Burning through countless hours of what would otherwise be productive and valuable time in my life. Thanks, digital cable and YouTube.

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life64 Comments

The Zielskes recently upgraded to digital cable, in order to get the Comcast Triple Play package for cheaper phone service.  After careful consideration ("hasty" isn’t exactly part of Dan’s Box o’ Research Tools) we figured out that we were paying way too much for our phone service through MCI, so we decided to make a switch to both save money and consolidate yet another bill. (Stay with me, this is going to get GOOD, people.)

Enter all these new channels I never had before. No, nothing crazy like HBO or Showtime. But things like VH1 Classic, and all those Encore movie channels. And so many other channels, that honestly? It borders on overwhelming. I mean, what are you in the mood for? 16 Candles? Jacob’s Ladder? or The Abyss on TWO different channels? Yeah, I KNOW.

Saturday night, I was flipping through all of my new special channels and could not believe what was about to air on VH1 Classic: Staying Alive, that brilliant, Sylvester-Stallone-directed-sequel to the original,  where we were led to believe that Tony Manero had gone from being a potty-mouthed, misogynistic disco king, to a struggling albeit charming dancer on Broadway.

Where’s the stretch there, I ask? Really? I mean, if the Fonz can eventually teach high school… right?

So for two hours, I echoed dialogue back to the actors, sang along with every single song, and even found my shoulders twitching, willing my muscles to recall the countless hours I spent in my garage in Everett, Washingon, trying to learn those edgy dance moves. What? You don’t remember those moves? Here, let me and YouTube fix that:

I watched this movie probably 25 times or more after it came out on video. I played the soundtrack so many times the tape broke. It’s not even that I was a big fan of the music of Frank Stallone, but there was something about that movie that sunk in deep under my skin and filled me with hope and joy and inspiration. And let me tell you, people, it all came back on Saturday night to the point that I had to remind myself if I went ahead and bought the soundtrack, it’d be one of those things that might be really good at first, but also one that I’d very likely regret in the morning. And who doesn’t know what THAT feels like.

That said, one of my most favorite scenes in the movie was when Tony has been dissed by the lovely but snobby Finola Hughes (you remember her line, spit out in that haughty British accent, "Everybody uses everybody, don’t they?"), and he goes to see his long-suffering girlfriend, played by a woman who should have been a way bigger star, Cynthia Rhodes. Yep, Pa, they even had that one on the YouTube:

I wish I could accurately recall the number of times I sang this song when I was 16, deluding myself with all of my heart that I sounded pretty much exactly like her. Sigh. I even did the hand reaching out thing, just like her.

Cynthia didn’t do so badly in the end. She got Tony back (reaffirming for me that nice girls eventually won out in the end and that I too, would one day find true love), and later went on to marry Richard Marx (and star in his video) and have babies and live happily ever after.

And here’s the point of my post today: I can’t get anything done thanks to my ever-expanding technologies. Case in point:

Cathy ZielskeBurning through countless hours of what would otherwise be productive and valuable time in my life. Thanks, digital cable and YouTube.

64 Comments on “Burning through countless hours of what would otherwise be productive and valuable time in my life. Thanks, digital cable and YouTube.”

  1. #1
    Sarah

    Too funny – I saw that was on as I fed the babies. The best part of that VH1 channel? The endless 80’s videos in the early morn and the Heavy Metal hours they have. There are some MAJOR flashbacks in those! They also have some sweet Top 10 countdowns with Mark Goodman (remember him?)

    Welcome to Comcast Digital – five million channels, lots of brain drain and still not much to watch πŸ˜‰

  2. #2
    Carmen King, Avondale, AZ

    I am looking at my computer screen at 5:45 AM, November 17th. Did you stay up all night watching all of this only to hop right on your computer for using even more precous sleeping time to share your memories? WOW! I feel like I just had a call from a friend who couldn’t wait to say, “did you SEE that?!” What a fantastic way to wake up!!

  3. #5
    Lisa

    Girlfriend, thank you for making me feel OLD this morning. There’s never been anything quite like the 80s, eh? HA! πŸ˜‰

    I, too, had the twitchy shoulders for some time. Ava is sitting here on my lap watching, and she goes “Woooooahhhh.” Woah indeed, sweets. Woah indeed.

  4. #7
    amanda

    Fabulous post. I just got to relive it all too and I LOVE Finola Hughes. I find myself watching her on that show “how do I look?” (like crap or you would not be here!) and think of her stealthy dance moves. Seriously, I may have to watch your post all over again!

    Cheers!

  5. #8
    Shanon G

    Love Richard Marx, feel like putting his greatest hits on my iPod now! Thanks for your always amusing posts.

  6. #9
    Rebecca

    Well you learn something new everyday. I had no idea that there was a sequel to Saturday Night Fever.

  7. #10
    Kim K

    Did Aidan watch with you? I watched this too and I tried to get my 12 year old son to watch with me…can you say NOT INTERESTED? (suppose it’s not really a guy movie, is it?) I even tried luring both boys (the other is 8) by telling them John Travolta is in that new Bolt movie with Miley Cyrus. HA! No dice. Thanks for the memories with Richard Marx. Saw him in something recently…very short hair…would never have recognized him!

  8. #13
    Shelley Burkett

    Cynthia Rhodes. She was looking REALLY familiar to me, and I realized that she also played Patrick Swayze’s hot blonde dance partner in Dirty Dancer. Wow. I had never seen her in anything else. Who knew….

  9. #16
    Robyn

    OH Kathy – thanks for the wonderful memories! My Grandmother took me to see this movie when it was in the theaters…and then she bought me the sound track too – I think our soundtracks had the same fate!

    Loved that greased up Travolta look too!

  10. #17
    Melissa LaFavers

    I think Cynthia also did a stint as the lead singer of Animotion in their later days. I remember a song called “Room to Move.”

    We all have those movies from our teenaged years that changed our lives in some way. For me, there was a long, long list. : )

    Hey, sounds like a great topic for a scrapbook page, doesn’t it?

  11. #20
    Annette

    oh my goodness. this made my morning. I’ll be going to the guide to see if I can find it or making a run to Blockbuster. loved this. thanks. πŸ™‚

  12. #21
    Lisa S.

    Cathy, you are such an enabler! Just “wasted” my morning re-living such great memories of spandex, leg warmers, great music, and fabulous moves by great bodies! That was a great movie for those of us who grew up in the 80’s. Wouldn’t you love to see John Travolta on Dancing with the Stars now? Happy that Cynthia is all and well with Richard Marxs. I saw his concert in the 80’s where the finale’ was him playing “waiting for you” on the piano as it rises thru the floor. Now that was entertainment!

    Modern age is great in reliving and sharing those moments with your kids. I had my 7 year old watch the old Ricola commericals on YouTube. We now are stuck on that mountain top sing away.

    Enjoy your time channel surfing.

  13. #22
    jenn b

    I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at one of your posts EVER! I can just hear you in my head saying everything word for word. Thanks again for making my day better!!

  14. #23
    Marta Valdes

    WOW, absolutely fabulous. Boy that brought a lot of memories. I watched this movie back in the day, sang, and did the dance moves. I just turned 42 this weekend and realized that you are never to old to watch, sing and dance to the 80’s movies and music. Thank you for taking me back.

  15. #24
    Lovebug Kat

    OMG OMG! The flashbacks..they are a-hurtin’ my head they are, they are..
    Ahhhh, Richard Marx, I so was going to marry him someday…I still might, but shhhhh don’t tell my current husband, he might get jealous LOL

  16. #25
    Jayne Hickey (The View From My Shoes)

    Oh you’re killing me smalls! I swear it’s like we are twins separated at birth! You, my dear, would fit in just perfectly with my sisters and I!
    The whole, “EveryBUDY uses everyBUDY” line -and the Cynthia Rhodes song – ugh, my ballad circa ’83!
    Now I just need a little, “Nobody puts baby in a corner!”, my Forenza sweater on backwards and my ankle zip jeans and I’m off to get an Orange Julius at the mall and buy Prince’s new album!

  17. #26
    Stephanie T.

    really…i think the only thing funnier than being a teen in the 80’s was being a 20-something, dittos-wearing high school teacher! man did you guys kept us on our toes!!
    gawd how i miss big hair…sigh….

  18. #28
    Rachel Smith

    Cathy,
    This is why I love reading your blog. Posts like this one make me smile and laugh out loud and generally brighten my day!! Love it!! I adore Richard Marx. Thanks for being you and sharing that with all of us out here!!
    Rachel Smith

  19. #29
    betty C

    This is my all time favorite movie. I can’t believe that you love it too! I thought I was the only one on the planet that still loves to watch this one. Gotta love all of those sweaty bodies!

  20. #31
    Christine Campbell

    I had no idea Cynthia Rhodes was married to Richard Marx – that and she was in one of my fav. movies of all time, Dirty Dancing, with Patrick Swayze – now that is a lucky girl!!!

  21. #33
    Darlene

    1. I MUST dance with John Travolta before we both die!

    2. In jr. high my dad took my friend and I to the Oregon State Fair on the day Richard Marx was playing. We got there when it opened and waited in line until they opened the gate, then we rushed in, got separated, but were in the front row! He even waved right at me! My dear daddy brought us food and drinks all day. What a guy!

  22. #35
    Nancy Hyland

    As I sit here typing this and reading the 6 blogs I follow and then the chat rooms, and email and oh that sounds neat lets google it, oh yeah, so and so wanted this for Christmas lets go check it out on ebay…I waste my daughter’s nap time when I should be folding that massive mountain of laundry, vacuuming (but why bother when she gets up it will be just covered in cheerios and raisins in 30 secs anyway??), finishing all those projects I started, etc, etc, etc… Just a long way of saying I totally get it!! πŸ™‚

  23. #38
    Ilona

    Since everyone was sick at my house Saturday night and in bed by 8:00 I too was watching Stayin Alive. Love the movie, love the soundtrack. I use to have the cassette and would listen to it endlessly. When I went to see the movie in the theater with my aunts we missed the first 5 minutes so we asked if we could stay and see the beginning at the next showing. We ended up staying for the whole movie. I can’t believe we watched it twice in a row but it was THAT good! Cynthia Rhodes was also in Flashdance for all of you who only know her from Dirty Dancing!

  24. #39
    Dori

    Oh, you sweet girl… your post whisked me right back to the 60s when I was in high school (yes, I’m THAT old). I would listen to “Beatles” songs playing on my ultra cool yellow transistor radio while I ‘ratted’ the hair on top of my head to achieve that perfect, helmet-like, bouffant hairdo. πŸ™‚ Bless you, Cathy, bless you!

  25. #40
    Jen S.

    Thanks for another witty post! I am usually a lurker, but had to comment on this one. I, too saw the same thing on VH1 Classic a few weeks ago. You will have to venture over to OnDemand — many movies (even for free) on there that will take you back. Yes, I do sit in front of the tv a little too much. What else is there too do when it’s too hot and humid in the summer and too cold in the winter here in MN?

  26. #41
    jen smith

    oh. my. gosh.!!!! my aunt introduced me to that movie about 25 years ago. i watched it over and over and over again. it was the reason i knew i was destined for braodway. i didn’t make it that far but to this day i have a vhs copy of it that i stick in every now and then. love it! love the songs, the dancing, everything. staying alive is to me what mamma mia is to my little girl. thanks for the flashback.

  27. #43
    Dixie Lee

    You make me laugh. The trips down memory lane are always so much fun with you. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

    Now if I could only find the big black sweater, red stirrup leggings and black flats that I wore religiously every Friday to my freshman year at UW in 1985…I’d be in good shape!

  28. #45
    kat-in-texas

    I’m just laughing–we had some really corny movies back then!

    But I still love them!

    John Travolta is one of my favorites to this day. And I’ll bet he can still dance even if he can’t fit into that spandex suit!!!

  29. #46
    michelle OKeefe

    Cathy, did you know that Finola Hughes is actually on tv today – a show called “How do I look?” on the Style network?
    Well, maybe you do if you read the wikipedia entry you posted.
    Anyway.
    Thanks – that was a funny story. Love your blog.

  30. #49
    Felicia

    Oh, man! I went to see the original Saturday Night Fever in 1977! Can you believe John Travolta did all his own dancing?! And I had totally forgot about Richard Marx!! He absolutely defined the mullet! I just had to google him to see what he looks like now. Check it out http://www.richardmarx.com/?content=photos

  31. #50
    Carol T.

    OK – First of all, this post was hilarious! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I relate to your obsession with this movie! And OMG – the dance sequence in the first “featured” youtube video…PRICELESS! I wanted to be anybody in this movie! Tape?? Try LP baby! There were many a dance shows to this soundtrack! “You got to look out for #1” My college roommate and I rented this when we were freshman because we loved it so much (on VHS mind you!!) and our friend walked right at the above mentioned dance sequence! PARTY FOUL! I still remember seeing this in the movie theater in 1983!

    AND, second of all – welcome to the 21st century of digital cable. PLEASE tell me you got the DVR digital cable box?!?!?! Life as you know it just changed forever!

    Peace!

  32. #51
    Ksea Cantonwine

    OMG! I love Richard Marx! Don’t forget, Cynthia Rhodes was also had a supporting role in Dirty Dancing. She’s the one who gets pregnant. =) Man… do you have his first album? If you do, by chance, please listen to Remember Manhatten. LOVE THAT SONG!

  33. #52
    suezi gurzi

    i love love your blog. you always bring my right back to the greatest times EVAH! i sat and watched it as well and called my girlfriend and gave her a heads up!

  34. #53
    JWinks

    Wow Cathy, nice to see someone else’s head is filled with alot of useless information like mine is πŸ™‚
    Yes, “Staying Alive” is one of my all-time guilty pleasures (the other is “A Star Is Born”-the Barbra streisand version)
    Anyway, here comes more useless info for you…do you know what Richard Marx and Cynthia Rhodes call their 3 sons?
    The Marx Brothers.
    Can you tell me why on earth I know that? πŸ˜‰
    -Jody

  35. #54
    Bammela

    Cathy,
    I hope you didn’t try introducing your kids to Stayin’ Alive. Not that I remember anything untoward happening in it, but then I didn’t remember anything inappropriate in Saturday Night Fever when I sat down to watch it with my 11-year-old son. As in, “I don’t remember THAT!”; I don’t REMEMBER THAT”; “I DON’T REMEMBER THAAAAAT!”; Click, OFF, hummmmmmmmm; “Wanna play a rousing game of Scrabble? I used to think my parents were overprotective duds – now I think they should be arrested for retroactive child neglect – for allowing me to take the bus downtown and watch that movie with a couple of friends – at 12 years of age! Thanks for the memories.

  36. #55
    shari

    Ok….not to make all of us who grew up on this feel old…but Cynthia Rhodes is turning 52 this Friday the 21st of November. Now I don’t feel quite so bad about the gray hair and the reading glasses.

  37. #56
    shari

    However…I suppose that means she was in her 30’s when she looked so great in Dirty Dancing. Ok…depressed again.

  38. #57
    Tonja Trump

    OMG I can’t believe you didn’t discover VH1 Classic sooner! I always get educated on your blog..I’m off to look up miso..what’s that word? Lol.
    AND I got all 875 points (an A!) for my project! I’ll see if I can email it to you. Thanks for your help!! MUAH!!

  39. #59
    BLo

    It’s the battle of the dated hair – in this corner we have Travolta who looks like a werewolf, and in this corner we have Marx who looks like if you got a crowbar under his hair, it would pop right off. What would Trump do to get Marx’s hair?! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  40. #60
    Sara

    My grandma got me Staying Alive at a garage sale when I was 9. It is probably the definitive movie of my elementary school years. Clearly my parents were selective in how they screened what I watched, because I watched this over and over again. I have memories of trying to recreate the dance scenes with my neighbor. I think this one deserves a scrapbook page. πŸ™‚ And you’re right, when I eventually saw Saturday Night Fever, I didn’t recognize Tony as the same character.

  41. #61
    nomadscrapper

    Oh, Cathy, what did we ever do before YouTube? Did we actually get something done? But YouTube is so much more fun!… Thanks for putting a smile on my face and laughter in my life.

  42. #63
    Diane

    Blast from the past, eh! And by the way, PNW greetings from really close to your old stomping grounds! I live in Marysville, but traipse through Everett at least twice a week. Holla! (My 16 yr. old daughter would either be really proud or really embarrassed by that last line!)

  43. #64
    Kristina

    OMG! I just read this post of yours….I LOVED that movie and actually paid to go see it. “Moody Girl” was my favorite song from the soundtrack.

    Did you know that Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi is in the band that Cynthia Rhodes sings with? Look closely at the first scene with her singing at the club and when the song is over, you’ll see him.

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