Archives for May 2009

Sunday Rewind: Psychedelic Furs edition

Ah, one of my first loves, The Psychedelic Furs. 

The Furs came out of post-punk England in the late '70s and had some success in the US with 1981's Talk Talk Talk and the songs "Dumbwaiters" and "Pretty in Pink," but it wasn't until the 1986 movie of the same name that the Furs were a household name.  Well, the song was anyway.  They are an easy band to love with songs like "Heaven," "Until She Comes," and "Heartbreak Beat" and Richard Butler's hoarse voice is just lovely. 

Without further delay, here are the videos.  Lots of videos today because the Furs make me happy and I love that voice.  I'm giving you a the gift that is the original version of "Pretty in Pink," which is the stripped-down, moodier version.  Also in today's line-up are "Heartbreak Beat," "Ghost in You," "Love My Way," and the 1991 Letterman show performance of "Until She Comes" — one of my faves, just for you because you're special.  Do yourself a solid and go get their Greatest Hits, put it on and quote Iona  from Pretty in Pink, "applause, applause, APPLAUSE."  Now that I think of it, we may be due for an 80's movie review (as if I don't talk about PIP enough).  Enjoy the Furs.

but that’s my line

It's one thing to be ripped off by someone you know or another blogger (yes, it has happened, it is inevitable), but to be ripped off by a church?!  Y'all know this has been my line for years. 


It's bad enough a church is using my "it's not rocket surgery" line, even worse that Fail Blog doesn't get the joke and calls it a Fail. 

Such a sad day in Kerry Blog world. 

on advice

Everyone has that person in their life who gives unsought advice.  Are you thinking of that person in your life?  If you don't have one of those people in your life, then guess what?  You're that person who gives advice to your friends. 

The person who doles out uninvited advice in my life is a dearly loved individual, whom I call fairly often.  This is a sample conversation from a couple of weeks ago:

Me: So, I was in my doctor's office, the nurse had already taken my vitals and I was waiting.

Not Dr. Phil: Were your vitals okay?

Me: Yeah, they were fine.  Anyway, so I'm waiting and 10 minutes goes by and I hear the doctor's voice and he's talking to someone about shrimp right outside the exam room.

NDP: Maybe they were allergic to shellfish.

Me: Not so much.  It was a drug rep telling Dr. Nameless about all the shrimp dishes she makes and that next time she calls on him she will bring barbecue shrimp.

NDP: That sounds delicious. 

Me: Then the drug rep, my doc, and the nurses start doing the scene from Forrest Gump.  And I can hear all of this. 

NDP: That was a good movie.

Me: Yeah, it was.  So, I'm wondering how long this is going to go on, then I hear my doctor say "Owww" and the nurse asks if he's alright and he says he's stapled his finger.  When he finally comes into the exam room he's all bandaged up and I'm just sitting there wondering what Three Stooges movie I'm in."

NDP: Well, you know what Dr. Phil would say about that…

And that's when my eyes roll back into my head.  Not only do I not know what Dr. Phil would say about that, I do not want to know what Dr. Phil would say about it.  Really.  Not only that, but sometimes when you're talking to another person, you're just relaying a story or you want to be heard, not be given advice.  It's even more aggravating when the person is a loved one.  Dear sweet mother of Oprah, it's the worst when they're quoting Dr. Phil.  I simply can't take it. 

After talking to the Not Dr. Phil in my life, I thought to myself, "self, you could have an advice column.  Hell, you could have an advice talk show."  Really.  My friends and family often come to me for advice, maybe they have seen the obvious gift I have for the advice game.  I'm pretty sure I'm as decent at it as Dr. Phil and I'm certainly cuter.  So, I've compiled a list of Dr. Philisms and under each one is the Kerry spin: real advice from a woman of the people. 

Awareness without action is worthless.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Neither awareness nor action will happen without my morning coffee.  Not gonna happen.  Kerry B. Faler

You're only lonely if you're not there for you.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Sometimes you need a friend.  Sometimes being there for you is what I call having multiple personalities.  But hey, guess you're never lonely if you have multiple personalities.  One is the loneliest number, by the way.      Kerry B. Faler

You cannot be who and what you are unless you have a lifestyle, both
internally and externally, that is designed to support that definition
of self.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Hey, it's not a lifestyle, I was born this way!  I'm attracted to the opposite sex and I make no apologies for it!  I did not choose this lifestyle — no one would want the lifestyle of a straight, pale, redhaired, creatively scatter-brained, plus-sized love-goddess supermodel .  Okay, so I'm not a supermodel, I exaggerated a bit.       Kerry B. Faler

If you want more, you have to require more from yourself.    Dr. Phil McGraw

If you want more go back for seconds.  Anybody from the south knows you don't walk away from the table hungry.  Our grandmothers wouldn't have it.  Oh, and check before in case it's a potluck, you may be required to bring something yourself.  I suggest a nice peach cobbler or a trifle.  Everyone likes a trife.     Kerry B. Faler

Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Always get directions or have GPS.  I can't tell you how many times I made the decision to make a right and it should have been a left!  This would have been a non-issue if I had brought the TomTom and we would have arrived on time and not had an arguement.    Kerry B. Faler

You have the duty and gift of living. You don't have the right to sit
on the sidelines–use your life and get back into the game.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Maybe you just haven't found the right game!  I was never good at sports, then lo and behold, I made it to my college's intramural finals in badminton (true story).  Sometimes it takes a while to find what game is right for you, and boardgames count too!  Anyone for Trivial Pursuit?  I kick ass at Trivial Pursuit.    Kerry B. Faler

Failure is no accident.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Failure can be fun!  I failed lots of  subjects in school and had to go to summer school one year.  I made a friend in my class who loved all the new wave music I liked and made me a few cool mixed tapes.  That year I also dated a boy from my driver's ed class.  Oh, and because of my failing grades in college algebra, I had a supercute math tutor.   You can get a lot out of failure!      Kerry B. Faler

The most you get is what you ask for.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Sometimes you don't get what you ask for.  And sometimes you get something better than what you asked for.  Sometimes what you asked for isn't what you needed in the first place.  Really.  Did you need a pony from Santa when you were nine?  No.  Did you need that restraining order after your stalker wouldn't leave you the hell alone after he stole your Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits cd and kept showing up outside your college dorm?  YES!  It's need versus want, baby.  And like Mick said, you can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need.   Kerry B. Faler

The quickest way from A to B is not always at the most feverish pace.    Dr. Phil McGraw

Look, I was never that great at word problems and I'm pretty sure Dr. Smartypants is trying to trick me on that one.  All I know is if you need to get from point A to point B, be sure you have plenty of gas, some cash, a change of undies (always a good idea), and good driving music. And for goodness sakes, take the directions and don't speed.      Kerry B. Faler

You need to listen to your body because your body is listening to you.    Dr. Phil McGraw

My body must need hearing aids, 'cause it sure can't hear me.  I tell my body all the time: be a size ten!  And every morning I wake up the same size.  I tell my nails to grow thicker and they're still thin — my nails and my ankles are the thinnest parts of me — my body has a great sense of humor.  My body has done it's own thing since I was 16.  We're barely on speaking terms these days.      Kerry B. Faler

If you need advice, leave your dilemma in the Comments.  A friend and reader reported that  the Comments work if you're on Firefox, so TAKE THAT INTERNET EXPLORER!

the girl’s loft

Have I told you how much I love Margie Romney-Aslett? 

Margie was one of the instructors at the Scrap Etc. event my peeps and I went to in Hotlanta and we decided she's our new bff.  The woman is made of fabulous and is creative out the wazoo.  Margie is a former Making Memories line designer (how awesome is that) and she designed one of my fave lines of all time, Noteworthy.  Please, she's superfantastic.  You know I don't toss that word around lightly. 


At Scrap Etc., Margie told us she was starting a new endeavor with her daughters, but couldn't give us details then.  Well, guess what?  She and her girls went and started The Girl's Loft, a kit club that will debut in June.  Knowing Margie's work,  I couldn't be more excited.  At this moment, Margie is running a contest on her blog for a giveaway of a 6 month membership to The Girl's Loft if you link to her blog from your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.  So, here's hoping I win.  Y'all check out The Girl's Loft and sign up on June 15th when the first kit debuts. 

Oh, yeah, here's Margie and me rockin' our aprons at Scrap Etc.  Shut up.  It's almost too much fantabulous for one picture. 

Scrapbooky 029  

Kerry: now available in 40oz

Since it is a beauty question of top priority, I'm obsessing over the body shape/figure type thing.  This retro ad is the height of fabulousness, don't you agree? 

Maybe I should warn you, I'm in a mood.  I have issues.  Whatev.

I so love Ms. Megabra in her girdle mocking me with her head thrown back in laughter.  She's saying, "Bwaahahahaha!  Don't you wish you had my skinny ass?  Just look at my clavicle!  You haven't seen your clavicle since 1991!  Envy me and my 'average' body!"


Check out the silhouetted chicks.  Average, Junior, Straight hip, Full hip, and Stout.  I like my body like I like my ale, stout.  Sure.  Hell, why not?

Just for fun, here's the definition of Stout.



1. bulky in figure; heavily built; corpulent; thickset; fat: She is getting too stout for her dresses.
2. bold, brave, or dauntless: a stout heart; stout fellows.
3. firm; stubborn; resolute: stout resistance.
4. forceful; vigorous: a stout argument; a stout wind.
5. strong of body; hearty; sturdy: stout seamen.
6. having endurance or staying power, as a horse.
7. strong in substance or body, as a beverage.
8. strong and thick or heavy: a stout cudgel.

9. a dark, sweet brew made of roasted malt and having a higher percentage of hops than porter.
10. porter of extra strength.
11. a stout person.
12. a garment size designed for a stout man.
13. a garment, as a suit or overcoat, in this size.

1250–1300; ME (adj.) < OF estout bold, proud < Gmc; cf. MD stout bold, MLG stolt, MHG stolz proud

stoutly, adverb
stoutness, noun

1. portly, fleshy. Stout, fat, plump imply corpulence of body. Stout describes a heavily built but usually strong and healthy body: a handsome stout lady. Fat,
an informal word with unpleasant connotations, suggests an unbecoming
fleshy stoutness; it may, however, apply also to a hearty fun-loving
type of stout person: a fat old man; fat and jolly. Plump connotes a pleasing roundness and is often used as a complimentary or euphemistic equivalent for stout, fleshy, etc.: a plump figure attractively dressed. 2. valiant, gallant, intrepid, fearless, indomitable, courageous. 3. obstinate. 5. brawny, sinewy.

That's enough knowledge for today.  Why the hell are "fat and jolly" used together all the time?  I have never been jolly in my life.  Sure, I've been happy.  I've been a lot of things and jolly is not one of them.  Obstinate is one of the synonyms and I'll take that.  From now on my figure type is obstinate. 

on summer and swimsuit season

It's summer once again.  Oh, don't be fooled by the calendar saying summer doesn't start until June 21st — I'm here to tell you it's here.  Yesterday was Memorial Day, and as everyone knows, Memorial Day is the kickoff of summer. 

Now, it's been hot here in south Louisiana for a while — mid-80's — that's hot.  As I've told you before, I'm not fond of the heat.  Temperatures that make my makeup melt are not my friend.  When I walk outside in the summer, I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West when Dorothy throws the bucket of water on her, "I'm melting, I'm melting!"   And I'm a girl who has to have her face on or I feel naked.  Really, I'm sure in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve made their bikinis from fig leaves, Eve cracked open a pomegranate and made the first lipstick and rouge out of it. 

So, summer is not my fave.  Last year I decided I looked silly in shorts with my white as milk legs, so it's capris and bermudas for me all summer.  I do not tan.  I burn.  Badly.  I've had enough sunburns in my life to know I can be outside at midday for 20 minutes and have a sunburn on whatever part of my body that is exposed.  I'm sure I will have skin cancer at some point from my own sun stupidity and the lack of knowledge my parents had about UV rays.  I recall a statement from my childhood that was repeated more than once that went something like "you'll be fine, we used to slather baby oil on ourselves and bake for hours!"  Which led me to develop my own philosophy "just because you did it, it doesn't make it normal or okay."  Feel free to use that little gem in your own life with your older relatives, sometimes it works.  

Besides the looking-like-an-albino-in-shorts thing, I also dread what most women do at this time of year: the swimsuit.  I'm no different than any other woman, we all have body issues and hate the swimsuit hunt and hate the "get ready for swimsuit season" propaganda that we get from magazines, television commercials, and now on my Facebook homepage.  You know, because I'm not good enough the way I look now, I have to prepare for "swimsuit season" like it's an Olympic event.  Here's a headline for you, advertising peeps: we will never be ready, perfection only exists in magazines thanks to Photoshop. 

Even though I hate it, I have to wear a swimsuit at the pool.  I'd rather wear a caftan ala Mrs. Robinson with a turban and sunglasses, but I think I'd get a few strange looks at Franco's.  And so, I've been shopping online for the right suit for about a month.  Guess what?  There is no such thing.  And I'm not just talking about for us plus-sized girls.  The online stores and catalogs all want me to think they have the perfect suit, but I know better.  You know why?  Because wearing a swimsuit is as close to public nudity as it gets for most of us. 

And so, I started my hunt.  Lane Bryant, Torrid, Fashion Bug, Macy's, Nordstrom, OneStopPlus, SwimsuitsForAll, Sihouettes, and the list goes on and on.  The suit I wanted was at Lane Bryant (no, they do not have swimwear in their brick and mortar stores, don't get me started), a top and a swim skirt, but the top was sold out in my size.  I can't tell you how long it took me to decide on that top, so I was pretty miffed that it was sold out.  I went back to my old standby, Land's End and picked two tops and a swim skirt, deciding to go in a completely different direction than the Lane Bryant suit.   When I went to pick my size category there were more options than I've ever seen:  Regular Torso,
Short Torso
, Long Torso, Plus Size
Short Torso Plus
, Regular Torso D-Cup, Regular Torso DD-Cup, Regular Mastectomy — holy Esther Williams!  I don't know if I'm a short torso plus or just a plus.  No idea.  How do you measure your torso?  Lands End, I'm a girl with ADHD, don't give me too many options or I'll go look at lolcats and forget shopping.  I went with plus. 

The fun part of shopping on is using their Virtual Model tool.  I've used this before, but not for swimwear, so I thought this would be nice and virtually humiliating, getting to see what the virtual me would look like in the suit.  Get a good look at this.


Meet Virtual Kerry.  I don't know about her.  Her hair is too long, but there wasn't another hair choice with curly hair.  My real face is rounder and my boobs are bigger, but I think the skin coloring is about right.  And she's standing like weird, but whatev.  This is the swimsuit I decided on: top, skirt, and sandal.  I went against my usual black suit, way out of my comfort zone,  but the idea is maybe I'll feel better in the pink and won't look as pale as I would in black.  Really, I just like pink.  The Virtual Model thing is pretty interesting.  On the site you can click the arrows to see what she looks like from the side and the back, which is helpful (and funny) to see what my virtual butt looks like.

The other weird thing about shopping Lands End is you can shop by your figure shape.  The choices are triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, and star.  The link to see the descriptions for these shapes was broken, so I guessed that since I'm not the first three, that I must be a star, since a star is big in the middle (and so am I) — so that's what I went with.  Usually, when I've seen a figure shape chart in a magazine or wherever, I'm a circle or oval or an apple, if the choice is a fruit.  A celestial body has never been a choice, but it's kind of neat.  Pointy, but neat.  Just for my amusement I went to to see their shape categories, and of course, I'm an oval.  Here's the description:


The Oval Figure type has the following characteristics:

  • Shoulders are prominent or average and slightly sloped
  • Face is fleshy with the fuller jaw and cheek area
  • Neck is shorter with the inclination toward fullness at the nape and shoulders
  • Back is broader and fleshier; wider ribcage
  • Bust is ample; usually larger than the hips
  • Waist is undefined, carrying the weight in the front midsection
  • Flat buttocks
  • Hips are usually proportionately slender
  • Thighs are relatively thinner and only tend to have a slight fullness at the high hip.
  • Legs are very shapely and lower legs are proportionately slimmer to the overall body shape.

Firt of all, man, she looks tall.

I'm so going to use "fleshy" as THE adjective to describe myself from now on.  Does "fleshy" sound better than fat?  That is the question of the day. 

And thank you, Igigi, I know I do not have a giraffe-like neck, nor JLo's derrierre.  I'm surprised they didn't mention my skinny ankles when describing my lower legs.  Seriously, the Igigi people must have been stalking me to get this info.  It's scary accurate.  Why they just didn't name this body shape "Kerry" is beyond me. 

So, that's the history of summer and me.  Just one big heatwave of sunburns and body image issues.  Hey, I'm working on it.  Here's to a great summer for all of us — be you a rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, or star.  Shine on.

Sunday Rewind: Howard Jones

1985 was a great year for music.  Shut up, it was when Howard Jones broke on the scene with his second album Dream Into Action  and hit "No One is to Blame."  And that song was the jam, yo.  The song was everywhere in '85 and so was Howard — huge tour, Live Aid, and it seemed like he was The Next Big Thing, but he never reached the level of success he had with that album and the songs "Things Can Only Get Better" and "Life in One Day."  The video for the latter is pretty fun, Howard was mixing it up a little.  The last video is "Everlasting Love" from 1989's Cross That Line  and I thought I'd show you the video for the happy mummy couple in it as well as the lyric "back in the world of disposable emotion"  — always thought that was a brilliant line.  By the way, here's a little fact for you: Howard Jones' back-up singers were known as Afrodiziak (love that).   Enjoy. 

Howard Jones – NO ONE IS TO BLAME – Watch more Videos at Vodpod.


Dear Friends and Readers,

Here's hoping this day is treating you especially superfantastic and you're having a good hair day, you found five bucks in your pocket you forgot about and you did that cool look you give to the mirror when you know you're looking cute (oh come on, you know you do it too).  Why?  Because you're my interwebs friend and we spend a couple of minutes together a few times a week and I want you to know that I appreciate you coming here.  You could be off reading the news (bor-ring, kidding, y'all know I'm a news junkie) or looking at lolcats  (love me some lolcats), but you're here and that's great. 

IMG000320 So, why am I all mushy and thankful?  Because it's a special post day in The Kerry Blog world.   I suddenly feel the urge to write "tonight on a very special Blossom."  Girls my age will get that.  Anyway, this post makes 350 posts on The Kerry Blog, Scraps & Lagniappe.  That number comes from the WordPress entries I migrated over to Typepad, combined with the Typepad posts.  That's not counting the first two versions of the blog (I'll go into that shortly).  Y'all know I can't do math, Typepad shows how many posts there are on the dashboard, I didn't count anything, don't worry — my head isn't going to explode. 


That's a lot of words, pictures, random musings, lists, rants, music, letters, videos, and a whole lot of TMI.  I'm not fond of the acronym TMI.  I tend not to like anything in all caps, plus it makes me think I'm trying to spell Tim, but I got dyslexic for a second.  I'm not dyslexic, but my brain is faster than my typing (and I type pretty fast), which explains all the mistakes and ommitted words you've seen in this blog.  ADHD is something else, obviously I can't stay with one thought for more than two sentences.  See, I did it again.  Back to the subject of too much information — in "real life" I'm not one to over share, save for a few close friends and the hubs, but for some reason on the blog, I tell you people semi-personal things that in a day or so after I write, I've forgotten about.  Then someone stops me in Target and says "that was funny about your bra sticking up past your shirt."  And I'm all, "yeah, that was funny,"  trying to think of why this person knows about my bra issues (of which there are many) and wondering if I have multiple personalities, one being a stripper.  Then as I walk away, I realize it's from the blog.  I'm guessing this kind of thing doesn't happen to most of you. 

The funny thing about this blogging thing is you may start out blogging about one thing, and end up with something very different. 

2004_0908Image0062 I started my first blog on Homestead back in in 2002 when the hubs' job brought us to Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada as a way to easily have one place for our family back in Louisiana to see what we were up to, pictures of Molly (and later, Katie), pretty normal mom stuff.  In October of 2004, I found myself bored.  We'd moved to Mandeville, where the hubs grew up, and his job once again sent him out of the country.  This time it was Afghanistan.  It was the first time our little fam was living apart and I found myself pretty depressed and emotional, which wasn't fun.  I'd joined the MOPS group at our church and started scrapbooking again with some friends I'd made in MOPS, but I was missing the hubs terribly.  Then two weeks after he'd left for the Middle East, I started thinking maybe I wasn't just a little emotional and lo and behold, the EPT test didn't lie.  I was put on light bedrest and grew very addicted to the computer, since I couldn't do many of the things I was used to doing, and so, being bored out of my mind, I started a blog on Blogspot.  It was a very family-oriented blog, lots of pics of the kids, a few funny stories, and for the most part, short entries, nothing big.  The pic is from the era of the Blogspot blog taken at the Audubon Aquarium.  Molly's running out of frame and Katie is attached to my hip.  I was rockin' the twinsets as you can see (y'all know I don't post many pics of myself — goodness, and full length at that, so enjoy).

As moms do, I got busy with the things of life, neglected my blog and pretty much abandoned it.  When I attempted to start blogging again, I found the Blogger platform a little limiting (this was two years ago before the new Blogger rolled out) and switched to WordPress, deciding I would focus on having a scrapbooking blog.  Scrap & Lagniappe was born.  The name meaning it would be scrapbooking and a little something extra. That lasted a whole 8 posts before I read about a woman who was suing Victoria Secret because a rhinestone or something popped off her thong and hit her in the eye — this was clearly something I needed to contribute my thoughts to.  That was the day I found my blogger voice, so to speak.  Sure, it was to expose the tackiness/ridiculous in the world (and make fun of it mercilessly), but someone had to do it.  Occasionally I post scrapbook layouts, but it turned out this blog became more about the lagniappe.  And that's fine with me. 

Apparently it's fine with you too, because I have more readers than ever.  Last week's Grey's Anatomy Finale post was a record night, with over 870 hits in two hours — that's something I never expected when I started this little blog.  And it's still my little blog.  As you may have noticed, there is no sponsor of this blog, no advertising, no PayPal tip jar — this is my outlet for sharing (and over-sharing) part of my day with you.  Many of you are friends from childhood, high school, college, and so on.  I think most of the family stopped reading long ago (irony, man).  Many of you are friends of friends.  Many of you I've never met, will probably never meet, and that's okay, I appreciate you stopping by just as much as my bestest friends.  What's still not okay with me is that the comments aren't working, but I've gone on about that enough in other posts, I suppose. 

I thought that since this is a post about you, I'd share some things I find interesting about you.  This week there have been as many of you in Melbourne, Australia reading as in Shreveport/Bossier, LA where I grew up.  You have no idea how much that makes me laugh.  The hometown is almost getting beat by the Aussies.  Somehow, I always knew I'd be big in Australia (that's a joke, yo).   I've been visited this week by people all over the interwebs: from Modena, Italy to Mountain View, CA from Tokyo to Murfreesboro, TN and everywhere in between. 

This week's top keyword searches that brought some of you to this blog were:

Brandon Flowers INXS
TJ Maxx co
mmercial redhead
Skymall happy feet
why does hank williams jr always wear sunglasses (yes, I mentioned this once)
vampire scraps (I don't even understand that one)
"i miss you i miss you i miss you" 80's song (that would be "Cut Here" by the Cure)
what not to wear dr appointment
Anna Bess Simmons (shout out to AB!  woot-woot)
sky scrap for ceiling (I don't get that one either)

So, that's the ins and outs of The Kerry Blog.  That's the past and the present.  So, what's for the future?  Your guess is as good as mine as life goes on this long and winding road.  I can tell you that as long as wacky things happen to me, I'll write about them; and as long as there are wacky things happening in the world, I'll write about those too.  After all, someone has to be here to tell you about her crush on Anderson Cooper and the stuff that passes for news.  Someone has to ask the hard questions and live-blog award shows.  Someone has to tell you what tunes you need on Tuesdays and give you a Sunday rewind to the 80's.  But, for the immediate future, here's a heads up: the blog will get a complete make-over at the end of June.  That's right, people, I'm taking it bigtime.  Or something like that, since I've commissioned a real blog designer to do it.  And in July, the month of my birth, I'm predicting high anxiety as I turn the numero 35.  I am not happy about this, because I don't feel 35, whatever that feels like, and I'm pretty sure that's officially thirtysomething.  Last year on my birthday, I wrote the 34 things I know, this year it will be 35 things.  I'm hoping I've learned a few things so I'll have something to write about, 'cause at this moment, I got nothing. 

Once again, thank you for reading.  I'll see you back here tomorrow or the day after with something new.  Be good. 


tunes you need Tuesday: Natalie Merchant edition

EDIT: yes, I know this is Wednesday, but I started this post on Tuesday, so Tunes You Need Tuesday it is.  And it was only an hour into Wednesday when I finished it, so there.  Thank you, Captains Obvious for emailing me and making me think I lost a day somewhere.  xxxooo, Kerry

Have I been slacking on Tunes You Need Tuesday or what?  No Tunes Tuesday since March 10th?  And not one of my faithful readers called me on it either.  You think you know people.  Oh well. Maybe that has something to do with the comments on this blog not working (Kerry shakes angry fist at the Typepad gods), although Typepad has assured me the blog is fine and the comments should work.  Alas, they do not, as many of you have emailed to tell me to tell me that very thing.  I hear you, dear readers, I hear you.  On with the post!

Natalie-merchant Last night, after talking to a friend about music and Natalie Merchant,  it occurred to me that I had not written about my favorite woman in music (next to Aretha, that is).  I honestly thought I had written a Tunes Tuesday post about Natalie, but after reviewing the blog, there was none — not even a 10,000 Maniacs edition.  Either this is an unfortunate oversight or subconsciously I feared I wouldn't do her justice, I'm not sure.  So, I've been listening to 10,000 Maniacs and Natalie's solo stuff all day while working at the computer (great music to work to, by the way) and I think it's high time we explored the fantabulous Natalie Merchant.  Don't you agree?  Oh good.

We can't discuss Natalie without first having a little background on her 12 years with 10,000 Maniacs.  The Maniacs were formed in New York back in 1981  and didn't hit the mainstream Billboard charts until 1987's In My Tribe debuted and went to #37 in '88.  They were an alternative folk-rock group in a sea of hair bands, Madonna, George Michael, and Michael Jackson, so this was unusual to say the least. 

The song that made me a fan was "Like The Weather."  Natalie Merchant unlike anyone on MTV at that time and her band was a breath of fresh air to me.  I had discovered REM and a few other alternative bands a year or two before , but 10,000 Maniacs was different with their girl singer and her funky dresses, mary jane shoes, and quirky beauty.  She was the main songwriter of the group and her voice was interesting and her lyrics were purposeful (again, unlike much of the music going on in 1987).  Let's go back to '87 for a look, here's "Like The Weather."

So, that was my introduction to Natalie Merchant.  I'm sure many of my old friends will recognize the influence her style had on my fashion sense back in the day and why I've never met a mary jane I didn't like.  10,000 Maniacs went onto moderate success with Blind Man's Zoo and Our Time in Eden, then Natalie left to start her solo career in 1993.  In 2004 the Maniacs released Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings, a wonderful compilation album every fan should own.  You'll fall in love with the band all over again with the covers and alternate lyric demos of some of their songs on disc 2.  Here's "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You" from the second disc, it's simply lovely.

1995's Tigerlily was Natalie's solo debut that gave her 3 hits, "Jealousy," "Wonder," and "Carnival."  "Jealousy" is one of my favorite songs, but I thought I'd share a song you may not be familiar with, "Cowboy Romance."  It has a little country flavor, hence the Cowboy part , I suppose.  I think you just might love it. 

Natalie's next album, Ophelia, was release in 1998 to somewhat mixed reviews.  The album is somewhat melancholy and elegantly dark with piano and strings, bust as a longtime fan, on a whole, it harkened back to less ambitious 10,000 Maniacs songs like "Verdi Cries" and "My How You've Grown."  One can't deny Ophelia is decidely un-pop.  "Kind and Generous" is the only song pop song on the album and if you're the type who doesn't listen to albums in their entirety, Ophelia may not be your cup of tea, but it's definitely worth a listen.  I think it's pretty brilliant, but I'm a fan.  Who else but Natalie would put a hymn from the 1880's on their album and make it beautiful?   "When They Ring Them Golden Bells" is the hymn, and I hate that it wouldn't upload, so you'll have to get it on iTunes and have a listen for yourself. 

Motherland was Natalie's third solo album and was more folky and eclectic musically than Ophelia.  Some of the material is a bit heavy, lyrically.  Natalie tends to write with a focus on political and social issues, always has — songs from the Maniacs days "Eat For Two" and "What's the Matter Here" come to mind from her earlier writing.  This album was no different; what made it different was that the recording was finished two days before Sepetember 11tth, and that changed people's perceptions of her lyrics in post-9/11 America.  Still, the album reached #30 on Billboard and the mother of folk rock, Joan Baez, covered the title track, which is a pretty neat thing.  My favorite track on Motherland is "Not in This Life," a song Natalie has said she only put on the album because the rest of the songs were a little heavy, but I thought the song was rather introspective.  Anyway, the best songs off Motherland (including my pick) can be found on Retrospective.   

If you're a Natalie Merchant fan, do yourself a favor and get the Deluxe Edition of Retrospective: 1995-2000 and you'll love it.  It includes "Cowboy Romance"  as well as duets with Billy Bragg and Michael Stipe among other covers like The Smiths "Sally Ann."  It's fantastic.  Finally, what's Natalie Merchant up to now?  She's recording, and that can only be good news for fans like me.  I'm looking forward to an album due out this year.  It's been eight years since her last album and I can't wait to hear what she's come up with for 2009.  I'll let you know what I think of the yet un-named album when it comes out (there is no "drop" date yet, but I'm hopeful).  'til then, here's "Stockton Gala Days" which you can find on 10,000 Maniacs, Campfire Songs.  It's one of my favorites to sing along to.  The last lyrics get me every time I hear it. 

How I've learned to please, to doubt myself in need.
You'll never, you'll never know.
You'll never know.

That summer fields grow high.
We had wildflower fever.
We had to lay down where they grow.

How I've learned to hide, how I've locked inside, you'd be surprised if shown.
But you'll never, you'll never know

And Just for fun, here's "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" from Retrospective.  Hope y'all enjoyed this Tunes Tuesday, I sure did. 

because some messages don’t even need secret decoder rings

To:  You Know Who You Are