Reunions? Really?

I heard a couple of guys on the radio mention this a few weeks ago and it made me think:  Do we really need high school reunions any more?

This is not the era of our youth. These are different times. This is not the era when sending a letter or postcard through the mail was the only other way to communicate personally with someone besides calling them on the telephone.

This is a time where we can suffer the same ridicule, taunts, and humiliation all right from the comfort of our own computer!

Nobody can hide any more. Nowadays, someone somewhere knows where everybody is. if we don't know, someone we know does. If we choose to, we can even pay a little money for the privilege of being able to access the personal data of anyone we want.

So do we really need reunions any more?

Friends that are tight already know everything that's going on in each others' lives. Why should they want to spend the time, money, and energy to meet up with people they could really care less about? Just to see how fat they have gotten or how much hair they've lost?

Facebook provides us with all the info we need to keep the current distance between acquaintances at a comfortable level. If you want to trade pictures of your families it's a snap. You want to chat with each other live? It's there too. You want to brag, preach, be inquisitive, or lurk in the shadows? You can.

If email and Facebook aren't enough, there's Skype. Who could have imagined back when we were in school that we'd be able to video chat with someone anywhere, anytime?

Well we can, so why do we still need reunions?

Oh wait--I know--it's so we can yell ourselves hoarse trying to make ourselves heard in a bar that has horrible acoustics. Oh, it's also so the women that are upstanding citizens and doting mothers can be hit on and leered at by newly-single guys with Corvettes and Viagra.  Oh, it's so we can be reminded that some people never will learn to drink responsibly.

Oh, yeah--all those things. Who needs reunions these days anyway?

Okay, there are good things about reunions.  I think my favorite part (although sad) of my 30-year reunion was the video montage someone made that showed all the classmates that were no longer with us.  Sadly, it played quite a while, and was punctuated with gasps and other sounds of sad realization.  There are also the anecdotes of current lives and past adventures to share.  I liked overhearing people explaining about how they got so far in life or why they didn't.  It's also funny to watch how much some people never change--they still can't stop doing the one-upmanship.

[sigh] Sure, I'll probably go to the next reunion.  I guess I can't resist.  What I doubt I will do any more though, is go to the more localized get-togethers or mini-reunions that tend to pop up from time to time.  They are too loud for me to talk to anyone.  I hate that.  My voice can't take it and I always have to leave early and frustrated because of it.

No, we don't need high school reunions these days.  The trouble is, they're like a train wreck or a building fire--we can't resist looking to see how bad someone looks or who didn't make it.

Party Jello... With a Kick!

I had a great idea for a party item the other day at work.

Marc and I were talking. The whole thing started off with him trying to find someone to get him some more Dixie cups that he needed to mix up some paint or glue in. Somehow, the conversation immediately evolved in the topic of Jello shots. Everyone knows that Jello shots and Dixie cups go hand in hand, right? Well, we went from just general talk about jello shots to the trouble with jello shots coming out of the cup. I related an anecdote about someone that made a bunch of jello shots in cups that were just a little too deep for someone with an average length tongue to be able to cleanly remove from the cup.

Then it hit me.

What if someone combined one of those party poppers that you pull with a string with a jello shot? You would up-end the shot into your mouth, pull the string, and *POP* Instantly, a wad of tangy, booze-laden jello bounces off the back of your throat!

Imagine the party possibilities! Imagine the possible lawsuits! No wait...

I think all you'd have to do is a little unauthorized surgery and you'd e good to go. Open em up, remove the little wheels of colored paper (they'd get stuck in your throat most likely), and do a 'cookie cutter' thing with it in a pan of pre-made jello.

I think I'm onto something here... With a disclaimer and release if liabilty included on every package of course.


The Musical Awakening

I wonder when music stopped being just "cool" and started being real enjoyment?  When did it stop being a narrow category of cool and turn into a broad spectrum of culture and enjoyment?

I've always enjoyed music.  My parents always had a radio playing or an album on the turntable.  Whenever we stopped in at the Valu Mart my dad would end up in the record department shopping for some kind of album that caught his eye.  Although I didn't much care for the stuff I was subjected to back then, some of it stuck.  For example, I love the song, Apache by Jorgen Ingemann.  Some of the stuff by the Ventures come to mind also.

The fact that we kids were subjected (forced) to take band all through school really doesn't fit into the picture.  Sure, I learned music, played music, and was immersed in music.  I'm not talking about that kind of music.  I'm talking about popular music. Real music.  The kind people spend money on.

When I was in school, it was not acceptable to listen to Motown.  At least within my circle of what I perceived as cool it wasn't.  Looking back on it, I believe it was all in my mind.  I had no role models or older brother to look up to.  I had to forge my own path.  Back then only rock music was cool.  I didn't want any potential friends to know that I liked watching Soul Train as much as I liked watching Where the Action Is or American Bandstand.  The truth is, I blew a lot of years living with my head in the sand.  The Temptations singing Papa Was a Rolling Stone is one of my favorites and has been for years.  Ditto anything by Tower of Power.  I could go on and on.  I think part of me was ashamed.  I totally loved rockin' out to Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, and Led Zeppelin and other total rock music of the era (and still do).  The "Motown Sound" just didn't fit with that line of thinking. I must have had myself thinking I had to choose between Yin and Yang.

I was not a leader--I was a follower.  I was not a free thinker--I was a copycat.

When I bought an album I didn't buy it for the album.  I bought it for a song on the album.  I would find myself listening to that song and nothing but that song.  I didn't even care to listen to a live version of a hit song because to me it was not the hit version everybody was supposed to love.  It wasn't just right.

I don't know where I got all that thinking.  Maybe it was my parents--I dunno.

At some time in my life I saw the light.  I pulled my head out of the sand and held it high.  I admitted to the world, "Screw you--I listen to only one kind of music:  GOOD music."  Anyone that knows me knows that my perception of 'good music' is all over the map.  At some point I stopped caring what people might think if they heard me listening to certain things.  It was during this awakening that I learned how much I really like Crazy by Patsy Cline, Sweet Dreams (or anything else for that matter) by the sweet voice of Roy Orbison.  So many years.

I've found that this is why I like listening to Radio Paradise.  It plays and eclectic mix that I like.  It plays the obscure, the unknown, and the unappreciated.  It also plays plenty of hits--don't get me wrong.  I just love it when I "discover" something that was there under my nose all these years and I gleaned over it because it wasn't 'cool enough' for me to appreciate it.

Well, I appreciate it now.