Sunday, December 28, 2008

We Four Kings

Well, in about six and a half hours, I'll be experiencing my first ever surgery. Intravenous stuff goin' all up in my arm, electrodes stuck on my trunk, reciting up to "E", maybe "F" before I pass out. An then they're gonna cut my head open and pluck out all four of my crookedy wisdom teeth. Funny that wisdom teeth should try to come in sideways. I gotta say it; I'm a little noivuss about this whole scalpel and pliers business. When they start going over all the possible flubs, bloopers, and too-hot-for-TV accidents that might happen as I lie oxygen-drunk under a towering pavilion of dental enthusiasts, it's starting to sound less and less like the Vicodin-motivated skip across the park I'd been hoping it would be. They could puncture through to my sinus, they tell me, and I could have snot dripping out of a hole in my mouth. They could puree my nerve-endings, and I could lose all the sensation in my jaw and lip. Excuse me, but Mister Philip Jones Hart has some out-making to do before those crooks take his feelings away. And then there's always the risk of cardiac arrest and death.
My surgeon is a hairy Republican. I ask him how long till I can smoke and he says "oh, about fifty years". Ha-ha-ha very clever, but really now, how long I says to him. "Oh, about fifty years." This wiseguy thinks he's gonna lord his homefield advantage and his little plaque that says he's certified to put holes in people's skulls over me; like I need a doctor to tell me smoking's bad, you should quit. So now, because this jokester won't gimme an answer all straight and hippocratic-like, I gotta turn to a less scholarly pool of knowledge on the subject: my friends. I guess I could smoke through my nostrils?
I gotta eat a lotta mashed potaters and applesauce in the next coupla days, and after that I can't drive till I'm off the opiates. Not that I'd wanna drive anywhere lookin' like a big pink chipmunk with a cigarette hangin' out of his nose. I dunno if I should go back up to Minneapolis, where hardly anybody knows me, where I don't gotta impress anyone, and I don't hafta leave the house for days, or if I should stick around be bored with my mom and be a swollen, drugged-up chump in front of my friends. Some of 'em I don't know if I'll ever see 'em again, and I don't want this to by their last impression of the old codger. Of course, I could die this morning and not have to worry about any of that. If that's the case, well color me deceased. N' if I don't make it, all you folks mourn me real good, hear? In the likely event I do pull through, though, I'll likely be back and eager to write under the influence of prescription cures.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled and puzzed, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

And what happened then...? Who-ville they say,
That the Grinch's small heart,
Grew three sizes that day!
And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
And the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!

And now that his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
With a smile in his soul he descended Mount Crumpet
Cheerily blowing "WHO WHO!" on his trumpet,
He rode into Whoville, he brought back their toys,
He brought back their floof for the who girls and boys,
The brought back their snoof and their tringlers and fuzzles,
Brought back their pantookers and dasslers and wuzzles.
He brought everything back, all the food for the feast!
And he...
The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Welcome Christmas, bring your cheer,
Cheer to all Whos, far and near,
Christmas day is in our grasp,
So long as we have hands to clasp,
Christmas day will always be,
Just as long as we have we,
Welcome Christmas while we stand,
Heart to heart, and hand in hand.

Merry Christmas, all, and a soon to be well-enjoyed New Year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We'll Meet Again

Last night, I was told that Bettie Page, one of my great idols and celebrity heartthrobs, was dead. It's difficult to explain her importance to me. Given my history of unreasonable jealousy toward the beautiful and famous, it doesn't make very much sense that I should idolize one of the beautifulest and famousest of them all. But for me, Bettie Page was always somewhere outside the boundaries of consideration for the so-called Cult of Beauty. She was always too curvy, too naughty, and too brunette for that patently Aryan affair. She was always somewhere outside the boundaries of social acceptance, and yet she remains one of the most photographed people in history. Everyone wanted to see her, to soak in her surprised glances and to ogle her lusty proportions. But she was the kind of girl most of us prefer to keep buried in a shoe box at the back of the closet. She was the world's guilty pleasure, chattered scandalously about in select company, stared at by countless shamefaced but bewitched men and women of every demographic, and used for the pretty face she undoubtedly was.

But for me, she was and will always remain the most beautiful woman in history. Her perfect face, her bold hips, and her exquisite breasts all aid in this opinion, of course; but it is her fragility, her subjugation by the sexually hypocritical world she was forced to live in, and her place as a proud outsider which cause me to feel an honest warmth whenever I am witness to her image. She wanted only to give herself, in all her splendid glory, to a society which wanted only to cast her down with one hand and to grope her with the other. Nothing could make me love or respect her more than her ability to retain a flirty, playful smile throughout.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008





Saturday, December 6, 2008

Remember That Tent You Used to Have that Fit Right over Your Bed?

I can’t say I fancy myself a music pundit (evidenced by the fact that I write this while listening to a playlist that was made for me by iTunes, consisting mostly of Radiohead and Coldplay songs (sigh)). Or really an anything pundit. I know people who are way more into everything I’m into than I am. So perhaps concert reviews don’t come as easily to me as they do to my seasoned colleague and former teacher. But I went to a show last night that I think deserves noting.
Never mind that I know the namesake of Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps from one of my art classes. This band is hot, but not in a Megan Fox kind of way; no, more of an Emily Mortimer sorta hot; more sincere, shy, and judicious in her career choices than other women who share this label. Yes, Emily Mortimer is the best kind of hot—she’s the kind of woman who clearly enjoys the pleasures of life, but who also doesn’t make it her only selling point. She’s the whole package, she is.
Like I was saying, the show, at the University’s hip-for-its-booking-choices but lame-for-its-lack-of-a-wet-bar proprietary venue, The Whole, had a couple of openers who were actually pretty darn good. The surprise of the night was The All Rights, a little trio out of Duluth who, judging from the singer/frontman’s beard, is no stranger to the music scene in this part of the country. They were a little Andrew Bird-esque, but in a good way. My apologies to any big Bird fans out there who might have been angered by that last comment. My opinion of his music was summed up well by my roommate: “he’s tepid and unlistenable”. If you want a conflicting stance on him, read last month’s Esquire.
Like I was saying, The All Rights were, for me at least, better than all right (mhmmhmm, you see I made a joke there?). They were pretty darn good. Their stage presence didn’t lack for a moment and the aforementioned, bearded frontman was never at a loss for a cheeky quip or two. The slightly odd chord progressions, staccato piano jivings, and notsomuch silly as cozy lyrics made me feel warm inside.
But even among such worthy peers, the headliners (again, my acquaintanceship with the band’s singer/songwriter notwithstanding) showed, that they deserved their position at the top of the marquee. Where do I start on Caroline Smith and the Sleeps? The first thing I’ve heard upon talking to friends about the illustrious Ms. Smith, and I agree wholeheartedly with this, is that she’s just so fucking adorable. I mean, really; the babydoll voice, the mane of sort-of-messy-but-not-really hair, the button nose, and the way she sort of dances around with her guitar is just too much to resist (I hope I’m not embarrassing you too much, Caroline). The other bandmembers, however, manage to hold their own pretty well (especially the sassy-ass keyboardist), so rather than falling into the trap so many big groups do, where you’ve got one famous person and a studio band anonymously backing him or her up (see every R&B singer ever), it really feels like there’s a family up on stage. Honestly, the whole time I kept expecting to turn around and see a warm hearth and a besweatered clan cozied up to the fireplace, roasting Jet-Puffs and reading aloud from leather-bound books. The songs themselves, a blend of folky and rocky sort of sounds, arcing from wistful to a bit angry to snarky to gleeful, are pretty much all heart-melters. They speak significantly and with care about childhood memories and lost loves; they’re peculiar, rear-facing little things, always reminiscing about the past with a present wonder. And that’s all I ever really look for in music, now that I think about it.