It’s Not Funny

At least, not to me.

Once upon a time, I wrote a post on YouTube videos, explaining my reaction to anything people mention as “funny” or “hilarious”. I’ve never, not once, seen one of these videos and found them even mildly amusing, much less actually funny or hilarious. The thing is, it isn’t limited to YouTube. It’s basically any crap on the internet. Point of fact, though, if people weren’t so lazy and wasteful with their words, and simply said, “this video is slightly entertaining if you are looking to waste one minute of your life” then I’d probably be a lot more forgiving. But if you describe something as hilarious, then I am actually audacious enough to expect hilarity. And therein lies the problem.

I simply do not find it funny.

That is not to say that I don’t have a sense of humor or that I don’t find things funny, I do, all the time, just not typically the things that you find funny. For instance, I was reading a book the other night. I was laughing out loud (literally) when Elena called. I was actually gasping with laughter when I answered the phone. When she came over about 20 minutes later, I was still reading that book and laughing at different parts.

Now, I could probably print, word for word what I read in the book, and I bet 99.5% of you wouldn’t so much as smile. And that’s okay.

Actually, let me repeat that.

That’s okay.

I’m fine with the fact that I find it funny and you don’t. The problem is that you aren’t fine with the reverse. You get offended when I don’t think your thing is funny. You try harder if I don’t think your thing is funny. You SEND ME MORE STUFF if I don’t think your thing is funny. I don’t get it. Why do you care? Do you get paid by the convert? The chuckle? The snicker or guffaw? Or is it only outright belly laughs? No, that’s not how the internet works. You get paid if I like it enough and am idiotic enough to forward it to every person in my address book, amiright? (And no, the irony of me mocking internet memes and then posting one to my blog is not lost on me. But I find irony funny.)

Not everyone thinks or feels or reacts the same way. That’s actually pretty awesome. Isn’t it? I sure think so, but for some reason people are flabbergasted when others don’t agree with their personal brand of humor.

Wanna know a secret? I don’t think Seinfeld is funny either. (Drives the men in my family crazy, that one….)

So, on to the point. A student that I like came in to visit me. Just to say hi. He’s a bit of a negative Nelly. But he’s a nice guy and I call him out on his crap. He was complaining about not getting taught well enough in a class. I just shrugged and said that he looks at it wrong, it’s not up to the teacher to teach him, it’s up to HIM to LEARN. The thing about this kid, the reason I like him is because A) he’s very sarcastic and I do find just a titch humorous and B) when I say stuff like that to him, he seems to think about it.

Scrambling to change the subject after I called him out, he said “do you watch Maddox?” I don’t know who that is. And I admitted it. He got all excited telling me about this amazingly funny guy….on the internet.

I cut him off and said, right up front, “I’m not going to find this funny. I’m warning you, I have never found anything funny on the internet.” (Okay that may be a slight exaggeration, but the essence is valid). He replied, as so many do, “No, you don’t understand, everything is crap, but THIS, THIS is the funniest thing you will ever read.”

I tried to explain to him that people always say that, no matter what it is, but I know myself and I know my own mind and I simply have never found comedic internet sensations funny. Never. Not once. He insisted, until I gave in, offering to look, but cautioning, very plainly, “don’t get your feelings hurt if I don’t find this funny.”

Here is the link to the thing he wanted me to read. Just because, somewhere out there must be the actual people who find things like this funny.

I read it. Every word. Twice. I didn’t even smile. I wasn’t even amused. It simply is not funny to me. It’s a bit whiny. Very annoying. Incredibly stupid and actually offensive in parts.

To his credit, after watching me struggle to diplomatically tell him I thought it was stupid, this kid looked at me and said in a very dry tone, “whatever, you’re clearly choking back laughter.” And I smiled.

Then replied, “actually, after you leave I plan to spew laughter from my very pores, probably until I pass out. Come back and check on me in 5, ‘kay?”

And he laughed. Then he said, “I hate your mockery out loud.”

And I laughed. Because that was funny.

But then, I didn’t read it on the internet. You did.

My Favorite Christmas Songs

Wanna guess what this post will be about?

Cheese.

Ha! Not cheese. Though I might write a cheese post someday, that day is not today. I asked one of my favorite bloggers to write a list of her favorite holiday tunes, because I love hearing what people listen to and what version moves them. Then I thought, why don’t *I* write one?

The problem, of course, is my OCD. Not including the CDs at my mom’s house, my iTunes holiday selection is over 200 songs. I’ve “condensed” them down to an ultimate selection, on one playlist. It is 94 songs.

I’m NOT going to do 94 songs, but it will be several. I’ll try to link to YouTube vids of the exact version, but in case I can’t, visit iTunes. Laid before you, in all its glory, are my favorite Christmas songs.

1. White Christmas. The Drifters. This is probably the most unusual song on the list, because it is a funked out version of a classic song. The original classic had always been one of my all-time favorites, yet somehow got bumped by the cover – so that should tell you how enjoyable this is.

2. I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Rascal Flatts. I’ll tell you the truth, I’m a huge country fan, but generally speaking, I don’t like country versions of Christmas songs, they just don’t mesh well. There are exceptions, and this is one. For one, these guys can actually sing. For two, they DO sing, this is an a capella version. A-MAZ-ING.

3. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy. Bing Crosby and David Bowie. The full version of this, complete with spoken intro, is my true favorite (and that is what I linked to), it makes me laugh before gearing up to an amazing medley/duet. Plus, I have an insane crush on Bing Crosby (especially weird as he died before I was born) and this is NOT the last time he’ll make my list.

4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings. Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. Have you heard this? It’s fantastic. Cheery and upbeat, with a fresh, pop sound, but still Christmassy and traditional at the same time.

5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Tough one. The original is Dean Martin and Doris Day. It’s classic and timeless. Then a few years back, this little film called, Elf, introduced me to a fantastic new version featuring Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone. However, my favorite version is by the country band, Lady Antebellum. Incredible. I know, that’s two country versions in the top five.

6. O Holy Night. John Tesh and the Choirs of Christmas. This is an unusual ranking, because this is my all-time favorite Christmas song. But, I am not ranking songs, I’m ranking versions. This is my favorite version of this song. I know it’s John Tesh, but the choir singing just makes this one. (Youtube doesn’t have this one, but you can preview it on iTunes).

7. Christmas Canon. Trans Siberian Orchestra (henceforth referred to as TSO). TSO is one of the ultimates of Christmas music. This is a variation of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, jazzed up for the holidays, I love it.

8. Christmas Eve Sarajevo. TSO. See? I told you they’d come up again. For years, this was my Christmas ringtone. I still kind of miss it, though I do enjoy my new one. But this is just a classic holiday sound, if you listen, I promise you’ll recognize it, even if you didn’t know what it was called. (Also, the video is one of those Christmas lights set to music videos, pretty cool if you’ve never seen one.)

9. Thanksgiving. George Winston. Yes, it’s called Thanksgiving. No, it isn’t really a Christmas song, but I listen to it on Thanksgiving and it kicks off the holiday season for me. It is an original piano composition and it is starkly beautiful.

***EDIT

I actually started this post last year, in 2011. I never got around to finishing it in time for it to matter for the holidays, so I held onto it for this year. Above this edit it is exactly as I began it one year ago. Including that awesome cheese joke. I didn’t change a thing. ***

10. Silent Night. Boyz II Men. There is an a capella version of this song that I am in love with. Aside from the cheesiness of this band, they can actually sing. They harmonize beautifully.

11. Belleau Wood. Garth Brooks. Another country song! But not really. This is a touching song about WWII and it makes me cry every time.

12. White Christmas. Bing Crosby. Because, well, that voice. It’s classic.

13. The Night Before Christmas. Carly Simon. This is a beautiful and not that well-known of a song. I just love it and Carly’s voice is perfect for it. This is the original.

14. A Snowflake Fell (and it Felt Like a Kiss). Glasvegas. Easily the weirdest song on the list. It was a free download I got years ago, back when Starbucks still did that. They are a Scottish band, and sound it. It’s an original song, and it makes me so happy to hear it. (Also, kind of surprised that this is on YouTube, but John Tesh is not).

15. O Holy Night. Collin Raye. I struggled to limit the number of times this song appeared on the list. A non-country country version of my favorite holiday song.

16. Same Old Lang Syne. Dan Folgelberg. This isn’t really a Christmas song, but for some reason they only play it around the holidays. It’s a great story song, kind of sad, but still very sweet. And it somehow feels Christmassy to me. Perhaps after including on my playlist year after year.

17. Carol of the Bells. John Tesh. This is a pretty awesome album, to be honest. But it is only of the only versions of this song I’ve found where they sing all the words, correctly. (Youtube doesn’t have this one either, but you can preview it on iTunes – The “A Family Christmas” version).

18. O Come All Ye Faithful. Nat King Cole. List wouldn’t be complete without him, right? When I was a kid, I used to try to memorize all the verses of Christmas carols in church. This one was harder because it is often sung in Latin. This version, NKC sings the first verse only, but once in English and once in Latin. It’s awesome.

19. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Judy Garland. In keeping with my traditional songs and versions, I’ll plunk this down here. It’s a quintessential Christmas song. I can’t sing like her, but I always sing along. When I’m alone.

20. Sleigh Ride. Johnny Mathis. This song is so upbeat and happy. I like to sing it because there are so many words and verses and it’s just fun. The classic version.

21. Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Burl Ives. Another classic. This one opens the legendary Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special that’s been on since the 60’s. I watch it year after year and this song always brings me to that moment. (Video is from the movie)

22. Happy Xmas/The War is Over. John Lennon. I enjoy this holiday song, when I don’t think too hard about the politics behind it. I’m not a fan of mixing those concepts together, but this song endures and is pleasing anyway.

23. Silent Night. Josh Groban. I had to limit my versions of this song as well. I have dozens, literally. But this one is beautiful. This man’s voice is custom made for Christmas Carols.

24. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. Dean Martin. Another lesser known holiday tune, but it’s peppy and cheerful, with the smooth stylings of Deano, how can you really go wrong?

25. Please Come Home For Christmas. The Eagles. I was so torn here. Bon Jovi did a cover of this song and it’s pretty similar and equally great. But, since it was so tough to decide, I went with the original version.

Okay, there you go. My top 25 favorite versions of Christmas songs. It’s pretty diverse, ranging from instrumental to rock to country to Motown, but I like that. It is pretty representative of my music during the rest of the year as well. Hopefully you found at least one new gem to listen to this holiday season.

Stay tuned for my favorite Christmas movies and books!

Visual

I’ve been talking a lot lately about starting this new library. If you’re on my email list, you might have gotten the plea to come visit during opening week.

However, if you can’t visit (or just haven’t yet) how about a tour?

One of my volunteers and her husband did this for us. It’s a virtual tour of the library.

Also, for those who haven’t yet seen the media storm:

Here is a link to the Star Tribune article (and yes, that is a photo of me – and also, that is my car parked on the street in front of the library.)

Here is a link to the (more recent) Pioneer Press article

That article from the Pioneer Press has been picked up nationally by the Sacramento Bee and the Watertown (SD) Public Opinion. I’ve heard rumors of it in other areas, but none have been confirmed.

That article, by the way, ran on the front page. Not the front page of one of the sections, but the headline article to the whole paper. It was very exciting for us all.

And an article from the Stillwater Gazette is here.

We are officially open for business these days, so thing are ticking off smoothly. Well, smoothly might be a gross exaggeration, but at least we’re open.

Next stop is our official Grand Opening ceremony. Any chance that anyone knows a local celebrity who will come?

Peevish

I don’t do this often, but there are three things just bugging me and all have come up this morning.

1. Advertisements before videos.

This is awful. As if there are not enough ads on the internet? Okay, truly I can understand it if you’re downloading or watching free content. Like on Hulu or other television sites. That doesn’t bother me. But if you are reading a news story and then there is an accompanying video that the news organization put out and you click it to watch the feature and-BAM- a 15-30 second advertisement. That pisses me off. I always, always exit out. I will not watch a video in those circumstances. Which means I might miss something interesting, but it is my small rebellion.

I also have issues with YouTube these days because they have so many ads. Any decent content has ads in front of it. The only ad free YouTube videos are homemade videos. I have less of an issue with this; because of the reasons people use YouTube for, but I still think only certain videos, or sponsored videos, should be allowed to have ads. Otherwise, it should be ad free.

Say what you will about Wikipedia, but that site is 100% ad-free and always has been.

2. Gluten-free

I understand that gluten-free is an intolerance to wheat gluten. I get it. I understand that certain people can have this intolerance or even an allergy. Like lactose intolerance. What I don’t understand is how SO MANY can have it. A few years ago, you never heard about anyone being gluten-free. Restaurants did not have gluten free options. There were not gluten-free recipes and cookbooks everywhere you look. I’m sure some people had this intolerance, but these days, it is practically trendy. It seems like if you have the smallest ailment that they can’t diagnose, doctors suggest a gluten free regimen, like that will solve everything.

Except, with all these people, unless they are about three years old or younger, wouldn’t they have been gluten intolerant previously? I know allergies can develop at any age, but are you really trying to sell me on the idea that millions of people suddenly and irrationally developed an intolerance for wheat gluten in the past few years?

If that is true then maybe we ought to be investigating THAT. I simply don’t understand this. Just this morning, a woman I work with was saying she had a stomach ache that lasted two days. She went to the doctor and he found nothing wrong with her. (Um, virus anyone?) So he suggested she try going gluten free and now she is miraculously cured.

It’s just lunacy to believe that this is the cure all. I seem to remember there being a similar craze with MSG in the late 90s to early 2000s. Perhaps every few years we seize some new idea and doctors hop on board and start assigning it to every ache and pain.

I don’t buy it. And it bugs me.

3. Passwords

I fully understand and agree with the need for passwords. What bugs me is this: that there are requirements to creating one and that you are forced to change it. Why on earth should Google care that my password is 1234? (It isn’t, but if I wanted it to be, what the hell business is it of theirs?) It bears no relevance. If my information is stolen, that is my fault. Not Google’s. I think we can agree on that. Requiring that my password contain one uppercase, one lowercase, a special character (!@#$%^&, etc.) and a number, and must be a minimum of 8 characters; that is just ridiculous. I keep a password file, I have more than 100 things for which a password is required. I am the one that must keep them all straight (thus, the PW file) so if I want to make it easy and give myself the same password 1234, that is my right. Isn’t it?

It should be, but it is not.

Then, of course, we have the regular requirements to change a password. At the office it is every three months. Four passwords a year. And you can’t repeat for at least six changes. That means I need, at minimum, six passwords for my office computer and the ability to remember which one I am currently using. So, of those 100 items I have passwords for, this is one. Office computer. And for that one item, I have a minimum of six passwords. For some offices it is more.

I have two different offices and therefore, two different username/PW combos. That one also requires a change every three months. To make my life easier, when I changed one, I changed the other, to put them on the same 3 month cycle. And while the usernames are different, I do use the same PW, for simplicity’s sake. However, office 2 requires that you not repeat for two years. So, that means 8 passwords. Now I have to up the list to keep the cycle going.

This is ridiculous. It should not be this hard. There are so many legitimate things I need to expend my brain power on, figuring out passwords, trying to find something I will remember, trying to keep them straight, and match them to the correct username. It is beyond frustrating.

Leave me alone. I’m an adult and I manage my life outside the internet just fine. I think the internet should take a giant chill pill and leave me alone.

 

Okay, ranting is now at an end. But, truly, each one of these cropped up this morning, in rapid succession. It was too much for my poor beleaguered brain to handle.

By the way, the password to my WordPress account is 1234.