Monthly Archives: April 2012
Confession can be good for the soul, man
Forgive me Father Elvis, for I have sinned. It’s been thirty-five years — give or take — since my last confession, and as such I can’t really tell you how many times I’ve slipped or exactly what I’ve done. Given the timeframe we’re dealing with here, it’s probably safe to assume I’ve committed all of the seven deadlies at least once, though I’m pleased to report I’ve been almost completely mortal sin-free since we last spoke. True, I’ve been a little lax on the blasphemy front, but otherwise I think I’m pretty solid.
What’s that? Specifics? Well OK, if you insist.
I’d just like to begin by saying that I started out really well. The Sixties were chockablock with great music, and my parents were young and hip. We even had a big old stereo with lots of records – Yourself, the Stones, the Kinks, the Beatles, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, a little soul, a smattering of R&B. The usual. Tasteful, interesting stuff. Hard to say how I strayed from the garden path.
I guess I’d have to say my most frequent transgressions have been the singers who can’t sing. It started innocently enough with Bob Dylan: Mr. Tambourine Man, Blowin’ in the Wind, Highway 61 — you remember, don’t you? He’d scratch that guitar and wheeze into his harmonica and we all thought it sounded, well not exactly good, but cool. By the time we got to Blonde on Blonde, everybody was hooked. From there it wasn’t much of a trip to buying Neil Young records. Hell, after that, Tom Petty sounded just fine, and Bono seemed kind of smooth. I know it looks bad (and sounds even worse), but in my own defense, I’d like to point out that that Robbie Robertson album was a one-shot deal and I never even considered buying anything recorded by Bjork. That’s got to count for something.
What’s that, sir? More? Yeah, there’s more, and since we’re both already here, I guess we should talk about the Eighties. You know, it wasn’t all New Wave pablum. I did go to several Ramones shows, and I saw The Pretenders more than once. I also seem to recall an Eric Clapton/Muddy Waters double bill, but the details from that particular night are a little hazy. I know you’ll understand where I’m coming from on that.
Pardon? Depeche Mode? Aw c’mon man, I was living in England at the time and given the omnipresence of Top of the Pops it could have been a lot worse. You do remember Culture Club? How about Rick Astly? Never even got near either one. No, I think my little flirtation with New Wave hardly even qualifies as venal.
Of course, I can’t say the same for the chick singers. Though I’m more than a little ashamed to admit it, I did buy Sheryl Crow’s first album, but it was a Grammy winner and even though it contains that uber-stinker Strong Enough, there’s also Leaving Las Vegas and a couple of other reasonable efforts, though I can’t really recall them at this point. How was I to know she’d go all save-the-planet and start dating Lance Armstrong? And remember, I have always been a big Patti Smith fan, which I’m thinking should counterbalance that unfortunate Sheryl Crow business.
There is one thing I do need to get off my chest though. That’s right, you guessed it: Stevie. Not Wonder, Nicks. I bought a Stevie Nicks record in college for reasons I still don’t understand. Maybe it was the adenoidal warbling (bad singers — see above) or the platform shoes. Hell it might even have been the twirling. All I can say is I am really really sorry, and I have already repented in my heart and at length, so I hope you’ll go easy on me. I mean, we’ve all got our guilty pleasures, right? Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches ring any bells? How about In the Ghetto?
Yeah yeah, I know we’re talking about me now. Listen, I realize it looks bad, Sir, but before you hand out penance, I’d just like to remind you that I have a deep and abiding love for the high quality stuff — Nirvana, the Foos, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis (no the other one, Costello. Loved the country album. I know, right? Who’d a thunk?)…Oh, well thanks. I try to stay current.
Act of contrition? Really? I know my record is hardly unblemished, but doesn’t my consumption of tasteful, worthy music count for anything? OK, OK, no need to shout. Let me get a pen. Alright, shoot.
Three Half Breeds — Cher! You don’t fool around, do you?
Three Lost in Loves — Air Supply? I’d hardly have thought they’d be on your radar, but it’ll be good and painful.
Twice all the way through We Built This City — Tough to listen to Grace Slick doing that, but you’re driving this bus. It’s harsh, but I can handle it. Check.
So, we done here?
WHAT?! Piano Man!?! You have got to be kidding me! Quite possibly the worst song from the worst album ever recorded. Just the mention of it gives me an earworm. If I listen to it even once, it’ll be stuck in my brain for a week. C’mon, anything but that. Please?
Alright, alright, I’ll do it — relax. And no, you do not have to assign the entire record. I mean it’s not like I tried roller disco, or bought Guns ‘N Roses tickets or anything.
Pardon? Six weeks from now? Couldn’t we stretch it to six months? I’ve got Punch Brothers tickets coming up and Sir Paul’s supposed to be playing in the City again. Of course, I’ve also heard Fleetwood Mac may be touring…I’ll see you in June.
If you want to stay abreast of the latest farcical trends in higher education and have a giggle or two in the process, checkout my latest satirical plonk at The Cronk. If you like it, feel free to let ‘em know.
Dateline New York
Trust me, folks, the ironic old man hat is over, finit, passé. Stick a fork in it, it’s done. If you persist in wearing one, rest assured you will most certainly and immediately join the ranks of the tragic and the lame. After all, the only thing worse than a hipster is a hipster wannabe. I say this not to injure, but to enlighten.
Not convinced? Think that raffish topper from Target is just what you need to catapault your bad self to nerd elite status while walking the mall or sipping your latte? Consider this then. Justin Beiber wears one.
So please, now that spring is officially here, and you can put away that ridiculous Rocket J. Squirrel and its pal the Commissar, give the sighted public a break and try going hatless for the season. The vitamin D will do you good.
And by the way, since we’re on the subject of summer fashion — Ladies, wearing dirty, ratty old boots with a summer dress in stinking hot weather is gross and nasty. It telegraphs one thing and one thing only: “Mah feet smell.” This never looked good, but now it looks bad AND out of date. And don’t even consider UGGS unless you’re under twelve.
For the love of God, just get some flip flops. Please?
Meet my new best friend, the roasted almond. This has replaced my old best friend, Mr. Chocolate Croissant, as well as his often-present bestie, Mr. Eggs Benedict, at the breakfast table, and while I cannot say I don’t miss the dynamic duo, I am at least getting by with the replacement.
Having recently sent the bathroom scale into hyperdrive, I am, as you may recall, walking a straighter path dietically speaking. It’s either that or replace an entire, carefully-curated summer wardrobe with items from the tactfully-named “Women’s” department at Bloomingdales, a prospect so horrifying that giving cinnamon toast a pass pales in comparison.
There are perfectly good reasons why I subscribe to virtually everything Martha Stewart puts out — for free that is. As I have chronicled, the woman makes my ass ache; however, I have found tremendous inspiration in her works. For the snark-minded, she is the gift that keeps on giving.
So the latest epistle from Martha suggests making a button necklace. I’ll spare you the details, but it looks like this. According to Martha, you’ll need 60 buttons to replicate the dazzling item in the photo. So I checked out Chichester, her suggested source for the buttons, and my suspicions were correct.
Abalone buttons range from $1.75 to $6.70 apiece depending on size. Now I’m assuming you wouldn’t opt for the saucer-size three inch buttons, but let’s say you go for the half inch ones. At $2 a pop, you’re in for $120 bucks before shipping, handling and tax. Then you have to buy the string, and after that you’ll need about three days to put the goddamned thing together (it requires approximately 125 knots by my count), plus a large vat of Bag Balm to treat the open sores on your fingers. (About $8 for the 10 ounce tub, and if you don’t keep it around the house, you should. It’s miraculous.)
All in then, I’m guesstimating this little DIY extravaganza will run you about $150. That’s three bottles of Veuve Cliquot or an entire case of Ten High with a few bucks left over to throw at your bail for those of you who prefer the liquid measure. And all so that you can proudly sport a necklace that looks like a mentally-challenged, eight-fingered six year-old made it at Y camp, and which you will then have to fess up to having created yourself. Believe me folks, you’re better off with the whiskey.
All of which begs the question, Is it ME?