Monthly Archives: June 2014

Anniversary

Wedding

June is a month of anniversaries, at least for my people and me. Saturday, Eric and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Time has certainly flown by! It took a lot of courage for 22 year old Eric to take the plunge. For me, it was the best decision of my life.

Today, my parents celebrate their 40th anniversary. It was great to be able to have a small celebration with them while I was in Chicago last week. Congratulations on forty great years and many more to come!

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June 30, 2014 · 2:11 pm

Let the Man R.I.P.

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s untimely death. I’ll never forget where I was when I heard he died – at the University of Miami Wellness Center getting in a workout after a tough day of football camp reconciliation. Thriller, Bad, and Black or White(to name just a few), made up the soundtrack to my childhood. I was pretty sad.

I am glad they are releasing some of his previously unreleased work. While Love Never Felt So Good isn’t nearly my favorite MJ song, it sure is better than a lot of the other crap on the radio. And while I think Justin Timberlake is great, I don’t think he needed to be added to this song. Michael was pretty extraordinary on his own. But, I digress.

What I don’t need is what happened at the Billboard Music Awards last month. They played one of MJ’s “new” songs and had some creepy hologram of him dancing around on stage. A lot of people got emotional, but I found it disturbing. I thought of his children having to watch people trying to bring their dead father back to life.

Sadly, the man is dead. Nothing we do is going to change that. Let him rest in peace and enjoy the music he left behind as his legacy.

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Put On For My City

This week marked the tenth anniversary of the Detroit Pistons’ last NBA Championship (and unfortunately, probably a few years before they even contend for another).  What a great championship series it was – they beat the flashy Los Angeles Lakers at the height of the Kobe/Shaq Era with hard work and defense.  There were no celebrities – this was the ultimate team with a starting five of Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, and Rip Hamilton.  They were the perfect example of Detroit tough.

While I haven’t lived in the Motor City in over twelve years, I still consider it home and would actually love to move back.  Nothing pisses me off more than when somebody asks me where I’m from, I say “Detroit,” and they proceed to make a snide comment about it.  First of all, it’s damn rude.  I would never degrade someone’s hometown to them, no matter my personal experience there.  Second, I think we are all aware of Detroit’s crime problems.  A lot of other big, “nicer” cities have this problem, too (hi, Chicago).  The 2008 economic crisis was particularly cruel to Detroit.  Don’t make fun of a hardworking city and people trying to get back on their feet.  Just don’t.  FYI…it is improving slowly but surely.

Detroit gave you the automobile.  For those of you who were fortunate enough to group up in the middle or upper-middle class, you can thank Detroit for a big part of that, too.  We have some of the best restaurants in the country.  And finally, we have some of the nicest suburbs in the country (Oakland Hills, anyone?).  I am going to sound like the Birmingham brat I am, but to make my point, Oakland County was the second wealthiest county in the nation behind the Hamptons back when I was in high school.  Sure, it has fallen off just a tad with the economic downturn (still top ten), but they are still consistently nice.  Detroit suburbs could buy and sell almost anywhere else in the country.

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In Defense of LBJ

I want to start out this post by saying that I am a) not a Miami Heat Fan and b) not an avid fan of the NBA.  My husband is a Miami Heat fan, but I am indifferent.  I don’t have a problem with them, but they aren’t the Detroit Pistons (that won’t be happening for awhile).  This season, I do hope the Heat win the championship because it will make my husband happy and I would love to shut up all the LeBron haters.

I cannot believe the lack of respect LeBron has received this season.  For the first time in five years, he was not voted to the NBA’s All-Defensive team.  Give me a break!  Then, he was not a unanimous selection for the All-NBA first team.  It appears that he is a victim of “LeBron fatigue.”  He’s the best player in the league – get over it.

Then, in Game 1 of The Finals, LeBron cramped to the point he couldn’t move and is being called “soft.”  If you have a cramp, you often can’t move.  Seriously, do people (and Gatorade) not realize how dumb they sound?  For example, my sister and I, who are close in size, could drink the same amount of Powerade and engage in the same intense workout routine, and guess what?  I might suffer terrible cramps and she might not.  It’s called physiological differences between human bodies.  Working in football all those years, some kids were prone to cramps while others sailed through.

People are looking for any reason to dislike LeBron.  I don’t care if you hate him because he’s a great player and you cheer for a rival team.  I feel that the hatred is deeper seeded than that.  Is this really all about “The Decision” from four years ago?  Are we going to continuously punish LBJ for an ill-advised TV special he did when he was 25 years old?  I would like to point out that unlike many, LBJ manned up and apologized for that whole fiasco.  He said if he had it to do over, he certainly wouldn’t have done it that way.  Of course, I don’t know LBJ, but he comes off as a pretty decent guy, especially for someone of his stature.  If he’s a jerk, he hides it pretty well.  He’s not out there talking about great he is.  He’s not out womanizing and putting down his own kids, like Michael Jordan.  He’s not even the shadiest player on his own team. 

As of right now, most consider Jordan to be the greatest of all time, but he definitely has character issues.  And everyone is willing to look past if for him, but not for the stupid “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” comments LeBron made.

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All These Years, They’ve Been Looking for a Baby

Growing up, most kids my age probably idolized Big Bird or Kermit the Frog – something cute and nice.  When we got older, it was probably Ariel from The Little Mermaid or Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Not me.

ImageWhen I was three, my mom said she would let me watch Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty but warned me that the witch was scary.  I watched what I consider the most beautiful animated classic of all time, and it turns out Maleficent didn’t frighten me at all.  She is easily my favorite Disney character.  I had her on birthday cakes, dressed up like her for Halloween, and was her in my 5th grade play.  To this day, I admire her cool elegance and calculating behavior – she isn’t a hothead like Cruella De Vil and certainly has more depth than the Evil Queen.  I also find her subtly hilarious and gorgeous. She is the master of the sideways glance, just like yours truly. I often feel as if I am surrounded by fools, too. While Maleficent is super-evil, she is also very polite, which is something I can appreciate. She’s a classy broad. Like the Mistress of All Evil, I also didn’t get invited to the coolest parties, although I guess I got over it a little better than she did. To top it off, she has a pet raven named Diablo. That is freaking awesome!

ImageI was super excited for the movie, Maleficent, to come out last Friday.  Like Star Wars nerds do, I wore my Maleficent t-shirt and hot pink leggings.  My dad says I was one step away from Comic-Con.

Angelina Jolie was the perfect choice for the role, if anybody could do her justice on screen.  Funny side note:  When Eric I were in London in 2012, we actually ran into Angelina and Brad at the National Portrait Gallery right before filming for this movie commenced.  We stood right next to them.

As for the film, I was entertained but ultimately disappointed. My whole issue is that I don’t think we needed a film on why Maleficent “became evil.” To be honest, the whole back-story is kind of weak. I was always down with the idea that she is just an evil lady and you better not screw with her. Like in society, we need to stop trying to rationalize evil and just accept that there are some bad people in the world. Ultimately, I should have known better.

First, the positive: Angelina was great within the confines of the role. Nobody could look the part quite like her, and she did a great job with the speech pattern. I loved her evil smile and brilliant white teeth. The shape-shifting raven character was interesting and added something to the film as well.

Now, onto the letdown. The screenwriters strayed far away from the original Sleeping Beauty story. This was a revisionist account that ultimately has Maleficent as the “hero.” Huh? Her name is Maleficent – look it up in the dictionary. First, I did not need the “young Maleficent” scenes. It would have been more satisfying to me if Satan had sent her up from Hell to wreak havoc on the world. Early in the film, there is a pointless Lord of the Rings-style battle sequence – don’t waste my time.

The actor playing King Stefan, the film’s main villain (ironic), is horribly miscast. I can’t beat around the bush; he’s horrendous. The three fairies charged with protecting Princess Aurora from Maleficent’s evil curse are complete nitwits. Seriously, there were the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen in a film (including Jar Jar Binks), and I don’t know why Disney let this happen. They made Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather look like they’re in Mensa. I wish Maleficent had zapped them with her staff. The 1959 character would have done so. Because of the fairies ineptitued, Maleficent assumes a “mother” role to young Aurora and grows to love her. She even tries to undo the curse.

As expected, Aurora succumbs to the curse but is in “deathlike sleep” for five minutes, tops. I cannot believe how easily this whole situation gets resolved. Prince Phillip only has a cameo at this point, and it’s not his kiss that awakens Aurora. The ending is just tied up too neatly. Without giving anything away, let’s just say everybody has a happy ending.

To add to my suffering, I hate Lana Del Ray’s droning, unmelodious rendition of Once Upon A Dream. The original version was the theme song at our wedding six years ago (I guess Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz, if you want to get technical).

Bottom line: This is not the “now you shall deal with me, oh prince, and all the powers of Hell” Maleficent from 1959. Only in the christening scene is she the Maleficent I know and love. People who love Maleficent don’t want to see a movie where she is soft almost the entire time. On the other hand, people who do not know Maleficent in the way I do (like she’s a real person), might enjoy the story.

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