Monday, November 19, 2012
This week of Thanksgiving, I decided that the perfect music video to showcase is "99 Red Balloons" by German singer Nena, which was a big hit in 1984 when I was in the 7th grade in Bellevue, Nebraska. Since I am going to visit for the holiday one of my best friends who lives in Bellevue again and since this song is quoted in my annual Christmas newsletter, I think it's the perfect song for this week.
Back in 1984, which was still the height of the Cold War, I did live in fear of a nuclear holocaust. I believe that in 1983, there was a made for TV movie called The Day After which featured Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue as a prime target for being the headquarters for the Strategic Air Command. The movie scared me. My parents made my brother and I go to our room so we wouldn't see the scene where people died in the initial blast (probably a good thing, considering that the face melting scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark gave me nightmares, as did the birth of the alien baby in the V mini-series). However, it was the scenes of the nuclear fallout and radiation sickness that made me decide that if nuclear war comes, I'd rather die in the initial blast than deal with the radiation sickness and living on a toxic planet.
The song "99 Red Balloons", or as it is known in German, "99 Luft Ballons", is about a nuclear holocaust. In 1984, my family was anxiously awaiting my dad's orders. He had put in for orders to Germany and we all wanted to get that dream assignment location. I learned my first German in a 7th grade languages course (they required students to take a sampler of three languages: French, German, and Spanish so that students would be able to make a wiser choice about what language they wanted to learn after having learned the basics in each of the three language courses offered). I learned that the German word for "balloon" is "luft ballon." "Luft" means "air" (Lufthansia is the German Airlines, Luft Waffe is the famous German Air Force), and not "red" as I had previously thought. In order to have the lyrics fit the melody, the word "red" was added in the English version of the song.
Anyhow, I had fun with the song for this year's newsletter. I already have ideas for next year's newsletter. I can't wait to write that one. I knew what this year's newsletter was going to look like a year ago. Since many people have complimented me on creating the best newsletter they receive each year, I have to come up with creative ideas to keep things interesting. Last year's newsletter was a Top 20 singles list with a "Billboard Magazine" feel to it (I had called my newsletter "Nicboard" and used the same font style and even the same colors for the circles inside some of the letters).
I will play catch up on the blog, since so much has happened since my last entry in September. Hopefully, I'll get back into a regular writing schedule now that the election has passed and I no longer spend hours each night reading as many news articles about the election as possible.