Jul 262013

Book of Love released “Boy” in 1985. It was the debut sin­gle, released on 7″ and 12″ vinyl, and later included on their their first album, Book of Love, which also included “I Touch Roses,” “You Make Me Feel So Good,” and “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes).” “Boy” peaked at #7 on the Bill­board Hot Dance Club Play chart.

The band began when Ted Otta­viano and Susan Otta­viano, who share the same last name but are not related, began writ­ing songs together in high school.

After they grad­u­ated, Ted moved to New York City to study at the School of Visual Arts, and Susan moved to Philadel­phia to study at the Philadel­phia Col­lege of Art, where she met Jade Lee and formed the band Head Cheese. Ted par­tic­i­pated in the band, com­mut­ing back and forth between New York and Philadelphia.

Upon grad­u­a­tion, Susan and Jade moved to New York to join Ted and Lau­ren Roselli, a fel­low stu­dent at the School of Visual Arts. They took their name from The Monot­o­nes’ song, “The Book of Love,” because they were influeced by romanticism.

Book of love was inspired by var­i­ous gen­res of music: oldies from the ‘50s & ‘60s, punk, and new wave. Ted was par­tic­u­larly inspired by Altered Images, who incor­po­rated bells and chimes into their songs, which explains the dis­tinc­tive tubu­lar bells in “Boy.”

Ted wrote “Boy,” based upon Lauren’s expe­ri­ences of con­tin­u­ing to fall in love with young gay men while in art school. The band recorded a demo of the song, and Lau­ren slipped a copy to DJ Ivan Ivan, who passed it on to Sey­mour Stein, Pres­i­dent of Sire Records, who signed the band in August 1984.

The band received more expo­sure after meet­ing Depeche Mode at a pro­mo­tional party, they were asked to open for Depeche Mode on the North Amer­i­can leg of their Some Great Reward Tour, even though they hadn’t recorded an album. (Book of Love also opened for Depeche Mode again on their Black Cel­e­bra­tion Tour in 1986.)

Boy 3’02
Boy [Extended Mix] 4’28

Music Vide
I can’t deter­mine if a music video filmed for “Boy” by Sire Records. It’s pos­si­ble they might not have, since it was the first sin­gle by an unknown band. How­ever, here is a music video for “Boy,” which was filmed for Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion in 1985. It’s basi­cally a per­for­mance of the band, filmed in a stu­dio, and quite nicely done.

My first mem­ory of Book of Love is when they were men­tioned in the ques­tion and answer sec­tion of an issue of Star Hits (the U.S. ver­sion of the U.K.‘s Smash Hits), where a girl had heard “Boy” on the radio and asked for more infor­ma­tion about the band. A year later, I heard a fel­low student’s synth-pop band cover “I Touch Roses.” I men­tioned the song to my friend Terri McQueary, and she men­tioned she had the cas­sette and let me bor­row it. I’d always loved synth-pop, but there was some­thing about the way Book of Love incor­po­rated sounds not ordi­nar­ily used, intrigu­ing lyrics, the art school imagery used on their record sleeves that cap­ti­vated me. The next day, I drove to Sound Ware­house and bought the 12″ sin­gles for “Boy,” “I Touch Roses,” “You Make Me Feel So Good,” and “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes).” The Sum­mer of ’87 was the Sum­mer of Book of Love. I played that cas­sette over and over until it was released on CD in Novem­ber of 1988. One of my favorite mem­o­ries, is Terri, our friend Duane Musiol, and I lis­ten­ing to the tape as we drove to Club Sparx in Dal­las when Duane came back from basic train­ing. Book of Love would def­i­nitely be included on my list of Dssert Island Discs.

What are your mem­o­ries “Boy” by Book of Love?

Jul 242013

Cat FurFur­lorn (adjec­tive) \fur-lawrn\ — A hope­less feel­ing one will never be able to vac­uum up all the pet hair in one’s home

Exam­ple: When Margie’s hus­band and chil­dren were diag­nosed with hair­balls in spite of her efforts to vac­uum daily, she became fur­lorn every time she saw their cat, Mr. Mittens.

Can you use fur­lorn in a sentence?

Jul 232013

Sample LadyThe last words Leroy Tucker, 17, said to any­one before his bowl­ing ball jug­gling acci­dent, were, “Hey, y’all, watch this!” A few sec­onds later, a 14-pound, Brunswick Sling­shot with cus­tom right-handed drilling fell on his head and knocked him cold. When he woke up twenty min­utes later, Tucker told friends his named was Mavis Gould, a fifty-seven-year-old sam­ple lady at Costco, who spe­cial­izes in jalapeño poppers.

“It was such a shock,” said his mama, Ear­lene Tucker, 41, a stay-at-home mom. “I mean, Leroy was a typ­i­cal teenage boy, always think­ing of him­self and never shown a lick of inter­est in gra­cious living.”

Doc­tors say this new per­son­al­ity is due to his head injury, and have encour­aged Tucker’s fam­ily to humor him until it passes.

“Leroy’s daddy is just beside him­self,” said Ear­lene. “He took Leroy fish­ing with his bud­dies and Leroy kept ask­ing them if they’d like to taste his chipotle-raspberry dip­ping sauce. It was very awk­ward for every­one in the pon­toon boat.”

To pay for Tucker’s esca­lat­ing med­ical expenses, Ear­lene bought him a tuxedo and has begun rent­ing him out to serve at par­ties. “We just got tired of Leroy con­stantly try­ing to serve us at home every cotton-pickin’ minute of the day and we have bills to pay, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Besides, it seems to make Leroy–I mean, Mavis–happy.”

Jul 222013

Big ButtI sup­pose no one is ever sat­is­fied with the hand their dealt by their famil­ial gene pool, but, grow­ing up, I seemed to look so dif­fer­ent from the rest of my fam­ily.  They have brown hair; I was blond.  They’re short and stocky; I was tall and lanky.

The worst part, though, I had no butt.  I’m talk­ing flat as a pan­cake.  When I sat down, it sounded like bone grat­ing against wood.  In fact, my behind was prac­ti­cally con­cave.  You could have laid me face-down on the snack table at a party and served salsa where my ass should be.

By mid­dle school, when girls started check­ing out guys’s bod­ies, I noticed their eyes grav­i­tated toward the seat of the other boys’ jeans. One day while read­ing a head­line of a mag­a­zine in the check­out lane of the gro­cery store, I saw con­fir­ma­tion.  “Do you see that,” I said to the woman behind me, point­ing to the head­line:  WOMEN SAY BUTT IS MOST ATTRACTIVE PART OF MEN’S BODIES.  “I’m going to die alone.”  I turned around to show her my ema­ci­ated rear.  “I might as well turn gay!”  She snick­ered, which I didn’t under­stand.  (It was a year later before Matt Jor­dan explained gay sex to me while dis­sect­ing a frog  To this day, I can’t see a frog flat on its back with it’s legs in the air with­out blushing.)

While the rest of my body caught up with my peers dur­ing puberty, I never devel­oped much of a butt.  Of course, it didn’t help that I never even saw it.  I always felt it was nearby, per­haps fol­low­ing me, but when­ever I turned around, it was always gone, although I did some­times feel I got a glimpse of it out of the cor­ner of my eye.

“I’d like to fill a pair of jeans in the seat,” I said to a friend.

‘I saw in a mag­a­zine, they sell this under­wear that has butt pads,” she said.

“Maybe I could just stuff Kleenex down the back of my pants.”

And so it went on for years.

Recently, I ordered the Insan­ity Work­out from Team Beach Body.  I won­dered whether or not I’d be able to do it, since the exer­cise pro­gram was mar­keted as being insane; how­ever, I fol­lowed it reli­giously, and at the end of the eight weeks, I’d lost one pound, but I had gained some awe­some def­i­n­i­tion and mus­cle.  One day as I turned to flip off the light in the bath­room, I finally saw it in the mir­ror:  I had a butt!  It seems all of that jump­ing and glute work had finally paid off.  It wouldn’t stop traf­fic, but com­pared to what I started with it, my butt was big.  I no longer feared sit­ting down on a chair and hear­ing the sound of fin­gers raked across a chalk­board; I had some cush­ion to sit silently now. The world, it seemed, was my oys­ter, and I was now sit­ting on it.

Jul 192013

ABC released “When Smokey Sings,” a trib­ute to Motown record­ing artists Smokey Robin­son, in May 1987. It charted at #11 on the U.K. Sin­gles Chart, # 5 on the U.S. Bill­board Hot 100, and #1 on the U.S. Bill­board Dance/Club Play Songs Chart. More­over, Smokey Robin­son was actu­ally in the U.S. Bill­board Hot 100 with “One Heart­beat” at the same time as “When Smokey Sings.”

In the name check of R&B singers, the lyrics dif­fer slightly between the album ver­sion and the sin­gle version.

When Smokey Sings” was the first sin­gle from their fourth stu­dio album, Alpha­bet City, which the band thought might be their last album. There was a two year gap between How to be a … Zil­lion­aire! and Alpha­bet City, while lead singer Mar­tin Fry was treated for Hodgkin’s dis­ease. May crit­ics felt it was a return to form for ABC, call­ing to mind their first album, The Lex­i­con of Love, which was pro­duced by Trevor Horn. ABC pro­duced Alpha­bet City with Bernard Edwards of Chic. The album title was inspired by the Alpha­bet City sec­tion of Man­hat­tan that was the basis for sev­eral of the songs on the album.

When Smokey Sings [7″ Ver­sion] 4’21
When Smokey Sings [Album Ver­sion]
When Smokey Sings [The Miami Mix — Ger­man CD Sin­gle Ver­sion] 5’08
When Smokey Sings [The Miami Mix] 7’02
When Smokey Sings [The Detroit Mix] 6’47

Music Video
In the style of their movie Mantrap, the music video for “When Smokey Sings” begins with Marty Fry and Mark White dri­ving through Lon­don and almost hit­ting a young woman with their car. She stares at them as she walks away, head­ing for a sep­a­rate sto­ry­line that is threaded through ABC per­form­ing on a sound­stage. Visu­ally, the video is a salute to the ‘60s, dis­play­ing vin­tage looks and color, and the cou­ple have a very dis­tinc­tive look. I would always watch this music video when­ever it came on MTV.

When­ever I hear “When Smokey Sings,” I recall see­ing the 7″ vinyl record dis­played as the $0.99 Sin­gle of the Week. I liked the pho­to­graph on the record sleeve, and it was only a buck, so I bought it. I was sur­prised at how dif­fer­ent it sounded com­pared to their “Be Near Me,” their last big hit in the states. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but it grew on me with each lis­ten. Over time, it made it onto the mix tape in my car and became one of the songs that painful sum­mer of heart­break. It’s been on my mind, lately, because I’ve been work­ing on a story set back in the late summer/autumn of ’87, so I’ve been play­ing the Alpha­bet City album. I have to say it’s one of my favorite albums from the ‘80s, and I loved the visual imagery that runs through the videos and record sleeves.

What are your mem­o­ries of “When Smokey Sings” by ABC?

Jul 182013

Resume folded into paper airplaneMy job in human resources is never bor­ing.  Every day I’m astounded at what I see as young peo­ple apply for jobs with my orga­ni­za­tion.  Most of what I see that causes me to reject a resume could eas­ily be cor­rected, and (I sus­pect) most of these job seek­ers just don’t know any bet­ter.  There­fore, here is a list of the top ten things to do when look­ing for a job:

01. Put your name and con­tact infor­ma­tion on your resume — If I worked for the Amer­i­can Psy­chic Asso­ci­a­tion, maybe it would be dif­fer­ent.  How­ever, if you want me to con­tact you, I need to know your name and a work­ing tele­phone num­ber and/or e-mail address.

02. Choose a pro­fes­sional e-mail address to send your cover let­ter and resume — I recently received a resume with impres­sive cre­den­tials and expe­ri­ence from an e-mail address along the lines of misskittykittymeowmeow@yahoo.com.  I’m not kid­ding. Now, I could read two sto­ries into that e-mail address, but I won’t.  The point of the mat­ter is if this is how you’re going to rep­re­sent your­self, how will you rep­re­sent our organization?

03. Do not include inap­pro­pri­ate pic­tures — Unless you’re apply­ing to be a flight atten­dant, I don’t under­stand why you would want to include a pic­ture on your resume.  If you do, though, give some thought to how the pic­ture will present you to a stranger.  I recently received a resume that included a top­less glam­our shot, with the appli­cant cov­er­ing her bare breasts with her hands.  Maybe it would slide if you’re apply­ing for a job as a wet nurse, but, again, it makes me won­der how you’ll rep­re­sent my orga­ni­za­tion if you get the job.

04. Texts­peak — As more peo­ple embrace smart­phones, the more resumes are sent from them to me, often accom­pa­nied by mes­sages such as, “WOULD LUV 2 WORK 4 U.” I often won­der what they would think if I replied back with “NFW!”

05. Be hon­est about your edu­ca­tion — Recently, under “Edu­ca­tion” on her resume, a job can­di­date wrote: WORKING ON IT. (Bet­ter to list no edu­ca­tion.) List the school you attended, the degree you received, your major, and your con­fer­ment date. If some of this infor­ma­tion is miss­ing, a phone call often reveals you’re lack­ing the cre­den­tial or it’s in an unre­lated field of study.

06. Casual greet­ings on cover let­ters — For the love of god, please do not begin your cover let­ter with “Hey, girl!” or “Yo, what’s up?” Call the com­pany and find out whom you should address your let­ter to, or go with “hir­ing man­ager.” Also, check to ensure you’re send­ing your cover let­ter and resume to the cor­rect com­pany. It seems like peo­ple would no bet­ter, but it hap­pens a lot.

07. Iden­tify the posi­tion you wish to apply for — I fre­quently receive cover let­ters and resumes that give no indi­ca­tion of the posi­tion they’re for. If I have to stop and fig­ure it out, there’s a greater chance I’m going to set it aside or reject it. Also, when you write you’re inter­ested in any posi­tion avail­able, it’s just as des­per­ate as last call in a sin­gles bar. If you’re not qual­i­fied in the posi­tion you’ve applied for, and I see your expe­ri­ence and edu­ca­tion would fit another posi­tion I have avail­able, I will con­sider you for it. Trust me.

08. Send your resume only once — When you send me your resume over and over again with­out adding new infor­ma­tion, it’s annoy­ing and wastes my time. If you want to be sure I received your resume, call me and ask. I’m happy to do so. How­ever, if you fax it again and again, you’re wast­ing paper and cost­ing my com­pany money. If you must send it to me again, con­sider adding some­thing to your orig­i­nal resume. For exam­ple, if you’ve lost five pounds since you last sent me your resume, con­sider adding “[Your Name] Now with less fat!”

09. Pre­pare a short voice mail greet­ing that iden­ti­fies your tele­phone num­ber and name — I’ve encoun­tered a sur­pris­ing num­ber of peo­ple who recorded long-winded voice mail greet­ings: read­ing scrip­ture, play­ing their favorite bal­lad in full, or recit­ing “The Epic of Gil­gamesh.” Please don’t do this. Just iden­tify your­self by name and con­firm your tele­phone num­ber. I just want to leave a brief mes­sage for you to call me back. I don’t need to be con­verted, moved, or entertained.

10. Be real­is­tic about your trans­fer­able skills — When you read our job ad, you might imme­di­ately think you’d be a per­fect for the posi­tion, but hon­estly take a look at your edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence. Case in point: Just because you trained seals at Sea World, doesn’t qual­ify you to teach preschool chil­dren. Trust me, it’s not the same thing.

Jul 172013

Hair Weave on FloorTum­bleweave (noun) \tuhm-buh l weev\ — A run­away hair extension

Exam­ple: When Max­ine entered the beauty shop to apply for a job and a tum­bleweave rolled over her shoe, she knew her work was cut out for her, so she picked up the hair exten­sion and showed the staff how to secure it to the customer’s nat­ural hair.

Can you use tum­bleweave in a sentence?

Jul 162013

Beyonce with Infamous Baby BumpBeyonce’s gen­uine faux baby bump sold on eBay for $1,379.13 last week. How­ever, when the win­ning bid­der, Jo Jo Stal­lone, 31, a hairdresser/mechanic at Mabel’s Beauty Shop & Pit Stop in Kissim­im­coochee, Geor­gia, received his pack­age, he found a New Kids on the Block throw pil­low, fea­tur­ing Danny Wood, one of the qui­eter mem­bers of the group.

I was shocked and out­raged,” Stal­lone said, slic­ing his shears through the air for dra­matic empha­sis.  “When I bought Beyonce’s gen­uine faux baby bump, I expected to receive the real thing–not a bla­tant fake!  B. is a style god­dess.  You can­not tell me she had a NKTOTB pil­low stuffed up her silk blouses for nine months, and even if she did, it would be Ms. Jor­dan Knight, because he was the head bitch in that group.”

With eBay’s help, police were able to trace the pack­age back to the seller, a Ms. Mae Wong Chow, 63, a lunch lady in Walla Walla, Wash­ing­ton.  When asked why she mis­rep­re­sented the sale of her NKOTB throw pil­low, Ms. Chow said, “I did so because Danny not sell.”  Ms. Chow con­fessed to bear­ing the brunt of bul­ly­ing by chil­dren com­ing through her lunch line as they made fun of her ortho­pe­dic shoes.  She said she intended to use the money from the sale of the gen­uine faux Bey­once baby bump to buy some new kicks to blow those douchebags away at Ernes­tine Crutcher Mid­dle School.

Ms. Chow is cur­rently mak­ing resti­tu­tion to Mr. Stal­lone by sell­ing her new kicks on eBay.

In the mean­time, Mr. Stal­lone has decided to keep the Danny Wood pil­low, as he has expe­ri­enced a great deal of heal­ing since he propped it up on the other end of his loveseat and started talk­ing to it.  “I just feel like I can tell Danny every­thing and he doesn’t judge me or say any­thing neg­a­tive.”  Stal­lone said the pil­low has pro­vided more heal­ing than ten years he spent in ther­apy.  “All this time, I thought I hated my mother when it turns out I was just cov­et­ing her wardrobe.  Who knew!”

Jul 152013

Hitler Youth Propaganda PosterWhen I was a teenager, a female friend of mine decided she needed to fix me up with a girl she was friendly with from another school.  While I was over at her house, she called the girl up and told her about me.

What does he look like?” my friend repeated the ques­tion for me to hear.

I waited in antic­i­pa­tion for what my friend would say.  Did she me as I saw myself?  The dash­ing boy next door, with brood­ing looks and a devil-may-care smile?

My friend turned toward me, looked me up and down, and said into the tele­phone receiver, “He looks like a poster child for Hitler Youth.”

Wait a minute!” I said.  “You think I look like a Hitler Youth?”

My friend asked her friend to hold on for a moment, then held the receiver against her chest.  “Well, you are very Aryan look­ing, with blond hair and high cheek bones.  You really do favor the guy on the Hitler Youth pro­pa­ganda poster in my his­tory book.”

“Maybe so, but in her mind, she’s link­ing me with Hitler.  Don’t you see a prob­lem with that?”

My friend whis­pered into the phone, quickly.  “Just for the record, he doesn’t have any facial hair.”

I rolled my eyes in dis­be­lief, as if that was the most offen­sive thing Hitler ever did–wear a tiny mus­tache.  “Is there any other pos­i­tive spin you can put on it?”

“Well, what girl doesn’t a man in a uniform?”

I never did meet that girl.  I won­der why?

Jul 122013

Since I’ll see Swing Out Sis­ter at Vari­ety Play­house here in Atlanta on Tues­day, I thought I’d fea­tured one of my favorite of their sin­gles for Flash­back Friday.

Swing Out Sis­ter released “Twi­light World” in April 1987 in the U.K. and Decem­ber 1987 in the U.S. The sin­gle charted at #32 on the U.K. Sin­gles Chart and #31 on the U.S. Bill­board Hot 100. (It also reached #9 on the Bill­board Hot Dance Club Play Chart.)

Twi­light World” was the fourth sin­gle from Swing Out Sister’s debut album, It’s Bet­ter to Travel, in the U.K., fol­low­ing “Blue Mood,” “Break­out,” and “Sur­ren­der.” It was the sec­ond sin­gle released in the U.S., the first being “Breakout.”

Although I con­tin­ued to enjoy Swing Out Sister’s music, It’s Bet­ter to Travel is my favorite album. The jazzy arrange­ments and play­ful lyrics just came together in such a way to cre­ate some­thing that sated the musi­cal appetite.

Twi­light World [Edited Version/7″ Remix] 4’03
Twi­light World [Sin­gle Ver­sion] 3’55
Twi­light World [Superb, Superb Mix] 6’29
Twi­light World [Outer Lim­its Mix/Remix/U.K. Remix] 6’02
Twi­light World [12″ Remix/The World Travel Mix] 7’55

Swing Out Sis­ter Twi­light World by Celtiemama

Music Video
I always found the music video for “Twi­light World” to be visu­ally stun­ning. I liked the con­trast of the retro feel of the Super 8 footage with the slick look of the rest of the video. Corinne Drew­ery presents such a strik­ing image in her man­nish suit, Louise Brookes bob, and tall, Ama­zon­ian stature. The archi­tec­ture of the house and the swim­ming pool are also visu­ally appeal­ing. To me, it was also fun to see the band mem­bers goof­ing off in the video, which seemed to bal­ance the drama in their lyrics from being too serious.

I first heard Swing Out Sis­ter when my neigh­bor, Deb­bie, played me the seven inch of “Break­out.” I imme­di­ately liked their con­tem­po­rary sophisti-pop sound, and I found Corinne Drewery’s voice easy to sing along with. When I bought my CD player a few months later, I decided to take a chance on the band’s debut album, It’s Bet­ter to Travel, as it had sev­eral remixes of their sin­gles as bonus tracks. I met my friend Trixie a few months later, and we would often play my dub of the CD on my cas­sette player in my yel­low 1971 Volk­swagon Super Bee­tle, win­dows down and sun­roof open, belt­ing out “Twi­light World.” How­ever, we didn’t quite under­stand the lyrics and sang “Don’t believe in love songs and lollipops.”

What are your mem­o­ries of “Twi­light World” by Swing Out Sister?

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