In Defense of Oldies Stations

It seems like people have been giving oldies stations a hard time almost as long as the songs they play have been around.
I’ve seen articles, sitcoms, and comedy routines poke fun at them for repeating the same songs over and over, which they are definitely guilty of. And yes, that can be very annoying. How many times does a person need to hear, “Can’t Hurry Love” or “I Got You Babe.” Do those sound familiar? They should.

People clamor for “new oldies.” I believe I heard that on the Simpsons once. But do you really want to hear new oldies? Let me tell you, I’ve heard that more obscure stuff on satellite radio. Sometimes you make an exciting new discovery or hear an underrated song. But a lot of the time, there’s a reason that those songs were shoved into oblivion. The reason is that SOME OF THEM JUST AREN’T VERY GOOD. They sound like bad acid trips, alley way stomps, or worst of all, disco barf. On the other side of the coin, there’s a reason that you hear the hits over and over. Because people liked those songs back in the day, and they like them now.

I grew up on oldies stations, and I just love them. I feel happy when I hear songs like, “Hey Jude,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Locomotion,” and many, many others. Sure, the obscure stuff interests me too, but I’ve had serious bonding moments over songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Can’t Take my Eyes off You.” Also by Frankie Valli, “My Eyes Adored You” nearly made me get emotional the other day. I’m such a sucker for that crap. It’s funny how back in the day (generally), the music had more respect and reverence for women, even if society didn’t. And now everything is so disgusting, but we supposedly “respect women.” Well, that was a nice little segue-way.

On a lighter note, I saw a blurb on the news about a viral video of a guy who blasted “Build Me Up Buttercup” on a crowded LA freeway and got fellow commuters to sing along with him. I think that’s just beautiful. Well, you know, unless someone gets distracted and crashes. So maybe that’s not the best idea, unless you’re at a red light. Yes, what a good compromise. Consider that added to my bucket list.

Hope you enjoyed this rant.

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Cliches That Are True #2: Life Isn’t Fair (Duh?)

This morning, while brushing my teeth (which always gives me good ideas) I realized an important reason why it is often so hard to be happy, to throw your cares and frustrations under a rug, and rejoice in the fact that you are saved by Jesus, have food to eat, and all your faculties at disposal. If you do not have food to eat and all your faculties at disposal, then you may have permission to be mopey from time to time, so this doesn’t apply to you.

The reason it is hard to be happy is not that you haven’t bought enough self help books, or haven’t meditated enough. The reason may not even be that your life lacks meaning, though very often that is the case. It may very well be that you have faulty assumptions about life itself. We’ve all heard the phrase “Life isn’t fair.” But do we really believe it, all the time? Don’t we sometimes try to build our happiness on crumbling foundations, like the assumptions that: life is essentially fair, people are rational, and others will try to see things from our perspective?

How do you think Jesus felt about getting crucified? He knew it was coming, but still He was a little down about it at times, naturally. It wasn’t fair that the people wanted him dead. What crime did he commit? So life wasn’t fair to him, why should it be fair all the time to anyone?

And then, of course, there’s trying to build joy on faulty foundations. Yes, now that I’ve imparted my nugetette of worldly wisdom, it’s time for the spiritual. Ever try to build joy on faulty foundations? Joy, as opposed to happiness, which is deeper and more understated, which requires, in my opinion of the word, a kind of security and peace that you cannot glean from a new alarm system or a safer car. Joy is the conundrum, because I believe there is only one source of it. I think you can guess what that is. But sometimes, we try to build it ourselves. We try to build it off yet another faulty foundation, the principle that we are masters of our own destiny, the final arbitrators when it comes to our little slice of humanity. We erect it from the fruits of our success and adorn it with the musings from our sentimentality. And then, one day, it just sinks down, because we built it on sand. Ooopps.

Liebstering

Now I’ve finally gotten around to my Liebster post. A great thank-you to Tony Roberts who nominated me. The fact that this weird blog gets the amount of recognition it does is truly a blessing!

Here are the fine bloggers I am going to share the award with:

Defy the Narrative

Isaiah 43:1

Pensive Thoughts

The Aspirational Agnostic

Arrows of Light

motheringinthelongnow

Accidentally Profound

Holy.Just.Love

Art and Life Notes

Red Setter Christian

(If you’re here, let me know if the hyperlinks aren’t working. I just learned how to do that)

And the super fun questions from Tony Roberts:

What is your favorite punctuation mark?

I would have to admit that it’s the exclamation point. I use it enough, even though it’s taboo in the writing world. I am under the notion that it has the power to make any ridiculous thing I say sound sincere and good-natured.

Do you really believe man walked on the moon or have you come to accept the reality that it was a very elaborate Hollywood hoax?

I find conspiracy theories intriguing and scary at the same time. I do believe there was a man on the moon, just like I believe that 9-11 was exactly what it was reported to be. If it’s true that the government-media-complex is inherently evil and relentlessly deceitful, well, I’d rather bury my head in the sand than believe it for now.

What brand of toothpaste do you use and why?

I use Tom’s (fluoride free) because I am selectively a health nut and live with health nuts

Can you listen to John Prine (above) without smiling and/or Zoe Muth (above) without crying in your beer? (If yes) Are you human?

I tried really hard not to smile at the John Prine video, but I think I did. Ugh. As for Zoe Muth, I could listen to that without crying while completely sober. I’m reasonably human.

Do you prefer print books or e-readers?

I tend to use and enjoy both, but I find e-readers a little more convenient and the classics are free! (exclamations!)

Share a quote that you find inspiring.

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”

-CS Lewis

If you write, what is the title of your work in progress?  If not, what book are you currently reading?

I just wrote something called “Laurie”

Favorite Beatle?  (John, Paul, George, or Ringo) Why?

Ringo, because no one talks about him, so I give him the benefit of the doubt.

What group of workers do you believe actually deserves to make what top entertainers and athletes make?

People who clean toilets

Name one poster you put on your wall growing up.

Funny, but I’ve never hung posters before

And now for the nominees. Please choose 10 other bloggers, answer the questions below, and come up with your own 10 questions in a post:

1. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you enjoy running?

2. If you could go back in time and live in any decade of the 20th century, which would it by and why?

3. What is one embarrassing memory you have from adolescence?

4. What is one important factor that has shaped your beliefs / outlook on life?

5. What is one stupid movie you’ve seen and enjoyed against your better judgment?

6. How do you feel about social media in general (other than blogging), banal or beneficial?

7. If you could be doing anything in the world right now, what would it be?

8. In the event of an apocalypse / total economic meltdown (because really, how often do people get stranded on deserted islands?), what three vegetables (yes, vegetables) would you bring?

9. Is there extraterrestrial life?

10. What is your favorite cartoon from back in the day, and would you be willing to transport yourself into it?

Congratulations to the above nominees and all other informative and interesting blogs out there!

 

College Corner

Yesterday I began my university career. I’d been looking forward to it for so long, and there it was! Sure, there’s always the anticlimax associated with something you waited a long time for, but I’m still hopeful for the future, and planning on being thankful for it all even when it gets crazy towards finals week. 

Armed with a backpack filled with anything I could ever possibly need for the day, I set off in the general direction of my class. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get my swag on, walking confidently, being sure to swing my arms and act like I don’t feel lost and nervous. I look at the map for guidance, trying to seem cool and methodical as I do it. I finally find my first class, economics, without having to ask anyone, which is good because I HATE asking for directions.

My first social interaction was not promising. As we flowed into the lecture hall as a crowd, I had to look for a seat. This was intimidating. Would it be too forward to sit next to someone? What about the people I walked past, would they see it as rejection? Would I seem antisocial or pretentious or something if I skipped seats? What would Jesus do? So I chose an end seat in one row. Which was not the best decision. And the girl next to that seat said someone was sitting there. Great. So I went to the next row and debated with myself whether I should try talking to my neighbor, but she didn’t seem like she wanted to talk to me. I vaguely wondered if I couldn’t go home and learn in a book just as well, if I was going to be lonely anyway. Then I tried to wrap my mind around the opportunity cost, a mystical, additional cost added to everyday things. As if taxes weren’t enough.

The worst part of the day was probably jogging to my managerial accounting class. I had to jog, okay, it was all the way across campus and I only had ten minutes to get there. There’s everyone else, strolling along or serenely coasting on their bike, and then there’s me, panting and sweating a little, clearly out of shape and out of vogue. I didn’t want to wear jogging clothes to school! You know, I don’t see why it can’t be socially acceptable to jog in street clothes for a practical reason. Why’s the man always bringing me down? 

The best part of the day was probably my playwriting class. It was very small and intimate, taught by a bubbly, quirky TA that reminded me of one of my high school theater teachers. 

Still, I’m pretty excited about college. I have a feeling it’s going to be the best two days of my week (I wish it was more!). Sure, I’m apprehensive and a little skeptical, but it’s something to apply myself to, and I’m sure it’ll give me a lot of writing material, if it doesn’t also diminish my faith in God. You know. 

 

 

 

 

Cliches That Are True #1: Pride Comes Before the Fall

I may not seem like a very prideful person, and in some ways, I’m not. Certainly I’m often less than comfortable in public, mostly because I’m afraid of being judged. I don’t have the best posture either, but I do have more than a fair share of insecurities. And self-loathing is no foreign concept. Yet, somehow, I still make room for pride in my heart.

People always wonder why I make comments that are considered negative, defeatist, or just excessively modest when it comes to my prospects for achievement. It may be that I have low self esteem, but that’s not reason. The reason is that “confidence” generally backfires on me, while modesty pays. I think this is God’s little way of chiseling down my pride. Don’t believe me?

It’s the year of our Lord, 2013 and we’re in an abandoned terminal turned war zone, bunkering down in some kind of cubicle-like room with one door. I’m crouched all the way down with my MPSK machine gun and my buddy is on the other side of the room. We’re waiting for another Russian to get caught in our deadly crossfire, but we have no takers. Slowly, I peek outside. There’s no one. I run out, ready to get upstairs and claim victory. It’s all over, I think, we’ve done it! That wasn’t so bad! But then I hear a voice. Something isn’t right. I retreat, and we see a buttload of them streaming down the stairs with riot shields. We weren’t expecting that, we didn’t set any claymores. So we get slaughtered.

Me and my friend toss our controllers. We really thought we were finally going to get that third star on Call of Duty.

I’m a senior in high school and I think I’m all that just because I have straight A’s and was involved in theater. I strut around in my khaki pants and maroon polo shirt, more than reasonably sure that I will get picked student of the month one time. But month after month passes. The other kids get it, kids that are more deserving than me, with scores of hours of community service, sports achievements, better grades and attitudes than me, and everything else. Fine, whatever. They deserve it. Then, the last month arrives. I know I didn’t get it, but the hope is still there because I haven’t seen the picture yet of the winner on the bulletin board. I walked up from the parking lot and opened the doors. There was her face, not my face, the face of the victor. Fast forward to graduation. Not only did I not get that award, but I got no awards that the school wasn’t required to give me. If only I didn’t have such a rotten, repulsive personality, and my parents had been more willing to drive me around to do community service, I think to myself.

Who’s confident now?

Of course, I have many other instances of this in my life, but I don’t want to bore you anymore. The point is that pride has never done me any good, but humility has, and I know that God wants me to be humble. Though it may seem very much implied by my words, I don’t think confidence is always bad. If you can be confident in yourself and in God without getting too carried away, then I commend you. But I myself, never found that happy medium. So for now, I’ll keep ragging on myself, and thanking God for bothering with me in the first place.

Dreaming

Last night, I had a dream that involved the actor that played George in Seinfield, a meltdown at a nuclear power plant, and condos, I think. Most of my dreams are strange like this, but I suppose this one was just especially memorable and bizarre. My dreams often reflect my fears, thoughts, desires, etc. But I wonder why God doesn’t appear in my dreams terribly often (does He ever?), even after I fall asleep after praying. Are dreams where the heart is? Is God where my heart is?

I also find that I don’t spend nearly enough of my time working on my relationship with God. And what you spend your time on is, essentially, what’s important to you.

Some unsettling food for thought

Emotional Greed

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Why do TV commercials work? It seems ridiculous that they are as effective as they are. We laugh at them… but if they didn’t work, why would companies pay for them?

Consumers know that many of the products are superfluous, and they know that the benefits are highly exaggerated. They can see through all the fluff and glitter.

Commercials sell much more than a product. They sell an image, a lifestyle, an accessory to happiness. So no matter how cynical you are, you’ll always find something deep inside you churned by them. It’s not just your stomach. And pretty soon you’ll find your wallet churning as well. It’s due to a basic human desire- to live the best life that you can.

For a time, I was partially convinced that I’d built up some immunity to greed. I realized that, materially, I had everything a person could ever need and far more. I stopped dreaming so much about a prosperous, successful future for myself and started dreaming a tiny bit more about the good things I would do with my life, God willing.

I even wondered why it was that others around me seemed so obsessed about money. Wealthy people and lower income people that I’ve known alike. Why couldn’t they be content with their families, their friends, their present situation? Why couldn’t they be a little more like me?

Someone once called me “greedy.” The person didn’t speak English as a first language, so at the time, I thought that it was not only unjust, but that even if I was guilty of discontent, it wouldn’t be called “greed.” That’s not the right word, you’re wrong, and I’m a good person, overall? Right? Not greedy, that’s beneath me. Everyone feels depressed sometimes.

You’re not a total jerk.

I’m a good person, right?

Right…

I began to realize that my emotional greed was really no different than the conventional type of greed. I’ve always wanted to have lots of friends, go places, have fun, be accepted, and all that. What a fool I was, blinded by my own avarice! Yes, good for me that I was partially resisting the love of money, but what of my sins? What of being irritable and ungrateful? And why, why? Why couldn’t I just sit back and enjoy past memories of friendships while passively delighting in the uncertain possibility of hope in the future. Why not appreciate more my home, my writing, my little niche here on WordPress that I’ve grown to love, and all the rest. Why worry, agonize, cry in the dark, belittle myself, and constantly deliberate the reasons for it all in my overactive mind?

I know that I shouldn’t covet. But sometimes it’s just not easy. Now I know how every other human being feels.

Well, I won’t judge you if you want some more money in your life. Who am I to talk? After all, money is quite essential. Hunger and thirst will kill you before loneliness, every single time.