Sunday, August 26, 2007
I'm always a contrarian. I say I'm done writing about music and what do I do, but immediately compose a music piece. If you happen to be down the San Antonio way be sure to check out the lysergic garage rock instro beat rock of The Saturday Night Satellites. It's retro rock and roll done right by some true aficionado's who won't let silly things like words get in their way.
I know; you probably think I'm trying to relive my teenage years since the blogging has been so spotty lately, but it's not the case. Other things have just seemed extra pertinent: family, music (Mudhoney, Nina Simone, and Richie Havens are my faves of this week), reading (Heat currently), story writing (look for The Wayside Bible Club, think Fast Times Of Ridgemont High meets Halloween, to hit Goblinhaus in October), and downright laziness. I also finally got a DVR so I've been watching lots of movies; The Sugarland Express, White Lightning, The Devil And Daniel Johnston (one yeah on the DD Blank 3 yeah grading system), The Matador, and The Squid And The Whale among many.
Plus there's just a generalized anomie working on my head: what should I blog about? Writing about music seems to be not worth the trouble anymore unless I can provide mp3's. There are just so many talented people out there in the blogosphere waxing rhapsodic about their music - just see Hype Machine or Elbo. I've lost that great proselytizing urge, that need to share the music you love. This is a bit sad since I used to really work people over with what I enjoyed. Dig up some of my friends from back in the day and they'll tell you.
There are always current events, but they don't really move me to get really gone if you catch my drift. Translated: I'm no reporter and I'm not after chasing ambulances whether political, military, economic, or celebrity related. I posted a few politically bent pieces in the past and they seem particularly cringe worthy now that I've changed my mind on certain things. I'll keep my views to the voting booth and live my life with integrity and let the dust settle from that in the end.
So what's left? I don't have one specific talent, no expertise to share with the worldwide web. Damn I wish I had thought of the idea to blog about every R.E.M. song or something similar. Maybe there's a thirst out there for in depth B.J. And The Bear episode summaries.
Maybe somebody would like an exegesis on the character of the quintessential redneck shitkicker Bobby "Gator" McKlusky who along with Billy Jack, Batman, and Bruce Lee were all idols of mine when I was grade school age (what is it with all the "B" names). Let’s throw Evel Knievel in there too to bust those “B’s” up a little.
I would do comedy, but we've got Rex L. Camino for that. This leaves me the nostalgia amusement park of prose. I could perhaps do something with that. But it might take awhile. My memory synapses could use some rejuvenation. I once prided myself on a photographic memory, but I think they were all remembered on Polaroid’s and they're fading fast. Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake isn’t enough. I have to make my material vital in a time machine applicable sort of way. Let the ghosts of the past communicate with today. So now I shall go mediate for some time and try to remember the best stories from the past. But first let me watch the B.J. And The Bear credits and theme a few dozen more times.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Why do people raise mules today?
Why did Michael Anthony get the boot from Van Halen?
Why does anybody watch Mtv these days? And yes; I'm not a fan of The Hills.
Why listen to commercial radio in Nashville?
Why does it always seem like I'm riding my bicycle into a headwind?
Why do the junkiest trailers always have vicious dogs chained out front?
Why am I writing this and why are you reading it?
I think I'll go outside and play now....except that the head index is surface of the sun right so blogging seems like the thing to do today.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
It's back to school time and with my eldest daughter starting 3rd grade and my youngest beginning kindergarten my thoughts are wandering back to when I was elementary age. This led me to a murky place in my memory called 5th grade Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School. The disappointment I felt at the beginning of that school year is still fresh today. I got Ms. Murks as a teacher who was known throughout the school as the meannest 5th grade teacher there. Even her name sounded cruel. Plus, there was that Ms. in front of her name. Even by the 5th grade I knew it meant divorcee. That just showed me she couldn't get along with people. I figured it was going to be a miserable year.
I quickly figured out that I had been mistaken. Sure; Ms. Murks was mean if your definition was that she didn't allow us to goof off. She was problably considered mean by the classroom troublemakers with whom she always dealt with decisively and swiftly. Her crackpot theory about how potable water was running out and how we would have to recycle our urine to drink did scare me at the time, but I don't think it was mean. Her one avenue of meanness was this: she was mean in the fact that she always expected more than our best. The classroom television show is a good example.
Each classroom had a televsion. We'd watch a few local public television offerings, but they usually cast out blank black screens at us while we daydreamed of viewing cartoons. When spring came my class got exciting news. We were going to produce a news show filmed in a real studio that would be seen by the entire school! We got to pick how we wanted to contribute to the show with the knowledge that Ms. Murks would have final say. Many of the kids were just dying to get on camera, but all I wanted to do was help out with the graphics and art that would needed in the backgrounds.
I was crazy for drawing back then. My parents even sent my drawing of Tippy in to those "Can You Draw Tippy" people. They sent us a brochure, but I didn't get to attend art school. I settled for making up and illustrating comics with my friends and endless doodles of Kiss on stage. I had a blast working on the news show graphics. That squegee sound of the magic markers! The smell of them too. Construction paper and cardboard scissor cuts. Laughter and expectation were the rule. And then Ms. Murks took me aside and got mean.
I had to put down my markers because I was a marked man. She wanted me on camera. And not just to be a reporter. She wanted me to be one of the anchor people for this production. This was something I didn't want to do. I wanted to be behind the scenes and not powdered with makeup and baking under studio lights. But Ms. Murks was persuasive in her compliments, argument, and her unyielding will. I was fated to become a reluctant star.
The day arrived for our trip to the studio. I had written my lines on the cue cards and practiced at home and in class. We weren't going to have the luxury of multiple cuts. We got in a bus and headed a few miles down the road to the old Critchlow School. A low budget television studio of sorts had been set up in the back. I recall it as a basement, but it might not have been. The thing I remember most is the red hot studio lights. While the segments were short; it was torture being under the glare of those things. We filmed our show, trooped back to the bus, and headed home to Mitchell-Neilson with everybody badgering Ms. Murks about when we'd get to see it.
A week or so later and we got to watch an uncut version. It was exciting to see ourselves on screen. Everybody laughed when I paused to wet my lips while reading a segment. Ms. Murks assured us they would edit that part out. That part was gone when it aired in front of the school later. Ms. Murks also made sure that all of our parents got to see it regardless of their schedule. My mother came after school one day and watched it with me and was naturally very proud of me.
But I didn't want her praise. The person who really deserved it was the meanest teacher in 5 th grade. Ms. Murks wasn't cruel; she was the coolest. When nostalgia really grips me I wish I could stumble across a videotape of that fake newscast. I wish I could hear Ms. Murks as she read us stories again. I have vivid memories of her reading a book about the first ascent of the Matterhorn. How great it would be to eavesdrop on that for just a few moments. I never have gotten back that little hologram toy she took from me one day when I was goofing off in class, but that's a small price to pay for everything she gave me.
Update: I discovered there was listing for Ms. Murks in the phonebook so I gave her a call. I thanked her for being such a great teacher and we caught up on things. It was a delight to hear her voice again and find that she is doing quite well and is devoted to landscaping her house as a hobby. I learned the book about the Matterhorn is Banner In The Sky in which the mountain is fictionalized as the Citadel. You can bet I will be re-reading it soon. No word if there are any videotapes of the television shows floating around, but she did say they helped the city of Murfreesboro get a grant back then so I'm glad to have played a role in that. So call up your favorite teacher and thank them. You'll be glad you did.