What John Mayer Album Do You Need Right Now?

John Mayer just released a new album so you know it is living in my car and my kids are gradually learning every word to every song. Basically nothing has changed because over the years John Mayer has always been the background music to my life. In between fads and new favorite artists, he was always there to help me through whatever relationship stage I found myself in.

Fast forward to today and I’ve been happily married for ten years. John hasn’t caught up to me yet so now it’s more like we’re reminiscing together about the relationship stages of years past. I was thinking the other day about the sort of singular feeling that you can find in each of his albums. They all tell a pretty clear story in my opinion and they each serve their own purpose. Depending on what kind of relationship or break up you are in right now, John has an album for you.

For instance…

If you are in those warm and fuzzy days of new love you need:

Room for Squares

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An oldie but a goodie. Your relationship will resonate well with some of the top hits like Your Body Is a Wonderland, City Love, Great Indoors or Why Georgia.

Also consider: Some of his live albums like As/Is or Any Given Thursday. If you aren’t listening to the live albums, you have barely cracked the surface of John. Come for the audience interaction and stay for the guitar solos.

If you are thinking it might be time to break up, you need:

Battle Studies

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This album is like an ode to love gone wrong with angsty tracks like Heartbreak Warfare, All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye and Friends, Lovers or Nothing. Let it fuel your resolution to move on or perhaps make you go, “Oh never mind. We’re nothing like that. I must just need a Snickers bar.”

When you are licking the wounds from an ugly breakup, you need:

Where The Light Is

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This is my favorite of his live albums and in my opinion you need it regardless of breakup stage but if you are in this way there is no album better to rage against the audacity of a horrible ex. Who Did You Think I Was, Out of My Mind, Vultures, Everyday I Have The Blues, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. This is two discs of perfection that will soothe your heart and distract you from the desire to go key your exes car. Cheaper than therapy.

When you need to literally reinvent your whole life, it was that bad, you need:

Born & Raised

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Get a hair cut, start listening to a new genre of music, maybe change towns all together. John has got you. This album has more of a country western vibe but it’s still the John Mayer you know and love. Shadow Days, Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, Queen of California, Whiskey Whiskey Whiskey. Whether you are tucking in your tail because you know your behaviors were prettttty bad or maybe you are in witness protection program and you are hiding in Florida with a new name and a longing for home (remember that episode of Brooklyn 99?) Whatever is causing this need to reinvent yourself, this album should do the trick.

When you are just working on yourself and trying not to think about relationships at all, you need:

Heavier Things

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You have more important things to do than think about some ex. You are jamming out to Clarity, New Deep, Bigger Than My Body, Something’s Missing. You are busy and I totally respect that. For added measure, grab a copy of Waiting on the World to Change and get on with your bad self.

When you are second guessing that breakup and missing someone in a bad way, you need:

The Search for Everything

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This is John’s newest album and it’s retrospective and quiet in places but a little dancey and a little different. It’s got this vibe that makes you kind of pump your shoulders up and down involuntarily and feel sad in an almost good way. There’s no anger here, no venom. A little regret maybe but also kind of a serene calm that feels like acceptance and hope. It feels like full circle. Still Feel Like Your Man, Moving on and Getting Over, Changing, and Emoji of a Wave are all great places to start.

So what album do you need when you are happily married and kind of on the other side of all this business?

That’s easy, you need all of them. You won the war, you deserve half a dozen quality albums to reminisce with and memorize to the chagrin of your spouse and children.

What Comedy Special Should I Watch Next? 5 of My Favorites

There are so many excellent comedy specials that you can watch on streaming services like Amazon or Netflix. I’ve discovered several favorites this way but I’ve barely scratched the surface and it’s almost overwhelming trying to decide what to watch next.

Because let’s be real, not all comedians are created equal. I’m a little picky – they have to have good comedic timing and they should be edgy without being raunchy. I want to relate to them but they don’t need to all be soccer moms obsessed with young adult books and lattes.

Here are 5 comedy specials that I loved.

If you are looking for a good laugh, I totally recommend all of these and by recommend I mean OMG WATCH THESE RIGHT NOW! Then come back and tell me some of your favorites that I should try next, okay?

Freezing Hot by Iliza Schlesinger started my whole obsession with her. This is still my favorite of her comedy specials, it’s just filled to the brim with comedy gold that I reference constantly to like everybody. I think women everywhere can relate to her but even my husband loved this one. NETFLIX

Michael Che Matters I love him on SNL and it’s kind of cruel that  he usually only talks for like 3 minutes and it’s the best shit that gets said for the whole night. His comedy special finally gives us the other 47 minutes we’ve been waiting for. I almost spit out my drink at one point, it was that good. NETFLIX

 

What I Should Have Said Was Nothing by Mike Birbiglia is like my new favorite comedy special that I keep trying to push on other people. I love him especially because he’s from the neighborhood where my husband and I grew up but everything about his material is relateable and hilarious. NETFLIX

Just Being Honest by Craig Ferguson If you loved his Late Late Show, this will be the comedy special that scratches that itch that has been bugging you since he left. My husband and I reference his Kenny G material constantly. AMAZON PRIME

Jo Koy Live From Seattle I just watched this one recently because a friend was raving about it. Definitely funny stuff. His voice impressions are way too funny and his stories are just about life and growing up and honestly sometimes that’s the best stuff to laugh about. NETFLIX

Who are your favorite comedians?

What comedy special should I watch next?

 

5 Favorite Musicians… Then and Now.

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This week for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop I’ve decided to answer the following prompt:

Write a list of your 5 favorite singers growing up…do they still make your top 5 list?

I grew up in the Oregon Trail generation – I probably first started noticing music in the late eighties and started forming real opinions on the subject in the early nineties. The first CD I remember playing on repeat was Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl. I probably started listening to her because my father liked her music, but I quickly became hooked and would play the songs over and over until I’d memorized every line of every song.

Some other musicians that I adored growing up, in addition to Paula Abdul, include:

  • The Backstreet Boys: We all chose a side in the war of the Boy Bands in the nineties. I was firmly on team Backstreet and remain an ardent fan. It is a bitter pill to swallow to admit that the lead singer of NSYNC clearly made out with the best music career.
  • Matchbox 20: I loved this group more for the music than the love sick obsession. I can’t name a single member of the band but I still know basically every word to every song on Yourself or Someone Like You. I don’t know that I’d call them a favorite band today but that album is still heavily present on my Best Of playlist on my phone, unlike most of the other musicians in this list.
  • New Kids on The Block honestly came out a little early for me. I was on the young end of their fan spectrum, but I loved them. When they appeared on Fuller House this season I was shocked at how much they have aged and had a hard time mustering enthusiasm at their cameos on the episode UNTIL they started singing one of their songs in the concert at the end of the episode and I audibly squealed and had the world’s tiniest conniption fit.
  • John Mayer: The love affair began in college which is a little bit on the end of the growing up spectrum, but I still maintain that it counts because of the level of enthusiasm that my fandom took. This was my last Backstreet Boys Level Obsession and anyone who knows me well knows that it hasn’t actually ended. I still buy all of his music, no questions asked. His concert that I attended back in 2005 or so continues to be one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever attended. I put up with a lot of Rock Star Personality and let all the antics slide because he is still probably my favorite musician.

Honorable mentions must go to LL Cool J, The Goo Goo Dolls, Barenaked Ladies, Ani Difranco, Usher, Britney Spears, Boys II Men, No Doubt, Sublime, J Lo, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg and Sugar Ray.

My current list of Top 5 Musicians would be…

  1. John Mayer – see, even now as a grown ass woman he continues to hold that #1 spot.
  2. Rebecca Loebe – she was on The Voice very briefly but I’ve known her since college when she came to sing at my school’s coffee house.
  3. Taylor Swift – we’re big Swifties here – my daughter and I are especially obsessed with 1989.
  4. Adele because that voice. She’s basically my Paula Abdul of the 2000s.
  5. The Beatles because they are timeless and it feels wrong for them not to be on this list, honestly. There is never a bad moment to listen to a Beatles song.

Of course I could go on, my music taste continues to be eclectic and vast. But I think this is a pretty solid representation of my music habits.

Twinsies or Nah? Mila Kunis & Valerie Harper

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You know when you notice that two celebrities look really similar and then you cannot unsee the similarities? I’ve got a major case of the Time Travel Twinsies right now and I need to get this off my chest so that I can think about something else. Mila Kunis and Valerie Harper circa the 1970s – serious twinsies!!

I’ve been binge watching old episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Hulu and noticed that Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda, was the spitting image of Mila Kunis. It’s not even just looks though, her voice and mannerisms were giving me major That 70s Show flashbacks to the point where I looked up Harper online to see if there was any chance they were mother and daughter or cousins or anything. The internet assures me this isn’t the case.

Similarities worth noting, apart from their facial features:

  • Both girls starred in tv shows that take place in the 1970s.
  • They are both known for being loud, talkative, spunky girls in said sitcoms.
  • They both play girls that you kind of like in spite of yourself. Flawed, funny, fearless women.

What do you think? Could Valerie / Mila be the female Doctor Who, traveling across time in awesome bell bottoms and floral prints, starring in beloved tv shows and dating handsome men?

Twinsies or Nah?

 

March Madness: The Bracket of Guys

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If you read The Lazy Genius regularly you know allllllll about the Bracket of Guys and you’ve been hyperventilating for days now. After months of choosing our favorite Matt, Steve, John, Joe and every other male name on the planet, we’re now pitting them all against each other in the hottest March Madness tournament known to woman.

I spent a significant amount of time filling out my brackets (I made one for my heart of hearts and one that attempts to read the minds of strangers), screaming into throw pillows about the insanity of choosing between people like Chris Pratt and Robert Downey Jr. or David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch (you cannot do that to a geek! YOU CAN’T!!!!). In a strange twist, both of my brackets ended at the same name. My head and my heart seem to be in agreement that Chris Pratt is the pinnacle of everything.

Today we started voting in the first round of the East Hot Region. That’s a technical term that stands for eight of the hottest and brightest actors as determined by the readers of The Lazy Genius. So if you have a strong opinion about Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, Rob Lowe, Adam Levine, David Tennant, Ryan Gosling, Jimmy Fallon, Michael Fassbender, Will Smith and like a whole bunch of other dudes – it’s time to vote. Make your voice heard. Be a part of the process. It’s your civic duty. Or something.

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5 Romantic Comedies To Netflix & Chill

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First of all, I want to state one more time for the record that I reject the pervy connotations of the phrase Netflix & Chill. I’m a grown ass woman so if I tell you I want to stay home and watch Netflix, I promise you I’m being 100% literal about my intentions. Real women don’t need innuendo.

But we all need a good Netflix rom com binge from time to time. My favorite romantic comedies honestly haven’t changed much since the nineties so be prepared for some throwback nostalgia. Or for you young folk reading, some like super old movies your mom used to watch.

These 5 movies all bear the honor of being movies I would literally sit down and watch any day, any time.

Clueless

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This movie has everything – it’s a ridiculously funny Jane Austen modern adaptation with great clothes, catch phrases you’ll remember for the rest of your life and Paul Rudd at the beginning of his Paul Ruddiness. The stairs scene above still makes me feel like a weak kneed teenager every time I watch it.

10 Things I Hate About You

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Another classic adaptation, this one is a modern interpretation of Taming of the Shrew. You could also call it Heath Ledger’s Dimples and OMG Joseph Gorden Levitt when he was young and adorkable. Come for the serenade on the football field and stay for the white girl rapping. And if you don’t cry when she reads that poem at the end, you have no soul.

Amelie

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If you want to feel more cultured about your rom com binge, I recommend this French film that absolutely purchased my heart the first time I saw it. Introverted girls everywhere realized that Amelie is our Kindred Spirit Queen when this movie came out and it still gets me every time. If subtitles put you off, I urge you to reconsider for this one – the movie is beautiful and funny and about halfway through I forget I’m reading the subtitles at all. Fair warning, this one is R rated for a reason – don’t watch it with your teens.

The Decoy Bride

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This is one of my more recent romantic comedy obsessions and it’s a must watch for all my Whovian friends because David Tennant in some rather fetching plaid pants happens.

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More than that, though, is the utter charm of Kelly Macdonald and the ridiculously funny but heart warming story. It takes place on the fictional Scottish island of Hegg where a celebrity couple has secretly traveled to in an attempt to get married without the paparazzi but that all goes awry (of course) and Macdonald’s character gets subbed in when the bride goes AWOL and much confusion, comedy and eventual romance ensues. If you like Scottish accents and awkward but awesome heroines, this one is for you.

You’ve Got Mail

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Okay so this is the only movie on my list that isn’t streaming on Netflix right now but I couldn’t leave it off because it’s classic Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, it pretty much started my fantasy of owning a bookstore someday and the early days of the internet are so much nostalgia it hurts a little. If you haven’t seen this one yet, oh my gosh you need to fix that immediately and it’s only a few dollars to stream it on Amazon. #worthit

What are your favorite romantic comedies?

Mama’s Losin’ ItI’m linking up with Mama Kat’s weekly Writer’s Workshop – you should, too!

My Top 6 Picks for the Next Doctor Who

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News is spreading throughout the Geek Kingdom of Whoville that Peter Capaldi has announced that he’ll only do one more season of Doctor Who. This shouldn’t surprise us as three seems to be the magic number for most actors who pick up the helm of the TARDIS. The Internet is, of course, doing what the Internet does best – churning out lots of speculations about who will steer the TARDIS next.

In years past, this has been a difficult prospect for me – it’s hard to accept an entirely new personality in the same role you’ve been knowing and loving for years. But I’m starting to get the hang of it and I have a few suggestions of my own. I tried to narrow this down to three people but failed miserably so you’ll have to settle for this list of 6 people that I think are worthy of the blue box.

Richard Ayoade

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Ayoade seems to actually be in the running already and this mystified me for a hot second but honestly I am loving the whole idea the more that I think of it. I absolutely loved him on The IT Crowd and I think his quirky, Dork Chic kind of throwback classic vibe would be perfect for The Doctor. We seem to oscillate towards brooding and comedic on Doctor Who and I think the show could use a comedic breath of fresh air. He’d be great at this.

Eddie Redmayne

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There is no doubt that Redmayne would have the acting chops to handle one of the most beloved roles of all time. He’s funny and charming and British, obviously. He has that lanky nearly awkward thing going which I find important in my Doctor and he’s not bad to look at. I think the biggest problem with Redmayne is that he’s possibly too Big Hollywood right now and perhaps far too busy.

Craig Ferguson

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Is it cheating if we had his bandmate as The Doctor already? Is that too keeping it in the family? I don’t care because Scottish Doctors are my favorite variety and I need more Craig Ferguson in my life anyway. If he wants to come take over my favorite tv show, I won’t hate him for it. If you want your Doctor to be sarcastic and irreverent and just a little bit creepy, Craig is your guy. And maybe he could sneak Geoff into the TARDIS while he’s there?

Stephen Merchant

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I know he’s technically more of a writer than an actor but I love him and I think he’d be pretty fantastic. If he doesn’t want to be the lead, maybe we could just get him to do a long guest spot on the show? Merchant was co-writer for The Office in the UK and the voice of Wheatley in Portal 2.

Richard Hammond

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Okay, I know. Weird choice. He’s also not really an actor – but Richard Hammond is my very favorite thing about Top Gear The Grand Tour and I’ve always thought he’d make an excellent Doctor. He is super funny and has a penchant for getting into trouble, likes fast cars and if he can put up with Jeremy Clarkson, I think he can handle some Daleks and The Master.

Kelly Macdonald

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Lastly, obviously, I have to mention a female actor worthy of the TARDIS. Because it’s time, of course. I’m not sure that the show is ready for a female Doctor, but if they are then Macdonald has my vote. She’s been a gutsy princess in Brave, a witty writer dreaming of travel in The Decoy Bride (alongside David Tennant) not to mention Trainspotting, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Nanny McPhee and Boardwalk Empire. She’s funny, clever, has mad acting chops and most importantly – she’s Scottish.

Your turn! Who would you like to see as the next Doctor Who?

Geek Guide: 5 New TV Shows To Binge Watch.

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Now that we’re in the thick of the fall television season, I’ve had some time to give several new shows a fair shake. Some of them stand up better than others. Some of them have my geeking out to anyone who will listen. Here are the 5 best new shows we’ve started watching this fall for those looking for their next fix.

The Good Place has several things going for it, most notably it has Kristen Bell back on television so that Marshmallows of the world can finally get their fix again. It also has Ted Danson and a slew of other actors that are killing it on a weekly basis. Add to this sharp writing and a totally fresh premise and you can understand why this is on our must watch list every week. The show is about Eleanor, played by Bell, who has just died and gone to “the good place” – except she’s pretty sure she isn’t supposed to be there. It’s a very smart comedy that you absolutely have to be watching. Here’s a taste of what the show is like:

Timeless is a 60 minute drama about a group of people tasked with trying to save history when a mysterious criminal steals a time machine and is wreaking havoc on the time line. Part mystery / part time traveling historical stories, the show strikes a good balance between drama, action and humor. It also has the element of “who exactly are the good guys and who are the bad guys?” that can make a show really compelling. And history geeks will be there for this one. Sharp writing, good acting, super cool.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a new show on BBCA that some of you may recognize as also being a novel by Douglas Adams. It stars Elijah Wood and a bunch of other people I wasn’t familiar with but whom are just brilliant. I’m a bit of an anglophile so British shows tend to hit the spot for me, but this one is amazing. The writing is obviously superb and everyone is bringing their A Game to it. It’s ridiculously funny and constantly keeping us guessing. This one is super bingeable so if you don’t have time to watch now, it would totally be worth stock piling the recordings to devour later.

Westworld is the new HBO darling that is keeping Game of Thrones fans occupied while we wait for our next fix. It’s a science fiction Western style thriller originally written by Michael Crichton, based on the film made in 1973. It’s about a futuristic “amusement park” where incredibly wealthy people can live out their Wild West fantasies in a village populated by robotic “hosts” who look and act just like real people. It’s very controversial and in typical HBO fashion, it holds nothing back. Not for the faint of heart but endlessly fascinating and a thinker for sure.

No Tomorrow is a CW comedy about Evie, a structure-loving gal who is feeling restricted and restless when she meets Xavier, a ridiculously good looking free spirit who really shakes up her life and gets her to loosen up. And this is sounding like a cheesy typical romantic comedy until I mention that, oh year, Xavier believes the world will end in eight months and is living his life through a bucket list of things he wants to do before then, in between trying to warn people that the end is near. This is a pretty cooky show but I kind of guilty pleasure love it. The acting is strong and the writing is snappy and despite being cheesy, it’s kind of just the right cheesy, you know?

What new shows are you obsessed with right now?

 

A distraction: Amish ninja chic.

The internet is justifiably a sad place today. In between doing all the things one does throughout the day, I’ve been reeling over the news that one of the greatest actors, comedians and humans of our time is no longer with us. I’ve read all the articles and felt all the feels and made a mental list of all the movies I need to watch with the kids SOON to make sure they get a proper education in funny. I’ve lamented with friends and lingered too long in my thoughts and hugged my babies a little tighter.

But if we are going to truly remember this man, we need to remember what he’s taught us: Laughter is the best medicine. In the off chance that you are feeling the weight of this tragedy a little too deeply today and are in need of a distraction (me, too), let’s talk about my daughter’s fashion choices. Because obviously.

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I’m calling this look The hills are alive with the sound of ninjas.

My mother-in-law got this adorable little ensemble for BB while we were in Amish country and of course BB is obsessed. She loves nothing more than a pretty dress and if that dress can in any way seem like overkill for the occasion – well that’s even better. She’s been wearing it constantly, around the house and to MM’s karate lessons (yes, I’m apparently that mom despite my best efforts) and now she’s upping the ante with creative and irreverent accessorizing.

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I think this really shows her personality completely. She will not be pinned down by society’s expectations and always insists on doing things her way. Why wear just a traditional Amish dress when you can wear it with a Ninja Turtles mask? Why walk when you can dance? Why sit quietly when you can sing? Why eat broccoli when you can NOT eat broccoli?

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Her personality is so big, it fills the room. Her smile is contagious. She’s one of those kids that makes little old ladies in the super market stop and gush and she soaks it all in. If you have a minute, she has a little solo number to sing for you that she wrote ten seconds ago. She may well be an iconic entertainer herself one day, lord knows she entertains me from sun up to sun down.

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“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

– Robin Williams

Music vs. Poetry.

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We’d spent the afternoon explaining The Beatles and Yoko Ono to the kids. The casual lecture lingered on throughout dinner to cover peace activism and the Civil Rights Movement because we’re huge nerds who have a hard time staying on topic. We watched Imagine by John Lennon on Youtube, followed by BNL’s You Can Be My Yoko Ono and talked about communism and the Cold War. Once we’d thoroughly bored our four and eight year old, we headed into the kitchen to clean up the dishes from dinner.

The BNL lyrics continued to linger in my mind and I sang softly as I rinsed dishes, my husband joining in. Hopefully I sounded better than Yoko Ono, but this is not confirmed. After I’d sung one of the lines, he laughed and commented, “You don’t hear the music in your head when you sing, do you?

It wasn’t a jab or a criticism really, just a comment on how differently our brains work. One clear distinction between my husband and I (apart from the height difference and the facial hair) is that when it comes to music – the actual instrumental stuff is what’s most important to him at the end of the day and for me it’s about the lyrics.

I commented that night that without the lyrics, Imagine by John Lennon wouldn’t be remembered and appreciated by the general public, thus lyrics win. Dan argued that without the music it wouldn’t be remembered either, that poetry is not as widely followed as music, thus music wins. I heartily disagreed so he asked for examples of poetry that one would assume EVERYONE knows. At which point I turned into a sarcastic 4th grader.

Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore! I stammered out awkwardly, to which he argued that this was a linguistic something or other big words here and not a real poem.

Roses are red, violets are blue, I countered. A nursery rhyme he insisted, it doesn’t count.

How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Hah! I thought, good luck ignoring Elizabeth Barrett Browning. He ignored it. I continued.

There once was a man from Nantucket!

I was making his point for him and I knew it so started quoting e.e. cummings, a favorite of mine, even though I know that his poetry is nowhere near as widely followed as John Lennon or The Beatles (though no less extraordinary) but who cares?? Poetry is music, it’s just more subtle – you have to find the rhythm on your own.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

What do you think? Poetry or music?

What’s your favorite poem?

What’s your favorite song?