My Top 7 Parody Videos

My Top 7 Parody Videos

My Top 7 parody videos – because the theme is seven, not eight.

Some of these videos contain humor that may be offensive and/or inappropriate for younger readers. I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013, and the theme is “seven.” But when have you ever known me to follow directions exactly?


Popular Music

Too bad the VMA Awards didn’t issue that warning before broadcasting Miley’s twerking into space… watch Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew react to her performance:


Always over-the-top, Lady Gaga really pushed the envelope with “Telephone,” and I think we all wondered how she got Beyoncé to go along with all that nonsense. Catchy tune, weird video. Well, now we know:


Movies & TV

Here’s a charming plea from Anne Hathaway’s double to award her the Oscar for her performance in Les Misérables:


Seriously, who isn’t hooked on Game of Thrones? And not just for all the sex and nudity. (Hey, I like dragons. And Puff wasn’t about drugs. And, anyway…) Unfortunately, some of us don’t get HBO and have to wait for it on DVD.


Prophetic Parodies

A lot of folks didn’t understand this song any better than they understood Twitter. A lot of folks still don’t.


Which begs the question…



But this is one of my all time favorites – I mean, how often does someone parody one of the hits of the 1790s?


And just as a bonus, because I went and dragged MySpace into this, making it feel unfinished if there’s nothing to round out the list and make it a “Top 8” – here’s a link to one of my favorite YouTube channels:   The Tom Lehrer Wisdom Channel.




7:00 AM

7:00 AM

7:00 AM. Someone forgot to inform my alarm clock that it is a holiday weekend. I roll over, try to recapture a dream. Someone forgot to inform my body that it is a holiday weekend; a persistent ache in my neck and shoulder scream for me to get out of bed, get moving. Besides, this is the hour of solitude those “morning people” forgot to share with night owls, like me.

The house is silent. My husband and son sleep soundly, still. I crave coffee, but to turn the coffeemaker on, early, would be to rouse the spirits with the gurgling of its percolator.

7-water Heating water for tea seems the lesser of two evils; I’ll risk that. But tea, first thing in the morning, makes me sick to my stomach – it’s reminiscent of morning sickness, but thoughts of an impending “empty nest” have not yet driven me to an urge to recreate that particular sensation. Nor will they ever.

7-herbal-teaI opt for an herbal infusion, instead. Swedish Berries Tea, from The Coffee Bean. It is a tart, tasty mix of hibiscus, raisins, and an assorted berries that sits well on my stomach before breakfast. As I watch it steep, under the light of the microwave oven, I think about these early mornings, silence and solitude, empty nests, and what adventures the next seven years will bring us all. I begin to do those idle math calculations: when my son graduates from college, my daughter will be in her thirties. Ahh, this is my karmic reward for teasing my father, earlier in the year, with “How does it feel to have a child who is half a century old?”

7-teaFortunately for us both, he laughed and assured me it felt “just fine.” Maybe he realized, even then, it wasn’t so much a taunt as a child’s need for reassurance that the future isn’t a dark and terrifying place. I rarely think it is, except on the mornings when I wake up too early – in the dark before the coffee’s brewed – and feel my bones settling like a house built half a century ago at the intersection of three tectonic plates.

That notion of an “empty nest” finally hit me, last week, as I sent my youngest off for his last “first day” of high school. He is a senior, now, and his thoughts have turned to college. His face is more a man’s face than a boy’s. He is quietly, but definitely, dreaming of places far from home.

I don’t worry too much about being “left behind.” I’m far too young to feel “old” or to believe that each visit might be our last. I’m no teen, deluding myself with immortality – no do I still fear being “old.” And yet, old age and dying are still things that happen to other people. That each morning’s goodbye could be our last was just as true every morning I sent them off to Kindergarten and let them cross a street. I will miss my children when they fly the nest, but unlike their grandparents and great-grandparents before me, who had the added obstacles of exorbitant long-distance charges, land-lines, and inconvenient modes of travel, we have Skype – the new lines in my children’s faces won’t be a shock to me from year to year. We have IM. We have relatively cheap airfare. And who knows – someone may actually invent a teleporter before I’m dead. Wouldn’t that be something?

I like my nest, empty or otherwise. So long as I know that my children are happy and safe, good people surrounding themselves with good experiences and more good people, I don’t need to keep them in the nest, under my wing. This has been the ultimate goal, all along: their independent adulthood. Their freedom to pursue their happiness. I hope that they always want to come home for the holidays – Groundhog’s Day and my birthday are holidays, too, right? They are always welcome and wanted, but I don’t want our home to become the “obligatory annual pilgrimage.”

7-selfMy husband and I have not grown apart over all these years of parenting; our nest will never be truly “empty,” anyway. For a few days, earlier this month, my husband and son were both out of town and I had the nest all to myself. My daughter called to make sure I wasn’t lonely, but just as quickly realized the flaw in her thinking. “You’re never lonely, are you?” she said, laughing. “I’ll bet you’re enjoying this time alone.”

“Well…you know I miss them, but they’re having fun and so am I. I can’t remember ever being ‘lonely.'” I think she understands that, now – having lived on her own for a bit. I breathe solitude, like air. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the company of other people – and the company of my family, more than most; it isn’t that I don’t miss them when they’re not around. I’m just content and happy on my own, as well. I don’t need, so much as want and choose to have them in my life.


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013. I wasn’t too excited by this theme of “seven,” but it’s funny what thoughts will bubble up, unbidden, to weave themselves into a given “theme.” I might make it through the week, after all.

Seven Days, in the Seventh Month, in the…Wait, WHAT?

Seven Days, in the Seventh Month, in the…Wait, WHAT?

The word “September” comes from the Latin word, septem, meaning seven. I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013, and what more appropriate theme for the first week of the seventh month could there be, but “seven”? 

“Wait, what?” I hear you cry. “September is the ninth month – can’t you count? Today is the first of September; don’t we write 9/1/2013?” Unless we’re somewhere outside the US, where they have it all backwards, and insist on writing it 1/9/2013…

Historically, September was the seventh of ten months according to the oldest known Roman calendar. March, called Martius for the Roman god of war, was the first month – the month of rebirth and renewal that coincided with the start of spring. And so it was, until around 153 BC. Though we are most familiar with Mars as the god of war, he was also the guardian of agriculture, so this honor makes sense. With roots in ancient Zorastrianism, the Persian new year, Nowruz, begins at the exact moment of the vernal equinox. The Great Sphinx, in Egypt, was constructed so that it points towards the rising sun on the day of the vernal equinox. For Christians, the vernal equinox signals the coming of Easter, which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. And so, it makes sense that March – not January – would be the first month, and September the seventh.

On the other hand, I look at the names of the other months, named for a pantheon of gods and goddesses, and cannot help but wonder if the Romans simply ran out of imagination when they got to the second half of their ten-month calendar, just as they seemed to do with their children. Quintus, Sextus… next time you contemplate your own name, thank your parents for not naming you “Five” or “Six” or “Seven.”

Some rights reserved by Craig Sunter *Click-64*


Sorry, Ruby – My Friends and I Ran Your Friends Off Facebook

Sorry, Ruby – My Friends and I Ran Your Friends Off Facebook

It’s true. And some days, I’d desperately love to give it back.

Like most of the folks my age, I joined Facebook to spy on my kids. Not, as my daughter believed, to spoil all her digital fun, but because I’ve been hanging out online since the early 80s and know it’s not all sweetness and light. I just wanted to keep an eye on things, as best I could–to head trouble off at the pass, and keep her safe.

My son only joined Facebook out of curiosity, and he only stayed to keep his mom’s orchards stocked with fake fruit trees. That grew old fast, for both of us. But it was fun for a while.

Before long, both my kids were past needing close supervision on the Internet; my daughter was busy with college; my son found his own venues on YouTube and Steam. But by then I’d found my best friend from 9th grade, reconnected with my childhood pen pal from Sweden, made new friends, and found new readers for my children’s books.

When my own Dad joined Facebook, I laughed at the irony.

“Oh my God,” I moaned. “It’s every child’s nightmare! My Dad just Friended me on Facebook!” I was laughing as I typed that in an email to him, and the minute I clicked Send, I went to Facebook to confirm his Friend request.

He wrote back, “I promise not to be judgmental!” What does the man think I post there, anyway?

“I know you won’t be judgmental. It wouldn’t do you much good if you were.” I was 46 years old, for Heaven’s sake, and my Dad wasn’t going to learn any deep, dark secrets about me on Facebook. Except–well, there is that post about eating balut. But he’s largely to blame for my adventurous nature when it comes to trying new foods, so I figure he deserves the glassy-eyed glare from Mad Duck, the Angry Balut.

I thought this was hilarious, but apparently it was a social media crisis three or four years ago, for a lot of kids – the hot news stories included, Friended by Mom and Dad on Facebook, and “Mom, I Love You, But Please Don’t Friend Me on Facebook.” We parents struggled with the guilt – truly, we did. But then we figured it was all part of that growing up process, where our kids eventually realize they have no more control over us than we have over them, and maybe we can actually be Facebook Friends, even if it sometimes makes them (and us!) cringe and roll our eyes.

As for those pictures, Ruby, the Internet is forever. It doesn’t matter where they’re posted; if they can be crawled, searched for, seen by others, downloaded, or shared — they’re out there for moms, dads, aunts, creepy perverts, and future employers to see. But I daresay, if you’re fully clothed and not holding the red Solo cup, and nobody dies or gets hurt, it’ll be okay. We were all young and did foolish things, once upon a time. If it doesn’t feel okay – you call Mom and Dad and get a ride home. If you think it’s not going to look good on the Internet ten or twenty years from now, call and get a ride home.

silver-lake-grade2Ruby, you wrote, I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook – and I thought, isn’t that funny? I’m 50, and darned near everyone I ever knew is on Facebook. Kids I went to 1st grade with are on Facebook. And one of these days, when you’re listening to the music you grew up with and it’s on the “Oldies” station, you’ll find that all your friends are on Instagram or Snapchat (assuming either site’s still around), and your kids – I hope – will be out riding their bikes, doing cannonballs in the neighborhood pool, and inventing the next hot teen trend.

That’s just how it’s meant to be.

Glipho: Bringing Social Back to Blogging

Glipho: Bringing Social Back to Blogging

A few days ago, I read Jonathan Bailey‘s “What Will Eventually Replace and/or Kill WordPress?” He discusses forking, paradigm shifts, and a blurring of the distinctions between hosted and self-hosted platforms. All the while I was thinking, “Oh, God, do we really need yet-another-blogging-platform? Why?” I love blogging. I’ve tried most of the major blogging platforms. I get sucked in by all the shiny new Internet toys – dazzling distractions and time-sinks that they are. And we all love to hate Facebook; despite our threats and tantrums, that’s where we spend our evenings socializing. Yeah, you – I’m talking to you. You feign disdain, but I see you in my news feed over there. Sometimes, I think Facebook will be the blog killer. But no… blogging is far from dead, and WordPress is stronger and healthier than ever.

But some days, I long for simplicity. I whine “I wanna be Amish!” and compulsively teach myself to crochet:

profile-0713 purple-snoodWhat? You thought I was joking? At least I didn’t crochet a train last weekend.

I drag myself back from the brink by trying to at least find focus – something to tie it all together so that “my” Internet doesn’t resemble a toddler’s playroom full of broken toys, crumpled construction paper,  and Sharpie-marker-tattooed Barbie dolls. And this morning, caught between worrying about things like “WordPress killers” and a cluttered, confusing Internet, I stumbled across Glipho.

What on Earth is Glipho and How Did I Trip Over It?

Glipho may be one of the best kept secrets of the blogging world, but not for long.

It all started when I checked out new Twitter follower @blogmecrazy. The most recent Tweet:

Naturally, I did this before figuring out exactly what I was signing up for. This is the “Oooh, shiny new thing!” phase of Internet discovery. It’s usually a short-lived manic burst, followed by a dolorous slog of disappointment. (Or, in non-literary-psychobabble terms, “One giant Jell-O filled pool full of ‘Meh.'”)

I decided I’d better follow the breadcrumbs in @blogmecrazy’s Twitter bio:

What got me hooked so fast? I have no idea. Maybe it was the repetition of the words “we love writers” on their front page… no, wait, they didn’t actually have that on the front page. But I “got it” almost immediately, and the banter on Twitter, had me feelin’ the love. What they actually said was, “Our goal has been really clear since the start: develop a platform where writers can focus only on the good things, such as writing and interacting with their readers and other writers.” There was that word: focus. A platform where writers can focus…

…as They Fall Right Down the Rabbit Hole

Yeah, I didn’t read another thing they wrote, till much later. I signed up on the spot. (Hey, BONUS – it’s FREE.)

Glipho is still in “beta,” but is surprisingly fast and bug-free. It took me about five minutes to register, fill out my profile, upload a picture, and connect all my social networks: Facebook (personal plus one page), Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, Picasa, LinkedIN, Instagram, and Google+. This adds a sidebar with attractive previews and links to encourage readers to follow you in other venues.

Ironically, Glipho could be that “WordPress Killer” precisely because it plays so nicely with others. Remember what I said about getting obstinate and rebellious when being forced to choose between friends? Glipho wisely doesn’t ask – and makes it easy to share between all the major social media channels.

What Learning Curve?

glipho2It took another three minutes to figure out how to create a new post, how to  import posts from Tumblr and WordPress, and how to use the Glipho Desk to turn drafts – imported posts – into published posts on Glipho. Here’s a cool feature – right from your Desk, you can access images from your Flickr, Instagram, and Picasa accounts or videos from YouTube and embed them into your posts – or upload images directly to Glipho. Where Instagram and Tumblr favor the visual artists, Glipho slightly favors the written word – to share an image here, you still have to come up with at least 150 words to describe it.


There’s that word again. Right there in the Desk, there’s a little orange icon that looks like four corners of a square. Hover over it and you’ll see “Focus mode.” Click that to eliminate all the other distractions in your browser:

glipho3Focus mode helps you to eliminate all the distractions on the screen. Just turn it on and maximize your Glipho window. Press F11. Write.

Glipho shows you only the basic elements of the post editor and keeps a running word count in the upper right hand corner.

Are you a veteran of NaNoWriMo? If so, I’ll bet that staccato sound I hear is the quickening of your pulse. (Or maybe it’s just my hard drive developing a death rattle…) Excited by the possibilities? So am I.

750 words or 1667 words, this site’s a natural for writers.

Syndication, Curation, and Promotion

I was glad to see that it wasn’t just another syndication site. I had to laugh – eager as I was to try out all the features of Glipho, I was nearly thwarted by the 150 word minimum. Yep – you can laugh. This is karma in action, and I’m fine with taking a dose of my own medicine.

Glipho can be your blog or complement your blog, and it can also act as a platform for more personalized and social content curation. It makes sharing easy, and it’s a great place to meet other writers. In fact, one of the lures they use to drag us in is, “Feeling alone in your blog?” Yeah, well, not for long… Start exploring the Writers tab, and you’ll quickly discover some very talented folks with varied interests and plenty to say.

So far, good content really is king, and I’m hoping it stays that way. It’s also very easy to follow content that truly interests you: what we typically think of as “tags” become “topics,” and topics are something you can follow.

Glipho feels like a much more mature site, until – with only four followers – you find yourself at the top of the “Trending Writers” and you’re featured on the front page. Until your Tweets are quoted in the site’s heading. That made me even cheekier. I set out to find out who had the most followers – I figured it must be @glipho. Forgetting, for the moment, my “no more contests in 2013” vow, I Tweeted:

Don’t hang me out to dry, here, folks. At last count, I had thirteen followers. It’s a long way to 1.9K. I’m counting on you.