Asking Girls to Dance(s)- How Guys See It

“Why do they always travel in packs? And how are you supposed to get one on your own to ask them?”

–  Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  

Last year, shortly before asking a girl to Prom (she said yes), I wrote an article titled “Why I Would Rather Fight Off a Pack of Rabid Raccoons With a Spork Than Ask a Girl to a Dance.” Thankfully I didn’t have a blog and never posted the article, because even the title is flawed. One, it’s too long; and two, it’s false. But, with Prom fast approaching, I decided to salvage and expand that article. And for the record, I have a Prom date this year as well, so this doesn’t strictly apply to me.

But I thought it was worth sharing, particularly for girls. Because fret not, this covers both asking a girl to dance (middle school) and to a dance (high school). If any ladies out there have ever wondered how guys feel about it, then please sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

 

Middle School: Asking a Girl to Dance

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Alright ladies, would you like to know our thought process when a slow song comes on at a dance? (I’m going back to middle school here). Curious as to the reason a lot of guys scurry to their pre-ordained corners when so much as two seconds of Leona Lewis comes on?

Well, here’s what it’s like for middle school guys.

We already know who we’re going to ask two minutes into the night. That’s a given. Don’t think for a second that when a slow song comes on, we’re trying to decide who to approach. Rather, approximately the first 75% of the song is spent trying to find said girl. Because they’re always in a pack, and they’re always moving around the gym like the mob is there to collect a price on their heads.

Which is why once we finally find said girl, we hesitate, because what if the song is almost over? It kind of sounds like it’s almost over. It’s taking that low, slower dip that means it’s probably got thirty seconds left at best. I’ll just ask next song. Next song for sure.

BUT YOU DON’T. Because the SAME THING happens. And by the time it’s stopped happening, the event is over, and you almost want to just go up to the girl as she’s leaving and say, “Hey, I know I didn’t ask you to dance tonight, but I totally was trying to.” If anyone ever does try that, let me know, as I’m curious what the results would be…

So girls, on behalf of all middle school guys: IF YOU WANT TO GET ASKED TO SLOW DANCE, STOP TURNING THE SCHOOL GYM INTO A GAME OF REAL-LIFE WHERE’S WALDO. STAY IN ONE PLACE.

Or, if you want to break social barriers, just go up to a guy and ask to dance. Nothing wrong with that. Just don’t send your agents.

“Agents?” you cry to yourself with…well, probably no curiosity whatsoever. I’ll still define it:

Agents (n)- In the context of middle school dances, these are a group of girls numbering from 2 to 5 whose sole job is to find a guy, drag him to their ‘agent clan leader’ (as I call them), and command them to dance.

Girls of all ages, please don’t do this. I know it’ scary to talk to a guy, but it’s scary for us to talk to you, too. If you want a guy to ask you and don’t want to ask yourself, just go up and talk to them without your fifty closest friends flocking you like the Secret Service. Agents are bad. Because if eighth grade guys were sending packs of other eighth grade guys to grab a thirteen year old girl and drag her across the gym, no one would think that it’s cute. They’d just call the cops.

But to close, I should say that proper slow dances are like best friends: each  one is unique, but equally amazing, and you remember them all. So ask away.

 

High School: Asking a Girl to a Dance

Alright, this is really the bulk of my article from last year, in which I made fun of the asking process by dividing it into phases. Please, no one take this too seriously, it’s meant purely to entertain and isn’t literally how I feel. In a way, it’s parodying how much people worry about this whole thing. After sending to literary agents, I don’t have the energy to stress over stuff like asking a girl to a dance.

That being said, here’s the battle map I drew.

 

Phase 1: Finding a Time to Ask

Option 1: In Person

  • I usually avoid this one, just because if a girl wants to say no, I’d like to give them the time to prepare a well-thought text message.
  • If you choose this option, then it’s a trial of the fates just to find time to get the girl alone to talk to for more than ten seconds. Unless you want to go to her house, but this lays down a whole new set of risks.
  • Benefits include (forced) immediate response and more difficulty for said girl to decline. Drawbacks include immediate response and harsher declining.

Option 2: Texting

  • Ideal because everyone can think about what they say before they say it—a particularly useful weapon in a teenage guy’s arsenal
  • Always a slight risk because you can’t be sure the person you’re talking to is who you think they are.
  • Can be a pain to get their phone number! (Note: If you ask for it and they politely refuse by saying they’re “Amish” or “on probation,” then just quit while you’re ahead.)

 

Phase 2: The Wait

I can’t emphasize the truthfulness of the Facebook page called “The most important texts always seem to take the longest to hear from.”

Things to do while waiting for a reply:

  • Watch all of the Lord of The Rings movies.
  • Google something to make yourself feel better, such as cat videos on YouTube or a picture of chinchillas having a birthday party.
  • Weep for your future.
  • See about transferring schools.

 

Phase 3: The Response(s)

The most interesting phase, and the one at which we either dance with joy (in the manliest way, of course) or contemplate slamming our fingers in a car door.

Below is a table of some of the most notable types of rejections.

response chart

Again, please don’t interpret this literally, but I hope you laughed. And always remember, guys: if you never hear an answer, and you know it was intentional, run. Or Google something to make yourself feel better.

Oh look, I found that chinchilla picture!

BEypjTsCEAAelwK

Good luck with Prom, everyone. And Happy (early) Easter!

The Best Assigned Novel I’ve Ever Read (Book Review: Flowers For Algernon)

“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”

–  Charlie Gordon, Flowers For Algernon

 

Flowers For Algernon coverIn 8th grade, my last day of school before Spring Break was a Thursday.

Stick with me! This does have a point. I remember that it was a Thursday because I went to a private school, and our last day was on Holy Thursday. And I remember that last day very clearly, because we did quite a few fantastically fun things. But the best was when our class watched the movie adaption of Flowers For Algernon, the book we’d been reading for the past two months. I was reminded of that when hearing from all my eighth grade friends, who got out of school today. This book still sticks out at me as being one of the first ones I’d been assigned to read and actually enjoyed.

For anyone who’s been living under a rock and isn’t familiar with Flowers For Algernon, here’s the concept: a mentally challenged man, Charlie Gordon, writes journal entries about how he was selected by his teacher, Mrs. Kinnian, to undergo an operation that could raise his IQ and give him the intelligence of a normal person. So far, it’s only worked on a lab mouse called Algernon. The procedure is successful, and soon Charlie is even smarter than the professors who orchestrated the surgery. In the course of his development, he learns what it feels like to fall in love, have his emotions catch up with his mind, find the parents who gave him up, and possibly uncover a flaw in his surgery that could have a fatal consequence.

Okay, I dramatized that a teensy bit, but that’s the premise of the book. I hope that’s enough to hook the majority of readers, but if it isn’t, here’s more positive rambling about it.

First of all, the plot is engrossing. Seriously. The actual surgery happens within the first forty pages, and the book focuses on Charlie’s development after that. When I started reading, I immediately noticed Daniel Keyes’s masterful styling, how the page was littered with misspelled words and grammatical errors and had the complete feel of a journal entry from a mentally challenged man. I was eager to see how Charlie’s increasing intelligence would be reflected in his writing style, and Keyes pulls it off perfectly. I know that’s a strong word, and I rarely use it. The writing style of this book is perfect.

Who here liked The Avengers? I did, and one of my favorite things about it (other than seeing Iron Man blow up everything) was the clever interactions in specific scenes. Pick the wittiest conversation from that movie, and you have the dialogue from this entire book. Smart-Charlie, albeit being arrogant, is hilarious and thrilling to read about in his interactions with people.

My favorite part of the book, by far, is…well, it’s…

Okay, I can’t do this. I literally love the whole thing. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, including all of the Harry Potter’s, Percy Jackson’s, Artemis Fowl’s, and all of the classic literature novels I’ve read in my literature classes.

I don’t know why. I’ll admit a small part of that stems from the fact that I read it in 8th grade, the most light and fun year of school I’ve ever had (so far, anyway, though senior year is pretty darn close) and I had a fantastic teacher who made it enjoyable to talk about.

But most of it is the book itself, which I still re-read to this day. The plot is enticing, the characters are incredibly human—not to mention well-developed—but more than anything, the text is dripping with emotion. It didn’t make me cry, but very few books have, and this one came pretty darn close.

As a side note, the beloved but little-known movie adaption (the one with Matthew Modine) is one of the best adaptions I’ve seen, and if you’ve read the book but haven’t seen this movie, please go do it. And if you haven’t read the book, do that first! I promise you won’t regret it.

Before I close, I just want to end on the note that some books are so unique, pulled off in exactly the right, unique way, that you have to read them. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in literature, chemistry or basket weaving…this is just one of those texts that it’s a crime not to have experienced.

In Conclusion: There are very few books I’ve read that I consider pure perfection. This is one of them.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Rate: 10 out of 10.

The Stages of Increasingly Desperate College Emails

“Would you miss us if we went away?”

–  Actual subject line of a college email I received

 

I know it’s usual for many bloggers to go a week without posting, but that’s never happened with me before, so I apologize. I was on a class trip to Boston, which I was going to blog about, but I decided too much incredible stuff happened for me to post it all. So I’m just going to keep it to myself. Sorry!

But, on day three of said Boston trip, my senior friends got quite a few emails and letters from colleges hearing about admissions statuses. Then we all started talking about how annoying college emails are, and what kind of crazy spam they send.

One time, I had a beautiful dream that I was in the same situation with literary agents.

One time, I had a beautiful dream that I was in the same situation with literary agents.

I once received a full book and DVD from a college I’d never even heard of. Several times, I’ve gotten promotion packets thicker than my college acceptance packets. But one thing that adheres to a fixed trend is the desperate nature of spam. So, I decided to break down college emails into their stages of decline.

 

Stage One: The Initial Contact

This one is like meeting a new kid on the first day of school: they say hi to you, and you give a casual wave back, unsure if they’re cool or not but willing to give them a chance. Colleges send this in the form of something simple.

Example: “Hey [name], how are you today?” (Yes, most of the emails actually start with that). “I noticed you [insert details that could apply to any human being with a brain and heartbeat]. Because of this, we think you might be interested in our university. Come check us out! And visit our website for more info! The application deadline is just two months away, and we’d hate for you to miss it.”

Analysis: Nothing wrong with this, but I think it should stop here. You’ve gotten my attention, and if I like your college, I’ll look into it. Thank you for your time.

 

Stage Two: The Follow-up Contact

Now the new kid is trying to show you all his cool stuff. I’m sure your stuff is very cool, but let’s get to know each other a little better first, okay?

Example: “By the way, I noticed you didn’t respond to my last email. That’s totally okay! But in case you didn’t get it, [regurgitated form of last email]. Also, you might be interested in this totally objective book that in no way pushes you towards our university, 71 Reasons Why You Can Succeed Anywhere! Subtext: As long as it’s here.”

Analysis: Alright, you’ve made your point. Leave me in peace.

 

Stage Three: Is This the Right Email Address?

“Dear [name]. We’ve really missed you! It’s been forty eight hours since we first emailed you, and we have yet to hear back! The application deadline is one month and twenty-eight days away, and the last thing on Earth we want is for you to miss it. Because there’s a VERY good chance you would get in here, cough cough. Please please please just let us know if this isn’t the right email address so we know to forward our redundant junk to a different place if necessary. Because we’ll do it! We’ll do anything at all you need to consider our university. But we really just want to make sure we’re reaching you right now, and we’re starting to get scared, and lonely, so please please reply? Thanks. Oh and, you also might enjoy this other book we picked out for you, 105 Steps to Going to the Best University in the World. Totally objective, of course. Hope to hear from you soon!”

Analysis: Okay, I’m done here, it was good to meet you, have a prosperous life!

 

Stage Four: Come On, Fill Out the App. All the Cool Kids Are Doing It.

“Okay, [name], you’re playing hard to get. You sly dog! But it’s all good. We’re not trying to pressure or influence you in any way, since applying somewhere is something that’s completely your decision, but you’ll notice we attached our 16 MB application to this email. Plus, if you apply now, we’ll waive the application fee, the essay requirement, and the need to see any transcripts! In fact, just attach a list of any crimes you’ve been convicted of, and we should be all good. But you have to hurry! The application deadline is only one month away, and we don’t want you to feel stressed or pressured. Because there’s a really good chance you’ll get in here. Hope to hear from you soon!”

Analysis: Back off, stranger, I have mace.

 

Stage Five: Seriously, Fill It Out

“Okay, okay, we understand! Filling out applications is a lot of work! But the deadline is almost here, and it would be a moral abomination if you missed it because you didn’t receive our initial one hundred and three thousand emails. Tell you what: you don’t need to fill out the application any more. Or write the essay, or pay anything, or send anything! Look down there, we’ve sent a link to a secret section of our website. Just click that link, type in your birthday and gender, and that’s it! You’ve applied! Dear Lord please just do this, we’ll owe you big time. We’re getting nervous. Hope to hear from you soon!”

Analysis: I don’t really have a comment on this one, other than to let everyone know that some colleges really have emailed me saying just to fill out my gender and birthday, and that would be my entire application.

 

Stage Six: PLEASE

“LITERALLY CLICK THIS BUTTON AND YOU’LL BE ACCEPTED TO OUR UNIVERSITY AND WE’LL PAY FOR YOU TO GO HERE. THE APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS YESTERDAY BUT WE’VE PUSHED IT TO WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT. HECK, JUST SHOW UP ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL AND WE’LL ENROLL YOU. PLEASE JUST GO HERE AND WE PROMISE TO NEVER EVER EMAIL YOU AGAIN AND OH GOD PLEASE SOMEBODY LOVE ME.”

Analysis: Okay, I’ve never gotten an email like this word for word, but some of them these days are pretty darn close.

 

Stage Seven: The Final Contact

“Congratulations! Now that you’ve opened this email, you’re officially enrolled in (and legally bound to attend) our college! We hope you’ve found this process relatively painless, and we look forward to seeing you this fall!

P.S. The initial enrollment fee is $350, non-refundable, cash-only, due immediately. Thank you for choosing our university!”

Analysis: Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m waiting.

Also! I finally gained enough self-confidence to turn on comments for my posts. So please, everyone comment!

The Five Deadly Phrases in Test Instructions

“Don’t get me wrong, I like reading. But some books should come with warning labels: Caution: contains characters and plots guaranteed to induce sleepiness. Has been known to cause blindness, seizures and a terminal loathing of literature. Should only be taken under the supervision of a highly trained English teacher. Preferably one who grades on the curve.”

–  Tyler Johnson, Twisted

 

Tonight’s post is the product of one thing all high schoolers are masterful at doing: complaining about tests. I think that there are a lot of things flawed with major school tests. I’m not talking about unit exams or chapter quizzes or anything else the teachers make. I have great teachers, and they generally make fair exams.

I’m talking about the big tests, the ones that make every kid quake in their boots. AP Tests, SAT’s, ACT’s, end-of-year finals. 

wordproblem1

It doesn’t matter how many, because I’ve already shoved all the marbles in my eye sockets by now.

But I’m not here to complain about the college board. I’ll save that for the kids about to take the SAT’s, like I was a year ago. No, tonight my complaint is far more general: the complaint of the certain phrases in test instructions that make me want to rip up said test and scatter the pieces like New Year’s confetti.

Here goes!

1.  Explain your answer.

No, sir, I would not like to explain my answer. I’ve just worked very hard in reaching my answer, which is the ability I’m supposedly being tested on. Is this ever applicable in real life? I wouldn’t know, since I’m not even out of high school yet, but I seriously doubt everyday conversations include this.

“Hi, I’d like an Oreo McFlurry with medium fries and an apple pie.”

“Alright, sir, your change is $5.73.”

“Yes, but can you explain your answer? That is the real question.”

 

2.  Be Specific.

This, honestly, feels like the test maker is just reaching out of the paper and slapping you across the face. It’s bad enough they’ve just asked a killer question that you may not even have a confident answer for, then they finish it off with, “be specific.” But what really irks me is that this is never tacked on the end of a simple question where it would make sense, such as, “What color is copper chloride? Be specific.” It’s always something along the lines of this actual test question I once got, which reads, “If attendance at a conference fell by 20 percent from last year, the attendance at the conference would have been 2112. If the attendance at the conference had instead risen by 25 percent, how many more people would have attended the conference this year? Be specific.”

I KNOW TO BE SPECIFIC YOU FOOL. YOU ASKED ME FOR A NUMBER. The only way to not be specific in answering this question is to write “a lot.” I know some people try it, but is it enough of an issue that you have to finish your verbal beating with a verbal kill shot? That’s like having your parents yell at you for three straight hours, then concluding with, “Oh and, be upset. Now!”

Mission accomplished, guys. You’ve pummeled us with a killer flurry of words meant to elicit a certain reaction. They do their job on their own. Don’t beat a dead horse. Especially if you’re the one who killed it.

 

3.  Elaborate your points.

This once again falls under the category of ‘verbal kill shot.’ Frequently found after an essay prompt, “elaborate” is one of the worst words the sentence can end with. Essentially the test writer is telling you, “Here’s an essay for you to write, and make sure to write lots or you’ll be sure to fail. Kay?”

worldlean

 

4.  If not, explain why.

Does. It. Really. Matter? I answered your question. This goes back to the whole ‘life application’ concept mentioned in complaint 1. You’re never going to be an anesthesiologist who sits down with a patient about to go into surgery and says, “Now, are you allergic to any medications? If not, explain why.” It doesn’t matter, my good doctor. The fact is, I’m not allergic to any medications, and if that knockout fluid kills me, it’s now your fault and not mine. So let’s get cracking.

And the same is true for “if yes, explain why,” too.

whynot

5.  Use examples.

Okay, my complaint train is reaching the end of its journey. I guess there’s not really an excuse for complaining about having to use examples with your answer, other than the stem of sheer laziness. I’m a senior, and I’m pretty sure I’m developing a scorching case of Senioritis (I plan on posting my official diagnosis in a week or two).

 

Tests aren’t horrible on their own. But there are certain kinds that relate in no way whatsoever to real life. I would prefer the kind of test where you stand up and talk through answers, explaining your logic and reasoning. I talk better than I write. Unfortunately, some of my teachers are still stuck in this mode:

unhteacher

But, I’m not complaining. I love my teachers and the education I’ve gotten. Still, the fact that high school will soon end isn’t the scariest thing in the world.

It’s pretty darn scary, but not the scariest.

On Writing: The Two Ingredients of Good Writing

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

–  Toni Morrison

 

Take yourself back to third grade for a minute. Back then, nine long years ago, I was learning about finding greatest common factors. If anyone else learned these the same way I did, you probably had to take the numbers being compared and break them down with little trees, again and again, until you had them all reduced to 2’s and 3’s and other small numbers being multiplied together—aka, until you had a list of all factors. Then you found the greatest ones in each tree, proudly circled the answer, and got your sticker.

This was the best example I could think of to paint the simple picture in your mind of a chart where one thing is at the top, then it’s broken down into smaller increments, and smaller, until it’s all reduced. I could’ve gone the ‘family tree’ route, but those don’t exactly show one person being broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. At least, I hope not.

Get to the point, you clown.

Alright! The reason I kicked off this post with this example is because I think I’ve finally figured out what makes good writing—in strictly my opinion, of course. And I needed the tree breakdown example because one thing I think we can all agree on is that books (well, good ones, anyway) are complicated. It’s not just about having a good story, or concept…it’s about having good characters, and setting, and humor, and drama, and a satisfying conclusion, and oh by the way each of those have different amounts depending on what genre you’re writing for. We don’t want too much humor in a story about death nor too much drama in a children’s picture book. And no, I haven’t forgotten about nonfiction books, which are just as hard to write.

So, that’s the bottom of the “good writing” tree, and I’m not smart nor experienced enough to pick through all that. Instead, I’m zooming back up the tree to the very top, to the one thing (or two things, in this case) that envelops all others. The two things that, if you without a doubt have these, mean that everything else is or will be there in appropriate amounts.

Okay, let’s continue this abysmal math metaphor with an equation.

My personal, subjective equation:

Thought + Emotion= Good Writing

Now. Any officials in the publishing or agenting industry who just read that are most likely slapping their keyboard and/or about to commit a drastic crime. When it comes down to publishing, a book is about a million other things than good content. It’s about proper font, and formatting, and professionalism in editing…

Which is why I specifically said this equation equals good writing, not a good book. I’m just going off the assumption that if an aspiring author has good writing, they can figure out the formatting for themselves. And if they can’t, I’m sure not the person to ask.

So, since I have some time, I’ll examine these two elements under a microscope (ooh, we’re doing science analogies now!)

 

1. Thought

First of all, allow me to appease any grammar Nazis who are currently contemplating the best way to detach my head from my body. Yes, grammar is an essential ingredient in writing. I didn’t leave it out of the equation. It’s included, right here, under ‘thought.’ You’d better believe that in the English language, having proper grammar takes some serious thought. And one of the primary ways to inject thought into writing is to decide, with extreme care, how words are going to be linked together not only to make sense, but to convey the clearest meaning.

Writing where thought is most important is non-fiction, of course, such as with information books, instruction manuals, or personal memoirs. Yes, some memoirs are much more emotion-based, but not everyone who has an inspiring story or is famous can write well. Just look at Snooki, to name one example. She could have the most tear-jerking tale of all time (the world could also end next week; anything’s possible). But if Snooki’s book reads anything like she speaks, I won’t be able to make any sense of it. Probably a blessing in disguise, but that’s not my point.

Thought goes beyond just using words, though. It also means putting thought into your story. I can’t define this too well other than to say it. Putting thought into story. Things like the complexity of Severus Snape’s past, or the elaborate explanation of crimes in Sherlock Holmes. These required conscious effort on the authors’ parts, and it shows.

As for non-fiction, thought is still required beyond words. This is more deciding how to organize what you’re trying to say, and researching facts before you regurgitate them. I would rather be bound by my imagination, but that’s a personal preference.

 

2. Emotion

It’s my belief that people are quite wrong if they assume emotion is strictly for fiction writing and memoirs. Fact-based books without even a drop of emotional appeal don’t read well, and while their information may be correct, there tends to be limited success in conveying said information to the painfully bored reader. My AP World History textbook, loathed even by my patient teacher, is a perfect example of this.

That being said, emotion is a much more important ingredient in fiction writing. A story without emotion is like a train that never shows up. Not every book has to be the next Harry Potter, but I think every story should at least make you smile, cry, laugh, or gasp in surprise. Good books like Harry Potter do all of the above, but that’s just icing on the cake.

Because if you think about it, isn’t that why we read fiction? Other than when our teachers make us, I mean.

 

Writing is difficult, which is why I only do it if my heart is in it (see epigraph). With these two ingredients, the whole writing process gets tricky, because thought and emotion go hand in hand. You need to think in order to feel and you need to feel in order to find the energy to think.

And those people who can think and feel in just the right way, in just the right amounts, while blowing us away with their cleverness?

Well, I like to call them storytellers.

Capstone Report II: The Kidz Bop Pandemic

“Hey, you know what would be an excellent idea? Remake a bunch of adult-themed pop songs, and clean them up for five year olds by replacing the original lyrics with senseless filler words. Then let’s get a bunch of little kids singing that in an off-key beat. That’ll be sure to sell!”

–  Someone said it

 

A bit of background: today, I had to stand in front of a group of college professors and present my capstone report, a research project I’ve been working on for the past year as a part of my high school study program. My chosen issue was health care in less developed countries. I was incredibly wound up, and though I think I nailed it, I still felt like de-stressing by writing a second report…one covering an issue just as, if not more, critical to our society…

 

 Research Report March 15, 2013: The Kidz Bop Pandemic

Intro to report: Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. A chosen issue I believe needs more attention is a group of children, disturbingly dubbed “The Kidz Bop Kidz,” and their virulent mass of music that shows no rate of decreasing nor getting remotely better. Aside from teaching America’s children the incorrect way to spell “Kids,” this band of renegades is responsible for taking many popular—alas, sometimes good—songs, and twisting them into deadly pieces of “music” (for want of a better word) known to cause mild to severe vomiting, intense bleeding of the ears, and a general hatred for the music industry unprecedented since the first appearance of Nicki Minaj.

(It should be noted that if one begins to hear a Nicki Minaj song covered by the Kidz Bop Kidz, they should run to the nearest exit and seek shelter immediately. Make no attempt to go back and rescue your friends; if they’ve already been exposed, there is nothing to be done. There are some things that can’t be un-heard.)

In order to write a proper report on this, I spent a substantial amount of time gathering extensive research on this subject to further clarify my points and help me draw a proper conclusion. I present my findings below, with the hope that the committee will realize how serious of an issue this indeed is.

Research: For those committee members unfamiliar with the hooligans known as the “Kidz Bop Kidz,” they sing covers of popular songs with slightly changed lyrics to make the song clean for everyone to hear. I’m sorry…they “sing” covers of the songs with “slightly” changed lyrics to make the song “clean” for “everyone.”

After an hour of picking through various songs (don’t worry, my ears will heal eventually), I’ve assembled a list of some of the most troubling cases, though please note these are only a few examples of hundreds.

1.  “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen

  • Original Lyric: “I beg and borrow and steal.”
  • Edit: “I beg and borrow and feel.”
  • Comment: Singing about giving out your number to strange men as soon as you meet them? Yeah, no biggie. But mentioning stealing? Not on my watch!

2.  “Telephone,” Lady GaGa

  • Original Lyric: “Out in the club and I’m sippin that bubb, you’re not going to reach my telephone.”
  • Edit: “Out in the club and I’m eatin that grub, you’re not going to reach my telephone.”
  • Comment: I too turn off my phone whenever partaking in grub.

3.  “Glad You Came,” The Wanted

  • Original Lyric: “Hand you another drink, drink it if you can.”
  • Edit: “Hand you another dance, dance it if you can.”
  • Comment: Excuse me, can you hold this dance for me while I tie my shoe? Or just put it in your pocket or something. Because dances are tangible objects. Objects that I can hand to you.

4.  “F— The Pain Away,” Peaches

  • Original Lyric: “F— the pain away, f— the pain away!”
  • Edit: “Chuck the rain away, chuck the rain away!”
  • Comment: Hey boss, I think we’ve got one the kids can cover. What’s it called? Well, I’m working on that. The refrain is filled with cussing and the ejecting of pain, but if we tidy that up and slap a new title on, we should be all good!

5.  “Starships,” Nicki Minaj

  • Original Lyric: “We’re higher than a mother——!”
  • Edit: “We’re Kidz Bop and we’re taking over!”
  • Comment: Dear Lord I hope not.

6. “Raining Blood,” Slayer

  • Original Lyric: “Now I shall reign in blood!”
  • Edit: “Now I shall love my dad!”
  • Comment: No, I’m not making this up.

7.  “Never Say Never,” The Fray

  • Original Lyric: Entire song
  • Comment: No lyrics were changed, and yet still, I literally gagged out loud when I heard the refrain of this version. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Once again, I must note that these are only several examples of a very real and consistent problem. As of this date, twenty three albums in the main series have been released, not including extra disks such as Kidz Bop Christmas, Kidz Bop Dance Party, or the album pictured below that I had to triple check was authentic.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

And indeed, this problem shows no sign of dissipating. New edits are already being made for volume 24, which includes the song “Thrift Shop” with the new lyric—and no, I’m not making this up—“walk into the club like whaddup, I got a cool mom.”

Conclusion: In closing, I ask the committee to not ignore this issue, but to do something about the infection of good, innocent music. This continues to be a problem of our society, and if this pandemic isn’t caught and contained soon, the next generation and future children will be “bopping” into decline.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

*As a side note, I want to be clear that while the lyric edits I presented are very real, this report was meant to be a parody. I understand there are many worse issues in the world than dreadful music.

Movie Review: Hancock

Hancock: (After kicking a car in front of a train) “All of you people, blocking the intersection, you’re all idiots.”

Large woman: “Why didn’t you just go straight up in the air with the car? You’ve obviously injured that poor woman.  She should sue you!”

Hancock: “Okay, well, you should sue McDonald’s, lady!”

 

Hancock posterBeing resigned to the fact that the majority of my reviews are out of date, I’ve accepted the fact that most people have long since forgotten about this movie. Which is a shame, because it’s quite a good film, and even if you don’t read any further of this post, I’d definitely recommend you go see it. For those who do read, I should note this review is spoiler-free.

For those unfamiliar with the setup of this movie: Will Smith stars as Hancock, a superhero who’s a little…unorthodox. Since he’s immortal and can’t be injured, he usually saves the day by destroying things or throwing criminals’ cars across the city. He also is exceptionally rude to everyone and is drunk more often than not. To top it off, he has a tendency to yell at people after saving them, as with the conversation at the top of this article.

The plot kicks off when Hancock saves a family man, Ray Embry, who wants to help Hancock turn his life around and become a law-abiding superhero. But this is only the start, because Hancock has a mysterious connection to Ray’s family…a connection explaining where Hancock came from in the first place.

I know, it sounds awesome. Trust me, it is.

I first saw this in the middle of 8th grade, during a car tip with my scout troop up to our annual February campout I blogged about a few weeks ago. That was four years ago, and a few snow days ago, I decided it was time for a re-watch.

The kind of people who will enjoy this movie: the ones who like action comedies. That’s the movie’s main platform, even if it brings in surprisingly well-done drama during its second half. It has the action comedy feel of the film The Rundown, probably because both were directed by the same person. That being said, the battles and the jokes are strong enough that even if you’re only a fan of one of the two, this movie is worth it.

What I liked: well, the jokes were pretty hilarious, as was Will Smith in delivering them. Even more than Will Smith, though, is the excellent Charlize Theron. Her role in the movie doesn’t seem significant until later, but the scene between her and Hancock in the hospital is my favorite part of the entire film.

What I disliked: well, the movie isn’t Earth-shattering. It doesn’t stay in your memory or leave you talking about it weeks after (though I’m not one to judge, I’m here talking about it four years after). It’s basically one of those wow-that-was-good-now-let’s-move-on flicks. And a solid one at that.

And, without getting into details, the movie has a thoughtful conclusion. There are few things that irk me more than a good, enjoyable film with a loose or careless ending. This one wastes no time on sentiments—there are only a few minutes between the climactic battle and the credits, but those few minutes wrap everything up nicely.

In conclusion: If you like action and/or comedy, see this movie. It won’t leave your mind reeling, but it’ll surprise you with the quality packed into its ninety minutes. Its strong cast doesn’t disappoint in injecting the consistent laughs and, later on, surprisingly deep emotion.

Rate: 7 out of 10.