History – Got the Jimmy Legs


I never thought that I would end up here

So for some reason our company did not give us the day off. I guess it's because 4th of July falls on Saturday this year, and Saturday is still not officially a 'day off' like Sunday is. This seems pretty stupid to me, it's like everyone silently agrees not to call Saturday a holiday even though most 9-to-5ers would blanch at the idea of working on a Saturday. So my company seizes on this opportunity to wuss out on a Friday off by giving us a 'floating holiday.' This means we're given the right to take a day off at some point this year … just probably not today. I found out about this too late (apparently) to get Friday off, so now I'm trying to weasel out of here early. Then it's off to the Brooklyn Historical Society to determine what we can about the history of our house. I don't know what information might be available, but we're gonna check it out in any case. Worse case, we don't find anything useful but we still get to go to Sahadi's after for big tubs of the best hummus in town!

I think we're seeing the Fresh Kills at Union Pool on the 4th, aside from that I never get that excited about this as a holiday. I hate fireworks for some reason, so I rarely look forward to it. Meanwhile, the kids in the neighborhood LOVE fireworks, and express this by amassing explosive devices in the weeks leading up to the 4th, from those annoying little things you throw that pop, to elaborate sky blossoms that they shoot off in the street. Miraculously nobody has set their house on fire yet, though there was a fire truck out on our street for a while last night. I kind of hope it rains on Saturday. I'm such a wet blanket.

And I know you like the feeling going up, going down

Does anybody remember the mall-store Merry-Go-Round? When I think of it, I still see green spandex, mesh-front shirts and headbands. To me, it was the apogee of 80s fashion, jumping on every ridiculous leg-warming trend and running it directly into the ground. But nobody seems to remember it now. I can't even remember if my local mall had one; I don't remember shopping there, but I do remember how much I associated it with my pubescent days. You don't see stores like that anymore; but what happened to it?

My theory: like so many icons of the 80's, I think Merry-Go-Round was killed by grunge rock. It killed a lot of things: hair-metal, knit ties, Kurt Cobain. And Merry-Go-Round (not to mention pretenders to the throne like Chess King, who, it may interest you to know, was bought out by MGR at some point. I don't know why I feel bad about this, but considering how ingrained 80's nostalgia is in our stupid culture (largely now by people who were not even remotely in existence during the aforementioned decade), you'd think there'd be some kind of monument to it. Surely, if it weren't for Merry-Go-Round, 80's culture as we currently regard it would not exist.

Info on the store is a bit scant, but I did find this bizarre, press-release style company history, that oddly doesn't mention that the company went bankrupt (had to find that elsewhere). But it notes the kind of forward-thinking that should have given it immortal icon status:

When pop star Michael Jackson appeared on MTV wearing a red leather jacket with 27 zippers, Merry-Go-Round sold more than 50,000 similar jackets at $29 each. Similarly, when the lead singer in the rock band Def Leppard performed in a video sporting a Union Jack sweatshirt with cut-off sleeves, a new fad was born. Merry-Go-Round sold over 40,000 copies of the sweatshirt at $15 each.

Merry-Go-Round managed to eke into the 1990's, but by 94 it was pretty much over. I'm not exactly sad about it, but I guess I feel the company doesn't get its due in pop-culture history. I'm also hopeful that I won't be spending any more time in malls so these admittedly dorky notions don't obsess me further. Though I do have some lingering questions about Orange Julius …

Just the little sound of history repeating

Did anybody else see this story about the tablet they found (albeit some 10 years ago), dating to BC times, that depicts a messianic figure who is sacrificed only to rise from the dead 3 days later? I don't know exactly if it will have any impact but I think it's pretty fascinating. But maybe it's just because I happened to watch The Last Temptation of Christ over the weekend, so I have Jesus on the brain.

I'm still rather fuzzy on Jesus and what he supposedly did (ie, if he died for everybody's sins, well, why do Catholics still need Confession?) and who he was, but the exploration of his history is pretty nifty, when it's not totally obscured by dogma. This new tidbit is interesting in that it predates the whole Jesus/Easter weekend thing, which could either be seen as proof that the Jesus thing is mostly myth, cobbled together from various, long-established traditions (along with all the pagan seasonal celebrations that coincidentally seem to happen on days also sacred to Christian, go figure). Or you can look at it and say it was prophesied long before it happened. Folks love that prophecy stuff! I suspect the anti-evolutionary, ultra-fundamentalists will see it that way. After all, these are the same people who claim god planted dinosaur bones to 'test' creationist beliefs.

So far my research indicates that Life of Brian is still the most accurate depiction of Jesus' life and times.