Friday, May 17, 2013

Down in the Dumps? Not with Gene Around...

I once heard a film historian say that the title musical number from Singin' in the Rain is pure, unadulterated joy captured on film.  I remember this because once I heard it, I knew it was true.  So tonight, while my stomach churns, while I curse the employment opportunities for teachers, and am forced to cancel what would have been a rare period of productivity in my hectic week, I decided to put on That's Entertainment.  And as soon as that overture reached the joyful notes of "Singin' in the Rain," my heart felt lighter, and I suddenly had the urge to twirl around my living room and jauntily "tap" up and down my staircase.  So with this in mind, I've worked up a list of five more joyful musical moments on film.

As Lina Lamont said, "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'. Bless you all."

  1. "The Boy Next Door" from Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland.  Just look at her!  Stunning, in soft focus, singing a heartfelt tune of young love... It was tough to choose just one number from this film, as it also contains "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "The Trolley Song," and the title tune.

 2. "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady with Jeremy Brett.  I have often walked... I mean, I have often found myself humming this song as I walk down the street myself.  As it builds to that "towering" crescendo, I get goosebumps every time.

3. "Cheek to Cheek" from Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  "Heaven, I'm in Heaven..."  Again, a swirling romance with glorious dancing, a crescendo with musical drama, and I'm hooked!  Fred and Ginger movies are by far my favorites, as proven by my permanent ink homage to this film (yes, I have F&G from this movie poster tattooed on my shoulder).

4. "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds.  Though I also enjoy the film White Christmas made several years after the song became a #1 hit, I enjoy this version more.  I suppose because of its simplicity - Bing with his pipe, Marjorie warming herself from the snowfall outside... And of course, it brings forth all of the emotions associated with Christmas, family, and tradition.

5. And finally, "A Spoonful of Sugar" from Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews.  My goodness, if I had a dime for every time I sang this one to get me through a rough patch!  How much happier can it get than Julie Andrews tidying up the nursery and befriending jolly birds?  I also have quite a soft spot for "Feed the Birds," though many disagree with me.  I do know for a fact, however, that Walt Disney used to call the Sherman brothers into his office to sing "Birds," and keeping company with Walt is fine by me!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

As this school year wraps up, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about being a teacher and what that means.  I have determined that it is both the most rewarding and most heart wrenching job in the world.  And yes, I am including ER doctors and firemen.  Sure, they are "noble professions" too, but they make a helluva lot more money than I do.

So here it is - the stats on being a teacher, from my humble point of view...

Who? Crazy people.  Loving, caring, outgoing, crazy people.  I think you have to be a little nuts to deal with the ups and downs of teaching, especially in junior high.  And a sense of humor is a must.

What? Instruction.  Test making.  Book reading.  But also, joyous conversations, frustrating parent conferences, making each other laugh in the teacher's lounge, and occasionally stomping around in the empty girls' bathroom out of sheer rage.  And Bingo games, field trips, spirit weeks, and school plays.

Where? A million schools with tiny budgets, administrators in crisis, and businessmen in charge of the curriculum.  Again, crazy - but in a non-fun way. 

Where else? Colorful rooms covered in construction paper, short stories, marker stains, and piles of papers "to be graded."

How? Sometimes, I don't know how I make it through my day.  Sometimes I want to rip my hair out and drink large margaritas.  But despite the moments of appreciation being very few and far between, boy are they worth it, especially from that one kid . . . the one who glares at you when assigning an essay, who never wants to talk about his home life, and who once in a blue moon will say that he "kinda, sorta liked that book you gave me."  (And you know you've got him.)

Why? God knows.