Friday, April 08, 2011

Soon, With More Better Stuff?

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings."
- Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass

Well, actually, no. The time has most certainly come, but not to talk of many things. The time has come, instead, to talk of fewer things. It is time for me to bid you a fond farewell.

[*waits a beat, for you to regain your breath*]

Yes, I'm serial. This blog is history (or, at least, will be after you've read this.) The race is run, the book is read, the play has reached the final curtain. This blog is an ex-parrot.

I've been coming here and writing nonsense for the better part of six years.

(Or, at least, they would have been the better part of six years had I not been filling them up with twaddle.)

(Actually, I like twaddle. Some of my best friends are twaddlers. I don't mean to unduly denigrate twaddle. The descriptive fits, however, so I've used it, much the same as I've used you.)

(No, I haven't really used you. At least, not consciously. I have, it's true, acquired a few fruitcakes along the way - and I'm mighty grateful for them, too - but they weren't acquired via subterfuge. It was overterfuge.)

(One thing you can be glad about is that you'll never again have to navigate through a sea of unnecessary parentheses only to find, by the end, that you'll need to consult a Neptunian dictionary in order to translate what you've just read.)

So, like a dog under the dinner table on liver night, the question begs: Why?

The truth of the matter...

(Isn't that a hell of a thing for me to say? As though I haven't told you the truth before. Saint Peter on a pogo stick! If there's one thing I've done here, it's tell you the truth. As a matter of fact, here's the one time I did!)

The truth of the matter is I'm tired of embarrassing my mother. When did I do that? Three sentences ago, if you clicked onto that link. And I'm sick of it. Also, MY WIFE.

(No, no, no. I'm not sick of MY WIFE. I'm also tired of embarrassing her. Although it was her idea for me to begin blogging in the first place, so she's hardly without blame in this affair, I'm going to stop writing stuff like THIS. And THAT.)

Mostly, I'm just plain tired of writing. If I was making some money from this thing, maybe it would be different. I'm not, though. I've gotten lots of fruitcake, and that's a good thing, but money? No. There's been a decided lack of that. And, really, money isn't what it's about in the end, either. What it is, is that I don't have anything useful left to say. I've pretty much gotten out of my system everything I felt an overwhelming need to say, so why stick around? It can only go downhill from here. I mean, just look at this pile of crap you're reading right now, if you want proof.

Before I go, I want to make sure you know I'm not leaving because of anything you said. It's quite the opposite. I love the stuff you guys say. That's why I've stayed with it for so long. Seeing your comments made my day. And, as a matter of fact, I'll probably be visiting you on a regular basis ("haunting you" might be a more apt way of putting it, when one considers how often I hijack other people's comments sections) so it's certainly not that I don't like you. I LOVE YOU! You've given me four years of joy!

(Of course, I've been blogging for 5 and 2/3 years, so...)


Enough. I'm done, at least for the present.

(Ah, what the hell. I'm done for the past, too. However, I regress.)

What will the future bring? Who knows? Something could stick in my craw and I'd be back here tomorrow to rant about it.

(Or later today, for that matter. I'm looking forward to seeing how we do without a government. Won't happen, of course. Governments always threaten to shut down, but then all sorts of hideous malcontents like me come out of the woodwork, saying, "Who gives a shit?", then they somehow find the funds to continue.)

Or I might decide to come back in May and bore you to tears with thirty or forty posts about mens fast-pitch softball. Perhaps, if the Celtics win the NBA Championship in June, I'll not be able to resist crowing about it. Whatever the case, if I return it will be because I truly want to say something new. It won't be because I feel a need to fill space via the expedient of posting a re-run, something of which I'm sure you've had more than enough during the previous five or six months.

Before I go, I'd like to leave you with some words of wisdom: De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum. That's what my grandfather kept shouting when they carted him off after he had performed an unrequested circumcision on the neighbor's poodle, so it's good enough for me, too.

(Lovely. If that doesn't convince you I've got nothing but fumes left in the tank, there's not much that will.)

As a going away present, here's something I wrote once when I was feeling underappreciated, and you can read it whenever you feel like you might be missing me. It should cure you.

(Here comes a lie...)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Some Of My Friend's Greatest Hits

What I'm writing now, and publishing tomorrow, brought a desire to post this today. It is a collection of links to some of the best writing done by three good friends in the blogosphere.

All of the following either touched me deeply or made me truly laugh out loud. I felt enriched after reading them. I share them with the hope that they will do the same for you.

Disclaimer: I always feel bad about doing something like this because I feel as though I'll be hurting someone's feelings. This involves only three writers. They are singled out for various reasons, none of which are your fault. That is to say, if you feel slighted by NOT being mentioned here, because you think we're mighty good internet friends, please rest assured that we are and not being mentioned does NOT mean you haven't written anything of great worth. You probably have. This is hardly a complete list of every distinctive post or person I've found while visiting any of you, and I feel bad about not featuring some folks in a similar fashion to that which I'm about to do for Chris, Chris, and Steve. Some whom I enjoy on a daily basis may not be mentioned simply because you don't tend toward longer pieces. I'm a wordy bastard, so I like other wordy bastards. Some are more visual than literary. You know who you are and you know how much I love your stuff. For some, it may be because your writing is so uniform I couldn't choose a few pieces without feeling as though I were slighting you in some way. It may be because my most treasured memories of your writing came via personal correspondence rather than at your public blog. It may be because I'm a vile lazy slug and my memory is random. That's probably the best thing to hold in your broken heart as you curse me. Anyway, if you're listed on my sidebar at all, rest assured that I have you there because you write things I enjoy reading, even if nothing is singled out here.

The Long Goodbye
Two Coats
Thanksgiving Comes First
Eternal Autumn

Lo Siento, Senor Poopy Pants
Heckling Shirley Temple
Beethoven, Bugs, And The Terminator
Whatever Happened To... Little Red Riding Hood?

In Which My Secret Origin As A Super-Villain Is Revealed
In Which It All Depends On Your Point Of View
In Which I Owe My Existence To The King Of The Dumb-Asses
In Which I Am 0-for-2

And now, you can scratch your head and wonder just what in hell I'm publishing tomorrow. Or you can come back and see.

(After reading all of the above, of course.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Ruby Starr & Grey Ghost

Yesterday, I went on and on about concerts I've attended. Good read if you're all out of Sominex. Anyway, one of the concerts I mentioned was one that featured a performer named Ruby Starr. I told you about how underrated she was, how she died young, and other sad stuff. What I should have done was give you an opportunity to listen to her.


Soon, But It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Are You Ready To Boogie?

Well, get down off your chair. This isn't a rock concert. It's just a post about rock concerts.
Last night, while in bed, I was listening to Live At The Filmore East, by The Allman Brothers Band, and I got to thinking about some of the best concerts I've ever attended. Then I fell asleep trying to compile a list in my head of ALL the concerts I've attended during my life. I woke up with the same thoughts whirling around in my brain, so I figured it might be something that would keep you interested for five or six minutes.

Anyway, here's the list. My tastes tend toward heavy metal and hard rock, so those dominate, but you'll notice early on that they aren't all rock concerts. I decided to include everybody I've seen perform, some of whom are the type of acts you might have thought were not my cup of tea. Hey, what can I say? I'm eclectic.

The point of something like this, of course, is to jog your memory and perhaps get you to tell a tale or two of your own, so please do so, either here or at your own place. I'd love to read your lists and stories.

(The numbers in brackets indicate acts I've seen more than once. The stories following any of the names will indicate, in all likelihood, that I'm a long-winded bastard willing to spout off far too much concerning past drug usage.)

AC/DC [4]

The first time I saw these guys goes down in history as the best audience participation I was ever involved in, although the part I played in said participation was small.

My good buddy, Fast Freddy Goodman, had scored us tickets for the second row. In the audience, to our right, were... ah, hell, it's a long story, but a good one. Better if you go read it HERE. You'll be rewarded with stuff about sex, if that convinces you.

The last time I saw these guys, which may well be the last time I see these guys, was also in the company of Fast Freddy, and also resulted in a story to tell (as is often the case with any time spent with Fast Freddy.) Read all about Hell's Parking Lot.

Aerosmith [3]
Alice Cooper
The Allman Brothers Band
The Beach Boys

Saw them as the opening act for Chicago, in Foxboro Stadium (the then-home of the New England Patriots.)

I make mention of this concert because it marked the first time I had ever tried brownies made with pot.

One of the guys I went to the concert with - there were six of us, as I recall - lived in Foxboro, so we went to his place before the show, armed with a righteously-sized bag of dope and a box of Betty Crocker. We mixed the brownie batter and dumped the dope in, stirred well, and baked, both literally and figuratively. I don't believe I have ever been as stoned since, and I know for sure that I had never been that stoned before.

The problem, though, was that we hadn't considered the best way to incorporate a bag of dope into some brownies. Sure, we had crushed it up somewhat, but what we really should have done was grind it fine before adding it to the brownie mix. About an hour after eating the things, and just as we were really starting to get off in an amazing fashion, we had some of the worst cramps in history. And, about midway through Chicago's set, my intestines rebelled with passion against the digestion of such stuff as seeds and twigs. Color my world brown, thank you. I was on the can that night until about 25 or 6 to 4.

Tony Bennett

This would be the latest show I've seen, just a few months ago with MY WIFE. Amazingly good voice for his age, and the show swung mightily.

Black Oak Arkansas [2]
Black Sabbath [4]

The first time I saw them marked the first time I ever took a drug I wasn't intending to take. While grooving to Into The Void, the guy next to me passed me a joint. Or, at least, I thought it was a joint. I thanked him and took a mighty haul on it. I then realized, by the unmistakable taste of plastic in my mouth, that it was Angel Dust. Oh, well. It wasn't as though I had never done the stuff before. I knew what I was in for, so I relaxed and enjoyed it.

[Disclaimer: Angel Dust is the only drug I've ever done that I would never in a million years recommend to anybody. If I knew then what I know now, about how quickly you could die from that shit, I'd never have touched it. Enough said, I hope.]

Blue Oyster Cult [2]

Quite possibly the record for furthest time between seeing an act twice - 1975 and 2009. The first time, they opened for Black Sabbath. The second time, they opened for Deep Purple.

The Boston Pops [8]
The Boston Symphony Orchestra
Well, I'm from Boston, after all.

Harry Chapin

Lovely man. He gave a free concert at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River, with a hat passed and donations going to some charity or another. This was hardly a one-off deal for him. He was known for his charitable endeavors. Shortly after I saw this concert, he died. Such a shame.

Chicago [2]
Perry Como

Funny story. I had made plans to see Mr. Como with MY WIFE. I had made plans to see Ozzie Osbourne with Fast Freddy. These concerts were supposed to take place during the same week.

When Fred and I went to see Ozzie, we arrived at the venue only to find out that Ozzie was sick and had canceled. A couple of days later, MY WIFE and I saw Mr. Como in concert. He was about 87 at the time, and made his way to the stage with a cane and two assistants. And then he proceeded to perform a marvelous show for about two-and-a-half hours, leaving the stage afterward with the cane and the two assistants.

MY WIFE has never stopped kidding me about how Perry Como was as good as his word, despite his advanced age and infirmities, while Ozzie Osbourne probably canceled because he had a bad cold.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

First real concert I ever went to, and Thank You, Uncle Jim. He scored the tickets for me and my friends. He had some seriously good connections in those days, so he got us into the second row. Midway through the show, we lit up a pipe full of grass and were passing it back and forth. David Crosby eyed us from the stage and gave us a thumbs up. We lived on that for weeks.

Deep Purple [5]

My favorite band, so you'd think I'd have many stories to tell. Not so much. Just damn fine concerts, every time. I suppose I could say that Steve Morse, the current guitarist, is probably the single musician I've seen more often than any other (four times with DP, once when he was a member of Dixie Dregs, once with his own Steve Morse Band.)

Ronnie James Dio
The Dixie Dregs
Duke & The Drivers
Maynard Ferguson [2]

The only real concert I ever attended with My Father, outside of the Boston Pops gigs, were the two times I saw Maynard Ferguson. My Dad was a Ferguson freak. He had some 15 or 17 vinyl long-players of Maynard, so I heard him often and came to enjoy him greatly myself. I still have most of them, as well as some old 78's of him with Stan Kenton's band. The man sure could reach some dog-whistle highs on that horn of his.

Peter Frampton

Just prior to him breaking huge as a solo act, I saw him open for Aerosmith in Providence, Rhode Island. At the time, not too many people knew what in hell a talkbox for a guitar was, so we were totally freaked when he made his guitar "speak".

Gentle Giant
Grand Funk Railroad
The Grass Roots
Golden Earring

We've got a thing that's called Radar Love... 
With the possible exception of Highway Star, the best driving song ever.

Herman’s Hermits
Huun-Huur Tu & Angelite
The J. Geils Band [3]
David Johansen [2]

This man just ate stages whole; swallowed them in big bites. Probably the best showman I've ever seen.

(In case you don't recognize the name, he fronted The New York Dolls prior to his solo career, and later adopted the persona of Buster Poindexter for some gigs on Saturday Night Live.)

Tom Jones

Saw him in Vegas, baby. And the man has a spectacular set of pipes. If you've only heard his poppish hits, you might not know that he has one of the best blues voices ever. Well, he does. And he uses it tremendously well. Blew me away.

The Monkees

Yup. Three-quarters of them, anyway. Michael Nesmith was not part of the aggregation. They played their own instruments, here and there, but mostly just sang backed by a truly superb band. Fine, fun concert.

The Moody Blues
The Steve Morse Band

NOT Mott The Hoople. This was the band Overend Watts fronted after Mott The Hoople dissolved. It contained two or three of the original members, but not Ian Hunter.

Wayne Newton

Saw Mr. Newton in Las Vegas, also. Great showman, to be certain, but his voice is shot to hell.

Ozzie Osbourne [2]

He didn't eat any bats (or puppies, as MY WIFE likes to think he does.)

Poco [2]

Very odd. Saw them twice, but never expected to. They were the opening act on two different bills, and a pleasant surprise both times.

Iggy Pop

Post-Stooges, with David Bowie playing keyboards (which I'm not sure half the audience even noticed, as he kept very much to the shadows.)

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
The Ramones [4]
Kenny Rogers

Ended up seeing him for a very odd reason. MY WIFE and I decided we'd broaden our horizons randomly, so we asked My Mother to buy tickets for a show at The South Shore Music Circus on a specified random date. We assiduously avoided looking at the tickets or any advertisements for the place, and we only knew when we were supposed to go there. It wasn't until we were there that we knew who we were seeing. And it was a fine show, too. If I could remember the name of the female country singer who opened for him, she'd be on this list, too. She was good. Wish I could recall her name.

Joe Satriani
The Scorpions
Ruby Starr & Grey Ghost

An amazingly underrated and forgotten singer. Strong voice, in-your-face sexuality permeating her stage presence, she should have been huge. She died young and relatively unknown considering the scope of her talents. If you've heard Black Oak Arkansas's version of Jim Dandy, she's the featured female voice. 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Livingston Taylor
Tuff Darts
The Who [3]

Could be two times, not three; depends upon how you count. The first time I saw them, Keith Moon collapsed on his drum kit halfway into the second song. The show was canceled. Saw the return engagement, then another after that with Kenny Jones on the skins.

Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
ZZ Top [2]

And this could be 1 and 1/2, depending upon how you count. The second time I saw them, some douchebag threw a beer bottle at the stage. The band left and didn't return.


And that's it. I'm sure, as soon as I publish this, I'll remember three more bands and five more stories. In the meantime, if you'd regale me with some of yours, or maybe do a list, I'd love it.

Rock on.

Soon, with more better stuff.