I Am Fully Aware that None of You Google Milli Vanilli

At least not as much as I do. (But that’s okay. I’m doing the work so you don’t have to.)

In the interest of historical accuracy, I would like to point out that I am a little too young for Milli Vanilli. Although I was alive when they returned their Grammy, I didn’t know who they were or anything. Alas, I think my first actual memory of these guys was from this commercial:

But I didn’t even realize who they were or what their whole controversy was. In my teen years, my Spanish teacher who is the same age as the real Zach Morris, would make jokes about Milli Vanilli and I would laugh along because HELLO I GET CULTURAL REFERENCES. But as it turns out, I didn’t get the reference. I just thought they were a silly washed up early 90’s music group. She might as well have been making a joke about C&C Music Factory (who also had a different lead singer on vocals than the lead singer in their “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” video, by the way).

The actual story of Milli Vanilli is quite tragic and more than likely contributed to Rob Pilatus’s early death from an overdose.

I didn’t know the entirety of this story when I started binge listening to “Girl You Know It’s True” during a very dark period in my own life. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed…but when I find a piece of pop culture I think is interesting, I like to obsessively find out all of the information I can about it and then write a personal essay about it.

It’s been well documented that they were taken advantage of, but I think their arrogance pre-controversy made it difficult for people to want to listen to their side of the story once the truth came out. The dynamics of power in this situation were clearly not in their favor. But if you know you’re faking it, you probably shouldn’t compare yourself to The Beatles.

And now you may be thinking, “why have you wasted my time with a really old story that is sad and we already all know about? And why the heck are you Googling, Milli Vanilli on a semi-regular basis??” Excellent question. The reason is that I find the second-half of this story to be very up-lifting.

So I like to check-in on Fab.

Here he is explaining the fallout from his perspective:

And if I hadn’t Googled Fab recently, I wouldn’t have found this excellent “Blame It on the Rain” performance. And I just want to say that he sounds fucking amazing and you should all listen to it immediately. I think I like it better than the studio recording. And you can quote me on that.

Oh Lord, I Am Not Churning Out Content Like I Used To

Dear Very Special Readers,

You probably (may have) noticed that I don’t post quite as much as I used to. It’s not that I don’t love you it’s just that:

  1. I don’t know if you noticed, but people don’t make very special episodes anymore and I blew threw a lot of them real fast, right out of the gate.
  2. People don’t blog as much anymore and there just aren’t as many fun conversations in the comments!
  3. I’m working on a novel. (I know I’m a cliche. Maybe I won’t even finish it. BUT NO I HAVE TO FINISH IT FOR MY OWN PRIDE! Ugh, I don’t want to talk about it, leave me alone!!)
  4. Some combination of all of the above.

Let me bring you a bit of origin story: I started this blog many years after discovering Kim Hutt’s now defunct What Claudia Wore. (Seriously, check out her archives. It’s good stuff). This was the first blog I read with a tone that I would describe as “celebratory snark.” That’s the vibe I always tried to cultivate over here, and I hope that I was successful. (Gonna pat myself on the back and say that the stats on my old posts tell me that I was.)

Now that I have successfully buried the lead, let me tell you why I’ve gathered you all here today: I may not be posting as much as I used to, but I would like you to meet a couple of blogs that are.

Please meet, Baby-Sitters Club: The Very Last Super Special. Recent highlights include #389: Kristy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Back and #388: Mary Anne and the FODMAPs. Relatable, ugh.

I would also like to introduce you to The Golden Girls Fashion Corner, which I have to read very sparingly because I almost spent money because of her review of a very cute magnet set that I most definitely do not need. But there are also really thoughtful posts like this one on the “72 Hours” episode and its cultural relevance to the AIDS crisis.

Okay, that’s all for now! See ya around the internet!

The VSB

 

 

Dating: Does Anyone Really Like This?

“I can’t wait until you start dating again. It will be fun.”–by BFF after I broke up with my ex.

Fun.

inconceivable

Here are things other than the word “fun” that I would use to describe dating:
-Weird
-Confusing
-The most awkward thing I’ve done since I had to kiss my long-time crush in our high school musical while simultaneously pretending that it was not my first kiss and that I was in fact an expert kisser and oh my God I got red lipstick right below his bottom lip, should I wipe it off or no????

Also, I’m in this situation where my last relationship lasted for over five years and I literally never want to mention that for the following two reasons:
1. Dudes will assume I want a relationship when I just want to hang out.
2. I will have mentioned an ex which I think is literally the worst thing ever because if you’re talking about your ex, then I don’t want you talking to me. (My rule of thumb for this has always been and always will be: “If your ex went horseback riding through Utah with Frank Zappa, then obviously I want to hear about it. If your ex styled her hair similarly to me, please don’t point that out.”)

But here’s the thing. The dating landscape has changed a lot since the last time I was single. Here are some things that didn’t exist the last time I dated new people and now are things I am quietly learning about:
-Dating apps*
-The term “ghosting;” “back burner;” “fuckboy”**
Treatment resistant gonorrhea***

And then there’s having to deal with actual humans on top of all of that!!

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but humans are THE WORST.

And just when I thought I could take no more, I did the only thing I could do. I asked Tina Turner for help. But first, a little context:

Several years ago, when I was first dating Turd Ferguson (you guys remember Turd, right?) my godbrother asked me about him.

The conversation went as follows:
GB: Is he good to you?
Me: Yeah
GB: I’m not asking if he’s a good guy. I’m asking is he good to you? Do you understand the difference?
Me: (pause) Yeah, yes. I do. He’s a good guy and he’s good to me.

Pause. I appeared to be introspective. I wasn’t. I was hesitating. There were red flags I couldn’t define even then and I shrugged off that kernel of doubt. But you should never hesitate when someone you love asks, or better yet–you ask yourself, this question.

There are plenty of good people in this world. There are plenty of awful people in this world. The difference between the two types of people, in practice, is surprisingly oblique. So regardless of whether you’re just hanging out, just friends, or in a partnership with someone, you’d better be good to each other. You better make sure you’re giving your time to someone who is treating you right. No excuses.

In all seriousness, I first heard this song on an episode of Miami Vice. Admittedly, you can lose the significance of the lyrics if you’re sucked into the visuals of Gina and Trudy on shopping spree for hooker outfits, which is a thing that I am 100% sure all undercover cops actually do.

But this song is PREACH, Tina, PREACH. I’ve listened to it before and used it in the exact opposite way that it’s intended. I’ve been like “Yeah, you better be good to me!” and then felt emboldened to go right back into whatever crap situation I was in with a false sense of empowerment. But these days, I’m trying to actually practice what Tina preaches. Do you understand the difference?

P.S. In case you’re wondering, now that I’ve turned this into an occasional dating confessional that I very loosely tie to pop culture, no I do not mention this blog to potential suitors. I only mention it in job interviews.

It’s important to do this because I want to makes sure that all of my coworkers are weird as hell. It’s how I landed my current job! #NEVERGIVEUPONYOURDREAMS

*Incidentally, I haven’t used these yet and have instead decided that I would prefer to talk to random strangers IRL because I am an ENFJ dammit!
**I am still not sure what the term fuckboy means, so please leave your best definition in the comments.
***Please don’t panic. Click the link. Also, I recently used “no glove, no love” in all seriousness because I am a child of the 90’s and that was the first thing that came to mind. It worked and I actually looked like I was being humorous.

GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Friends, lovers, countrymen (oh that’s not how that goes?), it has been a minute. I hope you’re all enjoying the beginning of summer. Here are some things I have been up to since we last spoke:

-I started dating again! Highlights include: a man who told me he lost all of his friends in his last relationship 45-minutes into our first and only date!

-I struggled through a hangover at my new job and was very successful at fooling everyone into thinking I was fine to “jump on that call” and didn’t feel like curling up in the fetal position under my desk. (Sadly, I don’t think I can add this to the “skills” section of my resume.) This was only the 2nd time I have ever been hungover at work: the first time being when I went out with a group a couple of years ago and elbowed the CEO in the eye on the dance floor! It’s okay. We’re on good terms. We still talk!

-I binge-watched all of the new Netflix series “Glow.” And that’s what brings me here today. I enjoyed every minute of this series, but I knew it would indelibly change the pop culture landscape of my mind when SPOILER ALERT: Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” was featured in the final match of the season. (Oh, that’s not something most people consider a spoiler? Well, excuse me for trying not to ruin the magic for those who are also big, big fans of The Legend of Billie Jean.)

Glow is a semi-biographical look at the 1980’s women’s wrestling show. (But I can say that having watched now the series AND the documentary–I am SERIOUSLY into Glow, guys–Netflix seems to have taken a lot of poetic license with this. The stars are Alison Brie and that woman who played the lady doctor in Nurse Jackie, but if you look at the image below, just over that dude’s shoulder…

glow-netflix-first-look-1

Yes, that woman biting her thumb is none other than the incomparable Kate Nash, songstress of my late teen years. Actually, I didn’t even recognize her, but I was singing “Pumpkin Soup” in the shower this morning, so is my subconscious that strong? Or maybe it’s the first bullet point on the list of things I’ve been up to?

Anyway, thanks to a former coworker (who may actually be my pop culture soul mate?) I have some really sweet videos from the real Glow to share with you.

If I had to give an elevator speech for Glow (the real series, not the Netflix series) I would say, “It’s kind of like The Warriors but if all of the gangs fought in a pink wrestling ring and also they did some MadTV-type sketches–oh and also some “rapping” in the style of Deborah Harry.” Go ahead, see for yourself:

Also, Jackie Stallone is legit Sylvester’s mom. HOW GREAT IS THIS? I cannot believe this beautiful, beautiful piece of camp existed and I didn’t even know about it. Did any of you watch this in the 80’s?? Please tell me all about it in the comments!

The Moms, The Merrier

I bought my mom a Mother’s Day card yesterday and I cannot share it with you because she reads this blog. (Hi Mom!) However, I did find this other card that I did not purchase, but rather hoped that my future spawn would one day purchase for me. If this card seems like something your mom would like, you can purchase it here.

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And while I cannot tell you what PRESENTS (get excited, Mom!) I have purchased for my  mother, I thought I’d go ahead and compile a list of suggested gift items for the Pop Culture inclined Moms of the world. Each image header is hyperlinked to the item page for your shopping convenience.

Mother’s Day is May 14th. (Look Ma, I shopped early!) So you should have plenty of time to get one of these lovely items shipped to you.

For the Gilmore Mom:il_570xn-1135740263_dckq
Available from kimgilbert3 on Etsy for $40

For the Heathers Mom:
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Available from BlueVelvetHeart on Etsy for $22

For the Gamer Mom:
41pymcsuwwl-_sx326_bo1204203200_
Available on Amazon for $17

For the Crafty Mom:
51uypgpyytl-_sx349_bo1204203200_
Available on Amazon for $11

For the Political Mom:

Available on Amazon for $10

For the Jedi Mom:

Available from StitchBoomBang on Etsy for $17

Grab That Dough!

fltsHello hello, Very Special Readers! So much has happened since we last spoke. For example, your internet service provider can now sell your search history without your permission! I’d like to apologize in advance for all of the weird ads you will probably encounter by virtue of having visited this blog. But as far as I’m concerned, the joke’s on them.

Most of my browsing history consists of food related searches. And no, I don’t mean “hot new restaurant for 20-somethings in Greenpoint,” I mean “what is a serving of fiber?” Before you laugh at me, I’d like to point out just how far my cooking skills have come in the past few years. I probably didn’t even know fiber was a word when I wrote this post.

I’m also a hypochondriac (not to be confused with a germophobe. That is something different. Show my irrational fears some respect!) who watches a lot of television from 30 years ago. Ergo, I fully expect internet advertisers to show me Metamucil ads meant for a 79-year old woman with a fungal infection. I’m happy to announce that I meet absolutely none of the aforementioned criteria, so this makes me giggle. I’m giggling only because it’s terrifying and creepy and GEORGE ORWELL WAS RIGHT and I want to throw this computer-monster-machine across the room before it eats me!

But here’s the thing, most of my in-real-life friends don’t really want to discuss very special episodes ad nauseam. And while I can usually get them to follow me down the Baby-Sitters Club rabbit hole, some of them haven’t even seen The Golden Girls. (I know, I know what are my priorities? Why am I even writing this? I need to get busy and become a Golden Girls Evangelist.) So I have to keep the internet connection because how will I update The Very Special Blog if I go off the grid?? I’d have to get a glue stick and mail you all zines like it was really 1990.

Alas, this was originally supposed to be a fun post about how I exercised the great-restraint of a money-conscious person now in my LATE twenties. (It’s okay. I can tell you. The advertisers already know I’m not really 79.) However, the plan for this post took a sharp left turn after I got an alert on my phone and started reading a lot of articles about internet privacy. And what could I do but post on the internet about it???

51xkhswcn9l-_sx312_bo1204203200_Back to The Golden Girls, I did not purchase this really, super awesome book of Mad Libs. I didn’t even open it in the store because I didn’t want to give myself the option of becoming emotionally attached. I couldn’t even buy it for someone else as a gift because the only gift I need to buy right now is a law school graduation gift (ahem, please leave suggestions in the comments.)

(See what I really need is advertisements on good law school graduation gifts, but all I’m going to get is Metamucil or maybe the complete series DVD box set of Kate & Allie).

Anyway, I do have one last essay from my writing class last year to post. (Only, I didn’t actually read this one in class, which means it’s choppy and needs work. And I may or may not devote the time to cleaning it up, which means you may or may not ever see it.) But after that I have a very exciting new series planned! I will give you a hint (aside from the one that is already in the title): “entertainment showcase.” Stay tuned!

This Breakup Is Brought to You by Milli Vanilli

This piece was also from my writing class last year. Other appropriate titles were “This Breakup Is Brought to You by Tonya Harding’s Triple Axels Played on Loop,” “This Breakup Is Brought to You by Annie Lennox’s No More I Love You’s, TLC’s Creep, and Sara Mclachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy with a Heavy Dosage of Milli Vanilli,” and 1st runner up: “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart? Milli Vanilli.” Also, I actually did blog about this at the time it was happening, but I mentioned only the data entry I was doing at work because my deadly sin is pride.  

Listening to music is always hard after a breakup, especially if the foundations of that relationship were largely facilitated by music. There was the classic rock we traded on burned CDs back when computers had disc drives. And the late 90’s pop that provided the soundtrack to our late night drives.

It became clear to me just how far we had fallen since he played Smokey Robinson on vinyl for me in his dorm room when post-breakup I started binge-listening to Milli Vanilli. And if you have ever binge-listened to Milli Vanilli—though I’m fairly confident that I am the first person to complete this task since 1990—you know that this truly consists of listening to the same eight songs on repeat for about a week.

But maybe this was the most appropriate bookend to our relationship for me–a naive young adult who signed up for the deal of a lifetime only to find out that it was all a sham.

Underneath all of the charm and empty promises, he was the guy who went with me to hear my favorite band from high school play in Nashville and knew all the words perfectly. But it wasn’t his music. He had learned it like he had learned me.

I have deleted his number from my phone, given away of the gifts his family gave to me, and thrown out our old pictures. But I will keep Jenny Lewis’s guitar pick. The one he caught at the concert and casually slipped into my coat pocket.