Saturday, September 28, 2013

Alanis Morisette and When You Oughta Know It's About You

Have you ever got the uncomfortable impression someone was talking about you?

These days when we can make oblique references to people on social networks or blogs can be a surefire recipe for paranoia.

I recall a friend S. who I had been exchanging a few emails with in relation to a delicate situation she had found herself in with a none too important politician. My advice had mostly been tactful but I recall firing off a one line joke that was possibly sailing too close to the wind.

I received no reply which was uncharacteristic. Then I noticed a rant appearing on her Facebook page about outrageous advice from hypocritical people. Naturally I assumed she was not referring to me but I had this uncomfortable feeling it might indeed apply to me.

My suspicion gained some ground when I was unceremoniously defriended. Then six months later I was suddenly emailed out of the blue by S. who informed me I was forgiven. Which was kind of big of her.

It's bad enough to think you are being written about on Facebook. But it must be much worse when you are the antagonist in a popular song that's on every radio station.

There are few more vitriolic songs than Alanis Morisette's 1995 hit "You Oughta Know." There was much speculation at the time that it was written about her ex-boyfriend Dave Coulier.

Just this week Dave revealed he also has a bit of a hunch it was about him.

“There was a lot of familiar stuff,” he said. “But the one that got me was, ‘I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner.’”

“We had already broken up,” he said. “She called and I said, ‘Hey, you know, I’m right in the middle of dinner. Can I just call you right back?’ And so I remembered that line when I heard ‘You Oughta Know,’ and it was more like, ‘Uh-oh.’”

That would certainly be an uh-oh  moment particularly as the lyrics of the song are not particularly charitable to Dave and include the verse.

Did you forget about me Mr. Duplicity
I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner
It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced
Are you thinking of me when you f*** her?

Yeah sorry I don't have an adult content button on my blog. I've thought about it but most of the content is too juvenile for that.

Dave seemed to take it in good spirit saying his ex was really a good natured person who was not vindictive in the slightest. As Morisette's former nanny can testify - in a court of law, most likely.

Another famous song that has long been seen as a way to get back at an ex was You're So Vain by Seventies singer Carly Simon.

Quite a few of her ex-lovers thought the song was about them as well as fitting well into the lyrics - including  Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens and Warren Beatty. Indeed Beatty was said to be convinced the song was about him.

So it was something of an anticlimax when the singer revealed in 2010 the song wasn't about an ex at all but openly gay record producer David Geffen.

For those from a younger generation a record is ... never mind.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I tend to write poetry infrequently. I blog it even less. Now I realize why.

There are tunnels in our minds
high in the hills, whistling with the wind
from darkness to light
from hope to gloom.
There's the glory then, the thrill of the parade
The touch, the smile
The stops and the starts
Clouds that drift and hot blood of the chase.
The light is brighter here
And the air more keen,
Where the trees are bent double
And the pale moon is stripped.
But we err in this Eden
Turn our backs on the dales
As we head down to earth
Where the heavy soil swallows.
There are tunnels and mines
Where the air is too thick
And the visions of clouds
Are dashed in this place.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Week I Forgot About My Blog

I usually try to keep this blog fed in the same way as I chuck some food the way of the cats every now and then because it makes life easier. Not feeding felines can lead to painful scratches while not feeding a blog is somewhat less serious although I can suffer something close to physical pain at the sight of the views graph falling off a virtual north face of the Eiger.

This week, for the first time I can remember, I actually forgot about my blog for a while. The week was punctuated in series of mini crises which seem rather petty with the benefit of hindsight and a quick glimpse at the news headlines which comprise of people being blown up in various parts of the world.

Crystal City, Arlington (Woogers)

I have also been at a legal marketing conference in Arlington which immersed me in a strange new world. I finally have an idea what I had been doing wrong, what I should be doing and how I could become like those people who have all the answers. Whether I want to be like them is another matter.

You can finally understand the system but whether you want to be part of it is a different question, like that time when you are at the lodge making odd hand signals in funny clothes, lifting up your trouser leg in a certain way and you learn you have finally been accepted into a Masonic order. Clearly I have never been accepted into a Masonic order, hence the probably wholly inaccurate description.

I'm not sure if I ever aspired to mastermind the system. I had a lowly aspiration to write and that was as far as it went.

But something I learned from the conference was - with a couple of exceptions - lawyers are human too. And while they may make more money than most of us, many of them seem rather harassed and unhappy.

One of the speakers told a similar story of how doctors would tell him their lives were abject before driving off in their new Mercedes.

Money is perhaps a hollow allure, although we crave it when we are forced to live on Ramen noodle. The same speaker said his real aim in life was to visit all of the wine regions of the world, an aspiration I can relate to, although I'll probably have to be a bit more analytical when I write up my notes for Monday.

Now my head is full of visions of Crystal City and wealth for its own sake; upscale restaurants and glass fronted hotels that look like they were built last week and that juddery feeling of waking myself with too much coffee at 6 a.m. By the time I left the hotel rain was falling down in sheets. I abandoned by plan to head into DC to stroll around the monuments for half a hour. Two hours later I found myself eating at some chain steakhouse near Richmond in which they forgot to bring me my steak.

At this stage you would expect me to tell you about a 250 pound waitress who grunted at me and spat out an inarticulate apology. But the waitress was charming and found my steak, even informing me the sauce on my table was terrible and bringing me some better stuff. Small details like this can make a difference. In the same way I spoke to many lawyers who failed to conform to stereotypes and were perfectly affable.

Even so, as the drinks reception got under way it didn't take me long to realize I'd rather be drinking with journalists.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Retro Culture from Gangnam Style to Brotherhood of Man

I can't tell you how happy I was when my son downloaded Gangnam Style on a tablet and tried to horse dance this week.

You can see his efforts here, although you might be forgiven for thinking he was having a fit and turning a fire extinguisher on him.

Oh and for those people who might accuse me of being a hypocrite for posting a kid vid after going on about people who post their kids pictures on Facebook in my recent (spoof) blog I have a confession to make. I'm a horrible hypocrite.

At least Jackson's sudden fondness for massive one hit wonder PSY's (erm) massive one hit, comes a year too late. Which makes it more retro cool. Right. A year is a long time in the fast moving world of YouTube. Already the Korean looks date.

Although not as retro as Rolf Harris. When I was not much older than Jackson we crept across the parking lot and looked into the local gym of the school to see Rolf doing questionable things with his didgeridoo on the Rolf on Saturday show.

Rolf Harris

The guest act was Brotherhood of Man. Let's just say the winners of the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest were not letting fame go to their heads. Four huge Rolls Royces were parked heavily on the weeds of the parking lot. The band sauntered into the school sports hall wearing real fur coats.

I'm not sure what happened to the Rollers but Brotherhood of Man failed to become the next ABBA. They didn't even become the next Buck's Fizz.

Curiously I was checking out reconditioned washing machines in a back street lot in Portsmouth, Virginia the other day and the salesman started talking to me. He became animated when he heard my accent.

The salesman told me he used to be married to one of the female singers in Brotherhood of Man. It didn't seem like a happy experience but the guy took to me. I was the first person who had walked into the store in years who had heard of Brotherhood of Man. If I had hung around he may have given me a discount on a recondition washing machine.

Rolf Harris had a longer shelf life, probably much longer than PSY ever will. His fame lasted for three decades. Then last month he was charged with  13 child sex offences in the UK including the indecent assault of two teenage girls in the 1980s.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Am I Too Old to Post on Facebook and Other Social Media Questions?

In my ulterior life role as Dr. Dave - Social Media Guru I receive a vast amount of correspondence from people who want my tips on how to network, wot with me being so cutting edge and all that. Here's a small sample of questions and answers for your edification...

Q Is It Possible to Update my LinkedIn Profile on My Typewriter?

A No

Q My Mother has sent me a Facebook friends request. Should I accept?

A No. Under no circumstances accept a Facebook request from a parent. Not only will it allow them to keep tabs on your life but they may start posting pictures of you the year they didn't let you get your hair cut for six months or with food all round your mouth and on your bib. Aunts and uncles are a more difficult call. I have developed the Suck Test in these circumstances. Ask yourself if they suck. If the answer is 'no' consider accepting.

Q How many pictures of my baby should I post on Facebook and Twitter?

A This question is a very relevant one. I have a Facebook friend called Ponceroy (not his real name) who has recently had twin boys (more accurately his Missis actually had them). He has taken to posting pictures of his kids on a daily basis. Now he has gone one step further and posts status updates saying he is going to do a photo shoot of new images which will be posted soon, just to let us know what a treat we have in store.

The fact is other people's babies all look the same and even though he seems to think he's Anne Geddes, Ponceroy's babies are exceptionally ugly. My aunt had a pug... I digress. He is now defriended. Post your baby pics sparingly - I would suggest two a month.

Q I just turned 50 and am wondering if there's a cut off age for posting on social networks.

A You should not worry yet. The cut off age is 51. There's a retired home improvement correspondent type woman I know who is constantly posting a drivel of updates on Facebook. The other day I made a rare visit to Twitter-land and found another stream of Tweets from her at 10 p.m. I am now wondering if this woman has any kind of life away from social networks. Look if you are 18 and you are constantly Tweeting, you may still be cool because you are probably hanging out at some bar and multi tasking. if you are sitting at home banging out this stuff all night at the age of 65, you probably need someone to take away your laptop and place yourself in a potting shed to sniff geraniums.

Q Is Quora for nerds?

A I'm  not sure. I have been too busy answering the question about whether the Thirty Years War really ended with the Treaty of Westphalia.

Q I Have a MySpace account - Am I correct in assuming this is new, up and coming social media site?

A I am assuming you take a lot of meth and watch Betamax. I've heard it's a good site for gang members.

Q I am contacting you for advice about my embarrassing fetish involving vacuum cleaners. Can you assure me you will treat my issue with utmost confidentiality?

A You can rest assured the confidentiality of your correspondence is guaranteed Mrs. Gertude Dobbins of 3485 Havover Driver, Great Snoring, Ohio is your email still BTW ?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Twerking, FOMO And The Curse of Miley Cyrus

I have an invite to a soiree over at the Civic League this weekend so am desperately hunting for a party piece to make me relevant again.

It seems twerking is all the rage, in that I have been hearing rather a lot over the last couple of weeks. Maybe I can get lessons in time to knock over some fine bone china with my rear end on Saturday night.

Seriously, though, I feel bad writing about twerking. I've come to the party so late that the empty bottles are being thrown out and the garbage truck cometh.

So apparently twerking is where a persona "usually a woman is shakng her hips in an up and down bouncing mtion, causing the dancer to shake, wobble and jiggle."

Sounds a trifle rude if you ask me...

It is practiced primarily in poor, black areas, which doesn't adequately explain why it has been made famous by Miley Cyrus, a rich white girl.

Miley Cyrus' sexually suggestive twerking performance at the VMAs caused widespread outrage across the media, maybe due to the fact it's less heavy than Syria. If reports are to be believed, even the maker of the giant hand she was sporting, has criticized her.

The sort of subtext here is Miley was a Disney girl, who influenced lots of small kids, and she's now gyrating her hips suggestively with her tongue out. And Disney girls don't do that sort of thing - right Britney and Christina.

As someone with a daughter who grew up sporting a Hannah Montana wig spouting the Best of Both Worlds, this does not bother me really - namely because I thought Miley was a talentless publicity seeker then as now.

Also America always seems to get so uptight about this kind of thing, as demonstrated by Janet Jackson's Nipplegate scandal at the Super Bowl.

Miley's just doing what Madonna and Lady Gaga did before her, only with less talent. The worst aspect of this is she seems to have propelled the word 'twerking' into the Oxford dictionary, along with selfie and FOMO, although red lines still appear on all of these words on my retro spell check.

FOMO is fear of missing out - like when you realize everyone is going on about a phrase such as twerking and feel obliged to blog about it two weeks later.

Lost by the Sea

 A tiny tragedy in an ocean of sadness makes barely a ripple. Still, I was taken aback to receive an email from a former wife (the one I nev...