Music Tuesday: Don’t Worry

Be happy!

I missed Monday, but here’s one more optimistic song to wrap up my blue-sky month.  Just one note: when the sun is shining, live it up but don’t neglect your sunscreen.  Your shoulders will thank you later (mine might forgive me in a week or so for the burn I sustainer this weekend.)

Also, this is the weirdest music video ever, and I wish there was a pop-up video version to explain the insanity.

Funny Girls

Whoever still wants to say women aren’t funny hasn’t seen Parks and Recreation, hasn’t watched 30 Rock, never read anything by Chelsea Lately and just plain hasn’t been paying attention.  The graduating class at Harvard got a taste of this goodness yesterday when Amy Poehler spoke at their Class Day.

Tina Fey writes about Poehler, comedy, and women’s roles in her amazing new book, Bossypants.  I am going to write a full review once I stop digesting how incredible it is… which may be never.  Until then, here are her thoughts on humor, and the claim that women aren’t funny [deal with the swears, it’s part of the point]:

“Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy “comedy bits” going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.”

Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”

Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit. (I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them. Insert penis joke here.)

With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.

I was so happy. Weirdly, I remember thinking, “My friend is here! My friend is here!” Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.

I think of this whenever someone says to me, “Jerry Lewis says women aren’t funny, or “Christopher Hitchens says women aren’t funny,” or “Rick Fenderman says women aren’t funny…Do you have anything to say to that?”

Yes. We don’t fucking care if you like it.

I don’t say it out loud of course, because Jerry Lewis is a great philanthropist. Hitchens is very sick, and the third guy I made up.

Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it’s irrelevant. My hat goes off to them. It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”

Kitchen Adventure: OWN this pasta

[Note: reposted to get rid of the ads – pardon the duplication!]

I am going to let this picture speak for itself, and say that I never thought that tortellini could get any better.

But I am so glad to be proven wrong, and to eat the proof.

Tortellini with Spinach, Basil, and Pine Nuts


  • 1 package of fresh cheese tortellini (9 oz)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 package of fresh baby spinach (6 oz)
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 10 large leaves of basil, chopped
  • 1/3 lb salmon (optional)

Hungry yet?  Yeah, me too.  (I mean, I did start cooking around 8…)

  1. Cook pasta as directed on the package.  Set aside.
  2. If making salmon, brush the fish with a dab of olive oil and two large basil leaves and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Cook salmon at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until it flakes with a fork.
  3. Heat pine nuts in a medium non-stick skillet.  Be careful not to let them burn – it happens quickly!  Just watch until oil starts to seep out and pull them off the skillet, adding them to the bowl with pasta.
  4. Heat oil, and add garlic to the pan.  Cook about two minutes, stirring often.  Add spinach to the pan (personal opinion: you can never have enough spinach.  Unless you know you’ll use it in an omelet or salad later, throw it all in there!).  Cook spinach until it wilts.
  5. Add basil to the spinach/garlic mixture, and throw the pasta and pine nuts into the pan as well.  Cook for a few minutes, then add in the cheese and give it a good stir.  (By mixing in the pan, you’re more likely to soak in all these delicious flavors, rather than leaving them in the pan at the end of the day.)
  6. If adding salmon, divide into three or four pieces and add as a garnish, flaking it with a fork.

And there you go!  This made a healthy, hearty dinner and amazing, fragrant leftovers.  I am already planning to make it again, and the dishes aren’t even dry yet.  Now THAT’s what I call success.

Intersecting Lives on the T

Living in a city puts you in contact with all sorts of different people as they go about their daily lives.  In the course of this week, I’ve had people fall asleep on my shoulder, seen a couple fight and then kiss and make up, moved out of the way of strollers and bikes, and sat elbow to elbow with perfect strangers as I drank my coffee and shuttled toward work.

And then today I saw this adorable scene, part of a longer conversation about life.

The place: the T in the early evening.

The people: a young boy with a Thomas the Tank Engine backpack and a mom in pink scrubs.

Son: Moooom.  I got detention today.
Mom: Yeah?  Tell me about it.  What did you do?
Son: I wasn’t being quiet, and the teacher said “I want detention for three minutes.”
Mom: Are you sure she said she wanted detention?
Son: Yeah.  She said she wanted detention for everyone.
Mom: Do you think maybe she said she wanted attention, like she wanted you to listen to her?
Son: Yeah.  She said “I want your attention” so I did what she said.
Mom: Good, I bet your teacher appreciated that.

::end scene:::

A few minutes later, they had a similarly cute misunderstanding about a nurse that “gave [him] his blood pressure”, and if he would have to miss school for his next doctor’s appointment.

I just love it when I see parents taking kids seriously while also talking to them at their level.  I’ve been reading a lot about problem solving, and this conversation made me think about how this negatively could have gone (“You got detention?  How could you?  Didn’t I raise you to be better than that?”) if the mom just hadn’t taken the time to calmly talk through the circumstances.  I saw a similar conversation in DC where a mom was telling her daughter that she couldn’t have chicken nuggets for dinner even if her friend was, because “what Ashley wants and what Becky needs are not the same thing.”

So, I’m storing today’s conversation away as a reminder of a few things:

  • It’s always worth figuring out what people really mean before getting mad.
  • There’s usually a way to talk to someone where they’re at (tired, distracted, ten years old) that will help you get more accomplished.
  • If you hear something adorable on the T, just pretend to read your book and listen up, because you might learn something.

Music Monday: Looking on the bright side

Since I shared my thoughts on having a positive outlook, I’ve been thinking of optimistic songs and the messages they send. I’m a firm believer in the idea that there’s a song for every moment (and they should be sung more often, in public whenever possible).  These are the songs I sing that remind me to “put on a happy face” because “nothing matters but knowing nothing matters,” and the ride will be more fun if you can “look on the bright side of life.”

So, I’m dedicating this entire month of Music Mondays to my favorite optimistic songs, starting with this Monty Python classic.  It’s originally from “Life of Brian” but it’s been re-appropriated for the musical “Spamalot” in recent years – a gem I just got to see in person (with Nolan on the keyboard – hi Nolan!).

[Warning: there are a few swears in here.  I mean, it is Monty Python…]

You can check out the Spamalot version here.