Friday, February 27, 2009




"Live and let diiiie … dunt, DUNNNNN!"

Nobody does it better … baby, you’re the best!"

For your eyes only, only for yoooooou …"

Despite never having watched a single James Bond flick in its entirety, I can sing the theme songs to many offerings from the Connery and Moore eras, which ran from the early 60’s through mid-80’s, when Tim Dalton took over in
"The Living Daylights." It speaks volumes that all I can remember about that film’s theme is the title – because it’s the same as the movie’s – and the performer – a-Ha – because they did that really cool (for 1985, anyway) video that looked like a comic book.

There was a time when you couldn’t escape hearing silver screen theme songs – in the car, the dentist’s chair, an elevator – wherever you went. My eye still twitches when I hear the opening strains of Celine Dion’s
"My Heart Will Go On."

The songs were as big as the movies themselves. We were born to be wild like "Easy Rider." We strutted our stuff with John Travolta ‘cos we, too, were "Stayin’ Alive." We shared misty, watercolor memories with Barbra Streisand. And when Isaac Hayes’ backup singers demanded that we shut our moufs, we innocently replied, "I’m talkin’ ‘bout Shaft!"

Whatever happened to definitive theme songs? There’s been the occasional hit in the last decade, but the stream of true blockbuster songs has pretty much run dry. They just don’t write ‘em like that anymore.

In honor of these odes of yore, below are a few of my favorite movie theme songs. They’re all from the 1980’s because was my theatergoing heyday. I spent much of my free time at the movies because my neighborhood wasn’t wired for cable, VCRs were the size of Buicks and I hadn’t yet become too crabby to tolerate the annoying habits of other moviegoers – you know, talking … popcorn-crunching … soda-slurping … breathing.

* "Eye of The Tiger" – Survivor, "Rocky III" (1982). Show me a high school marching band that can't play this song and I’ll show you a geekatorium where Mathletes is the most popular team sport.

* "Flashdance ... What A Feeling" – Irene Cara, "Flashdance" (1983) This song/movie showed me my true calling as a breakdancer. In the Locked Bedroom Door Contemporary Dance Troupe, that is.

* "I Melt With You" – Modern English, "Valley Girl" (1983)

* "Ghostbusters" – Ray Parker Jr., "Ghostbusters" (1984)

* "Purple Rain" – Prince, "Purple Rain" (1984)

* "Don't You (Forget About Me)" – Simple Minds, "The Breakfast Club" (1985) – I was a combination of the “brain” and the “basket case,” according to a scientific study (translation: a Seventeen Magazine quiz).

* "We Don't Need Another Hero" – Tina Turner, "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985)

* "Glory Of Love" – Peter Cetera, "The Karate Kid Part II" (1986). As twentysomething Ralph Macchio's age finally began to show, his turn as 17-year-old Daniel-san felt like a little bit of a stretch in this fairly decent sequel. I mean, the guy doesn't look a day under 19!

* "Take My Breath Away" – Berlin, "Top Gun" (1986)

* "Who Wants To Live Forever?" – Queen, "Highlander" (1986)

* "In Your Eyes" – Peter Gabriel, "Say Anything" (1989). This song and the scene it underscores inspired countless lovestruck teenage boys to let their boomboxes say what their knotted-up tongues couldn’t. It also inspired countless irate parents to file restraining orders.

Friday, February 13, 2009



TGIF (tee-gee-eye-eff)--interjection. 1. Acronym for "Thank God It's Friday," a common refrain of laborers who, like mullet-haired 80's rockers Loverboy, are "workin' for the weekend." 2. Something superstitious people won't be saying today.

Friday the 13th. What is it about this day that makes people jumpier than spit on a hot skillet? In extreme cases, some folks refuse to leave home until the bell tolls Saturday, releasing them from the paralyzing grip of paraskavedekatriaphobia – a fancy, unpronounceable way of saying, "Friday the 13th scares the bejabbers out of me."

Folklorists say there’s no documentation of this superstition before the 19th century. Probably because the evidence was shredded by a black cat that broke a mirror while carrying an open umbrella in the house. Obviously, I’m joking – lacking opposable thumbs, cats cannot carry umbrellas. But seriously, there are several theories about the superstition’s origin, the simplest being that it’s an amalgamation of two older superstitions: 1) Thirteen is an unlucky number, and 2) Friday is an unlucky day.

Personally, I don’t see what all the hoopla is about. I’d rather have 13 dollars – or donuts – than 12 and any day I wake up on the alive side of the bed is a lucky one. If that day happens to be Friday – be it the 13th or 23rd – bonus! No work tomorrow! I won’t have to leave the house except to run to the store for $13 worth of donuts!

Many of us herald the arrival of each Friday like it’s some kind of holiday, so why not observe Friday the 13th the same way? We throw parties on birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve … why not celebrate a new kind of "Black Friday"? Laughing in the face of superstition is the perfect way to overcome your fears.

First, you’ll want to invite 12 guests – plus you, that equals 13 people. Next, what’s on the menu? In some cultures, eating chicken on holidays is forbidden for fear that your luck could fly away. Pfft. Ever seen a chicken fly? Oh, they DO … just not very well. So serve those buffalo wings without fear! But go easy on the sauce or you might not feel so lucky later. Choose your poison and drink to luck, then follow your toast with dessert – something simple like Rice Krispies treats. But instead of the traditional snap-crackle-popular cereal, use Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious!

After a game of Pin the Lucky Foot on the Rabbit, end the evening with a movie. The long list of appropriately themed films includes two versions of "Freaky Friday" and (if you can overlook the idiotic spelling) "Thir13een Ghosts," but the obvious choice is "Friday the 13th" or one of its numerous sequels. I think they’re up to "Part 287: Jason Gets a Hangnail" now.

If you’re not up for a gorefest, check out 1978’s "Thank God It’s Friday." Sure, it’s a musical comedy, but it’s chock-full of disco-era fashions and frankly, it doesn’t get much scarier than that.