Morgon Newquist

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

My Top Five Disney Villain Songs

This is a fun little post I was thinking about as my kids and I listened to a Disney villain song collection in the car. It was a little random and missing some good ones, but it got me considering it.

Here are the best Disney Villain songs, ranked by me.

#5 Be Prepared – The Lion King

This song on the list was almost a given, as The Lion King is one of the best of the Disney animated films. Scar (with the exception of Ursula, who was originally Triton’s sister, a relationship removed from the movie but restored to the stage musical) is family to the characters he is destroying. He is kills his own brother in order to be king, and is completely willing to also permanently psychologically damage (and then kill) his own nephew for it too. Jeremy Irons is perfect for this song, and it is ominous as he plots the coup of the royal family. It’s also full of Nazi imagery, which should terrify today’s snowflakes looking for swastikas around every corner.

 

#4 Mother Knows Best – Tangled

I almost ranked this one higher – it was a little bit of a struggle, but the next song is a little shocking for a Disney song, even a villain, so this one ended up at #4. Mother Gothel kidnapped the baby princess Rapunzel to use her magic hair to stay young and beautiful forever, and has kept the child locked up in a tower her entire life. This song is the epitome of feminine abuse – catty comments, underhanded jabs, and most of all, scaring and manipulating a young woman to stay completely dependent on her. She is crushing Rapunzel’s self confidence and self reliance, all so she can be beautiful. Take note at the end of the song, when Mother Gothel tells Rapunzel “I love you most” she kisses Rapunzel’s hair and not her.

#3 My Lullaby – The Lion King II

So this is a movie that has mostly been relegated to the dustbin, as it was one of the direct to video sequels of the late Eisner years at Disney. I haven’t watched it again as an adult, but it isn’t too bad if I remember it correctly. It has had a tiny bit of a resurgence lately as they’ve chosen not to totally trash the canon from it; Simba’s daughter Kiara is in the new television show The Lion Guard. The music in it is actually quite good, and this song is one of the reasons.

The plot is that several of Scar’s followers were expelled from the Pridelands by Simba, including Zira and her three children. Her youngest son, Kovu, was chosen to be Scar’s successor. She is singing him to sleep in the song My Lullaby.

The corruption of a child, and her celebration of violence and wrath also make it noteworthy.

#2 Friends on the Other Side – The Princess and the Frog

This is The Shadow Man – Dr. Facilier – trapping Prince Naveen with voodoo in The Princess and The Frog. Keith David’s talent makes this song, as does the willingness to be explicit and creepy with his shadow summons. He is tempting both Naveen and his manservant Lawrence with their heart’s desires – money and respect. I also find it noteworthy  for using the temptation of a gamma – a cowardly man who cannot stand up for himself wanting to take the power and respect of another man. He thinks he deserves what Naveen has, despite never making any effort to improve his own lot in life.  He would betray and destroy Naveen in order to get it.

“In your future, the you I see…is exactly the man you always wanted to be,” sings the Shadow Man as he shows Lawrence a card with him as the king, abusing his master.

 

#1 Hellfire – The Hunchback of Notre Dame

With the exception of #3, this is likely to be one of the songs on the list that has been heard the least. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is – generally quite rightfully, I feel – scoffed at for the “Disney” changes made to Victor Hugo’s classic novel. And on the other side of the divide, many Disney fans didn’t like it because it didn’t have the requisite happy ending. But the music in it is incredible (Don’t believe me? Go listen to it). The musical, which changes the plotline to be at least slightly closer to the original story, also has amazing music.

Rumor is that Roy Disney gave the creators permission to push the envelope and do something different with this movie, and in Hellfire, you can see it. It is an intense song about Frollo condemning Esmerelda to eternal fire for not returning his affections.  

 

That is my ranking of the Disney Villain Songs! There are a couple of good ones (Poor Unfortunate Souls, Oogie Boogie’s Song, and The Mob Song, for example) that just missed the top five. What are your favorite Disney Villain songs and why?

 

Even Cinderella Had Haters

This is a post that’s been rolling around in my head for a while that I’ve been meaning to write. I think it is important to remember. I try to keep it as a sort of mantra (along with the tagline from the live action movie, “Have Courage and Be Kind”).

I like most people on an individual basis. I’m not a saint, there are some I can’t stand or don’t want to deal with. I’m generally unconcerned with whatever they choose to do with their time or attentions.  I can also see most people for the interesting and good things about them, even if I don’t want to be BFFs.

I spent a rather embarrassingly long time of my life naively thinking this is how most other people were. It is not.

It does not matter how charitable, how smart, how kind – how completely and generally unoffensive you are as a person. Someone will not like you. Someone will take shots at you, try to tear you down, or just make your life uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because they are bitter and hate everyone. Maybe they are jealous. Who knows?

The crabs in a bucket theory is real. Many (even most) people actually behave this way. You won’t escape their cruelty, jealousy, or dislike, even if you try to be nice and try to make everyone like you. Hell, sometimes the act of trying to make everyone like you makes someone hate you. It’s impossible.

You will not make everyone happy. Everyone will not like you. The end.

Cinderella was kind, beautiful, courageous, helpful, and loving. And even someone – her steprelatives – hated her. In fact, they hated her because of who she was. There was nothing for her to do about it.

If not even everyone loved Cinderella, a perfect fairy tale heroine, they will not all love you.

I get it. It is hard to accept. I still struggle with it, particularly because I am rather mild mannered and make a concerted effort to be kind. I have been a people pleaser for most of my life.

But it still hasn’t made me universally beloved. All her wonderful qualities did not save Cinderella from her stepmother and stepsisters.

Be who you are – whoever that is, and stop worrying about everyone else. It’s hard to do. I am trying to become that way. But I am sure it will make my life better.

Have You Seen: The 10th Kingdom

I am about to start running a couple of new “series” here on this blog. This post is the first of one of them. “Have You Seen” will be for me to share various works of writing, music, movies or television that I enjoyed but aren’t always super well known.

The first of these is The 10th Kingdom. I bring it up because we are currently watching it with my son. It has been a while since I’ve watched it, but it’s holding up quite well.

This was a TV miniseries originally released in 2000, and that is when I saw it the first time, too. I happened to be staying with a family friend while my parents were out of town. They were recording it…otherwise I might have never even known about it. It was not seen by very many people, it seems. The show wasn’t even rereleased on DVD until 2013, after it had been unavailable for quite some time.

It’s more than 150 years after Happily Ever After…and again the nine kingdoms are in upheaval. Prince Wendell White (the grandson of Snow White) is preparing for his coronation. The escape of his wicked Stepmother from prison is endangering him and his entire kingdom.

The story follows Wendell, and his unlikely companions – Wolf, a halfwolf escaped convict, and Virginia and her father Tony, New Yorkers.  After Trolls invade their apartment looking for the runaway Prince, they must escape through a magic mirror. New York is the mythical 10th Kingdom, only reachable by magic mirror.

It is a fun, tongue in cheek paean to fairy tales, with a good story to match. It happens to have two of the more impressive villains from fantasy shows from the aughts – the Evil Queen and her Huntsman. The Huntsman is unrelenting, calm, and intimidating, while the Queen hits all the right notes to be a truly feminine villain. Virginia, the female lead, is neither a manic pixie dream girl nor a badass flippy girl fighter. She is a normal girl, a waitress…slightly self absorbed, wary, and defensive, but not too bitchy or unsympathetic. It is refreshing for both Virginia and the Queen to be interesting and strong in their own way, without covering them with a veneer of masculinity. Long before Sad Puppies, when I was eleven, the pair of them made an impression on me because of this.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story (though I think I will analyze it and/or some of the characters in a later blog post), but I present it for your watching consideration.

Each character has a definite arc, the setting is fun, and the story works well. The writers manage to hat tip most of the well known fairy tales without being too excessive about it.

It also has one of my favorite TV openings of all time:

So if you’re looking to watch something during the cold winter months, this one will occupy several nights. And as an early aughts production, you won’t get beaten over the head with message fiction, either.

The Cinder Witch

The Cinder Witch has been released! I am remiss in posting this as it happened right around the holidays, but the third School of Spells and War story is finally out. You can purchase it at Amazon. It is also available on Kindle Unlimited!

Months ago, Alis joined with her new friend Cahan to fight a dragon beneath the School of Spells and War. Now she fights something altogether different: fame. Worse, her newfound notoriety has resulted in a mission to the far north. As if it weren’t bad enough that it’s so cold, she also finds herself in a tiny village whose residents innately distrust spellcasters of all kinds. Yet they tolerate her because she comes with Cahan – and because something is threatening their children. Can Alis and Cahan save them?

Please enjoy this 45 page story that is the next installment in the series.

More stories, and a big announcement about the School of Spell and War stories as a whole, will be coming soon. Please stay tuned!

A Midsummer’s Party

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I am pleased to announce that the next short story in the School of Spells and War is now available on Amazon for 0.99! You can purchase it here exclusively through Amazon. It’s also free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!

It’s Cahan’s birthday and Alis didn’t know it! Now she has only a matter of hours to choose the perfect gift for him. But what do you get a man like Cahan? The answer involves shenanigans and BREAKING THE RULES…something that Alis has never done!

A Midsummer’s Party is what I’ve come to calling an “interlude” story – shorter than the novellas, just a fun one-shot adventure with the characters.

Down the Dragon Hole, the first story in the series, is free on Amazon until tomorrow, so you might as well pick that one up if you haven’t started the stories yet! The School of Spells and War is a fun, slightly tongue-in-cheek tribute to the old sword and sorcery stories. I’m humbled that it has been compared favorably to the wonderful Terry Pratchett. Check it out if you’re interested!

You won’t have to wait long for more Alis and Cahan either. The Cinder Witch is coming down the line soon!

School of Spells & War Update

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I have updates for my series of short stories and novellas The School of Spells & War. The first story about Alis and Cahan, the wizard and warrior duo, was originally published in the anthology Make Death Proud To Take Us, and later released on its own.  I’m happy to announce that two more stories – A Midsummer’s Party and The Cinder Witch – are scheduled for release over the next couple of months! There are also three other stories on deck in varying degrees of completion that should be out over the next six months too.

They’re a long time coming, I know, but newborns tend to put a crimp in book writing plans. There should be many more after these, too, so keep an eye out.

Art From Life

The real problems came with toddlers – when the parents had waited to have their kids baptized for one reason or another. Sometimes the parents were recent converts to the church. That he understood, and he always welcomed them, challenge and all. But most of the time it was just lazy parents who couldn’t be bothered – the “CE Catholics” who only came on Christmas and Easter, or who waited a year and a half until Grandma was in town to do the baptism.

Baptising toddlers was a pain in the neck. Most of them were just frustrating. The little tykes just couldn’t sit still. But some of them were downright infuriating. He’d had children sit on the altar giving him the stink eye.

That is an excerpt from my husband Russell‘s short story Knight of the Changeling, that can be found in the anthology Between the Wall and the Fire (which is an awesome collection by the way, if you need some new reading material). A deacon is talking about his experiences baptizing children after he just witnessed a supernatural occurrence at one.

I thought I would post the inspiration behind it, because it cracks me up and I like to see how life inspires art.

Our eldest son, S, was not baptized until he was a toddler. Russell and I joined the church at Easter in 2011, and we waited until we were full Catholics before having the ceremony.

And this happened:

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We printed a copy and gave it to the priest, who just laughed and laughed.  And there is photo proof of that throw away line in the short story.

Announcement: Tales of the Once and Future King

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I am excited to announce that my short story, “The Hounds of Camelot”, has been accepted into the forthcoming Tales of the Once and Future King young adult anthology! It is a collection of King Arthur related short stories that promises to be very interesting!

I’ll keep everyone up to date on that, and while you’re at it, go ahead and check out Superversive SF. Anthony Marchetta over there is putting together this collection, and you’ll also be able to find updates there, as well as excellent commentary by a variety of authors.

 

My Workout Playlist

I was tweaking my workout playlist the other week. We just restarted our local Y membership last month, so I’ve actually been working out again. Currently I’m attempting to hit a twice a week weightlifting workout, and then once the dojo merger is finished I’ll get back to twice a week Karate as well.

The Y has childcare, so I can work out in the mornings (my preferred time by far) without having to wrangle the kids. So far it has been working out very well. It’s the first time since before I was pregnant with kid #4 that I’ve been working out regularly, and with any intensity (I have been in and out of the dojo the past year).

I spend a lot of time reading a lot of lists with suggestions for music. My husband likes to work out to heavy metal, which I also like. But I kind of go on feel alone (factoring in beat/sound and lyrics) for my workout list. So I have a somewhat eclectic list that I thought I would share.

I have a premium Spotify account, which I love. It only costs $10 a month and I get access to almost any music I might want. It’s also saved us from spending tons of money on CDs for the Kids – like I could start playing the Frozen soundtrack for them immediately after seeing the movie. We actually just upped it to a family membership and added Russell and S to it. S has my old iPhone 4 just for Spotify use. He kept asking for a music player for his room and that seemed to be the easiest option.

So I have this playlist on my account, and just punch the random button every time I’m at the gym. Here are the songs:

  1.  I’ll Make A Man Out of You (Mulan Soundtrack)
  2. The Majestic Tale of A Madman In A Box (Doctor Who Soundtrack)
  3. I Hate Everything About You (Three Days Grace)
  4. Home (Three Days Grace)
  5. Diamond Eyes (Shinedown)
  6. The Bird and the Worm (The Used)
  7. We Were Men (Theory of A Deadman)
  8. The Bitch Came Back (Theory of A Deadman)
  9. Hot N Cold (Katy Perry)
  10. Raise Your Glass (Pink)
  11. Gangham Style (PSY)
  12. Lose Yourself (Eminem)
  13. Call Me Maybe (Carlie Rae Jepson)
  14. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica)
  15. So What (Pink)
  16. Roar (Katy Perry)
  17. Something In Your Mouth (Nickleback)
  18. Not Afraid (Eminem)
  19. Applause (Lady Gaga)
  20. California Gurls (Katy Perry, Snoop Dog)
  21. Remember the Name (Fort Minor, Styles of Beyond)
  22. Right Now (Rihanna)
  23. Firework (Katy Perry)
  24. Just Like Fire (Pink)
  25. Try (Pink)
  26. The One That Got Away (Katy Perry)
  27. Get the Party Started (Pink)
  28.  If I Lose Myself (One Republic, Alesso)
  29. Headstrong (Trapt)
  30. Baby One More Time (Britney Spears)
  31. Oops I Did It Again (Britney Spears)
  32. Toxic (Britney Spears)
  33. Bulletproof (La Roux)
  34. E.T. (Katy Perry)
  35. Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
  36. S&M (Rihanna)
  37. Tik Tok (Kesha)
  38. Fancy (Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX)
  39. Royals (Lorde)
  40. Painkiller (Three Days Grace)
  41. Droppin’ Plates (Disturbed)
  42. Diamonds (Rihanna)
  43. Single Ladies (Beyonce)
  44. Timber (Pitbull, Kesha)
  45. Just Dance (Lady Gaga, Colby O’Donis)
  46. Stronger (Kanye West)
  47. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), (Kelly Clarkson)
  48. Pompeii (Bastille)
  49. Dark Horse (Katy Perry)
  50. Born This Way (Lady Gaga)

Like I said, an odd collection. I have to like the words, and it has to have a sound/beat that I feel like I can move to. A lot of these artists I don’t usually listen to, but I found their songs to work well for me. Just some inspiration for your next workout.

You Don’t Learn How To Work Hard When You Grow Up In Public Schools

This has been on my mind recently, as I am reading Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich.

I have not given 100% for much of anything in my life. It is especially hard to do when dealing with health issues, as I have been off and on for the last three years (to be detailed out in further posts down the line).

But this is an embarrassing admission to make. Most of my life, I have been able to work at whatever I need to and be relatively successful without serious effort.

Note that I don’t always skate through. I am not particularly lazy, nor do I never work. I just haven’t really thrown myself into anything since I was in high school. That last thing was competitive theater, believe it or not. And when I put the effort in, I won first place in the entire state for classical comedic acting. But since then, not much. I have worked – I work on my writing. I work on my house, my business, work on my parenting. I read a great deal to find ways to improve any and all of those things. But I haven’t gone all in.

Some of this is personal failing, and yes, some of it is laziness.  Some of it is phoning it in.

But as I considered this over the last couple of weeks (and have worked to correct it in small steps) I started to think about why this was so, in a bigger picture sort of way. I figured it could help me overcome it.

For me personally, it doesn’t really matter. It’s been ten years since I was a public school student. It’s all on me now.

BUT, I came to an interesting line of thought for myself. It isn’t really original, the mediocrity of the public schools is well documented. It may be a slightly different perspective on it, though.

At the risk of bragging, I am very intelligent. I was able to be extremely successful in school – good grades, high ranking in my class, extracurriculars, etc., without any real effort. I did the busy work, but it wasn’t hard. I didn’t have to concentrate on it. Sure, it took time – most of school is a grind anyway. Even things that were hard for other “gifted” kids were not for me. With the exception of math, as I am almost functionally innumerate. But even then, I could skate through well enough.

I’d toy with the idea sometimes. If I just spent a little extra time, I’d be valedictorian. But I never followed through. Why? I was almost the top of the heap anyway, so was it really worth all that work just to move up a couple of slots? I decided it wasn’t. And even now I’d say, for that particular thing, it wasn’t. But now, for other things, it is. But I don’t know how to do it.

And thus I never learned to really work hard. There was one college class I was in that I did, but even with that one I had a natural affinity for the subject.

I think this is endemic. When everyone does well in the artificial environment of the public school, nobody learns to work. It’s an extension of the snowflaking issue of today’s millennials.  And honestly, you can do ok even now if you’re moderately intelligent and will do at least some of the grind.

When you don’t know how to work hard, though, it is a steep learning curve. It is a skill. When everything is easy, you don’t know how to do anything else. I think it is part of the reason why the dream is shifting from being a successful business owner to being a well-paid cog in the corporate machine. You don’t have to work hard to cash that paycheck. But when you’re the boss, that paycheck doesn’t come unless you make it come. It’s easier just to be the peon.

I have done well for myself. My life is good. I don’t sit around doing nothing all day, but I could certainly work harder than I am. And I can play harder than I do, which is just as important.

But the entire structure of the public schools breeds this. I am coming to believe that it does it on purpose. It makes it easier for the elites of the world to stay on top.

I don’t want my children to be adults before they have to work hard to earn something worthwhile. That is one of the reasons they’re being homeschooled. No more skating through to get the gold star, and then floundering when exiting the system at age twenty-two (or, increasingly, twenty-six or twenty-seven).

I’m making the effort now. I don’t want to skate along. I can do so much better than I have been. I am ready to stop surviving and start thriving. The honest truth is that I will not be able to make the career as a writer that I so desperately want work until I do work hard. Not with four kids and a household that I want to run well too.

And more importantly, to conquer some of the issues that I am facing, I have to. My particular health problem can be managed and improved, but half-assing it isn’t going to do it. It’s time to work on self discipline and get going.

And the Gorilla Mindset is going to help with that.

will finish my novel, and all my partially written short stories this year.

will take control of my health problems this year.

will organize my household and my life the way I want it this year.

will learn to work hard, and know real success.

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