Five for Friday: My 5 Favorite Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year again.  My house has so many lights that Clark himself would be jealous;  everything smells of evergreen; and the my playlists normally dedicated to rock start to give way to a bit of holiday cheesiness.  Everything about Christmas is wonderful, but without a doubt, one of the very best things about the holiday season is Christmas movies.  Here are my top five that must be watched each December.


The 5 Best Christmas Films of All Time (according to me)

Number 5:  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

This one is near and dear to my heart,  because I can totally relate to Clark on the light obsession.  It’s never enough.  Ever.  Each year I just keep buying more and more lights.  I’ve been eyeballing the house that went all out for Halloween each time I drive through the neighborhood.  I told Matt, “Don’t think I won’t just keep running out to Home Depot every time they put more up.”  I’m throwing down the gauntlet people.  They WILL NOT outdo us!


Number 4:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

My favorite of the Christmas Classics.  I love his little squeeky nose.  I love Hermey.  I love Yukon Cornelius.  Hell, I even love the Abominable Snow Man.  This one takes me right back to being a kiddo.


Number 3:  A Christmas Story (1983)

You know why Ted Turner plays this thing for 24 hours straight?  Because we’ll watch it for all 24 hours.  I just turn on the TV and let it cycle over and over.  Somehow I always see to walk in on the part where the dogs are stealing the turkey.

You really can’t pick one best scene from this festive gem.  Don’t even try.


Number 2:  Home Alone (1990)

Keep the change, ya filthy animal!  This one ranks number one on my Mom’s list.  She’s obsessed with this little prankster.  I tend to cry at least every other showing because of the old man and his grand daughter.  Old people and animals, they get me every time.


Another connection to this film,  I’ve had far too many people to count say to me, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like the Mom from Home Alone?”  Yes, yes they have.  Maybe I should do a list of the 5 “hey you look like’s” I’ve gotten over the years.  I always fail to see the connection.

Are you ready for #1?!  What could it be?  Surely it is something on everyone’s top 3, right?  An obvious classic?


Number 1:  Gremlins (1984)

Yeah, I see that your jaw just dropped and some of you are shaking your heads.  But this is my #1 folks!  Matt will argue for the rest of our lives that this isn’t a Christmas movie, but I say, hell yes it is!

Does it take place at Christmas?  Yep.


Are Christmas and Christmas related accessories apparent throughout the movie? Uh-huh.


Is there Christmas music?  Sure is.


This is also on my list of top 80s flicks.  I’ve blogged about it before in 5 Things 80s Movies Taught Me About Life.

Christmas. Have a nice flight Mrs. Deagle.


Honorable Mentions:

Scrooged (1988)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970)


What are your faves?


Stay positive & love your life!






Great New Albums for November 2014

All of the top songs and albums posts for 2014 are descending upon us.  And guess what, most of them are crap.  Check out the top Rock Artists of 2014 according to Billboard.  Granted, there are some great rock acts on this list, but in what universe is Lorde considered rock?  And how in the living hell did she top acts like Foo Fighters, Jack White, and Arctic Monkeys?  Also, why am I surprised?  A mainstream list like what Billboard provides is never going to satisfy me.  So on I march making my own lists.  Here are some listen-worthy albums from November.  Stay tuned for my obligatory 2014 lists coming soon.

Dels- Petals Have Fallen

New rap that I like?  It does exist!  This English born rapper, graphic designer, and filmmaker creates music that harkens back to raps heyday.  If you’re a fan of Jurassic 5, The Roots, or Mos Def, give him a listen.  With connections to acts like Hot Chip, you can’t go wrong.


Also check out:  RGB,  Shapeshift (earlier album)


Ormonde- Cartographer/Explorer

Like St. Vincent?  Fan of Indie Folk and Pop?  This is your album for November.  This isn’t get out of your seat and dance music, but if you’re looking for a soundtrack to chill, they have your number.

Also check out:  A Grande Design, Lemon Incest (earlier album)


Circa Survive- Descensus

Heavy at one moment and melodic at others, Circa Survive has a sound all their own.  My attraction to the band lies cleanly in the vocals of Anthony Green.  Dig his high pitched, odd voice.

Also check out:  Schema


Foo Fighters- Sonic Highways

Really I didn’t even need any other albums on the list for November.  Because, let’s be honest, I listened to this one like it was my job.  Perfection.  The only complaint I have is it’s only 8 songs.  That’s almost an EP!  I love the story behind the album and the docu-series of the same name on HBO was fantastic.  A must listen and a must watch if you’re a fan of music history and well, music in general.

Also check out:  Something From Nothing, Subterranean, and In the Clear…damn, just listen to the entire album.


Happy listening!

new music

The Original Catfish

Here’s the final of my reposts from my old writing home, Lefty Pop.  So long Lefty Pop.  I bid you one final adieu! 

Ahh Catfish, I just can’t quit you.  I feel the need to place myself in the ultimate voyeur seat (my couch) and watch weekly as person after person is shocked that people pretend to be someone other than themselves on the the internet.   It’s like watching a wreck in slow motion, you know it’s going to end badly and it’s going to be painful to watch, but you just can’t look away.

Catfish airs weekly on MTV and is the brainchild of Nev Schulman.  Nev originally presented his first story of catfishing (he was the victim) in his hit documentary of the same title.  Each week we get a chance to peer in the lives of a “couple” existing almost entirely via text messages and IM.  Sometimes there is an occasional phone call (gasp, what primitive technology), but very seldom is there any face-to-face, real time correspondence (via Skype or Facetime).  So, inevitably what you end up with is one authentic person and one catfish.  Catfish recently made it into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and is defined as:  a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes.

But the concept of catfishing has been around a lot longer than Facebook, Twitter, or even Myspace.  The Bible is full of deception, especially the female variety.  Shakespeare was using the power of deception back in the 1500s (see Much Ado About Nothing). And modern cinema loves this story line.  Check out some of my favorite fictional characters who started relationships hiding behind a facade.


The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996)

The not so conventionally beautiful, yet quite smart, Abby (Janeane Garofalo) convinces the very pretty, but not bright, Noelle (Uma Thurman) to pretend to be her to win the affections of a guy.  Love triangle and high-jinx ensue.  As is the case with most 90s rom-coms, a happy ending full of quirk and nonsense is inevitable.  In this case, a dog shows up at Abby’s work with a bag containing roller skates which she dons and is then taken via dog leash on a ride through the park to her soul mate.



There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Ted embarrasses himself during a prom pick-up when his junk gets stuck in his zipper and misses out on the girl of his dreams, Mary.  Years later he decides she’s the one that got away and goes after her.  Too bad she has a host of other not so honest suitors.  There’s the PI Ted hired, Healy, who lies, cheats, stalks, and even drugs a dog to be close to Mary.  Then there is the British, disabled Tucker who turns out to be an able-bodied American pizza delivery boy.  And finally there is Dom who exposes Ted’s whole involvement in the messy plot, but then turns out to be Mary’s weirdo ex Woogie who “got weird on her” back in high school and stole all her shoes.  Faced with all these wonderful choices in suitors, Mary chooses Ted.  Shocker, happy ending.


Babe (1995)

“That pig thinks it’s a dog.”  Ultimately Babe the pig’s dog-like skills and sheep herding performances keep him out of the frying pan as he forges a relationship with the farmer.  So, again, happy ending.





And who are your favorite pop culture catfish?

An Open Letter to Parents

This post originally appeared over at Lefty Pop.  But it’s a PSA which warrants repeating.


Dear Parenting Dynamo,

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but there are other people who must share this planet with you and your offspring.  We are walking on the same sidewalks, shopping in the same stores, and standing in the same lines.  And while little Brently’s unruliness may be cute to just slightly annoying to you, trust me, it’s damn near unbearable for others.


Hey, can you get off your phone for a quick sec?  Over here, good, now focus for a moment.  You see your daughter over there?  She’s shoving through people like a running back.  I’m pretty sure that lady over there just winced in pain as she stamped on her sandled foot.  And her high-pitched caterwauling is interrupting that couple’s quiet conversation.  And…..yep, you’re back to texting as your hellions run wild.

It makes sense to me now, really it does.  How would your child possibly have learned manners with you as a parent?  You clearly never learned to use your inside voice either.  This line here, it’s here for a reason.  You don’t have some sort of super privilege that allows you direct access to the front.  But thanks for passing on that lack of situational awareness to your spawn as well.  He’s all set to piss off the next generation of manner equipped citizens.

Do not  touch.  Maybe he can’t read yet or maybe he thinks the rules don’t apply to him, but either way, your young-in damn near just pulled that exhibit down.  And while I wouldn’t mind watching him get a good scolding from a staff member,  I’m sure it somehow would have been the fault of the aquarium and not your angel.  After all, accountability is taught, and well, you clearly aren’t one for giving lessons.

If it were just you, I’d probably be ok with your lack of actual parenting.  But you’re not alone.  There are now dozens of distracted and entitled guardians roaming about these days.  You’re inflicting your shoddy parenting and basic life skills on us all.  I gotta be honest, I can’t stand your kid.  But after seeing his role model, I totally despise you.


Heading into this bar for a beer.


PS (for my readers)- Before I get the “you don’t have kids, you don’t understand” hate mail, let me say I write this as a former kid myself.  Yep, I’m completely qualified to make the statements above because I know an alternative exists. As a child, I knew how to act when I went out in public.  I knew how respect others.  I knew better.   Less Candy Crush and more parenting please.


Love is Love


26 days. In 26 days I marry the love of my life and perfect match. Right now I’m a bundle of giddiness, excitement, anxiety (putting on a wedding is an insane undertaking), and warm fuzzies. This experience from moment one has truly been magical. Love does that to you. It touches every aspect of your life and makes it better. Way better. The funny thing about true love is that it catches you by surprise. You’re not looking for it and then bam, slap to the face. It’s a real wakeup call. It’s like someone comes along and shakes the cobwebs from your mind and shows you what life should really be like.

Not to discount previous relationships, but this is just, different. It’s like Digiorno compared to your favorite pizza spot (you can tell I’m writing this at lunch). Both are good. Both will get you through, satisfy your need for sustenance. But only one is what you truly wanted. Only one will you rave about to all of your friends. And the funny thing is if you’d only eaten frozen pizza all your life, you’d believe that was the be all and end all of pizza. Then one night your friends take you to Antico and you think, “Okay, this is pizza! I’m not sure what that other stuff was. This is the real deal. I want to eat this for the rest of my life.” Enough with the pizza. I think I’ve made my point. I’m in love.

Here’s the crazy part, I’d written off marriage. I’m not sure I even believed in it. In my mind it added nothing to the equation; it didn’t change the commitment. I was the one spouting off rhetoric about it being an outdated practice and a broken system. Then true love happened. And suddenly it was all I could think about. I wanted this man in my life forever. I wanted others to realize how serious we are. I wanted my love to be certified! And here’s where a nagging thought entered my mind. It started out as a passing, “ugh, jeez, that really sucks” and grew into moments of tearing up and getting seriously pissed. My thought was this, my best friend can’t experience this; at least not in the way I can. And guess what, he’s there. He’s right there with me on this wonderfully amazing emotional roller coaster. He loves his boyfriend. I mean loves, like head tilts and shrugs, like aches with distance, like the completion of a puzzle. He’s in it. He’s found the one. This guy, he’s amazing. He makes my best friend so happy. He levels out his anxiety. He makes him listen to 90s rock (awesome). He is the one my best friend deserves. Too bad they live in Tennessee. Too bad when that magic moment arrives they can’t even choose to get married where they’ve built their lives. Too bad this, the most important moment of their lives, can’t be spent at home.

Imagine that, because I have, over and over again over the last few months. I’ve always been pro-equality. Love is love. Everyone deserves to feel this way. Everyone deserves to have their love recognized, accepted, validated. Because yes, their love is not minimized in their minds by this bigotry, but it deserves to be celebrated! Brett deserves to haggle with caterers and florists. He deserves to pick colors and handle seating arrangements. He deserves his moment of bliss that launches a lifetime of happiness. And he deserves to do it wherever he damn well pleases WITH a legally recognized marriage license in hand.

Brett will be there by my side in 26 days when I take my stroll down the aisle. Bradley will be there looking on as his future husband likely cries while he watches his best friend get married. I want nothing more than to blubber on his special day. It sucks that that will mean traveling to one of the 19 states that have finally come to their senses. Now that’s some serious food for thought.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees…2035

This post originally appeared over at my old writing hub, Lefty Pop.  Given the largely musical space of my personal blog, I thought it a great candidate for reposting.  Enjoy!
The list of 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees is out.

There are rockers of all sorts:  punk, progressive, new wave, and industrial.  We have our now standard rap nomination as well as some R&B.  Missing this year are the acts who would be considered early influencers, those groups who tend to bleed together for me in an amalgam of doo wop and matching suits and have names that always begin with “The” as in, The Comets, The Crickets.  Replacing these acts are a few disco nods.  After reviewing the list, one may be inclined to wonder,  if all of these acts qualify, what the hell is Rock & Roll?

Rock and Roll:  noun a type of popular dance music originating in the 1950s, characterized by a heavy beat and simple melodies. Rock and roll was an amalgam of black rhythm and blues and white country music, usually based on a twelve-bar structure and an instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums.

So pretty much anything.  Because all music has its roots firmly planted in something that could be found in this description.  Arguably all music genres have some influence on others, but I hate to think that lately it’s to our detriment. For example, T-Pain planted some sort of junk music seed with his auto-tune that has grown like kudzu all across the airwaves.  Even country, supposedly the purest of the song-spinning sects hasn’t been immune.  So if it’s all about what was big on the charts, what does that mean for the 50 something year old me?

I wonder…

Here are your nominees for 2035:

Taylor Swift:  Predominantly known for influencing an entire movement of white girl, breakup songs set to sloppy guitar strumming, Taylor managed to remain on the Top 40 charts well into her 40s.  But as her original fans found themselves unable to find the motivation to continue to shake it off whilst balancing a challenging career and successful relationship, her popularity waned.  Now a successful producer of this decade’s resurgence of boy bands (most notably Swifty’s Sweeties and Solo Course), her influence on the industry inexplicably continues.

Nickelback:  Popular for lyrics which require zero interpretation and are repeated over and over again in an easy to memorize succession, this Canadian band soared to new heights as the children of millennials latched onto their parents misguided CDs purchases and forgotten iPod playlists from the early 2000s and termed them classic rock.  Nickleback tshirts started to be featured in Target and their old album sales spiked.  Chad Kroger opened this year’s Grammy podcast with a cover of “Photograph” featuring North West.

Rose Serbert (previously known as Ke$ha):  Rose gained respect after disappearing from the spotlight for a decade (rumored to be spent living on a commune in Montana), and then rebranding herself as a new wave folk act.  Her new offering combined 1980s synth with the hipster folk of the mid teens (2013-2016).  Though she’s fought hard to shed ties to famous white girl party anthems like “Tic Tok”, cougars covered in glitter, sporting vintage grills still sometimes make an appearance at her shows.

Skrillex:  After completing a series of complicated surgeries in the early 20s to fully become an actual Transformer, he released his long anticipated and biggest selling album to date, “Grindy Squeeling Blender Sex”.  This release launched the world’s longest ongoing EDM festival to date.  Skrillex’s set on the festival’s main stage set a world record when it lasted for a month straight and featured one never ending track.

Imagine Dragons:  Somehow this once indie rock band from Las Vegas are still touring on their 2012 release “Night Visions”.  Their track “Radioactive” has been featured in over 35,000 different commercials, movies, and shows.  Rumored release of their sophomore album is early 2036.

Florida Georgia Line:  Credited with the final demise of the genre once known as Country after releasing their 2020 album “Dirt Road Truck Girl Part 3:  Cruising Again”, this power couple switched gears and re-branded themselves as rock.  They’ve most recently been opening for Nickelback on their “Here We Go Again” tour.

Jack White:  Because credibility matters.  And also the death threats from 50 and 60 somethings are getting old.  You’re welcome old people.

With the demise of the radio and the ever growing music streaming services, it’s hard to imagine where the industry will end up.  But hey, it’s what sells records, or downloads, or whatever it is that allows actual musicians to make some actual money off of their art these days.  And who knows, maybe just like Africka Bambaataa grew “Planet Rock” out of Kraftwerk’s beats and started a music movement, one day a new music pioneer will find a gem in an Iggy Azalea track and launch an entirely new sound. But I’m not holding my breath.


Running: An Exploration of Ego and Musical Landscapes

I’ve always enjoyed running.  I can’t really go so far as to say I love it.  It’s more realistic to call it a love/hate relationship.  Some of the reasons it’s pleasurable are also the reasons it can be miserable.  You never win at it really.  You can always go farther.  Or faster.  But it’s reliable.  It’s that friend who meets you every morning with an encouraging gesture and a boost to your ego only to kick you to the curb in 45 minutes when she’s had her fill of your company.  It’s hard more times than it’s easy, but yet I keep coming back.  Because every once in a while you have a day where you do win.  You set a challenge for yourself and then kill it.  And it’s enjoyable and almost, dare I say it, fun.  Today was one of those days.  Maybe it was a good night of sleep or maybe it was the fact that my playlist just kicked ass, but I had a great run.  I launched head on into my day ready to conquer the entire world.

So I thought I’d share my playlist for today.  Because running aside and second only to my husband and dog,  is my love for music (if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog).  Anything good is made great with a soundtrack.  Life needs it and running, at least for me anyway, damn near requires it.    Maybe you can tie up your sneaks and take it for a test drive; universe willing, you too will have an awesome run.

*Small disclaimer, some days I run to a created playlist I’ve painstakingly curated, but mostly I hit shuffle and go where the musical road may lead.  Today was a shuffle kinda day and as you’ll soon see (again, if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog), my musical tastes are all over the highway.

The Cult- Coming Down (1994)

Origene- Sanctuary (2003)

Metallica-  For Whom the Bell Tolls  (1984)

The Limousines- Undercover  (2013)

Ted Nugent-  Motor City Madhouse (1975)

Foo Fighters-  Dear Lover (1997)

Nirvana- Downer (1989)

Full Service- Greetings (2013)

Band of Skulls-  Wanderluster (2012)

Joe Jackson-  Breaking Us in Two (1982)

Dropkick Murphys-  I’m Shipping Up to Boston (2005)

Perry Farrell-  100 Ways (1996)

Goldfinger-  My Girlfriend’s Shower (1996)

Dirty Projectors-  Two Doves (2009)

The Inmates-  Dirty Water (1979)

Cypress Hill-  How I Could Just Kill a Man (1991)

Leftfield-  A Final Hit (2005)

The Four Tops-  I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) (1965)

Douglas Armour-  The Whole World (2008)

The White Stripes-  Hotel Yorba (2001)


Happy trails and tunes!  Let me know how your run went.

Stay positive and love your life.


Autumn Amore’

This post originally appeared on Lefty Pop’s site.  My, my, my do I miss my politically charged brothers and sisters.

Fall is upon us and I have to tell ya, I couldn’t be any freaking happier.  This is the time of year I live for.  Spring is great and all, summer means days spent by the pool, and winter, well winter sucks except for Christmas.  But Fall, glorious Fall is always welcomed with a smile and a hoodie laden hug.  Why is it so superior to any other season?  Peruse the list below and prepare to profess your Autumn amore.


The weather, naturally.

The air gets a little crisp and it’s just chilly enough to break out a hoodie even if you wear it with a pair of shorts.  My hair chills the eff out and behaves; no more frizzies or sweaty hair stuck to my neck.  My t-zone doesn’t look like a BP disaster.  And being outside is no longer tolerable, it’s desirable.  In fact, I find myself looking for a reason to be outside and just, well, be outside.


So I’m not really “into” football.  I dig supporting a team and I do pseudo enjoy watching. But what I really love is the trappings of football:   beer, sports bars, parties, finger foods, and a damn good excuse to be outside.  There’s only one thing that can ruin this love – the evil that is fantasy football.  Dear God, make it stop.  Football gets old after watching every game, every game highlight, every game commentary session, and then all of the shows dedicated to kicking ass at fantasy football.  With that much effort, you should just start a football league and I don’t know, actually play football.

Pumpkin everything.

Who would have thunk that pumpkin would be the new bacon?  It’s gone far beyond the coveted Starbucks latte and a few basic candles.  Now it’s in everything.  Hersey Kisses, beer, donuts.  Shit, there’s probably someone making a bacon wrapped, pumpkin spice something at this moment.  And guess what?  I love it all!  It seems like you can never have too much pumpkin, but we may want to chill out a bit before this thing jumps the shark.  I went to Bath and Body Works yesterday and there were no less than 15 different types of pumpkin candle.  And that’s on top of the 10 Fall varieties.  I only bought a few…dozen.


I love a backyard fire more than almost any other option for a Friday or Saturday night.  In fact, I love them so much that I had one during the summer.  It was like sitting in a sweat lodge and I ended up having to bring the mop bucket out to douse it, but I was ready and I wasn’t going to let a little 85 degree weather stand in my way.  I have my fire pit cleaned and ready and a box of duraflames stocked.  Now I just need to add beers and buds.


Costumes, candy, and all things spooky.  I love it all.  Give me a bowl of candy corn and throw on a horror movie marathon.  I’ll never be too old to rock a great costume.


Oh look at all the beautiful red and orange and yellow!  Wait, now they’re just covering my deck.  Get the leaf blower!  There, that’s better.  Just going to grab a drink from the house real quick.  Damn it, my deck is covered in leaves again.  Get the leaf blower!  Maybe the leaves actually belong in the Autumn ‘con’ column.

I know this Fall fantasy world won’t last.  Soon we’ll be facing another snowpacolypse and freezing our faces off.  But right now, it’s perfect.  So meet me ’round the campfire.  We’ll don our hoodies, share a pumpkin beer,  discuss your fantasy football strategy (I’ll convince you I’m listening), and we can workshop your Halloween costume ideas.

Happy Fall y’all!



New Music Tuesday: Top New Album Releases for October

The leaves have changed, the weather is getting crisp, and the time is perfect for a backyard fire.  You know what goes great with a fire (besides some good friends and great brews)?  New music!  So prepare your ears and get thee to a computer stat!  Because these new releases from October are just waiting for a download.

Best New Album Releases October 2014


Hozier- Hozier

Critics and indie rock lovers are falling all over themselves for this guy.  “Take Me Church” is so freaking catchy and is getting some major airtime.  This means I’m destined to hate it soon after it appears in a gazillion ads and movie trailers, but for now I’ll enjoy.  Andrew Hozier- Byrne has an Irish sourced soul, a beautiful mane of hair, and an even more beautiful voice.  Bonus points awarded because his first single tackles a human rights issue.  “Take Me to Church” is about  gay discrimination in Russia.  The video achieved viral status last year launching the Hozier love fest.

Also check out:  Like Real People Do

Milky Chance- Sadnecessary

Folky at times and a bit electro-indie at others.  I’m totally digging this German duo and their latest pop offering.  Open the windows and do a little fall cleaning or baking.  I dare you not to dance!

Also check out:  Stunner and Loveland

We Were Promised Jetpacks- Unravelling

My picks this month are skewing poppy for sure.  Here’s another pop rock group from across the pond.  Emo and a smidge punk at moments, somehow this album goes a little dark while remaining optimistic.  And it’s wonderfully cohesive.

Also check out:  Night Terror  The critics seem to hate this one.  I find it odd and delightful.

The Flaming Lips- With a Little Help from My Fwends

Ever wonder what a tribute to The Beatles “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” would sound like if say, Miley Cyrus, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog and Moby teamed up with The Flaming Lips?  Well here’s your answer.  These guys come together with a list of other musical pals to make a strange album even stranger…and also completely awesome.  Bizarre and beautiful, you have to give this one a listen.  Skip about a minute in to get beyond the crazy.

Also check out:  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and She’s Leaving Home

High Ends- Super Class

I’m a big fan of Yukon Blonde (a Canadian synth-indie-pop band).  High Ends is lead singer’s Jeff Innes’ solo project.  He wrote the album and recorded it in a home studio.  Completely upbeat with singable choruses, it pairs nicely with the first four albums on my list.

Also check out:  Keep on Dancing and The Weight

Le Cassette- Left to Our Own Devices

A chill-wave 80s throwback, Left to Our Own Devices is wonderful from start to finish.  If you’re a fan of M83, this album will be right at home in your collection.  A Peter Gabriel and Bowie presence is tangible.

Also check out:  Electric Paradise and Arms of Mine

There you have it folks, 6 gems from October.  I’m hoping my November picks end up more on the rock end of the spectrum, but sometimes we all need a little dance break.  Enjoy!

What were your faves from October?  Let me know below!

Stay positive and love your life!


Karate Kid and Its Life Lessons Turn 30

Here’s a post that originally appeared on Lefty Pop back in June.  Given the life lessons to be learned from 80s gems such as Karate Kid, I thought it prudent to post it here as well.  So read on and remember, “You’re the best around.  Nothing’s ever gonna keep you down.”

In a continuing effort to shove me into old age, time insists on marching on.  Everyday some relic of my childhood hits a milestone and I’m forced to think, “Holy shit, I guess that was X years ago.”  Today’s ‘aha moment’ of aging is brought to me courtesy of LaRusso and Miyage.  That’s right, Karate Kid just turned 30.

Released in 1984, Karate Kid was a commercial success.  It even earned Noriyuki “Pat’ Morita an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  It spawned a franchise that resulted in two sequels; unfortunately leading to a spin-off (The Next Karate Kid, 1994, with Hillary Swank) and then an unoriginal reboot (The Karate Kid, 2010, with Jaden “I’m only famous cause of my dad” Smith).  But the most important impact it made wasn’t at the box office, it was in the living rooms of 80s kids across the country.  While Daniel-san was learning karate, we were learning some important life lessons.

Sometimes assholes learn their lessons and change.

Johnny and his Cobra Kai chums really made Daniel’s experience as the new kid on the block a living hell. I mean, Daniel did kind of put the moves on his ex-girlfriend, but kicking his ass in front of the entire dojo and chasing him dressed as a skeleton seems a little harsh.  Johnny is a world-class bully.  But eventually, after receiving a crane kick to the chin, he admits defeat and declares ” “You’re all right, LaRusso! Good match!”  Even he wasn’t buying the no mercy bit at this point.

Manual labor builds character.

Having obligated him to a karate tournament against Cobra Kai in two months, Daniel assumes Mr. Miyagi is going to instantly jump into teaching him all of his awesome karate secrets.  Nope.  Apparently the secret to kicking-ass is doing all of Miyagi’s chores.  Wax-on, wax-off.  Wax-on, wax-off.  Bam, muscle memory!  While I don’t buy that Daniel’s YMCA level skills were instantly transformed by his Miyagi slavedom, the message of hard-work preceding success is a great lesson.

Do or do not.  There is no try.

Technically, Yoda taught us this lesson.  But Miyagi echoes it.  You must commit to something to be great. “Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later [squish gesture] get squish just like grape.”

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

“Get him a body bag! Yeah!”   It’s always embarrassing to lose after talking smack.  You look like an idiot Tommy.

Never let fear keep you from trying.

Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from trying.  “It’s okay to lose to an opponent.  It’s never okay to lose to fear.”

Never, ever give up.

During the tournament finals, Johnny is delivering a major beating upon Daniel.  It seems that all hope is lost.  Clearly he is outmatched.  When we hear sensei scream, “Sweep the leg!”, we hang our heads confident that LaRusso has failed.  But we’d forgotten about the crane.  Daniel musters his last bit of strength, somehow hypnotizes Johnny in his attempts to balance, and delivers a tournament ending, Cobra Kai face kick.  After witnessing this moment, I proceeded to don my USA Gold Medal replica (found in a box of Wheates) and perform karate moves all over the house.  He did it!  He won!

A theme song can make everything better.

Oh, the 80s and their theme songs.  You can’t present a montage without one.  And Karate Kid had one of the best….around.  Thanks Joe Esposito.

Lily Ellyn

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

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words are just breadcrumbs to get us back to where we're from

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

International House of Geek

Come hungry. Leave geeky.

polysyllabic profundities

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Matthew Fray

Author and Relationship Coach


Crazy is relative. Just ask my relatives. And music!