2010's Personal Best & Worst

Best Party: Without a doubt, this was my Sixties Theme birthday party last September.
Worst Party: Probably tonight's. We'll see.

Best Casual Get-Together: Lauren and Dr. Kielbasa's going away party. He went to live in Poland for a year and she went to Bordeaux, France for a year. We had a Mexican potluck buffet and it was awesome.
Worst Casual Get-Together: No get-together is bad!...

You Are the Music

JP Deni has been diagnosed with 4th stage liver cancer.

We've been friends since we were 16 (that's 43 years ago, folks), and while I believe we've shared many other lifetimes and will remain friends through many more, that doesn't make it any easier. Not really. This news is what has made it so difficult for me to blog this week; I only reveal it now because she has done so, publicly. Deni is the kind of person who cannot hurt anyone or anything; it must have been terribly hard for her to lay this on her family and friends. I can't even imagine what she's going through right now.

I've said to Deni that 40-plus years of constant, interactive, hands-on friendship must certainly be a marriage of some kind (neither of us have ever been married that long). I'm pissed as hell and, for the first time in my pacifist existence, I want (as Arlo Guthrie said in his song, Alice's Restaurant"to kee-ill". I want to kill cancer. I want to kill the fucker until it's the metastasized, cowardly, stress-feeding piece of fuck that it is. I could go on indefinitely, but words mean nothing at a time like this and stupid fucking blog entries mean even fucking less.

So here's some musicthe thing that has been the magnificent connection between Deni and me all these years. This clip takes me back to when we were 17 year-olds and we glued ourselves to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour every week because, a) we both loved and played folk music and, b) we both possessed social conscience. It was folk music that brought us together, in fact. What's cool about this particular clip is that it so perfectly depicts our musical tastes. She loved Peter, Paul & Mary, I loved Donovan, and we met right in the middle with our love for Tom and Dick Smothers.

I hope this makes you smile, Deni. It's been umpteen years since I've seen this, and yet, it's so fresh in my memory!


Grinning the Grin of an Idiot Road to Nowhere

Man, I gotta tell you, this holiday season was hairy! You've heard enough from me on that already, though.

For New Year's Eve we're not doing what we usually do. We're famous in our circle of friends as the New Year's Eve party hosts; every year we hold a schnozzwangler that somehow tops the year before it. There's always a theme, too: The Rat Pack, Tiki-Bar, Las Vegas, Hollywood... something. But this year we're just having a casual open house. If people want to pop by on their way to or from a party, or if they want to come hang out with us, it's cool. We'll be here with the usual food and drink, music and laughs. If no one comes by, that's okay too. Whatever...


Somebody Get Me a Slapstick, I Feel Like Buster Keaton

Sometimes you just have to ask, WTF? I'm literally reeling from the holiday and the schitzo personality it took on. The highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and nothing in between. I'll say one thing for it: it wasn't boring. Next year I want some boring. I hope all this is the winding down of 2010 and not an indication of what lies ahead in 2011. Jesus H.


What's Another Pound or Two?

You really should make these. They're super easy and take very little time. And they're wicked good besides...


Where's My Christmas Spirit? Warning: Whinefest ahead

Christmas is always hard anymore, it seems, but this year I really cannot work up any Christmas Spirit at all. I haven't made anything, bought anything, done anything. Well, we put up the tree over the weekend, but that required a crock pot of mulled wine and a magnum of cheap champagne.

Health is an issue, as well as depression and not having any money. Hard to do any of the things the season demands when you're bone dry of the green stuff. I'm expecting a check from a client, but it hasn't arrived yet and here we are four days away from Christmas Eve...


Ride, Captain, Ride

Don Van Vliet, who became a rock legend as Captain Beefheart, died today from complications from multiple sclerosis in California.

It's really sobering when your generation starts dying, and it's not from drugs or misadventure.



My Year in Statuses

This seems to be the thing that's going around Crackbook Facebook as 2010 draws to a close. I'm not too disappointed with what mine shows; I was afraid it was all going to be farts and drinking.

(Click to embiggify)


Review: Walking Through Illusion by Betsy Otter Thompson

Because I’m a musician, I relate to things in musical terms and draw musical analogies from things around me. I couldn’t help but maintain this while reading Walking Through Illusion by Betsy Otter Thompson.

I can’t remember his name, but I once read a quote by one of Mozart’s contemporaries who said something to the effect that the composer’s music had so many beautiful ideas, he could scarcely digest one "delicious morsel" before having another set before him. This long-forgotten statement came to my mind time and again while reading Ms. Thompson’s book...

Dear Household Gods, What Did I Do to Piss You Off?

Many years ago a friend told me that I was like an egg: fragile, but able to withstand tremendous pressure. Well, this weekend I cracked. If I ever possessed an ounce of grace it eluded me entirely. I tried, but I just couldn't hold up; the older I get the harder it is.

On Friday evening I'd noticed that the kitchen sink had backed up a little when I ran the dishwasher. It drained, albeit slowly.

Temporary glitch, thought I...


Hooray For...

I have a huge confession to make. It's something that I've tried to hide, but I can no longer keep silent. I'm sure that when you read it you'll all leave me en masse and never come back here again. I will have crossed that line with you at last.

Here goes.

I love Bollywood.

I remember when this unnatural love began. It was back in the 90s. I watched a film called Fire, and I was immediately hooked. I saw a couple more after that, but the final nail wasn't hammered in until our friends George and Noelle (collectively known as Norge) brought over Monsoon Wedding one evening, a truly good movie. I was a goner.

I've watched many Bollywood and Indian films since then, including the epic Jodhaa Akbar, a sumptuous three and-a-half reading workout (all subtitles) and test of your ability to get over your western rush-to-the-bedroom-scene sensibilities. Hell, I've watched Johdaa Akbar twice in the past two weeks. That's seven hours of Hindi and Arabic. Why did I do it?

Indian films are interesting to me because they have a different timing, a different focus, a different humor. Most are pretty light fare, but there are those really good ones (like the above mentioned Fire and Monsoon Wedding) that let us in on a culture that most of us have never encountered, and that's fun for me. I love the clothing, the beautiful women and princely men...and the music! The song and dance numbers are lavish, very much in the style of the golden years of the Hollywood musicals, only, well, Indian. Exotic. Too, there's something sweetly old-fashioned and naive about Bollywood films, even when they try to be hip and equal to our films.

Personally, I hope they never get there.


I Wonder If I'd Feel More Like Writing

I wonder if I'd feel more like writing if I got myself a vintage typewriter.

Actually, I have been writing, it's just blogging that I haven't been into lately. The final rewrite is taking all the steam from my bellows where blogging and journaling are concerned, and rightly so...


This Year, for Julian

Every year on this day I post something about what John Lennon meant and continues to mean to me. This year will be different. I'm one of Julian Lennon's "friends" on Facebook, where he made the following request...


End of a Nightmare

I haven't wanted to say anything because I was afraid it was a fluke, or that I might jinx myself, but it's been two full weeks and I think it's safe.

I've been going to bed at what is a reasonable hour (for me). It isn't taking me an hour to fall asleep and once I'm out, I don't wake up fifteen minutes later and have to wait another hour before falling asleep again. I sleep through the night, I hear nothing, and I stay asleep. And when I wake up, I'm refreshed and rested, and I have a full day ahead of me instead of waking up at noon, fatigued and listless, with just a few hours before Lynette comes home from work. It's been two weeks.