Tag Archives: Neil Young

This is my letter to the world

28 Jan

blog image colbert

Here it is almost February and I still haven’t written the letters that needed to go out in 2013.  And it’s not that the letters are unimportant, it’s that the intended recipients are famous, really famous.  Like more famous than “I-have-a-column-in-a-free-monthly-newspaper-now” famous. (Click here for link- page 5).

Am I intimidated?  No.  Scared?  Hardly.  I’m most concerned that given my newfound fame (click here for link- page 5), I may run into some of the recipients at an award dinner and they might want to discuss the letters when really, the letters are merely constructive criticism.  (Because I know how well I handle unsolicited criticism- I’m still mad at Spouse from Christmas 2008 when he “just asked” if I knew that raw cookie dough contains the same amount of calories as cooked.)

So who gets a letter and why?

To Stephen Colbert: nation, unable to purge images of Mr. Colbert in a jumpsuit from my mind, I am concerned that his only form of exercise is running from the main desk to the interview table.  (Also, he is the bravest man on television because he will, literally, put anything into his mouth.  As an individual who abhors prop comedy (and ventriloquism) I deem Stephen Colbert the exception and, as such, deserving of my first letter of the new year.)

Alec Baldwin: you are Spouse’s celebrity man crush.  And not just because your newest wife is a yoga instructor but, c’mon, a yoga instructor?  When you go and marry someone like that you give guys like Spouse hope.  Then I have to go and do something wonderful like microwave a food or clean a thing just to bring him back to reality.  From Glengarry to 30 Rock to SNL, Spouse thinks you possess understated wit and a well-honed sense of timing.  I, however, have my doubts.  I once saw you on The Barefoot Contessa and felt that you were the person I would least like to sit with at an outdoor charity function.  Because outdoor charity functions are boring and so were you.  When one thinks of Alec Baldwin, one thinks of “The Bloviator” and his very sloppy divorce from Kim Basinger and I think I like that guy better.

To Kim Basinger: you messed up.  How can anyone who buys a town on a whim (Braselton, GA circa 1989) expect to keep a man responsible for delivering lines like: “it’s easy to get down in the dumps when you can’t take one” happy?  (Wow, maybe Mr. Baldwin is my celebrity man crush too.)

David Sedaris: why am I not you?  Your work was translated into Estonian for crying out loud.  Estonian.  Until recently, I thought that Estonia was in Queens.  Life is unfair.  And if you were to read any of the previous letters I’ve sent, you’d know that.

Jack White: you make the best noise on the planet.  And that’s coming from mother of The Boy.  Noisy Boy.  (Also, exceptional work on the National Anthem with Stephen Colbert.  He owes you.)

Drew Carey: if you don’t like your job, quit.  It’s what I’ve always done.  (But please continue to have your pets spayed or neutered.)

To Neil Young, Tom Waits and Van Morrison: for continuing to make music that is always interesting, sometimes weird.  And kudos to one of you for helping to fight big oil.

To Keith Richards goes a lifetime achievement award for achieving the achievement of still living at this time.

Dave Barry: for consistently writing funny material.  (Except for Lunatics co-written with Alan Zweibel.  That one just screams contractual obligation.)

Alex Trebek: you are the most socially awkward person on television.  You reprimand contestants for not knowing minutia that you read off the teleprompter, your impressions are dreadful and no one cares that your french pronunciation is précis.

The College of Saint Rose: there’s a typo on the home page of your MFA in Creative Writing page.

John Fogerty: for being the face (and voice) of vocal polyps for the last five decades.

To websites that make us scroll down to click on our home state: do you know that it takes several spins of the mouse just to get to the “N’s?”  And then there are 3 “New” states before you get to New York.  Why can’t you just let us type it?  (Unless, of course, you are The College of Saint Rose.)

Finally, to Emily Dickinson: a 19th century American poet.  For continuing to perpetuate the myth that English degrees are worthless by studying hard and writing boatloads of work but neither getting a job nor moving out of her parent’s house.

You make me look awesome.

This Song was made for You and Me

28 Nov

Have you any idea how depressing it is when The Boy asks if the recording artists to whom I listen are still alive?

As in: “Is Tom Petty still alive?”  (Although The Boy really only likes “American Girl.”  He, too, was raised on promises.)

“What about Bob Dylan?  Is he still alive?  And, hey- weren’t you at that Bob Dylan tribute concert in the 1990’s?  The one where George Harrison and Eric Clapton played at Madison Square Garden?  Are they still alive?  And how old are they now?  And how old are you?”

If you hang out with your kid long enough, eventually you will round a musical corner together into “The Dead Zone”- that random shuffle where the iPod serves up a bunch of great music by artists who are no longer living: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Cash, Sid Vicious, Patsy Cline, a Beastie Boy for crying out loud- whereupon The Boy begins to understand why he sometimes has difficulty relating to his peers.

Even though I am just as wonderful now as I was then, my music may, in some circles, be perceived as retro, vintage or… old.  Even worse- old and bad.   (Although “White Castle fries only come in one size” is an eternal truth wrapped in an awesome riff.  And it rhymes.)

And maybe I have done The Boy a disservice by refusing to allow “kid’s music” to be played during his formative years.  No Wiggles or Barney or Disney soundtracks here.  (Disclaimer: “Bare Necessities” from Disney’s Jungle Book is not only an awesome song, it is a manifesto for life.  Besides being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, this track has been covered by Los Lobos, Brian Wilson and Louis Armstrong all of whom can be found on my iPod and only one of whom is deceased.)  Ironic that I once contemplated becoming a paw paw farmer.

As disservices go, I confess that I also fed The Boy mashed potatoes with truffle oil as one of his first solid foods.  So that pretty much rules out cafeteria bonding among classmates.

On the other hand, I am an expert at being me and at being me raising a kid in this moment.  (In the movie of my life, I am portrayed by Jenna Elfman and The Boy is a chocolate Lab.)  Anything else is as false as Rascal Flatts playing “country.”

Which brings us to my favorite musical category (yes; we’ve been heading somewhere all along): The “I’m Not Sure” Selections.  In music as in life: I don’t know.

Here is where we find Neil Young, Dr. John, BB King, Buddy Guy and the like.  “Are they still alive?”  I don’t know.

They ought to be.  They ought to live forever.  But I don’t make the rules- I barely follow them; it’s a daily struggle to hide my disdain for them.  But if I did make the rules, know this: David Crosby would totally have to fork over an organ, any organ, should Neil Young ever need one.

Listen Boy, not that this helps and I know you didn’t ask, but I have also had difficulty with relationships.  Mostly because there’s the outside- which is chronological age, height, weight, growth, etc. and there’s the inside.  Some days I feel 100 years old and other days I feel more like 5.  Such a range makes “peer” a tough word to define.  (Hint: at any age, a peanut butter sandwich and a nap will make everything better.)

And remember this: never, ever, do I appear older than 29.

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