Things I’ve Learned From Rock ‘n Roll

Rock ‘n roll has a bad rap. People say it promotes sex, drugs, and violence, which, ok, sometimes it DOES. BUT, I don’t think that view really gives you the whole picture. I’ve learned a lot of valuable things from some of my favorite songs, and I thought I would share the wisdom with you. So, here we go:

1. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” – The Rolling Stones. If and when I ever get my own classroom, I’m going to put this on a big banner and put it over my chalkboard as a reminder to my students (and myself!).

2. “Life is too short, so love the one ya got, cuz ya might get run over or ya might get shot.” – Sublime. I can’t put it more succinctly than that.

3. “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go. If you cling too tightly, you’re gonna lose control.” – .38 Special.

4. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Semisonic.

5. “All you need is love. Love is all you need!” – The Beatles.

6. “When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom – Let it be.” – The Beatles.

7. “Don’t stop believin’!” – Journey. I’m not sure what the guys of Journey had in mind when they wrote this song – my guess would be love, but I don’t really know. Loss of faith in whatever you believe in is a tragedy. Everyone has to believe in SOMETHING, right?

8. “You should make amends with you, if only for better health. But if you really want to live, why not try and make yourself?” – Incubus.
This whole song is pretty good advice, but I think this is the main gist of its message.

9. “The day you were born, you were born free. That is your privilege.” – Incubus. More a friendly reminder than a piece of advice, but all the same, I think it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

10. “Hold on to 16 as long as you can. Changes come around real soon, make us women and men.” – John Mellencamp

Bonus Songs!
1. “Politically Correct” by SR-71. If I were going to run for a public office, this would be my theme song.

2. “Simple Kind of Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. A whole song full of nothing but excellent advice.

What have YOU learned from the wise folks of the music world?


Some Thoughts on “A Christmas Story”

On Christmas Eve this year, I watched “A Christmas Story” for the 2nd or 3rd time. I was introduced to this Christmas classic a little late – I only saw it for the first time last year. However, it has instantly become one of my favorites. I love the phrasing used by the narrator (Jean Shepherd, author of the book on which the movie is based) – things like “Only one thing in the world could draw me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window” and “We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.” I mean, who talks like that? It cracks me up. Some other gems include: “In the heat of battle [with the furnace] my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan,” and “Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master.”

In addition to having clever and hilarious narration, all the characters in the movie are pretty classic – the kids are hilariously accurate 9-year-olds, the father is charmingly… well… he’s charmingly SOMETHING (profane?), but my favorite character is Ralphie’s mom. She is perpetually patient with both her children and her husband, and there’s just something about her that’s very endearing. She seems like a nice lady and a good mom. I hope that if and when I ever have kids, I have the good sense to let my kid sit in the kitchen cabinet and drink milk when he’s upset, if that’s what he wants to do. I also hope I’ll have the intuition to know which things I should tell my husband about the kid’s day, and which things to leave out or gloss over. I hope I will have the humor to deal with the curve balls thrown at me, and to always taste the soap I make my kid eat.