Archive for May, 2009

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Gen X Parenting from “Jon & Kate Plus 8” — Punch In The Face

May 14, 2009

America’s greatest Gen X mommy and daddy, Jon & Kate Gosselin from TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8”, are having trouble with their marriage.  Apparently, Jon has a girlfriend.  And not just any type of girlfriend, a young girlfriend.  You know, the type that likes to go dancing.   And shopping.  Not to mention all the talking.  How does a guy with a wife and 8 kids have the personal energy for that kind of action?  I have 2 kids, and it takes every ounce of my personal energy to get the vacuum out of the closet.   As for Kate, she’s supposedly having an affair with her bodyguard, a silver-haired hunk who looks like the dad in every Just for Men Hair Coloring commercial . . .  like these guys REALLY need jet black hair to live the good life. 

Who could have predicted this?  Isn’t it completely normal for a couple with a set of twins and a newborn set of sextuplets to think “hey, in order to ensure we can live a loving life together as a family, let’s bring 15 TV cameras into the house 24 hours a day.”  Yes, it is.  As every good Gen-X’er knows, you aren’t normal unless you’re on TV.  And — even if you’re kinda freaky, attention-starved, simpletons from the middle of Pennsylvania, TV will make it all better, with its fancy editing and mood lighting. 

Just think how crazy this Jon & Kate Plus 8 “life on TV” premise is.  When Gen X was growing up in the ’70’s, it was ridiculous to think that a family with 8 kids would actually let cameras into their house.  The only family that did that in the ’70’s was fictional (Eight is Enough reference).  Thinking of Eight is Enough, Dick Van Patten was an uber-dad and even that family wasn’t completely normal.  Need proof?  Willie Ames flunked Celebrity Fit Club 3 times.  And when did Ames get all the crazy tattoos?

Look, 1 was 1 of 5 kids.  And my mom wouldn’t have let TV cameras into the house — even if it was on fire.  In fact, we didn’t even own a Polaroid camera.  As far as my parents were concerned, the last thing they wanted . . . was evidence of the chaos.  Sure, there are a couple pictures of me as a kid, but it was for historical purposes — like the photos of immigrants at Ellis Island or pioneers on the Oregon Trail.  You know, so if the IRS ever came around looking for proof, my parents could grab the photo and say, “Here is Chris.  He is one of our kids.”  That’s pretty different from Jon & Kate’s 24-hour access to their family for free diapers, Nintendo Wii, and 50 grand an episode, isn’t it?  Sure, the 70’s had the bell-bottoms and ABBA, but the family privacy and humility weren’t so bad.

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Gen X’s Top Ten Pump Up Jams (of All Time)

May 6, 2009

Here it is, Generation X.  Our Top Ten Pump Up Jams.  These are the songs that rocked the bleechers of every high school pep rally from 1987 to 1995.  There is no dispute to this list — it was definitively complied by through market research — i.e., my veiled recollection of the past — and several heated debates with my cat, Estelle.  So, after much debate and a cat fight or two, here is the final list:

10)  The Final Countdown, Europe — the only thing prettier than leader singer Joey Tempsett was his angelic voice.  C’mon, you know you love it.

9)  Good Vibrations, Mahkie Mahk and the Funky Bunch— Don’t hate, and don’t lie.  When they boomed this in the high school pep rally in ’91, you were feeling it — I don’t care who you were, or who you thought you were , you wanted to be Mahky Mahk doing arm curls with cinder blocks in an abandoned warehouse. 

8)  Ice, Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice — Say what you want, and I can hear the groans now.  The bottom line is, Queen rules, and Ice had a moment — a moment he’s ridden for the past 18 years.  ‘Nuff said.

7)  Turn This Mutha Out, MC Hammer —  Hammer’s gotta make the list.  I know you thought I’d go with “U Can’t Touch This”, but — pound for pound — “Turn This Mutha Out” was a much better pump-up song and, after all, that’s what this list is all about.   Go ahead, youtube it — it’s nice.

6)  Everybody Dance Now, C+C Music Factory— Another, “what the hell was that?” music collaboration from the early ’90’s — a singer that looked like Jody Watley, but wasn’t.  A rapper/ body builder who looked like a pump-up Rico Suave.  I didn’t get it, and yet we all got it at the same time. 

5)  Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J — LL was the original one-man star MC who had absolutely no issue telling the world how great — or, bad — he was.  Think of every rap song you’ve heard in the past 20 years — every MC telling you how great they are — that sorta “props to me” attitude started with LL and, let’s face it, very few have done it better.

4)  Thunderstruck, AC/DC — The first time I heard AC/DC, I was 8. My older brother played Back in Black for me, and I had nightmares for two weeks.  Even today, when I conjure up an image of the actual Devil, it is some variation of Angus Young in horns.  When I heard Thunderstruck 9 years later, I was still scared . . . but this time I liked it.  You’ve been Thunderstruck? We’ve all been Thunderstruck.

3)  Pump Up The Volume, M.A.R.S.— I don’t even know what this song was.  Was it rap?  Sorta, with Rakim’s voice repeating “Pump Up The Volume.  Pump Up The Volume. Dance – dance.”  Was it house music?  Was it Gregorian Chanting?  Who knows.  But it was killer.  I’m pretty sure the group “M.A.R.S.” was fromMars and US satellites picked the song up from with elaborate soundwaves.

2)  Sabotage, Beastie Boys—  The story goes that this song was purely an instrumental until AdRock (Adam Horowitz) walked into the studio and just “had” the lyrics.  And that, my friends, is how history was made.  Paranoia (“I can’t stand it.  I know you planned it. I’m gonna set it straight this Watergate . . .”) is a tremendous motivator.

1)  Welcome to the Jungle, Guns-n-Roses —  If I was scared of AC/DC, I was reallyscared of Guns-n-Roses.  Axl Rose looked like a Pantene model, and I was pretty sure Slash was anthropologically categorized as a Wookie.  It didn’t matter.  Welcome to the Jungle was the purest form of adrenaline that shook our high school gyms.