My online journal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Would you rather be a mule... or a starving French child?

Have I told you guys about Flight of the Conchords yet? You need to go to YouTube and watch some of their stuff. Particularly "Jenny" and "Business Time."

Lucy and Ed have been running around the house singing in their little falsettos (falsetti?): "It's business TIME!" Hilarious.

This afternoon while the boyz were napside, Lucy was watching this dreadful VHS tape of some 1930's-era "Little Lulu" cartoons. One of the songs was "Swingin' On A Star," which I remember as a lighthearted chantey from my youth. However, in today's make-kids-feel-good-about-themselves culture, the lyrics are quite disturbing. You just don't hear lyrics like these from Barney or Laurie Berkner:
Would you rather be a mule? ...
He's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule
A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He ain't got no manners when he eats his food
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude
Well! Take THAT, Mr. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun and The More We Get Together, The Happier We'll Be. Time for some good, old-fashioned name-calling.

Lucy tired of the video (it's in black-and-white) and asked if we could listen to some music. Sure! I said, and she chose Les Miserables. She asked the name of the girl on the front and I told her "Cosette, or maybe Eponine, I never did know for sure" and she asked why her hair was so many colors and I explained about the French flag and she asked what happened to her dress and I told her it was kind of torn because she was very poor and couldn't get a new one.

So we turned the music on and she asked about the men singing.
"What are they singing about?"

"Being in jail."

"Why are they in jail?"

"All sorts of reasons."

"Are they bad?"

"Oh no! Not all of them! This one guy singing now, his name is Jean Valjean. He is in jail because his sister's child was starving..."

"Why was he starving?"

"Because they were too poor to buy food. So Jean Valjean broke a window to get into a house and steal some bread for his family."

"Well he should have gone to the door."

"YES! You're right. Maybe if he had gone to the door and asked, they just would have given him some bread. MAYBE if someone came to our door and was starving, we could give them some of our food because we have so much. We are very lucky to have plenty of food all the time."

"Why did he steal the bread?"

"Because his family was so hungry and he had to feed them but they didn't have any money to buy food. See, he's not really a bad man. This is a very difficult, gray moral area that is the crux of the whole show."

"NOW why is he singing?"

"Well, after he got out of jail Jean Valjean went to stay with a priest. And he stole the priest's silver because Valjean didn't have any money. But then he realized that, even though he spent so many years in jail, he didn't HAVE to keep stealing and leading a life of crime; he could make a better choice and become an honest person. And he spends the rest of the show being a VERY good person."

"What are THESE people singing about?"

"Uh, about being poor, actually."

"Who's that lady?"

"That's Fantine. She's singing because she's very sick and she misses her little girl, who may or may not be this miserable little girl with the French flag in her hair. In fact, a little later, Fantine dies and Jean Valjean is such a good person now that he takes care of her little daughter."

"Is the lady going to die?"

"Yes, she's so sick she's going to die in just a couple minutes here. Right at the end of this song."


"No, not yet, in another minute or so."


"No, a few more lines."

"Is she dead right now?"

"Well, this is a show, so she dies every single night. In the show. It's fiction; it's a show. She is not a real person."

"Did she die yet?"

"Listen, when she sings '... and tell Cosette I love her and I'll see her when I waaaaake' then she dies RIGHT after that."

"Is she singing that yet?"

"Soon. Listen."

"Is she dead now?"

"Ummmmm.... NOW. Right now. Listen."

"Can we turn it off now?"

"Oh yes. What's this you have next: West Side Story? Ohhh boy."

I made a raspberry vinaigrette dressing today and it was not a huge success. Not terrible but just not what I was going for.

I blended some frozen raspberries in the blender along with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of honey. It didn't come out clear like I kind of thought it would -- it looked real milky. It tasted OK but I bet it would need a LOT more honey to come out like the bottled stuff does. I also think maybe blending it was a mistake -- adding more air in than was necessary and breaking up the oil too much. I saw a recipe that just used raspberry jam instead of actual raspberries. I dunno... I was trying to avoid the corn syrup.


Anonymous said...

I have made the dressing with raspberry jam, and you're right, it looks more clear. Next time, try cooking the berries down (with a little butter and sugar), then add a few tablespoons of that to your olive oil/vinegar/honey mixture. Oh, and shake it all up in a jar a few times ... I think that will be better than a blender.
Better luck next time!


Tendrils said...

Beautiful post! LOL! We have the same experience when we pull out our old "records" for Punky to listen to......the lyrics are atrocious!!!! (But, hey, I guess we kinda turned out ok!)

Your whole, "Now?" had me laughing so hard! I can just picture it!

How did you enjoy the "Spring" weather today? That is if you weren't BLOWN away!

Jean said...

Now you're trying to avoid corn syrup? Do you even shave your armpits anymore?

ps- Thanks for the TT hotdish. My belly is very happy.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Oh my gosh, I'm dying.

I think the little girl is supposed to be Eponine. But that's just what I've always thought--no real reason why.

Gosh, I haven't listened to that show in forever. I miss it. Thank you for reminding me; I'll have to get it out. Good thing you stopped listening before "Lovely Ladies!" "Mommy, WHAT will they do 'standing up or lying down or any way at all'?"

And Jean's comment is cracking me up too. Hi Jean!

Meg said...

Thanks for the dressing tip, Nicole... from Seattle? Sorry, I know about eight Nicoles. :)

Jean, yes, for your information I DO still shave my armpits. Kinda gave up on the legs, but I bet I'll go back once it becomes capris weather.

Al, that is SO weird because for the longest time I assumed it was Cosette, and then relatively recently I feel like I decided it was Eponine but I can't remember why. Oh, and we did make it through Lovely Ladies but I think I just told her the ladies had to be nice to some not-nice men, or something. She wasn't real fixated on that part, phew.

Anonymous said...

Sorry! It's me, Ol' Neighborina Nicole! :) Next time I'll make sure to better identify myself!