These Boots Were Made for Shufflin’ & #ROW80

In case you are not an American or were hiding in your basement from the threat of Zombie Apocalypse, the Super Bowl was played on Sunday. I had no idea until about a week before who was playing, and I’m not sure now who won. Obviously, I am not a football fan.

However, I did turn on my television mere minutes before halftime because, by golly, I wanted to see that halftime show! The main performer was a pop star whom I would argue is my generation’s Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Beatles — you know, those performers who make it big, influence others, and experience decades of success. Moreover, Madonna is known to put on a heck of a show.

Ignoring MIA’s lack of decorum and any comments others made, I personally thought the show was great. Madonna did not disappoint. (Watch however much you want.)

Always looking for take-aways, here’s what I got out of it:

Madonna is a better singer now than when she started. You get better over time if you choose to learn, practice, and hone your craft. Madonna had the benefit of a vocal coach for the Dick Tracy film and training with her Evita performance. Plus, she has hours and hours of singing and performing under her belt. She’s better now for it.

You can still wear hot over-the-knee boots after age 50. And those boots were made for shufflin’. Madonna is 53 year old. Yes, I know she stumbled one little time, but did you see that stage? I’d have been tumbling through half that performance if I’d been in those heels and attempting cartwheels. Meanwhile, I just need to walk most of the time, so I’m thinking about getting a pair of those boots. Where I can find reasonably priced knock-offs?

Motherhood changes your perspective. Madonna recently said in an interview that she argues with her teenage daughter about the length of her daughter’s skirt. Of course, Mom wants it to be longer. Despite her reputation as a sex goddess, Madonna was dressed pretty modestly and kept the moves suggestive rather than some of the more blatant choreography she has demonstrated in the past. I wonder if she was thinking of the other moms out there.

That ROW80 twitter party anthem is pretty catchy. Nicole Basaraba introduced Party Rock Anthem as the #ROW80 Party Anthem/pre-sprint warm-up song. “Every day I’m shufflin’.” Get your boots on, and let’s go!

Here are my Revised ROW80 goals for Round 1 of 2012:

  • Finish editing Grace & Fire mystery novel and send to reader. Finished January 19.
  • Write 2,500 1,500 words per week on young adult novel, Sharing Hunter. Nothing yet this week. Sadly.
  • Blog twice a week on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday and Deep-Fried Friday, and check-in with ROW80 updates twice a week. Posted Valentine’s Special: Candy Heart Sayings on Wednesday and The Kissing Disease & ROW80 update on Sunday.
  • Comment on at least 10 15 blogs per week (not counting ROW80 update comments). Failed to count. I will start keeping track again.
  • Read one writing craft book. Reading On Writing; now on page 195 of 291.
  • Read five eight fiction books. 5 down, starting The Cat, the Lady and the Liar (a cozy mystery) by Leann Sweeney.
  • Exercise three times per week.

How’s it going for y’all? Got your boots? Got your word count? Are you rockin’ the ROW?

Top 10 Dance Crazes

Please join me for a little Deep-Fried Friday Dance Craze! After my How Well Do You Know the 90’s post, in which I mentioned the Macarena, I started thinking about some of the most fun dance crazes I’ve come across. I put together another Top 10 List with fun dance crazes and songs that inspired them.

10. Hand Jive by Johnny Otis. It was so much fun, it was resurrected in Grease. After all, whether or not you can dance, we are all born to hand jive.

9. Chicken Dance – So easy a caveman chicken could do it. And not to be confused with the Bluth family chicken dance from Arrested Development.

8. Macarena by Los Del Rio – When translated, this Spanish song is about a loose-morals gal named Macarena. But let’s face it: Most of us don’t know what it means; we merely enjoy the rhythm and the moves.

7. The Twist by Chubby Checker. It didn’t stop with this song in 1960. Chubby Checker recorded “Let’s Twist Again” in 1961, and the Beatles recorded “Twist and Shout” in 1963.

6. The Bird by The Time – This one didn’t catch on much, but it was a fun few minutes of dancing that interrupted the otherwise too-serious Purple Rain movie. (We get it, Prince: You’re a tortured soul.) Get your bok-bok and your hands goin’!

5. Interlude Dance by Attack! Attack! There is a strange history to this dance craze. Two University of Northern Iowa students came up with the six-step dance and taught it to fellow students. It became all the rage at sporting events. Even the most rhythm-challenged can manage this one, and it’s has a party feel.

4. Cotton-Eyed Joe – This post was also motivated by my appalled realization that my Texas-born and bred children did not know what the Cotton-Eyed Joe was. What are they teaching in P.E.? When I was growing up, it was a rite of passage to learn the Cotton-Eyed Joe and do it at every school dance.

As I started looking for a video for this dance, I passed appalled and ended up at horrified as I learned that the cotton-eyed joe I remember has been largely replaced by a version sung by some band named Reddix and new dance moves. This is the original song I recall, performed here by Asleep at the Wheel in Austin, Texas.

3. Vogue by Madonna – Voguing was popular in clubs before Madonna’s song, but her tune made this a craze across the nation. The official video is good, but her MTV performance of this song (wearing Michelle Pfeiffer’s dress from Dangerous Liaisons by the way) was a classic.

2. Electric Slide. The original dance came with the song Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths. However, it works with just about any song, so I’ve seen the electric slide done at school dances, night clubs, and country dance halls to all kinds of music. Here’s a quick sample from Six Flags.

1. Time Warp by Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Cast. I have a confession to make: I have NEVER seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Gasp! A virgin.) But I have done the Time Warp many a time. It’s so easy, you see: It’s just a jump to the left . . .

I’m sure I missed a LOT of dances. I’ve recently been in a Twitter conversation about line dancing (don’t ask). I’m not as “up” on dance crazes as I thought, since Gloria Richard pointed out something called “The Freeze.” Anyone know this dance? I don’t.

What are your favorites? Do you know of any other up-and-coming crazes that we should all learn? What dances did you grow up doing?

Friday Fiction: Celebrities Write for Children

North Shore Books, North Muskegon, MI

Last week, I talked about how celebrities (actors, comedians, politicians, etc.) often try their hand at writing books (last week’s post). You can add the word “author” to the bios of Carrie Fisher, Steve Martin, William Shatner, and Pamela Anderson. Celeb novels range in quality, but I did make a point of saying that Fannie Flagg is a wonderful author and, in my opinion, only a so-so actress. So I guess she at least has found her calling. 

There are plenty of celebrities also writing children’s books!  Here a few I’ve found: 

Julie Andrews – The Broadway and screen star of such beloved tales as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and Princess Diaries, Julie Andrews has authored children’s books for over thirty-five years, including some co-written with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Titles include The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, and Simeon’s Gift. 

Jamie Lee Curtis – Known for appearances in Halloween, True Lies, and Freaky Friday, she starred in one of my favorite films – A Fish Called Wanda. But she began writing children’s books when she told her own story of adopting a child in Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. Since then, she has written several others, including Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods that Make My Day and When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth.

Sarah Ferguson – Ah, what’s a duchess to do with her spare time! Apparently, one option is to write children’s books. Thus, Sarah Ferguson, the spunky Duchess of York, has penned Tea for Ruby and the Little Red series. 

Whoopi Goldberg – Comedian, actress, and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg authored Alice back in 1992, an urban retelling of Alice in Wonderland. But she is better known for co-writing the series Sugar Plum Ballerinas with Deborah Underwood. 

Fred Gwynne – Yes, he was Herman Munster. But did you know that he had a role in On the Waterfront? In addition, before his death in 1993, Gwynne wrote and illustrated several children’s books, with wordplay titles such as The King Who Rained, A Chocolate Moose for Dinner, and A Little Pigeon Toad. 

John Lithgow – Known for television roles in Harry and the Hendersons and 3rd Rock from the Sun, Lithgow also launched a children’s music career in 1999. Then he authored several children’s books, including The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawber. 

Madonna – If you had told me back in the 1980’s when she was wearing lace bustiers and singing about her sexuality that Madonna would one day write children’s books, I would have called you crazy. But motherhood can alter your priorities. And so Madonna indeed authored the much-touted The English Roses which has spawned a series. 

Henry Winkler – Arthur Fonzarelli is now Author Winkler. Having experienced dyslexia firsthand, he has co-written a series of books with Lin Oliver about a dyslexic adolescent named Hank Zipzer. There are seventeen books in the series now. 

Of the ones listed above, I have only read a couple of Winkler’s Hank Zipzer series and a few from John Lithgow. However, I distinctively remember reading Marsupial Sue by Lithgow to my children when they were younger. 

Do you know of any other celebrities who have penned children’s books? Have you read any of the above? If so, what did you think? Once again, do you have an opinion on actresses, politicians, and other celebs writing books? Do you think it’s a good use of their creativity or a diabolical plot to keep the rest of us from getting published?