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Masterpiece YouTube: Double Feature – KOLture Shock/Wootton Acabellas

This week has been rough in more ways than one, as you know, and I’ve kinda been scrimping on new content. I found out about another death today (my friend’s husband, after a short bout of lymphoma) but I had a really positive and enlightening meeting with one of my professors yesterday, so that kinda makes up for it a little. So, to make up for it, I’m putting out a double feature of Masterpiece YouTube; I know it’s my “fall back content” when I haven’t read anything new or can’t think of a rant or a fun story or anything. But here are two YouTube Masterpieces to enjoy.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 20/21: KOLture Shock, “Hatikvah” 2015/Wootton Acabellas, “Troublemaker” 2013

With all the bad rap Israel’s been getting lately (and by lately, I mean, since the beginning of the world), along comes a video that makes me proud to call Israel my spiritual home; something that could only happen in Israel, nowhere else in the Middle East.

We open on an ordinary Jerusalem Light Rail trip (side note: I never got to ride it because it was not finished until a little while after I left) and it’s chock full of commuters from all walks of Israeli life. Suddenly, a chick in a violet top soprano-belts the first line of the Israeli National Anthem (Hatikvah). After a moment of silence, the percussion kicks in and she starts over, this time with accompaniment from a bunch of other riders and stares from…other, non-singing riders, who pull out cell phones. One older lady with glasses and a curly ‘do is singing along, although clearly not as part of the group because we later see her clapping. After a final crescendo and an awesome percussive coda that sounds like a slowing-down train, they get applause and are greeted by a cheering audience from the platform.

This is a masterpiece for two reasons: the a cappella is not bad, could be better, but the camera work is really top notch. A great mix of shots of singers and bystanders, edited together to show a range of emotions. Plus, singing on public transit has always been a fantasy of mine (come on, who wouldn’t want their everyday life to turn into a musical?).

Final note: I actually know one of the people in the video; the skinny chick in the headscarf at around 1:30 is my sister’s best friend from growing up, the one she went to Israel for in December for her wedding. Also, I’m not sure, but the rabbi at 0:30 looks an awful lot like my Chabad rabbi from UMass.

Now for a different type of a cappella; the video quality is poor but the sound is amazing. It was filmed at Wootton High School in Reston, Virginia, and it’s the Wootton Acabellas singing Olly Murs’ “Troublemaker,” a totally underrated pop hit from the early 2010s. The choreography is cute, their outfits are simple yet elegant and age-appropriate, and the lead singer isn’t too bad.

But then there’s the rap soloist.

She is AWESOME. According to the video, her name is Rahila O. Olanrewaju and if she doesn’t have an album in the works, she better start on one because I would pre-order that. Seriously. And I buy a CD about once every five years. Plus, if you listen closely, she is also beatboxing for part of the song, which is also awesome.

The masterpiece about this is that it’s so simple and humble yet these girls can sing. For most people, it’s amazing; for a high school group, it’s outstanding

10

Masterpiece YouTube: “Pot Belly,” Freshlyground

Today was a completely lazy day, so I thought I’d do some justice to this video.

That’s So Jacob Presents

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 19: “Pot Belly,” Freshlyground.

We start with Freshlyground’s frontman (frontwoman?) Zolani Mahola in a completely green house, brushing her teeth and going through her morning routine alongside some random white guy. They seem to be complete opposites; he drinks coffee, she eats cereal. He plays chess, she reads and eats green jelly beans that must’ve taken hours to pick out of the bag. She finds an odd red one, and flicks it off like nobody’s business. Outside, he gardens and she launders, and they play some flirty hide-and-seek. She holds a mysterious green box, which he excitedly opens to find a bright green shirt. Zolani opens her door to find some red roses. They’re both overjoyed, until they realize that their items just don’t fit in; the guy wears the green shirt but gets so uncomfortable in it that he has to cover it with a red jacket and scarf, and she almost has a panic attack until she puts the roses behind a curtain. At sunset, they sadly take back their gifts, and for some reason, Zolani is wearing a khaki-looking trenchcoat, unless it’s actually a pale green and either my monitor or my eyes are deceiving me, and they go off their separate ways and go to sleep in their respective homes.

The next morning, Zolani sees a red flower petal on her bed and she snaps to attention, repainting her entire house red and replacing every single thing in it with something red, including her jellybeans, her outfit, and even her makeup, even though, ironically, she puts on red lipstick though she never had green lipstick on.

She opens the door, and lo and behold, her neighbor is standing there in a green suit, just for her. So then, they compromise, and the camera fast-forwards to them in her bed, only with a red and green striped blanket, as well as red and green pajamas on him and the room now decked out in bicolor decor. Oh, and take notice of the bottom left corner; he brought his chessboard over to her place and must’ve dug up some green pieces. Nothing could be cuter.

Oh wait, it could. We close on their toothbrushes in the same cup. All is well.

I like this video because it teaches us that people should look past each other’s color and love one another. Also, the song is pretty dope and it has nothing to do with the video and vice versa which is kinda cool.

 This episode of Masterpiece YouTube was brought to you by tolerance, tiredness, and Jelly Belly.

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Masterpiece YouTube: “Tell Him,” The Exciters

Time for a cleanse, and what better way to get my thoughts back on track than with a Masterpiece YouTube. Only this one is a little bit different; it’s actually so bad that it’s a masterpiece. It’s like a masterpiece of banality.

That’s So Jacob Presents

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 18: “Tell Him,” The Exciters, 1963.

Ever since I finished reading the book Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound by Alan Betrock, I’ve been playing “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “Be My Baby” in my head. But one of the most forgotten gems of the 1960s girl group scene is none other than “Tell Him,” by The Exciters, featuring lead singer Brenda Reid.

On the surface, this is probably one of the most banal, boring, and unfortunate music videos of all time, set to the tune of one of the best songs of all time. Seriously, there is so much more they could have done. As in, literally, anything. This entire video can be summed up in one sentence: some people went to the zoo and sang to the animals. But since this is Masterpiece YouTube, let’s break it down. Keep in mind that this “music video” was made way before the advent of Final Cut Pro or iMovie or even the Internet.

We open on a bear. Aww, yay, a nature video! Wait…not so fast. The camera then zooms out to show the Exciters singing to said bear, wearing fancy red dresses and suits, looking terribly out of place for a day trip to the zoo. Then we go back to the bear, who listens for about a half second before walking away, because he is a bear and cannot understand the concepts of love or music or the English language. The camera goes back to the singers, and then to the bear, who appears to clap along, but then at 0:36 is all, “…Did you not get the memo yet? I’m a bear. A BEAR. I still do not understand what you are doing with your hands and your mouths. Forget it, crazy humans. Bye.”

Bear walks away.

Brenda and her crew head over to the lions’ den, and you can actually see the lion in the background running out of the shot, as if to say, “no way I’m going to be in this dumb video, bye.” Then the camera zooms in on him. (LION: “What did I just tell you people?”) Then he has a change of heart and goes back into the frame, following Brenda, as we cut to some swans, who are more interested in some food in the water than the talented lady singing near them.

Then comes the weird part. I’m talking, super weird, like Three Men and a Baby weird. The camera zooms in on Brenda, but there is someone in a white dress, who may or may not be a ghostly spectre just standing there. Stock still, quiet, and probably unaware that he/she is being filmed. Seriously, you couldn’t have chosen another angle or edited the person out? What was the budget, $7.50 and some Fruit Roll-Ups?

Swans? Still eating.

And now, the really weird part, and the kind of dizzying one. The Exciters have now gotten on one of those turntable thingies you find on playgrounds, and finish the song while in a slow revolve, with Brenda’s eyes following the camera when she comes back around to it.

So, there you have it. Weirdest one-hit wonder music video ever. Kind of a shame, too, because the Exciters were really good, especially Brenda. Speaking of Brenda, when I first saw this video on YouTube awhile back, someone commented saying something like “wow, this is really good, whatever happened to the lead singer?” and someone named “breid1976” or something responded “thanks for the compliment…that was me, my name is Brenda Reid, I’m a mother and grandmother now, and I’m still singing…glad you enjoyed it…” That version of the video has been taken down, and the comment along with it (I looked, and could not find it). No word on whether that YouTube user actually was Brenda Reid or not, but it’s quite possible; as far as I know, she is still alive and well at age 70. It also seems like something she’d do; I imagine her as being this sweet old lady who has a garden and goes to church every Sunday and also happens to have been one of the best forgotten voices of the 1960s. She is on Facebook, and I friended her; seeing that her wall posts are a lot of praise from random fans, I’m hoping that she’ll accept my request and we can become pals, like I’ve done with Julie Brown and Mink Stole, both of whom I’ve written to and gotten responses from.

And now, to bed, for some light-ish reading.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube was brought to you by Thin Mints. Thin Mints: it doesn’t matter how many calories there are per serving; go ahead and eat the entire box yourself, because you deserve it. Find yourself a Girl Scout and buy some Thin Mints today!

2

Masterpiece YouTube: Donald O’Connor, Applied Mathematics

Today was a horribly cold and blustery day, the first of the year. Let’s hope this doesn’t mean six more weeks of winter for Madison. I actually had a nice day, though: lunch with 12 friends at Great Dane, and I also got to the gym, which was just about empty, thanks to the Superbowl and the weather. I’ve got a lot on my mind, so to give you a more accurate picture of what it looks like and because I don’t have the wherewithal at the moment to think of something interesting and new, here’s an updated episode of MYT from last September that I’ve been meaning to fix.

Just watch.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 14: Donald O’Connor, Applied Mathematics, Are You With It? (1948)

This, my friends, is talent. No offense to the silver screen stars of today (does anyone even use that phrase anymore?) but Donald O’Connor’s feet have more talent in them than the majority of this year’s Oscar nominees. It’s even more striking in black and white. And yeah, it’s not really about math, but it’s fun to watch and pretend that it’s your math homework.

Donald O’Connor was part of an amazing generation of performers. And when I say performers, I mean performers – people who could sing, dance, act, and had personalities and energies that were just electric. People like Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, Vera-Ellen, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly. There’s a reason why Singin’ In The Rain is one of the best American movies of all time; it’s because the viewer is drawn into the story and its characters. These days, I feel like popular movies are all pretty much the same animal; remake of a remake of a remake, sci-fi aliens/dinosaurs/warriors, romantic comedy, or screwball comedy. Not to say that they aren’t good, there’s just a certain magic that goes into a musical film; as the characters go through their changes through song, so do you. I think the only major movie that would fit this category is Pitch Perfect, and even that’s pushing it.

Speaking of remakes, I think it’s high time for Are You With It? to mount a comeback. From what I understand, the plot is about a math teacher who joins a traveling carnival. In today’s economy and the worrisome job market, this might be just the thing to inspire people, or at least entertain them.

Or you could just watch Donald O’Connor dance some more.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube has been brought to you by the Rachel Sweet Pandora Radio channel, which I’ve been rocking out to for the last half-hour while I wrote this.

In other news, I hope that y’all come back and visit even though the January Blogging Odyssey is over. I’ve had a pretty good day though, with five continents reporting in, all but Africa: North America (Canada and USA), South America (Peru), Europe (UK, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Liechtenstein), Asia (Israel, India, UAE, and the Philippines) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand). Tell your friends?

5

I Can Cast A Spell

The other day, WeKache came over and we watched a movie together.

“But I hate watching movies on my tiny laptop screen!” said I.

“That’s okay,” said he, “because I have a ChromeCast, I can hook my phone up to your TV and transfer something on my Netflix app to your TV.”

MIND. BLOWN.

The ChromeCast might be the single best thing ever invented. No wires needed, just a wireless password and an outlet and you’re good to go. I ordered one off of Amazon for $30 and it came yesterday. Today, I set it up so that I could watch Jenna Marbles and Mental Floss on Youtube on my television instead of my tiny laptop while eating mac and cheese and folding my laundry on the living room floor.

TECHNOLOGY.

Also, hooray for my second six continent day of 2015! Argentina finally decided to show up to represent South America, not to count out my lovely visitors from North America (Canada, USA), Europe (Monaco [first timer, welcome!], Germany, Norway, France, and the UK), Asia (Turkey, which I’m counting as Asia because it goes both ways), Africa (South Africa and the Gambia) and Oceania (Australia).

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Masterpiece YouTube: Lauren Ireland, “If American Girl Dolls Were Real Dolls,” 2014

I usually don’t do this for recent videos, but this one is a particular masterpiece.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 16: Lauren Ireland, “If American Girl Dolls Were Real Dolls,” 2014

I was on BuzzFeed, because who isn’t, and I came across this video. Being a child of the 90s, (yes, even a boy who had a sister in the 90s and had enough female friends to know who the American Girl dolls were), I was curious about this. Personally, I hadn’t thought of American Girl dolls in quite some time. Well, actually, that’s a lie, because I recently learned that American Girl’s headquarters are in Middleton, Wisconsin, which is about ten minutes down the road from where I currently live; actually, just about on my street. So I’ve been kind of curious about that. But then, I found this video, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since.

To tell you the truth, I have not kept up with American Girl over the years. I remember when there were just five – heck, I remember when there was just four, Addy was introduced when I was in elementary school – and other than the Hispanic one, who entered the scene just as I stopped caring about liking everything my sister liked, and Kit, the Great Depression doll, because of the movie that they made about her. Apparently, according to the article above, American Girl has now been taken over by Mattel, who also own Barbie, and the dolls have been “Barbie-fied,” that is, more emphasis on accessories than history, which is kind of what separated the American Girl dolls from Barbie in the first place, the fact that they actually stood for something historical, as opposed to Barbie, who couldn’t even stand upright if she were a real person.

But, the video. It’s a comedy bit about the American Girl dolls out to lunch, or tea, or something, and the great thing about it is that it goes exactly how I thought the American Girls would actually be like. Of course, Samantha’s gotta have the first word, and at 00:15, I spotted the first error: Samantha refers to Grandmama, when from the books, I distinctly remember that she called her Grandmary. And I’m right, so one point for me. The girls are all over the place with their hilariously mistimed orders, and Molly kills it with her “canned tomato soup” comment. The waiter’s not impressed, and asks them if they’re American Girl dolls, to which Samantha (of course) goes, “Well, we are American Girls.” At 01:06, though, there’s another error, when Kirsten doesn’t know what a doll is, which I found kind of curious since I assumed that Kirsten would have probably had a doll herself, and I’m right again (two strikes, Miss Ireland). Then there’s the Addy bit, which is funny because it is true, she was kind of boring. And then Kit comes over as the manager, and Samantha throws some shade her way Regina George-style. I can’t say that I’m surprised. And of course, Samantha gets the last word, “I’m an orphan!”

In spite of two factual errors (Well, let’s face it; there were plenty of errors in historical fact in the dolls themselves. Just ask Addy.) this is pretty funny, and shows just how awkward 90s girls were and that I was not alone in thinking that the American Girl dolls were probably weird in their own time as well. I’m not too sold on the Kirsten impression, but then again, Kirsten was kind of a loose cannon all along her story arc. This video is a masterpiece because it shows that comedy is indeed collectible. I hope that she makes more shorts like these – I wonder what would happen if, say, Felicity tried Uber, or Kirsten faced an ATM, or Samantha got called out for having resting bitch face or something.

This video actually made me try to imagine what the American Girls would do today. So, imagine a Friends-type scenario, if you will:

Samantha is definitely the high-powered business type. She has a 9 to 5, and plays tennis and golf on the weekends. She is constantly on her cell phone. Her pastimes including going on moderately successful dates and then coming home and complaining to the rest of the girls about how there are no good men out there, and how she’ll be perpetually single. She has a very obvious crush on one or more of her male co-workers, despite her “independent woman” front. Her wardrobe includes power suits and pumps, and on her days off, she’s in power suits and pumps (she does, however, alternate between slacks and skirts of a tasteful length). She’s definitely a Sarah Palin supporter, but when questioned, deflects to any other topic. Her drink of choice is a dry martini.

Felicity has a B.A. in English and is pursuing her Master’s in Creative Writing, perpetually in school, with a quill pen on her person at all times. She works at Planned Parenthood to pay the bills, but her heart is in mentoring the troubled teenage girls she meets there. She is generally calm, except for when you ask her about her career plans, and when you gently suggest she quit writing and go for a degree in public health or counseling or something, she scorns you to no end. Generally the happy-go-lucky peacemaker of the group, she enjoys yoga and is training to be a Zumba instructor in her spare time. She would have cats if only her roommate, Samantha, wasn’t “allergic.” Samantha and Felicity work well as roommates because they balance each others’ personalities out, and when it comes to personal politics, well, they agree to disagree. Her drink of choice is kombucha.

Molly lives across the hall from Samantha and Felicity (Never Felicity and Samantha, always Samantha and Felicity). She’s the rational one of the group, and is constantly untangling the other girls from their messes. She works at an independent bookstore/coffee shop, and although she loudly decries Starbucks every chance she gets, she secretly adores their caramel macchiatos and peppermint mochas, and disguises them in her refillable coffee cups. She’s into theatre and sometimes runs stage crew or stage manages for community theatre productions. She loves watching sports on TV but would rather not play because of, you know, her glasses. The other girls talk her into contacts, and she gives in for a brief period of time, but only wears them when begged to. Her drink of choice is cappuccino.

Addy lives with Molly, who she found through a Craigslist ad. She teaches middle school, and is completely overworked, doing things like coaching the girls’ volleyball team, heading up the pep squad, representing on the PTA, and basically whatever her principal throws her way. She is a pessimist and hates her job, but has a soft spot for the kids. She looks great in pretty dresses, but prefers sweats. She’s constantly trying out new names, and will one day get around to changing hers; she’s narrowed it down to Ghebremariam, Tyleisha, or Crystal. Her drink of choice is apple juice with a little something extra.

Kirsten is one of those people who you look at like, “what the hell is up with her,” but little do you know, she’s got her whole life figured out but is not telling anyone. She’s always hanging out at one of the two apartments, sleeping on Samantha/Felicity’s couch until she drools or drops some olive tapenade on it one day and is banished to Addy/Molly’s, who take care of her for awhile, but then somehow manage to move her back across the hall. No one is quite sure what she does all day, or where she actually lives. She does do her fair share of the cooking and cleaning, though, wherever she is, and she’s pleasant to be around, so nobody really minds her that much. She has been seen dumpster diving, and she makes a lot of jewelry that no one really wants or needs. She seems to make friends everywhere she goes, and she may or may not have a boyfriend. Every so often, one of the girls will walk in on her either in the bathroom or hidden in a corner, talking in angry, rapid-fire Swedish, and when she notices, she turns red with embarrassment, hangs up, and asks how the weather is outside today. Her drink of choice is water from the kitchen sink, or just straight vodka.

0

Masterpiece YouTube: Annie Lennox, “Walking on Broken Glass”

Ever since I posted about broken glass yesterday, this song has been playing in my head, for two obvious reasons. One, because it’s a good song, and two, because it was the first music video that I watched over and over and over again and sometimes they pull it off YouTube which can be sad. So, I present to you one of my favorite music videos of all time.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 14: Annie Lennox, “Walking on Broken Glass,”

The video starts innocently enough, with a few twinkly piano notes over some tableaux appearing to be from the Mozart/Marie Antoinette era…but then the violins pick up, and the stillness is broken by the waving of a fan.

A FAN, PEOPLE.

Clearly, Ms. Lennox means business.

As she sings, the video shows a foppish gent dancing with several ladies at a proper, pastel-colored ball, with periodic cuts to Annie Lennox looking cross between Maleficent and a sexy nun. The fop in the middle is clearly the one she’s got the hots for, but that bitch in white keeps lady-cockblocking her. Finally, she gets him aside, only to lose him again and stomp her dress in frustration and in time to the music.

Then all hell breaks loose.

In she strides, hands on her widely-farthingaled hips. With confidence, conviction, and just a bit of condescension, she pushes the others aside to get to her man. The light makes her all crazy-eyed as she attempts to drag the man in white away, and it’s all an embarrassing but terribly exciting fuss as she gets cruelly ripped away from her young lover. But this is Annie Lennox we’re talking about, who takes nothing sitting down, and she proves it by crawling on all fours to get what she wants, before ultimately failing again and leaving with contempt. She trots down some awesome spiral stairs and ends up…in the arms of her young lover. So it was not in vain after all.

This video is a masterpiece really empowers me to be as bad-ass as I can be, and to do it with conviction. If it worked for Annie Lennox, it can work for you too. Plus, it’s delightfully innocuous to look at, with a fun storyline that gets more fun as with each successive viewing you can pick a different side and watch the events unfold from the perspective of a different character. CHOICES. It just gives me all the feels, but mostly the feel to use long words and adverbs.

Plus, period costume!

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube has been brought to you by actual broken glass.

10

Five Songs That Make Up a Happy Morning Playlist

Goooood morning from Madison. It’s the first day of school, and instead of sleeping in like I have been all summer, I actually beat my alarm clock up at 7:45 AM despite going to bed at 1:00 AM – if you know me, this is a miracle – and had the energy to emerge from the bed about 30 minutes later. Since then, I’ve showered, had an omelette and an iced cappuccino, played too much Secret Society, watched a podcast, done the New York Times Crossword, and read about 10 blog posts.

But back to today’s topic:

Waking up early is a treat, for me at least. It means I have the whole day ahead of me, and I want to start it right. Usually that’s the last thing I tell myself before opening my eyes again at 1:37 PM that afternoon, but you get the picture. Behold, this list that will get you up and at ’em on the right foot.

Five Songs That Make Up a Happy Morning Playlist

1. Zooey Deschanel, “The Fabric of our Lives.”

Yeah, it was from a commercial about cotton, but it’s just so peppy and morning-like that you can’t not smile. It actually sounds like it could be an actual jingle from the 1950s or 60s, sung by Brenda Lee or Little Peggy March. Zooey Deschanel is kind of annoying, but this song made her grow on me a little bit, like antique moss on a plastic potted plant.

2. Lena, “What A Man”

Lena Meyer-Landrut is one of the few talented progeny of Eurovision, and this acoustic morning-show rendition of En Vogue’s “What A Man” has just the right coffeehouse vibe for a low key morning. I used to listen to it while driving to the University of Houston, with hopes it would dispel any tzurris in my immediate future.

3. Corinne Bailey Rae, “Put Your Records On”

This song hearkens a summer morning with it’s opening words: “three little birds.” It’s like a gently flowing breeze to wake you up, rather than a harsh alarm clock. Honorable mention goes to Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You,” but CBR’s got a little more soul to enrich that morning java. Plus, there’s an awesome studio version on YouTube somewhere where she’s singing it while doing other stuff like directing the sound check and writing stuff down, showcasing her vocal talent and giving AutoTune the middle finger.

4. Oren Lavie, “Her Morning Elegance”

You can read most of the specifics about the song in this Masterpiece YouTube from about a year ago. If you don’t want to click (even though you totally should), I’ll give you the short version. The lyrics, combined with the bells, strings, gentle percussion give this song its morningness, plus the fact that it has the word “morning” in the title. Listening to this song brings back memories of misty mornings in Jerusalem, mornings in autumn and winter with a bit of crispness to the air and maybe some fog. Add some shoko b’sakit, corner makolet Israeli-style cappuccino, or one of those awesome breakfast trays, and it’s heaven on earth.

5. Dolly Parton, “Nine to Five”

You knew this one was coming, it’s pretty much unavoidable. Dolly Parton’s working-woman anthem is for those mornings when you just can’t drag yourself out of bed. The horns and typewriter sounds are just enough jazz to steer your ass to the kitchen for your cup of ambition.

Honorable Mention: “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. Works best if you are actually in Baltimore. Or Ecuador.

So, enjoy the rest of your morning, as it’s almost afternoon here in Madison and my first class is in an hour.

I should probably put on pants.

8

In-Flight Entertainment

One video I’ve been seeing a lot of on my Facebook feed lately is that of the funny Southwest Airlines flight attendant whose safety lecture is basically like spending three minutes with Kristen Wiig as all of her characters put together. Naturally, I watched the video myself, found it utterly hilarious, and for some reason made me desire crackers, but maybe because it was still Passover when I watched the video. In case you haven’t yet seen what I’m talking about, here it is for your enjoyment.

Yes, this is a real video, shot on an actual Southwest Airlines flight by someone with a very thin cellphone camera. Didn’t anyone on that plane manage to record it on HD? Anyway, this fantastically funny flight attendant was on Ellen today, where the world learned that she is 49-year-old Marty Cobb of Dallas, Texas (color me unsurprised; even the humor is bigger in Texas). Despite looking very young, she has three kids, two of whom were on the show with her today. Ellen DeGeneres, in typical Ellen DeGeneres fashion, was extremely generous, giving her an Ellen luggage set stocked with Ellen souvenirs and $20,000 dollars in gift cards from Target, RadioShack, Shutterfly, and others. She seemed like a terrific lady; not like she didn’t deserve those prizes (she totally did) but there are tons of funny flight attendants out there. Most of them work for Southwest Airlines. Personally, I love flight attendants because not only do they help keep the plane safe, but if you’re on their good side they will be the kindest of kind to you.

This reminds me: one of my two favorite flight attendant stories happened on Southwest Airlines.

When I went to UMass Amherst, the closest airport was Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut. Because there are so many colleges and universities in Connecticut and western Massachusetts, during weekends like Thanksgiving and Spring Break, the airport is full of students. A good number come from the DMV, and since Southwest offers cheap and quick flights from Hartford to BWI, students tend to use them frequently. At that time, Southwest didn’t offer flights to Dulles or Reagan (this may have changed) so for anyone from within a few hours from Baltimore, it was worth it to fly there and then take public or private transportation to elsewhere in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC. Since I went to one of the biggest schools in the area, chances were that I saw at least one familiar face in the terminal or on the plane, and usually we were actual friends, not just acquaintances. This is also how I ended up sitting next to the most insufferable girl in my major for four lovely hours in the air, but I digress.

I believe it was the end of Spring Break, and I was on my way back to school. The entire Trinity College men’s basketball team ended up being on my flight, coming back from a game with some school in Baltimore/DC. Just about everyone was settled on the plane, when the intercom system crackled, and a flight attendant’s voice rang out.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Kevin? Kevin Miller? Is there a Kevin Miller on this plane?

Behind me, I heard a shuffle of sweatsuits, and various voices saying, “Kevin, wake up, they’re calling your name.”

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Passenger Kevin Miller…if you are on this plane please press your call button immediately.

BING! A call button comes on a few rows behind me, as I hear Kevin saying, “I’m here.”

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Passenger Kevin Miller, we have a message for you from Baltimore. Your mother just called, she said you left your Spider-Man lunchbox on the kitchen counter. She did talk to the pilot, and unfortunately, he has decided that we cannot delay the flight to wait for the lunchbox to arrive, but she is checking it through on the next flight out, and you should be reunited with it at baggage claim in Hartford. She also wanted me to tell you that she cut the crusts off of your peanut butter sandwich, and remembered the Double Stuf oreos, and she loves you very much.

His friends sitting behind me started cracking up, as did most of the rest of us on the plane. Somehow, they had managed to pull this flight attendant aside and convince her to play along with their prank. The best part was that she was a big, sassy black lady who didn’t miss a beat. That is how it’s done.

And that’s how to properly prank your friend on a domestic flight. International might be a little tougher.

16

Masterpiece YouTube: Linda Ronstadt/Amy Winehouse “You’re No Good/You Know I’m No Good” Remix

In honor of the brand new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, I thought it only appropriate to celebrate with a music video.

That’s So Jacob presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 12: Linda Ronstadt/Amy Winehouse “You’re No Good/You Know I’m No Good” Remix

Pop music has changed.

Not just the songs, but the images of the artists as well. What was once risque is now tame; I watched an early Britney Spears music video the other day and was like “so what’s the problem here?” Now you look at people like Miley Cyrus and wonder where the hell music went to. The only “pop” in pop music these days seems to come from Macklemore’s song where he “pops some tags” (and at first, I thought it was “popping some tabs,” like from soda cans or maybe a reference to MDA or some other sort of drug tablets). None of these songs have much of a shelf life. I mean, are we still going to be singing “Shots shots shots shots shots shots” or “You a stupid hoe (repeat)” twenty years from now? Ten? Five?

From the 1940s forward, pop music emerged out of a burgeoning youth culture in America and around the world. These were songs teens could dance along to and sing along with. Pop music has evolved over the years, spawning new genres (like bubblegum pop, country pop, dance pop, adult contemporary) and influenced other styles of music like rock, rap and R&B. Pure pop, however, came from the likes of folks like Linda Ronstadt. I believe that Linda Ronstadt is one of the most versatile performers of our time; her decades-long career has spawned albums in classic pop, contemporary pop, country/western, folk, rock and roll, and Latin, including setting the record for the best-selling non-English-language album in the USA. It shouldn’t have taken until 2014 to induct her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but now she’s in a place which deserves her name. She just came out with a book, Simple Dreams, that I am dying to read.

Unfortunately, she has lost the ability to sing due to symptoms from Parkinson’s disease; other than that, she’s alive and healthy, and apparently, according to her Wikipedia page, single and never married. (Linda – if you’re reading this, call me! 😉 )

She has some of the star qualities that are rarer and rarer to find in pop musicians these days. Every song of hers is distinct and has a different sound to it; you know it’s her because her name is on the CD cover, but even if you didn’t know who she was, you’d appreciate the song and the voice. Her songs were catchy, punchy, and had fun lyrics that were easy to remember, actually made some sense, and had a message in them. Her image wasn’t necessarily squeaky-clean, but that didn’t matter as much in those days; keeping your body covered was in, and songs with provocative lyrics didn’t receive much airtime. Frankly, the concept of “squeaky clean” image that we have today didn’t really exist back then; singers just performed, and the innuendo was what the listener made of it.

21st century music, while it has plenty of exceptions, has seen the proliferation of the “adult” factor, especially in teenagers and young twenty-somethings. Drugs, alcohol, and sex, once a subculture, have now hit the mainstream now more than ever. And they’re all so young. Consider Amy Winehouse. Her life was like a side show of addiction that resulted in an unfortunate death at the age of 27, just a year older than I am right now. And ironic, considering one of her breakout hits, “Rehab,” where she sings about not wanting to go there, and very adamantly at that. Fans seem to consider her some sort of musical martyr, but I don’t see it that way. People make choices in their lives, and she made some pretty bad ones and paid the ultimate price. This is by no means to speak ill of the dead, because she could have had a long, fruitful career ahead of her; just look at how Ozzy Osbourne turned out. Okay, maybe not the best example, but you get the picture.

But back to the video. We start off with the Amy Winehouse part, where she sings about drinking while lying in a bathtub and smoking at the bar, telling all the world “You Know I’m No Good.” Basically, a typical Amy Winehouse day. Her outfits are pretty darn revealing, and I don’t even think she’s trying to be all that sexy. After an awesome transition, we tune into a 1970s episode of Midnight Special, with Linda Ronstadt, two backup singers (who have incredible hairstyles, by the way), and a live band belting out “You’re No Good,” with long-haired Linda rocking the mic in her floral patterned Oxford and bellbottoms, and shaking a tambourine and her long brown hair like she just don’t care. The backups have interesting leisure-suit type outfits on, very 70s, especially the one who appears to be in gold lame. We transition back to Amy doing things with her tongue and half-naked boyfriend (not at the same time), with an awesome tambourine clap from Linda in the middle, before transitioning back again to Linda and co., who bring us out on a high note.

Now, what’s the take away here? I’ll start with the imagery. I love both ladies’ looks in this video, but it really shows just how much music has changed. In the 1970s, Linda’s outfit would be considered trendy, fashionable, and maybe even sexy with the tight fitting waist and legs, but today, you’d find that outfit (or a similar variation) at Ann Taylor or H&M. Amy’s outfit isn’t entirely inappropriate, more like club wear, but shows more cleavage than most 1970s pop divas would dare to bare. Their makeup and body language communicate their characters. Linda’s natural look and slight swish of the hips does more to implicate anything sexual than actually do anything sexual, whereas Amy’s heavy makeup, body tattoos, and (implied) nudity in the bubble bath make more of a show out of her, detracting from the voice and the song. The songs themselves go together nicely in one video, but are very different in style and tone: “You’re No Good” is less specific and contains relatively harmless lyrics about a relationship, where “You Know I’m No Good” refers to alcohol, having affairs, and sleeping around. Unfortunately, the original six-minute video has been taken down by YouTube, but this three-minute version packs the same punch.

This video is a masterpiece because not only does it feature two amazing singers, but it shows some of the stark contrasts between pop music from this century and the last.

Congratulations to Linda as well as Nirvana, Cat Stevens, KISS, Peter Gabriel, and Hall & Oates for their incredibly well-deserved achievement. And also to the nation of Taiwan and the Northwest Territories of Canada for showing up at That’s So Jacob for the first time. Give yourselves a round of applause.

But seriously, Ms. Ronstadt, if you’re ever in the Madison, Wisconsin area, let’s have dinner and drinks. Please?