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TBT: "Common People," Shatner Version

The year 2004 was all about William Shatner's cover of Britpop band Pulp's '90s hit "Common People." It's weird, it's confusing, it was made into a ballet performance, and we still don't understand why it's so good. It was all Ben Folds' idea; he produced the song and had Joe Jackson belt out the chorus and a youth choir finish off the dramatic crescendo behind the crunchy indie rock guitar.



It's a rich old man sarcastically singing (or Shatnering, I guess?) the anthem of a poor young man whose frustration and bitterness and shame were apparently triggered by the presence of a beautiful, rich young woman who allegedly dared to express an interest, Marie-Antoinette-like, in the lives of the "common people."

Original songwriter Jarvis Cocker struggled as a musician for a long time before "Common People" rocketed him out of the gutter and into a life of wealth and fame. At first, he seemed to describe the song's narrat…
Recent posts

$Monday: Get Out of the Bucket and Into the Sea

Don't ever settle down in a bucket of crabs. The people we keep around us have considerable power to motivate, inspire, and support us--or to drag us down when we try to reach higher. If you ever find yourself trapped in a crab bucket of dragger-downers, remember that there are plenty of fish in the sea--and yes, some fish really are friends; this is not just a completely silly metaphor. Everybody needs healthy relationships to succeed in life. So come on in, the water's fine!


As a person who struggles with anxiety, I know that when the world seems limited and small and stingy and lonely, it's a trick of the mind keeping me isolated from all the limitless possibilities my life has to offer. The world is full of people who are ready to love you and everything that you love, given the opportunity. And on the open sea, there's also space to float in blissful solitude when you need it. Sometimes we need to get away--from the negative voices in our heads or from the crab b…

TBT: Choose Health

Remember the swine flu? Now we're talking about coronavirus. There will never be a time in our lives when there aren't any disease outbreaks, or when we don't have to care about pollution in our air, water, and food. We're all stuck here together on Cruiseship Earth arguing about things like whether to vaccinate or "choose life." Ultimately, none of our personal choices will matter if we all get taken out by plague or poisoning. So we need to choose health, together, collectively, for each other and for each other's babies, or else none of our individual choices will ever be worth a plastic bag in a whale's belly.

Here's what I wrote back in The Time of Swine Flu:

Choose Health
Cultivate health from the inside out and the outside in!

Everybody's talking about the swine flu, so I figure this is a good time to bring up the health situation for us un-wealthy folks. Part of the reason this flu has become such a problem is that people did not rece…

$Monday: Save $5K a Year + Healthcare by Eating In

Learn to cook--or make someone else do it. Do you have a man, a child in upper elementary or higher, a roommate, or a good friend you see regularly? Delegation is possible. Without giving up quality time with your favorite people, going on a home-cooked diet can upgrade your life and save you thousands of dollars every year.


Me, I love cooking. It's one of the sensual pleasures of my life. So anytime I can make the time, I cook for myself and my family and sometimes for my friends or my daughter's friends. I love colorful spice jars and crushing things with a pestle and squishing my hands into dough.

If you don't love cooking, you can make a deal with others in your life to make it happen.

I have a single lady friend who enjoys cooking but struggles with meal planning and grocery shopping for one on an irregular schedule. She wanted to get back into the habit of cooking and eating healthy meals, so she used a short-term subscription to a meal kit service to make it easier.