Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dance Your Mmm-mmm*! Off

I thought we had a deal, you and I.

You watch out for basic-cable television programs that I might enjoy and then you notify me of said programs. In exchange, I provide a semiregular, semihumorous weblog -- or, "blog" -- for you to enjoy.

Boy, did you blow it. (It is entirely possible that boy, did I blow it, also. But let's try to stay focused. I'm trying to blame you here.)

For, you see, I have just discovered, of my own volition, the Oxygen program called "Dance Your Ass Off." It appears to be a hybrid of "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Biggest Loser." And it is totally a show that I would have auditioned for, had I only known. (Again, the blame lies solely and squarely at your feet, dear reader.)

Each week -- apparently, since Hulu is only showing clips, not full episodes (come on, Oprah, let Oxygen put its business on Hulu, please) -- normal, non-celebrity mortal contestants (well, portly mortals) learn choreography and then strut their stuff for judges, one of whom is Lisa Ann Something, who was on that one show whose title I can't think of right now and who is totally working the thin hotness compared to the last time you saw her.

Anyway, no thanks to you, I have discovered this program, and I am working my way through the clips on the Hulu. Like, such as:

* My friend Jason and I went to a leadership conference in college, and one of the break-out sessions on crisis management was called "When You're Up To Your Ass In Alligators," only it was actually titled, "When You're Up To Your A** In Alligators," because we were only 20, and 20-year-olds have never heard the word "ass" used before. Anyway, something happened during the conference, and the conferencemistress, a very proper Fräulein von Stickuppenzeebutt, had to make an announcement about that particular workshop. Only, she didn't call it "When You're Up To Your Ass In Alligators," nor did she say "When You're Up To Your A-Star-Star In Alligators," nor even "When You're Up To Your Butt In Alligators. No, instead she called it, "When You're Up To Your Mmm-mmm! In Alligators" -- and, in this case at least, "Mmm-mmm!" was pronounced with an "uh-oh" cadence and pitch to indicate saying "Ass" was, indeed, a no-no and frowned upon. So, whenever I want to type or say "ass," I often think of this particular conferencemistress and substitute "Mmm-mmm!" instead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Poems I Owe 'Em

Way back in the day (about a month ago), I had a Song! Challenge! where the (Almost) Everybody "Wins" prize was a poem about each person that entered. I'm FINALLY able to publish those prize poems here. Sorry for the delay, everyone!

For Amanda and Ryan

They walked hand-in-hand,
wandering, wondering, laughing.
Their future, together and apart,
full of possibilities yet certain to contain twists and turns.
The questions on their hearts were large and heavy
but seemed smaller and lighter
as they walked hand-in-hand,
wandering, wondering, laughing, together.

For Ryan R

"It's hard
to write a poem
about someone you've never met,"
he said.

"Why not just transcribe
this conversation
we're having,
and write it all poem-like --
you know, with
line breaks
and there --
and make that your poem about him?" she replied.

For Sarah

This tree grows in the desert

A tall, tall tree with juicy, luscious fruit blossoming from every branch
whose leaves laugh in the whipping wind

This tree grows in the desert

A strong, strong tree with limbs created for comfort and shade
whose roots go deep, deeper, all the way to the center of the world

This tree grows in the desert

A loving, loving tree with enough for everyone to share
whose reach extends further and further each day

This tree grows in the desert

For JL

You can hear my friend Jenny approach your house before she even knocks on the door. The birds announce her arrival with a silver song, like giggles mixed with honey. She's a teacher -- as a job and as a calling. I think God speaks through my friend Jenny. Not with words or visions, but with a constant joy that sometimes bursts forth like a summer storm and sometimes sneaks out like the first freesia fragrance in the spring. It's not that she doesn't get angry or hurt or disappointed or sad, it's that her joy -- her Joy -- is bigger than that, and that makes all the difference.

For Jon

There once was a cool guy from Yuma
Who had quite a keen sense of humor.
Though he's no longer piggish
Still one body part's biggish.
Or it could be that that's just a rumor.

For Spike
(Haiku, as requested) (Spike-ku?) (And it's possible someone else requested haiku)

Love that he always
sings "Happy Birthday, Mister
President" to me.

For RealtorMichelle

She wakes up before the rest of them,
Tired, worn, exhausted.
But smiling, because she can't wait to see them again.

She walks in after a long day,
Still tired, still worn, still exhausted.
But smiling, because she can't wait to see them again.

She makes dinner
And does the dishes
And cleans the house
And cleans all of them
And reads the stories and brings the water and says the prayers and pays the bills and does the laundry
And gets done all the other things that need to get done.

And she lays her head on the pillow,
Tired again, worn again, exhausted again.
But smiling, because she can't wait to see them again.

For Dave and Lisa

You'd think it would be hard to know anything about a person
after just having one meal with them.

You might know their name
and a little about their job, sure,
but what do you really know?

The high school they went to,
and which instrument they played in marching band?
The number of kids they have
and their ages? Maybe even their names?
How they met?
Where and when they married?

But you can know, really.
At least the Most Important Thing.

When they walk in, and when they sit down, and when they laugh, and when they eat, and when they stand close to each other, and when they leave, you can see their love for each other and for their family.

In their eyes, in their hands, in their smiles.
You can tell; you can just tell.

For Brooke

A musician's sense of rhythm
and a pirate's sense of direction.

A dancer who doesn't know it yet
and a teacher who's known all along.

A magnet unaware of her polarity
in a world of Opposites and Likes.

The unapologetic Gemini bathes in dichotomy,
robes herself in contradiction,
flies high the banner of paradox.

She walks the path before her,
day by day, step by step,
without the certainty of knowing what's next,
but clinging with faith to the certainty of hope.

PS - I know I still owe some drawings and a couple videos (Lord help me, one for "Rehab" and one for "Walk the Dinosaur"). I apologize for the delay but will get those up and out ASAP!

Monday, August 24, 2009

For Megan

My Twitter friend @Megan_Maria works at a place that contains a co-worker who regularly busts out the nail clipper and goes to town. In response to her tweet just now, and in solidarity because I, too, once worked in the office next door to a serial nail clipper (honestly, Unnamed Former Co-worker* -- like twice, a week?!), I share with her and with you "Punk Song" by Monkey Puzzle:

Let's play a game: What's the worst thing your Corporate America co-worker does? That is to say, why does Corporate America bite YOUR ass? Leave yours in the comments!

* The first draft of this post named names. But because my posts get sucked into Facebook and I have roughly 50 FB friends who could potentially see this and learn unattractive things about this person, I decided to remove it. See how I've grown?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Miracle of Light

I was driving around this afternoon and my mind wandered back to a topic that I've often thought about: the gift of light. And also all the gifts that go with it: colors, mirrors, vision, etc.

I mean, I suppose anyone who ever got high in their dorm room has meandered across this profoundness -- not having done that, I remain proud that the idea came to me substance-free -- but how cool is it that light comes from the sun, 93 MILLION MILES AWAY, and then BOUNCES OFF THAT THING OVER THERE and then hits my eye and then my brain can make something out of it?

And in the case of driving, it goes from the sun ... 93 million miles ... bounces off that thing ... BOUNCES OFF MY REARVIEW MIRROR ... and THEN hits my eye and my brain can make something out of it. Or that WE FIGURED OUT A WAY! TO MAKE LIGHT OURSELVES! And then THAT light from the headlights of the car behind me hits my rearview mirror and bounces off it and hits my eye and my brain can make something out of it.

Awesome, right?

Of course, the physics of light and our sense of sight require that things be lined up pretty well -- and that our eyes and brains themselves be healthy -- in order for a functional picture to be formed. If our mirror is crooked, we can't see what's behind us. If the lens of our eye is misshapen, then the light doesn't focus on our retina correctly, and the image is, at best, blurry and, at worst, non-existent. If the optic nerve doesn't transmit the electric impulses from our retina to our brain, we got nothin'. And if we actively close our eyes, then there's no chance at all for the miraculous process to unfold.

I've long contended that we -- our faces, our words, our very lives -- are tiny mirrors, built to reflect God's love and light to each other. And I think that process -- the physics of God's love, if you will -- works pretty much the same as the physics of light. Each one of us has the opportunity to decide how to open our heart and line up our mirror. Will we reflect God's love back to God? To other people, or to ourselves? With calmness and steadiness, or with energy and exuberance? With focus or with abandon? Off into the distance, or wasted on the ground? 

Will we keep our mirrors polished, or allow them to grow dim with the grime of doubt? Will we hold them out like banners, or protect ourselves with them like shields? Put them in our pockets and pretend they don't exist, or even forget they're ours to bear?

Through the gifts we give each other (time, stuff, permission) and the ways we treat each other (with love, with forgiveness, with compassion), we ourselves play an important role in reflecting God's love to the world. 

How are you -- here and now; wherever you are today -- letting God's love shine on you and through you to the rest of the world?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wouldja like to take a sur-VEY?

The good people at FormSpring are looking for a Marketing Specialist. Because I would like to learn more about the product so I can impress them and get this job, I just signed up for a free FormSpring account and you should, too.

It's pretty cool and allows you to collect and manage information online using a variety of data-input options. The brief survey that I link to below is just a VERY simple example of a FormSpring form. You can also use it to create contact forms, accept online donations, manage event registrations, and tons more. It's pretty powerful stuff and, whether you're using it for sophisticated customer relations initiatives or for managing your upcoming family reunion, it can do a LOT.

Complete the survey and let me know how awesome you think I am! There is no prize associated with taking this survey...yet. But if things go well and the fine folks at FormSpring hire me, I'll have money to secure a prize and we can all do this again some time soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And now, back to our regularly scheduled inanity...

Is "inanity" a word? Like, "the condition or state of being inane"? Because that's what I feel this blog mostly is, and (based on the response that many caring, lovely people have shared lately as I strayed from the inane into the melancholy) that's what the folks have come to expect -- none of this heavy, blah-laden crappy crap.


Here goes...

Maybe we'll start with a list of four things that make me really laugh these days, in no particular order:

1. I'm working as the office manager at a psychology practice (which, in and of itself, one must admit, is pretty funny). But what never fails to make me laugh is that we have a patient whose name is Grace. (I don't think that violates HIPAA, does it?) Anyway, every time I see Grace's file, the only thing I can think of -- LITERALLY the only thing -- is Ed Rooney from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (played by accused pedophile Jeffrey Jones) screaming "Grace? Grace! GRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCEEEEE!" to his bumbling, yet delightful secretary (played by the bumbling, yet delightful Edie McClurg). This generates a smile on my face every time, as does my whisper-screaming to myself, "GRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCEEEEE!" (like at the 0:32 mark here). While it's true that I like to file all our patient files (which, I assume, is also kind of funny), I really look forward to filing Grace's file.

2. This performance art/political satire, from some folks with video editing software and an autotuner.

3. The tweets of Nereus, a walrus at the Indianapolis Zoo. I'm hoping they get the new baby giraffe (Mazel tov, Takasa and Eddie!) set up on Twitter, also.

4. The podcast called "Jordan, Jesse, GO!" which is available for download on iTunes -- more info (and more hilarity) at Also, check out the full version of the song they use as the JJGo theme song: "Love You" by Free Design, which doesn't make me laugh, but which brings me great joy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Whether you associate Hearing It Through The Grapevine with Marvin Gaye or with the California Raisins, you can appreciate the notion of the angst and anxiety that arise when you learn second- or third-hand what someone said about you.

Well, I'm here to tell you, dear readers: the Grapevine is crap. Eff the Grapevine is what I am saying to you. The Grapevine is a dirty, dirty lie. (Are we clear?)

Perhaps other adults learned this sooner than I, but it's a real revelation to me. An epiphany, if you will. The scales have fallen from mine eyes, etc. But whenever anyone tells you "So-and-So said so-and-so..." please to be disregarding it, because whatever that person is telling you reveals more about that person than it does about So-and-So or about you. If it matters to you what So-and-So said -- and 9 times out of 10, it probably should not matter to you -- then talk to So-and-So directly to find out where he or she stands.

This goes way beyond "Consider the source." This is not advice about filters or lenses or screens or any of the other interpersonal communications buzzwords. What I am sharing with you is my newfound belief that we, as humans, guess wrong 99% of the time if there's ANY room for interpretation of another person's message. And unless the message is "FIRE, GET OUT," there's pretty much always room for interpretation. So, because we guess wrong in the 1st-degree communication (A saying something to B), by the time it gets to a 2nd-degree communication (B conveying that something to C), there's no way in hell it's even close to what A originally intended to communicate.

Therefore! From now on, I disempower all the angst and the worry and the anxiety and the fear and the trepidation and the queasiness and the sweaty palms and the rapid heartbeat and the et cetera that comes from Grapevine bullcrap. (*Poof!*)

At least, that's what I intend to do.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bringing us all up to speed

It's been a WHILE since I updated this here blog -- I mean, since before I updated it with the Song! Challenge! results a minute ago. Here's what's happened in the last two weeks:

I went to a wedding in a castle. You may or may not have helped with my choice of neckwear. The wedding was at Meyer's Castle in Dyer, Indiana. It was a beautiful affair, and the bride and groom threw a rockin' reception. She's Puerto Rican and he's Macedonian, so the music was hopping all night long. On the SSSF, it was definitely far superior to the average wedding score of 7.2. I'd put it somewhere around 8.5. It was good to see Myrna's family again and it was great to hang out with Buki and Maria, whose wedding I got to attend last year. Remember? I also got to meet Myrna's new niece, Anna Maria, who is adorable, and I got to see Myrna's nephew Christopher again, too -- he's also adorable, and supersmart.

After the wedding weekend, I quickly motored home for the TasteCasting event at Scotty's Brewhouse, which I blogged about here -- pretty much the last complete blog post I did. It was a blast, and I will definitely be back to Scotty's in the near future, especially with live music downtown on the patio on Thursdays at 5.

You may have heard me mention a Barn Dance fundraiser that we were planning on behalf of Motus Dance Theatre. About two weeks ago, the board of directors met and decided to postpone our major fundraiser for the year. Instead, we're going to do smaller, more intimate productions, with opportunities for folks to become more closely acquainted with the dancers and what Motus is all about. So, while I would not say that my learning the Hoedown Throwdown was a waste of time and energy, I am sad to say that I probably won't have a formal opportunity to bust it out this year.

Since we last spoke, I also added a temporary roommate to the condo. My Special Guest Cat's name is Lucky, and he belongs to my friends Will and Carolyn, who are currently between homes. They just sold their house and are in the process of moving into a home closer to Carolyn's workplace. In the meantime, Lucky is staying with me and, as you can tell, he has already made himself at home. There is a chance that Will and Carolyn will also be staying with me for a while, too. 

Also recently, I had the honor of singing with a small ensemble at a big ceremony honoring Dr. Carver McGriff's service to God and country. Dr. McGriff, former senior pastor at St. Luke's Church, was a soldier during World War II and was one of the troops who fought at Normandy. He was being recognized by the Republic of France as a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, which is one of the highest decorations in France. It was great to be able to be a part of that ceremony, and it was wonderful to see so many people come out in support of Dr. McGriff.

This past Friday was jam-packed with fun. I got to hang out with my one-year-old friend Auggie, who is brilliant and hilarious. After a particularly challenging diaper change (his, not mine), we spent some quality exersaucer/jumper time (we took turns) and then played the game where he decides he wants to be put down and then immediately decides he wants to be held again. We also played the hilarious game, "Stack Up the DVDs and Then Knock Them Over Because, Oh My God, That Is, Like, the Funniest Thing Ever! (new from Milton-Bradley)." Looks like I'll have a regular gig as Auggie's Friday manny while his mom Katie goes to nursing school.

After hanging out with Auggie, I went to the Fish Fry at Old Bethel United Methodist Church, on the city's east side. I put fish filets onto buns and then wrapped them up with blinding speed and accuracy. I'd have appreciated fireproof gloves, because that fish was rightoutofthefryer!, but whattayagonnado? I got to be a part of the fish fry courtesy of my friend Lisa, who introduced me to her parents (which was odd, because we'd have thought we had met when Lisa and I were at IU together, but we never had, but which was GREAT, because Lisa's dad organized the Old Bethel Fish Fry like 24 years ago, and the United Methodist Men at St. Luke's are organizing their first-ever fish fry for October, so I got his contact info so they can pick his brain for additional info).

Saturday was a big, big day with another handsome, hilarious infant: my awesome nephew. Owen Russell "Bubby" Semester got baptized on Saturday, August 15, and I am honored to be one of his sponsors/godparents/whatever. Bubby did great through the baptism part, and then a few minutes later, after his dad (my brother JJ) fed him, he baptized JJ -- well, JJ's pants and socks -- with some spit-up. The Lord's Prayer has never been so funny.

Which brings us to yesterday - a full day if ever there was one: I volunteered at the Tri Indy Triathlon (mostly because volunteers got a free burrito from Chipotle, but also because a triathlon is still on my life list of things to do), and then had breakfast with Myrna, and then took a great nap. Then I sang at St. Luke's for the Taize service, followed by a delightful post-Taize meal full of surprises at Naked Tchopstix in Broad Ripple. After that, I zipped up to Carmel and mowed Mom and Dad's lawn and then headed over to JJ and Beth's for a couple minutes before heading home to zonk out.

So, that pretty much gives you a rundown of what I've been up to lately. I'm working part-time at the Center for Child & Family Therapy / Strategic Sport Psychology, which is awesome, and I'm working to further develop the 36cents: ¢hange. everything. campaign into something even bigger. (I'm up over $160 now, without really even trying hard -- I feel like I can really make a go of it!) 

Other stuff I'm working on, in case you want to help:
  • Recruiting college students to the St. Luke's Chancel Choir (You can text SING to 50500 to get our rehearsal schedule and other info)
  • Planning and promoting the aforementioned mini-fundraisers for Motus
  • Supporting the work of Freewheelin' Community Bikes
  • Looking for a permanent, full-time job that pays in the $50K to $60K range, which capitalizes on my background in not-for-profit fund raising and management, my skills in writing and editing, and my intelligence, enthusiasm, and humor.
I promise it'll never be two weeks between significant blog posts ever again! Thanks for reading, and I'll see you back here soon!

Song! Challenge! #10: Not Entirely English -- RESULTS!

This Song! Challenge! was so difficult, it took me two weeks to score it! (Haha, just kidding. I've had some stuff pop up lately that I wasn't expecting, so I haven't been here at the blog for a long time -- probably the longest blog hiatus since I started it almost three years ago. More on that later.)

Here's the standings from the 8/1 Song! Challenge!

Amanda 5 out of 15
Dave and Lisa 7 out of 15
Brooke 14 out of 15

Congrats (again) to Brooke...I'm thinking that it's time to retire her jersey and enlist her assistance in the making up of the Song! Challenge! experience.

Anyway, here are the answers and you can link to the songs in question here, in case you've forgotten them since then.

1. Besame Mucho - Diana Krall
2. Orinoco Flow - Enya
3. Tres Deseos - Gloria Estefan
4. Nuages - John Pizzarelli
5. Perfidia - Linda Ronstadt
6. Mahna Mahna - Mahna Mahna & the Two Snowths
7. S'il Vous Plait - Miles Davis
8. Kyrie - Mr Mister
9.Chiquitita - ABBA
10. Nessun Dorma - Chris Botti
11. L'Amour Est Un Oiseau (La Habanera) - from "Carmen"
12. Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) - John Mellencamp
13. La Cumparsita - Traditional tango
14. Dona Nobis Pacem - Traditional hymn
15. Quando, Quando, Quando - Michael Buble feat Nelly Furtado

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


My Kenyan birth certificate turned up, too.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm now a Brewhousketeer

I don't know if that's a real thing, but I'm a real fan of Scotty's Brewhouse now.

I went on my second TasteCasting adventure last night. (Here's what that means, free-dinner disclosure included.)

We went to Scotty's Brewhouse, the downtown Indy location, at the corner of Pennsylvania and Virginia. (Virginia is the diagonal one that runs from downtown southeast to Fountain Square.)

I zoomed into town on the way back from the wedding at the castle, and made it to the Brewhouse just as the festivities were starting. Scott Wise, the CEO of Scotty's Brewhouse, talked a little bit about the Brewhouse concept and what he hoped to be doing as a restaurateur, as a businessman, and as a social media participant. (He's on Facebook and Twitter, among other things.)

The helpful staff had set out a ton of appetizers for us to sample. I got to try some buffalo wings (zesty and meaty), a chicken finger (from the chicken with the biggest hands you've ever seen, apparently), and some carrots and celery. I casually glanced through the massive menu, but since it was my first time at Scotty's, I had to order my regular dish-by-which-I-judge-every-restaurant: the buffalo chicken sandwich. When dinner arrived (buffchix + waffle fries), I dug right in and enjoyed it a lot. The sauce was just right -- spicy and zingy, but not painful -- and the chicken was big and meaty. So big, in fact, that I couldn't finish the whole sandwich. Now, part of that may be because of the wings and chicken finger I had, but this was seriously a large plate of food.

I didn't get to sample dessert, because I had to get home, but I did stop in the restroom on the way out. (Not that that makes up for dessert, but the bathroom did contain something noteworthy.) OK, you know those Excelerator hand dryers that you're seeing everywhere these days? It's like a jet engine installed in the men's room and it literally blows the water off your hand, to the extent that you can see your skin flapping underneath its mighty wind shear? Well, Scotty's doesn't have those, but what they have is even better -- the Dyson Airblade, which has the triple-threat features of 1) futuristic look, 2) almost no risk of blowing your hand right off like I've heard the Excelerator can, and 3) actually effective at drying hands. What I am saying is this: it is worth the trip to Scotty's Brewhouse just to use the special hand dryers in the restrooms.

Overall, the food was great, the atmosphere was good -- lively and fun, but also quiet enough to engage in conversation -- and the service was attentive. I'll definitely be heading back to Scotty's some time soon, either at the downtown location or at the northside spot on 96th Street, just east of Keystone.

The Semester Scale of Subduedness/Funkiness

This weekend I went to northwest Indiana as a friend's date at her family-friend's wedding. (It was at a castle. Which was nice because I had grown accustomed to castle weddings in the Old Country, and it had been a while since I'd been to one here in the US.)


As I was getting dressed for the wedding and reception, I asked for help from the Twitterverse as to which tie I should select: the subdued blue or the funky orange and purple? (The voters did not have the advantage of seeing the ties as pictured, right...unless you're reading this on Facebook, which means "...the ties as pictured, above," for some reason.)

The vote came back 5 to 2 in favor of the blue...although if I'd had a smartphone and had full access to Twitter, I'd have known the vote was actually 5 to 6, in favor of the funky tie. Ah, well.


What interests me about this transaction is this: two people used the construction "It's a wedding, not a [BLANK]" in defense of their vote. Only, their votes were different, and their example events were wildly different.

One said, "Blue. It's a wedding, not a disco." (She has clearly never attended a wedding reception where I was present.)

The other said, "Orange and purple. It's a wedding, not a funeral." (Which, I hadn't really considered "subdued blue tie" to be funeral-wear, but whatever.)

This exchange was especially helpful for me, as it allowed me to refine the Semester Scale, a 1-to-10 system for measuring events in terms of their subduedness/funkiness. Knowing what I now know, I can assign with certainty the following ratings, from lowest (most subdued) to highest (most funky) on the Semester Scale:
1.3 Funeral
7.2 Wedding
10.0 Disco
With these empirical scientific ratings in place, now any event can be categorized on the SSSF (the Semester Scale of Subduedness/Funkiness). Simply compare it to the Funeral, the Wedding, and the Disco, and you will find a spot on the chart. (Nothing is more funky than the Disco.)

I shall start using the SSSF in my tweets and Facebook updates from now on, so you know where my life is on the subdued/funky continuum. ("Meditation and prayer. SSSF = 3.1." "Amsterdam for a weekend jaunt. SSSF = 9.4." "Eight-hour roadtrip with my mother-in-law* and her cockapoo. SSSF = 0.6." Etc.)

* I do not currently have, nor have I ever had, a mother-in-law, let alone one with a cockapoo. But mothers-in-law are inherently funny, as is the word "cockapoo," right?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Song! Challenge! #10: Not Entirely English

Sponsored by my friend Nanci, this week's Song! Challenge! no habla inglés -- at least not completely. This week's game is, I think, very difficult. I'm going to give it a Degree of Difficulty of 8.9. How many of the song titles can you identify?

This week, although the song clips may be in English or another language, each song's title contains at least one non-English word. Your task is to name all 15 songs in this week's Challenge! Some extra information for this week's game:
  • There are no TV theme songs in this week's Challenge! (A first, I believe.)
  • A significant portion of these songs could be considered obscure. Very obscure.
  • Most of the other-language languages in the titles of songs in this Challenge! are either French or Spanish, but one title contains Monster-language, one contains Greek, two contain Latin, and two contain Italian.

The Rules

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 15 songs (TITLE IS ALL WE NEED THIS WEEK) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, blah blah blah). Again, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right.

You can submit your comment-entry starting at 7:00pm EDT tonight, but I'm going to wait until Sunday evening to approve and post any entries.

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: to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize

The first person to get all 15 song titles correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 -- will win a $10 Starbucks gift card, sponsored by my friend Nanci, who is awesome.

(Almost) Everybody "Wins" is on hiatus this week

Unfortunately, I am so far backed up on fulfilling my "(Almost) Everybody "Wins"" obligations that I am putting (Almost) Everybody "Wins" on hiatus this week. So it's one big prize or NOTHING. Pressure's on!

Readysetgo by clicking the player below:

If you're reading this blog entry on Facebook, you'll want to click over to to play the Song! Challenge! in its entirety.

Song! Challenge! #9: Home Is Where The Heart Is -- RESULTS!

Thanks to everyone who played the Song! Challenge! last week. Watch your inbox for your drawing. I have a few drawings to do, so it might take a while.

Here are the standings* this week:

5th Place: KT - 8
4th Place: Sacha and Bill - 16
3rd Place: Dave and Lisa - 16
2nd Place: Bookmom - Second one to get 18 correct
1st Place: Brooke - First one to get 18 correct

* My friend Jenny is talking to me as I tabulate results, so if I miscalculated, let me know. She's kind of distracting.

If my calculations are correct, then: Brooke -- Congratulations! Again! I'll get you your $10 in Amazon fun soon. Everyone else, thanks for playing! Watch for your drawings soon!

...and here are the correct responses:

1. Master of the House, "Les Miserables" soundtrack
2. East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Diana Krall
3. Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House, Garth Brooks
4. Take Me Home Country Roads, IZ (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole)
5. Our House, Madness
6. Theme from "The Jeffersons"
7. I'll Fly Away, Alan Jackson
8. All That Jazz, "Chicago" soundtrack
9. Even Now, Barry Manilow
10. You're My Home, Billy Joel
11. Far From the Home I Love, "Fiddler on the Roof" soundtrack
12. A Home, Dixie Chicks
13. 20 Fans, "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" soundtrack
14. Bedda At Home, Jill Scott
15. Erase, Mika
16. On the Roof, Peter Cincotti
17. Easy To Love, John Barrowman (I also accepted "Anything Goes" soundtrack)
18. I'll Cover You, "Rent" soundtrack
19. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder

OK, be sure to check back tonight at 7pm EDT, when my awesome friend Nanci is sponsoring the Challenge! with a $10 Starbucks gift card. YOU WANT TO WIN THAT!

Get here right at 7pm EDT on Saturday, because that's some good prize, y'all.