Saturday, June 27, 2009

Song! Challenge! #5: Seithgie Kcabhsalf (That's "Eighties Flashback," backwards.)

The 1980's were a simpler time. A time before the Interwebotron... A time before cell phones and text messages... A time before Wham! broke up...

I remember when Rick Dees and the Weekly Top 40 was the soundtrack for the ride home from church, and if we went out for brunch after worship, I had a 50-50 chance of missing the #1 song, which always started playing at 11:56 a.m., so the show could wrap up at noon.

For some reason, it seemed so important to me to know what the #1 song was each week. This is especially strange, since I just today remarked to a high school friend on Facebook that I feel like I sleepwalked through high school and must have seemed (been) exceedingly weird, because I was totally oblivious to anything pertaining to being "cool" or "popular." (Although I kind of imagine the genuinely cool kids weren't listening to Top 40 on Sunday morning; they were either hungover or sleeping or whatever.)

Anyway.

One of the other things Rick Dees (and the local DJs, too) would do was play song clips backwards, and if you guessed the song clip, you could win prizes. So, this week's game is like that: 16 backwards song clips, all from the 1980's. If you've been paying attention to my Twitter stream and Facebook statuses, there is a HUGE clue that will help you narrow down your choices for this week's game, but it'll still be tough. Here we go:

The Rules (Downing the Stickler Quotient, back to my general slackerly leniency)

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 16 songs (artist AND title) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, if it's a TV theme song -- and there are 2 this week, and I'll give you a further hint: it's the last 2 songs -- we just need the name of the show, blah blah blah). And I'm returning to my previous leniency as a judge. For this week's Song! Challenge!, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize

The first person to get all 16 song titles and artists correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JUNE 30 -- will win a very special prize: dinner for you and a friend at my house at a mutually convenient time (and in honor of Michael Jackson's recent passing, we'll play some good MJ during dinner) AND you get to choose any song from the 16 clips included in this contest, and I will make a video of some sort out of it -- depending on the song, it'll be either me performing it or maybe an old-school music video (remember those?) to the song. Or maybe just me dancing to it.


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"

In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all (and in acknowledgment of the fact that this one is pretty hard), anyone who ENTERS IN THE COMMENTS and gets at least three songs correct in this Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail address directly (SSSemester [at] yahoo [dot] com) after putting their official entry in the comments WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL, SUPERSECRET LINK to the SSSemester-made video of the song chosen by the winner.


Readysetgo by clicking the player below:





Again, if you're on Facebook, you'll want to click over to http://sssemester.blogspot.com to play!

OH! And I meant to add the approximate lengths of the different clips, since it's hard to tell:
#1: 30 seconds
#2: 15 seconds
#3: 20 seconds
#4: 12 seconds
#5: 10 seconds
#6: 18 seconds
#7: 22 seconds
#8: 18 seconds
#9: 15 seconds
#10: 5 seconds
#11: 15 seconds
#12: 12 seconds
#13: 6 seconds
#14: 15 seconds
#15: 15 seconds
#16: 15 seconds

80's Flashback! Tonight's Song! Challenge! at 7pm EDT

Be sure to check back here on ye olde blogge this evening at 7pm EDT to experience the joy, the majesty, the grandeur, the head-scratching madness of 80's Flashback! Song! Challenge!

Identify 16 different song clips from the 1980's, and you could win a Major Award!

See you in about seven hours!

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Milo -- Friend, Roommate, Crazy-Maker

If you follow me on Twitter or if we're friends on Facebook, you're aware that this was a lousy day. I woke up this morning and found my dear friend, Milo the minilop rabbit, had passed away overnight.

I'm still kind of processing the... the what? Not exactly the quiet, since he literally made no noise ever. I guess, just the stillness of not having another living presence in the house -- someone to look out for, to make sure I wasn't about to step on, etc.

And I'm remembering how funny he was, and how cuddly he was (sometimes), and how floppy his ears were, and how cute his tail looked when it stuck out, and how cool he looked when he was just chillin' on the carpet under the dining room table, and how generally awesome he was. And also how he made me crazy with the chewing on his cage, and the noise of his claws on the hard plastic floor of his cage, and the occasional scratching-on-the-door wake-up calls he would give me if he somehow made it all the way up the stairs.

I'm so sorry that he's gone, but I know he's loving where he is now, with room to run and jump and chew and dig and hang out with friends. And his ears are flopping and his tail is peeking out from under his butt as he hops from angel to angel, head-butting their feet until he gets that just-right head scratch he's looking for.

Uh Oh! Hot Dog!

Today was the day, my dear loyal readers.

All three of you are no doubt aware that I got to go to King David Dogs in downtown Indianapolis this afternoon, as part of Indy's first TasteCasting adventure. And what an adventure it was!

I got there early, as I was going to try to scout out a place to sit, close to an electrical outlet, but that didn't really work out, so I settled for tweeting from my phone. Here's a brief rundown of how cool this experience was:

First, I got to know Chuck, one of the guys on the hotdog assembly line. He let me take some pics as he put together a Reuben Dog.

Then, I got to meet the gang from Trendy Minds: Elizabeth (taller than her Twitter avatar, shorter than I expected), Abbie (taller than her avatar, taller than I expected), Trevor (who shared a great story about his experience with rabbits -- more on why that's relevant today in a later post), Brooke (who was wielding some pretty sophisticated video equipment), and Nick (who looks astonishingly like Zac Efron's older brother). It is possible there was another Cool Kid from Trendy Minds that I met, and I apologize if I left you out, sir or ma'am.

Then I got to meet a bunch of other TasteCasters: Victoria, Tiffany, Diane, Chad, Nicki, Evan, Adrienne, Duncan, and David. Again, I may have left someone out, and I apologize!

We also got to meet Victoria's friend Deborah, who wasn't there for the TasteCasting but who sat with us on her lunch break and served as our guinea pig. We watched (and drooled, just a little) as she built her own hotdog with a side of baked beans; she said it was great, and next time she might opt for the Chili Cheese Dog to try something else from the menu.

After the initial pleasantries and introductions, Brent (King David Dogs's owner) told us a little about the history of the restaurant and the dogs themselves. They are 1/4-pound, skinless, all-beef dogs, made from the recipe his grandfather developed, like, 70 years ago. In fact, once Brent decided to pursue opening a hotdog place, he tracked down his grandfather's recipe in his great-aunt's attic and had the recipe translated FROM THE ORIGINAL GERMAN in order to get it just right.

And get it just right he did! Sweet fancy Moses, these are some good dogs. Also, they are huge. Here's the before and after on my Boom Boom Dog:

Left: before; Right: after

My table decided to do some sharing amongst ourselves, so I got to try my dog (a new menu item, the Boom Boom Dog = hotdog + fried egg, and I also added onions and jalapeño mustard), Diane's Chicago Dog, and Tiffany's Chihuahua Dog. Each one had its own unique identity.

Here's how I'd score them, on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being low and 5 being high. (Check the menu for more info on what each dog is all about.)


In conclusion, lunch was awesome. And I haven't even talked about the Tater Tots -- my God, the Tater Tots! Cooked to perfect crispiness but with a tender bite that makes you think of all the good things about being eight years old. We also got to sample some of Carol's Cookies -- the famous half-pound cookies from Chicago -- in chocolate chip and cinnamon swirl. Yum! (Also: huge!)

And now, to end this post, an explanation for its title. For reasons I cannot explain, this is one of my favorite recurring characters on MadTV, and leading up to this adventure, I've been thinking about "Uh Oh Hot Dog!" quite a bit:


If you're reading this on Facebook, check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcdu_5IlR6g

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Indy Original Since 1941, sure to be An SSSemester Favorite Since 2009

OK, so I'm 68 years late to the game on this one.

BUT!

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm heading over to King David Dogs to see what I can see and taste what I can taste. I'll be sampling their stuff as part of Indy's first TasteCasting* experience.

A friend on Twitter notified me that King David Dogs produces something called the Boom Boom Dog, which is a hot dog with a fried egg on it. This does not appeal to me in any way beyond curiosity, but being the adventurous sort, I'm going to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes.

King David Dogs is also known for their tater tots, which I'm really looking forward to trying. And they've also just introduced beer-battered onion rings, which I'll have to try, as well.

Can not wait for Friday lunch!



* DISCLOSURE: TasteCasting combines socially networked people and the social media platforms and applications they use to help restaurants build awareness, announce grand openings, introduce new menu items, distribute special offers and encourage people to visit the establishment. So, my lunch at King David Dogs tomorrow is on the house. But I promise I'll be sharing my actual thoughts on the experience tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bugs and bug-related items



After you watch this video, you'll know why I wanted to title this post "Don't Touch It" -- but you'll also know why that title would have induced kind of a letdown in you, my three faithful readers. I mean, you would expect someone in the video to touch the bug and then something hilarious and/or gross and/or otherwise compelling would happen, but then when no one does, you would be upset with me. However, the passionate and disgusted tone with which "Don't touch it!" is hissed is probably the funniest part of the whole video. So, anyway: Don't touch it.

This provides a nice segue into how I got my familial nickname, which I do not think I have discussed here on ye olde blogge before. For as long as I can remember, my family has referred to me as "Bugs" or "Bugsy" -- I have grown fond of the nickname now, but when I was younger, it drove me nuts when my brother JJ called me Bugsy.*

Turns out, Bugsy was a derivation of the word "Doodlebug" -- I was my mom's little Doodlebug, I guess, and when I outgrew** that, it ultimately evolved into Bugsy and/or Bugs. I am Uncle Bugs to Madelynn and Owen, Bugs or Bugsy to my folks, and Bugs or Bugsy or Bugsimus Mochavis (which, you tell me) to my brother.



* One day, in a fit of rage -- and, I mean, white-hot anger the likes of which only teasing from my brother (Jim aka Jimmy aka JJ) could incite within me -- I got so sick of him calling me Bugsy that I had a bit of a meltdown and threatened to starting calling him, and this is a direct quote, "I don't know ... we'll call you! We'll call you! Um! JIGSY!" I thought it was a brilliantly emasculating put-down; he thought it was hilarious. To this day, we are Bugs and Jigs.

** It is unclear to me if I actually outgrew "Doodlebug" or if, out of necessity, we had to change it. The early 80s were a trying time, dear readers, informed by such tragedies as the Adam Walsh abduction. So the smart parenting set was busy developing escape routes, identi-kits, and secret code words for their kids to use in the War Against Stranger Danger. So, anyway, for the longest time, "Doodlebug" was our code word, and it could stay our code word, because we never had to use it. (The code word was just in case my parents had to send another adult to pick me up somewhere; I was not to go with anyone who didn't know the code word was "Doodlebug." Because, obviously, any adult who didn't know the code word was "Doodlebug" was either a rapist, a pedophile, a serial killer, or some combination of the three.) So. Anyway. One summer day, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up somewhere (summer day camp at IUPUI***, maybe?) and instead of my mom, up walked a family friend, the awesome and lovely Mrs. Linda Warder, who, before saying anything else, told me, "The password is DOODLEBUG." (Dramatic emphasis hers.) Apparently Mom had sent Mrs. Warder to pick me up for some reason -- might have been when my brother was in Driver's Ed and it was the summer when those kids in Driver's Ed were killed in a crash with a 7-Up truck and because the news was reporting a Driver's Ed car in Carmel was in a fatal crash, but this was before cell phones and internet, Mom had no idea if JJ was OK, and Mrs. Warder came and picked me up so Mom could stay at home for JJ. Or I could have totally made that up in my head. Regardless, "Doodlebug" was thenceforth shot to hell as our "secret" code word. Either that, or I just outgrew "Doodlebug," physically and otherwise.

*** Summer day camp at IUPUI, when I was 9 or 10 years old, was the first time I remember ever being funny -- at least, 9-or-10-year-old funny. I can very clearly picture standing in line waiting for the water fountain in a gymnasium, and the kid at the water fountain was taking for-gee-dee-ever to drink, and I, apparently hilariously, called out, "Save some for the fish!" Which, Oh Em Gee, you would have thought that I was Joe Piscopo, Elayne Boosler, and Yakov Smirnov all rolled into one. The kids behind me in line, especially this one African-American girl, thought that was the Funniest. Dang. Thing. they had ever heard in their lives. So, you know, comedy roots and all that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Song! Challenge! #4 - RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Numbers! Song! Challenge! Big ups to Jon & Jenny for their victory in this week's contest.

The scores* are as follows...
  • Ninth Place -- Heather: 10/5
  • Eighth Place -- Sarah: 13/10
  • Sixth Place -- Shared by RealtorMichelle: 15/12 and Amanda: 15/15 (Michelle got the lenient 15 first, but Amanda's harshly judged solid 15 seems worthy of a bump up in standings...)
  • Fifth Place -- Meana: 25/25
  • Fourth Place -- Bill (sans Sacha): 28/27
  • Third Place -- Joe: 30/28 (submitted after KT's 30/28)
  • Second Place -- KT: 30/28
  • First Place -- Jenny & Jon: 31/29
* The first score listed reflects the judge's lenient approach to evaluation, followed after a slash by the judge's harsh approach to evaluation.

As always, three things to remember:
  1. The judges' decision is final, so let it go. I mean, if I've miscounted, feel free to let me know, and I'll update the standings, but my (lenient) calls on songs such as "(She's) Sexy + 17" and "I Have A Love/One Hand, One Heart" stand in each case.
  2. The first prize is five bucks at Fazoli's and the chance to pick a song for me to make a video of, so no big whoop.
  3. Everyone who entered gets an e-mail, coming soon (but probably over the weekend, at the earliest, since there's real work involved this time!), with a super-secret link to a video of me doing something random (in this case, performing whichever song Jon & Jenny pick). Players, watch for your e-mail soon. Be advised that I will likely be placing the video here on the blog a few days after you get the link, so if you want to feel like you're getting the special sneak preview, you'll want to click that link and watch it quickly.
Thanks to everyone for playing. Check back here at 7pm EDT on Saturday for this week's Song! Challenge! The theme is "Seithgie Kcabhsalf" -- remember when we were growing up, DJs would play song clips backwards all the time, and Caller #9 got the chance to identify the song and win concert tickets? Yeah, this is 16 or 17 of those, all from the 80's. Prize TBD (not concert tickets).

See ya Saturday at 7pm EDT!

Oh, and here are all the answers from this week's Challenge!

1. 1,2,3 - Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
2. Get'cha Head in the Game - B5
3. This One's For You - Barry Manilow
4. Eight Days a Week - Beatles
5. Two Piña Coladas - Garth Brooks (Shout-out to Amanda for using the "ñ" in "Piña")
6. Once Bitten, Twice Shy - Great White
7. One on One - Hall & Oates
8. Love on a Two-Way Street - The Moments
9. Six Feet Under Theme
10. ABC - Jackson 5
11. Mama Told Me (Not to Come) - Three Dog Night
12. Dance: Ten, Looks: Three - A Chorus Line
13. (She's) Sexy + 17 - Stray Cats
14. 867-5309/Jenny - Tommy Tutone
15. Where the Streets Have No Name - U2
16. Thirtysomething Theme
17. One Moment in Time - Whitney Houston
18. Two Less Lonely People in the World - Air Supply
19. Paralyzer - Finger Eleven
20. 1999 - Prince
21. You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra
22. For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder
23. One Song Glory - Rent
24. Number One in Heaven - Nemesis
25. Freedom '90 - George Michael
26. Welcome to the 60's - Hairspray
27. I'm a Slave 4 U - Britney Spears
28. Wake Up Call - Maroon 5
29. I Have A Love / One Hand, One Heart - Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis
30. One of Us - ABBA
31. Hawaii Five-0 Theme

Sunday, June 21, 2009

7:20pm, Omni Severin Hotel, Indianapolis. INT - Men's Room

Omni Hotel Men's Room Attendant: (Squirts liquid soap in my hand)

Me: Hmm. That soap smells nice. What fragrance is that?

OHMRA, clearly a nonnative English speaker: Two weeks.


Trust me, if you're reading this on Facebook, this is much funnier if you click over to http://is.gd/18NAR

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Song! Challenge! #4: By The Numbers

This week's Song! Challenge! tests your familiarity with music containing numbers and number-related words.

The quiz below is only 3 minutes and 12 seconds long, but it contains clips from 31 songs -- each song either has a number (or number-related word, such as "thrice" or "thirty-seventh") in its title or in the name of the band/artist who performs it. So, like: "21 Jump Street," for example, or "The Dave Clark Five." Got it?

In this week's quiz, there are lots of lyrics, so it might be easier to do some Googling for help. But I expect several of the songs this week will be potential stumpers. I think #2, #8, #9, #21, #24, and #26 will be the toughest, but your mileage may vary.


The Rules (Upping the Stickler Quotient)

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 31 songs (artist AND title) as a single comment here on the blog. While the standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, if it's a TV theme song, only the show title is required, blah blah blah... And if you have an iPhone, don't iCheat by iUsing Shazam, please. UPDATED TO ADD: Songs from Broadway shows may be listed either as "Title, Name of Broadway Show" or "Title, Actual Artist Singing That Version."), I will be responding to feedback from some of you regarding my leniency as a judge. For this week's Song! Challenge!, I'll be requiring exact spelling (numbers where there should be numbers, numbers spelled out as words where there should be numbers spelled out as words, etc.) and exact matches on titles and artists. Assume you are going to be judged swiftly and harshly this week, for indeed you shall be.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.


The Grand Prize
The first person to get all 31 song titles and artists correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JUNE 23 -- will win a very special prize: a $5 Fazoli's gift card AND you get to choose any song from the 31 clips included in this contest, and I will make a video of some sort out of it -- depending on the song, it'll be either me performing it or maybe an old-school music video (remember those?) to the song.


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"
In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all, anyone who gets at least five songs correct in this Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail directly (SSSemester [at] yahoo [dot] com) after putting their official entry in the comments WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL, SUPERSECRET LINK to the SSSemester-made video of the song chosen by the winner.


One Last Thing
There are a couple of PG-13 lyrics in this week's Song! Challenge!, so if you're under 13 (which, why would you be playing this if you were, but if you ARE), get a parent's permission before you play.

Readysetgo by clicking the player below:

Again, if you're on Facebook, you'll want to click over to http://sssemester.blogspot.com to play!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hilarious Sis, Precarious Kiss

It's been a while since I've posted any pics of my niece Madelynn or my nephew Owen.

So, here's a funny one from yesterday at Grandma and Grandpa's house:

The good news is, even after that tricky pose for a sisterly kiss from Madelynn, Owen was still all smiles. Dig:


Man, those kids are awesome!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Theme Song! Challenge! Results (And the winner is...)

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Theme Song! Challenge! Big ups to Sacha and Bill for their victory in this week's contest.

Here are the scores:
  • Ninth Place: Heather with 8/19
  • Eighth Place: Myrna (Meana) with 9/19
  • Seventh Place: Cousin Lisa with 10/19
  • Sixth Place: Amy Bridges with 11/19 at 2:21pm on 6/14 (although she alleges she was prepared for an earlier entry, that was when I got home to do the entry from the scrawled-on envelope she gave me at church Sunday morning)
  • Fifth Place: Gus Pearcy with 11/19 at 8:15am on 6/14
  • Fourth Place: Amy (Ket) with 11/19 at 7:27pm on 6/13
  • Third Place: KT with 17/19 at 6:32pm on 6/16
  • Second Place: KT's friend Joe with 18/19 at exactly 7:00pm on 6/16
  • First Place: Sacha and Bill with 18/19 at 10:24pm on 6/13

As always, three things to remember:

1. The judges' decision is final, so let it go.
2. The first prize is a bootleg CD, so no big whoop.
3. Everyone who entered gets an e-mail, coming soon, with a super-secret link to a video of me doing something random (in this case, performing TV theme songs). Players, watch for your e-mail soon. Be advised that I will likely be placing the video here on the blog some time later this week, so if you want to feel like you're getting the special sneak preview, you'll want to click that link and watch it quickly.

Thanks to everyone for playing. Check back here at 7pm EDT on Saturday for this week's Song! Challenge! You might want to study your math before this weekend. We'll be looking for songs involving or related to numbers.

See ya Saturday at 7pm EDT!

Oh, and here are all the answers from this week's Challenge!

1. Alice
2. Ally McBeal
3. The Andy Griffith Show
4. The Banana Splits
5. Batman
6. The Flintstones
7. Frasier
8. Full House
9. Growing Pains
10. Mad About You
11. Pee Wee's Playhouse
12. Scooby Doo
13. 21 Jump Street
14. Gimme A Break
15. One Day At A Time
16. Maude
17. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
18. Good Times
19. The Addams Family


EDITED TO ADD: Apparently, Jon and Jenny are students at the Cobra Kai karate dojo and would rather not enter at all than risk bringing dishonor to their sensei with a second-place finish. Despite their first-place finish last week, they currently suck.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Anticlimactic Blog about the Fire

So, there was a fire in the condo next door; we all could've been killed; we weren't. You're up to speed. (Just kidding.)

I mean, there really WAS a fire in the condo next door. I just didn't find out about it until after the fact, because I was out at choir rehearsal that evening. I returned home after post-choir drinks and found my front door broken in, my electricity off, and my home smelling like smoke. What I did NOT find was a note. Apparently, when you're out and your potentially on-fire house is broken into by the Fire Dept., they don't leave a note.

So after dealing with phone-tree hell and an attitudinal woman at Fire & Ambulance Dispatch (thanks for nothing, ma'am), I finally figured out who I needed to call to figure out why all my stuff was rearranged and why my house smelled like smoke and why my front door had been kicked (or whatevered) in and why my rabbit was in my upstairs bathroom.*

Long story short (too late) -- my next door neighbor's place had a fire, the Fire Department did their job, and the only real damage was the broken front door, some major footprints and wall smears from firefighters tromping around the place and a still-slightly-lingering smoke smell. Other than that, it's all good.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH, MUCH WORSE.
* Milo apparently weathered the firefighters' visit well. Because I was not home and the fire happened in the space above my neighbor's and my garages which share a wall, the FD had to break into my house to make sure the fire had not spread. (It hadn't.) In the process, they moved the thing on the steps that (mostly) keeps Milo downstairs (since he's a free range bunny) and they also left all the doors upstairs open, too. So he actually found his way upstairs and into the bathroom in the time between the FD's visit and when I got home. I hope he lived it up, because that's the last time I expect him to be up there...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Theme Song! Challenge #3: Nana, Whoa, Yeah, Oooh!

This week's Song! Challenge! calls to mind the TV shows from a long (and short) time ago. In the one-minute quiz below (a Minute Quiz -- just like the Westfield Insurance Brain Game, which, if you live in central Indiana, you should be watching right now, since it's 7:00pm EDT on a Saturday), you'll hear samples from 19 TV theme songs.

You'll be able to catch some of the music here and there, but the actual unifying theme of this quiz is Nonverbal Vocalizations. The featured clips from each of the 19 songs contain either a made-up word or some other non-word noise created by one or more humans or animals.


The Rules

Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and no, that's not a hint) is to enter your theme song guesses (name of show is all that's required this time around) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply: Judge's decision final, proper spelling appreciated, blah blah blah... OH! And if you have an iPhone, don't iCheat by iUsing Shazam, please. (There's no flipping way Shazam would help you with this.)

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.


The Grand Prize
The first person to get all 19 show titles correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most show titles correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JUNE 16 -- will win a special CD that I made, featuring dozens of my favorite TV theme songs.


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"
In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all, anyone who gets at least five songs correct in dthis Theme! Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail directly (SSSemester [at] yahoo [dot] com) after putting their official entry in the comments WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL, SUPERSECRET LINK to a video of me performing three or more of my very favorite TV theme songs.


Readysetgo by clicking the player below!

Shameless. Simply shameless.

Dear readers, you'll remember that last week, the prize for simply entering the Song! Intro! Challenge! was a special, supersecret link to a video of me doing the Hoedown Throwdown. As an enticement to get you to enter THIS WEEK'S Song! Challenge! (going live here on the blog at 7pm EDT tonight), I am able to release that video to the public at this time.

I hope this won't change things between us.


If you're reading this on Facebook, trust me, you will want to visit http://sssemester.blogspot.com to watch this video.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Song! Challenge! #3 (What happened to the "Intro!"?)

This weekend's Song! Challenge! -- posting live at 7pm EDT on Saturday, June 13, and running through 7pm EDT on Tuesday, June 16 -- will have a slightly different sound to it. In fact, it's going to be MUCH, MUCH shorter (probably less than a minute, compared to 8 minutes and 51 seconds last week) and MUCH, MUCH more random. But the same rules apply -- first response with all the answers correct, or the earliest response with the most answers correct, wins a prize.

The theme is Themes -- TV show theme songs, to be exact. And of course, as it is now "Song! Challenge!" and not "Song! Intro! Challenge!" you'll be called upon to identify TV shows based on their theme songs, just not necessarily from the very beginning. There is, of course, a twist...which you'll get to learn on Saturday when the game posts.

The prize this week is a keepsake (pronounced: "bootleg") CD with dozens of my favorite TV theme songs on it. Just like last week, everyone who enters gets something, too -- this week, it's a special, supersecret link to a video of me performing three of my favorite TV theme songs.

So, study up on your TV theme songs or find a friend who knows their TV themes and come back here at 7pm EDT on Saturday, June 13, to enter!

See ya then!

What's Worse?


There's this new game on Facebook called Pop Answers. It's basically a rip-off of "Family Feud," only you can guess as many answers as you can type in the time allotted. (That is, there are no Strikes.)

So, in the above question -- "What might you find in the trunk of a car?" -- what's worse? Your two choices:


That one of the answers is "dead body"? (It's the #2 most popular, btw.)

- OR -

That I correctly answered "dead body"?


I leave this to you to decide, dear readers.*
*I know now there are three of you! Welcome to Farmer Ben, aka my Third Reader!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Song! Intro! Challenge! #2 - Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Song! Intro! Challenge! It was a down-to-the-wire face-off, but one team has emerged victorious. Here are the standings, from least correct responses to most correct:

In Sixth Place: K.T. with 18 correct answers.
In Fifth Place: Amanda with 22 correct answers. (Amanda entered via e-mail.)
In Fourth Place: Dave & Stacey with 39 correct.
In Third Place: Brooke & Katie with 40 correct.
In Second Place: Sacha & Bill with 44 correct (45 with the correction at 11:13pm on Sat, 6/6)
In First Place: Jon & Jenny with 45 correct (at 11:06pm on Sat, 6/6)

NOW. Three things to remember:
  1. The judges' decision is final, so let it go. (This includes allowing "Jump Jive an' Wail" by Brian Setzer Orchestra for answer #7, even though, technically, it's the original -- or, at least, a more original, "Jump Jive an' Wail" by Louis Prima.)
  2. The first prize is a ten-dollar thing, so no big whoop.
  3. Everyone who entered gets an e-mail, coming soon, with a super-secret link to me doing the "Hoedown Throwdown." Watch for your e-mail soon. Be advised that I will likely be placing the video here on the blog some time later this week, so if you want to feel like you're getting the special sneak preview (and also to make sure that The Mouse doesn't cripple my creative license with their lawyers), you'll want to click that link and watch it quickly.
Thanks to everyone for playing. Check back here at 7pm EDT on Saturday for another Song! Challenge! of some sort! (Oooh, did you pick up on that? It might not be Song! Intro! Challenge!)

See ya Saturday at 7pm EDT!

Oh, and here are all the answers:

1. Beverly Hills, 90210, theme
2. Mamma Mia, ABBA
3. Ain't No Other Man, Christina Aguilera
4. Only You, Josh Kelley
5. Be Our Guest, Beauty and the Beast
6. The Rainbow Connection, Kermit the Frog
7. Jump, Jive an' Wail, Louis Prima
8. Pop, *NSYNC
9. Bubbly, Colbie Caillat
10. You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand
11. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, KT Tunstall
12. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
13. Free to Be You and Me, Marlo Thomas & Friends & The New Seekers
14. Electric Youth, Debbie Gibson
15. This Will Be (An Everlasting Love), Natalie Cole
16. Toxic, Britney Spears
17. If, Janet Jackson
18. Don't Stop Believin', Journey
19. Family Ties, theme
20. Low, Flo Rida feat T-Pain
21. Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
22. I Just Called To Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder
23. Mr. Roboto, Styx
24. Head Over Heels, The Go-Go's
25. Love Somebody, Rick Springfield
26. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston
27. Diamonds Are Forever, Shirley Bassey
28. Only the Good Die Young, Billy Joel
29. Vogue, Madonna
30. I Feel For You, Chaka Khan
31. When Doves Cry, Prince
32. Beat It, Michael Jackson
33. Lost In Love, Air Supply
34. Can't Smile Without You, Barry Manilow
35. You’re Makin’ Me High, Toni Braxton
36. Pink Houses, John Mellencamp
37. New Soul, Yael Naim
38. Respect, Aretha Franklin
39. Hold On To The Nights, Richard Marx
40. Simply Irresistible, Robert Palmer
41. Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
42. Love Machine, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
43. Where Is The Love?, Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake
44. Superstar, The Carpenters
45. Puttin' On The Ritz, Taco

3 TV Things

TV Thing the First
Even though this may be way too meta, even for me, I'm posting here College Humor's latest masterpiece, a sitcom intro about sitcom intros:

Can't see the video? Click here: http://sssemester.blogspot.com

TV Thing the Second
I've started working part-time in the office of a psychologist friend. She is awesome to work for, and as you might expect, I get to meet some interesting characters.

The interestingest character today was a 10-year-old-ish boy whose sibling had an appointment with my boss. This kid and his mom stayed out in the waiting room while the appointment was going on, and about 40 minutes into it, I thought I heard him chanting what sounded like "Supermarket Sweep! Supermarket Sweep!"

I was certain, however, that he could not possibly be chanting "Supermarket Sweep!" -- could he? I opened the little sliding glass window thingie and, sure enough, there he was repeating, over and over, "Supermarket Sweep! Supermarket Sweep!" I know not why he was saying this, nor do I know what Angel of Restraint helped me keep from busting out laughing, but I hope they bring that show back, if only so that kid can be on it.

I, of course, have a long and storied Supermarket-Sweep-related past. Especially in college, if I was at the grocery store with roommates and we were at the checkout and realized we'd forgotten something, I'd click instantly into "Mini-Sweep" mode and race through the store to find it and bring it back to the checkout, typically in 20 seconds or less, so as to achieve the $100 Mini-Sweep Bonus. I was also known to make up ridiculously cheesy rhyming puzzles, which I delivered enthusiastically for my friends while we shopped. Like, such as:

If you're looking for a snack and your salty taste bud tingles,
Pop open a cylindrical container of the potato crisps called _________!

(Pringles. We were looking for Pringles. Pringles.) (Also, did you know there was a whole big court case in the UK about whether Pringles were actually potato chips or not?)

So, anyway, I think it would be great if "Supermarket Sweep" made a comeback, because the kid from the office this morning and I would make a great team.

TV Thing the Third
Ah, you know, things are always funnier in threes, but I just can't pull anything out about TV right now. I suppose I could talk about this "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here," but it makes me very uncomfortable...

Oh! I just thought of something. This hilarious clip from "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" wherein Mark Paul Gosselaar does an entire interview as his Zack Morris character from "Saved By The Bell."

Monday, June 08, 2009

Walking Tall(er)

If you know me in real life, you’re aware that the last six months have not been stellar. If you know me only through my blog, you may or may not have picked up on this.

After finding myself unemployed in November and then minus one longtime friend in April (she didn’t die or anything; rather, she decided that I was too judgmental for us to remain friends), this has been a pretty down time for me. So throughout this recent chapter, through a job search, a Fiddler experience, and et cetera, I’ve been irritable and impatient, and the ever-present Vampire of Despair has been flashing his fangs again.

The double-whammy of “Tell me why I should employ you” and “Prove to me you’re a worthy friend” has been hard for me to deal with, and I have to say that I’ve not done a very good job of attacking either whammy head-on. Even though I know I’m funny, smart, and talented or whatever, I’ve never been good at articulating my Unique Selling Propositions (see also: Why I Don't Date). This, combined with my tendency toward being judgmental (of which I, myself, am my own primary target) has led me to this six-month period which, when we look back 20 years from now, we might refer to as The Great Wallowing. This time of lethargy, apathy, and isolation will forever be remembered as Why Late 2008 and Early 2009 Sucked.

BUT! I have it on good authority (which I have just now made up, really) that The Great Wallowing has run its course and things are looking up.

No, I don’t have a new job – or any leads, really – and I haven’t convinced myself that I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me. I have, however, noticed some seriously healthy life changes. I’m eating more intelligently than I have in the last 15 years, and I’ve introduced some exercise-type things into my routine. I’ve been writing more stuff and better stuff lately (my opinion – you may or may not agree; but it’s a big step in the right direction that I can appreciate your praise and/or listen thoughtfully to, but not be devastated by, your criticism, right?). And with the support of some entrepreneurial friends, I'm moving forward on publishing the board game I invented.

Even the way that I walk is changing. I’ve noticed lately that I am walking more confidently and with better posture than I have in a long time. I remember one summer about 15 years ago, when I was hanging out with some friends from the IU Orientation Program staff. We were talking about how, even if we couldn’t see someone’s face down the road in front of us, we could tell who they were by the way they walked.

Syrilda Tharpe, who will forever be the face who comes to mind whenever I hear the word "poet," told me that she saw in my walk “a heads-up, forward-looking warrior confidence.” And I can visualize, as though she were here in front of me, the determined facial expression she made and the kind-of muscle-man gesture she made with her arms to indicate the vibe my walk gave off. I feel like, after these last few months of head-down, purposeless walking, I’m back to that “heads-up, forward-looking warrior confidence” outlook, and I think it shows.

Happiness, success, and all those things we aim to “achieve” are, I think, just a frame of mind. I know I need to get the job thing straightened out, and as I solve that problem, I’m focusing on the good things in my life: healthy and hilarious family, dear and caring friends, delicious food, the sunshine and the moonglow and the summer breeze.

And I hereby declare that The Great Wallowing is over.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Liveblogging, Lord help me, the Tony Awards

Thanks for visiting my liveblog of the 2009 Tony Awards. Because I got a late start and wasn't intending to liveblog the show (thanks to Jon for encouraging/demanding), I didn't have a lot of extras to add during the actual liveblog. Items in red have been added after the liveblog, mostly between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. on Monday, June 8.

11:04 Haha! A little Broadway humor to end the evening.

11:03 An 11:00 number -- a closing number sung by NPH. Maybe he's going to earn his paycheck.

11:02 Liza rushes over to hug Sir Elton, and it's a little freaky.

11:01 I realize it's been a while since we've seen NPH. What does the host do, really? Seems like Announcer Woman has been working harder than NPH.

11:00 Liza announces the Tony goes to "Billy Elliot" and then freaks out kind of like a small, slow child. It's cute how the other kids in the cast are celebrating together.

10:59 I said it before, and I'll say it again. Here comes Liza; everybody buckle up. She gives us the nominees for Best Musical.

10:56 "Oh, what a night! Doo doo doo doo-doo," etc., etc.

10:55 "I LOVE YOU BAY-BEE! AND IF IT'S QUITE ALL RIGHT, I NEED YOU BAY-BEE...!"

10:52 Someone whom I have never seen before introduces an historic collection five Frankie Vallis, from the Toronto, Las Vegas, National Tour, Chicago, and Broadway productions of "Jersey Boys."

10:51 One of the Billies just referred to Sir Elton John as "Elton" before they all thanked their brothers and sisters. Cute.

10:49 Audra McDonald, who I think looks like an African-American version of my friend JennySchell (of course, I think Adam Lambert looks like Mindy Cohn, so whaddayagonnado?), introduces the Best Actor-Musical nominees. The three Billy Elliots (why are there three?) win, marking the first time the Tony Award has been shared by three people.

10:47 Alice! Ripley! Is! Enthusiastic! about that JFK quote: I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.

10:45 Niles Crane presents the Best Actress in a Musical nominees. And he does so quickly. The winner is Alice Ripley. Even though this is her first Tony, I'm pretty sure that it's no surprise.

10:43 Announcer Woman tells us "The cast of 'Jersey Boys' will perform after the break." And I abandon almost all hope of us finishing up by 11:00.

10:38 Kristen Chenoweth reminds us of the nominees for Best Revival of a Musical. This is a toughie. But the winner is "Hair."

10:37 This clip is, um, interactive.

10:34 Anne Hathaway, beautiful as always (and weathering well the storm caused by her troubled ex-boyfriend), introduces the clip from "Hair."

10:34 I'm worried about Doogie.

10:33 The conductor jumped the gun a bit, but playing him out with "The Best of Times" was a nice touch.

10:31 Jerry Herman is just a little man, but is apparently a great big talent. I hope the orchestra doesn't play him off, even if we look back at this as the moment when the telecast went long.

10:27 Angela Lansbury introduces a Jerry Herman montage. I guess I didn't know all these shows had anything in common. He gets a lifetime achievement award. And a standing O.

10:21 Or maybe I should talk to my doctor about Reclast, which is only one IV a year to get treatment for post-menopausal bone density loss. (I'm beginning to think I'm not necessarily in the Tony Awards's target demographic.)

10:19 Best Play nominees from La Fierstein. Winner is "God of Carnage." Yazmina Reza, the writer, thanked her "mother, who overcame her fear of flying to be with us tonight." That's pretty cool.

10:17 "The Norman Conquests" wins, and they storm the stage. I don't think they were supposed to do that.

10:16 Harvey Fierstein just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong-guh? He gives us the nominees for Best Revival of a Play.

10:15 "Legally Blonde" is touring or whatever.

10:11 It's Peanut Butter Smoothie time! (You may sing that to the tune of "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" if you wish.)

10:06 Billy Elliot appears to be a danger to himself or others, especially wearing those automatic tap shoes that Professor Frink invented for Lisa Simpson.

10:05 Sir Elton John introduces the clip from "Billy Elliot" but it sounds like he is saying "Billit."

10:03:30 Why are these clips of nominated plays so short?

10:03 Piper Perabo has come a long way since "Coyote Ugly."

10:02 And the Tony goes to Marcia Gay Harden. It's her first Tony, and it makes her hotter to me. Her husband's name is Thaddeus. You don't see many Thaddeuses (Thaddei?) these days.

10:01 Frank Langella tells us the nominees for Best Lead Actress-Play.

10:00 Frank Langella is hilarious.

9:58 Frank Langella always scares the hell out of me. Like he could snap his fingers and I would be killed instantly. I always thought it was odd that he was (is?) Whoopi Goldberg's boyfriend.

9:57 Earlier tonight, the designers got their awards.

9:52 I need to talk to my doctor about Actonel. I'm worried about post-menopausal bone density loss.

9:50 What's the deal with showing the recently deceased on a projection screen and then swooping around with the camera on and around the screen? They did that at the Oscars this year, too, didn't they?

9:48 Lilith Crane introduces the In Memoriam for Natasha Richardson, Gerald Schoenfeld, and others, as "What I Did For Love" is sung in the background.

9:47 Major Dad and some woman introduce some "chronicle of small-town life" play, a 20-second clip of which fails to tell us the name of said play.

9:45 Veteran actor Geoffrey Rush wins his first Tony Award, Announcer Woman tells us.

9:44 Jessica Lange saunters out seductively to deliver a hilarious ad lib. Oh, sorry -- the Best Actors-Play from before were Best Featured, not Best Lead. JLa is presenting Best Lead Actor in a Play right now.

9:42 For the second time tonight, we see the Irish Step Dancing "Best part of waking up" Folger's commercial. I guess they don't have to create new ads for the Tonys the way they do for the Super Bowl.

9:35 More audio problems. What's up with the sound system tonight?

9:34 Carrie Fisher arrives, dressed like a fool. She looks like Salieri in his post-suicide-attempt hospital gown, except hers is reddish; she introduces a song from "Next to Normal."

9:32 Uncle Jesse now introduces the Best Actress in a Musical nominees. Karen Olivo from "West Side Story" wins. One of the other nominees is named Haydn Gwynne. Do you think she frequently gets confused with veteran character actor Aiden Quinn?

9:29 Uncle Jesse from "Full House" will be in "Bye Bye Birdie" later this fall. He is now presenting the Best Actor in a Musical award. One of the Billy Elliots One of the kid stars of "Billy Elliot" is nominated. He does not win, but Gregory Jbara, also from "Billy Elliot," does win. His wife is three inches taller than he is, but it doesn't matter, because he's giving a heartfelt speech. (I remember him as Kevin Kline's brother -- Walter, I think? -- in "In & Out.") "Thank you, American Theatre Wing; this is the best." Nice.

9:27 Luci Arnaz is wearing a lovely black gown that is marred by a pink-and-black striped bow monstrosity. Her friend from the Theatre Wing board, whom I recognize as an actress but whom I cannot name, seems to have killed a black swan for her gown.

9:26 Earlier tonight, the Creative Arts Tonys were awarded, mostly to boring and/or nonbeautiful people. (Just kidding.) (Many of them were British and, therefore, interesting.) (Just kidding.)

9:23 Commercials. I'll take this time to share with you that I always thought that the people who produce musical theatre would do well to mainstreamify themselves by producing televised versions of shows currently on Broadway or touring, to get people interested in attending the shows either in New York or when the tours come through their town. I could see Rosie O'Donnell and/or NPH and/or Hugh Jackman hosting a monthly Broadway Showcase or whatever on CBS Sunday night.

9:22 We're over an hour into this liveblog -- almost an hour and a half since the show started and there's a LOT of awards left. Best Actor/Actress in a Musical, Best Musical, Best Play... Oh. Well, I guess there's only a few awards left.

9:20 Nice performance. I think I want "Guys and Dolls" to win whatever they're up for.

9:18 Nicely-Nicely's microphone doesn't work, so the dude runs out with a handheld, like Zach had to use in "Fiddler" last month. (See, Zach, it happens to the pros, too!)

9:17 The woman from "Gilmore Girls" and the guy from "Lake Placid" (I know it's Oliver Platt and Lauren Graham, but I think it's hilarious to reduce them to previous roles.) introduce "Guys and Dolls" and it's my favorite song: "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."

9:16 Who knew a show called "God of Carnage" would be so hilarious?

9:15 "God of Carnage" preview. Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis introduce it. I think Marcia Gay Harden is hot and is going to be hot until she dies.

9:14 Liza Minnelli takes to the microphone; everybody buckle up. They're going to need an elephant tranquilizer to get her offstage.

9:12 Edie Falco introduces the Best Special Theatrical Event nominees. But she doesn't get to say the names of the nominees. (Announcer Woman does it.) "Liza's At The Palace" beats out Will Ferrell's "You're Welcome, America." Not a surprise, but it would have been nice for Ferrell to get some recognition.

9:07 Commercials!

9:05 First "The Sopranos," then "Glee," now "Rock of Ages." Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" has really made the rounds.

9:03 The mainstreamification of musical theatre is unlikely to come through a fey-acting man in a tuxedo t-shirt flirting with Liza Minnelli.

9:02 After nearly decapitating Bret Michaels in the opening number (I still don't know how I missed that), "Rock of Ages" threatens to set something on fire. The way Constantine Maroulis says "ROCK," as in "I wanna ROCK!" makes me uncomfortable. Realizing he's already been disappointed on the national stage in "American Idol," I kind of hope he doesn't win this show, either.

9:00 I adore Susan Sarandon for keeping us on track. She doesn't even leave the stage before presenting the award for Best Direction of a Musical. She is tasky, this Sarandon. "Billy Elliot" wins. And I learn it's 2 Ls and 1 T in "Elliot." I also learn that the British seem to be better at theatre than us, so far.

8:57 We're back. For the record, we have presented 3 awards in 57 minutes. Three. Awards. In 57. Minutes. Susan Sarandon tries to move things along by presenting Best Direction of a Play. Some guy is nominated for two different plays. He wins, for a play called "God of Carnage." It is his first win, and he seems like a pleasant enough bloke. Sadly, America doesn't care about direction of a play. GIVE US ANOTHER CELEBRITY! Real, hard-working people are boring!

8:53 Announcer Woman promises Edie Falco and Susan Sarandon and Lauren Graham, as well as performances from "Rock of Ages" and "Guys and Dolls," and then General Motors apologizes to us advertisingly: fewer, stronger brands; fewer, stronger models. Leaner, greener, faster, smarter. Kind of like the 6-Million-Dollar Man, only we actually had the technology to fix him.

8:52 Everybody in the audience says a prayer for Tony and Maria's high end note.

8:51 It is a true fact that I snapped along with them.

8:49 Don't you think these snippets would be better if they had, I don't know, plot, rather than just being glorified show-choir numbers? I do.

8:48 "Mambo! Go!" The kids from the revival of "West Side Story" show off a little bit. I may or may not have shouted out "Mambo!" along with them.

8:47 The 1 of the 10 is cut off as his time runs out on his acceptance speech. ("Schadenfreude," much?)

8:45 Best Original Score goes to "Next To Normal," whatever that is, which was apparently composed by the number 10. (Seriously, it's like Stick Person and pre-weight-loss Peter Jackson wrote this musical.)

8:44 Will Ferrell tells us the nominees for Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.

8:43 After a 15-second snippet of Jane Fonda "acting" in "33 Variations," a surprisingly slim, damn near gaunt, Will Ferrell arrives to, among other things, mock La Fonda's earlier pronunciation of "Waiting For Godot." (Which we now know was correct.)

8:42 Best Play nominees will be sampled throughout the evening, too. Here's "33 Variations." Colin Hanks sounds like his dad, but looks like he wants to kill us.

8:41 Aaaand, we're back! NPH has a "Broadway Scratch-n-Sniff" gag. It's not funny.

8:39 "Medium" is moving from NBC to CBS this fall? I guess? You'd think Patricia Arquette's character would have had a dream about what a bad idea that is.

8:37 Potty break!

8:36 Aaaaand, I'm going to say that was a fail on the "Mamma Mia" peek. There are a few other songs that would have been cooler.

8:35 I receive KT's "Murder, She Wrote" reference in the comments and regret not having thought of it myself.

8:33 This year at the show, we're going to see snippets from North American tours. First up: Mamma Mia, whose title song was featured in this week's Song! Intro! Challenge! I kind of wonder why they're doing "Dancing Queen," though, since it seems just kind of like lame karaoke at this point.

8:31 The Tony goes to Angela Lansbury. Which, come on. It's her fifth Tony, Announcer Woman tells us. But, to be fair, she's 140 years old now, so she's had some time. She does a classy job with her speech. "Thank you for having me back." Very nice!

8:30 Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini dispel the myth that you have to be beautiful to be an actor as they present the award for Best Actress in a Play.

8:29 NPH is trying a scoche too hard with the comedy.

8:28 "Things Are Looking Up in Duloc," but they are not looking up for "Shrek the Musical."

8:25 Is everyone in "Shrek the Musical" gay? As KT says, the Prince is even more Uncle Arthurly.

8:23 Aaaand, we're back. "Shrek the Musical" gets a feature. Is Shrek gay? It's like Uncle Arthur from "Bewitched" turned green and Scottish? Or something?

8:22 A commercial for some sort of eyelash-growing prescription drug. Really? We can do that, but we can't cure cancer? Priorities, you jerks. (You can learn more about eyelashes here.)

8:19 Commercials!

8:18 I use this guy's speech time to get caught up on the recap of the opening number, since I didn't start this until 8:12.

8:17 Some guy I've never heard of wins Best Actor, after Jane Fonda screws up "The winner is..." which, I guess, is not how you say it any more.

8:16 I'm not sure Jane Fonda is getting any name right in her nominees. "Waiting for God-oh"? (God. Oh...apparently that's how Samuel Beckett pronounced it.)

8:15 "The incredible Jane Fonda" comes out to present the first award. She looks good, even with her glasses. Especially with her glasses. Jane is presenting Best Actor in a Play.

8:14 Constantine from "American Idol" is here. He's in "Rock of Ages." I saw him on the "Today" show a week or so ago.

8:12 Neil Patrick Harris makes his first appearance to tumultuous applause. Did you see his Top Ten List earlier in the week on Letterman? Pretty good.

8:10ish The voiceover lady of every award show welcomes us. How do you get that gig? I want it.

8:00 A veritable Broadway Who's Who starts with Elton John doing a song from "Billy Elliott" ("Eliot"?) I start the liveblog late, so here's what I can remember:
  • Audio problems make a good show crappy.
  • Then comes the "West Side Story" cast, but the wrong microphones are hot, so we hear some other performers doing their warm-up, instead of the Jets and Sharks singing, in English and Spanish, respectively.
  • A cross-over between "West Side Story" and "Guys and Dolls" is pretty cool.
  • Poison don't need nothin' but a good time. Singing the song that they sang that is now being sung in "Rock of Ages" -- ladies and gentlemen, the real Poison! (Also, I think Bret Michaels just got beaten up by a set piece.)
  • Singing the song that she sang that is now being sung in "9 to 5" -- ladies and gentlemen, the (mostly) real Dolly Parton!
  • Singing some song I've never heard in a way I wish I'd never heard -- ladies and gentlemen, a parody of her former self, Liza Minnelli!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Song! Intro! Challenge! Episode Two

If you're viewing this on Facebook, you'll want to click here now: http://sssemester.blogspot.com

Hey, remember how much fun we had with Song! Intro! Challenge! episode 1, even though it wasn't called that? Good times.

Here's the latest Song! Intro! Challenge!. It has 45 songs, for a total playing time of 8 minutes, 51 seconds. This one's a little different in that I didn't edit out all of the lyrics. But, as always, the rules are the same:


The Rules
Enter your song guesses (FULL ARTISTS' NAMES AND TITLE REQUIRED... except in the case of TV theme songs and Broadway showtunes - just the title required for those) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply: Judge's decision final, proper spelling appreciated, blah blah blah... OH! And if you have an iPhone, don't iCheat by iUsing Shazam, please.

You can enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the 45 songs and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize
The first person to get all 45 artists and titles correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song artists and titles by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JUNE 9 -- will win a $10 Costco Cash Card. If you live somewhere where there isn't a Costco, you still want to play and win; we'll figure something out, prize-wise.


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I'm chairing a Barn Dance fundraiser for Motus Dance Theatre in October. As part of the festivities, I'm learning to do the Hoedown Throwdown (from "The Hannah Montana Movie," apparently).

Anyone who gets at least five songs correct in this Song! Intro! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail directly (SSSemester [at] yahoo [dot] com) after putting their official entry in the comments WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL, SUPERSECRET LINK to a video of me doing the Hoedown Throwdown. The three-minute version. (I'll pray for you if you pray for me.)


The Contest
And this time, if someone gets all 45 answers correct, I will NOT be posting any indication to that effect until 7:00PM on Tuesday. So, just because you see someone's answer and think they've won, be sure to comment anyway!


Readysetgo by clicking on the player below!

T-minus 4 hours - Got yer ears on?

In just under 4 hours, this week's Song! Intro! Challenge! -- the blog game that's sweeping the nation! -- will go live. (You can see an earlier edition of the game here.)

The prizes for tonight's Challenge! have been finalized. This week's grand prize is a $10 Costco Cash Card which I found in my giftcard pile. And everyone who gets at least 5 answers correct will receive a special link to a video of me doing the "Hoedown Throwdown" as we prepare for Motus Dance Theatre's Barn Dance fundraiser later this year.

So, check back here at 7:00pm EDT and be ready to name some songs from just their opening notes in the Song! Intro! Challenge!

This Weekend's To-Do List

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Another contest is coming!

This Saturday, at 7:00pm EDT, I'll post the next Song! Intro! Challenge! here on the blog.

This one will contain 45 songs (!) for you to identify by title and artist, and the grand prize* will be a $10 Costco Cash Card, which you can use at the nearest Costco for things such as gasoline and 5-gallon jars of mayonnaise. (Yuck. But, as always, to each his own.)

So, check back here on ye olde blogge at exactly 7:00pm Eastern on Saturday and maybe you'll win! You can play the version from Monday night below to prepare. Also, you might take a look at the rest of the blog to see what you can glean from how I write; use those clues to determine the kinds of music you might want to study up on. (If you're thinking hardcore metal and gangsta rap, you're a bit off.)

This next contest will run through 7:00pm Eastern on Tuesday, June 9, and I won't post any results until that time, so enter early and enter often!

* Don't go getting all excited yet, but it's possible the prize package may get even better. A "friend" heard I was learning the dance steps to the Miley Cyrus hit Hoedown Throwdown in preparation for a barn dance fundraiser in October, and I have been dared to also include, for this contest's winner, an audiovisual treat: a video of me doing the dance steps to the three-minute version of Hoedown Throwdown.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gratitude

A few weeks ago, around Mother's Day, my dad was volunteering with the SAWs program at St. Luke's and Second Presbyterian Church. They were building a wheelchair ramp for this family in Indianapolis, and in the course of the day, they got to know the owner of the home to which they were adding the wheelchair ramp.

While they were talking, the homeowner all of a sudden asked my dad to wait right where he was and ran into the house. When he came back, he had a decorative, clear glass candy dish in his hands, which he gave to my dad to share with my mom as a Mother's Day gift. My folks now keep that delicate, beautiful dish on their kitchen counter, right in the middle of everything at the house.

This afternoon I went to Broadway Church, where I used to work, to have lunch with my former co-worker, Mary. When I walked in, Mary immediately handed me a decorative, clear glass votive holder shaped like a sleeping kitten.

"This is from Fannie," Mary told me. "She dropped it off the other day to let you know she's thinking of you."

Fannie is one of the neighbors who lives around the church. She was facing an uphill battle (troubled relationship, medical issues, financial issues, etc.) when I first met her a year and a half ago. And over the course of several months, we got to know each other through conversations in my office and in the 'hood, including an eye-opening trip to the Wishard Hospital ER after some bad stuff went down at her apartment. I haven't seen Fannie since I left Broadway Church about six months ago.

When Mary gave me the gift from Fannie, I told her between sniffles (shut up) about the glass candy dish that my dad had recently received, and I marvelled (again) at the generosity of those who have so little. And I felt ignorant (again) both for being surprised at the gift, from such a darling woman, and for not being more generous with what I have to give. Above all, I appreciated the reminder to be grateful for the multitudes of blessings in my life -- and I seriously mean "multitudes."

Those two gifts -- one for my dad and one for me, received about a week apart -- are, I think, great symbols of how we should treat each other: sharing with each other everything we have out of joy, celebrating the delicate beauty of each other with delight, and remembering to be grateful for what we do have.

For, even when it's hard to see it, we are truly and greatly blessed.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's a quiz! And there's a prize!

Hey, if you're reading this on Facebook, parts are missing. Click over to my blog for the full effect, why doncha: http://sssemester.blogspot.com

The other day, I was listening to a collection of Muppet songs, and one of them was "Happiness Hotel" from The Great Muppet Caper -- one of my favorite movies from childhood. What struck me about this song, apart from its hilarious comedy that there's no way kids would get, is that just from the first three seconds, I'm in a good mood. Dig:



That got me thinking about other songs and how there are some that I can identify from the very beginning. Some can make me smile in just a second or two. So, being me, I made a game out of it. There are 22 song intros in the MP3 embedded below. How many can you name?



And did I mention there's a prize?! Here's how to win:

Enter your song guesses (ARTIST AND TITLE REQUIRED... except in the case of TV theme songs - just the title required for those) as a single comment here on the blog. You can enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to enter your comment/entry.

The first person to get all 22 artists and titles correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song artists and titles by FRIDAY, JUNE 5 -- will win...I don't know what. But something cool, with an Actual Retail Value of, like, at least $5. Maybe if you're the winner, you could tell me what you'd be interested in winning, and I could make it happen.

Of course, since all these songs are in my iTunes library, this quiz really tells you more about me than I will learn about you. And you may keep your snide comments about [ARTISTS' NAMES REDACTED] to yourself.

As always, standard rules apply: Judges decision final, proper spelling is appreciated, blah blah blah... OH! And if you have an iPhone, don't iCheat by iUsing Shazam, please.

NOW GO!

UPDATE: Wow, that didn't take long. Brooke Nelson pulled out the narrow win over the Yuma, Arizona, contingent plagued by infighting and backbiting. In case you'd like to play along, you can still listen to the quiz audio above and make your own list. I'll put the answers here, upside down, so as not to ruin it for you.


UPDATE UPDATE: The kids seemed to have fun playing and I had a good time making up the test. So, check back here at 7:00pm EDT on Saturday, June 6, for another go-round of Song! Intro! Challenge! I'll set the post to go live right at 7:00pm Eastern on Saturday, and I'll come up with a prize for Saturday, too. Hopefully the Yuma team will have worked out their teamwork strategy before Saturday evening.