Oh my.



Bob Dylan is releasing an album of Christmas music, as I mentioned here recently. I have now heard some of it, and now so will you.

I understand that Bob has made this record to benefit a very worthy charity, Feeding America, and applaud his generosity wholeheartedly and I hope it sells very well.

I also hope it sells well because I am perverse and enjoy thinking about people listening to these very traditional backing tracks that could have been recorded in 1962 with the Mitch Miller Orchestra with Dylan's voice on top. Now it could be that the man was sick during the recording sessions, because he sounds a bit hoarse, no? Or perhaps he had recently had his vocal cords belt-sanded. Or drank a liter of Drano. Or competed at an all-day-long Tom Waits Festival. I am not sure. But again, the idea of the family getting together on Christmas Eve in front of a roaring fire, drinking some eggnog, reading The Night Before Christmas in glowing anticipation of Santa's arrival and/or some Jesus-y thing, and mistaking Mr. Dylan's voice for a snowplow scraping its metal blade on dry pavement, well. Delicious.

My hat is off to you, sir. May I offer you a lozenge?

HA 16

Couch Teen nicely agreed to make his sick mother, Me, a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup last night. It was tasty and comforting.

However, I perhaps have not made this rule clear to him: WHEN YOU ARE COOKING WITH AN OPEN GAS FLAME, MAKE SURE THINGS THAT BURN ARE NOT TOO CLOSE BY:

Goodbye, Free Red Pen. We hardly knew ye.


Oddly enough, I am going to write about food today, even though with this cold I have I am not hungry at all. It probably is for the best because writing about yummy things usually makes me want to eat yummy things and I am of course always watching my girlish figure. Not really. It’s not all that girlish, and I’m not watching it because I avoid mirrors unless they are skinny mirrors, in which case you have to pull me away from them, embarrassed for me AND by me. But back to the subject at hand, and what I want to say about it, which is THIS:


Because I am Marianne, SOTO (Stater Of The Obvious), I can say this although you may already know this. I feel well within my SOTO rights to continue because even though you know it and I know it and you know it and I know it, it is a good thing to sometimes remind you that you know it, and that you should actually do something about it.

I am almost old enough to remember the pre-supermarket days; at least old enough to remember when supermarkets were just modestly super and there were still lots of specialty food shops around. Back inna day before microwaves and polysyllabic preservatives, people used to shop daily or at least several times a week for food, going here and there to get what they needed, fresh. It didn’t matter where you lived, rural or urban or suburban. In general, you had a Mama around, and Mama’s prime job was cookin’. Whether she hauled a little silver cart over a cracked sidewalk and onto a city bus or loaded groceries into a wood-paneled station wagon, she was getting the best stuff she could. It was expected.

But times changed and Mama went back to work and no one had the time or energy to shop all over town to try to get the best brisket anymore. Supermarkets went insane trying to please Mama so she could one-stop-shop, thereby springing the horror that is Super Wal-Mart upon the world. Everyone got used to food that was just a little bit worse, and then a whole lot worse, and now we are all fat and/or unhealthy and sick to death of eating the same garbage from the limitless supply of garbage in attractive packaging that we can cook in 4 minutes or under. I say this as someone who prefers 2 minutes and under.

So what am I suggesting? I am suggesting a somewhat modified plan. It isn’t realistic to spend all your time and money at little lovely boutique fooderies, especially when you might have a child hellbent for Cheetos, you are not all that patient nor wealthy, and like me, may not particularly enjoy cooking. But eating good, healthy, and interesting food is one of the great daily pleasures in life and is worth whatever effort you can put towards it.

STEP A: The Supermarket Plan

Memorize this: SHOP THE PERIMETER. If you have not already noticed this, the fresh foods in a supermarket are always placed around the edges of the store. Make a point of buying as much here as you can, and avoid the interior where evil high-fructose corn syrup and frozen White Castle sliders await you. Go to one of those websites where they tell you what to buy for a week’s worth of good meals (and give you the recipes as well) if you are stuck for ideas. Choose items with the least packaging possible. If you are still thinking, well what the hell can I do with all this bounty, I want my Trix, try one simple meal of baked brie or some assorted fresh cheeses and meats, very fresh (preferably warm) French bread and unsalted butter, and some crispy apples or grapes or berries. Top that off with a nice bottle of sulfite-free wine or some Perrier and you have a very fast meal that is delicious, simple, elegant, and makes you feel rather poetic. I get this one past the kids by calling it “picnic dinner,” which they think is cool. If you can shop a couple times a week rather than once, you will avoid my problem, which is throwing away dubious meat a few times a month because I am not able to get it cooked in time to prevent its frightening decay.

STEP B: Explore Your Local Options

Wherever you are, you have some cool specialty food stores or places to go to get really superb noms. Where I was growing up in the wilds of Wisconsin you would think there wasn’t much to be had, but you would be wrong: unpasteurized gallons of milk with the cream still on the top and eggs so fresh they sometimes were STILL WARM, straight from the farm down the road; delicious bratwurst and steaks from Feldschneider’s butchery (“butchery” sounds so harsh, doesn’t it); the freshest bestest cheese EVER from Bon Bree Cheese in Mapleton, cakes and pies and cookies and pretzels from the bakery. Everywhere I’ve lived it has been so worth the effort to stop into these little shops. In Chicago there used to be a Chinese bakery next to The Century shopping center by Clark and Diversey. Oh MAH GOD, for under a buck I would get these AMAZING curry chicken buns that were sort of sweet, with an almond cookie for dessert. The corned beef at the old Belden Deli was heavenly – you could almost live off the smell of it alone. Mmmmm. In Phoenix and Denver, great little Mexican panaderias with cinnamony churros or carnicerias with sublime carne asada. Here in Seattle and Seattle-ish, a fresh fish shop that could make even the most ardent fish-hater into a fan, a Brazilian coffeehouse/bakery with delicious and addictive Pao de Queijo, and Beecher’s Cheese, who warm my little cheesehead heart with their fresh cheese curds.

Ask around for recommendations, or just go in somewhere that always looked intriguing to you. Don’t be put off by going into a different ‘hood, or foods that you are not at all sure of what they might be. People are generally quite willing to help you figure it out. If you end up asking for pork chops and end up with pig testes in broth, well, it’ll make for a good story. Supporting your local small specialty food places is a nice thing to do, and I am sure you will end up finding something that you think is the BEST THING EVER, like Hairbender coffee at the OOGCP.

How I wish I could have a take-home container of the chicken matzo soup from the Belden Deli right now. It might really help my cold.


Marianne, SOTO.

HA 15

As I sat in my car this afternoon, unable to drive further because the driving rain with hail prevented me to safely do so, completely and utterly soaked to the skin from the 50-ft. run from the parking lot to the school and back to the car again, with a fever and a dripping runny nose, this comes on the car radio:


This went on for the entire length of the song.


My body has a sick sense of humor. I mean this as a rather literal interpretation in that it seems it knows just how to quickly level a dose of illness to me immediately before or after some major event for me. I don’t know how many times I have come down with a cold, flu, strep or whatever the day before I am set to go on vacation or the day I get back. It’s like my body says, “OHHHH, so you were thinking about having some FUN, EH? Here is the common cold! Enjoy THE HELL out of it!” So today I sit semi-morose with a razory throat, stuffy nose, and fatigue from the cold that hit yesterday, right in time for MissSeven’s birthday dinner and me also needing to pack all of Mr11’s stuff for a 3-day camping trip. The dinner was held, the gear loaded, and lucky me, I can sleep most of the day if I so choose to, and I may very well choose to do so.

Most people are not so lucky when they get sick. They still have to go into work or school or milk the cows or take care of their manic toddler. He or she might have to stand in the road holding a “SLOW! CONSTRUCTION” sign while feeling like puking, or listen to sales projection presentations while mountains of mucus threaten to explode from the nose, or have to give a driving test to a giggling 16-year-old girl while a migraine threatens to end all life on earth. Sometimes you just can’t stay home and rest. I got to thinking, dammit, I was all set to get to work this week on a backlog of song recording, so much for that, and then I thought about real musicians. When you have a concert tour set up, you pretty much have to go ahead and perform no matter how you feel, unless you are Michael Jackson and are having some issues with insomnia and your choice of personal physician. Sometimes musicians can bail from a tour even if not deceased, but generally the show must go on, and it does.

Oh, there’s nothing sadder than a rock dude with a cold. It really takes away the whole swagger vibe when you see Angus McShred keep blowing his nose into a ratty Kleenex and whine to his manager that he wants some tea and cough drops. I swear to you that 99% of the time I have seen Ray Davies over the past nine million years, he has had a cold. Because I am me, I would go DUDE! AGAIN? and he would look mildly irritated and sort of roll his eyes and I would do some kind of HA HA! and AWWW! combination and then worry all mama-hen-like that his voice might break up during the show and then he would get really irritable. Ray needs some immune system support, but he always plays because he is a trooper.

How do they do it? I think about how I am feeling right now with this relatively-mild malady. If I tried to sing it would sound like a chicken at the moment of its beheading. Now top that with the enormous pressure of singing in front of an audience under hot stage lights, maybe with people smoking at you, and it’s a wonder you don’t see performers dropping like flies onstage, especially during cold and flu season. Maybe it’s the old-style Doctor Robert “Vitamin B12” shot that helps, which is essentially enough amphetamine to keep you ramped up for a few hours. Of course, if you get the “Dr. Nick” treatment, you might get this outcome:

Poor Elvis. I wish he would’ve karate-chopped old George Nichopoulos in the throat, guy deserved it. Lead guitarist Phil Demmel in the band Machine Head actually has a heart condition, and every so often he completely passes out onstage:

His bandmates must REALLY REALLY like him, bless their little pointed metal heads. Honestly, to pass out while in the middle of your guitar solo is pretty damn BADASS, if you ask me. Rock on, man.

Now, if you want to see how a rock star with a severe case of the flu handles a guy in the audience throwing crap at him onstage, well, I bring you Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. WARNING: Josh swears here as much or more than I do when I stub my toe or miss out on concert tickets. If you do not enjoy a wide range of verbal vulgarity from a feverish sweaty pissed off person, do not click on the video. If you do and want to get fired from your job quickly, click on it and turn the sound on your computer WAY WAY UP:

If Josh had also been able to throw up on the guy, I think the audience would have made him King of Norway. Isn’t “King of Norway” also a brand of sardines? I love sardines. Anyway, so the world keeps going ‘round for everyone, sick or not. Everyone deals, in their big or small ways. My little show went on, because I got out of bed long enough to write this. Wash your hands, get your flu shot, and cover your mouth, people.


(Sunday, 6:21AM)

MissSeven: (opening door to my bedroom) Mom, my leg hurts right here by the top of it.

Me: Mmphhff...hmmfhhf[h. Oh. Happy birthday!

MissSeven: Thank you! (kisses my hand) Thank you for borning me!

Me: (smiles) Sure.

MissSeven: Goodnight! (leaves room and shuts door)

Me: 'Nite, sweetie.


I sat here and laughed until I cried over this. HAHAHAHAHAHAH! The hell. HAHAHHAHAHAH!


Tonight, I went to my very first Happy Hour. Yes, it is true! I am not much of a drinker at all, so in all these years I have seen no particular need to participate in a Happy Hour, because I am usually fairly Happy anyway, do not need to consume less-expensive alcohol, and am only moderately social. But my friend called me and asked me to go, and I like to consider all invitations as an opportunity to see things in a different way. So I went, dressed in a gunmetal-grey mini, a slouchy shirt with a black wifebeater underneath, cheap black Union Bay espadrilles, and an open mind.

I may add here that this is the first post I have made here while rather inebriated, and that my stomach is probably going to be really unhappy with me in a few hours. I had four margaritas and an ahi tuna/mango/avocado salad. Then I had chai tea and black sticky rice. Ah, well.

If there are any spelling mistakes here, I will fix them later.

Even though I am reasonably wasted I am not a jerk, so I won't be spilling any secrets I heard, or typing like this: skdhfoishdlknvlsknajspkcpwojd_()#*Rp*, or throwing up and taking a picture of it and posting it. I will share a couple observations about my Happy Hour, set in an upscale Seattle-ish suburb, with all kinds of pretty people around me, once again.

1. I was completely and utterly taken aback when I walked in the bar looking for my friend, and was checked out by EVERY SINGLE PERSON THERE. We already know that I am not a Hot Bitch, so this is not the deal here. It is why people are there, to look at people and assess them and drink and get phone numbers. I should have known, but the reality of having a hundred people looking at YOU like that was startling. I wish I could have let out a really long loud fart as I walked by, but it wasn't in the brew chamber.

2. If you are looking to meet someone at a Happy Hour, try not to look too perfect. It seems too obvious.

3. The good-looking guys looked way more comfortable than the good-looking girls.

4. Stop at three drinks.

5. Women when drunk talk about crappy men. Men when drunk talk about crappy sports teams.

6. Remember to pull your skirt down after you go to the bathroom. A skirt hiked up to your butt is a sure sign of wastedness.

7. Maybe eat bread instead of salad.

8. Get a ride home, preferably with a non-drunk person you have known more than an hour.

I am going to have a hangover tomorrow morning, I know it, but I am still glad I went. It is a way different venue for me, and I like things that make me think. Even when all fuzzied-up with a central nervous system depressant.


This is funny anyway, but funnier in German:


TO: Little Steven Van Zandt

RE: "Underground Garage" (SIRIUS XM RADIO)

Dear Little,

As a long-time listener and fan of your station, I would like share an observation.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (put your finger up high so we can see you, sir, thank yewwww)

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes


have nothing to do with "underground" nor "garage."

Your pal in grit,



Oh, brother. Another serial confessor has hit the media yet again, and it's a real extra-special winner this time: class act and toothsome drug addict Mackenzie Phillips.

Known primarily for her role as the not-attractive daughter on the '70s sitcom "One Day At a Time," she is also the daughter of pop-folk music legend and drug addict John Phillips.

Ms. Phillips arranged herself on an Oprah couch this week to pimp her new autobiography, which I will not link here because I don't want you to buy it, and let fly the Shit Bomb of All Time: that she and her father had an incestuous, consensual relationship, morphing from rape.

Let's break this down, shall we? Do I think this allegation is true? I can't say it isn't. The Phillips were never known for boundaries, morals, or common sense. One of John Phillips' ex-wives says no way; another one alludes to delusion as well. But drugs + creeps often equal things most CULTURES KNOWN TO ALL TIME would naturally find completely unacceptable. Did Mackenzie Phillips have a hideous, abusive, neglectful, harmful upbringing? Absolutely. Is rape excusable? Never. Do people make really crappy decisions when addicted to drugs? They sure can. Should victims be vilified? Of course not.

Let's dig further then. I hear lots and lots of excuses in Ms. Phillips tale -- early intro to drugs and promiscuity, zero accountability, Stockholm Syndrome. But not every person with a shitty past and a substance abuse problem goes on to WILLINGLY be involved in an incestuous relationship. There is no excuse. You don't become a horrid person just because you suck up a pile of cocaine.

Let's bottom-line it now. Ms. Phillips claims she is "putting a face" on incest, to help other victims. OK. She seems to care a whole lot more for these strangers than to consider the severe and lifelong impact this diarrheal spew will have on her family. Was her true intent to lessen the shameful burden of fellow father-fellators, or to make a bunch of money because she has burned every bridge in her own career long ago? Why not talk about this years ago? Ohhhhh, because dead men are notoriously-poor respondents, is why. Is Mackenzie's soul repaired now by these public actions? Does lashing out give her the last word, and dime? Ms. Phillips drags her family down with her by going public, likely including some that tried repeatedly over the years to help her, and children that don't deserve in any way to have to respond to this vile crap that they had nothing to do with.

And finally, let's not let misery-profiteer, major narcissist, and food addict Oprah Winfrey off the hook here.

Oh my god, Oprah must have CRAPPED herself in media JOY to score this scoop. It hits all her major personal interests: women as victims, women as incest victims, women as addiction victims, and REDEMPTION though PUBLIC CONFESSION. I'd tell you to get over yourself already, Oprah, but you'd just stuff hundred dollar bills in my mouth and call it a charitable venture. Oprah is ALWAYS about Oprah, and how Oprah can get more attention and more money. Nice score, creep. Way to think about the spurious elements and impact. As usual.

Do I think Mackenzie Phillips is a complete waste? Yup. Do I think John Phillips was an awful, awful human being? Yup. Do I think Oprah is a self-absorbed power-mad weirdo? Yup. Are those my confessions?



As I am in my car, at the stop sign turning right to go up my long and gently-sloping road, a grey-haired man who must be no less that 65 years old, passes in front of me wearing a helmet, knee and elbow pads, riding a longboard down the hill, smiling.


Imaginary conversation between my daughter and me, a few hours after she is born:

Me: Hey! How’s it going over there in the isolette?

MissZero: I am wrapped like a burrito and have silver nitrate jammed in my eyes and have this hard plastic thing clamping the place where my umbilical cord was CUT OFF. How do you think I’m doing, dummy?

Me: Oh, I hear ya. I just had a giant screaming burrito come out of my lady place. Tough day, huh?

MissZero: Well, it can’t get any worse, that’s my thinking.

Me: HA HA! No, honey, it’s gonna get worse. I am sorry. This will seem like a spa visit in comparison.

MissZero: You’re a monster.

Me: Yeah. Sorry. People Like To Have Children, despite knowing this.

MissZero: Well, shiiiit. (sighs newborn sigh) Anything I can do about it?

Me: Not really. Everyone who is out there in the world is going to get multiple major hits. Not everybody is going to love you, or like you, or even not hate you.

MissZero: Damn. Why?

Me: Oh, there’s lots of reasons. Usually it doesn’t have much or anything to do with you, though. You know that scene in “Good Will Hunting” where Robin Williams keeps repeating “It’s not your fault” to Matt Damon?

MissZero: Um, NO.

Me: Oh, riiight. You’re new here. Well, the gist of that movie and what I am saying too is that you don’t have control over other people’s actions sometimes, they aren’t going to treat you as they should, but unless you are Aileen Wuornos or something, it wasn’t anything you should think you caused just by you being you. You just gotta accept that and move on.

MissZero: How can I move on? I’m wrapped so tightly in this ratty hospital blankie I can’t even think.

Me: Oh, don’t worry. You’ll get your freedom. And I was speaking more metaphorically, anyway, although sometimes moving on does mean like physically getting up and walking or something.

MissZero: Just letting you know in advance: I am going to walk at 10 months. Start baby-proofing all your shit right now.

Me: Thanks punkin. Good to know.

MissZero: Can I just live in your basement and avoid all this crap?

Me: No. When you are 18 I am going to kick you out and turn the basement into an awesome music studio.

MissZero: Good to know.

Me: Most of your life is going to be great, sweetie. I promise. The world is full of cool and wondrous stuff, and you will have many, many people who will think you are the bee’s knees.

MissZero: Please don’t confuse me with 1920’s slang terms.

Me: Noted. I’m just saying, if you are out there getting the good stuff, sometimes you are going to get bad stuff, and sometimes it is going to be bad enough to make you think everything is bad. It’s called “global thinking.”

MissZero: “Global thinking” makes me think that I could use some of that nice fresh breast milk about now.

Me: Just hang in here with me for a minute and let me finish my point, barnacle. Good stuff, bad stuff – what matters is how you handle it, your actions, the grace you can show while at the same time not being a doormat. You just need to know that you are cool, ‘cause you sure are. Don’t let the rough stuff take you down too far. Keep moving.

MissZero: Noted. Let’s do lunch.

Me: Oh, alright. Left or right side first?

MissZero: I kinda dig the right one,myself. By the way, I’m going to breastfeed for another 14 months.

Me: Good to know. Let me get the TV remote and a pillow.

MissZero: Love ya, you cow.

Me: I love you too, sucker.


I met a girlfriend today for lunch at a restaurant on the Eastside, one of surprisingly few right on Lake Washington. It was hot and sunny, and the lake sparkled, all calm and placid, save for some small ripples caused by some YACHT coming into the dock. I dressed up for the occasion, mainly because I don’t have many opportunities to do so and this place takes everyone from shorts to suits. To go along with that, I used the valet instead of the complicated parking garage, so I was full-on LADY LUNCHIN’. Pretty day, pretty lake, pretty good.

I got there a few minutes before my pal, and got us a table outside. I looked at the menu and figured out my order, then asked for a bottle of San Pellegrino and sipped away , its slightly-bitter bubbles tickling my nose. Who else was lunchin’ today? I knew when three guys came by in dark suits on a hot day what that was about: The Big Law Firm Interview Lunch. The potential hire must not be local, I bet. They bring him to this place because it gives you such a beautiful view on a nice day – it looks like somewhere anyone would love to live. They must like the guy. If it were shitty weather they’d take him to the steakhouse and impress him with $120 Kobe beef medallions. If they didn’t like him all that much, they’d just go to a mid-range Italian joint that could get them in and out in an hour. Sure enough, they sit down, and the Hire-ee starts talking, somewhat nervously with quickness and lots of laughter, about how he flunked out of Cornell, then was re-admitted. Yes, just get that out of the way over the appetizers. I couldn’t decide if he was friendly or babbling.

Behind me, a couple of doctors went straight into work talk, about some new drug interaction warnings, working with a crabby nutritionist, and the crash of the billing system last week. In front of me, a middle-aged woman and her husband who say nothing to each other the whole time. Lots and lots of well-dressed lunchers, working, or not having to work at all.

My friend arrives, always with a warm greeting and a huge smile. She’s a force-of-nature kind of girl, who seems to effortlessly handle her work as a business-builder/reorganizer/bottom-liner, along with the substantial time she spends with her family and volunteer work. It would be hard to see her being any other way, really. She thrives on challenges, fixing things, doing things, making things work then finding more things to make work. She is always thoughtful, a good friend, always looking to make connections wherever she goes. I think she sleeps sometimes.

I feel like a bit of an imposter, my heels pinching into the top of my feet. The only place I have to go right after lunch is to get a coffee, and the word “have” is entirely replaced by the word “want.” I don’t really have anything to build or fix. All these people whir on around me, doing big things. I won’t ever know if Cornell Flunkenstein got an offer from the firm, what drugs might be interacting with my San Pellegrino, or if the middle-aged couple were mutes. My friend is starting a new job next week, and I wish her good luck, knowing of course that she makes her own.

I walk up the long set of concrete stairs that lead from the dock to where the valet is and hand the young guy my ticket. As he runs to get my car, I glance over at his stand. He is reading a book by Charles Bukowski, and his little portable white iPod speakers are playing Bishop Allen. I smile, and relax somehow. He returns and opens the car door for me, and I hand him a nice tip. He smiles widely and wishes me a great afternoon in the sun.

When I go up to the OOGCP for my coffee, the nice blonde behind the counter asks me what I do. I tell her I am a writer, not of any particular note or well-paid function. She smiles and tells me that is cool. What I feel like saying, with all the people in the restaurant still in my head, is that it isn’t so much that’s what I do. That’s what I am.

Be who you am, fancy lunch out or tuna out of the can at home, tall black heels or Nikes, grand-planning or tiny victories, or all of it all together in one big wonderful messy person. Use your napkin, please.


Good pop songwriters are often good thieves, taking inspiration from work that has come before them. But there's always the PESKY LAWSUIT problem. Let us look at the trajectory of one of my all-time favorite songs, and what happened to our friends, The Good Thieves.

1. The Staple Singers: This May Be The Last Time (1955)

Based on a "traditional" song, which means you don't have to pay anyone for using it. The Staple Singers are wonderful though, and it's hard to sue anyone when they are singing about god and stuff. Not to mention that "Traditional" doesn't have the money to retain a lawyer.

2. James Brown: Maybe The Last Time (1964)

James Brown could make a song out of anything, and this is likely based loosely off the same gospel song the Staples were interpreting. Please note the words "heart of stone" in the lyrics.

3. The Rolling Stones: The Last Time (1965)
Around ten years later from the Staple Singers song, two British musicians are locked in a room together with instruments and other people's records and told by their manager to write songs THIS VERY MINUTE AND DON'T COME OUT UNTIL YOU GOT SOMETHING GOOD. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards did so, and here we have their first "self-penned" smash hit, "The Last Time." Note to #2: They also wrote "Heart Of Stone" in late 1964. Oh you kids, and your R&B 45s!

4. The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra: The Last Time (1965)

Common to the day, Producers Who Lock Musicians In Rooms And Order Them To Do Stuff also often released the Symphonic Album Capitalizing Further On Pop Hits. I mean, for chrissakes, even the Kinks had one. Anyway, "The Last Time" was given quite a different arrangement here.

5. The Verve: Bittersweet Symphony (1997)

Moving way way ahead with our little tune, British band The Verve likely figures that everyone in the world has forgotten about the obscure orchestral version of "The Last Time" and decide it would make for a great NEW song. They ask for and receive a license to sample the ALOO version -- 5 notes of it -- but ended up pretty much plopping new words on top of the whole thing. Lesson: Do not mess with Stones' catalog owner and Evil (Now Dead) Lawyer, Allen Klein. The Verve now pays "Jagger/Richards" for life.

When I first heard "Bittersweet Symphony" I nearly POPPED. I ran around frothing and going HEY HEY HEY HEY WHUT WHUT OMG OMG HOLY CRAP, because I had the ALOO LP in my collection forever. I am that kind of dork, yes. LISTEN TO THIS! I said as I pulled the record out again to compare. I love the song, of course. Please note, I am posting the video of this song with Spanish subtitles.

6. Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido: Sinfonia Agridulce (2009)

And now we are up to the present day, quite a distance from "Traditional," British Beat, and Britpop and lawsuits. The Mexican Institute Of Sound asked for, and received, a full license for their mariachi version of the song. QUE BUENO, is what I think all the versions are.

Some people get paid, some don't. This will definitely not be the last time, I bet.


I keep hearing a loud and persistent SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! sound from the family room that makes me think there is some kind of electrical disaster in the making.

Me: Hey! What is that SOUND?

MissSix: Poppin' bubble wrap, watchin' TV.

Me: Oh.


Once a year, it seems, I make it out to the further Seattle-ish suburb of Issaquah to the Triple XXX Drive-In. Oddly enough, it is not a porno drive-in theater; it is not really even a drive-in restaurant, as there is no car service, like at my beloved Kiltie in Oconomowoc. But I don't care at all that it has a misleading name -- it is a fun retro diner and there's always some cool cars around to ogle too.

The Triple XXX is one of those places that jams as much STUFF in it as possible, for your nostalgic viewing pleasure:

That's a lot to look at while you wait for your plate of far far far far too much food. Most of the items seem authentically old, which I like. Fake nostalgia items, like those old Coca-Cola tin signs you can buy new, depress me. I picked up the empty old bottle of Diet Pepsi sitting on the windowsill at my booth, and smiled to feel the familiar fat swirls in the clear glass. It doesn't really take very much to make me happy. The Triple XXX also has a couple of jukeboxes. This is something I have wanted forever, but it is getting harder to see that I will ever own one. It gets more impractical and Rich Baby Boomer Predictable Purchase as the years go by. I did enjoy some vintage James Brown funk during my meal, though.

The place is known for its yummy rootbeer, and I agree, it is really good. My rootbeer float also featured creamy Darigold vanilla bean ice cream, and possibly was the final pushover to diabetes for me.

Ah, well. My tuna melt was especially yummy too, but I couldn't manage many of the crispy golden fries served with it. I hate leaving a restaurant feeling like I have to all Karen Carpenter or something.

My first impulse when I saw this was to ask my mom for a dime so I could ride it:

I'm not kidding either. In maybe two or three seconds, I recalled that I was now 47, my mother is 82 and lives in Wisconsin, I don't have a dime, and I would break that poor horsey and wagon now. Sigh. Very occasionally, it sure would be cool to be three again.

Heading back out to the parking lot, it is hard to miss this bus:

Was it really Buddy Holly's tour bus? Upon closer inspection, I think nahhh. The worn paint looks about as authentic as the rips in my $78 "1969" jeans from the Gap. It's got extra restaurant seating though, and an empty driver's seat.

A few bitchen muscle cars, and time to head back home.

Another woman looking at the pink Duster remarked that my pink purse matched perfectly, so it surely must be my car. I replied that if that were the case, I would explode immediately into fabulousness. She laughed, and then kept on laughing. "You're funny!" she said.

The Triple XXX would probably get even more business if it did have porn star car service like you would think it would, but I like it just fine the way it is.


Rock and roll music is not known for being all that socially acceptable. Sometimes it is downright offensive, even to people other than the Tipper Gores of the world and people who do not find the lyrics “smell my anal vapors” humorous. There are plenty of bands that set out to be rebellious or dangerous or to push social constraints. They mean to do it; they are musical trolls. This can be interesting and provocative, or pathetic, or in a worse-case scenario, boring.

Sometimes with hindsight, one wonders how on earth some things in pop music EVER made it out to the public without a stoning or at least SOMEONE saying, “Ya know, this is really darn creepy.” At least that is how someone in Wisconsin would say it. What instantly comes to my mind is the run of hits from the ‘60s soft-rock band Gary Puckett and The Union Gap. These guys had MASSIVE hits in the latter part of that decade. However, DID NO ONE REALLY LISTEN TO THE LYRICS?? One would think not, as their biggest hits seem to be based upon convincing an UNDERAGE GIRL TO HAVE SEX. Again, this is not really the most unusual thing in rock music, but there is something about having a balladeer sing these lyrics over AM radio, on the Ed Sullivan Show, at Disneyland, and the WHITE HOUSE, to grandmas and little girls LIKE ME, that is especially icky.

Oh, I got the message, all right. I remember these songs REAL DAMN WELL, because I was all OOOOOOOOOH, an OLDER ROCK STAR GUY was LOSING HIS SHIT over a LITTLE GIRL! OOOOOOOOH! It was BAAAAD, and therefore OOOOOHHHH. It played into my little girl fantasies, which were of course nothing more than holding hands and making goo-goo eyes and maybe a tin-foil ring at some point. BUT. Who else was listening to these songs? GOD! So wrong, it’s laughable. READ:

“Young Girl”

Young girl, get out of my mind
My love for you is way out of line
Better run, girl
You're much too young, girl

With all the charms of a woman
You've kept the secret of your youth
You led me to believe
You're old enough
To give me Love
And now it hurts to know the truth

Beneath your perfume and make-up
You're just a baby in disguise
And though you know
That it's wrong to be
Alone with me
That come on look is in your eyes

So hurry home to your Mama
I'm sure she wonders where you are
Get out of here
Before I have the time
To change my mind
'Cause I'm afraid we'll go too far.

YA FREAK! Hey, blame it on her “come on look.” Oh, he might just be overcome, fooled by Cover Girl and Love’s Baby Soft. KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS, MISTER!

“Lady Willpower”

Lady Willpower, it's now or never.
Give your love to me and I'll shower
Your heart with tenderness endlessly.
I know you want to see me but you're afraid
Of what I might have on my mind.
One thing you can be sure of
I'll take good care of your love
If you will let me give you mine.
Lady Willpower, it's now or never.
Give your love to me and I'll shower
Your heart with tenderness endlessly.
Did no one ever tell you the facts of life?
Well there's so much you have to learn.
And I would gladly teach you if I could only reach you
And get your lovin' in return.

BOOO! BOOOO! Someone get the rotten fruit and vegetables! Run this bastard out of town with his pressure tactics! BOOOOO!

“This Girl Is A Woman Now”

This girl walked in dreams
Playing in a world of her own
This girl was a child
Existing in a playground of stone
Then one night her world was changed
Her life and dreams were rearranged
And she would never be the same again

This girl is a woman now
She's learned how to give
This girl is a woman now
She's found out what it's all about
And she's learning to live

This girl tasted love
As tender as the gentle dawn
She cried a single tear
A teardrop that was sweet and warm
Our hearts told us we were right
And on that sweet and velvet night
A child had died
A woman had been born.

OH SHIT! TOO LATE! “She’s found out what it’s all about!” Yes, it was ALL ABOUT YOUR WANG, YOU NASTY PIECE OF WORK! CALL JOE FRIDAY!

Ya know, the Wisconsin girl in me says now, that’s ain’t right. Inhaling a fart from some metal dude seems pretty innocuous in comparison.


I saw The Hollywoods again at the OOGCP! I am always so concerned that because they are advanced in years that one day they just won't come back. Mrs. Hollywood had on her favorite Pucci jumpsuit AGAIN. She really loves that thing. Mr. Hollywood was looking all natty as usual, with pressed khaki pleated pants, loafers, a button-down shirt, and a red sweater tied at his shoulders. They were admiring a doggie tied outside the coffeehouse. I bet you a million dollars they have a little tiny dog. I bet you a billion dollars.

It has been some time since I have seen them, and a few times while waiting for my coffee to come up at the counter I have almost asked about them. But I didn't. I am not sure if their story would be less wonderful than I imagine it to be, or infinitely grander. I guess I like them to remain legends in my mind, I think, as Mrs Hollywood clacks away in her 4" heels to their car with the disabled parking permit hanging askew from the rearview mirror.


British session drummer Bobby Graham has died at age 69.

Perhaps you are familiar with his work:

I would keep going but this post would be simply too long with FIFTEEN THOUSAND YouTubes. He played on THAT MANY RECORDS. Oh, and let's not forget he played drums on almost every single Dave Clark Five hit you can think of, except Dave Clark is a egotistical creep who refuses to admit it. Who cares at this point, Dave, huh? Bobby Graham's hard-hitting drumming style gave YOU your trademark sound, made YOU lots and lots of money, but HE was "just" a session man, and YOU are a fool to not give him his due, so long after it ever would have mattered to your career. Even if you were doubling Bobby's track, SAY THAT. LAME.

Bobby, a class act all the way around and so well-liked by his peers in music, never put the Dave Clark Five records he played on up on his website. That is the nature of the session man -- his work wasn't about him or fame, it was about working with whomever and whatever he was handed to make a damn good recording.

Ray Davies, from his autobiography, X-Ray:
"I had heard Bobby Graham playing on other records and was bowled over by his style & power, he added a tidiness and a dimension to our sound. On the session for 'You Really Got Me' when Dave played the opening chords, Bobby Graham forgot the complicated introduction he had planned, and just thumped one beat on the snare drum with as much power as he could muster, and for the next three minutes he was one of us. After the take Graham smiled and started to pack up his kit so that he would be out of the way when we did the vocals. He knew that we had done something special."
I have often said that Keith Moon of the Who is my favorite drummer of all time. But Bobby Graham, it occurs to me now, is the person who inspired me to play the drums. His sound, that WHAP! on the snare, the sound of hitting harder, strong, aggressive and controlled, well. MAN. That's the drum sound and feel that I love, that is in my heart, that makes me want to RAWK.

Bobby Graham's talent and joy came through, uncredited by name, but heard around the world. Thank you so so so so so much, Bobby. I wish I could have told you that to your face, and given you a hard-hittin' hug.


Courtesy our dear Wikipedia:

HECKLER: A heckler is a person who shouts a disparaging comment at a performance or event, or interrupting set-piece speeches, for example at a political meeting, with intent to disturb its performers or participants.

Hecklers are in the news these days. Kanye West, Turd, grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift, Infant, and gave the televised world his unwanted opinion that Beyonce made one of the greatest videos of all recorded time and space. Congressturd Joe Wilson forgot for a moment that he was an elected representative of the American people and an adult and shouted out that Barack Obama was a big fat liar doo-doo head poopy face during an important speech by the president. This summer, U.S. Open golfing fans, apparently drunk on Turdweiser, shouted out to Tiger Woods and other players things like, “"Suck it up, you've got your own video game!" “FUNK! FUNK! FUNK! FUNK!” and the venerable-but-played-out “You suck!” Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at President Dubya Bush, was freed from prison this week after being held for International Turdism.

People people people. There is way to do this without fecality, or much of it, anyway.

1. Be Naked. Keep Moving.

2. Be Clothed. Do Not Move. Have Impeccable Comic Timing.

3. Be Another Species.

3. Be A Vehicle.

There is a distinct difference between Funny and Shitbirdism, no?

Last Word goes to two-year-old Heckler Buster Sadie. She’s a woman!


People Like Copies. Copies of things can be incredibly useful. People like to have more than one of the same thing, as in general we are gatherers and collectors and also severely lazy. By god, we even are compelled to copy ourselves. MissSix is pretty much a copy of me, except that for now she has escaped myopia and nerdism, which is an example of the Enhanced Copy: the same, but somehow better. It’s kind of like with modern copy machines – sometimes the copy can look sharper than the original. If you are somewhere between the ages of 115 and 30, you will remember the Poor Copy that came from a ditto or mimeograph machine, the bane of schoolchildren everywhere. You might get a ditto sheet for the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” in Mrs. Meinz’s music class, but the faded lavender ink might be mushy to one side:

“Oh say can ynn sww,
By the dawn’s errrlmmm lhnnm”

Not that anyone could sing it properly anyway.

I got to thinking about copies and songwriting. Do all musicians, regardless of talent, opportunity, or desire eventually repeat themselves? Is there a limit to all songwriters’ abilities to come up with novelty? And how much of copying yourself is intentional in the creative process? Keep in mind: People Like Copies. They do, until they don’t, and then they call you a hack. This is the way of all things, om.

You start off as a musician copying others; that is how you learn. Even Sporb, the first caveman musician, was copying the sounds and rhythms of nature around him. Guhh copied Sporb, Nerg copied Guhh, until we get to Saliere and Lady Gaga and such. But the individualist does arise anew, and we hear something fresh to the ears, and then someone comes along and wants to profit from it and says, HEY! WRITE SOMETHING JUST LIKE THAT AGAIN! PEOPLE LIKE IT! The songwriter, wanting to keep communication going and to eat food regularly and pay rent, may do this. He may not, and people might go HEY! I LIKE THAT NEW SHIT! Or HEY! WTF IS THAT NEW CRAP, PLAY THE OLD CRAP!

Let us examine some top pop songwriters. For this paragraph’s sake, let us deconstruct The Traveling Wilburys. Bob Dylan couldn’t go on forever being a Woody Guthrie clone; he’s simply too stubborn. He turned on the electric, got booed, carried on, and became himself as a musician instead of what people wanted or expected. He’s putting out an album of Christmas songs this season; you have to appreciate the absurdity and balls of that, really. Tom Petty, essentially kept re-writing the same AOR-rock anthemic songs, and people loved it, but he has not made a hit in awhile now. Jeff Lynne makes everything he does sound like Jeff Lynne; he’s kind of the Model T assembly line of songwriter/producers – reliable, perfectly functional, and dull. George Harrison, Beatle, could not or would not change his guitar sound (the “slide bees”) since 1969, nor really write out of his post-Beatles style at all. Roy Orbison had a nicely-varied style – ballads, pop, country, all tailored to his remarkable voice – but died too soon. My guess is that his career would have evolved similarly to Johnny Cash’s, taking on more styles and things out of his comfort zone.

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer is a compulsive songwriter who analyzes the tiniest components to hit songs and tries to incorporate those into his work. Creepy or smart? Dedicated or crass? Pro or technician? Doesn’t matter, really. Songwriters that are in the game for awhile have to find ways to keep on writing. Ray Davies has done a lot of different things to keep writing – re-writing, re-referencing older works, writing for “characters,” writing operas/musicals, writing for “The Kinks,” writing for the people he wants to bring in, writing for himself. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club put out their great album “Baby 81,” then apparently as a stop-gap released, “The Effects Of 333.” This collection sounds like the Beatles’ “Revolution #9” combined with a jet engine. Uhhh, I said, ummm. Yeah.

I guess musicians just do what they do in the end – sometimes be brilliant and sometimes be the purple smudged smelly ditto machine copy. Oh, say can ynn swwwww!


Jessica Simpson's dog was snatched by a coyote.

"Simpson, 29, has offered a reward to anyone who can reunite her with her 5-year-old, caramel-colored dog."

I suggest that Daisy's color will remain in the caramel tones even after the coyote has digested her and reduced her essence to scat. May I still collect a reward if I put a rhinestone collar and leash on that? Would Jessica carry around the box of coyote waste to premiers and stuff, all cuddling up to it for photo ops?

"Yes, everyone, this is Daisy, my Maltipoop, isn't she precious?"


MissSix: You know that preschool friend of mine that moved to Ham?

Me: Ham?

MissSix: Yes, Ham.

Me: HAM??

MissSix: Turkey.



Do you know what I would have done after this?

I would have drank a gallon of water. I would have asked my personal assistant to obtain a photograph of Kanye West. When I returned to the stage, I then would have hiked up my sparkly gown in a racy yet modest way, and then peed out the entire gallon of water all over Mr. West's picture, or at least until security stepped in.

I would totally have done it, I would have totally enjoyed it, and that's totally the truth.


I enjoyed a psychology-lite article on canine intelligence today on, and I bet you might enjoy it as well, because you probably have a dog, like I do. People Like Dogs, and honestly I am a bit suspicious of people who don’t. It seems Un-American to not like at least some kind of dog. I mean, I’ve been bit by a dog and have had a few dogs scare the urine out of my bladder. I have had dogs drool great strings of glue-like spit on me, and I have had dogs fart noxious clouds of Alpo gas right in my face. I still like ‘em. Dogs like to be liked, and like to please, and most importantly, like to communicate with us, The Other Species. You have to appreciate that kind of effort. I think we are fortunate that they cannot talk because they would be pretty nonstop annoying, though:



Dog: HEY!

Me: WHAT??


Me: WHAT???????

Dog: You wanna do something? I wanna do something! You wanna do something? I would do something if you wanted to do something. I like bones! Did you see that squirrel? Is is time for dinner yet? Where’s my leash? Do I have to wear a leash? I can go without a leash, let me show you! Really! Come on, Mom! You wanna do something? I wanna do something! Do you have a treat in your pocket? Where’s the ball? Do you remember that time we went in the car and went to that one place? Can we go there again? Do you know what? I don’t like the vet. He pokes me and his place has slippery floors and smells like old cats. If I ate a cat, you would be pretty mad, huh? What about a rat? I caught a bird once. Don’t take me to that bath place again, that really sucked. LET’S GOOOOOOO!

Me: I need to lie down.


I give animals a whole lot of credit, dogs particularly. Just because we can’t speak their language accurately and they cannot speak ours doesn’t mean that they are dumb. Dogs have a range of intelligence and abilities, just like we do. We base that on our scale of what is smart, of course – trainability to do stuff we think up. We have determined that Irish Setters are as smart as the average shoe, and Border Collies are the Einsteins of the canine world, if Einstein were also a jittery maniac.

The lead point to the TIME article is the ability for dogs to accurately learn how to interpret people pointing to objects. This did not seem like news to me, although that dogs seem to be the only animal able to do this was surprising. Apes mess this shit right up. They don’t really want to please anyone. They are only thinking about nits and bananas and fighting and monkey sex. Clever, but self-centered beasts. Dogs like to have a sense of accomplishment, unless it has been bred right out of them (see “fat asthmatic yappy Pekingese"). I like to see a dog with a sense of pride. It’s cute.

I have had two dogs as an adult: Hannah the Leonberger and Ellie the Newfoundland/Maybe Golden Retriever At Some Point. I love them because they are sturdy and soft and pretty and gentle and reliable, and quietly bright. They were both very trainable not because I was a gifted trainer or magnetic to dogs, and not because they were driven by their genes to PAY ATTENTION! DO DO DO DO DO! They are not sharp like that; they just like making connections. I think it makes them feel like part of the family, which is what dogs love the very most, even more than Snausages.

Something that amuses me, and delights those who have seen it, is that both my dogs with no effort at all on my part, will go drink water if I suggest it. “Go get some water,” I say to them, “Go!” and I wave my hand in the general direction of the water bowl, and by god they do it. Now granted, I only do this if I think that they might be or should be thirsty. But it sure is funny. It wasn’t as funny when Hannah would then come over and wipe her face on the nearest person’s pants afterward, though. Ah, yes it was.

It took nearly no effort to train Ellie to ring a bell to go in and out of the house. It took no effort at all to teach Hannah to play hide-n-seek, known in our house as “Come Find Me!” I point, and Ellie goes and lies down. Both dogs knew when I wanted them to sit and stay by just looking at my eyes. I point to the floor by my side, and both of them circle me and sit at my left. Both knew to waaaaaaait for the treat I held right by their noses, waaaaaaait, until I would smile and nod. Both of them knew, who knows how, that “kiss” meant to lick my hand, once.

There is so much in communication and connection that has nothing to do with words, whatever species you are. I know there have been so many times when my dogs have tried so hard to tell me something, and I haven’t been able to understand. You can see how much it means to them, if you pay attention. There is something very touching about that, and quite, quite amazing.

So I respect the minds of our doggie pals, I truly do. I expect them to be smart and to surprise and delight me in the time I am privileged to have them. Unless they have a long red flowing coat. Damn, the Irish Setter is lucky just to be able to breathe on its own.


The rain fell, even and light, as they waited underneath the hotel’s broad awning. Every so often the wind would take a sharp shift and Charlie and Tess would get a sprayed slap of the rain, but they didn’t flinch or turn away. You didn’t even think about the rain anymore after living in England. They waited for the car to be brought around, watching the people pass by them, working people, tourists, children in school uniforms, some with umbrellas, some just walking steadily, heads down, avoiding puddles.

Tess glanced over at Charlie as he scowled, facing the street. He looked tired and irritated. He looked that way so often, she thought. She shifted her feet, the tall heel of one of her boots catching on a crack on the concrete, and she wavered a bit. Charlie didn’t notice. It was hard to tell what he was looking at, or thinking. The weekend had not gone well, Tess thought to herself. Nor had the month, months before that, or the year, really.

A man in a tan trenchcoat, his thinning hair plastered to his head, recognized Charlie, smiled broadly and gave a thumbs-up while walking past. Charlie nodded, grinned quickly, returned the thumbs-up, and then returned his hand into the pocket of his black peacoat. He never did anything to call attention to himself, but he was one of those people that other people were drawn to. Familiar to the public awhile now, he was charming and smart and everyone loved him. There was so much good to him, Tess thought sadly.

It would have been obvious to the woman in the wet jeans standing at the bus stop across the busy street, if she had been paying any attention to Charlie and Tess for a few minutes, that the space between them was hard, charged, distant. Instead she watched the black taxis come and go at the front of the hotel, taking important-looking people in and out with their clean matched bags and briefcases, and she wondered who they were and what they did and wished she could take a taxi. Charlie in his dark coat and scarf and black jeans and the tiny woman next to him with messy long dark hair and an expensive purse and boots that went over her knees got only a flick of her interest. She didn’t realize who he was until she had boarded the bus and was 10 blocks away. Her first impulse was to tell someone, but there were only strangers around, of course.

Tess listened to the hearty laugh of a big ruddy-faced Scot as he began to tell a story about his plane trip to a bellman hauling his bags onto a shiny brass cart. When she turned to look at them, she saw a young woman taking a cell phone picture of Charlie, giggling to her girlfriend next to her.

“Listen.” Charlie’s voice, quiet but insistent, jarred Tess. He took a moment to flash his eyes into hers, then turned away to face the street again as she watched him. He waited for a moment, swallowed, his mouth set tightly, going somewhere he had been before, but not ever with her.

“I can’t be everything. I can’t do it. Do you understand?”

The valet pulled Charlie’s silver Mercedes in front of them. Charlie looked at Tess’s face once more. She thought she saw tears in his eyes, but it could have been the rain. She thought she saw a lot of things, but there would be no way to ever know for sure. He stepped out and away, giving a small smile as the valet opened a huge black umbrella for Charlie to walk under for the few feet to the car, and another valet came with an umbrella to shelter Tess.

“Thank you, Mr. Kelly. I hope you enjoyed your stay. Come see us again!” The valet smiled the extra little bit, Tess noticed, with that little extra sparkle to his eyes that she often saw when people spoke to Charlie.

“Yeah man, thanks a lot.” Charlie clapped the valet on the back once, tipped him, and slid into the car and lit a cigarette. Tess watched him in the car, the smoke swirling around him as his cigarette hung from his lips and he adjusted his car seat.

“Miss?” The valet next to her under the big umbrella smiled softly and motioned towards the Mercedes. She looked again at Charlie, then at the valet, then at Charlie, who ducked his head towards her and held up an open palm, questioning, irritated again.

Yes, she understood.

Tess put her hand on the smooth burled wood handle of the umbrella, gently taking it from the valet, and she walked down the street towards where she thought the Tube station would be. The Mercedes engine became more distant, the city sounds and the drum of the rain on the umbrella swirling around her, as she walked steadily, head down, avoiding puddles.