With the exception of Margaret Dumont in a white toga performing her plus-size version of the Rites of Spring, nothing makes Classical Occultism less appealing than Stevie Nicks levitating in a cloud of silken Underoos. Needless to say, I was never any kind of Fleetwood Mac fan until I discovered “Tusk” on the B side of a 45 RPM Top 40 single. Talk about relentless rhythm!
Think of this as today’s rock n’ roll sorbet. Cleanse your palate. Enjoy the interplay of exotic pop riffs, and don’t thank me just because the band isn’t dancing all over the YouTube video.
This probably ranks up there in things that had to be done eventually. Canadian space cadet Chris Hadfield, floating in a tin can, faaaar above the world, gives us his styling of Bowie’s 1969 megahit, backed by a fabulous invisible cheesy celestial rock orchestra.
This raises a few questions, like: What sort of payload snafu lets him cart a grand piano up there, but not a Stylophone? And is it an astronaut’s discipline that doesn’t allow him to break “the rules” and go thumb-over for the barre chords in the C-F-G-A guitar bridge, which would have totally nailed it? And would it have killed the budget to let the poor guy take along a guitar strap?
Without my walking stick
I’d go insane
I can’t look my best I feel undressed
Without my cane
With two broken vertebrae, a dead sciatic nerve, and my maiden aunt Bernice’s choking fear of nightfall, I had enough walking canes, sword canes and decorative Civil War cudgels to equip the road company of Red Badge Of Courage. By and large, that all happened before Leon released Without My Walking Stick, a tune I grew to love like a rock n’ roll groupie.
Now that I am additionally tied to several different flavors of Blind Guy canes as tall and thin as a willow rod, this song is practically my marching theme.
One last thing: the actual provenance for “Without My Walking Stick” precedes Leon Redbone by at least forty or fifty years. Below the fold, you’ll find a 78 RPM version of the song recorded by Tommy Dorsey. Oh, and BTW, you should never forget that the tune was written by (*gasp!*) Irving Berlin!!!
When I was a kid, I collected Phil Ochs albums. Phil was a protest singer who never seemed quite certain whether the songs he sang were political or simply topical…but as this commenter notes, there was never any doubt in the listener’s mind:
Seasass 1 year ago
How about an update in light of recent events at Penn State:
“Oh, look into the shower, there’s a schoolboy being raped
I saw the old man dogging him, but now he has escaped
Guess I could have done more than call Dad and tell JoePa
But what do lowly grad assistants know about the law?
And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody …”
In April, 1976, Ochs hanged himself after a long period of depression and creative exhaustion…so he “ain’t marchin’ any more,” but obviously his tunes are still strutting across the politcal frontier. Bravo, Phil!
Jacques Brel is well-known as a hellacool songwriter who redefined many genres of love songs in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
Everyone who knows Brel has a favorite tune already. However, ‘70s legend Scott Walker may have claimed a new title with this version of “Mathilde”—a bipolar Apache dance of a love ballad that’s punctuated by impossibly complex instrumentation you couldn’t duplicate with a computer algorithm.
Take my word for it, gang—you have no choice but too enjoy this tune. Scott Walker was the greatest neglected talent of the last forty years. And now the movie, folks:
Forty years after the National Lampoon was a monthly addiction for snarkologists, Cheech Wizard remains an Amusement Destination for those of us who like our snark mixed with rare plant juices, stage magic and acute testicular swelling.
Even in clunky computer claymation, the Zydeco Hat is the Cultural King of my g-g-generation. DUCK, LIZARD!
Bocephus may think the Kenyan Usurper is 50 shades of Hitler, but at least he never sent him Ricin, unlike, allegedly, “Master Of Impressions” Kevin Paul Curtis. Yes, the “Master Of Impressions,” a particularly disgruntled Elvis impersonator, is believed to have posted the castor bean-flecked envelopes that might have tainted the inboxes of a more than a few targets of his ire.
The more I checked out the versatile performer’s YouTube channel, the less I wanted to believe it myself. Really, who would want even fake Johnny Cash (below the jump) really languishing behind bars?
Two items in the news about Cuba (optional soundtrack below):
As Balloon Juice commenter Lamh35 pointed out in the bitchfest thread, it’s probably unwise for Marco Rubio to try to turn Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba into Benghazi II: The Castro-ation. It’s dumb for several reasons:
1) Castro is a doddering, toothless old fart whose utility as a wingnut bogeyman is receding faster than his gum line.
2) Beyoncé may be more widely worshipped than Jesus at this point, so Rubio will piss off her millions of fans, and for what? The Cuban exile vote can’t even swing an election in Florida anymore, much less the US.
3) The only reason our absurd Cuba policy continues is because, a) most Americans don’t know / don’t give a shit about it, and b) numbers 1 and 2 above haven’t quite sunk in yet with the political-media industrial complex.
Rubio released a statement on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip, saying, “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime.”
Well, yeah, but Saudi Arabia is a medieval dictatorship that openly enslaves half of its population and beheads people for fucking sorcery, and yet I’m allowed to travel there as an American citizen. If I had to be parachuted into either Cuba or Saudi Arabia, I’d damn well go where the cigars and mojitos are.
Second news item out of Cuba:
The parents who kidnapped their own children from the kids’ grandmother and sailed out of Tampa Bay earlier this week have turned up in Cuba. Several things about this story smell fishier than Hemingway’s tackle box:
1) The parents, whom the media characterize as “anti-government protesters,” were busted last June in Louisiana for pot and firearms after a disturbance at a hotel. The cops allege they made bizarre references to Armageddon, prompting the court to put the kids in foster care. The father later confronted the foster parents, waving a gun around and demanding his children before running off before the cops arrived.
2) This supposedly prompted the authorities to terminate parental rights and pass custody of the kids to the grandmother in Florida. Practically everyone in Louisiana and Florida is “anti-government” and skulks around with pot and guns mumbling about Armageddon. And from what friends in CPS tell me, terminating parental rights is REALLY, REALLY hard, even for people who have a documented history of thrashing their kids half to death. And yet these people’s parental rights were terminated in less than a year for guns, pot and Armageddon talk?
But now the government of Cuba says it’s going to hand them over to the US, apparently without even pausing to wring any anti-US propaganda mileage out of them. Even if the parents are bona fide, bug-eyed loons and / or the most annoying Paultroons in the universe, that’s unusual. There’s more here than meets the eye.
A short clip of this Stones song was featured in “Argo.” The lyrics are obviously the result of a prolonged heroin binge, but the song rocks nonetheless:
In a comment on an Oscars thread yesterday, Robin G praised “Moonrise Kingdom.” I’d been meaning to see it and finally did last night. Awesome movie—highly recommended—and thanks for reminding me of it, Robin G: It was exactly the thing I needed to see.
Why People Hate the Government
My teenage daughter will soon go on a class trip that involves a domestic flight. Among the many neuroses her father and I share is an aversion to flying, but we try not to allow our eccentricities to completely dominate our child’s life, which is some of the hardest work in parenting. However, our ignorance of the demands of modern air travel nearly put the kibosh on a trip for which we’d already paid $1,400 (non-refundable!).
We foolishly assumed minors accompanied by fellow students, teachers and chaperones on a school-sponsored class trip would be allowed to board a winged bus to a destination within the United States with only common forms of identification like a student ID card and birth certificate. Not so; now, even a child must have an official state ID card from the DMV to board a plane. (Because of 9/11? If so, that’s reason enough to take a scuba trip to the North Arabian Sea, find Osama bin Laden’s skull and fashion it into a poop-scoop.)
Anyhoo, we learned that to obtain an official state ID card, a kid must have a Social Security card or a specific printout from the Social Security Administration verifying her application for a Social Security card. The form containing the same information that is issued to new parents to enable them to deduct children from their taxes doesn’t count, or so I was told by the DMV.
To obtain the magical correct form, one must have many additional forms of ID, which may or may not be acceptable to the person at SSA who ultimately reviews it. County school district vaccination records are considered a kind of gold standard, though. I learned this after finally reaching a human being following multiple excursions into the SSA’s hellish, circular automated call menu, which is designed to automatically dump callers if too many other luckless supplicants are in queue, a situation that is apparently the case 90% of the time.
Thus it came to pass that the kid and I took a day off of school and work last week and visited the Three Circles of Bureaucratic Hell in a nearby city. First we sat in the overflow holding area at the county health department to secure the vaccination records, occupying a zone teeming with screaming toddlers, anxious children and nervous families applying for citizenship or refugee status.
Then we languished in the waiting room at the local branch of the Social Security Administration with many crabby elderly folks, some of whom seemed to be practicing outraged speeches to unleash on the indifferent heads of bureaucrats seated behind numbered, Plexiglass-barred window openings in a vast, echoing hall that would make a great set for a MiniTruth scene from “1984.”
After emerging from that ordeal limp and exhausted by ennui, we made our way to the DMV for another crushing round of paper-shuffling and waiting. All told, it took around seven hours (not counting transportation), which was actually less than I thought it would. But it occurred to me that perhaps the experience of being gnashed in the gears of bureaucratic machinery is a more potent driver of people’s reflexive hatred of government than I’d realized.
I’m a confirmed fan of Big Government. I don’t enjoy paying taxes any more than I look forward to dental work, but I understand the necessity of both. The only thing that pisses me off about my tax rate is that Mitt Romney pays a lower percentage, and I’d gladly exchange a larger chunk of my income for a Scandinavian-style social safety net.
But I flatter myself and the Balloon Juice / Rumproast communities by believing that we’ve thought this through more than Honey Boo Boo’s core audience has. To them, the silly hoop-jumping requirements, appalling run-arounds and astoundingly inefficient service on display at the customer-facing outlets of local, state and federal agencies are The Government. Which makes it easier to understand why assholes like Rand Paul get elected.
Maybe better customer service would help consign Reaganism to the political dung heap it so richly deserves? It’s a thought.
Please feel free to discuss movies, music, parenting, soulless bureaucracy or anything else. In other words, open thread.
Big band colossus Woody Herman didn’t cover hack songwriters or marquee bands. In fact, he preferred to duplicate the songmaking of artists whose fame and talents rivaled his own. That became apparent yet again when Woody dedicated half a vinyl album to a cream-of-the-crop selection of Steely Dan tunes.
Herman’s Dan collection was hard to find (and expensive once you found it) when I acquired mine 15 years ago. I don’t know whether that situation has improved in the intervening years. But just in case the tracks are still fugitive, here’s what Polly and I excavated on YouTube. Enjoy the signature Fagen/Becker medley of American blues styles, with a steaming dollop of woodchoppers’ winds and horns on top!
...qr at least it’s safe to say that formal attire and buzzing, hive-like sound effects were optional. All I wanted to do was see what I was looking at.
Today, it turns out that even replacement eyes are hard to come by. I was driven to my eye and ear center this morning, presumably for the unveiling of a prosthetic eye that was being hand-painted for me by a local ocularist. Instead, I was thrown out of my doctor’s office for not already having acquired a fake eye at a cost of $3,000 out-of-pocket. No-one had ever told me that buying a prosthetic peeper was my job, and that I would be subjected to howls of derisive laughter for not doing the job no one ever assigned me.
Now, I’m a blind guy with one eye and a “your ad here” sign in the other socket and all I have for the moment is the marvelous magical Residents who must have bought their eyes in bulk. Feast your orbs!