Friday, December 24, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - I Really Love Christmas


I do. Christmastime. Even in the suburbs.

Even though I'm not here:

Internet source unknown

Or here:

Photo credit: Hal Morgan

No matter, I'll soon be here:

Internet source unknown

And here:

Painting by Angela McIntosh

But never mind all that. (It's Friday, and Christmas Eve, and this is supposed to be about music, right?)

Christmastime. I love the  pearl-frost flakes floating in the air. I love the caroling and candy canes, the bells and holly, the smell of pine and baked gingerbread, the wassail and whiteness of winter. I love the family gatherings, the exchange of the special (and secreteven Uncle Ricky manages to keep it so) Kris Kringle present each year, and all the festivities the season brings. I love the trips to the Great White North, and then north of there.

And especially the Christmas music, jazz or folk, classical or contemporary, rock or reggae.

But the rock. And by the greatest performer in the greatest rock & roll band. Ever. (This is not disputable.) Especially here—on this soundtrack, which is far superior to the filmwith Joss Stone:

Merry Christmas to All.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Karma


If daily life mimics my silent thoughtsmy swirling, nonsensical, crazed inner dialog—and the subconscious imprints of my deeper self, then there must be some rather inauspicious energy floating about the landscape on which I  roam. Or shall I say, race? 

A glacial tempest lashes across the icy expanse, chafing my body and soul. And then, things seem to drop from the sky. Like snow. And trees. 

And Santa Claus.

Internet source unknown
Yes, Santa: the primum mobile of my inane, rubber-soled run across the permafrostthe weight of the world alongside memy sweep down the crystalline slippery slope, the inescapable impinging icebergs. Panic swells as I dodge the descending, crimson-suited Kringle, with his threatening Santa claws, and the icy peaks jutting from below. My winter wonderland, replete with holiday hurdles, yuletide yack, mistletoe misgivings, tinseled terror, Noël nightmares. 


And why this?... when the Christmas landscape should look like this:

Sparkling evenings, merry chatter and cheer; early morning's snowfall slicing the air. 

Why? Perhaps it has something to do with this familiar tag: Procrastination.

Or the indisputable fact that it all just creeps up too quickly? Though I've had, at least, since Halloween.

If anyone should ask, all I want for Christmas is this:

Internet source unknown

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Pates Tapes

Whose collection cannot be lumped within any particular taxonomy, other than "music" and perhaps, tricks "that can only be performed by humans." And that is no small stunt, as the latter category narrows with each passing day, a tin takeover no longer unimaginable. But here, the mastermind behind Pates Tapes proves the worth of civilized beings. No machinery will suffice.

A Chardonnay luncheon with Sheila leaves me languid and lighthearted, sentimental and serene, just the right temperament for  Pates Tapes—especially his Christmas Knees Up compilationand burrowing through the mastermind's Background and Reviews, where I gather he goes by "C" (although a slip of "Charles" in the Reviews). What C has done is remarkable, a repository of refrain like no other.

What robot would put this:

and this:


Afro beat and the King, under Nwel La RiveHaitian Creole for Christmas came (or Christmas is here?).

And streaming, free, masterful music mix? Just click. Genius.

Thank you, C, for the mortal melding of these melodies and more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Ring Your Bell

(And with the holidays in full swing, what better time to do it?)

At first glance, it seems a dissolution in the works: James Mercer, from the oh so happy, Grammy Award winning Shins, and the somber Brian Burton, a/k/a Danger Mouse (and half of the also Grammy Award winning Gnarls Barkley). Two opposites they are. But in fact, it's a playful and promising partnershipthe chiming harmony of Broken Bells.

The union's self-titled first release is permeated with textured and moody reverberation, sepia-steeped solicitude, beautifully conveyed  here:

And here, in a schizophrenic stew of Neil Young-like falsetto (whose shrill voice my mother never quite appreciated) and pop science:

I hope those Broken Bells keep ringing for a long time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brainstorming At Borders

I am coming to you, real time, from Borders  (like you need a link to that), which is a feat in itselfluckily, a young female customer took pity on me and gave me the "How to log on to the internet from Borders" tutorialwhere the Christmas trees are neon pink, the SleighBell Blend coffee is $12.95/lb and Jonathan Franzen's new book Freedom is $28.00. I won't be buying the coffee, or any neon Christmas trees, but I've no choice but to buy the book, because... like everything else... I have waited until the last moment to get it, and it's a book club requirement. We'll be discussing the story on January 20th, which, I know, sounds like a lot of time, but with the holidays and Christmas break, it will take me until at least that date to read this 560 page anecdote. Thus, December 9th is last minute to me.

So here I am, because of the book, as well as a need to brainstorm, and I could not do so at home because my housekeeper (hey, I'm a working mom, but it's only once a monththe housecleaning service that is, not the work) is there executing her supersonic monthly scrub. Don't think I don't have guilt about this little luxury (again, the housecleaning service, not the work), working from home and all, but the timing couldn't be better, as unidentifiable squatters have staked claim of every crevice in the structure while I was incarcerated, pretty much for the last few weeks, and it will, indeed, take a professional to expunge them.

About Borders: at a wobbly pub-style table by the barista, where more than a few patrons have attempted to covertly peer over my shoulder to see what I'm up to. Aren't we all just so curious? I'm actually quite enjoying the moment. It takes me back to my Saturday mornings at Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston. The Trident was a real novelty then, and I suppose it still is. You'd think it would have been swallowed up by now, but it is actually Boston's last independent bookstore; and, when I was in my twenties, living alone in Boston, it's where I often spent my Saturday mornings. I loved that it was located inwhat was then known asthe "low rent" section of the street, and the sort of grunge-hippie feel it had, and reading or working there was not at all the same experience as at Borders. But there's slim pickins in my neck of the woods, so here I sit at a chain. But if you live in Boston (or are just visiting), go to the Trident. Experience it, and help the mom and pop survive.

Anyway, back to guilt and brainstorming. Guilt, as a mother, goes without saying. And the brainstorming, well, us mothers have to do a lot of that as well. Today, in particular, I'm scraping the noggin' for my first story covering the topic of teens. More particularly, parenting teens. Quite recently, I got a gig with an on-line magazine (yes, can you imagine, they mustn't be very selective) as a Parenting Teens columnist. Please laugh. I am! Gawd, I'm still trying to figure out how to raise teens. And I only have one, but the other is perilously close to this period known as a truly atrocious act of happenstance (really, check how Urban Dictionary defines "horrible"). Where to begin? I haven't a clue. I thought I did, I wrote a couple of things and then promptly tossed them out.

However... I shall persevere, I think. As I attempt to do the same, if any of you have any suggestions, anything at all, any teen related topic you would like to see covered (mind you, this is not a "how to" column, as I am completely unqualified, but boy I know how to research, and I suppose I have a wee bit of parenting experience), please let me know. Comment here, or send me an email. Please. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Now, to behold Freedom...

Thinking Monkey [source]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Drink Tea (For The Love of God!)

Mad Hatter's Tea Cups at Disney Magic Kingdom

It seems peculiar that I'm no longer faced with a looming deadline, but the serendipitous result of that tragic loss is that my murky mind is now open to some free association, and I've been spinning my saucer silly. No kidding! I've already come up with some nifty ideas and one real solution to a running conundrum. (Seriously, haven't you ever seen a conundrum run?)

I love tea. That's not the problem, but getting my tea is. It's the actual tea making process that's been a bit of an issue. For one thing, I like teapots. Wouldn't dream of sticking a cup of water in the microwave. I like turning on my gas stovetop and letting the water slowly warm. I like hearing the teapot whistle at me, letting me know I'm wanted. Only lately, my teapot hasn't whistled. Maybe I'm getting too old. No more whistles. The fact is, though, that my teapot never whistled, even if it was turned on.

So, this has been a little problem for me, the lack of attention and all. Especially since I'm working in the dining room, which, as you know, is more than a few paces from the kitchen (but not far enough away). Very stressful. You see, I fill the pot, put it on the stove, return to my work—all perfectly reasonable steps, right?and then promptly forget that I'm making tea.... until about a half hour, or more, later when I realize that I am missing my tea. This is when my heart begins to beat wildly and I race to the kitchen to save my teapot from near deathbeing rendered bone dry, and scorched beyond recognition.

Unfortunately, I usually don't get there in time, so now my teapot sort of looks like this:

Source unknown

When it should look like this:

Source unknown
BUT... oh mercy! thank goodness for free time (which, despite deadline depletion, really only happens when I ignore everything on my agenda), because I finally, finally, came up with the answer to the conundrum. That's right. Today, people, I set the timer on my stove (and I thought it was just for the oven!). And it worked. Gah.

Yes, now having a cup of tea does offer transcendence away from the mad and frantic world.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ars Poetica III - Such Rubbish

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Bwah, ha, ha, ha, hee, hee, hee.... (madman's laugh).

Well, I don't know whether I've done the thing or not, but I do know that I've lived through this horror, having spent a weekend in the Dark Ageslaxity's revenge. It struck a dissonant chord. Just me and a raging war, a bubonic like plague weakening my limbs, squelching my strength. Shuttered in the room of my own, no symphony, jazz, good reads or movies. No theatre, museum, library, shopping, friends or family. Not even NPR! I spent a century in the Dark Ages, hours writing just the first sentence. Or so it felt. Not a beam of sun, or moonlight. Not a drop of culture (ok, except for a middle school basketball game, if that qualifies as cultural experience), alone in that room of my own, in my tattered pj's, with nothing but crumpled paper, stained coffee cups, spent ink cartridges and trace cookie crumbs. I'm not sure if I even showered. Wait, there were no showers in the Dark Ages (except for those spurred by the Gods), so...

Oh, but what came from it! The drivel. The nonsense. And alas, the Ars Poetica.

Ta da...
**Warning, read no further if you are not interested in academic codswallop.**

(And I promise I will return to my old self, later today, once I've handed in this mess to the English Dept.)

Ars Poetica

My first written words of the semester were tossed randomly, like dice on a craps table, prefaced by an apology that I was no writer, and that I hadn’t the authority to roll out my cursory version of what makes a story. Those early words muttered that story should be told with honesty, humility; should be relevant, compelling and believable, so as to capture its reader, suspend all notion of disbelief, regardless of how fantastical, unreliable, improbable the story; they stumbled that story should deliver a message of hope, contain substantive value, and heart; and, buzzed that its message should be transformative. They sighed about responsibility.

The short list of literati and authors that influenced that anemic summary of story, as well as my wrting: Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Samuel Beckett, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ayn Rand, Richard Feynman, Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus. Regardless of their style, the common thread is a matter of being and essential truth, whether channeling metaphysics, perspectivism or existentialism. But these days, I find that the writings of Jorge Louis Borges, a poet and novelist guided by the "chaos that rules the world and the character of unreality in all literature” is writing at its best—long, winding prose and magical realism in non-linear time, weaving stories that illustrate truth, at best, to be elusive.

But writing is getting at the truth, no matter how illusory: the truth in reality, in fiction, in the smallest gesture and grandest idea; it is a tangible manifestation of both my gentle dreams and nightmares, my need to create, expose, illuminate and provoke. It is the process of finding these truths—as I perceive them—through storytelling, which is at once terrifying and freeing. It’s a treacherous white-knuckled drive through an ice storm, the roads are salted and pocked, slippery and questionable, a pole is missed only to tumble into a ravine; but the vehicle is restored and skates on, unsteadily, to its intended (and sometimes, unintended) ending—the ordeal nothing but a calamitous blur.

Although I attempt to write deliberately, my best work springs from a subconscious domain, one where the ideas, dreams, incubate as if in some sort of disorganized hatchery. And once the story has been laid out it invariably tells me the same truths, these universal truths that I long to share, as if no one already knows: life is full of hypocrisy, absurdity, disappointments, it drags and stalls, it begs to be spat at; and it pleads for vigor and meaning, cries for warm hugs, compassion, laughter, love; its core dreadfully complex, yet, so simple.

And while writing can be staggeringly arduous—and though I may have little skill or sway—it is important, because I write to make sense of things, get perspective, explore, question whether essential truth is “a mystery that pervades the whole of human existence.” I aim for honest, original prose; to never displease, mislead, deceive or indite gratuitously; only satisfy, captivate and ultimately illuminate with a measured optimism in reverence to the reader. I mean my writing to portray reality as, indeed, magical and timeless. This is authorship, and I suspect there is a bit of authority and responsibility buried somewhere in there.

So there, take that Professor B. (Oh dear, I have a feeling her sword is mightier than my pen.)


Friday, December 3, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Chocolate Is As Chocolate Does


It melts in your mouth, a smooth and silky texture. It rolls along your tongue and awakens your senses. It makes you giddy with its seratonin-like feel-good molecules. It can be both sweet and bitter. Hershey, Godiva, Lindt, Valrhona. USA, Belgian, Swiss, French. But a chocolatier is not a chocolatier is not a chocolatier.

And pure chocolate is to mousse as stringband is to symphony. The deconstruction of a whipped, velvety articulation that defies definition. Nuanced enough to delight varied palates.

To wit: Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Ingredients: Beat box, fiddle and banjo. Simple, no?

And what they can do with a jug and kazoo:

Sweet and bitter, yet comfort food.

Keep wrapped tightly and store in cool, dry place. Allow to slowly melt on tongue. Relish the lingering finish. Warning: may cause addiction.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ars Poetica II

For those of you who have asked, Yes, I am working on my Ars Poetica; and, No, I haven't yet written it (but thank you for asking). It's clawing its way out of the belfry, but hasn't scratched the vellum. At the moment I am thinking about defenestration. The subject/victim might be me. Or Professor B., in the fourth floor conference room. With a windowtwo, actually.

Under the impression, and enlightened by the internet, I thought my task was to write a poem about poetry. I'd geared up for this all semester. I hadn't bothered to consult Professor B. Then she throws this at me: Or Just What Is It You Think You're Doing, Anyway? Ordinarily, I'd take this personally, but in light of the fact that she asks the same of my classmates, via handouts, I decide to file it under: I Am A Complete Dope (for relying solely on the www). Or just: I Am A Dope.

And I thought my task was something vaguely analogous to the art of poetry. Instead, Fiction. Writing about my fiction writing. (Oh, is that what I've been doing?) What writing should be, do, try to do, never do, unless... This kind of introspection makes me sweat. It's like swallowing horse pills. This is what writing should never do. Poetry would go down with more ease.

So instead, I send out emails, I fiddle with laundry, I have a banana and peanut butter snack, I drink copious amounts of coffee, I read, I tweak legal documents (oh, that's right, I have a real jobsort of—and I procrastinate there, too) and I blog, when what I surely need to do is wiggle my ears and shuffle my way to an elocution of passable Ars Poetica.

So, with this Friday as a deadline, I guess I'd better mosey along.

G-g-goodbye, Snow White. Back to the mines...

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Sex, Lies and Videotape

And Backwoods Betty, telling me about this (in a hushed tone, opens her sleek MacBook, pulls up the video; someone else told her, she says, at work, at that office in the Great White North, the back country, shh; I can barely contain myself; whoa sis, and you heard this where? forget the city, I need to move north; what has happened to me in the burbs? I'm not just rearranging the backyard stones, I'm living under them; how could I have missed her? she's been around since when? this neo-soul vanguard, mining smooth, indelible grooves; detonating deep, spongy vibrations; nothing standing between her and desire, she's drenched in it):

Don't you worry your little heart, child, I'll bet your beau comes back a better man. If he comes back.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walk Right In It's Around the Back

This year, Turkey Day is with my side of the family. At the Barn. With a fryer. And Uncle Ricky. Oh, no. But we'll be with my side of the family! Not that I don't love my husband's side of the family, but it's been eons since we've been with my side for Turkey Day.

So, much thanks to my husband for this gift. And you know I love your side. I do. All your sides. All of them.

Miss you guys!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

And you. Yes, you, peeking in right now when you should be basting the bird.

(Obviously, Arlo didn't know about Black Friday. Had he, he would have been out by 5:00am like everybody else in the world, thereby missing officer Obie's phone call. Black Fridayhow to save yourself a lot of trouble.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Nightingale Tale

It's late afternoon and night has already fallen. You stroll in after work, toss your bag on the mudroom bench, kick off your high heels, hang your camel-hair coat on the peg rack, and step over the threshold onto the dark wood-floored kitchen. Notice: the house is quiet, more so than usual. And warm, toasty warm on this wintry evening. Turn toward the living room and see your husband, or boyfriend, or lover prostrate on the couch. He looks at you and says: Hey Babe, how was your day? You ready to relax?

Drift over to him and kiss him gently on the forehead. Say, in a hushed, smoky voice: It's been a long dreary week; a really, crazy-busy long week, I'm so ready. He murmurs: Hmmm, come here Babe. He sits up a bit, propping himself against a tawny silk-covered pillow, making room for you. He takes your hand and pulls you down toward him on the chenille covered sofa. Run your free hand through his curls and tell him you want to change out of your work clothesthat suit you hate to wear, those dark, constricting stockings. You want to slip into something more comfortable. The fire is lit, glowing embers snapping. Gaze out the window. Wonder how the moon can hang so low in the sky, looking almost tragic.

Let me get you a drink, he says. Oblige him. Sit back in the sofa, sink into it (you'll change later), swing your stocking-covered feet up on it. He pours you a glass of Grenache. From the Rhone Valley. A Gigondas. You've been to this French village's peak, surveyed its clay terraced slopes. Say: Zhee-gon-dahsyou read my mind. Watch him casually deliver it to you. Smile. Remember your first taste of it at a hillside caveaux. Consider how lucky you are to have nabbed this guy. Your thoughts stray to your first date. The stroll along the Charles.

He hands you the generously filled long-stemmed glass, places his on the mahogany coffee table and sits beside you. Whisper: Thank you for taking such good care of me. Swirl the deep red in its glass, note the intense burgundy color; admire its clinging legs, slowly tearing from the rim; Sniff the wine; breathe in chocolate and berries. Take a big sip. He watches you drink it, rubs your nylon swathed feet, and says: You're beautiful; I'm happy to be of service to you. He kisses you gently on the lips and then picks up the remote, clicks it and throws it back on the table. You hear this:

A soulful Madeleine Peyroux.

Your stomach is empty and the wine goes to your head. You want to sing. You want to be the chanteuse. You hum. You sway. Almost swoon. Your man catches you in his arms and you giggle, you forget about the melancholy, the sore shoulders and achy legs, the crazy-busy long week. And the kids you haven't yet asked about.

It's Friday night. You're all right.

Remain in this fantasy all evening.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Lonely Turkey

The holiday season has begun in earnest. It was just the day after Halloween when retailers swapped rubber bats and candy corn for Santa figurines and candy canes. Window displays shed orange and black hues for for the sparkling reds and greens of Christmas without so much as a wink to Thanksgiving.

Or did our retailers even wait until Halloween? Heck, I think I may have seen some Christmas paraphernalia in September (or maybe this was last year's leftovers?). Actually, in some cases, Halloween and Christmas have been known to co-mingle.

Eeewww. Pumpkin and pine do not
 a pretty dalliance make.

The poor Turkey. Crowded out by an ever expanding Christmas season. Flattened by surging Yuletide.

And even if you were shut-in like a hermit—had never ventured beyond your driveway—you would know this by the daily onslaught of catalogs. Before Halloween had come and gone, the catalogs were charging, bulging from our mailboxes.

This is nothing - just a small sampling of the onslaught.

Catalogs. I have never even ordered from any of these (ahem). Well, except for Garnet Hill (where my sister is Managing Editor—so I'd better order—course it helps that I love GH, too. Check it out!).

Not to mention mid-autumn jingle bell music and movies...

These days, the only nod to Turkey Day:  Black Friday.

It wasn't like this when I was growing up. Wouldn't dream of thinking about Christmas until after the much loved and anticipated Thanksgiving. This, I remember. Back then, we had respect for a Turkey.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose!

Remember this guy from Sling Blade? He's had more than a few stellar moments on the big screen, but the stage is where he really shines.

In 1989, a few years before we were married, I introduced my husband to Dwight Yoakam (er, his music, that is). I remember taking Dwight Yoakam's debut album, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., (in audio cassette form) out to Chicago with me; couldn't wait to tell Michael about this Kentucky cowboy. (You see, I had finally found a music artist that he hadn't yet heard of! A near impossible feat.)  I didn’t much like Country music then, still don’t for the most part (except for Cash, and the sublime Emmylou Harris), but Dwight—he was different. He had that hat. And the tight jeans. The pout and the swagger. Let’s just say, he was sexyis sexyan understated Mick Jagger and Elvis Presley. And then, years later, we saw Yoakam in Mansfield, and I was transfixed.

But Yoakam's music was more than Country, it was his own version of the rough-edged Rockabilly sound from the 1950's (think Elvis, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis), greatly influenced by his personal hero, Buck Owens. It was a new sound: Honky-Tonk. Hillbilly. And did it rock!

(After opening video click on Youtube link to view it.)

It's been more than twenty years since Dwight's songwriting brilliance transformed the Country music scene, introducing a whole new generation to a unique and contemporary Country sound, and influencing many young artists. He's still cranking out new tunes and keeping a hefty tour schedule, and his music is as exciting as ever.

If by any small chance, you don't have a lick of Dwight Yoakam, you may want to start with The Essentials—a compilation of the most rockin' rockabilly songs out there (and click on the link below for another taste of Yoakam). 

Whoot, whoot, holla... the boy's got some mad skillz. Pull up those cowboy boots, channel that inner-hillbilly. Hey Mister, turn it on, turn it up, turn me loose

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Little Team That Did

Sports is not a topic I often write about, as I am woefully unqualified to do so. But, with both of my kids now involved in middle school athletics, these past few months have been a whirlwind of sports related activity, an opportunity for me to act as enthusiastic spectator (soccer), as well as assistant coach (cross-country). Even so, I must further preface: I know—aside from a permanent reminder of the game in a place where the sun doesn't shinediddly about soccer. 

Couldn't tell an offside from a dangerous play.

Brackets?  Finally figured them out! And here's what they looked like yesterday:

Look, there's Mount - front and center! Go Mounties!
Last night, I watched our team, Mount Saint Charles Academy—the team I affectionately, secretly, referred to as The Little Team That Couldlose the state championship to a formidable opponent. While admittedly (at least statistically and by physical stature) Mount seemed the underdog, one still hoped for that "you never can tell" moment. The moment where the little guy, wide open, grabs the assist and charges to the net. It was not to be. Archie R. Cole Middle School in East Greenwich scored the only goal of the night with a header. It's not easy to keep that kind of ball out of the goal.

But hey, there they werethe boys (our boys, an exceptional bunch), an assembly of seventh and eighth graders from different towns, even states, their first season together, their coach an ancient (but apt) priest, a final night on the astroturf, under beaming lights and freezing temps, wind howling in the tear-streaked sky, performing war chants, looking... well, cold. And ready.

The other boys? Large and rugged, with a perfect record. Also ready.

I was sitting on the wet, metal bleacherswishing I had a nip bottle or valiumnot ready. 

Well, you already know how it ends, so no need for further detail. Except to say, that The Little Team That Could stood proud at the Final, and their loss last night could not diminish their many accomplishments over the season. The fact that they were sandwiched in those brackets spoke volumes to superior coaching, hard work, team spirit, dedication, and remarkable camaraderie. 

To Fr. Charlie, his assistant "Mrs. Coach", and the boys: it really isn't whether you win or lose, is it? Sure, some glory is good, but you know it's really all about—as they sayhow you play the game. I know you know this. You left the field glowing. Tired, wet and cold, but glowing. And no longer The Little Team That Could. No, no. What you had become was something much more, something very impressive:  The Little Team That Did.  Glory, Glory, Alleluia.

MSC - State Finalist - Soccer State Championships 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Pig Out

When my son dressed in costume, for school, as "Mustache Man" last Fridayfashioning a mustache from duct tape and paperI knew it was time to write about CAKE. And not the kind you eat. Not the chocolate variety that I love to whip up from time to time. Or that cake-like Whoopie Pie... oh, my. Speaking of... it's cold out there, maybe it is time for a little baking.

CAKE. Upon the release of their breakthrough album (do we still say "album"?) Fashion Nugget in 1996, I became an immediate fan. Their most recent album, Showroom of Compassion—which includes the song Mustache Manis slated for a 2011 release, but available now for pre-sale via Cake's website or at Amazon

CAKE. Imagine  Devo, Was (Not Was), and the Talking Heads getting together in one room. Imagine what the three of these bands might spawn. Yes, lots of silliness. Much fun. 

Here's a little CAKE (warningthis may leave you a little hungry, send you straight for the kitchentake notes!):

What do you know, a band that cannot only make some very cool music, but can also cook up a gastronomic feast! Well, with a name like CAKE, you'd better have some culinary craft. 

Yes, that's right, there is a bit of a monotone vocal delivery (intentionally?), but it only adds to CAKE's layering.

To wit:

CAKE. Fairly measured stuff. A recipe for lots of smiles. 

CAKE. Gorge yourself. Have fun.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Errant Election

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and 
politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
Mark Twain in Eruption


Double, double, toil and trouble:
(the week thus far...)

Piecing a soft-serve together,

Pink eye,

New eyeglasses (conjunctivitis as cue: replace scratched, bent, melted eight year old glasses).

Unfortunate election results,

Writer's block (likely the product of chocolate overdose and political perdition).

This cannot be true (not the writer's block, although that is rather crippling, too). Perhaps we should check the voting machines?

Maybe it is still Halloween, an extended scare, pranksters unaware of the time. Go home now kiddies, all the lights have been turned off. 

Politics: Blah! I'd rather have an ice cream cone.

But on the positive side, at least the election demonstrated that Rhode Ilanders do not believe Gauche to be the new Gold Standard.

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Acoustic Alchemy

Richard Thompson L.A. based British folk scene icon. Serious songster. Volumes of variegated verse. Six-string picking prodigy. Divinely deft. 

Performing tonight, 10/29/10, at Berkley Performance Center, Boston, MA.

Here, hypnotizing with his Mingus Eyes:

And herepaying heartfelt homage to a motorbikeperforming 1952 Vincent Black Lightning:

A girl could feel special on any such like.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gauche: The New Gold Standard

Honestly? Does Rhode Island really want to continue wandering about with its palm permanently stuck to its forehead?

It looks like our General Treasurer, Frank Caprio, has raised the bar...

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Who Do Voodoo?

A nascent ensemble. Indie, alternative, heady rock. Punky, funky, psychedelic songs, and some really rich lullabies from two Irishmen and one American, based in Donegal, IE and Cincinnati, OH (please excuse the use of multiple adjectives, Prof. B., but I just can't "choose one"and I also happen to like rambling parentheticalsno worries, I will crystallize this for you here):

A band named Voodoo Loons.

If you don't already have it, get SIRIUS radio—listen to Celtic Crush.

A few years back, this labeless troupe released The Unabashedly Political Song (and how) from their only CD to dateEuphobiaof which they made hay. It is said that, after their performance at tomorrow's World Music Fest in Kentucky, the Voodoo Loons will embark on a coast-to-coast backpacking tour of Ireland, an odyssey likely to inspire some epic poetry. So stay tuned... I have a feeling that after they've schlepped the lush island's landscape, a golden stack of lyric will crystallize. No need to fear this good news.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bemoaning Birthdays - and Other Obtuse Objects and Occasions

This is an obtuse angle—not a straight, acute, right, reflex or full angle. Its angle is greater than 90 degrees, but less than 180 degrees, as you can see. Obtuse. Let's pretend life is a straight line, rather than a full circle. At 90 degrees life is full-on-open, in its prime; nevertheless, half-way back to a flat line. Beyond the 90 degree mark, the right angle begins to tilt toward the flattest of flat lines. And look at that arc, oh yes, it has peaked and is on the downward curve. Looks like there's a lot of gravitational force on that slant. Not that an obtuse angle is all bad, ahem, but in relation to age it's not the sort of angle I prefer.

I realize that the ninety degree mark actually came to pass a few years ago, but for some reason, today, this birthdaythe last in my fortiesI'm seeing numbers from a different angle. After yet another perimenapausal night of fitful sleep and absurd dreams, I woke to a dark, cold house, and drowsy-slipped into sweatpants and an oversized sweater (this, actually just another version of my PJs, or maybe they were my PJs and I never actually changed—who can remember), and a son who never quite developed early-morning language skills, and... NO (decent) coffee. At my age, one needs decent coffee—first thing.

I told myself that it was alrightthe coffee thingit was my birthday, I didn't want to make my own cup of coffee anyway. What I wanted, what I really craved, was a steamy cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee from the local orchard. I wanted to wrap my hands around the Tallest, Grandest, Ventiest cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee I could find. And for that moment in time it was all I needed, all I could think of, not a thing more urgent.



This...                                                                      and this....


I then sleepily drove a car full of teens to school. (Don't worry parents! Honest, I was fine, I was paying attention—as best I could manage without my morning java joltI drove slowly). 

On my return home, I stopped at the orchard and ordered that triple Venti cup of hot Pumpkin Spice coffee. But more, I spied a pumpkin mousse roll... and the girl behind the counter, who had already poured my coffee, asked, "Would you like something else?" Are you kidding?! How did she know that? 

I looked her in the eye but pointed at the roll and finished her thought for her (because I knew what she wanted to say... in slow motion), "Like the pumpkin mousse rooooooll, perhaps?"  Hell—it's my birthday, isn't it! Of course I want the rooooooll.

I mean really, how could I pass this up? How could I pass up a pumpkin anything?

So, the girl lovingly packaged my single roll in a little white box, and I left with roll and coffee in hand. I made my way to my car, and juggled a few items in order to open the door. I placed the little white box and my handbag on the passenger seat and proceeded home. At home, I parked my car in the garage bay, opened the car door, swiped my bag and box from the seat and went for my coffeemy PUMPKIN SPICE coffeein the cup holder. And when I looked down, into my cup holder, my empty cup holder, I said, "Wha?" (Yes, out loud.)

"Wha?!" again and near tears. Where had my coffeemy PUMPKIN SPICE coffeegone?! How could this be? I knew that I had taken it out to the car. I remembered lifting it from the cashier's counter and walking out the door with it in hand. And then, the dawning: Ooooohhhhh. That's riiiiiiggghhhht. I must have placed it on the roof of my car so that I had a free hand in which to open the door. I must have. However, I absolutely couldn't remember placing it on the rooftop; but, logic being... I must have. And then to confirm this fact, which is certainly plausible (I shudder to think what happened as I drove off—its flight, the cover's seal violently broken, warm spiced coffee splattered across the road, the paper cup crushed beneath a tire, stamped with treads as evidence), I inspect my car for coffee stains, for some proof that the PUMPKIN SPICE coffee had licked my car on the way down. Logic being... and yet, not a spot of coffee. Not one sweaty swatch of beige. I will most likely never solve the mysterythat is how it goes here.

This, after having my twenty-one page story shred the night before. Heartless.

Obtuse? Definitely more than 90 degrees gone. And why do you think the angle is called "obtuse"? That's rightit's blunt, people. BLUNT. As in, not sharp. Yep, Math is not the only thing that is not fun (or dumb). And changing geometry is a killer. But I still had my pumpkin mousse roll! And a cup of tea. And then there was the practice with the cross-country team... that only emphasized the arc...