Our Nathan, who is 14, told us that the girls at his school make fun of him because of the hair that has sprouted on his legs. It’s good-looking hair. It’s blond and soft, and looks great against his tanned skin. The fact is, he’s turning into a man, something that should be a point of attraction rather than a point of ridicule. He should be celebrating his passage from boyhood to manhood, not hating it...
Today you will find me in my Spam shirt, Levis, and bamboo flip-flops, sitting in the shade, enjoying food and wine, and the laughter of friends.
Bring it on.
One of the best things about my new Dell is the MP3 playback capability. Over the past week I’ve downloaded a number of music files, songs that I absoluetle love but don’t have on CD. So here’s what I’m listening to lately (be prepared for a lot of moldy oldies):
- A Case of You - Joni Mitchell
- A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
- Back For Good - Take That
- Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
- Can’t Get it Out of My Head -Electric Light Orchestra
- Chelsea Morning - Joni Mitchell
- Cocaine - Eric Clapton
- Come and Get It - Badfinger
- Crackerbox Palace - George Harrison
- Day After Day - Badfinger
- Do Ya, Do Ya Want My Love? - Electric Light Orchestra
- Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears For Fears
- Free As a Bird - The Beatles
- Good Mother - Jan Arden
- Heart of the Matter - Don Henley
- Hold Me Now - The Thompson Twins
- Hold On - Wilson Phillips
- In Your Wildest Dreams - The Moody Blues
- Insensitive - Jan Arden
- Jesse - Joshua Kadison
- Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat - Bob Dylan
- Let My Love Open the Door - Pete Townsend
- Looking For Space - John Denver
- New York State of Mind - Billy Joel
- No Matter What - Badfinger
- No More Lonely Nights - Paul McCartney
- No No Song - Ringo Starr
- Old and Wise - The Alan Parsons Project
- Poor, Poor Pitiful Me - Warren Zevon
- Real Love - The Beatles
- Sacrifice - Elton John
- Somewhere - The Moody Blues
- Telephone Line - Electric Light Orchestra
- The Last Song Between a Father and His Son - Elton John
- The Last Worthless Evening - Don Henley
- Too Late For Goodbyes - Julian Lennon
- Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn
- Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
- Woman - John Lennon
- You Look Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
More will be added to my playlist as I can find them. I used to be the proud owner of a huge collection of vinyl LPs (thousands of records), including every first release album the Beatles made–SOB!–but that’s all history. Someone else owns my precious recordings now. Oh well. I try to be philosophical about it.
We’re great fans of period films and we own a growing collection of VHS tapes and DVDs in this genre. Some are really outstanding (Affair of the Necklace, Amadeus, Barry Lyndon, Moll Flanders) and some are passable (Mesmer), and then there’s Casanova. It’s a real stinker.
I suppose if you like romps that feature actors in roles they’re probably sorry they took, this film wouldn’t be so bad, but as 18th-century historians Nettl and I like films about a person as colorful and compelling as Casanova to at least have some measure of truth to them. Casanova’s life doesn’t need to be fictionalized, it was the stuff romances and swashbucklers have been built upon for two and a half centuries. Giacomo Casanova was an accomplished man of letters, a lawyer, a brilliant musician, an actor, a diplomat, a soldier, a spy, an adventurer, a philosopher, a writer, and lastly, a lover. History tends to forget all but the last aspect of his reputation.
I didn’t expect the movie to be a true depiction of Casanova’s flamboyant life, but I also didn’t expect it to be a shallow, trite piece of mylar confetti. It’s obvious that all of the budget went to costuming and location. Oliver Platt (one of my favorite actors) was good as an obese lard merchant, but it was nothing spectacular and I certainly didn’t need to see him half-naked on the night of my anniversary when we wanted to get romantic… There is a brief bunny-hump at the beginning of the film, but there was nothing that even hinted at a love scene anywhere else in the film. I don’t particularly like sex scenes, but if you’re going to spotlight Casanova’s reputation as the world’s greatest lover, a little flirting and courting might be nice. Compare it if you will to Shakespeare in Love. Only not as entertaining. And I don’t like it, either. All-in-all, Ledger was very good; it’s too bad the screenplay didn’t take advantage of his talent.
Nevertheless, we had fun watching the film, but that might have simply been the champagne. For my money, I still like Richard Chamberlain’s portrayal best (depite it’s obvious stylized historical flaws), and although I haven’t seen Felinni’s Casanova starring Donald Southerland, I’d really like to. At least Southerland was made up to look like Casanova and not a Hollywood stud muffin in 18th-century clothes.
We have also been blessed with a large and loyal group of friends and family and I firmly believe that a couple is only as strong as their circle of loved ones. Too, you who are regular readers of our weblogs have been a source of support that we value dearly. So, thanks to all of you for accepting us as we are.
Fields and widgets and themes and plug-ins muddling up your head,
Deni on the Web with WordPress!
Thank you so very much Joel. You’re wonderful!
"Little Jackie Waller” was a diminutive child who possessed the curious Salzburg “bump” in his personality. His family was from St. Wolfgangsee only a few miles from Mozart’s birthplace and they passed down the same kind of sense of humor that one finds there. He toured what was called the Circuit back in those days, singing and dancing and making the newspapers who extolled his prodigious musical talents. He could play any instrument given to him, played a trap set while dancing around it, and he even played the piano with his toes. During his teen years, however, his father died and he had to go to work to support the family. Then came WWI and he was off with the other Doughboys. When he returned, he went to Chicago in hope of returning to a musical life and he met an imperious, svelte coloratura and fell in love. So this is from whence I spring. Vaudeville meets Grand Opera. Talk about seria-buffa…
My grandparents were always an odd couple, or at least I thought so growing up. He was short, not much over 5′ 4″ and she was nearly 6′ tall. He stayed at home puttering around his lush garden and in his garage while my grandmother worked as County Clerk at City Hall. He was a Hobbit and she was a socialite. Although this may not sound off beat to some of you who were born before 1970, this was in the 50s when the term “house husband” wasn’t even a concept.
My father, too, was off beat. Born into this musical family, he later went on the road as a drummer during the Big Band era (until Uncle Sam nabbed him in 1942). He kept a diary during one of these tours and in it he wrote about the cities they were in, the monkey business that went on in the band’s bus, the audiences and the parties in the hotel rooms along the way. Imagine my surprise when I read many years later about how the trumpet player smoked some “reefer” and couldn’t play for shit when he thought he was really wailing. No wonder my father told me back in the 60s, “If you’re ever going to smoke pot, just tell me and I’ll make sure you get the good stuff.”
During the great radio-to-television migration of the late 1940s and early 50s, my family (all of them) moved together from the Midwest to southern California in hope that my father would be the next Red Skelton. If you want to know who my dad was, put Red’s personality behind the face of William Bendix, a film star my father was often mistaken for. Things didn’t work out, however, but my dad still spent his life as a musician, playing in a Dixieland band right up until he died thirteen years ago this Friday. He was an amazing man. Unsung, humble, gentle, patient, and a mechanical genius. His drumming style was what I always called “meat & potatoes”—solid, dependable and right on the money.
I too had my days as a vagabond musician. In high school I performed at coffeehouses and in small, local concerts. At 18 I left home for Haight-Ashbury, where I literally sang for my supper. Later, I toured the western states, performing in coffeehouses, schools, rallies and prisons, as well as on television and in large concert venues in Hollywood and L.A.
Life has never been normal in the Waller family. We’re clowns, really. One of my grandfather’s acts was as a clown. My father was a clown in parades and in sketches and I’ve invented Boxxo the Fuckin' Clown, not something I’m particularly proud of, I must add. Still, the spirit runs strong. When you look at it, life is just a carnival anyway. You put on the funny hat, get on the ride and scream your head off while the less adventurous people are pitching dimes into goldfish bowls, hoping to snag a prize. The secret is, Life is the prize, not the big fuzzy toy. The big fuzzy toy just bogs you down. You can’t take it on the ride and you can’t just leave it for fear that someone will steal it. What a bother. Just get on the damned ride, scream, hurl if you have to, then go get a friggin’ sno-cone and rest in the shade for a bit. Even when the carnival leaves town, remember that it’ll be back soon enough with better rides for you to get on instead of pitching dimes.
I’m always happy to take people on the ride with me, and I have enough barf bags for everyone.
I had a great time sitting on the patio that houses a huge fountain (and a huge dog), sharing conversation with this person and that. I spent most of the evening talking with the head of the geology department at OSU, an old hippie who had a lot stories to tell about when he and his wife lived in Dublin. In fact, the large group of guests was made up almost entirely of professors; people with interesting things to say, and colorful ways of saying them. It reminded me of some of the parties Frank Salazar held at his house in Ventura in the 1980s...
It’s fascinating to me how these phrases get started and are perpetuated. I first started wondering about buzz phrases when “the bottom line” started going around back in the 1980s. Then along came “been there, done that”, “it’s not about you”, and a number of others that caught on and were run into the ground.
But what of this “back in the day” thing? What happened to “back in my day” or “back in the old days”?...
Before 2:30 I went back to the church and took a seat. The music was beautiful, of course, the spotlight piece being Bach’s cantata no. 78, Jesu, du der meine Seele, and the ensemble’s performance was outstanding. This group has really gelled since director Mark Lawlor took the baton. They’ve never sounded better than they did today. Although the music was challenging, there was no sense of difficulty; they were confident and up to the task. For me, the best were the two Lotti pieces. I love a capella, and the choir performed them from the choir loft above the sanctuary. The effect of that is well known, and the music, full of dissonances and resolutions, soared and floated like a feather caught in a current of air. I just shut my eyes and breathed it in. The rest of the concert was performed as usual, with the musicians at the front of the church.
Tomorrow night we’re invited to a party at the Lawlors’ home. I’m really looking forward to that!
A long time ago, I started buying what I call a “Dad shirt” every summer. The kids call them my “Robin Williams shirts”. They’re usually made of Hawaiian, or otherwise loud prints. Well, this year, Ville set me up with one of a different ilk. And yes, the chartreuse “SPAM” logos actually glow in the dark. Thanks again Ville. What a pal! I’m wearing it today.