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Archive for February, 2012

The Makings of a Super Bowl Halftime Act

Monday, February 6th, 2012

“Madonna?  Really?  They couldn’t get somebody more current?” I asked.

“There aren’t really any big rock stars anymore.  None of the current people could carry it.”

“But isn’t she over 50?”  I asked.  (Fifty-two, it turns out.)

“Yeah, but she’s definitely a big enough star.”

This conversation between GAP and me went back and forth for a few minutes.  He contended that today’s Top 40 artists just don’t have the star power or gravitas to headline a Super Bowl halftime show.  He conceded that a few of my suggestions were valid – Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake (though lately you’re more likely to see Justin on a movie screen than hear him on your weekly countdown).  But beyond those three, I agreed, it was hard to come up with someone who had a substantial enough reputation to carry the weight of the performance.

But why is this?  The music industry is still cranking out hits.  We’re still buying their music.  I still turn on the radio almost every time I get into the car.  I wonder what’s wrong with today’s stars.  And yet there’s something about, “And now your Super Bowl Halftime show starring TAYLOR SWIFT!!!!” that just doesn’t quite do it for me.

Out of curiosity we Googled the recent halftime acts.  For the past ten years they have been:

  • 2011 – Black-Eyed Peas, Usher, and Slash
  • 2010 – The Who
  • 2009 – Bruce Springsteen
  • 2008 – Tom Petty
  • 2007 – Prince
  • 2006 – The Rolling Stones
  • 2005 – Paul McCartney
  • 2004 – Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake
  • 2003 – Shania Twain, No Doubt, and Sting
  • 2002 – U2
  • 2001 – Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Aerosmith, N’Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly

The sweeping majority of these were nostalgia acts.  But why?  Not everyone who watches the Super Bowl is over 45.  In fact, it’s probably got the most diverse demographic of viewers of anything on television.  Young, old, rich, poor, male and female.  There is very little filter.  So why the trips down rock and roll’s memory lane?

My theory is this: Madonna wasn’t always Madonna. Twenty-five years ago she was a punk girl from Michigan with bleached hair, lace gloves, and a dream of making it really big.  It took a long time for her to become the legend that she is today.  Twenty years from now Katy Perry may be an intergenerational pop music icon.  But for now she’s a cute girl with a string of hits.  We’ll have to wait and see what her staying power is like.  It takes a bigger and more lasting career than most “of the moment” stars have to offer.

The other reason I think most of these acts are a generation old?  Remember what I said about the Super Bowl being the great demographic equalizer?  The event planners have to cater to a huge range of people.  If they put Katy Perry up there my mother would say, “Who’s the girl with the blue hair?” and head into the kitchen for some friendly chit-chat between halves.  But even your average 12-year-old knows who Madonna is, and might stick around to watch.

I think it would be a fascinating job choosing the Super Bowl halftime act.  Who’s big enough and has broad enough appeal?  Who is available and whom can we afford to pay?  Which songs from their catalog will they play?  And so on.  Usually I just sit there and eat more guacamole while I watch.  But last night I started thinking about the strategery behind it all and it got interesting.

 

A Limerick in Lieu of a Post

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

There once was a blogger named Gale
Who posted each week without fail.*
But try as she might
she just couldn’t write;
last evening her efforts did pale.

So I come to you now with a limerick.
Please don’t think that I’m playing a trick.
For I earnestly thought,
“Make an effort, or not?”
And this is what I could pen real quick.**

But I still bring good wishes for Friday.
And I trust that big thoughts will come my way
over the weekend,
so come back here, my friend,
for something worthwhile on Monday.

Last night the creative juices just weren’t flowing.  I joined all of the boys to walk the dogs.  Then I went out for a run on my own.  Then I came home, bathed and fed SSP, ate a sandwich, watched an episode of Modern Family that was saved in our DVR, made my lunch for today, showered, and went to bed.  Blogging just didn’t figure into the mix.  I hope you’ll forgive me.

Have a happy and safe Super Bowl weekend, and I’ll see you back here next week!

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*I realize that this is a stretch – especially coming on the heels of my hit-and-miss posting during maternity leave – but sometimes we must sacrifice the truth to save the rhyme.

**And sometimes we must sacrifice the grammar to save the rhyme.  For all you adverb mongers (Hi Granddaddy!), I’m fully aware that this should read “really quickly.”

I Love You

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

My favorite part of any romantic movie is the moment right after one person drops the “L” bomb for the first time.  “I love you.”  In that split second when you’re not entirely sure how the other person is going to respond my heart does a tiny tap dance.  These moments are only good when you’re not sure; when you lean forward just a bit waiting to learn if the vulnerable fool is going to be showered with the other person’s affections as well, or left to slink off in a state of awkwardness.

I love this moment because I know what a big deal it is to cross that bridge.  I’ve crossed it a few times, but I usually let someone else lead the way.  That is, I was not often the one to say it first.  I bring this up because this article from The Huffington Post discusses several aspects of love – the fact that it reduces our stress levels, the way it causes us to act toward potential romantic rivals, and the economic pros and cons we weigh out when deciding whether or not to tell another person that we love them.  But the thing that struck me most about it was the finding that men are most likely to say “I love you” first.

This caught my attention because I have a theory about it.  My theory is that in most relationships (not all, mind you, but most) the woman actually wants to say “I love you” first.  She feels it earlier and wants to express it, but resists for fear of her statement not being reciprocated.  Much like most women wait for their boyfriends to propose marriage, we also wait for the man to take the lead in other relationship milestones.

I have no idea why this is.  In point of fact, I’m just theorizing here, so I could be completely wrong, but let’s pretend I’m right.  Why women aren’t more assertive in our expressions of affection?  Why do we wait for the man to say it first?  Is it because we want to make sure that the man has had time for his romantic feelings to fully develop?  Or is it because we fear that we will jump the gun wanting something to be love sooner than we know whether or not it really is?  And if we know it’s love, why aren’t we strong enough to risk our pride and say it?

Love is a tricky business.  Especially in the beginning of a relationship we constantly teeter between exposing and protecting ourselves.  It’s a highly personal decision to tell someone you love them.  We each must choose what’s right for us.  But I wonder about the calculus that factors into that decision.