Lenny Bruce Is Not Afraid

Ok, if I hear “in these uncertain times,” or “in these difficult times,” or “with these changing times” anymore, I am going to yell loudly. The English language has loads of other words and phrases that people can use to describe all of this. Stop being lazy and obvious!

Also, those phrases don’t give people warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s like telling people The Beatles are out there to listen to but they have to listen to Third Eye Blind for awhile. Do your damn job marketing people and think of something else. It is just lazy and, frankly, sort of annoying.

So things now are all about routines. I try to have a set task for each day with a few other things to clean up. There’s webinars, job searching, the St. Louis art Museum’s object of the day and loads of zoo webcams. At night, I listen to Patrick Stewart reading a sonnet. He has a different one each day.

I also am trying to find time to laugh. This is why I am listening to a Lenny Bruce bit each day as often as possible. It’s not overdone or cute or simple. it is raw, honest and funny in a way where your brain is engaged.

As an extrovert I am surprised I am ok being separated from people. I am checking in on folks and saying hello to old friends now and then, but really I am ok social distancing. People are idiots and I am fine with not talking to strangers. I am of a generation where our formative years were spent trying not to get our ass kicked in high school for having a weird haircut and a jacket with buttons and badges all over it. So, for me, avoiding people is kind of old hat.

It reminds me of all of the terrors of Catholic school and social status and all that nonsense. What all this means is that those years of being a ‘weirdo’ in high school are paying off. I sure am glad I learned how to read.

I am really bummed about Bill Withers passing. I really loved his records. There was never a time when I ‘wasn’t in the mood’ to hear Bill Withers. he had a terrific catalog of songs and I think it is sad he didn’t get more mainstream attention. He really didn’t make a bad record.

John Prine’s passing is really sad. It was nice to see him get more notoriety over the last few years. he was one of our country’s best storyteller and his music was moving, fun, spirited and emotional.

Not much on the movie front. I have been watching some old films from the 1970’s and some film noir. The Taking o f Pelham One Two Three is not only a great movie, but an interesting slice of life of America in 1974. Walter Mathau is great in it. I want to be him when I grow up.

I also saw an indie film called Phoenix, Oregon. it was streamed nationally as part of film Festival Day. It is about these guys who buy a bowling alley becsuase there regular job sucks. Here is a link: https://phoenixoregonmovie.com.

I have discovered a band called Deutsche Ashram. They have a new album out called Whisper Om that has been calming and catchy.

They are very dead poppy but also have some textures and density to their music. https://deutscheashram.bandcamp.com

There also is a new album out from The Strokes but I haven’t dug too deep into it yet.

I did listen to Felt for the first time in ages yesterday. I forgot how much I liked their records. They formed in 1979 in Water Orton, Warwickshire and have this jangly sound that matures into more adventurous terrain. They are pretty obscure in certain circles, but the kids in the know appreciate the harmonies and nuanced songwriting.

I am still hustling. I finished a freelance technical writing project and have move onto a full on magazine piece. But “in these trying times” you have to take whatever you can get. I do know that I am never going back to any sort of frontline retail if I can help it. Especially since people are rude and uncaring and selfish.

I do miss baseball.

Sadly, I am not expecting to see any live music for the foreseeable future. it is a shame too since there was a lot of shows I was looking forward to seeing. In the meantime, I have books and music and word puzzles to keep me busy.

In appliance news, the dishwasher and washing machine are getting good workouts. I wish I had a freezer too.

I am plowing through All I Ever Wanted, the memoir from The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. From Austin to the heyday of LA’s punk underground and the rise of new wave pop, she has pretty much seen it all. The narrative is pretty straightforward and no nonsense. It also is candid and honest and free of sugar coating.

This would be a good time to read The American People in the Great Depression by David M. Kennedy.

It is part of the Oxford History of the United States series and is very good. There is some pretty scary and stark stuff in there but it is something people should know anyway. My grandmother always told me stories about the Great Depression and it was pretty sad stuff.

Well I guess you didn’t read this to be cheered up did you?

It’s Palmolive Sunday

So it is Sunday. Pretty exciting stuff. But since my hands are simply just a wreck with roughness I am dubbing today Palmolive Sunday. When I was kid they called this dishpan hands. Now I just call it ‘ouch my hands sure hurt.’

I am generally trying to keep them moisturized with aloe, bag balm and vaseline. I am literally giving these suckers a hand bath a few times a day. Thus is the new way of life.

Wealth is a bourgeois construct. I bet when all these kids wanted the Roaring ’20s back they weren’t thinking about this.

Been doing a lot more reading these days. catching up on old magazines lying around and a book on Teddy Roosevelt since he was so prolific, larger than life and had this called, I don’t know, leadership. It is interesting to look at the early 20th century and how it helped define the middle class for later generations. TR wasn’t perfect but you could never say he was dull.

I did some decluttering yesterday. Switched out some CD cases, organized the music collection and cleared out more of the back room. The one great thing about decluttering is that once you are into it, time flies by.

I hope to clear out more of my mom’s stuff this week and start on this one closet. My fear is that after I clean it I’ll end up in Narnia. I also am getting rid of a filing cabinet.

So the basic goal of this is just have a decent extra space to chill. I have this chair that was my by my grandfather’s bed and I used to sit in it while he was too sick to really do anything. The poor guy was pretty much incapacitated and he had to put up with me. This is like 1972-74ish. When he was more functional he was not the biggest fan of small kids so I am sure I drove him crazy.

So somehow, my talky and hyper self was able to just sit and talk to him. I know he liked it and it helped ease his suffering. But anyway, the chair needs work on it but I do not have the heart to throw it out.

I watched Dial M for Murder this week. Everyone in a Hitchcock movie makes poor decisions. It’s kind of sad really. But seriously it was very good and still holds up pretty well. Ray Milland was pretty creepy in it.

Speaking of Ray Milland there was an interesting St. Louis band named Ray Milland back in the day.

with regard to music, there is an interesting band in town now called Frankie Valet. They have an album called Waterfowl that is just terrific. I hope if this all ends that I can check them out.

I also like this Boston band called Vundabar. they have a record out called Either Light that is splendid.

It is their third album and it has some texture and depth to it that I like. I think Montage Music is my fave.

I have also been working on a technical writing project. I love the work but the client is seriously OCD and can’t go ten minutes without asking if I am done yet. Believe me, I love the work and appreciate the opportunity but it is getting absurd. As an FYI, writing about dental crowns is not much more fun than just sitting outside and watching the world go by… slowly.

I think the girl on the 2nd floor has set up a horseshoe pit in her living room. That, or she has borrowed the Clydesdales to stomp around and make noise. That girl makes a lot of noise. Seriously. She has like one piece of furniture and always eats out, so what is she doing up there?

One of the things I have been making it a point to do right now is check in on some folks I haven’t chatted with in awhile. It has been pretty nice.

Patrick Stewart has been reading Sonnets each day. It has been really terrific. He has a great command of language and his vice is soothing at the end of the day.

I wish I liked Picard more. I am only a few episodes in so far but it is not knocking me over.

So let’s talk about kids on skateboards. Back in my day skaters were mostly pretty cool and had great taste in music. I wish this could be said about the no social distancing little moppets down the street who are completely annoying in every possible way. This is not a generational bitching or anything, but I seem to remember kids skating to The Descendants or Black Flag and not any of this wimpy, no aggro, whine pop they listen to now. NO one should listen to Blink 182, much less skate to it.

OK, so watching Days of Thunder was a stupid idea. It is pretty bad. what is up with Nicole Kidman’s frizzy hair?

And what is up with Robert Duvall being in so many terrible movies? He must just like the paycheck.

I also rewatched 12 Monkeys. I have not seen it in decades but I do remember seeing it a few times when it came out. It is still visually interesting but also very much a product of the times it was made in.

However now, the whole damn thing seems prescient as hell.

The St. Louis Art Museum is doing a profile on an object in their collection each day. Even though some it is stuff I probably would not normally look at I am learning a lot.

You can take a virtual tour of their current exhibition,Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí online.

I really like these two. The first is by Van Gogh, the second is by Millet himself. Check out their stuff at https://www.slam.org

I am seriously bummed about Bill Withers passing. He had an incredibly amazing voice and his songs are timeless. They are those wonderful types of tunes that can reach out to anyone and really makes their day better. He knew how to craft music so that it resonated with folks. I dare you to listen to Lovely Day and not tap your feet. I wish more people appreciated him because he has a very deep and amazing catalog of music.

Please be safe, stay inside and be kind!