Friday, August 26, 2016

Bad Metaphorical Scotch

There used to be a sub-category on this blog titled, "In Which She Drones On and On About Justin-Fucking-Currie." In that sub-category you could find warm and loving tributes to the man, such as, "I hate that prolific little fucker," and my personal favorite, "I'd lock him in the garage for the month of February to assure he is sufficiently miserable to write songs."

This is how I talk about people when I think they're pretty great.

No, I don't wonder why I'm single: It's because I'm awful. It's well established.

Another thing I wrote: "He ain't pretty. When you listen to his music, though, you get the strong impression he is actually so beautiful that he has to shaggy-up so the whole world doesn't paw him to death in adoration."

The compliment wrapped in an insult. Classic. I slip out the side door during the ensuing confusion. wasn't all bad:

When you have been listening to a musician for a long time, and, if they're any good, you can't help but feel their progression, album to album. It’s like watching your kids grow up, I suppose. You've always liked them, from the first moment, and as they get older and get better, you find yourself feeling proud. It warms your soul.

Some days...I feel very much like I watched Justin grow up. And calling it 'growing up,' while somewhat insulting, may be the only way to describe it. He simply came to know a few things that he didn’t know before.

We all start off toddling, don't we?

Things Del Amitri recorded 20 and 30 years ago, I liked a lot, back then, but he was a fucking infant by comparison. Babies…they positively glow with potential. I hope he knew what an incredibly skilled songwriter he would one day become.

I sometimes joke he's my second longest relationship, right behind Paul McCartney. Men in real life? 3-4 years and my eyes start to glaze over. Random musicians I never have to meet? 30+ years of carved-in-stone loyalty. Let's face it--it is a lot easier to adore Paul McCartney from afar than it is to love anyone up close...up to and including Paul McCartney himself.

Limited exposure. It's a beautiful thing. The entire relationship consists of them saying, "Hey, I wrote this song," and me saying, "Shut up and take my money." Even a dysfunctional fuckhead like me can handle that level of commitment.

I've long since stopped trying to figure any of this out. You like what you like. I like the way his writing brain works. He is as cleverly caustic as Paul is sweetly coy. I like most of his characters (not that irredeemable cheating dirtbag from Be My Downfall, though...fuck that guy).

However...that bloggy sub-category no longer exists and won't be revived. Sorry. Those words I wrote over the course of many years are tucked in a draft folder--just like a lot of things I peeled off in a flippant flurry and later reconsidered. Honestly, I think it was maybe 10 mentions in over 500 entries...? (Much like on the shelves of music I own, there are around a dozen pieces with his name on it and some 500 without.) Yet, that name was somehow the #3 searched topic on this stupid blog.

First of all...who are you? Searchers never say "hi." Jerks. Second, I must be so terribly disappointing...probably why they never say "hi."  I mostly talk about other stuff, like that time on my wedding anniversary where I got dressed up for dinner but ended up busting up a frog orgy in my back yard, and, not surprisingly, never had another wedding anniversary after that. It's not exactly fan site material. Plus I re-read every piece in the J-to-the-fucking-C category and was underwhelmed. We all start off toddling. I have the great luxury of un-publishing things I no longer enjoy, so off you go. Don't get me wrong, I think the line about locking him in the garage is fucking hilarious, but you know how things get once they're out of context...people begin huddling and murmuring and acting like it's all so serious. It's not.

I will say that for the most part, I am incredibly jealous of Justin--good stuff seems to pour out of him like it's nothing, and it holds up for ages. (Except The Heart is a Bad Design. That one doesn't hold up...and probably a couple others, but I can't get started talking about this shit or I'll end up having to devote a fucking category to it. And if I do that, then I'll end up having to confess how I excuse myself to the beer booth whenever Queenie Eye comes up in Paul's set list, because I can't stand that song. I realize all of this makes me a terrible fan in worshippers' circles. I'm prepared for my stoning--I've probably already been ostracized, I just haven't received the paperwork, yet.)

Maybe Justin's writing isn't as easy as he makes it look. Maybe he sweats word choices and chords.

I don't know. I don't particularly care. Shut up and take my money.

The rest of you? Please enjoy this hilarious story about sex-starved frogs and their insidious plot to destroy my marriage. It's funny because it's true.

***Bad Metaphorical Scotch = A reference to getting rid of things that are not of your preferred quality, based on that time my sister found a gallon jug of Scotch with the words "Aged 3 years" on the label, in one of the cupboards of her house. She wondered if she should save it, just in case someone might want some one day. We all have stuff like that sitting around. It might be bad whiskey, might be a bad blog post. The answer to "Should I save this?" is No. The answer is always No. Keep only that which makes you happy--chuck the rest.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Grief Tacos

A quick zip across two states:

  • Barely out of Minneapolis and we stopped for Second Breakfast. (I know people who claim they don't eat Second Breakfast, but those people are lying.) We're at a fast food place and a lady walks in wearing designer from head to toe, with an expensive handbag nestled artfully in the crook of her arm. She was looking quite perfect with her neatly coordinated top and skirt, shiny coral shoes, baubles in her hair, and lipstick on. I was not bothered by her presence at a fast food place--hey, sometimes you just want a fucking Whopper and that's OK. What got me was her look of confusion: She wandered up and down the row of tables where we sat, looking as if it was all so beneath her while simultaneously looking as if she needed help understanding it. This was the most impressive performance I witnessed on the entire trip. I was traveling for a funeral, so you know that's a high bar, and she set it early.
  • You can't do a road trip without music, right? I thought so, but it seems there are people (my sister, namely) who often drive with no music playing at all! Weird, right? Thank god she wasn't driving.
  • My traveling companion had never heard 80% of the music I played on this trip, including:
    • Punch Brothers Phosphorescent Blues
    • case/lang/viers (eponymous)
    • Indigo Girls Despite Our Differences
    • del amitri Change Everything (yes...she is related to me. I don't know what the hell happened to cause this gaping hole in her life, but I fixed it. Now she's heard it. Twice. I'm thorough.), and
    • A super rando mix disc I made with everything from Sinead O'Connor to Jack White to 123, to What Made Milwaukee Famous to Jesse McCartney to Prince to Jill Scott to Heartless Bastards get the idea. Somehow it works. I'm the queen of segues.
  • She liked all of it. Of course she liked all of it--how could she not like all of that stuff? Only mutants don't like that stuff.
  • Kummerspeck: The German word for weight gained from stress eating, introduced to me by my friend Lauri. We silly Americans have coined the somewhat equivalent phrase "Grief Bacon" to excuse ourselves to eat. Let's face it...we're always making up excuses to eat. We're Americans...this is what we do. The service I attended on Friday was in a funeral home located on the same block as a taco stand. I parked my car, looked to the left, saw a sign with a dude wearing a sombrero, and immediately thought, "Wow...Grief Tacos. That's convenient."
  • I did a tiny bit of research (Read: I asked my Ansbach-native sister-in-law) and discovered the German word for "taco" is just "taco" so, "grief tacos" is...kummertacos. Those jokes write themselves. Go nuts.
    • OK, OK...Eating tacos because you’re sad is more like, "Ich esse Tacos , weil ich trauernde," but I’m an American, so...Grief Tacos.
  • The Grief Tacos (yes, I had tacos. This is me we’re talking about.) were not good. At all. Boring and inauthentic.  Luckily, there was INSANE Grief Brisket at the dinner, made by an authentic Mexican woman. Nobody is hungry at the funeral of a Mexican person...and if they’re smart, they're not eating Grief Tacos.
  • My parents, brothers, sister and I went to the grave sites of the Grands--my mom's parents and my dad's parents--about 40 yards from each other on a hillside. There was told, once again, the tale of how my maternal grandmother and grandfather were married. It seems sweet Rosanna, having been previously married and divorced, was pregnant with my aunt. Scandal! She and Oscar could not find anyone to marry them in their town, what with her being a ruined woman and all, so they hopped on a motorcycle and drove around to other towns where nobody knew them until they found someone who would make it legal. I love thinking about my grandparents this way. Young, making "mistakes," living life, taking risks. They were together until their deaths and were a sweet, playful, fun couple. Theirs is my favorite family story. So far.
  • I was raised a Lutheran and I know me some Lutheran Pastors. I can spot them a mile away--they're the one genuinely nice person in the room, calling everyone by their names whenever possible, and telling corny jokes while happily tucking in to the pot-luck. Easy-peasy. They are practically wearing signs around their necks. I don't know who was reading verses at that service, but they were lacking all of the Lutheran Pastor markers. He didn't even call Lisa by her name, and she was the reason we were all there. I call bullshit. You gotta get a Lutheran Pastor for this stuff. I'm just saying.
  • Humor. It pulls us through. Some might say things like "now is not the time," but I was raised among, and by, smart-asses. We virtually never say that. I would go so far as to say that when you die and the people gather, if they are not laughing, maybe you failed at life. People should be free to think of stupid shit like grief tacos in the presence of your urn, then turn around and tell someone to score a laugh. If your friends and family are not there yet, help them along while you still have time. (Hint: You don't have very much time.) Thanks, Lisa, for being a part of our family, and for bringing your good humor and warmth with you when you did.

    Thursday, August 11, 2016

    You're Late

    Too long to tweet, to tempting not to mention:

    • Malia...Yeah...I remember when I had The Talk with my kids about marijuana. It went like this: "Nobody really gives a shit about marijuana..."  OK, OK...I did expand on that somewhat, due to my deeply held belief that you need to have a job, and one should not interfere with the other, blah, blah, blah, but honestly, I have attended funerals of young people caught up in real shit, and there are some very scary things out there, killing kids. Pot is not one of them. Now, we can argue about the developing brain til we all keel over--I find those points valid and I'm personally a "moderation in most things" type, but in a billion years, you will never convince me that occasional pot use is going to ruin anybody.
    • This would be a good time to insert the story about how, after having to get up in the middle of the night to drag my sorry ass home after I was arrested for underage drinking, my father's advice to me was, "You're gonna do some shit, I get that...just don't get caught." Thanks, dad.
    • In case anyone is wondering, yes, my mother wanted to kill the both of us.
    • Meanwhile, I discovered that my mother still thinks my 3 brothers are perfect, which is great news! 
    • I have four brothers, by the way. Other Brother and I will be over in the corner, rolling our eyes and drinking beer.
    • This would be a good time to mention that one of the perfect brothers smokes a LOT of pot...not sure what that means in terms of parenting skill, but I'm 100% certain his mom never had the super-awesome Drugs Talk with her kids that I did with mine.
    • The working title of this post was "Bad Metaphorical Scotch". Kind of like how "Scrambled Eggs" was the working title of "Yesterday." (Random Beatles trivia for days, people...)
    • Things That Make You Go Grrr: People who are late to everything. A person who works with me, one with whom I have most of my meetings, is late to virtually every meeting. OK, not virtually--I actually mean EVERY meeting. When it is a bunch of other people in the meeting, we chat amongst ourselves until the person shows up. When it is just the two of us? There is smoke rolling out of my ears.
    • Oh rats, someone asked me to peer eval that Late to Every Meeting person. Bummer.
    • Here's a cool pic I took.
    • This would be a good time to talk about that camera! I don't really have one. I just have my phone in my back pocket. On Instagram or Twitter there is other evidence of me being able to squeeze out an OK photo using only a phone, so if you like that kind of thing, go nuts. Sorry, no Facebook, unless we actually know each other in real life or if you had some level of previous access (I think there are exactly 2 "friends" of mine on Facebook that I have never met in real life--they apparently know people I know. I have no plans to meet either of them. Well, one of them is a Dallas Cowboys fan, and there's really not much you can do with that...)