Mini Grab Bag, Pt. 4

You oughta know the drill by now, kiddos. The Countess has hit a dry spell, ain’t got nothin’ too excitin’ or comprehensive to blog about, so she just performs a lobotomy on her brain and opens up a huge grab bag of whatever’s floatin’ around up there for all the world to read and weep…

I watched Love & Mercy again recently for the…oh, I don’t know, eight millionth time? 150611_gma_connelly2_0633_16x9_992:))))))))))))))))))))))))) all the smile emojis in the world for this movie :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Ok, so that’s a bit of hyperbole. I’ve actually only seen it approximately seven million times. But really, I’ve seen this film many, many, many times. I couldn’t stop laughing about three minutes into the film, which perplexed my husband because it wasn’t exactly a funny scene. “I’m just laughing because I know exactly what he’s going to say next,” I told him. It’s such a great film and makes my heart so, so happy. Can someone remind me why neither Paul Dano OR John Cusack were even at least nominated for you-know-what? I guess the nominating committee didn’t close their eyes like Brian told them to. (“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I closed my eyes, didn’t see a thing.” What a party pooper, that Murray.) So many great moments and lines in this film. “You’re grass, and I’m a power mower.” “I’m already eating as fast as I can!” “Does it sound like a drug song to anyone else?” “Mike, you can leave if you don’t want to be here, thank you. I’m working with the cello players.” “See you tomorrow, Hal!” And on and on and on. Ahhh. I love this movie.

(Pssst, anyone else uncontrollably amused by Mike Love’s one critique of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s album of Beach Boys songs? “When the first list came to me, they didn’t have ‘Kokomo’ on it. Now, it wasn’t a big hit in the UK, but it was No.1 for eight weeks in Australia and a No.1 in the US, so I said, ‘Actually, it’s the biggest-selling single we ever had – bigger than “I Get Around”, bigger than “Good Vibrations”, so that’s really saying something.’ Not having it on the album would be a mistake. In the end it turned out great.” No, in the end, it turned out hiiiiilarious. Listen for yourself here but only if you want to be cursed with having “Kokomo” in your head ALL SUMMER LONG, grrrrrrr.)


Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) hears the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of “Kokomo.” Or just the regular version of “Kokomo,” same difference.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock with my sister, then you probably already watched Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke. 

Not that I really watch The Late Late Show with James Corden on a regular basis or anything (or at all, really), but it is easily the best Carpool Karaoke ever. It’s funny, poignant, and magical as only a former Beatle can conjure. I’m also so lovin’ the new Macca trax. How blessed we are to have Sir Paul McCartney in this world!!

On the other hand, I’m still trying to figure out this new Arctic Monkeys album. 

Do I like it? Do I not like it? Am I awake? Am I asleep? Do I want to book a trip to the moon? I just don’t know. But I’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop trying to figure it out and finding snippets of lyrics popping into my brain:

What do you mean you’ve never seen Blade Runner?

Dancing in my underpants
I’m gonna run for government
I’m gonna form a covers band and all

Kiss me underneath the moon’s side boob

(Wait, what?) 

Bear with me, man, I lost my train of thought

Since the exodus it’s all getting GENTRIFIIIIIIED 

I launch my fragrance called “Integrity”

Confused, unsure, and looking for answers, I sought inspiration from a higher power. That’s right, I turned to Google and discovered a clip of an interview with Noel Gallagher being questioned about the album.

The journalist puts forth the premise of the album (a retirement home for rock stars on the moon–no, really) to Noel and wonders if he fancies it. “I don’t know what to make of it,” Noel answers simply.

(Meeeeee toooooo.)

The journalist presses a little, describing the album as experimental, off-the-beaten track, not really what you would expect from Arctic Monkeys.”No, you’d expect a few choruses. There wasn’t any of them,” Gallagher quips dryly.

Love that guy.

It is completely different from anything Arctic Monkeys have done before, it isn’t exactly what you’d expect, it might make you a bit uncomfortable or even outraged that those “We’re Arctic Monkeys, this is ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, don’t believe the hype” have grown up, grown some facial hair, changed a little…but, alas, I haven’t stopped loving you once.

There’s also been a ton of outrage (apparently) that Alex Turner grew some facial hair and has been sporting a beard.

I just wanna know where ya’ll were when Jarvis Cocker grew a beard. Like, that was outrage, and it was a protest party of one as I recall. At some point–oh maybe two or three years later, I think it was–I had to accept that Jarvis wasn’t going to shave his beard or wash his hair on a regular basis. You can’t change people, people. You just have to love them for who they are.


And Jarvis is a really weird guy. But I still like him a lot.

I still got it. 

And by “it,” I refer to the ability to win the Turner Classic Movies edition of Scene It despite not spending all my spare time watching old movies anymore. I won even when my opponents got questions like, “What does Zuzu tell Daddy happens every time a bell rings?” and “What film stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift?” and “What color are Dorothy’s shoes in The Wizard of Oz?” Come on, now, I’m sleep-walking here, answering these questions!!

But really, I won because I always choose The Maltese Falcon as my playing piece, and it never, ever lets me down.humphrey-bogart-maltese-falcon-steve-wynnHearts in my eyes for Sam Spade forever.

I’ve been to the movies twice recently (to see Jurassic World and Incredibles 2, both very enjoyable) and saw the absolute worst trailer for a movie, ever. Like, ever, ever. 

I don’t even know if I can post it here in all good conscience. Some virtually braindead individual had the dumb idea to not only make another film version of Little Women but also “re-imagine” the story by placing it in a modern setting. I’m appalled, really. I have no words. This is like in Back to the Future II when Marty finds himself in an alternate 1985 where his mom has had a boob job and is married to Biff. We have to go back to 1955 and stop Biff from giving himself the Sports Almanac from 2015. We have to stop this movie from being made. We only need the perfect, definitive film version of Louisa May Alcott’s story produced in 1994, starring Winona Ryder as Jo. And if you can’t deal with that, at least respect the author’s work and LEAVE IT ALONE. I SAID NO NO NO!!!!!!!

I need to calm down.

Happy birthday, Ringo!

Peace and love.

I’m the greatest and you better believe it, baby!

I finished watching all eight seasons of 24…my life is now devoid of meaning. 

I haven’t watched the “revival” or whatever you wanna call it, but I must say, I was little underwhelmed by the series finale. It seemed…a little reminiscent of an earlier season finale????? Come on now. But Jack Bauer is still awesome.

Meanwhile, I haven’t been watching much–like any–Dark Shadows lately. 

I kind of cycled through all the story arcs I wanted to and I don’t know if I really want to watch the Leviathan storyline (like who needs that kind of negativity in their life???) or if I should actually watch the pre-Barnabas (gasp!) episodes for the first time ever. I remember seeing a few on Sci-Fi as a kid, and as I recall, they were one long yawn. Apparently, however, there are fans who argue that some of the series’ best acting and writing is found in those early episodes. I just don’t know if I can stomach 209 episodes of no Barnabas or Quentin. I don’t know if that life is worth living, frankly. Let me know your thoughts.

That’s it, kids. This is just a “mini” grab bag–for when you need a Hand of Count Petofi fix but don’t want all the calories. Unless you’re like me and eat the whole bag anyway and then end up in bed, shutting out the rest of the world.852664894-brian_wilson_1968_laying_in_bed_with_smoke

It’s waaaaay past my bedtime. As if that weren’t clear enough.


Arctic Monkeys Live @ Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids (18 March 2012)

So I went to a concert last night.

And let me tell you: it was perfect.

Hang on, I don’t think you understand. It was perfect. P-E-R-F-E-C-T.

Let me put this into perspective for you: Arctic Monkeys came onto the stage to the sound of KC & the Sunshine Band. That’s the way–uh huh! uh huh!–I like it, thankyouverymuch.

Yes, I saw Arctic Monkeys live last night, and my life will never, ever be the same.

What is this band? Seriously. 

We were in our seats about an hour before the show started–not because we were fighting for decent spots in GA (which would have been relatively easy to score) or we anticipated a massive amount of people or anything like that. Mostly because I wanted to land some free parking and avoid as many people as possible. This obsessiveness/anxiety resulted in the longest hour of my life. (Although I did get to hear this uber wicked cover of Macca’s “Monkberry Moon Delight”–one of my all-time fave Macca songs–by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Thanks, guys!) But once the lights dimmed and KC started singing, it was so worth it. Oh, was it ever worth it.

This band is so good live. They are so tight as musicians (two words: Matt Helders), and Alex Turner’s voice is flawless live–which kind of surprised me, considering their aggressive touring schedule and well, I heard a rumor that smoking was bad for you. Maybe it is, but he sounded greeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaat (plain old great is just too bland, see) last night.

Arctic Monkeys opened their set opened with the blistering “Brianstorm,” and the storm really never stopped. It felt like a thunderstorm was literally shaking the building, but no, it was just Arctic Monkeys doing their thing. They never even slowed down, each song somehow louder, grittier than the previous.

Full set list (my memory is a bit sketchy about the order of the last few songs, so this is by no means definitive):

  • Brianstorm
  • This House Is a Circus
  • Still Take You Home
  • Library Pictures
  • Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
  • The View From the Afternoon
  • I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
  • Pretty Visitors
  • Crying Lightning
  • The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
  • If You Were There, Beware
  • Brick by Brick (sung by “the rhythm panther, Mr. Matthew Helders”)
  • Fluorescent Adolescent
  • Evil Twin
  • R U Mine?

Before the show started, this young family came and sat behind us, eating cotton candy and talking about the one time they saw Taylor Swift. They had two girls who were no more than 10 and transfixed with Helders’ drum kit. “Oh, maybe they’re from England!” “Just because they have a British flag on their drum set doesn’t mean they’re British.” “Oh, well, I’ve never even heard of Arc-tic Monkeys.”

Oh, to be young and innocent again.

Alex Turner made sure everyone knew that they were Arctic Monkeys, Arctic Monkeys from High Green Sheffield, England. ‘Cos he told us two or three times. He was seemingly fascinated with saying Grand Rapids, Miiiiiiiiiichigan ‘cos I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times he said that. Sounded good, though.

“Did you come to party, Grand Rapids, Miiiiichigan?” he asked.

No, we came to see you, silly. Oh, but that’s the same thing, isn’t it? Screeeeeeeeeam!  

“I can tell,” he observed. “I can tell.”

“This is a tune called ‘Evil Twin.’ You’re going to love it, Grand Rapids, Miiiichigan. I know you’re going to love it.”

We loved it.

“Are there any ladies in Grand Rapids, Miiiiiiichigan who feel like screaming?” he wanted to know, introducing “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah! Well, at least, there’s two of us here. It looked like we were at a concert with a bunch of zombies, it looked like we were the only ones standing up in our section, and it sure sounded like I was the only one who knew all the words to all the songs. (Awkward: the pause between “Presuming all things are equal who’d want to be men of the people, when there’s people like…” and I shout out, “You!” Uhhhh, you mean to tell me nobody else knows the words?) But that might be because most of the people there were waiting to see Black Keys and could really care less about Arctic Monkeys, Arctic Monkeys from High Green Sheffield, England. Oh, did I forget to mention that they were simply the opening band for Black Keys? Oops.

And unfortunately, Alex kept reminding us they were just warming us up for the Black Keys, we were going to see the Black Keys soon, and they were going to leave us.


This is the first time Arctic Monkeys have been an opening act (although they did open for Oasis for a single show in Toronto in 2007), and they take the task very seriously. Turner told Spin before the first of their two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden: “And with this tour, because we’re the opening band, we really want to do a good job of that. We want to really warm everybody up. Most of these people aren’t here to see us, so we want to push it. We’ve had great opening bands and you can tell the difference when you go on…We want to do a good job for the Keys. It means a lot to us to be able to do this but at the same time we’re aware that it’s their night. We’re just hyping everybody up.”

I was so hyped up after they finished their set, my mind and body turned to jelly. I could hardly function. I could barely point and grunt at the tour program and t-shirt I wanted to buy. And then my legs did a funny thing. They left the building before the Black Keys even played a single note. I’m really sorry, Black Keys. I simply had no control. Arctic Monkeys stole my soul (keep it, dudes), and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

(I’m also really sorry to all the Black Keys fans who kept coming in during the Arctic Monkeys’ set and had to tap me on the shoulder to get by since I was oblivious, totally entranced, swaying and singing with my eyes closed. Kind of like Marcus in About a Boy. Totally not embarrassing or anything.)

It was a fan-tas-tic night, full of bangin’ tunes, Alex Turner practicin’ a magic trick, the Macarena, kung fu fightin’, and, of course, pointing. If only I were a Collins and could squander my family fortune on following Arctic Monkeys around on tour–in a non-creepy way, of course. And by non-creepy, I mean that it is my will to live.

If I could be someone else for a week, I’d spend it chasing it after you. 

(Or two weeks. Or three weeks. Or three hundred weeks. I’m not too picky.)

Come back.


With Miles Kane.