Archive for December, 2009



Where the princes at?


I found this clip mesmerizing: Wyclef Jean gets the royals, dignitaries and buttoned-up suits on their feet and dancing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo today.

The people who had looked solemn, even grim, during President Obama’s acceptance speech were bouncing around with their hands in the air, even when Wyclef sang, “Where the princes at?”

When he found his way to the royal box, other guests of honor danced around, per his instructions, with an arm over their heads.

During an interview with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith that ran during the concert, Wylcef said that he improvised his live performances.

Just before he launched into his show-stopping version of “Sweetest Girl,” he told his band, “Give me a hit song, man,” as though they could have played anything and he would have been able to sing, dance, and get the whole auditorium on their feet.

Now that’s impressive. If I were Obama, I would have stayed through in Oslo Friday. I doubt anything going on in DC today can top that concert.

Acceptances

President Obama gave a classy speech when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Friday. I think he did well to address the controversey surrounding his award, with an aknowledgement that “my accomplishments are slight.”

And of course, the U.S. is in the midst of two wars. But he eloquently desribed how force is sometimes necessary, and concludes, “We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace.”

In other acceptance news, I’m glad that Atlanta finally has a new mayor-elect. After two trips to the polls, it’s about time….

All I Want for Christmas is a New TV

In an effort to give back to the community, we volunteered to sponsor a local family in need. I thought that bringing gifts to a family that is less fortunate than we are might show the kids that Christmas is about more than greed.

So I called the father of the family we were assigned, and asked him what his three pre-teen children like. He replied that they need TV sets in their rooms. He paused, then said, “And Game Boys.”

I felt a bit cheap, because I wasn’t planning to spend anywhere near the cost of a TV set on our own kids. I thought at first that this was an unusual request, but I’m starting to think that’s it’s the norm.

Another mother just emailed around the local parents’ group to ask if anyone had a TV they no longer needed, because she would like to pass it along to a family she is sponsoring for Christmas. It seemed they too had requested it.

The good news is that if families in need are just a few TV sets short of a complete Christmas experience, then the economic downturn has not been as ruthless as I had feared.

Maybe there are needier families out there than the ones we have ended up sponsoring. And perhaps these families are just more forthright than most. Why not ask for a TV when someone asks you what you’d like for Christmas? I hope that this means that they’re all set with groceries and other necessities for the holiday period.

In the end, we presented our family with some gift cards from Publix and Target. They seemed pleased with that. And maybe now we can start saving up to buy ourselves another TV. We only have one, and I’m starting to realize that in this town, this puts us in the needy family bracket.

Who Are You Calling Old?!

A colleague explained to me that the reason Susan Boyle is topping music sales charts is because her fan base is old. Young people today don’t buy CD’s.

She may have a point. I bought the CD for my mother in law, who does not have an iTunes account (in fact, she may not even know what iTunes is). And, I am not ashamed to say, I bought “I Dreamed a Dream” for myself. Who doesn’t enjoy a rousing show tune around the holidays, as sung by a Scottish songstress with a Cinderella story?

I plan to copy it onto my iPod, then pop it into the CD player in my car. For people who have figured out how to play an iPod in a car, I salute you. I prefer old school entertainment while I’m behind the wheel. Anything more complicated than a built in CD player would be too distracting.

While my husband and I were shopping for a car earlier this year, a Volvo salesman told us about a woman who dropped her iPod while driving on the highway. She then BENT DOWN TO GET IT — and (surprise, surprise) caused an accident.

The salesman told the story to illustrate how safe the Volvo SUV was. It flipped over, but the driver escaped relatively unscathed — no word on the iPod. He recounted how the officer who attended the iPod-spawned rollover said, “You’re luck you were driving a Volvo” (not: “Why did you bend down to get your iPod while driving on the highway, you idiot?” as I would have).

So in many matters, old people know what they’re doing, such as in CD purchasing. I was pleased to see that another top CD seller is Andrea Boccelli’s “My Christmas” — another recent purchase of mine. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” has never sounded sexier than when sung by an Italian.

She Dreamed a Dream

A colleague today told me she was shocked that Susan Boyle had the best first week sales of any album this year. In fact, she was appalled, and wondered aloud who ever buy her album.

The answer was sitting next to her. I helped boost the Scottish sensation’s sales in two countries (UK and US) by buying “I Dreamed a Dream” twice: last week, I bought a copy for my mother in law (I would think that anyone with a British mother in law would want to purchase one, unless their sisters in law had beat them to it) and one copy, I am not ashamed to say, for myself.

I admit that I enjoy the odd show tune. “Les Miserables,” which spawned the album’s title track, is a favorite. And who wouldn’t be inspired by the story of Susan Boyle (or SuBo, as the British tabloids lovingly call her)? She went from obscurity, to fame, to meltdown, to recording sensation with a makeover thrown in, all inside a year.

She’s even outdone the debut of Eminem’s “Relapse.” I can understand if he is slightly depressed by that. As my colleague today proved, SuBo is not for everyone — unless everyone is a mother in law.

Cranky Democracy

I took my three year old daughter with me when I voted yesterday in Atlanta’s run-off election. For my daughter, it did not prove to be the cheerful introduction to democracy I had hoped it would be.

She cried, rubbed her eyes, and wailed, “I’m tired!” It was 2 PM.

Or I should say, it was 7 PM UK time. We had arrived back in Atlanta after a nine hour flight, and a two hour ordeal at the airport, at about 9 PM. That, of course, felt like 2 AM, after a week in the UK, which is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

But I realize that children are a bit more resilient than adults are in time zone changes. While I resisted the urge to rub my eyes and cry as I lifted the stroller up the stairs of the school that was serving as our polling station, I was tired enough to throw a massive temper tantrum.

And after just a day of crankiness, both kids seem to have bounced back entirely. It will take me about a week.

The mayoral election results also seem murky. Mary Norwood has not yet conceeded, even as Kasim Reed makes plans for his upcoming term. Maybe they will resolve it by the time my jet lag dissipates.