nutmeg3 assigned me the letter J, and my instructions are to list ten things I like that begin with J and then explain why I like them. So here's all ten, plus a couple extra:
I did not put these in any specific order, just as they occurred to me and then moved them around a little:
Johnny Cash: I always liked Johnny - when I was little I remember hearing songs and loving them and not really knowing much about him, but I did manage to become a crazy fangirl in the last two or three years before he died. I think around the time American Recordings III: Solitary Man came out, I was getting big into the Americana movement and suddenly Cash was there again. I started digging up old songs I hadn’t heard since I was a little girl and loving them anew, and finally got my own copies of classic albums like Live in Folsom Prison and The Concert at San Quentin. I started to review his work with all the major releases and re-releases that coincided with his 70th birthday, and got to review American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around. His death had a strange, profound effect on me, and there is a lot of Johnny Cash in my characters and my book(s) - it’s not called Ring of Fire for nothing.
John Lennon: John became my favorite Beatle when I was in early high school or late junior high - I don’t remember exactly when I started to morph from "cute Beatle" (Paul) to "Thinking Beatle," but John’s words and thoughts appealed to me and it's because of him I gained a greater knowledge of world religions and ideology; performance art and protests, standing up for one's beliefs and trying to do what's right, and I think it's due to John that I'm the raging liberal I am now. I heard a country commentator making all sorts of disparaging remarks about John once upon a time (I think it was on the old defunct show "Nashville Now!") because John’s death made the front page while Marty Robbins, who died around the same time, was not mentioned much at all - and despite being young as I was, I thought, "Well, that may be because Marty died more or less peacefully of a heart attack and was not violently murdered in front of his house, AND while I adore Marty Robbins, he did NOT profoundly influence a generation - no matter how one may think of Lennon’s influences, you can’t deny they were there."
Jack: As a Corporate logo, Jack rules. For those of you on the East Coast who don't have Jack-in-the-Box restaurants, you missed the whole process. Back in the early 80's, JitB went through this whole makeover thing where they got rid of the clown - used to be JitB was a super kiddie local, with a big clown head to take orders at the drive-thru (seriously!) and the works - and the main commercial was them blowing up the clown head. The restaurants went through all sorts of changes to upgrade their menu and market to an older crowd, but let's face it, they remained a fast food restaurant. During the time I was in college and worked there, there were color changes for the uniforms, blah blah blah. Nothing really worked. Then in the late 90's they realized their mistake, and Jack came back. Only instead of as a plastic head at the drive-thru, he was the CEO, ala Wendy's Dave. A guy with a big, round, fake clown head and the voice of Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), as well as a wife, kid (who looks like him), parents, etc. The commercials that have come out of this marketing scheme are the funniest and most intelligent I think they still play. Not to mention the campaigns that go with 'em, like the Jack antenna balls.
Jewelry: I love jewelry. I’ve always been attracted to shiny objects, and the more sparkle, the better. I hesitate to say the word "bling," but there it is. Huge, full of diamonds (or crystals, or whatever shines), ostentatious, I love 'em. Sign me up for the Empress Carlotta (for Dick Van Dyke Show fans), I can't get enough. My earring rack is packed with sparkle, and I have a couple dozen necklaces hanging there, and it's not even all I own. Not to mention the boxes and boxes of beads. Stand me in front of the Swarovski display and watch me go!
Jew’s Harp: Okay, perhaps not a "politically correct" term for it these days, but nonetheless that's what it's called (some folks call it a "jaw harp"). It’s the instrument that makes the “boing, boing” sound in good ol' country songs and they’re fun to play, too. Can't have enough Jew's harp.
Jaguars: Ah, it’s good at least one of the Big Cats starts with J, and it's one of my favorites, too. Often mistakenly called a "leopard," the jaguar is native to the Americas, has been sighted as far north as Phoenix (although not too recently), and differs from the African leopard in a number of ways, not the least of which is size and spot pattern. The jaguar is smallish for a Big Cat, heavily built (much thicker in proportion than leopards), and their spot pattern is very distinctive, large "rosette" blotches rather than small spots. Like leopards, they come in the standard yellow-with-black, and also black-on-black. I have two anthropomorphic black jaguars living in my head, serving as pirates on the Iktome in the Tales of the Tai Pan universe.
Jersey Devil: I never even knew this critter existed until a few years ago (I somehow missed the X-Files episode) when Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch released their album, You Can’t Save Everybody. Their song, "I Thought I Saw The Jersey Devil," intrigued me, and when I found it was real, I checked it out. By "real," and "existed," I of course mean the legends or myth exists rather than the critter itself - but like all such mythological critters, from Sasquatch to Nessie, I’m of the open-minded "it’s not probable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not POSSIBLE" bent. The Jersey Devil is kinda cool because, unlike Bigfoot and Nessie and all of those, the eyewitness sightings are VASTLY different on the details, it has a spooky witchcraft "origin story," it’s never been photographed, but everyone who HAS seen it is one-hundred-percent certain they have seen it. It's also not really well known outside of his own general area (much like Champ up in Lake Champlain). Besides, Pine Barrens - a real wilderness in New Jersey, of all places - what's not to love?
Jigsaw puzzles: I haven’t done one in some while (largely because we have no wide open space that is either free from Junk (see below) or cats, but I do enjoy the challenge - although I can’t keep my hands off even easy ones. When rahirah's mother had better eyes, she did them all the time and I loved going over there and helping find pieces in a fantastically challenging picture. Somewhere she has one that was actually made with a jig saw - a real old wooden one. I still want to put that one together.
Jukeboxes: Music, flashing lights, shiny surfaces, spinning discs, the pondering over just which two songs for my two bits? Not to mention the retro chic? What's not to love about a jukebox? They have one now that'll play your iPod. Was there nothing else so perfectly made for me? (Of course, I think it costs the same as a missile silo or something, so I won't be owning one any time soon, just the thought...)
Junk: Just look at my house and one will know I have a strong affinity for junk, and the collecting thereof. All kinds of junk (some of which may have some intrinsic value, but the fact remains a lot of it is junk!).
Japan: Back in the early 80's I fell in love with Japanimation (Manga) and through that the country it came from. I read histories and dove into it like I do anything I go crazy for, however, I foolishly gave up a chance to actually GO there in my last year of college, but I have retained a few words and phrases, as well as that fondness for the animation (which is sure a lot easier to get these days than it was then!).
I’m also of the mind to add Jesus. Now, I don’t mean the guy who’s talking to Bush - I mean the gentle Jewish Carpenter’s Son who talked about things like "laying down your arms" and "don’t be a hypocrite," the weirdo radical that no self-respecting moral-majority "Christian" today would probably even talk to. I believe in a Jesus who has a sense of humor, an easy laugh, true compassion for his fellow man, and would be horrified that anyone is fighting and dying "in his name" today.
nutmeg3 was giving out letters, but I suppose I can start a whole new alphabet if anyone else wants to try this.
Yesterday I had my physical, and I seem to be healthy - I'll learn the results of my blood draw and pap later (unlike on TV, it seems to take a few days/weeks for these things to come back, not hours), but the doc said last time my cholesterol was awesome (130 or something like that) and he's really pleased with my weight loss (168, which means I lost three pounds since my last appointment - and he flipped through my records and I was 232 pounds when I started seeing him!). I did not pass out with the blood draw - they laid me down and I closed my eyes and barely noticed it, although I did get a brief cold sweat thing, so had to lay there for a few minutes afterward. Still, I managed to get up and out within five minutes rather than a couple hours (like last time!).
I mailed my two packages, so I'm committed - it cost $16 to print the stories at Kinkos, and $3 to copy them. I think they have some racket going there.