Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Funky Boy Band Christmas

Every year I forget about my all-time favorite Christmas song, and then one day it'll pop up on my Pandora Holiday station, and I remember all over again how much I love it.

I'm talking, of course, about the Timeless Classic "Funky, Funky Christmas" by New Kids on the Block, or NKOTB for thoseofusintheknow.

This year it's also a reminder that I will probably never have to deal with the level of psychotic, all-consuming, hysterical fandom that 14-year old girls inflict on their poor families the way I did back in 1989/1990. At least, I don't think most boys cry and scream and faint and elbow others out of their way for the sake of their celebrity crushes, do they? By the time my brother, Mr. Funny, was old enough to be into stuff I was well past my NKOTB coma and either ignored him or went off to college. So I don't remember. He could very well have wallpapered his room with Alanis Morisette posters for all I know. I was too busy being disaffected and full of myself.

At one point my NKOTB addiction grew so severe my parents forced me to choose just 5 pin-ups to keep in my room and everything else had to come down. Let me put this into perspective for you:

One of my friends took great pride in giving me my 100th NKOTB poster. If there was a square inch of wall space in my room, up went a photo or pin-up. I had posters ON MY CEILING. I had a pillow, pillowcase, dolls, books, pins, t-shirts, videos - both taped myself and bought - and all the crap paraphernalia that came with my fan club membership, which I think included a tour schedule so that I could fantasize about hanging out in Wherever, USA with Jordan Knight. (Imagined convo: Jordan: "Meredith, look, it's Mt. Rushmore!" Me: "OHMYGODJORDANILOVEYOU!!!!!!!" *scream*)

Somehow, instead of setting fire to my bedroom, which, in hindsight I would not blame them for doing, they calmly told me enough was enough and I had to choose 5 posters to keep up and the rest had to go. 

So, of course I had the NKOTB Christmas album, with the Timeless Classic "Funky, Funky Christmas." And if you don't think this singular masterpiece has withstood the test of time, you are wrong, my friend. Consider these lyrics, which were clearly strung together by angels on high (is that a thing? I don't know, I'm Jewish.) who touched Jordan and Donnie with godlike inspiration:

"Oh, Little Train, my little elf, another Christmas."
"Nah, man, it's boring, it's boring! Same thing every year."
"So let's have a funky Christmas!"


"Yo, MC Santa didn't know my homeboy Donnie could play percussion, did you?"
"I didn't have a clue!"

"Yeah, get busy, Donnie!"

and my personal favorite, which I swear I could listen to over and over again and never lose joy from it:

"Should I stop? Nah, cool, here's more
Of this song, a funky Christmas melody
'Cause Jordan K feels OH SO CHRISTMASEY!
Throw your hands in the air!
Kick the ballistic Santa Claus!" (They are HARD CORE, people!)

It's like Mozart was reincarnated into a late 80s boy band.

By the way, I typed all of those lyrics from memory. Believe it.

And in case you need reminding:

YouTube video by KangK

There is so much right about this video I don't even know where to start. (Did anyone notice that Jon wasn't in it? Yeah, didn't think so. Sorry, Jon.) From the Jackson 5 choreography, to Arsenio's jumping in with a rap, to Joey's swinging his butt at a screaming audience, to Donnie's humping the air LIKE THE BAD BOY HE IS, it's just WIN all the way through. If you don't have a funky Christmas after this, you are dead inside.

Naturally, when I was 14 I taped this, and Jordan's bare chest sent me into a 14-year old Nirvana-like higher plane of existence. I may have paused it at some point to lick the TV. 

I'm almost sad that I won't have a daughter to share this kind of beserker, kamikazi devotion with. I remember my friend's mom driving us to a NKOTB concert once and talking about her love of the Beatles back in the day, and that sound you just heard was John Lennon rolling in his grave. But then I remember POSTERS ON MY CEILING and my single-minded obsession with NKOTB (My mom: "Mer, please pass the salt." Me: "I wonder if Jordan Knight puts salt on his french fries. May I be excused to go write to the fan club and ask?") and think, maybe it's for the best.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pregnancy Cliche Bingo

This week I made an executive decision for myself to stop trying to finagle into maternity jeans and just wear yoga pants or sweat pants for the remaining three months of my pregnancy.

And no, I'm not looking for "helpful" suggestions or advice, thanks. Let's just pretend like you already told me what worked for you, and I tried it, and it did not work for me.

At some point the battle to remain even remotely stylish got lost in the shuffle. Actually, no, I know exactly where the battle was lost: last weekend at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show. What should have been a fun, festive family activity turned into a craptastic, disappointing waste of time. I'm sure the Train Show is fine for normal families, but my son, the Juban Princeling - who loves trains the way I love cheese, that is, he's never met one he didn't like and will take them in any and all forms they come in - was on Day 3 of what turned into a 4-day nuclear meltdown. Even taking two subways, including his new favorite, the "Orange Compress" (express) to get there did not help, especially when he reached out and accidentally shoved a train off the tracks and my husband and I went all psychotic modern parent on him: carefully looking around, self-consciously reprimanding him and wondering if people thought we were being too harsh or too gentle. 

Meanwhile, we shoved our way through the crowd of half-dazed parents holding piles of coats and restless, overexcited little kids, in a hot and humid conservatory. 

Maternity jeans are not designed to last forever, and mine were already so stretched out they kept falling down. At the same time, the "Secret Belly" band pulled on my belly - I'm carrying high this time around - and irritated the skin and caused what I'm sure is massive internal bruising.

So there, somewhere in the middle of the New York Botanical Gardens Annual Holiday Train Show, amongst throngs and throngs of parents and children, I lifted my shirt and yanked my jeans up while simultaneously stretching the band away from my poor, battered, six-month belly. 

I'm not generally one of those people who gets embarrassed easily - behold the photo I let my best friend Tia take of me in Miami a couple of weeks ago - and pregnancy demolishes whatever shame I have left. I'm sorry, world, but you are going to have to put up with my desire to be comfortable for three more months BY WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY and then I promise never to gestate again, ever. 

No, you would not be the first to make a joke
about me and my love of Cuban c... roosters.
Not shown: the epic amounts of pain I'm in.

A few days later I sat in a run-down Quest Diagnostic office for an hour and a half, starving from fasting for my glucose tolerance test, with the radiator cranked up to "Hellfire," and The Today Show blasting at top volume into my ears against their will, feeling sorry for myself but wearing highly stylish maternity jeans. This time I opted for a pair with a low, supportive band that worked fine when I was standing up, but rolled down and squashed me and The Fetus whenever I sat down. Which was a lot. The Fetus and I had this conversation about it in my mind:

Fetus: Ow! What IS that?
Me: It's part of my jeans. Sorry.
Fetus: Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!
Me: I can't.
Fetus: Fuck you. *kick* 
Me: I know it's uncomfortable, but it's only for a little while longer. Please just hang in there.
Fetus: Fuck you, and fuck Kathy Lee Gifford. *punch kick jab* Also, I'm hungry. *kick kick punch elbow*
Me: *cry*

Screw fashion. Screw style. Screw the world. I am going to be comfortable for the next three months and everyone who looks at me will just have to deal with it. I dragged the Juban Princeling to Motherhood Maternity at rush hour on a Friday and bought myself some righteous black velor sweatpants, and ordered a pair of grey velor sweatpants.

I don't care if I don't have anything that goes with them.

I don't care if I look like a Real Housewife of Long Island in them.

I don't care if they are already covered in lint.

I don't care that they don't quite work with my winter boots.

What I care about is that they are comfortable and don't hurt my baby belly. Even if Barack and Michelle came over for dinner, I'd probably wear the velor sweatpants. Michelle's had two babies, she would totally understand and be all, "If anyone can rock velor sweatpants, it's you, Mer." And then we would fist bump in sisterhood and be BFFs.

So deal with it, world.

And, as I told my brother Mr. Funny, for those of you playing Pregnancy Cliche Bingo at home, here's another square to mark.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Follow Me to My Guest Post!

I'm so internet famous now that other bloggers ask - nay, beg - me to guest post for them. Today I'm hanging out with Greta Van Der Rol of Perceptions of Reality to talk about moving beyond your "Aha!" moment of inspiration to sit down and really write: