They say that love is just a drug
An addiction you keep thinking of
But don’t get the wrong impression
We’ll teach you all a science lesson
About the chemistry of love
Ah, those sweaty palms, the obsessive thoughts, the dopamine rush. Yes, geeks fall in love and we like to be specific about it, thankyouverymuch. Infatuation has lots of chemical components, and desire can be broken down into an excellent lesson on biochemical processes. Boring? Not at all! Especially when you learn about it in song.
Next week brings the conclusion to the trilogy of films adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful book, The Hobbit. I don’t care what the critics say, I’m excited to get back into one of my favorite worlds on screen. For my family, music is how we get psyched up about everything.
For The Battle of Five Armies, we are going back to the first movie. Anyone who has seen The Hobbit remembers that scene in Bilbo’s house when the dwarves start singing that low, gorgeous song. It’s called “Misty Mountains,” and my kids and I love it. My son said it takes him to faraway places in his mind. Being a bass, he recently sang it at a concert. My daughter asked to have it played on repeat as she wrote in her journal. Although you can buy the soundtrack version, other people have taken their musical gifts to this tune:
This one with violin gave me chills. The parallel fifths harmony (all sung by one person) in the beginning brings us back in time, and then the singer lets loose some impressive cluster chords that I adore. When the violin harmonizes with itself, and the singing the background—woop!
Mixed voices a cappella take a slightly different, more march-like feel to the song, and with women! For anyone who loves baritones (and I do), check out the final note the guy sings on this one. Swoon…
And just for you nerds, this woman sang the full twenty-seven verses that Tolkien wrote:
This time last year, I’d just finished the edits on the weirdest fiction I’ve ever sold. They were for Rigor Amortis, an anthology of romantic horror stories. After the contracts were in and the release date was set, I caught myself wondering: Who died and made me a zombie-lover?
As is typical of b-movie horror, I was probably infected before I realized I was in the middle of an epidemic. Next thing you know, I’m just another shuffle-step in the horde; one more “Braaaaiin” in the groaning chorus.
Speaking of the All Singing, All Dancing Zombie Apocalypse, there’s a soundtrack for that. I think most of these songs are inappropriate for young kids, and some of the music videos have a gross-out factor high enough for me to advise even viewers who share my zombie-friendly media appetite to consider delaying their lunch break. The zombie apocalypse might begin as an off-Broadway musical, but it’s got still the funk of forty-thousand years.
My current favorite zombie love song is Stephanie Mabey‘s “If I Were a Zombie”:
Later: “Mom, what’s a god?” Something like an imaginary friend who hogs all the good stuff and bosses you around, then gets mad whenever you do something they don’t like. “Why would anyone make-believe that?!”
Best question ever! But of course I feel that way; I’m an atheist.
I had a religious upbringing, but what I actually believed growing-up was that everyone in town got together on Sundays for a big game of pretend. We listened to fairy tales and sang songs about magical things, just like in Disney movies. Church was fun until someone broke me the bad news: In a community of true-believers, I was the only one pretending.
My son will obviously never have quite the same experience with religion that I had growing up, but atheists are still in the minority. Truly secular parenting resources are scanty compared to the faith-based alternative, so whenever I come across something supportive of science-based living, I am delighted. Especially when that support takes the form of a music video I can add to an online playlist for my son to sing along with whenever he’s not in the mood for magical things.
For skeptics and others with a good sense of humor about faith, I give you the Irrational Nonsense Blues, by Ross Exton:
I’m saddened to inform all ye who cling to the age-old symbol of feminist power, that your mascot has passed away. Geraldine Hoff Doyle died at age 86 on December 26th in Lansing, Michigan. If you haven’t the foggiest idea who that is, shame on you. OK, not really. I didn’t know who it was either. Let me put it this way, Rosie the Riveter was laid to rest. That should make more sense.
Geraldine Hoff Doyle was the inspiration behind the now-famous “We Can Do It” poster. The term Rosie the Riveter came from a 1942 song by the Four Vagabonds. The poster was published about the same time by the Westinghouse Corporation as a way to motivate workers and boost war-time morale.
Interesting tid-bit of info, our Rosie wasn’t actually a riveter. Doyle was photographed in the metal factory where she was briefly employed. While she was wearing the iconic polka-dotted bandana, she wasn’t too terribly muscular either. She was actually a cellist, caught up in the fervor of the war effort at home. She took the job with every intention of helping the boys ‘cross the sea but was horrified to learn that the girl who had occupied the position before her had severely injured her hands. She left the factory shortly after the picture was snapped and took a job at a soda fountain.
Doyle’s daughter reports that the face on the poster was very much her mother. Doyle was “a glamour girl.” The full red lips and finely arched eyebrows definitely belonged on the face, but those arms, poised in the eternal symbol of strength and power, were drawn using just a touch of artistic liberty. In fact, it wasn’t until 1984 that Doyle recognized herself on the poster.
The poster has become a veritable rallying point for many a cause and photo-shopped more times than Sad Keanu and Tron Guy put together. Geraldine Hoff Doyle lived her life unknowingly inspiring thousands of young women and we at GeekMom salute for her silent contribution to American History. Our condolences are with her family.