Thursday, June 28, 2012

The "Mindy" to My "Mork"

Most people who know me know that I've been a fan of the classic sci-fi sitcom Mork & Mindy for well over a decade.  Ever since seeing reruns on Fox Family back in 1999, I've been quoting the show, using "Na nu, na nu!" as a greeting, and exclaiming "Shazbot!" when things go wrong.  For those who haven't heard of the show, Mork & Mindy aired on ABC from 1978 to 1982.  Mork (played by Robin Williams) was an alien who crash-landed in Boulder, CO while on an assignment to study Earth customs.  The first Earthling he meets is Mindy McConnell, a beautiful college student.  Mork na├»vely moves in with Mindy, not realizing what him living with her appears like to those who don't know he is an alien.  Over the show's four seasons, Mork got into one misadventure after another, usually caused by his lack of understanding of our planet.  Usually, Mindy had to explain to him how things really worked on this terrestrial ball.  It's a hilarious show, and, in my opinion, it makes more modern network sitcoms such as Friends or Everybody Loves Raymond look like Teletubbies.
Although I've watched and loved situation comedies ranging from The Andy Griffith Show to Growing Pains to Home Improvement to VICTORiOUS to That's So Raven to even the little-known, single-season Complete Savages, Mork & Mindy has had a hold on me that no other show has been able to match.  It isn't just the sheer hilarity of the show, or Robin Williams' utter zaniness; it's because, in many ways, Mork is like me.  Seriously, although he was an alien from a fictional planet, he acted in a very autistic way.  Consider the following:
  • Mork often asked questions about idiosyncrasies of the planet, such as, "Why do they call it 'rush hour' when nothing moves?" I've always wondered similar things; even as a kid, when I read The Extinct Alphabet Book, and it had the coleacanth under the letter "C," but mentioned that it had been discovered that it wasn't extinct, and said it "should not even be in this book!" My first response was, "Then, why is it?"
  • Mork sometimes made people upset without realizing what he was doing or saying; for example, he once got into an argument with Mindy just because he'd heard from a friend that you "kiss and make up" after such an altercation.  However, Mork's earthling roommate had no idea why he was acting in such a way, and got really infuriated with him.  I've had almost the exact same thing happen; I've said things in an attempt to make people laugh, but ended up doing nothing but enraging them.
  • Mork often had trouble understanding the world in general, and needed people (usually Mindy) to explain to him what was really going on.  The same is true for me; I've always had trouble with human tradition at large, and am eternally grateful kind, patient individuals--especially my mother--for helping me to comprehend them.
It's no surprise that "Morko" has been one of my favorite sitcom characters for many years.  I know it's just television, but, I got to thinking today: If I'm like Mork, then, if I ever get married, my wife should be like Mindy! No, I'm not searching for a Pam Dawber look-alike; that's not what I mean.  Instead, what I'm trying to get at is: Since I have always had trouble understanding the ways, customs, beliefs, and behaviors of the denizens of our planet, I would need a significant other who could help me understand them.  My mom has been great at that, for sure, but I can't depend on her forever.  I've become better over the years at comprehending human behavior, but recent incidences have shown that I still have some work to do.  Could there be a woman out there--either coeval or a "cougar"--who could do that for me? That, I don't know, but I sure hope there is.  Frankly, I think a "Mindy" is what this "Mork" has needed all along.
Any comments?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Best Song You've Never Heard (Or Maybe You Have?)

Avid television-watchers around my age or older might remember the sporadic ABC show The Best Commercials You've Never Seen...and Some You Have.  The program was intended to showcase lesser-known TV advertisements that were unusually clever, funny, strange, original, etc., instead of the regular monotony during station breaks.  Though the show had some rather unfortunate moments, I admire its intention; many times, original works of all forms get overlooked in favor of the same recycled garbage.
I bring that up for one reason: There is a song that I have loved for years now, but I've never met anyone else who has heard it, mostly because it's largely unknown in the States.  In 2006, my mom purchased UK artist Michael Ball's Live at the Royal Albert Hall CD, which, as usual for Mr. Ball, primarily consisted of cover songs.  This particular album had Michael's take on everything from "Love on the Rocks" to "Gethsemane" (from Jesus Christ Superstar) to even a medley of Blues Brothers songs.  Although I liked almost all of the songs on it, one stood out: "Something Inside So Strong".  Not only did the lyrics just scream me, but the sound was great, too.  Upon further research, I found out that it was originally written by Labi Siffre, and has been covered by everyone from the Dublin Gospel Choir to Anglo techno spinners Dance to Tipperary to even Kenny Rogers, whose version is in the YouTube video below.  Maybe I'm just weird, but I think the song is great; I've always liked songs that talk about overcoming adversity, including Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," "Can't Back Down" from Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Kerrie Roberts' "Outcast," and even "Step Up" from the Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie soundtrack.  This song goes right along with them; it says to any jerks who are 100% against what I like and/or do, "You may oppose me, but I will win!" With the way I've been treated my entire life, that's the kind of message I need.  Enjoy the song!

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Is Just Too Much

One thing probably everyone who has ever known me has probably noticed is that I operate in extremes.  I'm either doing something way too much or not nearly enough; I'm either giving it my all or putting forth as little effort as possible; if I know about it, I either adore it or intensely despise it.  It's always been hard for me to do things in moderation, and attempts to get me to do so when I was younger were often met with an angry, defiant response.  Yes, my regularly mentioned obsessions with shows, celebrities, computer/video games, etc., are all part of that.  Still, there's something else that I have been doing in serious excess for about two years, and I either need to keep it to a minimum or just end it entirely.  Is it sinful? No, and it wouldn't be a problem if it didn't smack of an addiction.  What is it? I can only think of one way to describe it: Reading "girly" books.
Here's how it all started: Over the past few years, I've had a personal rule that I alternate the genres of books I read: one that's science fiction/fantasy, and one that doesn't fall into that category.  The latter could be anything from an action/adventure novel to historical fiction to a mystery to a legal thriller, and, up until summer of 2009, it usually was one or more of them.  However, what changed everything two years ago was finding a Christian novel called Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson.  The cover even said it was the premiere novel in a series called Weddings by Bella, which would send most guys--normally including me--running the other way.  Nonetheless, there was something about that book that just made me want to read it, and the hilarious beginning took away all the thoughts of, "Why am I reading this?" I went on to read the entire trilogy, and even got other novels by Mrs. Thompson, many of which also were nuptial-themed.
As the months went by, I discovered other female-oriented books and book series, usually under the banner of Christian fiction.  Even over the past year, I've been reading novels intended for teenage girls, and, no, they weren't sci-fi/fantasy! While that's been going on, many of my non-"girly", non-sci-fi, non-fantasy books have sat on my shelf, barely even being touched other than to be rearranged to make room for other books that do fit into one or more of those categories.  Although I've still kept that aforementioned, genre-alternating rule in place, it's practically turned into: One sci-fi/fantasy novel and one "girly" novel.  Reading such literature would be great in moderation, but to do it in excess is quite the problem.
What I wonder is: How do I stop it? I don't want to give up on experiencing such novels completely; as long as I like it and it isn't causing me to sin, what's wrong with it? I'd like to think it would be easier to curb now that I've officially finished the young adult twelve-novel Sierra Jensen series, which I've been working through since February; yet, there are plenty of other similarly-themed books out there, including at yard sales.  Even some of the novels that might seem "girly" aren't when you actually read them; the first three novels in Karen Kingsbury's Bailey Flanigan tetralogy each devote several chapters to the thoughts, experiences, and actions of Cody Coleman, a male character and romantic interest of the title character who was introduced in Kingsbury's previous works.  (That may sound weird, but think about Lizzie McGuire; remember how much time was spent showcasing her little brother Matt's zany adventures, which usually had little to do with Lizzie's tween issues?)  Previous attempts to ditch other addictions have always proved futile; I hope this one won't, but I'd like to know what you think.