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My name is Liz. I need direction. I overuse commas. My house is a mess, my hair needs a trim, and I have no marketable skills: It's fun here, you'll see!

Got a question, comment, proposal of marriage? Great! Email me at liz@theproductivecough.com

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July 7th, 2013

Yes, You TOO Can Dance!

Hey folks!

Wanna learn how to dance? I mean, really dance? I’m not talking waltzing, or tango, or any of that other nonsense they teach you at the community center. I mean, really get the hell down with your bad self?

Then take a cue from the following music video. Because, guys, the back up dancing in this thing is otherworldly. There isn’t a category for it. It’s sort of hip-hop meets actual hopping meets that drunk guy who grabbed your boobs on the steps of the public library that one time. I mean, this shit is out of control

So please enjoy “?????” by… a dyspeptic man with a respiratory condition, and featuring The Recently Anesthetized Dancers!

 

Video courtesy of My Uncle Clint.

December 20th, 2012

Hi Again & Christmas Music

Hi, fools! I’m back! By way of explanation for my absence, allow me to post this photograph, which I took:

First Explosion - cropped(Please note: This was taken during a training exercise at Ft. Irwin; no one was hurt during this explosion)

Okay! That part is over now.

***

Are we all having a nice holiday season? I know I am! It’s finally cold enough to use my enormous down comforter, I’m about 88% finished with gift purchasing and prep (which is my favorite part of this season), and I have been listening to Christmas music NON-STOP. I’ve run into no issues so far with my down comforter, but with regard to gifts and music, I have some problems. One, there isn’t enough money or time in the universe for me to possibly get a gift for all of the people who have been there for me this year. Two, I love Christmas music, and I haven’t ever recorded it myself, which is a shame, because I know most of the words.

This problem solves itself, if I make the very presumptuous leap that any of you would ever want to hear me sing a Christmas tune.

WARNING: I am making that leap.

But what song to choose? There are some gems, but there are some serious clunkers, too.

Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Here Comes Santa Claus are all out immediately, because, well, they are really, really stupid.  And I have a visceral aversion to Santa Baby, on the grounds that it’s super yucky. That song is in the realm of My Heart Belongs to Daddy. Just… why? I mean, it’s catchy and somewhat amusing, but then you really start to listen to the words and you realize she’s essentially giving SANTA CLAUS the equivalent of a vocal lap dance in order to get a boat and some freaking jewelry and it makes you want to throw up.

I thought maybe I’d take it in a more serious direction, but I couldn’t. The First Noel will always make me think of Johnny “Bowtie” Barstow’s version, and that would breed madness. And I don’t think I actually know the real words to Joy to the World— I only know the parody Ren & Stimpy did entitled Cobb to the World where they sing “Cheese logs to you/a cobb is born/let earth receive her corn” or something like that. And let’s be honest, lyric writing like that can’t be confined to just one measly track. I’d have to cover the whole album.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town seems to be popular with jazz musicians, but I find the lyrics confusing. On the one hand, Santa appears to be omnipotent and fastidious, an OCD god of sorts, aware of everyone’s sleep habits and making mysterious lists that he must check two times. On the other hand, he might also be Omar from “The Wire,” requiring a song to warn you that he’s coming, though the horrors his arrival might bring are never fully explained. All that is offered is a hasty “You better watch out!” (SIDE NOTE: I almost – almost – did this song, adding a whistled reference to “The Farmer in the Dell” at the end.) It’s clear this song is just a tool used by parents to get their kids to shut up and eat their peas in December. For me, it doesn’t really capture the spirit of the season.

Then I remembered by favorite Christmas song of all time: The Christmas Waltz written by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne. It’s simple and pretty, and there’s some room to mess with it. Perfect for my favorite guitar player, Adam Ratner, and me to have fun on. Adam Ratner, by the way, is amazing. Aside from learning the tune and coming up with excellent cords and ideas, he recorded this in his house, and mixed and mastered it in a matter of hours. Adam Ratner deserves an award. We based the intro around the 1957 Frank Sinatra version, arranged by Nelson Riddle, although it’s very different-sounding now that we’ve gotten a hold of it.

I really hope you all enjoy it. Thank you all for everything this year, and Happy Holidays to you!

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February 11th, 2012

Things About You – Louis & Genevieve

Check out the latest video by my brother and his girlfriend, Louis & Genevieve! It’s called Things About You and it makes you want to dance.

COMMENCE DANCIN’—>

 

BLAM! Good right? Now, go purchase this on iTunes.

September 22nd, 2011

Pearly Shells

 

You’re welcome.
(Courtesy of my cousin, Emily.)

August 29th, 2011

I Sing: Marie

Two of you asked for it. Now all of you have to hear it. It’s me, singing “Marie” by Randy Newman. The pianist is Randy Porter, an absolutely extraordinary musician based in Portland, Oregon. He was kind enough to record this with me at his studio. Now go, and buy all of Randy’s albums.

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February 3rd, 2011

16 Going on 17

Just checking: You all do realize that, while it’s a terrific song, the lyrics to “I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen” from The Sound of Music are pretty yucky, right? Rolf tells Liesl all the crap she can expect as she turns a year older. It seems to be presented in a romantic way but, as a human female who has gone from 16 to 17, I can tell you that it’s mostly lies, designed to land him some tail. In case you’ve never realized this, check it out for yourself:

He first states: “You wait, little girl, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men will want to write on”

Liesl obediently repeats, “To wriiite onnnnn.”

Oh my god. Gross! He’s essentially just told her, “Hey, idiot. You know that last decade and a half of your life? Useless. But, buckle up, sister, ’cause it’s ’bout to be bangin’ time.” And she’s all into it? That’s sick, Hammerstein.

He continues: “You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it’s time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you’re on the brink”

First of all, when I was 16, going on 17, the only things I was on the brink of were having to apply to college, and trying to figure out how to do my own laundry. I don’t know what Rolf thinks Liesl is on the brink of here, but if she’d better be canny and careful, it sounds like he believes that girls who turn 17 are more likely to be the victims of a sexual assault or involved in a murder cover up.

Then: “You are sixteen going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and grueways and cads
Will offer you food and wine”

So that’s a fat lie. If fellows fell in line every time someone turned 17, you’d hear about it on the news a lot more. I think the age he was looking for was 18. ‘Cause that totally happens. I don’t know what a grueway is, but I feel like it might appear in World of Warcraft. Unless it means “an old gross dude,” because that also totally happens. Maybe it’s an Austrian thing, but I was never offered food (or wine) as a result of being 17. If I had been, I think I could have put up with a lot more grueways.

Rolf continues: “Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken”

Okay, Rolf, screw you, man. Liesl is 16 going on 17, not 6 going on 7, you jackass. I doubt she’d be scared of things beyond her ken. At this point, though, Rolf is hoping that his rich tenor has lulled her into somewhat of a suggestible state and that maybe he can seal the deal with his next words:

“You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I’ll take care of you”

I bet you will, buddy. You know what though, as naive and young as 17 is, I can guaran-frakking-tee you I was never so clueless as to not be able to see through this kind of a line. He’s basically an early adopter of the techniques outlined in Neil Strauss’ The Game. These are light insults and digs designed to get a girl with daddy issues to drop trou. Or petticoat. Whatever. This kind of thing doesn’t really fly, if you think about it. Like, imagine if these sentiments were expressed today in a rap song. “Hey bitch, you super young and all illegal and whatnot, and you kind of stupid, and you ’bout to be all hit on and shit by all them grueways. Yeah. So I’m like, gonna protect you, and we’ll just kinda see what happens. Ha ha, come to daddy.” The FCC would slap some serious warnings on the album, and it would make VH1’s Top 10 Most Awesomely Creepy Songs Of All Time list.

But it’s a great song, though.

October 7th, 2010

Louis & Genevieve: The Album!

Today’s post will accomplish two things: First, I will try and get you to purchase Louis and Genevieve’s new album. Second, I will post video of my little brother that is labeled as a reason to buy his album but is really just a way for me to show you all HOW FRICKING CUTE HE WAS before he got all tall and masculine and could speak English properly. Let’s get started, shall we?

Guys, let me just say that my brother wasn’t always a musical genius. Case in point:

But as he’s grown older, he’s really become one:

You’ve already bought and enjoyed his first album. Now, he and Genevieve Artadi have released a self-produced album, which you can buy and enjoy here. The songs, all originals, are a healthy mix of funky, beautiful, wild, and delicate. As always, Louis and Genevieve have given us lyrics that, along with complexity, pack a healthy dose of humor.

Which Louis wasn’t very good at when he was a kid, either. Check out his rendition of “Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana.”

April 27th, 2010

Justin Beiber’s Baby: An Interpretation

Hey guys! Louis and Genevieve are at it again. This time, it’s a fantastically creative cover of Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” I particularly like the headgear they’ve selected. Enjoy, everyone!

(It does not feature Ludacris, but it does feature editing by me.)

March 15th, 2010

Viva La Video!

Louis and Genevieve have done it again! This time it’s their cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” Check it out! My favorite part is the very end!

(I edited. Again.)

March 2nd, 2010

Three

Louis and the extremely talented Genevieve Artadi (sorry ladies, they’re dating) recently did a cover of Britney Spears’ “3.” They shot it as a video song, meaning that as each instrument is recorded for the final audio track, the player is visually recorded, so that the resulting music video is an accurate representation of what you are hearing. No lip-syncing, air-guitar, or trickery of any kind.

They really do a great job of punching up this song. In the words of the YouTube User SeanDuncanMusic: “dude louis cole is so legit on the drums.” I agree, Sean. He is so legit. Enjoy:

(*I helped with the editing.)