Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

The song One Thing Leads to Another by British new wave band, the Fixx, was stuck in my head earlier this week.  The Fixx were huge when I was in high school. Pretty sure I owned their Reach the Beach album; and know I thought lead singer Cy Curnin was sexy.

So… I was minding my business, singing:

“…But when the wrong word goes in the right ear, I know you’ve been lying to me…”

And thinking about high school.

And about song lyrics.

Which lead to this:

Flashback~Forget About it: The senior quote.

It was always my plan to use lyrics for my senior quote. For some reason, perhaps because I have an older brother who is really into music, I starting thinking about the quote early on.  I agonized for months over which lyrics, from which song, by which artist, I would use.

I am a glass half full type of person, and I wanted my senior quote to reflect that.  So, with the yearbook deadline looming, I turned to another very popular 80’s band– Big Country. I couldn’t understand a word members of this Scottish five piece uttered while being interviewed, but when they sang, I heard this loud and clear:

“I am not expecting to grow flowers in the desert, but I can live and breath and see the sun in wintertime.”

What was your senior quote? And why did you select it?

If you used the opening lines from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Freebird for your senior quote, and can prove it, I’ll award you a *prize.  Not sure what it will be, but I’ll come up with something.  From the late 70s-mid 80s, at least one senior from every high school in the country (no, I don’t have stats to back this up, but trust me, it’s true) used these words for their final say:

“If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?  For I must be traveling on now ’cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.”

*Only one winner–the first person to show me photographic evidence of L.S. quote–gets prize.

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Flashback~Forget About it: the Black Friday Edition

‘Tis the season, so I thought I’d dedicate this week’s Flashback post to shopping. More specifically, to Great Gift Ideas for Generation X. You might wonder what qualifies me to write this post?  Well… I like stuff.  I am very good at shopping. And, (this is key) I am a member of said generation.  A very proud member, as you might recall.

Most people born between 1964 and 1978 were at some point latchkey kids.  When young and left to your own devices, what do you do? You eat and watch TV.  Or, if you are a bit more cerebral, you read books, eat, and watch TV.  If you are less cerebral, but dig a good beat, you listen to music, eat, and watch TV. Decades later, most of these activities still hold a special place in the average Gen-Xer’s heart and therefore make good categories for gift selection.

Food is good and it makes a great gift! And what does your favorite Gen-Xer like to eat? Candy. Duh. But not just any candy.  We like candy that reminds us of our youth. Hometown Favorites is a great source for  the candy Generation X loves.  The site is divided by decades, so if you feel the need to kiss up to one of the other generations this holiday season, you can do that too.  My recs for Gen-X?  Almost anything you find in the 1970’s, or 1980’s category.  The exception being Bit-O-Honey, because that stuff is nasty.  By the way, if candy doesn’t work, we also like pizza.  And Hostess Suzy Qs.  Or maybe that’s just me…

For music lovers, I highly recommend checking out this holiday gift site from Rhino.  Remember Rhino?  The record company that was founded in 1978?  If you don’t, you clearly are not a member of Generation X, but since you are trying to do something nice for those who are, I won’t hold ignorance or your youth/old age, against you.  The Rhino website is fantastic!  Gift ideas are categorized by price, and one of these three headings: Old School, Rock and Roll and Good Times.  In addition, there is an Ultimate Gifts category for big spenders, and an 100% Organic Gifts option for organic-y folks.  The Rock and Roll category looks to me to be the most Generation X friendly, but that could just be because when clicking those links I saw The Stooges, New Order and The Ramones listed and… I like those groups.

When not eating, or possibly while eating, some of us Gen-Xers also like to read.  I am going to go out on a limb here and pass along a Top 10 list of Generation X Books.  I am assuming these books would  work well for both the men and women on your shopping list.  A book I’ve read and enjoyed is  X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking.   If you give this book as a gift and aren’t a member of Gen-X yourself, I think you get extra brownie points for the title alone.

Generation X has always loved watching TV, so it is kind of perfect that I found a website that includes: A Holiday Gift Guide for the Ultimate TV Fan.  I sifted through this guide to find two suggestions that I think are particularly suitable for members of Gen-X.  First, a DVD collection for the Sci-Fi lover.  Based on my Twitter stream alone I know there are a lot of Gen-X Sci-Fi fans. Most of them are men, but this gift would probably appeal to some women as well.   The TV Sci-Fi Bundle, which retails on Amazon.com for a mere $899, includes every season of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’  ‘X-Files,’  ‘Angel,’  ‘Firefly,’  ‘Stargate SG-1’ and “more.”  On the other end of the price spectrum is the electronic game 20Q Television.  The game, which is shaped like a ball and retails for $12.99, is advertised as being able to correctly guess which TV show, sitcom star, or talk show host you (the player of the game) are thinking of.  It does this by asking a series of  simple questions. This sounds to me like something a know-it-all member of Generation X would love to receive. If you don’t like either of those ideas, The Six Million Dollar Man (complete series) is now available on DVD, that  plus one of these might make someone happy.

I could go on and on, but this post is getting way too long.  So I am going to leave you with a scene from my favorite holiday movie. A movie that came out in 1974–and would probably make a great gift for your favorite Gen-Xer.

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

A new television series premiered on TBS this week. The hour-long show, which is called Glory Daze, chronicles college life in the mid-1980s. The plot revolves around four male members of the freshman class at fictional Hayes College.  These guys are goofy, they do goofy things. Hollywood’s take on 1980’s goofy.

I didn’t watch the first episode of Glory Daze.  Nothing I saw in the previews made me want to.  And after taking a peek at this trailer, I know I made the correct decision.

I am assuming the target demographic for this series is Generation X.  The aim?  To make us feel all warm, fuzzy and nostalgic (maybe even goofy?) inside.  We buy stuff when we feel that way, right?

I was in college in 1986, and it is going to take a lot more than a 1980’s, Animal House style, ripoff to make me feel wistful.  And to be honest, I am a bit peeved that Hollywood seems obsessed with the idea of dragging me down memory lane.  Remakes of The Karate Kid and The A-Team hit theaters this year. And lucky us, new cinematic versions of 21 Jump Street, The Smurfs, and Footloose are on the immediate horizon.  Movie and television executives seem to think that people of a certain age want to be force-fed reminders of their youth.  The truth is, we are still young enough to remember the real thing, and in almost every instance, it was noticeably better than their calculated re-creation.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to reminisce.  And if you are a regular reader of this blog,  you know I will do so non-stop if given the chance.  I just don’t appreciate the weak attempts to tickle my nostalgia bone.  If you want to suck me in, offer me something akin to Freaks and Geeks. Anything short of that quality, I am going to turn my Generation X nose up at you.

Fortunately for me, my college experience, at least a big part of it, was caught on celluloid.  I can’t imagine forgetting what that time was like, but if I do, I can always put this in my DVD player.

What do you think about Hollywood’s current preoccupation with all things 1980s?

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

I found this while going through a stack of t-shirts that I cannot bear to part with:

This shirt belonged to my dad. He loved the 1980’s cop drama Hill Street Blues. So much so, that he actually wanted to advertise his affection. When my father died, I became caretaker of the shirt. When I see it, I smile. My dad, like yours probably, made a habit of channeling Sgt. Phil Esterhaus before my brother or I would go out for the evening. “Hey, (let’s) be careful out there!” He’d tell me before I walked out the front door to our home. Made me feel great to hear him utter those words of warning. Though I am sure at the time I might have rolled my eyes, and laughed.

Twenty some years after Hill Street Blues went off the air, that well-known line is still being quoted by parents to their children. And why shouldn’t it be? Great line, great TV show. There are lines from other defunct television shows that are equally memorable. Some were wonderfully written, and brilliantly recited, while quite a few were horrible. I thought it would be fun to revisit a few of those (both wonderful and horrible) today.

Flashback~Forget About it – Memorable, and oft-repeated, lines from television.

As is always the case with my flashback posts, I am going straight from the top of my head. And I am more than a bit mortified that this popped in first…

Flo, from the TV series Alice.

The good news? I am almost 100% sure I never said kiss my grits. Can’t say the same for this next clip.

Arnold, played by the late Gary Coleman, from the TV series Different Strokes

I know I am not the only one who asks friends and family members, “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?” None of my friends, or family members, are named Willis, but that is beside the point.


Redd Fox, playing the wonderful Fred Sanford, from the TV series Sanford and Son

I really dated myself with that one, didn’t I? I don’t mind, this scene still makes me laugh! I loved Fred’s fake heart attacks and while I didn’t say it often, I was known on occasion to grab my heart and tell Elizabeth that I was on my way!

My final entry, is not a line, it’s more of a moment. A moment that I am *head hung in shame* guilty of reenacting. I was a huge fan of All in the Family when I was growing up. I probably watched every single episode, either as a repeat, or when it originally aired, even though some episodes were not age appropriate. As an adult I had the opportunity to meet, and work with Carroll O’Connor, which for me, was nothing short of a thrill. It might not be the kindest thing to do when someone’s story is dragging on, but thanks to Archie Bunker, done it is!

Which lines have stuck with you? Do tell…

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

Lately I’ve noticed some disturbing changes to my vocabulary. At times, if you heard me speak, you might think I was a 14-year-old boy. For example, “No freakin’ way” was my response when my insurance agent told me what the deductible is on our home policy. And the other day while shopping, I almost told an older gentleman to chillax when he pushed his cart a little too close to mine in the check out line. WTF! almost always springs to my mind when people drive stupidly. And the word dude flows from my lips like drool from a bulldog’s. All of this got me thinking back to my own parents, did they adopt my teenage lingo? Which led me to trying to remember which words or phrases were popular when I was a growing up. On my own, I could only come up with “for sure,” so I Googled.

Flashback~Forget About it– 1980’s teen speak.

Airhead
(1)Noun A stupid or unaware person; moron, dim-wit.

Definitely remember using the word airhead to describe people–behind their backs of course.

Amped
Totally pumped or psyched about something.

Never in my life have I said I was amped to do anything, psyched yes, amped, no.

Ash People
(1)Noun Kids who wore all black.

WTF? Never even heard of this term before.

‘Bag Your Face!’
Whatever! Shut up!

No recollection of ever telling someone to bag their face, or having it suggested to me that I bag mine.

Big Time
As in “Did you get that raise you were looking for at work, Dude?” Oh yeah. Big Time!

This one I used. A lot.

Bite Me!

(1)Excl. Kiss my butt.

An oldie but a goodie. Pretty sure the younger generation has embraced it as well.

Bogart
Don’t be a bogart dude, as in don’t hog it up. opposite of sharing.

Think the term bogart was mainly used by males against other males. But almost always said in front of females.

Burn!
“Burn” is synonymous with “face”. “Burn” was used to apply dramatic emphasis to the fact someone was proven wrong on an issue that had been hotly debated and contested.

Who did not love to scream, “burn!” after proving someone wrong?

No Doy.”
Excl. A variation of “No shit, Sherlock.” Late in the decade, “doy” was used separately as well, but “no doy” is the original utterance.

I remember this saying as, “no duh” not “no doy.” I still use it. *head hung in shame*

I found the 80’s glossary of terms here. Wish I had enough room in this post to list more. Perhaps I will do a pt. 2 in the future. In the meantime, what was your favorite saying when you were a teen?

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

The 2010 VMAs will air live on MTV this Sunday. As noted numerous times, I grew up watching MTV and basically have the first two years of programming committed to memory. So, in the spirit of what the network once was, and how much I used to enjoyed tuning in, today I am adding to my guilty pleasures list.

Flashback~Forget About it-Guilty pleasure songs-the teen years.

Billy Squier:

No way you didn’t sing along. I know you did. And, like me, you knew all the words.

The Producers:

I feel like I just took a bath in 1984. All I need are the big bangs and dark red lipstick. Love it!

I saw this next band in concert, twice, but barely remember either show, so think I probably should feel guilty.

The Romantics:

And lest you think I only listened to new wave:

Midnight Star:

Beep! Beep! I will be singing this one all day! Soooo good!

That’s my guilty pleasure list, what’s on yours? Teen years please.

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

I watched a lot of television when I was a kid. Many of the shows, (Maude, All in the Family and Soap, are a few that come to mind), contained decidedly adult themes. A few were directed at kids my age, or those who were slightly older. These are the ones I want to remember today.

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday– 1970s-1980s tween/teen oriented programing.

James at 16 ran from 1977-1978. Though I was only ten at the time and obviously a girl, I still enjoyed this series and related to the main character.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the show from Wikipedia:

James Hunter (Lance Kerwin) was the son of a college professor (Linden Chiles) who moved his family across the country to take a teaching job, transplanting James from Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts. James, who had Walter Mitty-like dreams and dabbled in photography, had a hard time fitting into his new surroundings.

The White Shadow. Again, a show that centered around adolescent males, but one I really liked. I had a huge crush on Timothy Van Patten’s character which made the watching even more pleasurable, but the story lines were real reason I tuned in.

Here’s a plot summary for the White Shadow which ran on CBS from 1978-1981.

After retiring from pro basketball due to several knee injuries, journeyman player Ken Reeves is hired by his best friend Jim Willis to become head coach at Carver High School in South Central Los Angeles. When he takes over he turns the school from losers into winners not only on the court, but off it as well as he becomes involved in his players lives as not only a coach, but a mentor as well.
(source)

Timothy Van Patten is under the “H” and “A” in this photo. He really was cute. Should have been included in the post I wrote on my childhood crushes.)

My credibility is going to take a hit with this next selection, but hey, I watched from the very first episode all the way through the George Clooney years, and Natalie losing her virginity, so I was an early adopter and loyal viewer. One with questionable taste, clearly, but that’s beside the point. Yes, I watched The Facts of Life and I bet at some point all of you did too! This series ran forever–starting in 1979 and ending almost a decade later in 1988. I probably stopped watching the Facts of Life in the mid ’80s, I was in college after all, but I might have tuned in for the series finale…

I also enjoyed my share of After School Specials and made for TV movies. I can’t think of any of the former that stand out in my mind, but there is one made for TV movie from this period that I have never forgotten. Sooner or Later starred Rex Smith and featured his hit single “You Take My Breath Away.” Boy do I feel sad for you if you are too young to remember this piece of cinematic artistry. Sooner or Later was juicy. Judy Blume book kind of juicy.

Here’s the plot summary:

When 13-year-old Jessie falls for 17-year-old musician Michael, there is a strong mutual attraction. In order to win him, she adopts an alternate life — pretends to go to a Catholic high school, pretends to be older, dissembles to her Jewish family. When the elaborate deception fails, Jessie tells Michael the truth. He’s shocked, angry and hurt, and must decide whether to pursue her or not.

(source)

He was 17 (though Rex Smith was probably in his 20’s) and she was 13! I was 12!! This was good stuff.

Today’s tweens and teens have the casts of Gossip Girl, The Real World and The Vampire Diaries as fictional peers, while I had the kids from Square Pegs , Head of the Class and A Different World. I think Generation X had better options when it came to teen oriented television–but that’s just me, what do you think? I’d also love to know (if you can remember) what were you watching when you were a teen/tween?

You can thank me for this later… (he was 17!).

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

I was reading my friend San Diego Momma’s blog a few weeks back and was thrilled when I came to a comment in which she mentioned the name of her pretend band. Thrilled because I realized that I am not the only person weird special enough to come up with a name for a band that doesn’t, and probably won’t ever, exist. Though in hindsight, I am almost certain San Diego Momma was making a joke, so maybe I am the only person weird special enough to do this…

Regardless, my pretend band’s name does exist and it is: Garbage Barge. I came up with the name way back in 1987, while I was a student at the University of Georgia. Well before the not-pretend band, Garbage, was formed. I had the idea for that name because of an event that caused quite a stir nationwide. An event that involved–not surprisingly–a garbage laden barge.

Flashback~Forget About it-The voyage of the garbage barge.

In case you don’t remember, here’s how it went down:

…a tugboat named the Break of Dawn sailed out of New York Harbor pulling a barge full of Long Island’s finest trash. Piloted by Duffy St. Pierre, the trip was supposed to be a simple shipment of trash to a southern landfill. Instead, Mobro 4000 (the barge’s real name) became a modern day Flying Dutchman, wandering from port to port but never allowed to stay and unload.

The garbage barge wasn’t just redolent with remarkable names. The misbegotten cruise quickly became a media sensation. The economy was hot, and news was slow. Garbage, which is just the effluence of our affluence, was the perfect target. Greenpeace, Phil Donahue and Johnny Carson all used the barge as fodder. Six months after it sailed, the garbage barge’s trash was burned in a Brooklyn incinerator, and the ashes buried back in Long Island. The media didn’t attend the funeral.

After the circus was over, the barge had a profound impact on solid waste and recycling. Within three years, most states passed laws requiring some kind of municipal recycling. The United States went from about 600 cities with curbside recycling programs to almost 10,000. Our recycling rate is three times higher now than it was in 1987…
(source)

Pretty cool that recycling practices changed because of the barge no one wanted. And, while I didn’t use the name for a real band, turns out someone else did and apparently they have a song called, “Choke and Molest.” So, yeah, now I am not feeling quite so good about my choice for a pretend band name…But wait! Good news! Someone else took the name (and the story) and turned it into what looks like a really cool children’s book. If you have kids aged 4-8 and want to teach them about recycling and waste, you might want to check this book out.

What’s the name of your pretend band? Come on, I know you have at least one… And, while we are at it, what are some of your favorite real band names? The Talking Heads, Eek-A-Mouse (though technically he’s not a band) and They Might Be Giants are among mine.

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

I grew up in the Fan District of Richmond, Virginia. My parents moved us there before it was the cool thing to do, before the yuppies showed up. As noted here, I was a bit afraid of rapists and such, but the trade-off was that I grew up in an environment that was filled with diverse and interesting people. Very interesting people lived in the Fan in the 1970s-1980s. The neighborhood was a mix of artists and the elderly, students from nearby VCU, single moms, gay couples, and young families–just like mine. At the time I thought nothing of the fact that I was living next to (I grew up in a row house, so when I say next to, I mean next to) what could be loosely defined as a cross-section of Americans, but to a great extent, I was. I learned a lot about tolerance and acceptance growing up in the Fan, but through osmosis not lectures.

One of the people my brother and I spent time with was a musician who lived next door. His name was Gary and he played in what was one of Richmond’s most popular new wave bands: Single Bullet Theory. Across the street from us lived another musician, Robbin Thompson, who along with Steve Bassett, penned and sang one of Virginia’s unofficial state songs, Sweet Virginia Breeze. Both Gary and Robbin found the time to talk music with my brother, who at a very young age determined it to be a passion. And they didn’t talk down to him, they treated him with respect. They chatted with me too, usually about sports. I knew I was a kid and they were the adults, but because of those conversations, I also felt important and valued, something that all children need to feel.

I am grateful that I was able to grow up around adults who were both talented and giving. Giving of their time and willing to share their experience and talent. My neighbors always made time to talk to me, even if it was just a wave of the hand followed by a quick greeting.

Unfortunately, I rarely talk to my neighbor’s kids, I would, but I never see them. That wasn’t the case when we lived in Atlanta, but my kids were younger then, so maybe I was outside more often? I do try to give the children I interact with, be they friends of my kids, children of my friends, or just someone I might run into while I am out and about, some of my time and attention. I don’t think it can be stated enough how important positive interactions are, for both the kids and adults. It really does take a village–y’all.

No doubt that my parents had the greatest influence on me when I was growing up, but I’d put my neighbors, not my teachers, in the number two slot. So, for today’s Flashback~Forget About it-Friday I am giving a virtual shout-out to the grown ups who listened to and encouraged me when I was a kid–the ones that weren’t paid to do so.

What role did neighbors play in your life when you were growing up?

And, if you want to read another take on this topic here’s a great post from Hilary.

While you think about this, here’s a video from Single Bullet Theory circa 1982. Gary is wearing glasses and playing guitar. I was in the crowd for the concert scene–thankfully, I cannot be identified. Watch if for no other reason than to laugh at how similar today’s fashions are to those worn then.

Flashback~Forget About it-Friday

My daughter turned 17 this past Wednesday. Seventeen. This is the first age she has reached that has floored me. Rocked my world, just a bit. Seventeen is old. Old enough that songs written about girls women this age almost always include lyrics about a man, or two, who is lusting after them. Funny how being labeled “Sexy and 17” was a badge of honor when I was that age, but now not exactly something I wanted to sing to my daughter on her special day.

Flashback~ (don’t really want to) Forget About it– *When I was 17.

When I was 17:

*I was a high school graduate. Technically, I completed high school a few days shy of my 17th birthday, so I was 16.

*A movie ticket cost $2.50 and the average price for a gallon of gas was $1.10. (source).

*I spent the summer hanging out with high school friends, going to movies (Ghostbusters and Purple Rain), and doing college prep (research, if you will) on the campuses of the University of Richmond and VCU. Oh, and I had a summer job.

When I was 17:

*I left home and traveled 530 miles away to attend college. I did this in a state I had only driven through up to that point. I never set foot on the University of Georgia’s campus (or in the state of Georgia) prior to my freshman orientation.

*I lived with strangers–many of them. Before this, I had only been on my own and away from home once, and if you read this post, you know how well that worked out.

When I was 17:

*I drove from my hometown back to college (a ten-hour drive) in the middle of the night. By myself. What were my parents thinking?! I remember my dad telling me to drive with the window down and the radio turned up if I felt myself getting sleepy!

*I attended my first college football game.

*I went to bars. (I got my first, of many, fake IDs when I was 17).

*I talked on the radio and learned how to slip cue records!

*I interviewed athletes and coaches. And musicians.

When I was 17:

*I balanced a checkbook, did laundry and made sure I was awake in time for my 7:50 am class. None of this was a big deal for me, I was a latchkey kid, I had been doing these types of things since I was eight.

*I was elected vice president of my dorm. Vice President, by the way, really is a good job to have–at least when you are vice president of a dorm. Not a lot of responsibilities, fancy title.

When I was 17:

*I learned how to drop my basic math class, a skill that proved to be very important, as I did it repeatedly throughout my four and a half years in college.

*I developed crushes on far too many man-boys to count.

*I successfully completed (the exception being basic math) my freshman course load.

When I was 17:

*I tasted freedom for the first time, and I loved it! I loved it so much that I only returned home one summer–the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. After that, I stayed in Athens year-round.

After thinking back on what I was doing when I was 17 and what my daughter has, and will, be doing at the same age, I feel a bit queasy. But not because of the scary stuff, because of the practical stuff. I realized this summer, when my daughter attended a pre-college program, just how unprepared she really is to go out into the world. Sure, she has the smarts and capabilities, she just doesn’t have enough practical (there’s that word again) experience. She needs to do more for herself. And starting now, she will.

What did you do when you were 17?

*Yes, I am aware that there is a show on MTV with this title and premise.