go figure.

Vogue was not the video I intended to show you. I was shooting for Material Girl, but I could not find a single version that would embed. I like it because it is a lovely example of Madonna reinventing herself. You expect one thing; you get another. For those of you who are too young, or just don't remember, Vogue is off the Dick Tracy Soundtrack. However, this video shows no elements of the movie in it. I do really like the lyrics, though.

Beauty is where you find it.


  1. Excellent post my friend. And I would definitely agree with you that when people hold love ones as a form of hostage, it definitely complicates things. LOVED Madonna!!!

  2. WEll, I do believe in karma, the operator will get played hard someday.
    Hang in there till the kidlets can make their own decisions. Then you can give him the middle finger. lol.


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