This Week in LaLa Land: ‘Stranger Things’ Warps, Beck Charms, the Tao of Winona + Taylor

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Today,  I want to dunk myself in silliness, then scrub off the Weinstein sewage of  sexual harassment stories from my enlarged pores. Let’s get back to the insipid stuff for a second, okay? Don’t worry, we can quickly return to wondering if civilized civilization is deader than Kevin Spacey’s career. But don’t worry about too much because we’ve always got our moral compass, Courtney Love, to lead us.

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Beck approves my Taylor fascination.

Taylor Swift’s “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now” is the new “It’s Britney, bitch.” It’s the battle cry for all the T. Swizzle lovers out there that just can’t take the critiques anymore. After going back and forth about the uncoolness of my affection for Tay and wondering if my make-believe friend Beck would unfriend me because of my Taylor obsession, I’m okay with it and in my mind, Beck loves Taylor, too.

I’ll eventually forgive Taylor for neglecting to invite me to her Rhode Island “Reputation” listening party. Perhaps she watched me prowl her property donning my homemade “Will Sell My Soul for Taylor” shirt or maybe she knows about my college side job of stalking.

Whatever the reason—I was clearly not on this list.  But really, it’s Taylor’s loss. She and I would have had such a girly time, I can see it now: I would’ve asked her if John Mayer is a true Lothario or a needy mother’s boy with abandonment issues, I’d then segue into a discussion over how her brother Austin feels to be so overshadowed by his big sister, then end with a probing question asking if she actually likes Lena Duhman. You know, small talk!

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Oh, Jim Hopper.

“Stranger Things” just might be the best thing that has happened to me since Johnny Depp celebrated his love for Winona Ryder in permanent ink with his soon-to-be Wino Forever tattoo. The show makes my heart skip a beat like the good old days of Mulder and Scully ridding the world of aliens with the help of sunflower seeds and religion.

 

What is it that I love about “Stranger Things?”

Let’s start with the revival of Winona Ryder’s career, one crazy eye at a time. I never did understand where Winona went. Big deal, she got a little pilled out and stole a few frocks from Saks. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? She also dated every influential 90s alternative rocker, befriended and became enemies with everyone’s favorite mean rich girl, Gwyneth Paltrow. She even dated Matt freaking Damon. The woman is the “It Girl” for strange girls and I never understood why her career fizzled after the shoplifting fiasco.

Either way, Wino’s back forever!

My fondness for “Stranger Things” does not end with Winona Ryder. I’m also in love with Chief Hopper, the gaggle of cool and geeky kids and the new feisty redhead, Max. And, may I ignite the Sean Astin  “Best Actor” Actor Emmy campaign right now?

Back to the Beck thing. If you still purchase music and are into Beck, I highly recommend that you check out “Colors”. The album is whip smart and gleeful. It just might make you dance and smile. Don’t worry, there’s still a healthy dose of Beck being Beck with his perfect combination of weirdness, poetry and his strong grasp on the current world vibe, but more than anything, it’s a crowd-pleasing rainbow of an album.

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Cheers to Twitter employee that suspended Trump’s account!

While I am handing out nominations, can someone also get the Nobel Peace Prize committee on the phone and help me nominate the Twitter employee that suspended Donald Trump’s Twitter account for 11 minutes? That person just saved the world for 660 seconds.

Till next time.

2017 VMAs: I missed Jon Snow’s bum for this?

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Katy Perry’s downward spiral into irrelevance continues.

I actually missed the season finale of Game of Thrones to watch Katy Perry play host at the 2017 VMAs  while further embarrassing herself in what has already been a pretty humiliating year for this past-her-prime star. But, hey, I’ve got priorities and Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar + Lorde are high up on that slim list, well above cleaning my car, properly shaving my legs or applying to graduate school.

I want to get to the good parts, like how alive Kendrick Lamar feels, that man is spitting fire + talent like Daenerys’ dragons breathe fury.  But, you know that’s not what I really care about because T. Swizzle is back with a pouting vengeance and I’m too pudgy and suburban momesque to really get the coolness of Kendrick Lamar. I want to, I really do, but I’m just not young enough to be worthy of it all.

 

And good ol’ MTV understands people like me because the channel wasted no time in getting to the “real” performance of the evening: a premiere of T. Swizzle’s ridiculously-catchy, good-girl-gone-bad tool of reinvention: “Look What You Made Me Do.”

 

Oh, Taytay, look what you just made me do: fall in love you all over again.

Who cares that I might miss Jon Snow and dragon lady get familial on GOT? In this candy cane of cinematic perfection, Taylor goes dead like a White Walker while metaphorically digging her own grave, only to later throw all the Hollywood trash into it.  This stuff, I get.

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This ring could be yours for $60 (+shipping + handling)

See, I want to be one of those people, the people that are too smart for Taylor’s obvious marketing ploys and scheming plans to devour the world without gaining a pound. I want to be horrified by her schilling $60 snake rings on her website, but really, I want to buy that damned ring and wear it without irony. I want that ring to go with my sarcasm and smirk, just like I bet it matches Taylor’s cynicism and exhaustion with her good girl image.

How can someone that didn’t even show up to the prom end up being the queen?

Well, that’s Taylor, baby. Love it or hate it.

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This is when my heart shattered.

Ugh, and while we are hating, I hate myself for admitting that Lorde was the train wreck that you just couldn’t watch, not for one second longer than was absolutely necessary. As grueling as it is to stomach some of GOT’s torture scenes, this was worse.

Lorde’s performance pained me more than Jared Leto’s continued denial of his own hotness. I want to believe that Lorde had the flu and couldn’t sing, but she should be on the phone firing her manager quicker than Katy Perry, and that is pretty freaking quickly.

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Jared Leto just killed Jordan Catalano

Oh Jared Leto, how could you do this to me? You were my Jordan Catalano, man. I am as confused over Jared’s constant need to desecrate his God-given beauty as I am by the fact that 30 Seconds to Mars is still making music! C’mon, MTV, was every member of Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 and Good Charlotte too busy to play?

 

 

 

 

Chris Cornell Dies at 52

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Chris Cornell: A beauty and a talent.

I had a grueling case of insomnia last night, even for a chronic non-sleeper like me. I awoke at 2am startled, as if something bad had happened, or was going to happen.

I couldn’t shake that feeling of dread, a foreboding that something wasn’t right in the world. I took to social media to post a few whiny words regarding my insomnia, stewed over the latest Trump fiasco and tried, unsuccessfully, to sleep.

Slumber never came, but that dread did. After dragging myself out of a daze of exhaustion, my local news informed me that Chris Cornell died. Even worse, his death was soon ruled a suicide.

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Elliott Smith, an angel in the snow. Dead at 34.

Ugh, here we go again.  I hate it when I get so worked up over this stuff, but pop culture is the world I dwell in and the untimely death of rock stars hurts. Chris Cornell was 52 years old and in my view of life and suffering, 52 is too young to die and too old to be burdened by such sadness.

I could trace my life with these bouts of depression over a famous person’s death. In 1993, I was recovering from a night of Halloween hijinks at UMass Amherst to wake up to news of River Phoenix’s death.  A few months later, Kurt Cobain’s death plunged me into a downward spiral that I lived in for months. And, let’s not forget the one that just keeps stinging: Elliott Smith’s death in 2003. What a kick in the heart. I was a recently separated mom on a date with a lawyer. My phone didn’t stop ringing for the whole night from friends and family that knew how much I loved Elliott Smith. I never saw that lawyer again, and I never stopped listening to Elliott Smith.

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Kurt Cobain, dead at 27.

I want to believe that life gets better, but when a  rock star with a family, a sold-out tour, fame and fortune takes his own life at 52, I get scared. I’m a huge Ernest Hemingway reader and I’m always shocked that he killed himself at the age of 62. I want to live in a warm cocoon where 62 is an age filled with walks, grandchildren and dinners out. But, who knows? Is life just always…hard?

What came first? My fascination with suicides or the true fact that so many of my idols have died by their own hands? I don’t know, but the loss feels significant.

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1991, when concert tickets were $20 and Soundgarden amazed.

In 1991, I saw Soundgarden open for Guns N’ Roses  during the Use Your Illusion tour. It was a snowy night in Worcester, Massachusetts and the roads were a mess, but that didn’t stop Axl Rose from starting well over an hour late. Soundgarden opened and I was besotted by Cornell’s beauty and voice. So much so, that in between sets I used my mom’s hard-earned money to buy a Soundgarden t-shirt. I proceeded to place that t-shirt on my chair while dancing to GNR and it was stolen. I was so entranced by Chris Cornell that I spent good partying money on a t-shirt, knowing that I don’t wear t-shirts. But they were that freaking good and Chris Cornell’s voice was that intoxicating. I missed the one Lollapolooza that they played because I had mono, or perhaps it was depression, I never did go for the blood test. In my insomniac mind, I like to think I was getting over the death of a famous person.

Rest in peace, Chris Cornell.

’13 Reasons Why’ Wounds

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I watched Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why  in a stream of sadness that erupted into a firestorm of anger. I finished the series with a burning desire to set the world ablaze. I’m still in a bit of a hungover-like fog that’s clouding my private thoughts. I’m busy slashing people from my life left and right and it feels satisfying. The show affected me, and not in a great way.

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Newcomer Katherine Langford’s performance haunts.

Critics be damned, the show has hit a nerve. Perhaps it’s because we all know these characters: the privileged jock that gets away with it all; the super-hot boy that will graduate from high school and realize that his smoldering eyes will never mask his white trash upbringing, and the beautifully troubled girl that is either going onto really great things, or something tragic. In Hannah’s case, it’s something tragic.

We know these people because there’s some of us in every one of them.

We know because high school never ends, we’re burdened by our past and then corporate culture, child-rearing and community transform into another incarnation of high school. Those jocks become middle-management assholes and the geeks become their bosses. The bullying continues, but it’s in an understated, more professional manner.

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Dylan Minnette delivers a layered performance.

Hannah’s suicide doesn’t come as a surprise, but the scene is unflinchingly raw and just terrible. Is the show glorifying teen suicide? I’m not sure, but the World Health Organization reports that suicide has become the leading killer of teenage girls, worldwide. The show is prompting conversations about the loneliness, sexual assaults and pressure that can envelope the life of a teen. It shines a light on the sometimes ineptitude of high school counselors and the innocent ignorance of concerned parents.

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’13 Reasons Why’: I’ll never be able to watch it again.

I actually kind of loved being a teenager and was thankfully void of many of Hannah’s problems, but I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and I like to dig right into it. So, in homage to Hannah and her pain, I’m eliminating unnecessary people from my life, even if it’s in a digital sense. I’m thinking of Hannah as I realize that jerks are jerks and there’s no need to deal with them. I’m assigning blame to wrongdoers and calling them out on their nonsense. In the crowded and bustling hallway of my current high school, I’m clearing some space.

Rage on, teenagers and rest in peace, Hannah Baker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Oscars: Odd clapping, human herding, Viola Davis’ self-righteous speech & more about me.

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I fell into a deep slumber on Oscar night, I blame my exhaustion on a steady weekend  stream of margaritas and vomit. The margaritas were drunk my me to deal with the constant regurgitation from my son’s mouth and onto most of my home. Sop up the body fluids, then revive with a margarita. Repeat. I was just so darned tired come Sunday night that I couldn’t even keep myself awake to make fun of celebrities.

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Scientology  is a hard thing to shake. Via GIPHY

And, what a scene I missed.

The whole show leading up to the envelope-switching fiasco was a study in poor time management. Between Nicole Kidman’s strange hand-clapping practices, which are certainly a byproduct of her years toiling in the Church of Scientology, to the human herding of tacky common folk sprung from a Hollywood sightseeing tour and thrust into the auditorium like circus freaks, the show was dying a slow and painful death.

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Oh my! Real poor people! Via Giphy

I think I passed out right after Rhode Island’s own Viola Davis gave the most practiced, self-righteous acceptance speech in the history of well, a plethora of them. Listen, just like any good Lil’ Rhody, I am incredibly fond of Viola Davis, but her speech almost made me think that I’d caught my son’s stomach bug. I quote directly from her here, “I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” Margaritas, vomit, repeat.

Oh Viola, tell that to the doctors, writers, nurses, psychologists, social workers, firefighters, police officers, bartenders or any other person that is holding down a job in this thing we call “life.” You’ve got to be kidding me.

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Wow Viola, how…ridiculous a statement. Via Giphy

Then, thankfully, so that we actually have something to talk about at the water cooler of existence, came the moment we will all remember instead of the excellent films, the reading of the wrong winner for Best Picture. The horror! The outrage! Let the mobs get whoever is to blame for such an injustice to these millionaires.

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Looks like they all just read the reviews of Batman v Superman (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times/Polaris)

Can we just call the mishap a work casualty? A danger in a work environment where employees may earn up to $ 20 million per role and get lauded with accolades for months during awards season for doing their jobs. My gosh, some commoner from an accounting firm had the audacity to make a mistake and the whole country is treating him like he’s a Trump supporter or something.

Come on, people, they’re stars…just like us. Just like me. And, all this fuss over a mistake reminded me of an error that ended up working out for me.

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The year was 2000, my hair was dirty and my waist was tiny.

The year was 2000 and the scene was the booming dot com industry. I was flourishing in this environment and suckling from the teat of a soon-to-be-derailed company’s irresponsible spending. I reveled in the long, liquid lunches and constantly drank fresh lattes from the brand new espresso maker in the run-down company lounge. This crew of slackers turned professionals took smoke breaks every hour and spent morning, noon and night drinking and sleeping with one another. I was 22 and this was my 1st job. I was a copywriter, which just so happens to be tragically close to my current occupation, but my lack of ambition is a different story.

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Office Space, 1999.Crazy things happen after you think you’ve been fired. Via Giphy

This story is even better, it’s about the time that I was mistakenly fired. Yes, fired in error.

in the chaos of a massive cleaning of corporate house, I was let go. I was fired by  the big boss that had only spoken to me once before while screaming at me for ordering him the wrong sized car during a business trip. See, this guy didn’t really know me and he confusingly thought I was on the chopping block. So, without many words, he kindly told me to complete the week and not to come back.

Well, what’s a young woman with no responsibilities do in such a time? Go out with all her coworkers for one last pub crawl and proceed to spend an evening telling people what she really thinks of them. There’s nothing that I am better at than mixing an evening of alcohol, honesty and awkwardness.It was awesome and awful, filled with tears and truth: two things that should never mesh with work.

I crawled into work the next day with my eyes barely open and was informed that my firing was an error and that I didn’t actually even make enough money to be let go. I was, in fact, a valued employee. So, after a night of trash talking and inappropriate behavior in a land of inappropriate behavior, I kept my job and lost a little of my pride and liver.

Till next time, la la land!

 

The 2017 Grammys, a smorgasbord of phoniness & disappointment.

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Why do I set myself up for disappointment? It’s like I’m in college again and trying to date the Greek god, it’s just never going to work out, at least not in the way I think it might.

I was so excited for the damn Grammys, and now I have no idea why.

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Louder, Hetfield, we can’t hear you. Via GIPHY.

I suppose I wanted to see Lady Gaga outcool Metallica, an all-time least favorite band of mine. My hatred for Metallica harks back to the year that they headlined the 1996 Lollapolooza when I was basking in my Riot Grrl phase. I traipsed through Metallica’s crowd wearing a dirty white slip and a crown of thorns while proudly displaying the word “slut” written on my arm a la Courtney Love. The Metallica crowd didn’t get my shtick and it was one of the few times I was really picked on. Then Metallica was escorted to the stage via a helicopter and I threw up my party accouterments.

Oh, thank God cameras were barely used during my misspent youth.

But hey, Lady Gaga & Metallica is something that I can get behind. Unfortunately, the sound technicians couldn’t and James Hetfield’s microphone wasn’t on. It was embarrassing to watch him have to switch mics mid-song, but it was worth it to spy his rock star temper tantrum afterwards.

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It was magnificently…dull. Via Giphy.

But who cares? Let’s get to the icky part- the Beyoncé verse Adele battle of phoniness.

First, before the Beyhive swarms into my modest home and steals all my gin, Beyoncé should have won Album of the Year, without a doubt. Lemonade is a religion, while 25 is a  Church of Scientology in Arkansas. And, Adele bores me more than Beyoncé’s performance annoyed me, so there’s that.

Part of me gets it, that I’m not really supposed to get it. First, I’m old as dirt and am clearly out of touch. But, I do possess a freakishly high bullshit/phony meter and during Beyoncé’s performance, it was higher than Mike Posner. I mean, who knew being preggers was so profound? Two married billionaires that already have one child had sex and that act resulted in two living things in Beyoncé’s belly. How… bourgeoisie. I’ve squeezed 3 brats out and I caressed my belly less throughout those 27 months than Queen B did in her way-too-long Grammy performance.

Beyoncé’s performance was certainly better than most, but for it to lauded as epic and groundbreaking just seems silly. The spoken word element, freshly torn from the sticky pages of a 14-year old’s discarded journal were funny, but I do not think that was the intention. But, I am an equal opportunity hater because my Holden Caulfield-inspired phony meter was at an all-time high (again, Posner) with Adele.

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Can we start again? No, please, no. GIPHY.

Adele, you won. Take the award, thank a bunch of people we don’t know, make a thinly-veiled political statement and leave. Oh and while you’re performing, try to sing the flipping song without swearing on national television and having to start all over again. That’s what you get paid  millions of dollars to do. It was so sad to watch the crowd applaud her mediocre tribute to George Michael with tears in their eyes, not tears for George Michael’s recent passing, but because they felt badly that Adele felt badly that she messed up. Again.

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What’s worse than a sore loser? A bad winner. GIPHY.

Oy vey.

I did enjoy a lot of the Grammys. The Weeknd was excellent, Chance the Rapper was awesome, and even Katy Perry was better than usual and I absolutely loved her blonde hair. Ed Sheeran always entertains and is utterly charming.Most importantly, Bruno Mars, Morris Day & The Time did Prince right. It was a tribute worthy of pop star royalty.

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Blackbear, Mike Posner. Posner’s seen better days. Via GIPHY.

And, let’s give it up to Mike Posner who appears to be 8 days away from death or rehab. Wow, didn’t this guy just look like the former Duke University frat boy that he is? It looks like he took a lot more than a pill in Ibiza, he looks like he emptied the whole  pharmacy.

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Damn, this is Mike Posner a few years ago. Wowza. Via Huffington Post.

Till next year.

The Super Bowl, Winona Ryder & other Shakesperean Stuff

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Not better than Prince’s 2007 show, but close.

I’ve been thinking a lot about football this week. I know, almost as shocking as Jay Z and Beyoncé’s marriage lasting this long. I mean, what if I’ve been wrong all along and football is incredibly entertaining, filled with attractive men and stories of triumph and camaraderie? There was something  Shakespearean about  Super Bowl LI, bursting with a struggle, a reunification, a historical outcome,  all expertly performed by grown men in tights.

Super Bowl LI was the most entertaining hour of my life since I watched Solange Knowles rough up Jay Z on repeat for 148 minutes. It was better than Emma Stone’s singing AND dancing in La La Land, and SO much stronger than all the sappy overacting on NBC’s This Is Us. Beware, I can’t stop watching this show and screaming at the television set. I can’t stop…hating it.

Winona Ryder, Patron Saint of Cool Girls

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Julie Winegard GIF

This freaking Super Bowl was as life-affirming as Winona Ryder’s recent reemergence into my patron saints of cool women. Her facial tics at the SAG Awards were the stuff that my dreams are made of.  I missed Wynona Ryder and I will take every second that she wants to give. I would watch Winona Ryder whittle is that was offered. (Can we get that going, Hollywood?)

I am in awe of the coolness of Winona Ryder. Her excellence in 90’s films and pop-culture folklore is really unrivaled. Films like Heathers, The Age of Innocence and Beetlejuice, to name a few and personal craziness like dating Johnny Depp, Matt Damn and and every cool 90s’ alternative rock star. Then, there’s the unfortunate stealing conviction in 2002, which really sounded like a miscommunication with a bunch of different pills.

The National Anthem

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Luke Bryan, what’s not to like?

There’s just so much for a non-sports fan to still love about the Super Bowl, there’s the possible disaster that can be The National Anthem when performed by pilled-out pop stars like Christina Aguilera. Listen, aging genie in the bottle, the next time you forget lyrics, try grunting sexually instead of making them up. As far as I can tell, that’s all 5th Harmony does.

Luke’s Bryan’s National Anthem was great. What’s there to dislike about Luke Bryan? He can sing and he’s known to one of the most generous people in famous land. After dealing with the untimely death of his sister, and then her widow, he raises his sister’s children, and his own.  He rocks his cowboy-lite vibe.

Bridgestone Super Bowl XLV Pregame Show

ARLINGTON, TX – FEBRUARY 06: Singer Christina Aguilera performs during the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLV Pregame Show at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Christina Aguilera

BTW: Where’s Christina been?

That Mickey Mouse Club must have been psychological warfare in the already- dangerous  minefield that is childhood stardom.  Where is Christina? After her brief surrender to housewife/ hostage of domesticity, she’s dissipated into The Voice, a land of celebrity-leftovers like Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Alicia Keyes. C’mon, Christina, we want you back and bring your new Rhode-Island boyfriend  and your chaps with you.

Thinking of the Mickey Mouse Club…

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The year was 2001, folks. The place: Super Bowl

Agh, let’s all go back to the innocent days, the days when Britney Spears and her home-school lover Justin Timberlake performed with Aerosmith, NSYNC and Nelly in what was certainly one of the most awesomely delicious episodes in Britney Spears’ robust body of work and in half-time performances.

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Thanks Lady Gaga, I needed that.

I do declare that, in my opinion, Lady Gaga’s half-time performance was 2nd only to Prince’s 2007 turn. And, I can assure you that I’ve seen every one since I could do the Roger Rabbit. I’m sorry Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson, and well, the Judds. I just loved it, it was like I really needed the pure entertainment of it all. She was a perfect combination of grit, talent, beauty, determination and obvious hard work. Her voice was strong, her moves were perfectly in sync and the performance was electrifying.

Or, maybe it was just a good game. I don’t know, it’s the 1st one I’ve ever actually watched.