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because i’m blue.

10 Jun

I’m down, you guys. Just a lot going on this little life of mine. Sigh.

What do you do when you’re blue? I play songs by my boyfriend and other sad song singers, all of which break my heart over and over again, because that’s how I medicate during times like these. I wallow. I cry. I lay placidly on the sofa and watch cheesy television.  That’s how it, the blue, comes out. And so, because I’m a sharer, this week of posts (yes, I plan on posting every day this week, because it’s not fair that I only did that for the sake of poetry, right?) will bring you clips of said sad songs. Nice to meet you, company–the name’s Misery. That’s the kind of gal I am.

First up, a little ditty by my boyfriend, one that quickly turns my eyes red. Oh, and guess what? Additional vocals are by Joni Mitchell, the Empress of Sad Songs. Enjoy. And sorry.





because, because, because…(WARNING: a crazy, entertainment-y post)

12 Sep

This is Andersoon Cooper. I love him because, because, because…

…of that gray hair.

…of those eyes!

…I imagine that he and I could be BFFs? Based solely on the fact that we could totally riff on everything pop culture? I don’t know. I just feel it. Does that count for anything?

…of photos like the one above. All of AC’s pics look the same. He looks like a matinee idol. Like he’s posing for Matinee Idol Weekly, which is not a real magazine, but should be.

…when he went to New Orleans to report on Katrina, or when he went to Haiti to report on the earthquake, I didn’t get that another-reporter-searching-for-ratings vibe. He waded through water and walked through the rubble and I just somehow felt his sincerity. It’s a big word to use for someone in the media, but that’s just what I felt in those moments.

…he seems like a nice guy.


Speaking of Matinee Idol Weekly, my ideas for those who would grace the cover of this fake magazine, starting with the inaugural issue:

Is it any wonder? Cary Grant. If there was ever an embodiment of the dashing, classy, handsome matinee idol, here you go. (See The Philadelphia Story. One of my top 10 favorite films. Of ALL time. Yeah.)

The number 2 cover. Clark Gable. Dashing, classy, handsome matinee idol. Just like above. There’s no difference between the two, really. I’m personally convinced that Cary Grant and Clark Gable were one and the same. Were they ever in the same room at the same time? I challenge someone to dispute this. (See Gone With the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara, to me, is the most annoying character to inhabit the screen, but I have to admit that I truly enjoyed the movie, solely because of Mr. Gable.)

My love for him knows no bounds, as has been discussed. Paul Newman, sigh. (I invariably sigh after either writing or saying his name.) I love him. Sorry, future hubby. We will be sharing our lives with this man. (See Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which will stoke the Paul Newman fires. And to make it better, it’s a beautifully acted, beautifully complex film based on a Tennessee Williams play. Excellent, excellent.)

The picture above? Says it all. Denzel. I heard someone say once that if Denzel Washington were a nobody, a simple guy walking down the street, no one would care. I can arguably and honestly say that if he were a nobody, a simple guy walking down the street, I would follow him to his destination. And once we reach said destination, my love would be professed. There. (See The Pelican Brief, Much Ado About Nothing, GLORY, John Q, Deja Vu, GLORY…to understand the Denzel love and eternal admiration for his raging talent. And, um, his strut. Yikes, it’s powerful.)

Seriously, he’s the Grant/Gable of this generation. Clooney. I mean…wow. (See Ocean’s Eleven-Thirteen for overwhelming proof of the previous statement.)

What can I say? Robert Redford. His nickname, at one point in time, was The Golden Boy. The Golden Boy. He will also be sharing a life with my future hubby, myself, and Newman. Sorry again, future honey. And the fact that Newman and Redford were in two films together—heavenly casting, really. (See The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Way We Were, Barefoot in the Park, The Electric Horseman, All the President’s Men...and fall in love, one scene at a time.) 

Perhaps there’s a way to get them all on the cover? Every month? Can someone come up with this magazine? Anna Wintour? Anyone?

Um, this ends this crazy, entertainment-y post. Happy Monday.

why i love him so.

1 Aug

I have an enduring memory: I am driving in the car with my Dad. We are en route to his chemotherapy appointment and are listening to the radio. “Fire and Rain” comes on, to which my Dad exclaims, “that’s my man! James Taylor.” I regard my father with a huge smile on my face and tell him that, yes, he’s my man, too, that I also love James Taylor. I tell him it must be genetic, to which he laughs and agrees. We listen to the song in appreciative silence, after which I promise to make my father a CD of JT’s greatest hits.

For several reasons, the memory is quite fresh in my mind. Why? I’m in a JT mood and am presently listening to some of my favorite songs by him. Second, it is one of many moments I enjoyed with my beloved father before we lost him to cancer. Lastly, it’s a sweet reminder of how both my parents shaped my love of music.

Another enduring memory: my mother surprises me one evening with tickets to see James in concert. I proceed to run around our house, screaming at the top of my lungs, before throwing myself onto the couch in contented glee. While my mother and siblings laugh about my reaction, I hold up the tickets in the light and gaze at them in wonder. I was going to see James Taylor! (It was a wonderful show, by the way, absolutely grand. A year later, I was back in the same pavillion for the second time, watching JT with wide, teary eyes and going hoarse from my insistence on very loudly joining him on every song. Amazing. Amazing.)

What about this memory? Turning to VH1 one evening and finding that they were broadcasting one of James’ early concerts. And falling in love. With that face below. Yeah. (It didn’t help that at the time, I had a crush on a silly college boy who looked just like a young James Taylor. It was all I could do to keep from collapsing every time I saw him on campus. Anyway.)

Another one: sitting on my sister’s bed (her bed was so neat and clean, and mine…well, mine was going through a disorganized chaos period. Like Picasso and his blue period. It was art, you see, never making my bed and piling mountains and mountains of clothes on there. Oh, my artistic past), listening to *this song on my cd player (so archaic, I know), and weeping like a little child. I couldn’t stop crying. The song was moving me in places I couldn’t really understand and evoking feelings that simply boggled my mind. I was identifying with the song, but wasn’t sure how or why. (I do now, though. That’s for another post.) The only way to respond to that kind of stunned feeling was through streams and streams of tears. And that’s what I did. Cried and pressed repeat.

Memory #676: making my way through a crowd of millions, it seemed, to see James perform at an Earth Day rally in Washington DC. I was about 20 years old. And I squealed when he came on stage.

This one: watching James and one of my other big favorites, Carole King, perform “You’ve Got a Friend” at a televised reunion concert at the Troubador last year. Yeah, I cried. It was gorgeous and emotional.

Ooh, these memories: moments when I would recognize that the lovely, melodious voice in the background of some of my treasured JT songs, like “Shower the People” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” belonged to Carly Simon, one of my other favorite favorites (I have a lot). It made me giddy because they were married at one time and that fact inexplicably thrilled me. Why? Couples working together? Hearing my two favorites blend their voices in sweet harmony? Who knows? I loved it all the same.

Speaking of “How Sweet It is…”, another terrific memory: playing the song repeatedly for my little brother and hearing his infectious, toddler-y giggle when James says, in the middle of the song, “it’s like jelly, baby.” Oh my goodness, it was so cute. That kid.

Memory #5,112: Still in love with that face to the left. Never gets old.

This one: when autumn comes, I think of James Taylor. Likely and largely due again to *”Walking Man,” which has lyrics that bring everything I love about autumn (the air, the leaves, the orange) to the fore. In addition, songs like “September Grass” and “October Road” pretty much solidify it for me. Autumn, James Taylor, one and the same.

It’s amazing, to have loved an artist your whole life. Since I was a kid—sitting in my uncle’s car, whizzing about New York City and hearing “Handy Man” on the radio and being instantly hypnotized—to now, when I get daily, online updates about JT. I need to keep track!

One day, I’d like to meet James Taylor. After security warns me to stop hugging him, I’d like to tell JT about that afternoon in the car with my father, when hearing him exclaim, “that’s my man!” filled me with so much happiness that I almost let go of the wheel to hug my Daddy. I’d like to tell him that whenever I hear him sing now, I always think of my father. Then JT will sing, I’ll cry, and I will make yet another memory. Until then, I’ll press repeat.

*Lyrics for “Walking Man”:

Moving in silent desperation
Keeping an eye on the holy land
A hypothetical destination
Say, who is this walking man?

Well, the leaves have come to turning
And the goose has gone to fly
And bridges are for buning
So don’t you let that yearning
Pass you by
Walking man, walking man walks
Well, any other man stops and talks
But the walking man walks

Well the frost is on the pumpkin
And the hay is in the barn
An pappy’s come to rambling on
Stumbling around drunk
Down on the farm

And the walking man walks
Doesn’t know nothing at all
Any other man stops and talks…

Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre.

23 May

This is all I have to say:

I’ve seen it twice.

I want to see it many more times.

It was moving, beautiful, tender, classic.

I’ve already researched when it will be coming out on DVD.

I cannot wait.

That is all.

Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries).

21 Mar

So, a few marvelous ladies and I attended a screening of Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), an Indian film that was being shown at the Kennedy Center as part of their monthlong “Maximum India” festival. First off, the following equation (shocker: I’m using Math, of all things, to communicate!): Indian culture + the Kennedy Center + an awesome, intelligent company of women = yummy goodness. I had a wonderful time.

So, wow, wow, wow. Wow. Dhobi Ghat was a powerful, moving film, about four intersecting lives and the different turns each life takes amidst the backdrop of the city of Mumbai. It certainly struck me, for a number of reasons. A few:

Not Your Usual Bollywood. Being a major fan of Bollywood films, this movie was a significant departure from the burst of color and music that comes with that particular genre. In fact, I was struck by the absence of color in the film. Even the costumes of the main characters were muted, gray, dark. Quite honestly, it was reality rendered on screen. And it was refreshing. Interestingly enough, for me, I’ve always been a proponent of film escapism—it’s rare that I enjoy a movie that presents life in its depressing, dreary moments (why seek it out in entertainment when we have those moments in real life? is an argument I’ve used before)—but in this instance, the absence of the music video touch to Mumbai and its people was a welcomed change.

Yasmin Noor. Out of the four main characters in the film, I was, by far, moved by the character of Yasmin Noor. We meet Yasmin through a series of videotaped letters that she makes for her younger brother following her marriage to a man who, during the two times we actually see him, doesn’t utter more than two words to his new wife. From then on, as the film goes on and the character of Arun (who moved into Yasmin’s former apartment and found the tapes) watches these video diaries, we see Yasmin quietly falling apart as a result of her loneliness, acutely missing her family back home, and the sad unraveling of her marriage. It was such an understated and amazing performance by Kriti Malhotra, the actress who plays Yasmin Noor. (At the Q&A after the film, we learned that Malhotra isn’t even an actress by trade and that she had prirmarily worked in the costume department. A natural talent, by all means.) She communicated her emotions so subtly—through a smile here, an expression of longing there, the sad timbre of her voice. So incredibly moving.

Let’s Talk about It. Any film that inspires questions and dialogue—among friends, in our case, or with the number of people that posed questions at the Q&A—is one worthy of consideration. The movie was not without its flaws and imperfections, but it got us talking, and I’m all for that.

Kissing Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream.

7 Mar

The title above comes from a song I’ve happily quoted to death.

Related to that song, it was quite the Monday.

I was caught having a conversation with myself in the hallway today. Yeah. Full on conversation. Provide an explanation? Sure. I’m going nuts.

This job is making me crazy. Seriously. It’s all-consuming, it’s stressful, it’s all-consuming, it’s stressful…

I mean, I’m not performing heart surgery or anything, but good night, Irene, this place is taking over my life. I’ve always been someone who leaves work where it should remain: inside the building. In a way, I still am that person. When I vacate the premises, I truly vacate. Work shmork. It’s over and out for the day, blissfully kaput, done.

…However, of late, I find myself thinking too much about the premises and what needs to be done. Most of the time, it’s quite a bit that needs to be done. And a million things to remember. And silly questions pointed in my direction. (The meeting is at 4pm. The capable clock on your computer tells you that it’s 4pm. You get a reminder that the meeting is at 4pm. Yet…you ask me if the meeting is at 4pm? Huh?) And thousands of e-mails. And…and…Perhaps this is why I was discovered in the middle of a conversation with myself today. Perhaps.

Solutions? In the short term, I resolve to keep all conversations inside my comfortable head and get up from my desk for plenty of clear-the-mind and take-deep-breath walks around the building.

Until I attain a semblance of sanity, I will totally pretend that I’m singing if someone catches me talking to myself again. Totally.

In Memoriam?

25 Feb

I have a sinking feeling that Frederick is soon to bid adieu to this world. His leaves are brown and dry, his roots seem agitated. I see some green, a bit of green, but it doesn’t look good. Sigh. Am I surprised? I didn’t even water him last week, due to weird laziness (I really do hate getting up from my chair), and well, even more laziness. This might be proof that I should probably never get a pet. That poor dog or cat would have to fend for itself in every which way. Terrible. Nevertheless, I just unloaded significant amounts of water on old Fred, so let’s hope that something works. It would be sad to see him go.

I have a quote calendar at work, and this was the following quote for today: Some people find fault like there is a reward for it. Isn’t that the truth? Personally, I think I go on fault-finding scavenger hunts. I’m a big fan of event analysis; going over every inch and nuance in this big head, reliving the events and the ones involved, and doing whatever I can to finally reach the end in sight: whose fault it really is. There’s never a payoff. Never a reward, as the quote highlights. It’s a complete waste of time. It’s not like I’m going to approach the person in question and bring it to their attention. Why? Because it’s highly likely that through their analysis, I’m the one at fault. Again, complete waste of time. Good quote, filled with much accuracy.

This week come the sweet sounds of The Jets, a cheesy brother/sister singing group from the late 80s. I was obsessed with them, especially the major ballad of my life at the time, “You’ve Got it All Over Him.” I still know every word. And so, as any eyes will see in the upper right hand corner, I’ve provided links to some of their best jams. Enjoy, whoever you are.



Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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