Friday Lyric Quiz, No. 460 (The Rasta Edition)

Family Guy 420The reunion was a success! It took me two decades to gain some semblance of confidence, it appears. Just think how unstoppable I’ll be when I’m 60!

So today is April 20th, and the last time 4/20 occurred on a Friday, I was chastised for not paying homage to so-called Cannibis Day. I am, how shall you say, completely lacking in experience in this area (I just had to look up how to spell “cannibis,” for God’s sake). And that’s fine – it’s technically illegal, after all.

But as a result of my naiveté I just found myself on High Times and other niche websites cruising for songs that qualify for the themed quiz below. You’re welcome.

Celebrate responsibly.

Friday Lyric Quiz #460 [scroll down for answers to last week’s quiz]

1. “So you play your albums, and you smoke your pot. And you meet your girlfriend in the parking lot” (early 70s)

2. “Now the tow truck’s pulling away, and I know why (why, man?)” (early 2000s)

3. “My old man was born to rock, he’s still trying to beat the clock” (mid-90s)

4. “They’ll stone you when you’re trying to make a buck, they’ll stone you and then they’ll say, good luck” (mid-60s)

5. “People talk about me, baby. Say I’m doing you wrong, doing you wrong” (early 70s)

6. “Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down” (late 60s)

7. “You got me blowing, blowing my mind. Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?” (late 60s)

8. “Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out ” (late 70s)

9.  “Music happen to be the food of love. Sounds to really make, you rub and scrub” (early 80s)

10. “Born high forever to fly, wind velocity nil.” (mid-60s)

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #459

1. “Then you’ll know how it was meant to be, see the signs and know their meaning.”
These Are Days, 10,000 Maniacs

2. “But now you’ve come along and brightened up my world, in my heart I feel it, I’m that special kind of girl.”
Finally, CeCe Peniston

3. “But a v8 engine is a good start for me. Think I’ll drive to find a place, to be surly.”
Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now), Cracker

4. “Although I am black and proud, problems got me pessimistic.”
Tennessee, Arrested Development

5. “I’m living in an empty room, with all the windows smashed.”
Walking on Broken Glass, Annie Lennox

6. “I’m your average ordinary everyday dude, drivin’ with my baby, to get her in the mood.”
Let’s Get Rocked, Def Leppard

7. “People try to say I act a little funny, but that’s just a figure of speech to me.”
What About Your Friends, TLC

8. “And I’ll take with me the memories to be my sunshine after the rain.”
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, Boyz II Men

9.  “She sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy.”
Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers

10. “Time can break your heart, have you begging please … begging please.”
Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton


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The Holy Union of Kevin and Anton

For the last several years of my life, I’ve passionately argued for the legalization and universal support of gay marriage. For my entire life, I’ve supported the gay lifestyle. Why not? I’m not asking for a medal — it just makes sense. In fact, it shouldn’t even be a subject to “support” or “argue.”

And this week, at 37 years old, I finally attended my first gay wedding.

Kevin and Anton Program

As a happy plus-one, I went with my cousin Jenny (who is the closest thing I have to a sister) to the wedding — technically the solemnization of their Vermont union last fall — for one of her childhood best friends, the Reverend Kevin (an Episcopal priest) and his partner of 10 (12?) years, Anton (an Indonesian chef). Kevin and Anton live in Chicago so I had met them previously on Jenny’s trips north.

Delightful folks.

They met at Disneyworld when a still-learning-English Anton approached Kevin to ask about the book he was reading.

They frequently visit with two children that are biologically Kevin’s but raised in the home of a lesbian couple.

They danced their first dance to “For Good” from the Wicked soundtrack. The dimpled and shaven-headed Kevin spun the laughing, caramel-skinned Anton in jubilant fashion until the dance floor opened for all attendees. Often, they pulled in close and whispered those loving words couples share between one another. Their guests of all ages and races blinked back tears while maintaining huge grins.

Kevin and Anton

They adore each other absolutely, and have, from first sight in the shadow of the Cinderella castle.

And yet … their marriage isn’t recognized in the vast majority of our states.

I am not going to get political here – I don’t have the smarts to, and I just won’t. But sitting in the church today — the Episcopal Cathedral of Chicago — I was extraordinarily moved. Not only by Kevin and Anton’s love, but by the support of their community. The church was packed with young and old, gay and straight, supportive friends of all races. A troupe of Indonesian dancers performed in full garb on the alter ahead of the communion hymn.

The homily was delivered by the Dean of the Cathedral, a middle-aged woman who proclaimed (I’m paraphrasing): Back in my day, marriage was sanctioned as a pairing between two people of the same race, the same religion, and different sexes. You all have one out of three going for you.

All joking aside, she then went on to say how Kevin and Anton’s love is inspirational for their friends and important for our world.

The ceremony reaffirmed my faith not only in “non-traditional” love but in the Episcopal church. I believe it is the liberal values of this church and my parents’ own teachings that have instilled in me a sense of acceptance and kindness. The fact that some could see the love that Kevin and Anton share and deny them the expression of that love just doesn’t make any sense to me. It isn’t kind to keep them from this. It isn’t right. It isn’t fair or necessary. And etc. Remember, friends, that Jesus himself was BFFs with some folks that may at the time have been deemed a bit “alternative lifestyle.”

Anton and Kevin are sweet and loving people. Way better people than I am, or than a lot of people fighting against their marriage are.

And so.

I’m off my soapbox. The situation is far improved now than it was 30 years ago, but we’ve got a long way to go, Charlie Brown. I just hope the skeptics run across a Kevin and Anton in their lives and learn that a couple in love is a beautiful and rare thing, even if they don’t look like your typical Rockwell picture.

And thank you, K and A, for letting me crash as a plus-one on your special day. All the best to you all the days of your lives.

Kevin and Anton

What You May Have Missed (a/k/a Shameless Self-Promotion)

InvestorPlace Greatest Hits (Wendy's, Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, Oscars)Hello, friends. As previously mentioned, Neurotic City has taken an unfortunate back seat to my other new-ish writing gig over at InvestorPlace.com. It’s not the sexiest place on earth (that, of course, is Gawker), but it does offer a bevy of information for the stock/ETF/fund/options investor, regardless of experience level. And often presents said information in relatively entertaining fashion.

I get to write under my own byline (a relatively new development since I used to work at a federally regulated financial company, forcing me behind a curtain of anonymity), work with some fine folks, and occasionally have a little fun. And during my few months there, I’ve somehow established myself as a go-to for stories about the fast-food industry. My parents are so proud.

So following one of my BFF’s examples (since I steal about 70% of all ideas from her), I thought I would share some recent articles of which I am most proud. Not so coincidentally, these articles are also among the more accessible ones I’ve written (i.e., suitable for stock-market dummies novices).

5 Things Wal-Mart Has That Amazon Doesn’t  (Hint: it’s not a site devoted to pictures of its patrons looking like hideous monsters.)

One Woman’s Take on Augusta National’s Old-Fashioned Rule

6 Biggest Market Surprises of the First Quarter

4 Reasons Why Wendy’s Will Never Top McDonald’s (Start with: your fries are f*cking terrible.)

Doritos Taco Keeps YUM Looking Tasty  (I was born to write this.)

Oscar Nods Mean Little for Investors (Or to anyone, really.)

Check out all my articles here. You’ll also see the semi-professional byline headshot my “friends” at my old job used to joke was taken when I was in high school (it’s actually circa 2010).  No, I’d always respond, you jokers just aged me that much during my tenure there. George-W.-Bush style.

Happy Monday, everybody! Hope the Easter/Passover weekend was one to remember.

And btw, Titanic 3D was awesome, even though the whole 3D aspect was nothing to write home about. It holds up and remains affecting, despite the Cameron cheese. Rose Dawson forever!

6 Disturbing Facts About My ‘Titanic’ Obsession

OMG, y’all. It’s back. The ultimate tale of hubris and ill-fated love on the high seas. Jack and Rose! Kathy Bates kicking ass! 1997’s best CGI! Poor dead Gloria Stuart! Victor Garber sadly moving a clock forward by hand! A 3-D version comes out at midnight, and I’ve enjoyed all the lead up to this blessed event.

In 1997, I was 23 years old and did I ever LOVE Titanic. The costumes, the story, even the soundtrack. Most of all I loved Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio. Too bad neither of them ever did anything else.

leonardo-dicaprio-and-kate-winslet-in-titanic

How much did I love Titanic?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

1. My eBay handle, created in the winter of 1998, is beth41512. No, that’s not a random number, silly! It represents April 15, 1912. The day the Titanic sank. Of course.

2. I was once part of an AOL chat room about Titanic. The movie, not the actual ship/tragedy. In it people posited how there could be a sequel. One theory was that Jack Dawson wasn’t actually dead at the end (spoiler alert!) and in fact gets carted off by dolphins to some island somewhere where he lives out a happy but Rose-less life. This indicates the other kinds of people in this chat room.

3. I ordered the official movie poster and spent some of my 23-year-old salary to have it custom framed. Said custom frame was broken in a 2003 move. It had a good run.

Titanic Poster, Kate and Leo

4. Because I couldn’t bear the thought of surviving the five or so months between the movie’s four-month long theatrical release and its debut on VHS, I ordered a bootleg (VHS) copy of the movie from Canada. Which of course I never watched. (4b: I bought the regular version and the widescreen version on VHS, as recommended by Entertainment Weekly. You watch the first half adjusted for television and the second, more action-packed half, in widescreen. I never did this.)

5. I saw it in the theater five times. Five and a half, if you count the time I left Spice World in the middle of it and ducked into the next theater for my Billy Zane fix.

6. I already bought tickets to Titanic 3-D. When buying in advance at this particular theater, you get to pick your own seat, which is awesome. Let’s just say I bought early enough that I had my pick of any seat I wanted in the entire place.

I haven’t watched Titanic in full since about 2002. Who knows how it will make me feel. More sad? Less exhilarated? Equally hopeful that this time the ship will somehow veer around that iceberg? More CLOSE TO THE ACTION since it’s in 3-D, after all? I’ll be sure and let you know next week.

Awkwardness at the Movies (In Which It’s Probably Hugh Grant’s Fault)

Did I ever tell you about the time I paid $25 to see Two Weeks Notice?  Back in 2002? When I still had a student ID and could buy them at a discount?

Two Weeks Notice, Sandra Bullock

I know, Sandy. I know!

As it turns out, I bought a ticket for me ($5), one for a friend of a friend, and then paid said friend of a friend $15 for the pleasure of watching the movie with me. This was all an innocent mistake, an awkward situation, but one that I remembered a decade later when at the Chicago Bulls game last night.

Aside: you know at ball games when people pass money in exchange for beer/cotton candy/etc. down an aisle of strangers? Does anyone just ever pocket the money or keep the beer? I doubt it, because if it ever happened, it would have certainly happened to me.

Moving on.

So I had actually bought tickets for about five of us, being the only one with a valid-looking student ID (so I was slightly scamming the system. It was Two Weeks Notice, people).  We get to the theater, take our seats. Everyone pays me the $5 they’re blowing. The friend of a friend, let’s call her Tracy, two seats down from me.

“I only have a twenty,” she says.

“That’s fine, I have fifteen,” I say.

I hand her the $15 via my friend that sits in between us.  The movie darkens for the previews.

She doesn’t hand me the $20.  In-between friend starts whispering incredulously.

“No big,” I think.  “She will give it to me after the movie.”

She doesn’t.

“No big,” I think. “She will give it to me at the bar we are going to, or at least buy me a couple of drinks.”

She doesn’t.


Nope, I never saw that money she pocketed a cool extra $15. Not to mention seeing what was a pedestrian romantic comedy – for free! And here I didn’t even get a hug at the end of what was apparently a date.

Not that I remain irritated by it or anything. Not that the $20 I’m owed plus a decade of interest would buy me at least 12 boxes of Triscuits.

The thing is, Tracy is a nice person. I’m sure this was not calculated in any way nor did she realize it happened. I do find it odd that she tucked away the $15 I handed her without reciprocating, but it was just one of those situations where your brain and your manual dexterity don’t quite align. Sort of like when I use nail polish remover instead of astringent. Sure.

And I, as is always the case, preferred simmering silently rather than confronting the issue. If you see something, say something. Or don’t.

I saw Tracy years later when we were seated at the same table at our mutual friend’s wedding. And I totally stole the pashmina she had with her. Ahhh, I’d be so much cooler if that last part were true.

Cheese, Glorious Cheese (In Which I Torture Myself Ever-So-Slightly)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days in Lent in the Christian calendar. I’m Episcopalian, which is kind of similar to Catholicism in some ways but wildly different in others. Sufficient to say, we are among the religions that observe Lent by “giving something up” and/or doing something to better oneself or one’s community.

I used to give up meat, but that was before I stopped eating all mammals entirely.  Anyways, I always just found myself enjoying trying new vegetarian recipes … not really the point of the exercise. So last year I went on a 40-day cheese fast, which is harder than it seems. I’m talking cheese in all of its forms.

It was a bit of a struggle, which of course a Lenten discipline is supposed to be, so I’ve opted to do it again this year. And to remind myself just what I’ll be giving up, here are the top-five cheese-related items I will miss. Aside from just sharp cheddar and Triscuits, of course.

Blue cheese olives – Pretty much the best reason to drink a dirty martini.  I had one last night at the top of the Hancock Building with friends who are moving away from Chicago in a few weeks.  The olives contained within were my last official cheese before Lent.


Goldfish crackers – Yes, these count.  Giving these up won’t be as hard this year because I’m no longer working at my old company, which stocked our snack drawers with these little guys.  Just have to avoid them at the grocery store.

Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its – Every try these?  They are aMAZing.  If you don’t initially like from the first taste, try again.  Trust me.

Any Mexican food – Since I don’t eat meat, cheese figures pretty heavily into any Tostadas or burritos that I might enjoy.  Here’s to the “good fat” of avocado that is a close second favorite among topping choices.  I must say, the timing of the Taco Bell taco with the Dorito shell is not ideal. 
 

Baked Jalapeno Cheese Crunchies from Trader Joe’s – An almost-worthy substitute for Elmer’s Chee-Wees, which are only available in Southern Louisiana and don’t ship that well.

 

 

…and the Other Gold (In Which I Wine and Dine with my Oldest Friends)

“I never had any friends later on, like the ones I had when I was twelve…Jesus….does anyone?”
–Stand By Me

Last weekend, I trekked down to suburban St Louis (technically Southern Illinois) for an all-too-brief mini-reunion with my oldest friends. Some exposition: I met Rebecca on the first day of kindergarten in 1979; I linked up with Karyn and Emily in Jr. High band (they played clarinet, I trombone) at some point in the fall of 1987. I met all other members of the gang in the interim. Our friend Callista lives in Swaziland, Africa, and was therefore unable to zip to Illinois for a weekend, but the rest of us met up for laughter, food, wine, and Erasure-soundtracked dancing.

So, yes, I’ve known all members of this 8-gal posse for at least 24 years. Ooooof. Is that really possible?  Not that we’ve aged so much since meeting, but that we remain so close-knit despite the miles, the life shifts, and the simple reality of the human condition.

It’s especially amazing considering I moved away from these fine ladies in the summer of 1988, when my Dad took a job in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A transplant to the buckle of the Bible Belt immediately before beginning high school?  Seemed like an unmitigated tragedy at the time, but I quickly took the Girl Scouts’ advice and made new friends while keeping the old.

I kept in close touch with my StL-area gals despite the lack of email, the expense of long distance, and the scarcity of visits. We made mix tapes. We wrote actual letters. We talked when our parents allowed. And I have never taken their friendships for granted.

Anyhoo.  Last weekend. Our friend Mike (one of the honorary male members of our gang) joined us as the founder of our feast. He and his wife are both professional chefs and split time between Dubai and Dallas, Texas (I’m not sure how they tell their differing homelands apart).

Mike prepared pounds and pounds of beef tenderloin along with cod for the non-red-meat eaters (i.e., me).  He also made simple preparations of interesting produce that allowed the flavors to shine. Mike introduced us to the wild world of gourmet salts, treated us to Hungarian dessert wine, and reminded me how I tried to cheer him on at a seventh-grade track meet. (He still placed last, but I refuse to believe this was my fault).

Rebecca’s girlfriend Lori, shouldering (literally!) four lbs of beef tenderloin

Mike cooks while Nicole looks pretty

My enviable plate (clockwise from left: roasted Jerusalem artichokes, cod, artisan bread, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, green salad. Melange of mushrooms in the middle (prepared as a topper for the tenderloin but I partook of a taste)

Not bad for a bunch of late-30-somethings

Dance Party USA, proving that some things never change as you age

Our little group has always been, and always will until the end.  It’s a blessing to have a group of friends that has known you forever. And thanks to my geographical upheaval at age 13, I actually have two. This is something for which I will always be thankful – I know it doesn’t happen for everyone.