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…may go unheralded by the major online media outlets, but hopefully will be noticed by the wordpress chums whom I have so long neglected.

Without further ado, please put your retro-hats on and venture into the Wayback Machine with me and the hilarious song stylings of DeStorm. If you think he’s awesome (and who wouldn’t?) check out the rest of the Soul-Tunes series, which include beat-box versions of cartoon themes ranging from Fraggle Rock to G.I. Joe to the Animaniacs.

It’s nice to be back, peeps!

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I never cared much for Lady Gaga, but I sure do love Christopher Walken.  If you survive his rendition of “Pokerface” without dying of mirth, check out the even more spectacular audio of him reading “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe (how did I not find that on YouTube before Halloween?)

What happens when you take a vintage clip of gals in polyester doing Bob Fosse and slide a little hip hop into the mix?   This completely astounding dance mashup — enjoy!

Back in 1995, the hot ticket all over the world was the celtic dance sensation Riverdance.   Although I wasn’t fortunate enough to see the original cast featuring Michael Flatley and Jean Butler, I do admit that I nearly wore out  my videotape of the performance.

If you’re looking to get “warmed up” on a cold day, I suggest you take a few minutes to watch the amazing “Fire Dance” featuring flamenco legend Maria Pages and step-dance superstar Michael Flatley.    It starts slow and sultry, but by the time you’re done watching it you’ll know why the title features the word “fire”…

Woooo hoooo!  Are you fired up yet?  Want a little more of the original cast of Riverdance?   Here’s another favorite of mine, “Thunderstorm” featuring Michael Flatley and the men in the cast.

Who  knows what I’ll come up with next?

…because you’ll need it to win the contest that I’m going to tell you all about today!

So far this December my posts here have been sporadic.  Why?  Because a lot of the time that I would usually spend typing up posts or surfing YouTube for scary videos has been spent knitting scarves as holiday gifts.    I have found it to be an amazingly calming activity during what is for most people a very stressful time of year.

Who will the lucky winner be?

This is not the actual prize...Daniel Radcliffe was too quick for me!

Lucky for YOU I am ahead of schedule, and have budgeted time to knit a very special scarf for the winner of my contest!  And no, it’s not going to be some 2-foot long scratchy piece of muck like the one you got from Aunt Tillie when you were a kid and forced to wear when she came to visit.   I’m talking about a scarf that is truly:

a) super warm because it’s made of something nicer than cheap yarn from the local WalMart;

b) super funky (because I’m making it, and as you already know, I rock); and most importantly,

c) of a truly correct, extra-long Dr. Who/Harry Potter/use it to escape out a second story window length that will make you the envy of everyone you meet — most of whom are constantly rearranging their 2-foot long scratchy pieces of muck and just trying to fit them all the way around their necks to keep them from falling in the slush.

CONTEST F.A.Q.

Q: Oh, most be-KNIT-ficent Carrie, how can I win this fabulous scarf?

A:  Keep reading, and then enter the contest.   Was that question really necessary?

Q:   But how will I find time to enter a contest when I still have 500 stores to go to in the next few weeks in order to find all the perfect gifts for my family and friends?

A:  I’m glad you asked — your best chance to win is to actually visit 500 stores in the next few weeks!   How cool is that?

Q:  Enough already, cut to the chase — what do I have to do to win the prize?

A:  Inspired by a recent visit to a discount store with my mother that involved fits of hysterical laughter at many of the items on display, I want you to seek out the most hideous, loud, annoying, shiny, tasteless, stupid, ugly, ridiculous and just plain WRONG holiday-themed item you can find, snap a photo or take a short video, then send it to me.

Here's what I found...hideous, isn't it?

Here's what I found so far...hideous, isn't it?

Q:  So how do I get you my entry?

A:  If you’re an overachiever, you can just drag your digital camera along on all of your shopping trips and then email me the results at jimsmuse@comcast.net , OR you can simply whip out your cellphone, take a picture and then send a picture/text message to my cell at 908-328-7500.   (If you’re outside of the U.S. you should still be able to send me a text message: just check with your mobile carrier for the proper international codes, or submit your entry via email.  If you don’t know how to send a text or picture message from your cellphone, just ask the nearest 12 year old and I’m sure he or she will be happy to help out!)   Don’t forget to add the cell number above to your own cell before heading out to the mall, peeps — and don’t forget to identify yourself either in the text message or via email after you get home to let me know which pic is your entry!

Q:  OMG OMG OMG did you really just give me, a total stranger, your cell number?

A:  Yeah, so what?  I just like to live on the edge I guess, and giving out the number seems to be the easiest way to encourage participation, because I know that things are busy for most of you this time of year. You want the scarf, you just don’t want a big hassle to get it, right?   Snap.  Send text.  Takes five seconds.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy…

You could also use the above number to call me and say hello and then tell me how awesome you think my blog is, but that isn’t a requirement to win the contest.   Besides, I’d much rather talk to YOU than a creepy telemarketer, and they all seem to have my number already — why shouldn’t you?

Q:  Can I just send you a link to an image of some creepy Christmas or Hanukkah thingy I found on a website somewhere?

A:  Nope.   There are too many sites devoted to things like this, and I seem to see the same recycled pics and posts every year.  I’d like to add something new to the mix for a change, and that’s why I’m having the contest.   If I’m willing to make you a hand-knitted scarf, it seems only fair that you should be willing to actually take an original photo and send it to me, don’t you think?

Q:  What’s the deadline for entries?  Can I enter multiple times if I find a place with lots of ugly, scary, flashing things in it?   Can I make something extra scary with a holiday theme and take a picture of it for my entry? Do you think Santa will bring me a pony this year?

A:  The deadline for entry is December 20th at 9pm EST;  of course you can enter as many pictures as you want;  if you make something truly tasteless and scary in an attempt to win the contest it will only count if you actually display it in your charming home during the holiday season for the purpose of freaking out guests; and um, no — there are only so many ponies to go around, and I’m at the top of the list!

And now for today’s video, “Scarf Song” courtesy of Maple Rabbit.   I cannot tell you how completely awesome these insane keyboard playing girls are — you will simply have to have your mind blown by watching this weird and wonderful music video.

Good luck on the contest everyone!

For most of the 20th Century, America has been known by the rest of the world as a country with a lot of money and power — but also some of the most uneducated idiots in the modern world.

just-a-billBut for a brief, wonderful, shining moment in our history between 1973 and 1986, those of us who were sitting in front of the television on Saturday mornings knew our multiplication tables through 12 X 12, knew the difference between a noun and a verb, knew the important events and battles of the American Revolution, and could recite the entire Preamble to the United States Constitution (with only a little quiet humming to ourselves to get started).

3If you are of a “certain age”, then you already know that what I’m referring to is “Schoolhouse Rock“, the series of short animated songs that the ABC network ran between cartoons on Saturday morning and you’re thrilled and grateful that I took the time to post a few Schoolhouse Rock classics here on my blog for you to enjoy on Saturday morning and sing along with.

If you don’t remember the Schoolhouse Rock videos it’s probably because you’re not the right age to have seen them during the late 70s and early 80s and while you may have heard of them, or recognize a bit of the music here and there, you may still be wondering what the big deal is. However, if you grew up outside the United States (or were raised by wolves in the wilderness) and you’re wondering how all of the information listed above could be possessed by hundreds of thousands of 7 and 8 year olds hopped up on sugary breakfast cereal in 1978, then you are in for a treat.

doroughBefore I present these videos, I’d like to explain the title of this post. Bob Dorough is the musician who wrote and performed many of the Schoolhouse Rock tunes, and certainly some of the most memorable. I am ridiculously fortunate that Bob Dorough is not only still around, but lives in my area and performs around here regularly.

I’ve had the opportunity on a number of occasions to see him perform both his classic jazz songs (you may know “Devil May Care”, recorded by Diana Krall), and many of the songs he wrote for Schoolhouse Rock. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet Bob at a few of his shows and he’s just as hip and awesome as you’d expect the guy who played with greats like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis and then went on to write “Conjunction Junction” would be. Bob is still hip and still performing live at 85, and if you ever find out that he’s playing in your town, please go see him and tell him I said hello!

So here’s a trip down memory lane for some of us, and an introduction to Schoolhouse Rock for those of you who may have missed it the first time around.

We’ll begin with math and brush up on our 3 and 7 “times tables” (these are my two favorites, and both feature great vocal performances by Bob Dorough):

Now that your math skills are up to date, we can move on to History and courtesy of Schoolhouse Rock get our facts straight on American expansion and Manifest Destiny, and memorize the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. These songs were written and performed by another Schoolhouse Rock regular, Lynn Ahrens):

Did you get the extra credit on the History test for knowing the Preamble? I’ll never forget my eighth grade class getting the giggles during a test when we saw the extra credit question, and then all started singing!

Moving on to Science, we’ll painlessly learn a few facts about the human body and the force of electricity:

I hope you’re having as much fun as I am learning all this stuff. And of course, you know I saved the best for last. If you’re not familiar at all with Schoolhouse Rock, I’d like to present you with the two most famous and enduring songs, “I’m Just a Bill” (written by Dave Frishberg) and “Conjunction Junction” (written by Bob Dorough), both performed by vocalist Jack Sheldon.

There are many, many more great Schoolhouse Rock songs, and if your favorite is not here, or if you’re new to Schoolhouse Rock and would like to see more, most of them are available on YouTube.  Or you can just be a mega-geek like me and get the DVD, the CD Box Set, and the songbook!

Schoolhouse Rock has been so enduring over the years that it’s spawned a live musical which has toured the country and a “Junior” version of which is being performed in schools everywhere, a spiffy tribute album featuring artists like Blind Melon and Moby, and even a parody on the Simpsons about “An Amendment To Be” that is side-splittingly funny and features original Schoolhouse Rock vocalist Jack Sheldon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if I can track down some more episodes of “Hong Kong Phooey” to make my Saturday morning nostalgia-fest complete!

…but my actual work got the best of me and I’m dead tired.   You will just have to watch this video over and over and over and over and over until tomorrow when I finish my latest blogariffic masterpiece.

My goal in life is to someday make a video this completely insane.   I have probably watched this 1,000 times and I never get tired of it.

Update:  This thread is quickly turning into a graduate seminar on truly silly, strange and fabulously wonderful short videos and Flash animations (Yes, I have a Masters Degree in Dorkiness!).   I have links to a whole lot of this type of video, but if you know of one that is truly marvelous, please share it with me!

I sent this to both of my parents today…