Not saying what part of the LA area I live in.
Not saying what part of the LA area I live in.
Okay, so I am a few days late for Valentine’s Day with this list, but I’ve worked nonstop since Friday, which is a good thing. I was thinking about music and what songs I would put on a Valentine’s Day mix tape. Remember those? Yes. Ok, good. Well, here’s my top 14 romantic songs of all time.
14. Closer by Nine Inch Nails (1994)
I know what you’re thinking. How can a song that contains the lyrics “I want to fuck you like an animal” possibly be romantic? Depends on what you consider romantic. He does say “you make me perfect” and “you can have my everything” at different points of the song. I admit it might not be the most romantic, which is why it’s number 14, but, I dare you to say it’s not sexy.
13. Two Can Have A Party by Tammi Terrell (1966)
The lyrics say it all and I’m a sucker for 60s doo wop music. Unlike most romantic songs it’s not a dirge. It’s upbeat and sassy. There’s nothing worse than a drawn out depressing song like “Take My Breath Away.” Yes, I consider that song depressing or maybe just shitty. Anyway, how can you not like a song that was later done with Marvin Gaye?
12. Lovesong by The Cure (1989)
This song has been covered by everyone from 3-11 to Adele, but it’s the simple lyrics and melody that do it for me. There are other Cure songs I like better, but this one is a classic and the it’s right there in the name.
11. Grenade by Bruno Mars (2010)
This might be the most relentlessly dark song on the list. A man is hopelessly in love with a woman and will do anything for her including catch a grenade, but “she won’t do the same.” This non-reciprocal love song is beautiful nevertheless and probably more realistic than most ballads. This song will always be a classic.
10. You and Me by Alice Cooper (1977)
“You and me ain’t movie stars….” but it’s enough for a working man apparently. The lyrics show blue-collar love at its finest. Everytime I hear “You and Me,” I can’t help, but think of the real man underneath the makeup.
9. To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees (1967)
Proving their style was more than just a gimmick, the Bee Gees could write some damn good ballads. This is quite the testament to love. “I live and I breathe for you.” Lyrics like that make most women melt.
8. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars (2010)
Speaking of making women melt, Mr. Mars makes the list again with the loveliest song about a woman’s looks since “You are so Beautiful.” It’s also realistic because it highlights a woman’s modesty when her man compliments her. I think this is one of the best love songs in the last 10 years. It’s also upbeat and fun.
7. Love Reign Over Me by The Who (1972)
I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the passion of this song. In this case, I favor the way this song is sung and the context, over the lyrics themselves. When Roger Daltry does that scream towards the end, I believe him wholeheartedly. Also, watch Quadrophenia.
6. Love Me Tender By Elvis Presley (1956)
This song is so sweet, simple and sincere-sounding it makes you forgot how much he cheated on every woman he ever loved. It hit #1 on the billboard charts and was re-recorded many times, but the Elvis version remains timeless.
5. Je t’aime…moi non plus by Serge Gainsbourg (with Jane Birkin) (1967/69)
See also #14. While this song literally translates to I love you…me neither, one has to understand it as a conversation between two lovers while engaged in coitus. Originally recorded as a love song for then-married-Brigitte Bardot, but the sounds of her moaning on the record and lyrics like “I go and I come between your loins” probably wouldn’t have flown with her husband. That version was held back for obvious reasons. I think it’s pretty bad ass that Serge would be ballsy enough to record something like this and equally bad ass that his new girlfriend, Jane Birkin, wouldn’t mind recording a love song written for someone else. She makes the song her own solidifying her as a breathy sexpot. Gainsbourg knew how to be a provocateur with lyrics and this song was banned by the Vatican, as well as many countries. Who wouldn’t want to be the “wave” to their “naked island?”
4. Your Song by Elton John (1967)
The gift of a song is a beautiful thing. Elton John let us know we can tell everybody that this is ours. “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” Who would mind? Timeless, beautiful and fresh every time I hear it.
3. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (1976)
It might be one of my more obvious choices, but it’s on everyone’s list and played at weddings all over the world for a reason. Between the lyrics and the guitar riff, I can’t help but fall in love with this song over and over again. Every woman wants to be told she looks great and is a wonderful person.
2. Something by The Beatles (1969) and You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker (1975)
I’m cheating a little here, but You Are So Beautiful is so short, it’s hardly a full song. The sentiment makes up for its brevity and Joe Cocker’s passionate delivery has melted hearts for decades. “Something” is my favorite George Harrison scribed Beatles song. There’s something so pure about the way he loves this woman. I am complete putty when I hear it.
1. Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney/Wings (originally, 1970)
Dedicated to his wife Linda who helped him get through the horrible breakup with The Beatles. To me this is the perfect marriage of lyrics and passion in the delivery. So beautiful.
Runners up: Love of My Life by Queen, Never Tear Us Apart by Inxs, When A Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, With or Without You by U2, Pictures of You by The Cure, When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars, I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders, Melt With You by Modern English, Wonderful by Adam Ant, Thank You by Led Zeppelin, Yellow by Coldplay and There Is No If by The Cure.
A friend once told me, “it’s important for us not to commiserate.” That phrase has resonated with me this past year. A lot of changes took place in 2013, the big one being losing my grandmother. She was probably the closest person to me. We had a rare bond. I lost her on Valentine’s Day. I thought this would make the first year anniversary unbearable, but I found that not to be the case. I surrounded myself with projects, fun and lots of friends. I didn’t wake up and mope around the house. I avoided introspection. I thought fondly of her, but not of her death. My memory of her is not dominated by three arduous days in the hospital. Because I kept busy and positive, I avoided falling into the depression trap. I held up in a way I would have thought impossible.
The other day I went with my paranormal investigator friends to the site of a historic massacre. I didn’t know what was in store for me or whom I would meet. Turns out the event was full of “psychics.” One of them spoke to me when three times her cell phone fell into lap from the wide arm of a chair. A strange occurrence, yes, but it doesn’t make it a paranormal phenomena. Anyway, this bizarre activity prompted her to talk to me about my grandmother. I know how psychics read people, so I didn’t give her much to work with. Admittedly, she got some very specific details right that floored me. I got sucked in. I allowed myself to think there was some connection, that there was some spiritual interaction going on between her and my lost loved one. While we didn’t go the Whoopi Goldberg “Ghost” route, I felt what she was doing was really positive. The skeptic in me has always been leery of supposed clairvoyants. The interesting thing about this one, was she didn’t hand me a card or even promote herself. We simply talked with me and stopped when clearly the conversation had ended. Nothing was forced on me and no money changed hands. Usually that’s where the exploitation takes place. At any rate, I relayed what she told me to my father. He found some solace in what she said. I thought this was a really good thing, whether fake or not. It made him feel better and that’s what mattered to me.
Then, I relayed this story to my significant other. He had a very different reaction, one that was quite negative. His words still run though my head, “Don’t let anyone shit on the memory of your grandmother. That’s your memory and not for anyone to exploit.” I’m probably paraphrasing a bit, but that was the sentiment. He was absolutely right. Stubbornly, I argued that she was doing something positive and not trying to profit off my loss. He told me it didn’t matter. She was giving us false hope and continuing the cycle of sadness. So, just like my friend telling me not to let our tragedies define us, he was saying that this was not her place. He was right. I didn’t need a stranger talking about a connection she knew nothing about. While it might seem harmless, the feelings it invokes are not. Sometimes the best way to handle loss is to keep the memory of that person and not speculate on where they are now or what they are thinking. Because, guess what? They are not. They are gone. That’s it.
Just like our tragedies and trauma, they are in the past. They can play a key role in making you who you are, but they are not you. Depression lies and tells you they are. Sadness does not need to define you. When you commiserate you hold onto the past. While being able to share your pain with another is one of life’s great comforts, it’s important for us to recognize that it can be unhealthy if that’s all you do. Human connection is good, but commiserating can quickly devolve into negative thoughts. Don’t let losing someone prevent you from living. Don’t let tragedy prevent you from the future you are destined to have or the one you can create for yourself. This is the year of change for me. This is the year where I stop holding onto the past and get a jumpstart on all the things that are in my future. Afterall, we don’t know when our time is up.
Valentine’s Day was not the one I expected. I was happy. I was living life and appreciating all that I have instead of concentrating on a deficit. Yes, I still love my grandmother. Yes, I still miss her. Yes, it still hurts to not be able to call her. That being said, how does being depressed honor her memory? She was a woman who lived life to the fullest and I intend to do the same. That is the Marie way. So, I raise a glass and toast this very cool woman who made my life more beautiful.
Yesterday, we went to a Yelp Elite Party, which was a famous couples prom theme. We went as Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg and while no one seemed to quite get it, we enjoyed the hell out of it! One guy even said, “who are you guys?” We told him. His reply: “I knew it would be something really cool that I wouldn’t know.” Ha!
Also, on the Star Trek front, I just released two new Glue Guns and Phasers videos. The most recent is how to make treat bags for your Valentine. See the video at the bottom of this post.
Thank you to my “initials J.C.,” Scott Markus, and co-host, Connor Bright for all their love and support. You guys are the best friends a girl could have. Needless to say, this Valentine’s Day is already 100 times better than last year’s. I’m holding it together and in a little while I’m off to see more friends at a Doctor Who convention called Gallifrey One. Onwards and upwards!
J’taime moi non plus…
Is raw and sexually explicit comedy still a boys’ club? Brian Lowry from Variety magazine seems to think so. In fact, he recently said of Sarah Silverman, “Despite all manner of career-friendly gifts – from her looks to solid acting chops – she’s limited herself by appearing determined to prove she can be as dirty and distasteful as the boys…” Now, I’ve never heard of Brian Lowry and I suspect he’s just looking to get his name out there in the press by stirring up some controversy. Lowry’s going to have to try harder because A. as the article below states, he used this same quote on comic Amy Schumer a few months back and B. people are going to remember this shit and call him out on it. See the link below:
I am tired of male “journalists” and bloggers putting women down to get their name thrown around social media to enhance their careers. I am still not over Joe Peacock’s sexist remarks about women in geek culture. However, I refuse to keep talking about him because clearly that’s what he wants. Putting someone down in order to elevate your own status is just plain bullying. I’m tired of geek elitists who feel they can be the arbiters of who is a “true fan.”
Similarly, I’m sick of the old adage that women aren’t funny or that when they are crass somehow they are “acting like one of the boys.” I’ve watched Sarah Silverman’s career for a long time and she’s been pretty darn successful and consistent. I don’t think dirty jokes are purely a man’s domain. I’m writing a pilot now and the things I say in it might make you blush. And guess what? It’s about women’s issues, our experiences and the way the world reacts to us. If you don’t like this brand of humor than all I can say is don’t read it, don’t watch it and just ignore it.
As for you, Brian Lowry—Sarah Silverman affects you how? You’ve stated you find her attractive judging by the references to her looks. So, let me get this straight, she can’t be dirty on stage, but would you be OK with her being dirty in the bedroom? Good enough to sleep with, but god forbid she’s… funny. Talking filthy is part of her brand of humor. How exactly does that limit her? It’s what her audience accepts and most likely wants. By the way, performers in The Vagina Monologues use the P word a lot too. I seriously doubt anyone would dare say those women were “talking filthy as the boys.” Male or female, gender has nothing to do with how explicit someone’s sense of humor is. End of story.
Today, November 24, 2013, would have been her 98th birthday. In fact, the last time I saw my grandmother conscious was on her 97th. We had a lot of traditions together and I can’t even begin to describe how strange it will feel keeping up with some of these without her. My grandma, Marie, the only grandmother I ever knew, was so special to me. She was in many ways, my second mom and I know for certain I thought of her as my best friend. I deem her responsible for teaching me how to be feminine. There was no formal instruction, but I looked onto her with reverence as she was the most graceful and lovely woman I had ever seen. I grew up with a brother, hung out with his friends, my best friend growing up was a tomboy, so was my actual mother. There was no one around to teach me to be a girl. Luckily, my parents worked 40 hours a week and in the summer months or on any holiday break, I got to spend it with Grandma. We developed quite the bond. I took after her in many ways. She encouraged me to be a performer, crafter and all-around good person. I took hula lessons with her since I was barely old enough to read. I glued seashells to costumes and shredded raffia for her Tahitian skirts. Sometimes I just loved to watch her. She knew I looked up to her. She gave me the best moments of my childhood even though she had so little.
As she got older, I took care of her. I took her shopping, drove her to the doctor, to pay her bills at the currency exchange and handled getting her prescriptions. I didn’t do this out of any sense of obligation. I did it because I wanted to. I loved spending time with her. I took her on vacations and drove her whereever she wanted to go. Michaels was one of our favorite places to spend an hour. Every year, I took her Christmas shopping and helped her pick things out for the whole family. This year, I’ll go to her favorite department store alone. I know she’d be happy to know I was keeping that tradition alive and getting a good deal too!
I saved all of her correspondence. I have hundreds of cards and letters from throughout the years. She asked to be buried with mine. This is the kind of bond we had. We’ll take it to the grave. I lost her on Valentine’s Day 2013. I’m sure I will hurt just as much as today when that day rolls around. I’ll try not to think about it and cross that bridge when it comes.
As I sit here writing this, I know she’d be proud of me. I have no regrets. I told her I loved her every time I hung up the phone or ended a letter. Every time I came to town, I made her priority number one. I miss our outings more than anything. Sometimes I have some good news to share or I’m feeling blue and I almost think I can call her. While that’s not possible, I know she’d be happy to know we were eating our turkey, sharing each other’s company and not being sad. She would want my family to go on and enjoy life. She had so much life in her until the end. She was the feistiest 97-year-old I had ever met! So, this Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the amazing memories and life lessons I got from “Grandma Grand.”
Be kind to each other, always remember to reach out to relatives and remind them of your love while you can. Life is so very short and fleeting. Things can change instantly. I’m grateful my life was touched by someone so beautiful for so long. I consider myself incredibly lucky.
Happy Birthday, Grandma Butterfly!
…Guinan for me. She wasn’t a favorite character. She didn’t even stand out as anything other than Whoopi Goldberg. Uhura was the first black woman in outer space, so Guinan didn’t have that to set her apart. One thing I have always liked about the character is that she was the last character Gene Roddenberry created and developed before he passed away.
I grew up on Whoopi being the psychic in Ghost and the lead in Sister Act, so to me she was always a superstar. By the time I saw her in Star Trek, I found it distracting, like that one time Madonna showed up in a James Bond film. I didn’t watch TNG in its original run. (I know, I know!) But, I have been exploring the female characters of all of the Star Trek shows and movies lately. My friend and fellow convention panelist, Jamala Henderson has a deep affection for the character. She sent me this video and I was deeply moved by it.
Some people saw her as a calculated move to put a famous person in that role. Plus, why do we need another counselor type when we have Deanna? Much less one that is the cliche bartender? Well, I say just as Seven of Nine evolved from a ratings-booster into a complex character, Guinan proved she was there to listen not because she had to, but because she wanted to. Her unsurpassed closeness to Picard and untold backstory (which I now appreciate as a writer), always added emotional depth and charm to the show. Whoopi could hold her own with Patrick Stewart in any scene, which is no easy task. She wasn’t in as many episodes as you would think and there’s an air of mystery about her that I really like. Thanks Jamala, for helping me see her as more than just a barkeep with a famous face!