Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nostalgia for the old foods

It's nostalgia time.

I don't know if it's because the holidays are a rambling around the corner or the winds are a rollin' and the days are getting shorter, but I've been thinking about "old school foods" if there is such a thing. The foods that were a comfort then, that probably wouldn't be now, but I can't help think about them and smile.

I was watching a news clip the other day about kids and sugar cereal, and how food companies are marketing “bad” cereals to kids. Nice to know that age old battle is still going on. We were fortunate to have parents who knew better, but man at the time it certainly didn't feel that way. Mom was not big on buying us the "good" cereals, although occasionally we wore her down. And that box full of crunchy high fructose goodness was like a slice of another life.

Oh how tastes change...

Ironically, I now favor cereals like Kashi and Raisin Bran, but back in the day the faves were Freakies (I believe there was a regular version and a fruity version) as well as Grins, Smiles, Giggles and Laughs. Really the same cereals, just different shapes. And the FABULOUS free prize in every box. They were almost as cool as Cracker Jacks.

Other munchies from back in the day: Space Food Sticks. They were marketed as "foo
d the astronauts eat", energy bars for the 70's before Luna and Power Bars came around. It was implied they had great nutritional value, but I'm not so sure about that now. They were basically a long chocolate or peanut butter Tootsie Roll. The last thing you need is a bunch of guys in space bouncing around a 100 square-foot tin can on a sugar rush. But they were certainly good at lunch or snack time.

Fruit Float
was a favorite desert in the household. I believe I favored strawberry while my sister liked peach. It was a can of something fruity, you a
dded milk, stirred it up and instant desert! It was jello and pudding like all at the same time. As a wordsmith even than I loved the commercials where an announcer would go around and ask people to say "Fruit Float" three times fast. I couldn't find that one, but this one is a hoot.

What's your old school food?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Recovering DJ Review: Michael Jackson’s “This Is It”

I don’t go to the movies much. And I don’t watch videos or concert films, like ever. But I really wanted to see “This Is It”, for reasons that seem morbid and silly. I never got a chance to see MJ live, so I thought this might be the next best thing. He still is one of the greatest and talented entertainers of my decade and I was curious to see what made him tick.

If you think about it, the flick’s title is chilling, although “This Is It” that was the name of the 40 or so London shows he would have put on. Unless you have been under a huge rock since June, the untimely death of Michael Jackson spurred the release of this rehearsal footage, which turned out to be his final days.

Lovingly put together by long time collaborator Kenny Ortega, it's a voyeuristic glimpse into MJ and his hardworking cavalcade of dancers, singers, musicians and technicians creating a colossal concert. It’s an inside view of what went on in the dance sessions, in some of the additional videos that were cut for the big screen behind the stage, and all the other nuts and bolts that made up this huge endeavor. And then some of MJ’s best tunes- finished dress rehearsal clips are shown. I could not keep back the tears over how wonderful it all was.

What you’d think would be a big showy spectacle is more like a documentary that is at times very personal and touching. A glimpse into a man overshadowed by myth and legend. A perfectionist, he wanted to put on the best show ever for his loyal fans. And all the members of his staff wanted to be a part of that too. Many of the people were happy for the chance, honored to be working with someone with actual skills.

And oh those skills! At 50 his voice was still strong and vibrant. His moves were still fluid and he really seemed to be…Happy!

That’s what gets you, the realization that he seemed ok…even working the long endless hours with relative ease, you wonder “what if " tragedy had not happened.

It’s a movie for MJ fans, or students of stardom. It’s a last look at how one of the few truly talented entertainers did it, before the American Idol’s, Brit Brit’s and super processed “stars” take over it all.

I can’t wait for the DVD to come out.