guilty pleasure monday: making time (creation)
Apr 21st, 2008 by wrekehavoc

i know, i know. you’re expecting another song from 30 years or so ago to be primed for the guilty pleasure monday pump. to be sure, picking on 1970s songs is like shooting fish in a teacup… or something like that. to prove i am an equal opportunity offender, i’ll pick something that i bet 95% of readers will look up from their keyboards and say wtf huh?

let me jog your memory in case you’re experiencing a senior moment prematurely. how many of you saw the wes anderson movie rushmore? (bet you didn’t remember that owen wilson was the co-writer of that screenplay. he’s pretty, he’s suicidal, and he’s very talented. can you say dream date pour moi?) perhaps you’ve lost the plot, but you could not forget the kickass soundtrack. (okay. well, i didn’t forget the soundtrack. BS and i actually wait at the end of every picture we see to read the music credits.)

i get it. you’re still not with me. okay.

the creation was one of the more underrated bands of the sixties. they started out mostly sounding like a cross between the kinks and the who during the mod era. they experimented with making pop art while on stage. eddie phillips, their lead guitarist, experimented with a violin bow and his guitar long before jimmy page made it famous.

unfortunately, they never had tremendous chart-topping success, which is just plain odd to me. if you listen to making time, it just s c r e a m s hit. just goes to show you – if you don’t have the right promotional people behind you, you can be a bloody genius and you still won’t gain financial success.

ah well.

i wonder if the surviving members got royalties from the film?

::scratches head::

::gets depressed thinking about it::

just listen to it, okay?

happy passover
Apr 19th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

just remember, it’s not called the bread of affliction for nothing.

thanks to mykidsdad for finding the video 🙂

Apr 19th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

this may come as a huge surprise to you folks out there, but i’m a terrible human being. seriously.

and it’s all because of softball.

i grew up with two older brothers; thus, it stands to reason that i had no choice but to learn how to play baseball. if i wanted to go out and play with them, that’s what they were doing. i learned to catch and throw and bat early on, and i wasn’t half bad. sadly, they didn’t let girls in little league back then, so my career was confined to the camp softball team, where i was the only girl who made first string and played on the traveling team.

i managed the boys baseball team in intermediate school, which taught me the fine art of baseball scoring. it also taught me that 13 year old boys like to put their cups over your face and yell air raid!!! thank G-d i had no idea where the cup went back then — how did i not know is a wonder unto itself, considering the aforementioned brothers. but it’s a blessing that i did not know where that plastic thingy had been or else i would have had a few projectile vomiting episodes.

when high school rolled around, i was set to be on the team when i ended up with my thumb in a cast, thanks to an overzealous gym teacher who set me in on a game of kill the guy with the ball. as the only girl, with the JV football captain, the JV basketball captain, and other athletic boys playing, i knew i had to be twice as tough; and i had the ball — i really, r e a l l y had it. i was woman, hear me ROAR! but then, too bad for me: it was pulled out of my death grip, leaving me with a thumb that actually was bent in a position that G-d had never meant it to be.

(i’ll never forget the gym teacher yelling at me: c’mon wreke, take it like a man! i thought, uhm, hello? i’m a GIRL. a girl with a thumb hanging off? fortunately, one of the boys told the teacher that i should probably see the nurse.)

a cast made pitching difficult, and after awhile, i realized i was not ready or willing to make the time commitment to softball. besides, they ran a zillion laps, and while i was a decent sprinter in my day, i was never a long-distance runner. check, please!

so fast forward to today. i have not played any softball in a long while. (i used to play with a team on the mall that played around the washington monument, but 9-11 put a major cramp on all of that anyway.) i have to live somewhat vicariously through my own children, poor things.

BC has been playing for a few years, playing being an interesting choice of words. if she’s covering third, she’ll greet you as you run to the bag and probably offer some hors d’oeuvres. she may even start drawing in the dirt with her free hand if it gets too dull out there, which it does, as few girls seem to be hitting very much yet. i cheer her on, in between bouts of hysteria as i watch jools, who could be running onto the highway, climbing onto the school rooftop, or dousing himself at the water fountain with the older boys.

but it’s hard.

i watch all the girls as they stand and wait for the ball. somehow, i think they all expect it to magically make a path precisely to their person and then leap up into their gloves. run up to the ball and get it? i think not! pay attention to the game? if i feel like it and i’m not busy looking at the dandelions.

i can see now how i had a clear advantage in this department: i had brothers, brothers who taught me that i had no choice but to either go after the damn ball or else get the hell out of the way. additionally, some of the boys on the camp team didn’t like me just because i was a girl. but i was there to play, not make friends. and i played, and sometimes, i would even get a little grudging respect, which felt very, very sweet.

as i am a woman who attended a womens college, this is going to sound odd: but i wonder sometimes whether we do ourselves a disservice through gender segregation? if i had stuck only with my girl friends, i would never have gotten tougher, and not just in sports, either. i’m not discounting at all the contributions of girl friends — lord knows, i adore mine. but at a young age, there was something of value spending time with boys.

back in my day, they segregated the school playground: boys on one side, girls on the other. in one of the very few times i ever got in trouble in my entire scholastic career, i was banished for a week from the playground because of a terrible, awful thing i did: i played with the boys on the boys’ side. i am glad that this is no longer a practice at BC’s school. i suspect she is not playing with the boys at her age, if only because she hasn’t grown up with older boys. that’s ok. as long as she has the opportunity, i can live with that.

oh, and my punishment? well, they wanted me to sit on the pavement every single day for a week. in one of the great deus ex mama moments ever, my mother, a teacher at that school, suggested to the principal that my sentence be commuted to the library, where i could at least sit and read for the week. which mercifully, i did. (she thought it was a stupid rule, too, i guess.)

i love that BC is active and playing and having fun. and the girls on her team are so sweet! but there is a part of me that wonders whether the girls are so passive on the field precisely because they are just playing with other girls.

please, G-d, tell me i’m wrong or that a change is a’comin’. i don’t think i can take another season of daisy chains.

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Apr 18th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

danny federici, longtime keyboard player for bruce springsteen and the e street band, passed away yesterday from melanoma. it’s a tremendous loss, and i’m tearing up looking at the video on springsteen’s site, which shows phantom dan playing accordion on sandy one last time, weeks before his death:

i play piano, so i have always paid close attention to the keyboard players out there. and federici was a class act, whether he played glock, organ, or piano. and no one will ever play that solo in sandy like he did. it may be done note-for-note, but as far as i’m concerned, that’s his.

i will miss him.

garden state parkway boogie
Apr 15th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

the Post offers up a mini travelogue of New Jersey diners… well, those up Route 130, anyway. it’s amusing for me, as i have passed a zillion tour busses at Mastoris a gazillion times and i have eaten with my parents, kids, nieces, nephews, etc., at the Americana. (nice to know that the place i’ve taken my kids is the place with the good diner food. like there’s any difference?) i feel it’s part of my cultural legacy to take my kids to real diners when i’m up in the Garden State (home of my birth); otherwise, all they know of diners is the Silver Diner, a place for which i had high hopes but which i currently loathe.

when i’m doing the garden state parkway boogie in my mind, i think about my favorite diners. i remember olga’s diner in marlton, halfway between nowhere and somewhere. as i’ve mentioned in older posts, we drove to my grandparents’ in florida a few times a year, a 26+ hour drive back then. we’d start before dawn, and if we were really, really lucky, we’d stop at Olga’s for breakfast. yummy, yummy baked goods. all at 5 a.m. or whatever ungodly hour we showed up.

i think of the tick tock diner in clifton. i bet jimmy hoffa is gone because he ate here. i imagine that martha stewart has eaten here, considering she grew up not too far away. i know i’ve been here with friends; i think i stopped here with my cousin after we went on our ill-fated trip to studio 54. (i know. me + disco. what a combo.) i’m not entirely sure. it’s kind of a landmark of sorts of jersey diners.

all those diners on route 18 and route 9. you all looked alike. you all had similar menus. then, in the 1980s, you all renovated to look more like restaurants. all you did was end up becoming these mauve, stainless steel behemoths. i never understood why. perhaps it was your response to the reaganization of the nation.

in any event, i’ve eaten in them all.

but probably my favorite diner, bar none, is the somerset diner. every single rutgers student — and there are probably 50,000+ each year — has eaten here. come here at 3 a.m. and you’ll likely find it packed with drunk, formerly drunk, or the designated drivers of said drunk students, chowing down. having been among them, i am wildly proud to announce that i once ordered the happy waitress special one night at some insane hour of the morning. (it’s an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, and fries, but memory fails. yes, i ate bacon once upon a time.) at the time, i was deep in my existential phase of english major life. (i was also probably deep into several fuzzy navels.) i remember looking the waitress in the eye and asking her: why is it called the happy waitress special? does it make you especially happy to serve it? is it lighter to carry? or is there some other deep reason behind the nomenclature?

see, there’s this thing about diner waitresses (or waitrons?). they don’t exactly have a sense of humor. they don’t exactly suffer idiot college students gladly. (nor should they.) that woman glared at me, holding the plate near my head. and glared. and glared.

i am very lucky that the happy waitress special didn’t turn into the drunk college student hair accessory.

guilty pleasure monday: ballroom blitz (the sweet)
Apr 14th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

Are you ready, Steve? Aha.
Andy? Yeah! Mick? OK.
Alright, fellas, let’s gooooooooooooooooooooo!

it’s guilty pleasure monday! yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

recently, BS and i watched in horror as a man butchered sang his way through ballroom blitz, a classic mid-70s single from glam rockers the sweet (and then ultimately just sweet, which is what we all called them back in the day.) (why we were watching don’t forget the lyrics is a whole other question. but we love wayne brady and hope he finds a better outlet soon.) lots of people have covered this one, to be sure — i was surprised to learn that even the buzzcocks did. but on the bright side, it got me thinking about the sweet and all of the great hits we enjoyed back in the 1970s.

of course, sweet never became as huge here in america as they did in the UK, but i loved all of their bizarre hits, like little willy and one of my other faves, fox on the run (with it’s little synthesizer line. you gotta love when synthesizers jump into the world of glam. to me, mod is the ancestor of glam. wonder what would have happened if a very young pete townshend had gotten hold of one of those thangs in 1964…)

but i digress. per usual.

all of these, plus love is like oxygen, always seemed to be playing in the game room of the contemporary hotel at walt disney world. we managed to stop at WDW several times in the mid-late 1970s, as it was on our way to my grandparents’ home in south florida. somehow, my brothers and i always ended up playing pinball or air hockey there, back in the days when parents could actually allow their kids to wander around a hotel without worrying that their kid would be kidnapped by some nasty bastard. i even remember watching the disney movie song of the south, a racially insensitive film, there one evening. back then, people didn’t really think it was much more than the gentle musings of uncle remus, but i don’t think that movie has seen the light of day in at least 20 years, thanks to some nasty stereotyping which even i, a young lady of 9 or 10, could figure out, zip-a-dee-doo-dah not withstanding.

when we were at WDW last december, i saw that the game room has been closed. they’re going to use the space to make some sort of eatery. how sad. but if i ever return there, i will overlook the tired parents getting chicken nuggets for the wired children and instead, i’ll recognize sweet in my head, pounding out:

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
And the man at the back said
Everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said
Boy, I wanna warn ya, it’ll turn into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz

in your eyes
Apr 11th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

i’m writing this today because i have to. see, it’s my dad’s birthday, and i have to acknowledge this in print, as he is my most loyal reader. ever.

(hi, dad!)

i’ve written lots about my dad in this thing over the years, enough to make all his poker friends probably needle him if they ever saw this. in short, my dad has given me many, many things over the course of my life. three particular contributions, evident in this blog, are:

1) my love of music;

2) my occasional lefty windmill tilts; and,

3) my eyes.

yes, my eyes. those things you see at the top of the page. dad was probably wearing glasses in utero, (just kidding!) and by third grade, i was wearing them, too for my nearsightedness. i hated my glasses. i hated my glasses SO VERY MUCH. by eighth grade, i beggedbeggedBEGGED to wear contacts, and i did. i never looked back.

…until recently. jools has been digging spiderman comics; only, too bad for me: i can’t decipher the itty-bitty type. sorry, dude, i’d tell him, you’ll have to ask daddy to read tonight.

(actually, this was not necessarily a bad thing. you moms out there understand.)

lately, i’ve noticed that objects seem closer than they really are, and i’m not looking in a side-mirror, either. i’m hating the way BS drives, thinking he’s driving up the ass of the car in front of our’s. how on earth could this be happening to me! i’m only… er… a little over 29 35 39 the rainbow.

so today, i’ve gone and visited the eye doctor. and lookee, lookee:

i need reading glasses.

i can hardly wait to visit whole foods with jools so that he can help me pick out a pair. he’s an expert, as he tried on a zillion pairs of them one time when we were there. mommy, he asked with a rainbow pair perched atop his nose precariously, can i buy this pair?

honey, i replied, you have to be able to read to wear reading glasses.

truth be told, i can barely read a thing at the moment, as my eyes are dilated. (i can barely even see as i type this. i suspect it’s riddled with typos.) i’m awfully proud to tell you that i drove this way. i shopped in trader joe’s this way. i made another lands end return at sear’s this way. and i picked up my clean comforter at la lavanderia this way. i would tell you that i drove the speed limit, but i couldn’t read the sign so well. so i just tried to drive s l o w l y and with traffic.

in short: i can’t see a fucking thing at the moment, and it’s all thanks to you, daddy! so happy birthday!!!

friday i'm in love
Apr 9th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

somedays, a song follows you around for an entire day. and somedays, when you’re really, really lucky, you find out why in the end.

today, friday i’m in love followed me all around. (note to self: they’re preparing a bed for you at bellevue.)

i heard it on the radio around the time when i dropped BC off at school.

i heard it when i set rhapsody on random while i scrubbed the kitchen for the better part of the day. (i found evidence of a mouse yesterday. BS found an actual ex-mouse behind the stove. if that isn’t enough proof to all that i’m a terrible cook, then i just don’t know what. in short: move over, Raid. my cooking kills rodents. dead.)

i swear i even heard it at some point when i was driving BC to get a chest x-ray. or maybe it was just playing in my head, over and over. but i heard it. i know because i started mindlessly singing it:

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Oh, Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love

i remembered thinking, why the HELL am i singing this song? it’s not friday; not even close. i’ve spent most of my day cleaning my kitchen, crying because i had to discard some of my children’s artwork (i need to stop collecting every single piece of paper before i drown in it), freaking out wondering when the familia rodentia were next going to pay a visit, going to the doctor for some much needed antibiotics, and shuttling children for x-rays and afterschool classes. not a whole lotta love there to be felt.

in fact, based on my experience thus far, it should be something closer to:

Monday — yay, they found my vein,
Tuesday, Wednesday such a pain
Oh, Thursday won’t hear me complain
It’s Friday I’m on drugs

(yes, the week’s going swimmingly. and yours?)

and then, bedtime. thought i’d made it through the day and that i was safe from robert smith’s gothic clutches. but listen: i hear a tiny little voice:

I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday, I’m in love

it’s jools. somehow in his travels, he heard it, probably on BS’s mp3 player. (sometimes, those two listen to that instead of the radio when they commute together.) there was something so utterly weird and yet so utterly charming listening to a little boy singing those words.

we listened again — this time, on his rockabye baby: the cure CD. maybe looking at the cure might give a kid a nightmare, but somehow, their songs work so beautifully as nighttime treasures. especially, of course, when sung by my little dude.

it’s wednesday. and i’m in love.

missing you
Apr 8th, 2008 by wrekehavoc


mommy is home today without you. i know, i know: it’s tuesday, and tuesday is our day together. but since i didn’t get much done last week with you in my back pocket; and since i have wall-to-wall kids next week (thanks to a teacher workday, a jools-day-tuesday, and a day in the country a trip way out west to visit a pulmonary specialist for your sister), i thought it best that i try to accomplish a thing or two this week. plus, i must confess, i still am not feeling better yet, and yesterday’s IVIG treatment hasn’t yet worked its magic on my upper respiratory infection. it’s not exactly a mommy’s vacation; but i’m hoping i get something done and even get a little rest in between coughs.

so i went to whole foods today, just like you and i always do on tuesdays. i passed through the produce department, something that you always enjoy because you like pointing out all the fruits you find “disgusting” (and the few vegetables that you actually like.) i sauntered through the poultry and meat section, which you always hate because of the smell. next, the health and beauty aisle, where you and i always try out hand cream and decide which ones we like best. (i tried a nonscented one today since you weren’t there to tell me whether it smelled good or not.) i bought pita chips, remembering the fun we had last week making hummus and scooping it up with them. you know, we were together 24/7; and while we didn’t do a ton of consequence, i think we had fun. we even picked up a tiny bit, and you were able to do the cleaning chore you relish: cleaning the toilets. what you lack in thorough details, you make up for with gusto.

dude, i know you are currently abiding your time at school. but i’m missing you right now. somehow, tuesday is a day to hang together; and i realize that our tuesdays are going to be ending come september. tuesday has been a day for me and your sister or a day for me and you since BC was very, very small, and i negotiated a four-day work week for that very purpose. i like our days together.

i like the tempo of the days, the slow-motion, conscious moments we share. we may not be talking of anything of consequence, but we. are. there.

and right now, you aren’t. and i’m sad.

i think i’ll go put on nick jr. while i vacuum and pretend you’re here.

ni hao, kai-lan is just not supposed to bring me to tears.

guilty pleasure monday: stuck in the middle with you (stealers wheel)
Apr 7th, 2008 by wrekehavoc

i’m stuck in the middle of the 1970s in guilty pleasure mondayville. there is SO MUCH fodder from the 1970s that i could cite. i may cite it all yet. (i’m sure you can’t wait.)

in fact, i should probably nominate my brother larry to write a guest column for guilty pleasure mondays. there is no one else who likes really awful 1970s music more. (yes, if there were a museum for bad 1970s music, he’d be the master curator — only he likes most of it.) and besides, y’all need to meet larry. he is the smartest, funniest, and nicest one of we three kids.

now that i think of it, it may even become my mission to make His Laziness Mr. Attila the Hun my beloved middle brother contribute a guilty pleasure one day, if only because it will give me hours of fun. and a day off 😉

in the meantime, i bring you a song i absolutely adore and have done since i first heard it on my friend jeanne’s jukebox: stuck in the middle with you by stealers wheel. i actually had two friends who had jukeboxes in their basements; but as i spent a lot more time in jeanne’s basement, i had a much greater familiarity with her jukebox, filled with lots of 1970s hits — as it was the 1970s at the time — and, much to jeanne’s chagrin, her ballet recital record. yes, a parent in that house had a good sense of humor and stuck the 45 (remember those?) in the last jukebox slot. whenever i wanted to piss jeanne off, i would press it. she’d go spare.

but i digress. per usual.

i don’t think much else happened to this UK band after this hit, which has been covered by at least one jillion different groups; but a few years later, the lead singer, gerry rafferty, ended up with a few hits of his own; but this early 70s group put out a song with an unforgettable guitar riff… so unforgettable that sheryl crow stole it in all i wanna do. (lucky for my girl sheryl, i love that song. and considering her brilliant choice in first names — spelled correctly, no less — it is difficult for me to get too annoyed by the creative ripoff. instead, i will consider it an homage to this earlier work.)

but why, why, WHY did quentin tarantino have to go and ruin it all by using it in a lighthearted scene in that fun, rascally romp known as reservoir dogs?

yeah. i’m definitely asking larry to write a column. i need the time to get certain images out of my brain.

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