Category Archives: 70’s

Nancy Ann Neal Lee

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Nancy, like me, was the subject of merciless taunting in school. Because of her weight, and because we both were forced to hunt for the cleanest dirty clothes in the never-emptied hamper in the bathroom. My mother didn’t do laundry because she never bothered to get the washing machine fixed. So I know exactly what I went through and I can only imagine how difficult it was for Nancy. I’d ask her occasionally in our adult years, but Nancy wasn’t the kind to reflect on the bad times. See, she had this one quality that I and almost everyone else who grew up in that shithole neighborhood lacked. And that was grace. She never hurt anyone. Even though she had every right to be bitter and spiteful. She never hurt anyone.

She met one guy who cared deeply about her and there were no games. As if the two of them realized quickly upon meeting that that was the anchor they both sought. That had eluded them in the past. She and Ken got married and never stopped loving each other. I can’t tell you if they were good parents or not, but I CAN tell you that through good times and bad, Nancy never changed. Somehow, through her terrible childhood, through the relentless taunting and perpetually shifting earth beneath our feet, she had escaped drug free, alcohol free, and bitterness free.

Nancy and I had a couple of spit fights when we were teens.  Spit fights. Owned an Osmonds album or two, Grand Funk, and, inexplicably, “Head” by The Monkees. She sang. I have a recording of her, Paul and I doing “Never Ending Love”. I forgot that she got me and my band our first “paying” gig at a CB party. I talked about that elsewhere. She had rhythm. She could play “I Love Coffee, I Love Tea” on our living room chord organ. My father taught her how to play it. It was her go-to. All black keys! I wonder if she ever showed her church friends that song.

She talked on the CB radio and made so many good friends that way. Why was it so hard to meet friends in school but so easy thusly? I’m guessing that they didn’t judge her weight. Or her wardrobe. Or anything else. They heard her voice first, her smile and intelligent words second, and then they saw her body and didn’t give a shit. Her voice broadcasting from her bedroom cut through our house’s electrical thingie or something. All I know is that when Paul and I were trying to record our next cassette album, our rock and roll would be interrupted by BREAKER BREAKER THIS IS TOPAZ KQD8427 HOW BOUT IT PUDGE ?YOU OUT THERE ? Grrrr. We complained and we worked out a schedule whereby our “studio” time would not interfere with her CB time. She’d have her friends over and do the latest dances in our living room. Things like the LA Shuffle. KC and the Sunshine Band. Steve Miller. Slightly before disco.

And I do believe that some remnants of those halcyon days still ripple into our lives. One of her CB friends taught me how to play “Lyin’ Eyes” and do harmonics. One gave me cocaine. One of her girlfriends wrestled me to the ground in a delicious misunderstanding, making my husky plaid slacks fit poorly. But more than that, those times, I believe, gave her the confidence to forget those school assholes and remember that she deserved to belong. Deserved friends. Deserved fun. Deserved love.

And when she got married you sorta knew it wouldn’t be a tumultuous pairing, because she wasn’t that type of person. Unlike so many of us who grew up in Winchester, she wasn’t lost or scandalized, violent or drunk.

Many people knew her better in her adult years, but I can say that no one knows as much about what she went through in her childhood as I do. I can say also, happily, that she made it out and led a good life. Too brief, but who’s to say?

When people offer their condolences on Facebook and whatnot I remember the stories Nancy would occasionally tell about those people. She forgave them. She understood them.  But death or the perception of death somehow makes these folks forget what they did, as if death is the end of a game well-played. “Good game, Nancy. Sorry about mercilessly making fun of your body back then. No hard feelings?” Nancy wasn’t bitter, but I never said that I wasn’t. And the scars these little fuckers inflicted on me and her and probably you are ours to bear. Good game. Nice one. After all these years, let’s forget it and move on. To even talk about it would make us petty and strange. We’re the idiots. 

I always tried to make her laugh. And I always could. And she me. She knew me well enough to not talk about religion, even though it was a big part of her life toward the end. She sang his praises in health until the day she wasn’t healthy anymore. We never debated the existence of god or jesus, and maybe that’s another one of her graceful conscious choices. See, she prayed every day, and as far as I can see, god gave her a pretty inglorious ending. I won’t go into detail, but what kind of god would do that sort of thing to one of his best angels here on earth? She was terribly young and deserved better. Or maybe not. Her life was going to be a straight line of routine and comfort until the end anyhow. She was happy. What possible reason could there be to yank her from our world? There is no reason. There is no deity. There is no reason. No benevolent god would do this.

I honor her by making peace with the sasha. The tales of her goodness on the living earth are the best means by which to honor her. Call me cray cray but it seems to me that instead of picturing her with the angels playing Foosball and watching her stories, we best honor her by celebrating her humanity and wisdom. Her fidelity and grace. She’s not an angel. She was a woman and she died. My sister lives on in my memory, not in some hope we’re going to reunite at the big buffet table in the sky. With working washer/dryer.

I didn’t go to her funeral. Funerals are for the living. I made peace with Nancy after high school, and we sat and talked last summer in Gowanda and every time I was in town, on the phone birthdays and holidays and when someone died. It was how I want to remember her. I, her only brother, do not need condolences from people I haven’t seen in decades and probably won’t see again. In a very real sense, most of the family I knew in Buffalo have chosen to be or were chosen by me to be ghosts. What possible solace could they give? Was I going to go all that way to hold my tongue? I’m an adult and I’m not one to edit or censor myself. I have few friends, but the ones I do have have my eternal loyalty. The ones I chose and who chose me. I mourned, oh yes I did. Not being a religious person, I made the decision to do what I needed to do to get me through.

Play basketball with Holden and help with homework.

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My voice – an update.

I get tired of my voice. I read the stuff I wrote and it all has a familiar hum to it. I get tired of that hum and nowadays it rather exhausts me. So I’m taking a little break.

Having said that, a new job in Greensboro doing the thing I like to do the most, which is to think hard and long in the presence of adults.

My pulsatile tinnitus is gone, just like the ENT said it would. I wish I could reassure others like I tried to do with another “cause” in which I was immersed, but maybe people who go to WebMD for succor are immune to my gentle caresses in any event. So let’s just put that as a key word and hope Google finds it. If you have pulsatile tinnitus, I KNOW you’re scared or maybe panicking. Don’t. It goes away.

I played a gig last weekend in Raleigh and sold two CDs to two very nice couples. One of the wives cried when I was singling Don Henley’s “I’m Taking You Home”. It was so much nicer of an evening than I was expecting. It always is. It always CAN be! I bought a Fishman thingie for it and it kicked ass! It’s a keeper!

At 4:52, the diminutive blonde on the right is Puppa Herbert. I love her. She died in 1980 of a drug overdose, but she seems so damned… German. I know we would have been the best of friends.

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Albums I listen to when the shit hits the fan.

I’m playing this Saturday night at a place in Carrboro called Steel String Brewery. I start at 8. Please come by if you can.

The Free Design hailed from Delevan, New York, and sang at Richard Nixon’s 1968 Inauguration Ball. I love them. Their first 7 albums were on Enoch Light’s  Project 3 Label. The albums were always varied and fun, united by Chris Dedrick’s stunning writing and vocal arrangements. You might call it sunshine pop. To me, they were superior to, say, The Carpenters, in every way. My favorite record by them was their 7th, 1971’s “One By One”. It doesn’t even have it’s own Wikipedia page at this time, so perhaps I will start one. Here’s the title track, one that feels even more prescient given the fact that Chris Dedrick died in 2010 of cancer. I listen to this album when the shit hits the fan.

Sadly, Tears For Fears often gets lumped into that slagheap of lesser artists from the late 80’s. However, they were much more than that. And this album is as deep and rich as anything from that time. Maybe it’s the feeling of familiarity and the ubiquitous nature of their previous singles that made people take them for granted, to this day. I think it was pretty ballsy to dedicate almost half the album to works that featured an undiscovered club singer named Oleta Adams at a time when they themselves were red hot and hardly needed to extend their palette. This album is art to me, and when things get rough, “Badman’s Song” always brings me back. Featuring Pino Palladino and Manu Catche. Brilliant.

I have personal reasons for loving Lou Christie, but even if I did not, this album would be among my favorites. Other 60’s singers had tried and failed to expand their audience with reinventions that went against type. But I don’t see “Paint America Love” as a reinvention so much as a striking evolution in writing and performing. This is the guy that sang “Lightning Strikes”, and he’s still touring today, but when the fur flies in my heart, I like to hear these songs.

If you ignore the history and stuff (if you can), I believe this to be their most varied and accomplished piece of work. Epic in scale and execution, and even though some folks thought a single album would have been wiser, that’s a silly argument now. “With The Beatles” would have been better if it was reduced to just one side. Etc. etc. I like the fact that there’s so much music, and different music. Different voices. The ultimate summation of everything they had ever learned, achieved and shared. I love them deeply as you know, but this is the one I have on repeat. I never get tired of it.

By the way, a “glass onion” is a monacle.

There’s no better record from beginning to end than this. I, myself, of course, am thrown back to my Reuben’s Backstage days when Phil Messina, the owner, would put this on the eight-track house stereo as the evening wound down and I was trying to find a ride home.  I know I’m nothing compared to him, but I do try to emulate him when I do my own music, in regards to making tracks cross-fade, and alternating styles.

Dennis Wilson wrote “Slip On Through” and a couple more great tunes on this, their best record to my ears from beginning to end. Not as revolutionary as Pet Sounds, I know. I just like it more. The first album they did where they were a band.  I never get tired of this, and “Our Sweet Love” is a real highlight of the pop music of that era. The weirdness that preceded and followed…

I like pretty much all their albums, but this one is a little more aggressive and relate-able to me. This song in particular reminds me of some recent developments. Sad. To me, it goes: The Beatles to Stevie Wonder to XTC to Radiohead. What’s next? Nothing.

There’s four songs on this album, all of ’em pretty long. Too long to hold your passive interest, but I love this album. Renaissance was formed by Keith Relf of The Yardbirds along with his sister Jane. I know you’re more acquainted if at all with the version that recorded this album. The one with Annie Haslam. Later on they signed to the I.R.S. label, owned by Miles Copeland. Like many progressive bands, they tried vainly to change styles to keep their audience in the 80’s. This album is their best. One of my classical music expert friends pointed out the familiar (stolen?) themes that they incorporated into their magnum opus “Song off Scheherazade” but I don’t think it lessens the effect. Oh what the hell. If you have 24 minutes, listen to this. It’s wonderful.

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PD’s Football Card Collection

Back in my day, we’d trade football cards. Hell, some of us had whole laminated albums dedicated to the stuff.

Since companies like Topps didn’t want to pay the NFL licensing fees for use of team logos, you’ll notice that these cards bear the names of the teams but the helmets and often the uniforms are clumsily air-brushed to hide the evidence. But how would a kid like me know that or even care? So this is how I pass the idle time these days. Eating tuna fish and rummaging through my football card collection.

Sure, Missus Neal, I'll take yer boy fishin'...

Sure, Missus Neal, I’ll take yer boy fishin’…Can’t rightly say when we’ll be back. 

47_Dave_Williams_football_card

Duuuuuhhh….durrrrrrrr……

48_Pete_Athas_football_card

I think this dude was in a porn I stumbled upon…His name was “Jacques Dough” or something.

56_Jim_O'Brien_football_card

One of the suckiest kickers in the history of the NFL, but having said that, he MADE his last second try at the end of Super Bowl V to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Fucking Jim O’Brien. Also, the man for whom “Potatoes O’Brien” were named. No one is eating “Potatoes Norwood”, are they?

58_Ken_Bowman_football_card

Even the great Vince Lombardi was never sure what Bowman meant when he would rock back and forth on the bench and mutter, “It puts the lotion on it’s skin…”

66_Jerry_Rush_football_card

This is the face of a man who literally just sniffed my mama.

67_Bryant_Salter_football_card

The loose security detail at the Murph enabled the occasional Temptation to score a little bleacher blow and don a uniform.

71_Myron_Pottios_football_card

This was taken toward the end of a pretty good career. His third team. Still, if you look closely, in the background you can faintly discern his dreams being crushed into a fine paste. 70’s Reference: Also, Larry Czonka’s cleat-mark on his chest.

81_Lance_Rentzel_football_card

“In November 1970, Rentzel was arrested for exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl in University Park, a suburb of Dallas. His wife, singer/actress Joey Heatherton, divorced him shortly thereafter. Four years earlier, as a Viking, a similar incident occurred on a Minnesota playground. He was charged with disorderly conduct in exchange for promising to seek psychiatric treatment. He was subsequently traded to the Dallas Cowboys (OF COURSE HE WAS!!!!). Preceding the 1971 season, the Cowboys traded him to the Rams for Billy Truax and Wendell Tucker. In 1973, while on probation for the indecent exposure charge, he was arrested for possession of marijuana. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended him for the entire 1973 season, but allowed him to return for a final season with the Rams in 1974 before he retired.” It’s that football-shaped head, I tell ya.

91_Mike_Tilleman_football_card

Look at that fucking head. It’s like there’s another, smaller head inside this one. LOOK AT IT!!!

95_Frank_Nunley_football_card

“Ok…….ok…….(pant….gasp……..) no more…….no more……coach, I’m done…….wait, what? I gotta pose for what?………Oh…..yeah…ok…whatever…..”

102_Mark_Nordquist_football_card

See, you think the donkey punch is bad…(Do you? Oh, you do…ok…) Prepare for the Philadelphia Double Donkey. That’s a thing now. Trust me.

112_Mike_Eischeid_football_card

“EISCHEID”. A Quinn-Martin Production. In color.
Mild-mannered Ivy League Milquetoast Mike Eischeid majors in Fornsic Accounting by day, but at night, he’s all business…and a little pleasure.
Cookie: Aw, man, this bag is short
Paco De Lorenzo: Look, Mang, joo get what joo get
(sound of screeching tires)
Mike Eischeid jumps out of driver-side window (he didn’t really have to): Looks like you started the huddle without me….
9/8 Central

117_Errol_Mann_football_card

Kicking soccer-style is going to be HUUUUGGGE.

120_Bob_James_football_card

That is one furrowed motha fuckin’ brow.

156_Gary_Cuozzo_football_card

“Hey, guys….ok…ok….no hitting…..hey hey….heh heh…..easy there, Merlin….”

157_Charlie_Krueger_football_card

I’m sorry, but there is no WAY this guy played in the NFL. This is Hoyt Axton paying off an equipment manager to impress some secretary/girlfriend he just hired/banged…

158_Tim_Foley_football_card

In what world is this an accurate portrayal of a football move? Did I accidentally upload a picture from the CFL?

190_Dave_Chapple_football_card

I got all excited and thought this might be an early outtake of that Prince basketball skit. Then I realized that this is not Dave Chappelle. Is the punter from the ’73 Rams gonna have to choke a bitch?

Come into my arms.

Always keep a browser window with Snopes.com open.

Still not sure how I feel about Bait Car, although I am amused. The same way To Catch A Predator amused me. Am I repeating myself?

I love this guy.

And this girl:

One of those songs where I can only imagine how it felt to hear it in the complete form for the first time in a big studio. What an amazing production. Wish I were gay. Damn.  Did you know Donna Summer was the first and only  artist of the vinyl area to go to #1 with three consecutive double albums? Why don’t I have more friends?

Working on perfecting the podcast. I have to ask advice from some of my favorite producers. This week.

Happy birthday Iggy Pop. Does Jim Rome know that he uses your biggest drug-based hit as theme music? Why do old bastards like Jim Rome, Ed Schulz and Rush Limbaugh use such inappropriately subversive theme music?

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And a flesh machine
He’s gonna do another strip tease

Hey man, where’d y’get that lotion?
I’ve been hurting since I’m up again
About something called love
Yeah, something called love
Well, that’s like hypnotizing chickens

Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in the ear before
I have a lust for life
‘Cause I’ve a lust for life

I’m worth a million in prizes
With my torture film
Drive a GTO
Wear a uniform
All on a government loan

I’m worth a million in prizes
Yeah, I’m through with sleeping on the sidewalk
No more beating my brains
No more beating my brains
With liquor and drugs
With liquor and drugs

Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in the ear before
Well, I’ve a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life
I got a lust for life
Got a lust for life
Oh, a lust for life
Oh, a lust for life
A lust for life
I got a lust for life
Got a lust for life

Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in my ear before
Well, I’ve a lust for life
‘Cause I’ve a lust for life

Well, here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And a flesh machine
I know he’s gonna do another strip tease

Hey man, where’d y’get that lotion?
Your skin starts itching once you buy the gimmick
About something called love
Love, love, love
Well, that’s like hypnotizing chickens

Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in the ear before
And I’ve a lust for life
‘Cause I’ve a lust for life
Got a lust for life
Yeah, a lust for life
I got a lust for life
A lust for life
Got a lust for life
Yeah, a lust for life
I got a lust for life
Lust for life
Lust for life
Lust for life
Lust for life
Lust for life

If I didn’t before, I’d like to once again point to my big shining moment as a published writer….almost a decade ago. A decade ago, I thought that the moment that the check arrived meant easy riches or at least literary respect and a humble but irrefutable success. I was wrong. Boy howdy was I wrong. And the ironic thing about it was that by writing this article I not only alienated everyone with whom I worked at the time (I used fake names but come on) but I couldn’t even really use it as a calling card to potential employers because of what the article itself betrayed about me and the lengths I would go to assure my sanity. Having said that, there was a shining moment before any of this shameful self-promotion during which I was a “writer”. I hope you like it.

 

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Today is going to suck hard and it’s going to suck long.

Why do I keep coming here? Sitting down at this local semi-chain drinking wimpy dark roast and listening to the resident blowhard prattle on to anyone who will listen that he’s met Cokie Roberts because he trained her son’s dog. He talks about Peter Noonan [sic] of Herman’s Hermits. He talks about everything to anyone like some great black hole of banality. “I train dogs.” And it’s loud, and it’s cold. And it’s awful.

And it’s Valentine’s Day. And it sucks.

The people riding in my car are not responding well to the CD player.

It’s this:

I’m killing time in so many ways.

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Break it, burn it.

I have been reading (re-reading) one of the great books ever written about television. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who wants not only a primer on that seminal cast from the first seasons, but also the inner workings of the entertainment industry, and what happened to the 60’s culture once they got a little older. I then went to the ol’ Netflix and watched the Michael Palin episode from the 4th season. The first half of that episode was dominated by one skit, “Miles Cowperthwaite“. While the skit itself is very funny (and pretty daring for 1978/1979), Dan Aykroyd’s use of body language during his entrance as “First Mate Spunk” is one of the funniest things I remember seeing on the show, and it lasts about 5 seconds. If you get a chance, go seek it out.

I watched “Live a Little, Love a Little” last night. What utter shit. Everyone knew it. Everyone making that film knew it was shit when it was made, and yet it got made. There was approximately one thing and one thing only that came from that movie that didn’t stink to high heaven was:

He was a beautiful, stoned, stoned fella.  Next band I’m in, we’re covering this:

I find myself asking people for forgiveness. I ask that people forgive me for my big mouth, for my selfish acts and for my slights. Yet, as I examine more closely, I find that I, myself, am bearing grudges against long-time friends for perceived slights that, even if they were real, would be less than what I myself have done to people. But I hang on to these things. I hang on to them like old pieces of paper from a bygone time, an old song lyric, a photograph. But I’m a bitter man. I’m afraid that I am the only one yielding to the inexorable machinations of time. If I give in, maybe they’ll be warm and welcoming and say something like “I was thinking of calling you the other day…” but then there’s the fat that they DIDN’T. I did. Can I get over that? Things like this have a way of defining us in our old age, I think. Our parents, our sisters and brothers are all buried with a grudge they could not find the strength to mitigate. What territory in my soul am I protecting? People like me grow up feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of so they become needlessly vigilant when it comes to the imagined, artificial political boundaries surrounding their own withering souls. There’s nothing precious or rare there if I’m willing to give it away to anyone and everyone who asks for it.

Still, so many times, I come across people to whom I’ve been nothing but gregarious, generous, kind and easy-going and they STILL disappear from my life. That makes me bitter as well. Do you find that to be true?

My kids go down the street sometimes to play with some new neighborhood kids. Once, while they were all in school, I sent the mother a text message:

“Hi. I know you’re busy teaching life lessons at this moment but while I think of it I wanted to thank you for facilitating the unannounced visits of my kids. Please don’t hesitate to send them (your kids) here to play or to our humble cul de sac. Are you on the Facebook? How s the music program (where you teach)? Hope all is well. ”

I want you to tell me why I am unreasonable to expect even a “thank you” in return. It’s been over a week, and I know she received it.  What am I supposed to do now? Am I supposed to wait to bump into her and then she’d be forced to acknowledge my (I think it’s fair to say) kind gesture? Seriously, tell me. What am I missing? What is it that I’m not getting?

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Possibly I know not much.

“My president,” Mustaine began, before pausing to pantomime gagging, “is trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all of these murders, like the Fast and Furious thing down at the border, you know, Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there. And now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.” – Dave Mustaine

“There are hundreds of millions of gun owners in this country, and not one of them will have an accident today. The only misuse of guns comes in environments where there are drugs, alcohol, bad parents, and undisciplined children. Period.” – Ted Nugent

It happened to Elvis, and it happened to Lennon. It’s simple. Musicians and actors who have experienced some modicum of success simply stop hearing the phrase “Please shut up, you’re making a fool of yourself” enough in their lives. Because of their fame, all the people around them refuse to risk their place in the hierarchy, and so they tend to voice agreement, lest they lose their place at the trough. That’s the only explanation there could be. If you think about it, it’s a clever kind of hell.

 

Louie C K is trying to make me insane. He has used three women on my “let me touch them—I want to touch them” list. Tonight, Maria Thayer played the part of “rental car lady”. Previously, he used Parker Posey and Maria Bamford. As Brian Wilson knew Phil Spector was trying to freak him out through the media and the message therein*, it has become clear to me that Louie C K is trying to fuck with me.

Goddammit. Goddammit. Goddammit.

* From the Wikipedia: Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson saw the movie Seconds (Frankenheimer) during its initial release, between sessions for Smile. Under the influence of drugs, the early stages of schizotypal behavior, and pressure to complete Smile, Wilson found Seconds an especially intense experience, that affected him personally (beginning with his arriving late; the first dialogue he heard onscreen was “Come in, Mr. Wilson”, taking him by surprise). His state of mind shifted over the next months, between fantasies of escaping his own life in a similar way, and thoughts that perhaps rival producer Phil Spectorhad somehow convinced Columbia Pictures (sic) to make the movie “to mess with my mind”. Wilson later abandoned the Smile sessions, and did not see another movie in a theater until E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. His experience was later recounted in The Beach Boys by Byron Preiss, Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! by Domenic Priore, and Wilson’s own Wouldn’t It Be Nice: My Own Story (written with Todd Gold).

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What is this power you speak of?

 

1. If you don’t take it every morning, if you miss one day, there’s no recourse but to ride out the nightmares. There’s speed in those pills.  Last night I dreamed that I murdered someone, their head simmering in a vat of acid, but they could still speak. “Are you dead, yet?” I asked, and they tried to get out a “no” as their last discorporated gasp filled my lungs. I was then tasked with removing the part that wouldn’t melt, their life-mask. I threw it in the yard, but as the police sirens squealed their warning from one street over, I recovered the moist facade from a leaf pile and attempted to chuck it deeper into the woods. They came and took me. They knew.

2. The #1 word people use to find this site without looking for it is “meth”. Because of this. I did cocaine once. I did LSD once. I used to WANT to get high but I’ve never been high. I choked on the smoke, too harsh for me. A friend asked me once if I wanted to meet him for a “drop”. I said HELL YES!!! it would have been $500. This was back in 1980 or so. But that call never came. I wonder what happened to the guy. Maybe he’s on Facebook. Let’s see. Nope. No “Rip Taylor”. “Rip”. Heh. I’m too deeply in love with my own crippled consciousness (it’s a trampled id, but it’s MY id) to alter it in any way.

3. I have never seen “Star Wars”. None of ’em. Just didn’t happen.

4. Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Rhianna, Kanye, Jon Bon Jovi, Mitt Romney, Mariah Carey, Bill O’Reilly, Stuart Scott and Chris Berman of ESPN, Joe Arpaio, Michelle Bachmann, Eric Cantor: I know you don’t read my blog, but if you ever Google yourselves and somehow land here, I want you to know what peace there will be in sleepy dreams of afterlife. I am aware that your struggle to be assholes and usurpers of the public trust, air-time, radio time, etc. is a difficult one. I want you to taste the sweet, sweet sting of redemption that only the brave know, that of the fallen soldier, the still-born child, the bewildered senior. All in Heaven, eating grapes and shit. I implore you: take the road to immortality. I’m calling on you to put the business end of a firearm in your mouth and fire. Know the absolute freedom there can be in delicious ultimate truth. You will be wrested from your mortal disarray, your sadness. Please. Please. I do not wish you harm. I wish that you take an active role in securing your place at the seat of the Lord. You’ve all led good, full lives. Now is the time to ascend to that golden toilet in the sky. Do it. DO IT!!!!

5. So do you see why the NRA isn’t going to give an inch? Because, as I said, take away one weapon, they think people are gonna come for the next, and the next. There’s big money in stupidity. No one hunts with an assault weapon, or protects their home with one. It’s fear. Look at what has happened to gun sales in the past week, then again after Columbine. Why? Fear. Sadly, no handgun was gonna stop a drugged-out kamikaze with a vest. The problem is the fear. Why are people afraid? Who feeds the fear, and who gains by it?

Who feeds the fear, and who gains by it?

6. I had this amazing bass player lined up for a new band I was starting. Great guy. We knew each other from other bands and stuff but never thought to join forces. So we had our first phone chat.  I told him I was kinda sad because I thought my wife might be cheating on me, I think. He said “Oh no! What makes you think that?” I said “Well, I got home last night, and she wouldn’t make love to me.” “He said ‘Oh, um…you sure that’s her cheating on you?'” to which I responded “She was fast asleep. She wouldn’t even TALK to me…” He said “Well, maybe she was just really tired. I wouldn’t worry.” Then I told him “She called me crazy. Coming home intoxicated…I told her I just wanted to love her….” This went on for a few minutes until it sorta faded of its own will. The next day he called and said we should not work together.

7. If you’re tired of holding up your end of a political discussion with an entrenched ideologue, just use the Terry Kath-sung lyrics to Chicago’s “Dialogue” as your script, and nothing more. Start with “So…are you optimistic about the way that tings are going?” And take it from there. Do not stray from the script. Chances are that your opponent does NOT have a Bachelor of Arts, but that’s ok. it throws ’em off.

8. “Chicago V” is as fine an American pop album as there ever was. No shit. Go listen to it. Those guys should have been in the RRHOF long ago. Listen to the song. If you don’t get chills when Kath sings “…all the needless pain…” you don’t like music. The very height of Robert Lamm’s craft.  And one of the most ferocious guitar players ever.

9. The Swingle Singers, the John Denver/Placido Domingo duet, ABBA, The Carpenters. These are artists who have been presented to me at various times in my life by various people and told, “If you don’t like this, you don’t like music..” and they’re never right. But I am. I am right about Chicago.

 

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Also to watch will be Wang.

1. I had a girlfriend who would sing “By The Light of the Silvery Moon”, and when she got to the second line, “…I want to spoon…” she would playfully attack me with a spoon. That song really does it for me.

2. John K. and I palled around briefly in my pre-teens. Once we went to the Valu on Dingens in Buffalo. He stole a pack of playing cards. It made me sick, not only the stealing but the ease with which this 10-year-old boy reconciled this action.

3. It’s sad, but the biggest celebrity I’ve ever met is Davey Boy Smith, one half of the former tag team champion British Bulldogs of the WWF. It was at the Howard Johnsons near the Buffalo International Airport. A Thursday night.

4. We never spayed our cats when I was growing up. They were somewhat feral, actually. They would have litter after litter in our house. Sometimes in the laundry room in the back of the house. Inside, outside, it was all the same. It never occurred to me that cats using your bedroom as a litter box was unnatural. Anyhow, we were too poor to fix the washer/dryer in said room, and in the hot summers, the fleas would take over. Unfortunately, one of the cats’ litters were almost entirely devoured by said fleas. I watched, as a boy, one kitten struggling to climb the stairs into the kitchen, only to stop and expire in the middle of their vain movements. A day later, dry. The next, gone. The memory still haunts me.

5. As you know, I think all drugs should be treated equally under the law. Adults should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as they don’t hurt anyone…without permission. I also believe that guns should be treated like hard-core pornography. If you can’t stock the one on your shelves, you shouldn’t be allowed to stock the other. Follow me? This dude had something tick in his head, and he had legal ammunition. I know the NRA’s philosophy, the same as abortion rights, basically. Afraid that if you make one thing illegal, then it’s a logical next step that’s the scary one. The 2nd amendment didn’t envision guns fast and powerful enough to take out dozens of people in an air conditioned multiplex in a few seconds. Can we all agree that common sense should trump legalese?

I’d be curious to know what motivated this fellow. The cause is usually the thing most easy to treat. Maybe it’s the old stigmata associated with mental illness. Maybe there’s whole hordes of people just like him wandering around, re-establishing the fear. Like the guy who fixed my computer last year. “Are you a believer?” he asked me as he jimmied the external hard drive from its case. “Sure…when will it be ready?” He did a great job. I AM a believer.

6. No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no….

7. I leaned in for a kiss. She pulled away. “You smell like cat…” The snow storm that followed meant she would not be coming over to duplicate our ride to the Gold Circle. I don’t remember her name.

8. Shill shill shill

9. I know this is viral, but my favorite parts are the facial expressions of the two girls behind her, like two wall flowers at the dance jealous of the free spirit with the spotlight in the middle of the floor. And also “Also to watch will be Wang…” whose pre-race regimen of slapping herself on the thighs (normally a fairly titillating exercise in and of itself) suffers in comparison.

 

 

 

 

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