Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The 100 Coolest Things of 2008... 90 to 81

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90. Erin Formerly-Coates-Now-Whitehead.
She's a friend of mine from Troy State University, and now she is residing in Tallahassee, Florida. Granted, we weren't all that close in college, and honestly, its not like we are BFF now, but Facebook makes stronger friends out of former acquaintances, just like in this case. What's cool about her is that she's an army--scratch that, MARINE--wife... she reads the blog frequently, commenting here and there, and is a Conservative--which means she's got some sense...

Erin and myself on the FarmHouse Frat Riverboat Formal in... 1998? I was dating Melanie Jackson at the time so yes, it was 98. Either way, we were awesome. Still are.

Erin sent me this email not too long ago, something she had written entitled "What I Learned From This Deployment". It is a list of 8 hard-earned lessons about being a mom at home, while hubby is away helping defend our country. This is #8, and I don't think she'd mind me sharing.

Erin writes... "Marine Corps wives are some of the strongest people on the planet. Now, I am not saying that other military wives are not strong, but I didn’t spend the past 7 months with Army wives (except every Sunday night on Lifetime) so I can only attest to my Marine Wife Sisters. And they are incredible. They serve their country each and every day, even when their Marine is home. Because when he is gone they of course have to be Mom, Dad, nurse, chauffer, midnight mechanic, lawn maintainer (ok, I don’t do this but many do), housekeeper, cook, therapist, activities director, veterinarian, baker of 4 dozen brownies each month, and they occasionally do have to shower themselves.

Some of them have to bear the children, birth the children and nurse the children all alone. Some of them have fulltime careers. Some of them are full time volunteers. All of them worry on a daily basis and embrace change as a family mantra mandated by the Marine Corps. The are the very best at waiting. Waiting for them to leave, waiting for them to call, waiting for them to return, waiting for the movers, waiting for the orders that will change their lives once again.

When their Marines are home they take great pride in looking their very best when they accompany their Marine to the Birthday Ball to celebrate the rich history, traditions and overwhelming pride of the United States Marine Corps. They stay awake for long hours when their Marine is preparing for that next deployment just to kiss him goodnight. She listens to people criticize the wars that her husband fights in and while she may get furious and express her opinion, she rarely stoops to their level.

She helps her sister wife who is new to this whole Marine Corps thing by listening to her concerns and maybe by telling her when the very best time to shop at the commissary might be. And she also helps her sister wives who are “seasoned” when they are pulling out their hair because after 15 years they just don’t think they can take another minute. She helps to talk them off that ledge, because she knows she might need talking down in 5 minutes. And they do this with pride and strength and grace and courage. They laugh inside when people say “Don’t you just want your husband home?” because they know that as long as there are Marines, they will always be deployed.

Because America loves it’s Marine Corps, they need those Devil Dogs…and we as Marine Wives know why…the rest of the country gets to sleep under the blanket of freedom they help to provide. But we get the great honor of sleeping next to our Marine…even if it is only for a couple months out of every year.

Erin... you truly rock. And actually, upon further reflection, your sacrifice alone, added to your coolness, probably deserves a much higher ranking than 90... but here ya go.

89. Adding Music to the Blog
What a revolutionary idea! Not that a thousand other blogs are any different, but it all came about when I was reading The Angel's blog, and she had a player on hers. I thought, "Darn it, I have got to figure this out", so I did. And thus, in July, the Clouds started singing. Many people have enjoyed it, many people have given their feedback about what's good (and sometimes, what's not so good) each month, and Alan the Facebook Stalker (my very first one!) even told me that he rocked out to my December Christmas Playlist.

And I figure now is as good a time as any to give you the rundown on what's playing this month. I decided to post a list of my most played iPod tunes this past year--all of the following had at least 14 plays--you may say "What? That's not a lot of play time for a song to be at the top of your list" but seriously, remember I have over 10,000 songs on my iPod, in addition to almost a 100 audio books

"Two Tickets to Paradise" by Eddie Money. Don't ask me why, don't ask me how. This song somehow made it to my Hannah Pruitt playlist and it just went from there.

"If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" by Sting. Ever just had a song pop in your head, and you wanted to hear it then and there? That was the case with this one. And I just kept playing it all throughout the year.

"Full Moon" by Brandy. Possibly one of my top 20 favorite songs of all time, though I'm still waiting for someone to explain what "get to crackin' if you like" means. Anyone?

"Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne. Of course, we all think of Forrest Gump when this song comes on, but seriously, it is a great, great song.

"Kiss & Say Goodbye" by The Manhattans. Smooth, cool, adulterous R&B.

"Light in Your Eyes" by Blessid Union of Souls. This song will probably stay up another month, as I'm working updating 2006's "20 Saddest Songs Ever Sung" list, and the playlist will reflect that in February.

"The Story" by Brandi Carlile. We've been over this in one of my most popular postings as of late.

"American Boy" by Estelle, ft Kanye West. One of my favorite new songs of the year.

"I May Hate Myself in the Morning" by Lee Ann Womack. In 2008, I think I really became quite the Lee Ann fan, listening to her previous works and loving it (all but "I Hope You Dance")

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" by Al Green. So slow, so cool, so Al Green. I sound like a Time/Life CD Collection commercial.

"Sail On" by Lionel Richie & the Commodores. The Lovely Steph Leann loves this one... Lionel Richie is Universal, of course. He keeps popping up all over, actually.

"Godspeed" by The Dixie Chicks. Now, as noted in my Dixie Chicks essay a week or so ago, this isn't my favorite of theirs. In fact, this one only had about 7 or 8 plays on the iPod--"Tortured Tangled Hearts" had 15. But since didn't have that one, I chose this one to represent.

"Killin' Time" by Clint Black. Just like The Chicks, the real Clint song that had 14 plays, "A Good Run of Bad Luck", wasn't available. So I picked this one. For whatever reason, I went on a Clint Black run for a while, lapping up his music over and over. And for that same reason, that's over now.

"You and I Both" by Jason Mraz. This became one of my favorite songs to sing in the car this year. I've actually come to realize that I kinda like Jason Mraz.

"Your So Vain" by Carly Simon. Naturally.

"Snow (hey oh)" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. One of the coolest things of 2007, this song continues to be cool. It's addicting.

"Everybody's Talkin'" by Harry Nilsson. Again, falling into the same predicament as Clint Black and The Dixie Chicks, I couldn't find a copy of "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City", featured in a Dave100 Top Ten Movie. I picked this one out, though I really wish the other had been there.

"Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak. This one caught me off guard. At the end of the year, I opened up iTunes and clicked on "play count". Eddie Money was on top, tied with Sting with 17 plays each. There was Nilsson, and the Chili Peppers, and Clint Black and a few others and then... Chris Isaak? Seriously? Yep. Fourteen times I've listened to Chris wail about not wanting to fall in love. Hottest. Video. Ever.

"Loungin'" by LL Cool J. If the world existed with no The Rock, there's a chance my man-ffections would be geared toward Cool J instead. He's just hot. And cool. And this song rocks, as it did 15 times on my iPod.

88. The Year of the Sharpie
Am I the only one who likes to write everything with a fine point Sharpie? Seriously... on my calendar, I actually use four different colors--red for birthdays & holidays, blue for events, black for The Happiest Place in the Mall schedule and green for my Starbucks shifts--but I've even taken to using them in my journals for church. I love Sharpies.

87. "Shut Up and Sing"
I discussed this last week, but I did feel like it warranted a place in my list. It was just a great, great documentary, so much so that I want to see it again--and I like it because it doesn't excuse The Chicks from anything they did, but treats their response--and its consequences--with respect. Go watch.

86. "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas For Millions" by Ben Mezrich
Supposedly a non fiction account, it tells the story of Kevin Lewis, an MIT student who was recruited by a card-counting group to hit casinos and do just that--count cards. Mezrich discusses the rise of the team, how they went and took out one casino after another in Vegas, Atlantic City and even small riverboat locations, and how eventually, they were blacklisted and sometimes treated to some violent efforts to get them to stop.

I say "supposedly a non-fiction account", because its been reported that many of the incidents in the story were either made up, or called under questioning for their accuracy by those who were there, on either side. Whatever did or didn't happen, it makes for a fabulous, quick read.

FYI, this was the basis for the Kevin Spacey movie "21", which I haven 't seen, but apparently has very little to do with the book, other than the card-counting team aspect.

85. Toolbox Hunting With the Boys
Back in June, I got to hang out with Paulie Walnuts, J Rob and Croyle... here's what I wrote:

The plan, originally, was for J Rob to find a used tackle or tool box, but as the afternoon wore on, it was pretty clear that he just wanted an excuse to go out to thrift stores. Perhaps the best one I'd ever seen was on Highway 150, right across from the Wal-Mart shopping center. Very clean, very organized. We somehow visited one in Centerpoint, then another in Centerpoint, which was like a football field full of nothing but crap.

You can read the whole darn affair here, including the crotch rocket guy, in a post entitled "Shania, Obama and Other Randomness". It was quite a fun afternoon...

84. "Roller Coaster Tycoon 3"
Had fun with Roller Coaster Tycoon, had a blast with Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, and so of course, I had to upgrade with Part 3, which is even better. The leap from 2 to 3 is about a billion times better than the 1 to 2 upgrade. The graphics are better, the rides are better, and though I'm just getting started (I've had it for a while, but let's face it, with two jobs, three blog sites, Facebook, The Lovely Steph Leann, the iPod, Lost, CSI, Mindy D'Andrea, Wii Fit, KT, family, laundry and other stuff, who has the time for anything?) I'm excited about it!

What's fun about Tycoon is that I have a few names during each game... I always call The Scrambler "Mikey's Scramble Butt" for Michael Nipp, I usually name a wooden roller coaster "Ashley's Spell" for just that very person, a metal crazy warped roller coaster gets named "The Hawbaker Hellfire" for Jess and James, and the merry-go-round is called "Princess Stephanie's Carousel". Maybe I do have too much free time.

83. Melissa Clark
She is gorgeously hot. She has a good lookin' man. Her children are just about perfect. She joined Facebook and it looks like her family is, or at least looks, perfect. But after all that, she's one of the most down to Earth, friendliest, fun people I know. We are in KidStuf--Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) Children's Theater--together, but she's also the girl who cuts my hair. Her client list is so popular, she has a waiting list to get on it. I'd say in 2008, my hair got much better.

Melissa, sans man, with her two perfect kids. Of course, she'd probably beg me to differ on that...

82. "Kung Fu Panda"
No, we don't have it. So please don't come into The Happiest Place in the Mall asking for Kung Fu Panda stuff. You won't find it.

That being said, this movie was really, really funny. Credit Jack Black for making Po a great character, and the story line for being entertaining.

81. David Cook Performs
American Idol had several good choices this year, including Young David Archuleta, My Next American Idol Brooke White, and the eventual winner, David Cook. He gave very different, very good performances which set him apart from everyone and anyone... one was his take on Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby"--a white rocker guy singing R&B diva Mariah, and pulling it off? Amazing. Another was his version of Lionel Richie's "Hello". Does it always come back to Lionel "Universal" Richie?

His rocked out version of "Hello", with no cheese head sculpture--not saying its better or worse without it...

Of course, nothing can top the performance of the year, which was truly "Billie Jean"... this is one of those that will go down in Idol history as memorable and much loved.

Not as good as Michael Jackson's, but the lack of small boys and Neverland Ranch helps here

Coming soon... Bobowen gets a store, Bret gets a girl and someone gets a Pruitt Cool Award

1 comment:

  1. This bracket of 10 (90-81) stirred some thoughts for me. So here they are:
    1) I don't know Erin, but I appreciate what she and others willingly give for me to have freedom. Thanks Erin and family and everyone else (past, present, and future)!

    2) Sharpies ROCK! Have you tried the retractable ones yet?

    3) Bringing down the house... As someone who read the book and saw the movie (albeit not in the theater), I just didn't see what all the fuss was about. It was a good read (quick, easy), but the movie left a bit to be desired. I've learned that Kevin Spacey ina movie does not guarantee a winning combination (K-Pax anyone?). As expected, the book was far better than the movie.

    4) DC - he was definitely one of the best parts of Idol last year. His version of Billie Jean was so cool.

    Thanks for reminding me of these parts of 2008.


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