Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Terrifying World

Jack Handey characterized the frankness of children thusly: "The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face." But frankness in childhood expression doesn't stop with speech.

The thing I enjoy most about finding uncommissioned artwork my children have created is how surprising it can be. Unlike the feeble gimmicks commonly called shock art, these pieces shock and arouse adults with an honest portrayal of reality from a child's perspective, even when the subject matter is derivative and the talent undeveloped.

The world contains terror alongside beauty and innocence, and Charles Schulz would agree. His comics are full of the fantastic such as Charlie Brown's clothes being removed by a line drive or Snoopy flying atop his doghouse. Being somewhat familiar with these famous images, I was nevertheless unnerved by my 11-year-old son's interpretation of a rather helpless Charlie Brown being terrorized by a Lucy who is twice his size and relentlessly pummeling him with a sound-cloud of insults.

"Stupid, dope, wishy-washy, lame, weak, dumb, lousy, wimp, idiot!" I asked my son about the picture; I said "Wow, this looks more like child abuse than a Peanuts comic. I've never felt so bad for Charlie Brown. Is she actually picking him up?" He just sort of smiled and calmly explained that Lucy is indeed picking Charlie Brown up, shaking him up and down, and yelling those names at him.

Lucy isn't just a mean, bossy girl here. She's an evil thug with ugliness to match. Charlie Brown isn't just the neighborhood loser. He's a victim of violence....

His sketch probably suffers a bit from insecurity and girl-fear in his 11-year-old mind, but probably not an abnormal amount. He recently played Charlie Brown in his school's production of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and perhaps his artwork was his way of helping himself relate to the character. I hope I'm worrying too much about his state-of-mind, fear of bossy girls, etc. and I'm fairly sure I am. My world is full of surprises, and I'm much more hopeful for my 11-year-old son than I am for Charlie Brown.

Here's to good surprises in the New Year.

End of year guilty pleasure is...

Squirrel Bait with Kick the Cat!


It's a harsh toke buddy but you're messing with your life when the sun's shining hot the devil's beating your wife you can take to the window to see where she's at you can do all this and kick the cat I was feeling too good it wasn't right at all and it smelled like gasoline and it smelled like exhaust I need to get my head on straight so I can screw it up all the better next time the heap the home the bed whatever you'd say it's been it hold the smell and you won't soon slide back in you can take to the roof to see where she's at you can do all this and kick the cat.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


A lot of people in the world of iTunes have (re-)discovered the Beatles since their music, originally recorded in a studio named Apple Records, is now finally available on Apple's music service.

Now their is a bombardment of playlists of the Beatles Most Psychedelic Songs, The Beatles Evolution, The Best Beatles Songs to Cook By, Beatles Songs for your next Garden Party, Beatles Songs to Make Baby Smart, etc. Neat.

Now I love the Beatles as much as a rock-fan needs to, but I'm having my post-Christmas Day grouchies and so I'm working on a playlist called Worst Beatles Songs and Covers, Volume 1. I will post a link to it when I'm done. In the meantime please relate any submissions in the combox. Don't bother with Wild Honey Pie, You Know My Name or the monstrous Revolution 9. They're on the list already. Revolution 9 will be at the end—the grand finale. (A friend of mine used to refer to the White Album as "the height of the Beatles' drug abuse.")

The thing is that if you are wildly successful you can produce some pretty awful stuff, and it gets released because, well, after all you're the Beatles or "Paul and the boys were having a laugh" or "John was high" or "Wow, they're pushing the boundaries!", etc. Yes, but it's still awful.

I will also include little known Beatles covers by people who obviously thought if they performed a popular song by a popular band it would be GREAT. I remember how difficult it was to maintain my poker face back in my band days when someone spoke in awe of a local band who could "cover the Beatles AND Pink Floyd". OK, sure, man.... The fact is these guys wrote songs, and good musicians can play them and they will sound good if they are good songs. (For instance...) In other words, if they are not the songs on my list. Again—the claim that "awe, you can tell he/she/they was/were joking" will be summarily dismissed.

Love that analog delay and reverb, man.

Maybe I will do a Worst of Pink Floyd playlist sometime. But I don't know if there's a time limit on playlists. I might have to get out the editing software and do one called First 45 seconds of the Worst Pink Floyd Songs.