Friday, November 25, 2011

Someday We'll Find It

I have been excited about seeing The Muppets since I heard about it over a year ago.  I know a bunch of other people have as well.

If you grew up in the late 70's - early 80's then you should have been as excited as I was.  I know there are some who are lame are not because they're boring they've moved on, or something, but most people I know have been on an equal level of anticipation as myself.

So I am so very, very happy to say that The Muppets was everything I was hoping for and more.  And even more than that.

Full disclosure - My 9 year old thought it was only, "all right".  My 6 year old though, said, "IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!"  We've got the 9 year old's future funds co-labeled College/Therapy.  I'm leaning toward Therapy at this point.

The story, the songs, the cast, the Muppets.  Everything was just so good.  I have such a huge man-crush on Jason Segel now.  From everything I've read, this movie would not have happened without him. I may even write him a letter telling him, "Thank you for bringing back such an important and awesome part of my childhood."  I may not, but there's always that possibility.

I'm not going to go into what the movie is about.  It's easy enough to get that somewhere else. Here for example -  

I'm going to tell you how it made me feel as I watched and as I thought about it later. Before I get to that though, I have to say that I saw the movie with about 26 other friends.  Friends, their kids, friends of their kids, cousins, aunts and uncles.  If you haven't gone to a movie with a giant group of your friends, you really owe it to yourself to do so.  It was A LOT OF FUN.

Okay, so I'm so excited waiting for it to start that I forget that there's a PIXAR short before the actual movie.  It's fantastic, just as it should be.  A perfect warm up for The Muppets.

As The Muppets played I was filled with some really, simple and pure happiness. It was so great to see the characters again.  Jason Segel and Amy McAdams characters were the perfect human cast-mates for the Muppets. I could see Segel's happiness beaming off the screen as he was singing his songs or just being onscreen with his childhood heroes.

I love the new songs.  They have been in my head all day.  Especially "Life's A Happy Song". 

To be perfectly honest, this isn't going like I thought it would. Maybe I should have done this as soon as I got home, but I think I would have melted my keyboard from all the HAPPY that was spilling out of me. 

I think I'll just leave it at my Facebook status update after the movie, "Sunshine is literally bursting through my chest at how happy I am after seeing The Muppets."

Go see this movie.  Go call a childhood friend that you used to spend the night with, even if you haven't talked to them in years (shame on you) and go with them.  If you've got a huge group of friends, go with them.  And their kids.  Or, you know what?  Go by yourself. I may go see it again by myself.  You owe it to yourself to see this movie.

Thank you, Jim Henson, for giving us the Muppets, and thank you Jason Segel and Disney, for giving them back to us!

Here's some more information. It's a Muppet Wiki (which is about one of the greatest things I've ever seen.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for So Much

I'm not the most consistent person.  I tried to do the 30-Day Drawing Challenge this summer and got 5 days into it and then petered out.  I knew I couldn't do 30-Days of Thanks without falling off so here is a list (it's long - sorry) of what I am Thankful for in one blast with liberal use and neglect of the Oxford Comma. 

  1. My Dear Wife - she puts up with more than she should and doesn't let me get away with nearly as much as I'd like.  I can't express enough about her.
  2. My 2 Girls - Ramona & Coco.  If you're a parent you know the range of emotions your kids put you through.  My two girls make me laugh on a regular basis, ask me thought provoking questions (sometimes just to see if I'll answer), help me to see how I can better myself so as not to pass on some less desirable habits, and help keep my inner child alive and well.
  3. My family - This year in particular I have been reminded how very lucky, fortunate, blessed I am to have been brought up and surrounded by a loving family.  I have gained a new perspective on what it means to be a parent from my parents this year; a lesson that I was not expecting, but am very thankful for.
  4. God - It/He/She is bigger and more complex than I can begin to express.  I do not believe that any of this is an accident, but I don't mind if you do.  This is my list.
  5. The Thread - You know who you are, and you know your level of Awesome exceeds most people's capability to comprehend.
  6. My Friends - Whether through work, childhood, Cyber Space, or neighborhood, the people I get to spend time with, share my days with are good, good people, and I am truly thankful that you are part of my life.
  7. My health - It's something I take for granted that could easily be gone in a second.  I know this, I just need to be better about taking care of it.
  8. My job - I love what I do.  This year even more than I usually do.  I am so, so thankful that I wake up in the morning and look forward to getting to work.  Smart and funny co-workers.  Cute, loving and intelligent students.  (Annoying students make me more thankful for these others).
  9. Comic Books - I read these a kid because my Mom bought them for me because I didn't like to read regular books.  They have come back into my life at various stages, and I am thankful that they helped me become who I am: A Superhero.
  10. Music - Although it has slipped down a few notches in my priorities over the years, the notes, melodies, chords, and songs that are forever in my mind help set a mood, change a mood, or fit a mood.  I don't understand people who aren't "into music".
  11. Coffee - It's the first thing I start on in the morning. It's just so, so good.
  12. Technology - I don't think I can start to understand how much of my daily life revolves around the advancements in technology.   I'm going to miss them so much when the Zombie Apocalypse happens.
  13. Buddy, Anna Baker, and Babette - It's good to have small things that can't talk depend on you, regardless of how much they make you cuss sometimes.
  14. Medication - If you're on the Bus you know what I'm talking about.  If you're not, you probably should be.
  15. My creativity - I can write songs, poems and papers.  I can draw, paint, build.  I can make things in my mind appear in a tangible form and I am very thankful for that.
  16. Other's creativity - It keeps me entertained and amazed on a constant basis and makes me humble about my own.
  17. Beer - Mmm.  Beer is good.
  18. Cartoons - The really good ones are more entertaining and better written than a lot of what is on TV.  The not so good ones are still entertaining and keep my girls from watching iCarly as often as they'd like.
  19. Living in America - (hit it, James Brown) - Regardless of what your political views are - we are fortunate beyond our understanding that we live in a country where we can express our dissent without fear of being jailed or killed.  Yes, there are flaws and limits.  It is still way beyond what the majority of the world lives under.
I'm going to have to stop now.  I could go on because God knows I have more to be thankful for, but I've got things to do.  I hope you get the idea.  I try not to take things for granted although I know I do.  I am so much more fortunate than so many people, and I really, really do appreciate that.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Little Richard

Coming home the other night I flipped over to 1690AM, because, as usual, all the songs on the multiple FM stations available were total crap, and after some nondescript enjoyable song Little Richard burst onto the radio...

I'm not exaggerating. Burst onto the radio is a perfectly good description of Little Richard's early catalog. "Long Tall Sally" was the song, and good giggly wiggly, I had not heard it in a long time.
I grew up listening to Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Elvis thanks to my dad's record collection. Luckily he taped most of these onto 8-Tracks that we could take on the road with us. These rock 'n roll pioneers in addition to The Everly Brothers, John Lee Hooker, and Jerry Lee Lewis would keep me more than entertained on long rides in the Buick Electra Estate wagon -

Imagine it in baby blue with the fake wood paneled rocker panels and you'd have the Benefield Family Truckster.

So, back to the point. Little Richard. That excitement. That mania. That full-out, no holds barred drive. Wow. That totally spoke to me as a kid.

"Ooh, My Soul" -
Damn. Listen to that. I can only imagine how that scared so many upstanding, good citizens to DEATH back in the 1950's. If it wasn't enough for Elvis to be out there wigglin' and gyratin', then add Little Richard beating that piano and throwing down some serious rhythm and rock, Chuck Berry being a lyrical mastermind that tapped into the brains of so many teenagers, regardless of their race.

So I'm digging Little Richard and all these other guys and then I discover The Beatles.  And I dive in head first.  All about them.  Then I discover Them Beatles love Little Richard too.   Hot Damn.

Where is this going?  Nowhere.  It doesn't have to. If nothing else, it got you to listen to two Little Richard songs that hopefully made your day better.  

Do yourself a favor and go read a little bit about Little Richard. It's an interesting read.  

I leave you with one more for the road...
"True Fine Mama"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Maybe I was wrong?

I was around hipsters tonight. Real hipsters with beards and beanies and awkwardly fitting shirts. I'm not sure I'm a hipster like I thought. It looks like a lot of effort went in to those appearances. A lot. I don't think I'm up for that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Reluctant Hipster

I have recently come to accept something about myself that I have denied for a long time. Something that makes me fall into a category. Fit a label. I am…a hipster. To those of you who know me this probably doesn’t seem like a revelation to you. I still have a hard time saying it.

Why have I resisted? What’s wrong with being a hipster? I like the clothes from Urban Outfitters. I wear cool hats - Sharp Cats Wear Cool Hats. Honestly, I’ve only known about the current use of the word for a few years now. I associate it closely with another label. It rhymes with “smoosh rag”. Ugh. I actually had to take a three minute break after writing that. A Get Up and Walk Around break. I’m going to have to learn to separate these two terms in my mind.

Historically hipsters have been those on the edge of knowing about and being into what’s cool before it becomes Cool. Jazz guys, beatniks. I thought it was just recently that the term has taken such a negative slant, but apparently people have been deriding hipsters since the mid 90s.

It became clear to me over Halloween what I was when my costume was a Hipster. I was so excited because I think of hipsters as easily mock-able characters. I mean, there’s a Web Site,, there’s a Facebook page dedicated to people mocking them. I would get the perfect costume and be totally in character; jaded, detached, pretentious. I had the costume part, but I couldn’t pull off the attitude convincingly. I thought that was bad, but I was wrong.

“Hey Thomas, what’s your costume?” friends asked.

“I’m a hipster!”


“How is this different from normal?”

“I don’t see a difference.”

/blank stares/


So instead of it being funny that I was mocking hipsters it became ironic that I was dressed as a hipster, but not actually in a costume, at least according to all present at the party.

In my mind hipsters are those guys that grow fuzzy beards, wear thrift store pants and t-shirts. They work hard at their image of Not Caring. Their attitudes suck. They’re indie record store employees as exemplified in the movie adaptation of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. It’s nothing I want to have associated to me. It’s like I told Daughter One when she asked me what a hipster was. I told her it was someone who thinks they’re cooler than they really are.

So I guess since I’ve decided to accept this label then what I need to do is reclaim it from those people I’ve been talking about. The bearded, PBR swilling, fixed-gear riding thugs. They’re not hipsters. They’re pseudsters.

But then again, doing that makes me just like them, and that was the problem initially. I don’t want to be like them. As Robert Lanham points out in his The Morning News piece, “The rage and self-loathing associated with hipsters has become more annoying, more naive, and more artificial than hipsters could ever hope to be.” That’s not what I want. So what now?

I’ll tell you what. I’m going to kick up my pretentiousness level about four notches. Not really. I’ve never thought of myself pretentious; although, I’m sure I have seemed that way to some. Dear Wife would probably say I am about The Beatles. I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily argue that. Also, I’m going to use my newly accepted label as an excuse to get more of my pants tapered and buy me some skinny jeans. Not the super skinny ones though. They don’t give a guy a lot of room to breathe or move around.

Here’s a link to Lanham’s article -