Crazy? Cool? Meh? All? Another February 28th has arrived and with it for the third time I think, whoa, it’s my blog’s birthday. I would smash a piece of cake on my laptop screen in celebration and light three little candles on the keyboard, but this would likely mean difficulties in continuing to post, and we can’t have that. And by “we,” I mean “I,” because “I” for some reason set myself a goal quite some time ago: do/write/make something every single day, post it up, and then move to the next thing. And this year, I didn’t miss a single day. The year before I missed one day, and the year before that, a handful. How strange, huh? Why would anyone do this? Why don’t I take a break? What difference does it make to anyone?

I can definitely answer that last one: Most of the time, I don’t know, and I can’t know.  I like just flinging these digital Frisbees out into the ether. People read them, or don’t, they comment or they don’t, they relate to whatever it is I am saying or don’t. I’ve come to understand from reading internet articles that I must be the Worst Blogger Ever, because I don’t specialize my content to one area of interest, I don’t search out ad revenue or backlinks, and I don’t do very much to promote the site, if anything. I get that Popthomology is a strange place. There’s serious and funny, music, kiddie crap, political roaring, photos…enough to drive off anyone who may love short fiction but hates my liberal rants, digs the snarky mommy confessionals but could give a crap about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or is just hoping to find out how to cure diarrhea after eating at Chipotle, fast. I never seem to do anything as is advised.

“Why don’t you take a break?” Plenty of people have asked me that, and it’s a totally reasonable question, if you are thinking that this is work, that is. And I guess that’s where I can answer, “Why would anyone do this?” Because this is my fun! It’s not a burden or a hardship or work at all. It’s great to be able to have a forum to share all this stuff, are you kiddin’ me? It also helps me organize my thoughts for at least one part of my day, acts as sort of a digital diary for my kids to ponder/groan over someday, and prompts me to do far more of what I like to do, and maybe what I do best, than if I did not have the site and its self-imposed “every day, DO” rule.

So many good things have come my way from doing this that I couldn’t even begin to list them all, but most importantly the blog has brought me friendships that have been built from scratch or renewed from years past. I’ve had some incredible opportunities come my way, a whole lot of good times, and I hope along the way I have improved whatever it is I am doing to improve your experience as a reader. I am honestly always amazed that anyone reads it, and more amazed that some of you read every day. I send all of you a very heartfelt “thank you.” Yes, even you, Spambots of the Interworld, now that I’ve figured out what to do with your comments.

Three years, and I do keep thinking, well, someday you are gonna have to slow down or stop. But it’s not today, and I don’t think it’s going to be tomorrow or the next day. And then maybe in another 365 days, I’ll find myself here, and maybe you will be here, too.

Carl Perkins, "Blue Suede Shoes"


(MissEight, on the drive home from school.)

MissEight: Mom?

Me: Yes.

MissEight: Do dogs mate?

Me: Yes.

MissEight: Oh my god.

Mishka the Husky -Hello

Mishka the Husky - Bye Bye


Let me give you some advice, people who sing: think twice and then ONE MORE TIME before you decide to cover a song in a TOTALLY FOREIGN LANGUAGE. Well, OK..."Tequila" would be fine, and I really should have considered that before attempting a song with NOTHING BUT ZILLIONS OF FRENCH WORDS. I underestimated the impact that me totally not speaking French would be have upon my effort. Let's just say my vocal booth, or my bedroom closet as it's commonly known, heard multiple attempts at French pronunciation, multiple massive fails, and quite a few American swear words.

Nonetheless, I wanted to see my challenge through. Jacques Dutronc's original 1966 version is one of the few examples I have come across of a cool original French garage rock song. Jacques is s a pretty awesome guy, by the way -- had a big music and film career in France, married the delicious '60s singer Francoise Hardy, and they had one son, Thomas Dutronc, who is also a musician and is as good-looking as his parents. "Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi" is a dryly sarcastic song, which makes it right up my alley. It is also three-chords-ONLY -- again, just my deal. Anyway, here are the lyrics, in both French and English -- I think, anyway. Like I would know if they're wrong, duh.

Sept cent millions de chinois
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Avec ma vie, mon petit chez moi
Mon mal de tête, mon point au foie
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Quatre vingt millions d'indonésiens
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Avec ma voiture et mon chien
Son Canigou quand il aboit
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Trois ou quatre cent millions de noirs
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Qui vais au brunissoir
Au sauna pour perdre du poids
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Trois cent millions de soviétiques
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Avec mes manies et mes tics
Dans mon p'tit lit en plumes d'oie
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Cinquante millions de gens imparfaits
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Qui regardent Catherine Langeais
À la télévision chez moi
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Neuf cent millions de crève la faim
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Avec mon régime végétarien
Et tout le whisky que je m'envoi
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Cinq cent millions de sud américains
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Je suis tout nu dans mon bain
Avec une fille qui me nettoie
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Cinquante millions de vietnamiens
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Le dimanche à la chasse au lapin
Avec mon fusil, je suis le roi
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Cinq cent millards de petits martiens
Et moi, et moi, et moi
Comme un con de parisien
J'attends mon chèque de fin de mois
J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

J'y pense et puis j'oublie
C'est la vie, c'est la vie

Seven hundred million Chinese
And me, and me and me
With my life, my little home
My headache, my point with the liver
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Eighty million Indonesians
And me, and me and me
With my car and my dog
In Canigou where he plays
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Three or four hundred million blacks
And me, and me and me
Who go to the burnisher
The sauna to lose weight
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Three hundred million Soviet
And me, and me and me
With my mannerisms and my tics
In my little bed of goose feathers
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Fifty million people are imperfect
And me, and me and me
Watching Catherine Langeais
On TV at home
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Nine hundred million die of hunger
And me, and me and me
With my vegetarian  diet
And all the whiskey I drink
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Five hundred million South Americans
And me, and me and me
I am naked in my bath
With a woman who cleans me
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Fifty million Vietnamese
And me, and me and me
On Sunday hunting rabbits
With my rifle, I am the king
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

Five hundred billion small Martians
And me, and me and me
Like a con in Paris
I expect my check month-end
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life
I think about it and then I forget
That’s life, that’s life

 Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi (Jacques Dutronc cover) by MarianneSp 

Pardonnez-moi, Jacques, pour assassiner votre chanson! J'embrasse vos deux joues! It was fun, though!


You know the whole thing about feeling a "good kind of tired?" Well, I'm feeling better and worse than that: I'm feeling a FANTASTIC kind of EXHAUSTED! But, man, am I glad I made the trip down to Olympia, Washington today to attend the pro-workers' rights "Rally To Save The American Dream," organized by MoveOn. "Glad" doesn't even cover it. "Honored" and "moved" would be more accurate. To stand with such a varied group of Americans -- babies in strollers and elderly people walking over the ice and snow with canes or walkers, handsome firefighters and sweet-faced teachers, rough-edged tradesmen and starry-eyed college students -- and to see their faces and hear their voices in support of the union workers in Wisconsin (and everywhere) is something I won't soon forget.

It was very cold, for here anyway -- the temps were in the lower 30s, the wind was a little bitey, and while our rare Seattle-ish snow is already melted off, Olympia still had theirs. So MissEight and I bundled up in multi-layers, fuzzy funny hats and boots; she wore a sweatshirt from my old Wisconsin elementary school, I wore a Badgers shirt and two-dollar Walgreens knit gloves with the fingertips cut off. She brought her poster that she made the night before, and I brought my camera. As we drove into town, I couldn't have been more delighted to see a long line of supporters wearing Cheesehead hats.

There was a small counter-protest on the steps of the Capitol, as was expected. There were no problems at all. The rally was vigorous in spirit, but utterly peaceful. People smiled as they walked by and tried to not block others' view of the stage where the various Democratic representatives, union leaders, small business owners, and others gave short speeches to the 2500 of us gathered to listen. No pushing, crowding, shoving, no ugly language, no hate.

I was so proud of my daughter today. Even though she was cold and tired, she did not complain. Lots of people liked her sign and asked to take her picture. I think most were teachers, heh. She held it for awhile over by the road where cars slowly rolled by, looking at the scene, and sometimes the drivers honked their horns in solidarity. After a little while, a very nice State Trooper came over and complimented her, and gave her a lovely silver "Junior Trooper" sticker, which brought her biggest smile of the day.

So many people, from so many different walks of life, spending a Saturday morning standing up for the right to have their voices fairly heard.

After the speeches, we were asked to move into the Capitol rotunda. Don't have to ask me twice; I've never been in there and would love to see it, and I also would really really like to unfreeze my icicle fingers.

We listened to more speakers, or tried to, but someone by this point was ready to wrap it up, which was totally fair.

As everyone filtered out of the Capitol and down the steps, I think there was a collective feeling that we all did a good thing. Our gathering wasn't anywhere near the incredible numbers counted in Madison today (70-100K! And in heavy snow and 17 degree temps! Go, you crazy WI. bastids, go!), but we said our piece. It was good just to be with people who felt the same, you know?

(More Rally photos are here.)

We piled back into the car, and had a nice warm meal before heading back to home, the Little Activist and Her Mom, both looking forward to a good kind of sleep at the end of the day.

Video: South Sound Rally To Save The American Dream, Olympia WA 2/26/11


I wasn't planning on giving up a nice Saturday morning sleep-in on a cold winter morning. Nope, not me. But here's what changed my plans.

As I watched this horrible scene at the Wisconsin State Capitol take place, via the reports of the people there, I felt incredibly depressed. Governor Scott Walker's idea of democracy simply cannot be accepted. He and his cohorts are counting on using Big Biz money and muscle to push past any resistance to their one-sided agenda. They are counting on exhaustion, apathy, and fear of further job loss in their opponents. The Democrats shouting, "SHAME!" at the Pro Tem who called the vote in seconds, depriving some representatives on BOTH sides to vote at all, must know this now: you cannot shame anyone who truly doesn't care about your opinion or your rights.

I got depressed, and then I got MAD. And then I thought, your anger is useless and non-productive. DO something!

So tomorrow I am bundling up as best I can against a cold snap here in Washington State, and driving down to Olympia to participate in the nationwide "Rally To Save The American Dream," taking place at every State Capitol in the union. I will take my camera, and bring my voice. I will participate in peaceful, strong protest. I will help. Please consider attending at your state's event as well.

MissEight working on her poster.


For MissEight, snow and ice is still a wondrous and novel thing.


One of the gifts inherent in great music, or any kind of exceptional art, is that you can revisit it and see new things as the years pass. Taking in a creative work always has the subjective to it – there isn’t a right or wrong way, and so much depends upon your own experiences to date, and even your mood at the time. I like to think of it as just being able to access layers; you get the tools or keys to unlock them as you go along, maybe. Even if you amend your original thoughts about a piece later, you still retain them all somewhere. It adds to the appreciation of the work.

I was sparked to this little re-examination today as the most-excellent SIRIUS XM Underground Garage DJ Mighty Manfred played the Beatles’ 1965 song, “Norwegian Wood” on his show today as I was putting on my makeup and getting dressed for the day. It is one of the more unusual songs in the Beatles’ catalogue and has intrigued me since its release. Of course, it receives the most notice for widely being credited as the first Western pop song featuring the sitar (although that’s a bit debatable, as I poked into awhile ago). But as I hear it now in 2011, the sitar is the least-interesting thing about it. It makes it definitely of a certain time, and a little dated-sounding. More interesting are John Lennon’s lyrics.

I have very, very clear memories of hearing this song when I was little, probably because of the compelling story structure of “Norwegian Wood,” and its simple, sing-song-y melody. Whenever it would come on the radio, I would go completely silent and listen to it with the single-minded intensity that only children or crazy people have, as the strange tale unfolded.

I once had a girl
Or should I say, she once had me
She showed me her room
Isn't it good Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and told me sit anywhere
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair

I sat on a rug, biding my time
Drinking her wine
We talked until two, and then she said:
"It's time for bed."

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh
I told her I didn't, and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone
This bird had flown
So I lit a fire
Isn't it good Norwegian wood?

My little self knew something was up here…but what it was, I wasn’t sure at all. I knew that John Lennon was married with a son a year younger than me, and wondered why a Beatle was apparently hanging out at some dollybird’s apartment, drinking wine and sleeping in tubs. My speculation didn’t go much further, and couldn’t. I knew nothing of the complex nature of relationships and to me, the Beatles at that point were the lovable Mop Tops and could never do anything wrong, other than smoking cigarettes.

It was all literal to me. Some chick was showing John Lennon her digs, and was super-proud of her paneling, but she didn’t have any furniture, which was very weird. They hung out drinking on a rug until she got sleepy and he went to the can. He was kind of arrogant (“she once had me”) and she was rude not to give him a proper bed to sleep on and not to say goodbye in the morning (“This bird had flown”). But the creepiest thing came at the end: “So I lit a fire, isn’t it good Norwegian wood?” I was fairly convinced that because of the girl’s rudeness in leaving Lennon alone in a bathtub, he set her place on fire, mocking her superior wood. Oh, gee, that is SO not MY Fab Four! Every time it came on the radio, I would listen hard again and again, sucked in by what was said, and what was insinuated.

And now “Norwegian Wood,” like me, is middle-aged. The details of what the song was really about – an affair that Lennon was having, or maybe a combination of all of them – have been known for ages. It’s not like Lennon went very far in hiding it, really. Hell, if a preschool kid knew there was something dodgy there, everyone else (including then-wife Cynthia) had to know too. So if he tried to obscure the fact that he was seeing other women in “Norwegian Wood,” why did he even write the song to begin with? Why leave such a public trail, something that is so curious that critics and reporters and fans would always be asking, “So…what’s this really about, John?”

In looking at the whole of Lennon’s career and life, the answer is obvious. He is not at all the obfuscatory lyricist that Dylan was, and this was an attempt to be just that. No, Lennon was more the confessional songwriter, with just enough pride or sense to hide behind a joke or wordplay or a funny face. He wanted to write about real things, real feelings, his experiences. Even if he didn’t directly cop to a song’s real meaning, the emotions underneath were always plain as day.

Is there a better summation of the changes that fame makes than the opening line?

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.

I hear it so differently now – not arrogant, but ironic and resigned, truthful and detached. One day you are John Lennon, trying to find some girl to go out with you at all, and then you are “JOHN LENNON” and millions of girls would give themselves to you on a platter. And you never have to work in the morning, ever again.

And the fire? Oh, the delicious duality…did he warm himself in the cold empty apartment by lighting a fire in her fireplace, or did he torch the joint? Neither, but the lyrical intent was apparently the latter. Ray Davies would deliver a similar killer double-meaning end line in “Lola” five years later: “I’m glad I’m a man and so is Lola.” It keeps people talking, doesn’t it?

And when people are still talking about, thinking about, and marveling over a 113-word two-minutes-and some pop song 46 years after it was written, you’ve lit a pretty damn hot fire.


This short video posted by Finn Ryan is so beautiful in its simplicity and reason that I felt I had to pass it on. These are some of the people who have been standing at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin protesting Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting legislation. There's no name-calling, no angry slurs, no asking for anything more than the right to be fairly heard. If you hear "union" and automatically think "corruption" or "entitlement" or "overpaid thugs" or "socialists," please, just watch. These people are your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, not "those people." They are us.

Pass it on.

We Are Wisconsin from Finn Ryan on Vimeo.


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Standing up for your rights can be a rather exhausting process. In Wisconsin, it's the middle of winter, it's cold, and Gov. Scott Walker is blocking a pro-union internet site at the State Capitol. It's easy for those assembled to be discouraged and tired after days of protests. Gov. Walker is counting on people burning out and his agenda going through on default. This MUST not happen, and I sure do understand that it's much easier said than done.

There isn't a whole lot I can do from Washington State, but something I CAN do is what others from all over the world have done: order a pizza from Ian's On State and have them deliver it to whomever could use a little nourishment and support over at the Capitol! See?

Sometimes a little thing can have a big impact, you know.


Busy day today spent child wrangling and music recording, so no pithy or pissy words from me today.  Instead I will provide you with several rare and valuable YouTube videos of some of France's greatest pop music exports from the 1960s, or perhaps all of them. One of these songs is the cover I am working on now. You may notice that all of these songs are in French. I do not speak French. At all. This is not stopping me from covering a song sung in French, for even if I mangle the pronunciation, well...c'est la vie, non? Can you guess which one it's gonna be?

Sylvie Vartan, "Si Je Chante"

Johnny Hallyday, "Je Cherche Une Fille"

Francoise Hardy, "La Fille Avec Toi"

Jacques Dutronc, "Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi"


Let me state upfront: I am from Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, because of the state's strong German heritage, we take our sausages seriously. No withered wiener shall pass by my lips, no boring bratwurst nor heinous hot dog...a substandard sausage is simply shameful. Therefore, it was with some reserve that I went to Seattle's Po Dog, a restaurant that specializes in the goofy and gourmet glorification of the humble hot dog. I will now stop my alliteration so you can continue reading this without wanting to strangle me.

I made two trips across Lake Washington to Po Dog's U-District location -- the first around 9PM and the second mid-afternoon the next day -- so I could get a better sampling of the menu. However experienced or inexperienced you may be with ingesting wieners, you can appreciate that Po Dog is ready to help you broaden your world-view on what can be done with a dog. First, choose your meat: 100% beef Kosher dog, Field Roast Veggie dog, brat, kielbasa, or Chicken-Apple sausage. You may mix-and-match preps and toppings or go with one of the signature items from the very intriguing menu.

The drink selection is also nifty. We ended up with a Manny's draft beer, a Diet Coke, a Jarritos soda, and the superior Mexican Coke.

The two orders of shoestring fries arrived first. OH MAN. Talk about addictive! There's no doubt -- these are the best fries I have had in a long time: hot, crispy, salty, just the right amount of grease, with a fresh potato flavor. To make them even more delicious, they arrived with a sampler of three dippers: homemade Chipotle ketchup, homemade spicy lemon aioli, and wasabi aioli, all excellent. The fries were consumed rather quickly.

While waiting for the dogs, I spied Po Dog's signature t-shirts, which read "I <3 WIENERS." Sadly, I was discouraged from buying one. Bah.


The Dub-T Dog, which is "creamy cheese sauce, crushed potato chips, topped with ketchup and mustard." Fries added by hand by MissEight for artistic flair.

The day's special, the Chili Dog, with chili, onions, shredded cheese, creamy cheese sauce, and sour cream.

And...hold on to your lederhosen, my Wisconsin pals...the PB Dog, with peanut butter, sliced banana, and chopped nuts!

The verdicts?

Meat: The Hebrew National hot dogs were excellent, juicy with lots of perfectly-balanced flavor, the veggie dog was rich and tasty, but the brat was a bit boiled-bland, sort of like a Johnsonville bockwurst.

Buns: Soft and smooshy, with a slightly-sweet taste, very fresh.

Toppings: The Dub-T is a great traditional combo, and the crushed chips a great compliment to the dog. The Chili Dog was hearty and satisfying, not overly spicy. The PB Dog was just a tiny bit weird at first, but ultimately totally yum. If you like peanut butter-and-bacon sammiches or Elvis, you'll be good with this one. The only complaint I had with it was that the peanut butter was so thick that it took awhile to actually eat. It was a slowwwwww dog.

So now I'm sitting here writing this and TOTALLY wanting to go back RIGHT NOW and try another dog combo (not to mention those FRIES), so that tells you something: I really liked Po Dog. Fun, fresh, different, cool, open super late, with a friendly staff. They made my face smile and my stomach happy. Po Dog gets my Official Wisconsin Native Sausage Stamp Of Approval, which comes with free polka lessons! You lucky devils.

tel. 206-325-6055

Hours: M-Th - 11AM to midnight; F-Sa - 11AM to 2:30AM; Sun 11AM to 10PM

UPDATE 3/30/12: Po Dog's U-District location is now closed, but a new Po Dog has opened in Ballard!

Capitol Hill: 1009 E. Union St., Seattle WA 98122
Ballard: 2014 NW Market St