Saturday, September 27, 2008

A guest post from John McCain

You know what I hate? Pork barrel spending. I wasn't named Miss Congeniality in the Senate. Maverick. Maverick. Maverick. Pork barrel. Miss Congeniality. Obama said that Wall Street/Main Street thing, right? Let me say it fourteen times, then. Maverick. Pork barrel. Maverick. Where are my brain pills? Maverick.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My other grandmother, my dad's mother, died this morning. That makes the fourth death in the family this year. My aunt died in February, my maternal grandmother died three weeks later, and my great-uncle Fred died a few weeks after that. Now my paternal grandmother is gone, and I feel like I should be sadder. There are a handful of reasons why I'm taking this latest news so well. First, I simply have death fatigue. I'm tired of grieving. Second, my grandmother hadn't been herself for several years. Her death was sooner than expected, but still expected. She had Alzheimer's, diabetes, and renal and liver failure. She spent most of her time sleeping and repeating the same few lines of small talk over and over. I resigned myself to the fact that my grandmother was gone three or four years ago when she stopped bathing, combing her hair, clipping her fingernails and toenails, and managing her insulin and had to be placed in a nursing home. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's shortly thereafter. My dad, while definitely sad, mostly sounded relieved today. I also feel that relief. I don't want to see my relatives linger and decay, and I don't want to linger and decay myself. Third, I had little in common with my dad's mother. While I had, and have, so much to say about my maternal grandmother, an attempt to capture some of my paternal grandmother's life in as unsatisfactory a medium as a blog post would look something like this: She loved her family, liked to watch Murder, She Wrote and gossiped about the neighbors. We didn't really have conversations, just exchanges of small talk and occasional news about family and friends. However, I do remember her with affection. The last time she was well, about five years ago, I was home for a visit. My brother, sister, father, and I were eating dinner and watching a nature documentary about blue whales on PBS or Discovery. Soon, the topic of blue whale sexual reproduction came up, and the whale's gigantic penis filled the screen, popping out and wiggling around, looking for blue whale love. It was nearly the size of a medium-sized tree trunk. The narrator discussed the difficulties of attracting a mate in the ocean. My grandmother looked up from her fried chicken and said, "He's bound to get something with that thing." I will fondly remember her making way too many frozen pizzas every Christmas Eve, overestimating the size of our family by at least six people. I'll also remember mowing her and my grandfather's lawn every week for six or seven years, coming inside after I was done to eat a ham and cheese sandwich, drink a strawberry pop, and collect my five dollars.
On campus today, I heard a girl in the library answer her cellphone and say, "Hi, Grandma." I immediately thought to myself, "I don't have any grandmothers anymore. I had two of them and now I have none." I have only one grandparent left, my mother's dad. Two weeks ago, my 92-year-old great-uncle Swede had to move into the nursing home. The old generation in my family is rapidly disappearing. My parents, aunts, and uncles are slowly, but not too slowly, becoming that old generation, while I can put "middle-aged man" on my business card in less than nine years. My mother visited the cemetery in my hometown last week to see her mother's headstone and looked around a bit afterward. She said, "I know so many people there," before waiting a beat and correcting herself -- "knew so many people there." Someday, I'll be old, if I'm (un)lucky.
I decided to just get on with my life today, and the rest of the week. I went to class today. Movie night is still on for Saturday, band practice for Sunday. I made myself scarce after my aunt's and maternal grandmother's deaths, but I'm in a different place now. I think getting on with the business of living is the best way to proceed this time. What a year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

See Saw

Rick Wright, keyboardist/pianist/organist for Pink Floyd, died of cancer today. He didn't get as much attention as the other guys in the group, but he wrote my favorite non-Syd Barrett Pink Floyd song, "See Saw." I have a particular fondness for mellow, breezy, pretty psychedelia, if that description makes any sense, and this song brings home the mellow psychedelic bacon. By the way, Mellow Psychedelic Bacon is opening for Trey Anastasio at the Hepatitis Festival at some organic farm this weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A great man

I came home from class today, turned on the television, and heard Maury Povich say these words:
"Cassandra tells us that she suspects her husband of stealing money from his own children to take another woman to the circus."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

New rock urban legends

It's been too long since a ridiculous rock urban legend hit the streets. What happened to the days when tales of Rod Stewart's stomach full of semen, Marilyn Manson's child acting career on The Wonder Years, Paul McCartney's secret death, and Alice Cooper's on-stage ingestion of Frank Zappa's shit (or was it the other way around?) were blindly accepted as fact on the mean streets of Anytown, USA? It's time for some new ones. Feel free to unquestioningly accept the veracity of the following claims and freely spread them all over town, or add your own!

1. After leaving Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett played shortstop for the Atlanta Braves for three seasons. He mostly sat on the bench, but he did see game time in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Montreal Expos in the 1971 season.

2. After losing an all-night poker game, former member of 'N Sync Joey Fatone became Elton John's butler for one year.

3. Jim Morrison is Chuck Woolery's second cousin.

4. The Arcade Fire's Win Butler admitted to a French journalist that he was sexually attracted to Carol Channing. The journalist later disappeared.

5. Former Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi told Ronnie James Dio that he could eat the world's biggest hoagie in one sitting. Dio scoffed at Iommi's claim and arranged the delivery of the hoagie at Ritchie Blackmore's birthday party the following weekend. Iommi never showed up, and most of the hoagie had to be thrown away. Dio begged Blackmore to give the uneaten portions of the hoagie to Blackmore's 13 Rottweilers, but Blackmore angrily replied that his dogs only eat dog food, and if you give people food to dogs, you spoil them. The dogs will forever after never be satisfied with dog food, Blackmore continued. I mean, Jesus Christ, once they get a taste for hoagies, they'll expect hoagies every day. The two men argued long into the night until their wives begged them to give it a rest. They were tired and wanted to get some sleep. The two men agreed, but on his way out the door, Dio looked up at Blackmore with a fiercely determined glare and said, "This is not over, Blackmore."

6. Amy Winehouse has been dead for six months. A Las Vegas female impersonator, Herb Friedman, has been portraying Winehouse at her recent public appearances.

7. Bill Cosby briefly recorded with Godspeed, You Black Emperor! before realizing he had walked into the wrong studio door. He wanted Studio 114, not Studio 115. He was on his way to record a voice-over for his book-on-tape, Come On, You People! Get Off the Drugs, Dammit! and assumed the experimental rock group were providing sound effects and between-chapter segues.

8. If you say you hate jam bands and emo, people will think you're pretty cool. It's a position only the most maverick, daring, and complex thinkers take. Your brave stance will win many admirers. If you also say The Grateful Dead suck, particularly if you say this to indie-rock scenesters, you will be feared for "dangerously telling it like it is."