I took Friday off from work, and Toney and I had some low-wattage plans for the day, starting with an appointment with our accountant at 10 a.m. to discuss our taxes. It’s not good, my friends. We owe a thousand bucks. She already told us that much over the phone. But following that unpleasantness, we were going to go to lunch and just spend the day out ‘n’ about. It was going to be nice.
But… it snowed like a bastard. Probably the biggest snow of the winter, and it had been spring-like only hours before. Man, that really roasts my beef. I’ve officially had it with this crap. There haven’t been any truly apocalyptic scenarios, thankfully. But it’s been just enough to fuck up your day, over and over and over again. It’s annoying.
So, we canceled with the accountant and shoveled instead. It was unsatisfactory. The wind was blowing really hard, sending arctic blasts up the front of my shirt and jacket, across my shoulders, and down my back. You could literally feel it on the move. So, funk dat. I told the boys they needed to finish it. They’ll do anything we ask, they just never volunteer. Never. But they got to do the remaining 75% of it on Friday.
And the snow just kept falling. The roads were a disaster, but I was determined to at least get us some Chinese food for lunch. So, after the driveway was finished, Toney called in an order. This is how the conversation started:
Toney: Oh, I was just calling to see if you’re open.
Chinese food guy: We always open!!
I had a hard time getting off our street, but once I escaped the neighborhood the roads were a little better. I was sliding all over the place, but my ludicrous little Suzuki wind-up car does a pretty good job. I decided I’d get cocky with it and swing by the beer store before I picked up the food. It was treacherous, but I made it. While I was in there some bombastic mustachioed man with a camouflage baseball cap and Herman Munster boots came crashing in and yelled, “It’s fucking ridiculous out there!” Then he apologized for his language, which I found amusing. And for those of you keeping score at home, he bought a 30 pack of Miller Lite.
The Chinese food guy always calls me “Mr. Jeff,” and he also apologized, ’cause my order wasn’t quite ready. So, I stood and watched their cat with the waving arm, as they messed around with their shooting flames, etc. It’s like a goddamn steel mill back there, with all the smelting and whatnot.
After he handed me my food I told him I was putting some money in the tip jar. “I’m telling you about it because I want to get credit for it. Sometimes people don’t notice, and I don’t like that,” I joked. But he didn’t understand, and just stood there smiling.
The food was great, as usual, and then we got to sit around the house for the rest of the day. It makes me insane. If it’s my choice to be a lazy sack, then it’s different. But when I’m forced into sackism, I don’t care for it.
The wind continued to howl, and later in the day, Verizon shit the bed. We couldn’t make or receive calls for hours. On the TV news, they told us to use a landline if we need to call 911 or walk to the nearest fire station. It didn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. If I’m having a heart attack I have to walk to the fire station? Doesn’t seem ideal. It came back up around 11 pm.
People got stranded on the interstate again, the National Guard was called into action, and they somehow decided to give the storm a name: Riley. That’s another thing that irritates me. They’re naming snowstorms now? Stoopid.
That evening Toney and I watched a few episodes of MasterChef season 4, and I watched two episodes of Mad Dogs on Amazon Prime after she went to bed. That was fun. I plan to watch all ten episodes. Have you seen it? I’m enjoying it. Good stuff.
When I scheduled the day off, I had visions of how it was going to be and it was NOTHING like that. It seems to work out that way quite often. Do your days off ever correspond with the pre-vision of them inside your head? Mine are generally way off and worse, much worse. I’m always optimistic about my days off, for some unknown reason, and often come away disappointed. Are you honest with your day off visions? More honest than I am?
And one final thing. While I was in the deepest throes of sackism on Friday, I purchased the first two Lynyrd Skynyrd CDs from Amazon. I like the original Skynyrd, and you can file a lawsuit if you have a problem with it. But it occurred to me that I still do some things that could be considered old-fashioned. Like buying CDs for instance. For a Question I’d like to know what things you do that some people might consider old-fashioned? Use the comment section to bring us up to date on it, and I need to go to work now.
Have a great day, my friends!
I’ll see you again soon.
Now playing in the bunker
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I still think the first two LS albums are the best. I still buy cds. I also actually watch TV shows when they are on.
The Original Wordnerd says
Conspiracy theory here regarding your named snowstorms. Three words: Named Storm Deductible. State Farm gets to charge us 5% of the insured value of our house as the deductible if the disaster is named. 2% otherwise. Do the math.
Surreal Killer says
I just did. 5 percent is like 3 more than 2 percent. I’ve got a PhD.
5% is a 150% increase over 2%. No PhD here.
In the Fibonacci sequence with seed values (0,1) (the “standard” Fibonacci sequence), 2 is the fourth term and 5 is the sixth. When you get two Fibonacci numbers duking it out it’s usually a barnburner. No PhD, no MS, no possum, no sop, no taters.
Surreal Killer says
I shaved with Occam’s razor this morning
Well, that should make shaving simple.
Don’t let old Bill find out. He might come after you.
I do love some fibonacci in cream sauce. With clams if they’re good today.
1) When your middle name is “of”, I don’t think you’re in a position to give people shit about whose razor they use, and
2) To determine the best time to harvest any accompaniment to fibonacci, just check out the Fibonacci Quarterly.
I still buy CD’s.
I liked Mad Dog from what I can remember of it. Watched it because it was free and Shawn Ryan was involved.
I liked Mad Dog when taking lunch in high school. T J Swan would also do the trick.
Surreal Killer says
I played 9 holes of golf on Saturday afternoon in a t-shirt. Woke up Sunday morning and spent about 2.5 hours shoveling a little over a foot of snow around the property, clearing a rather long set of stairs, sidewalk, and driveway out back. Springtime in the Rocky Mtns is always a little weird.
if you don’t already have it pick up skynyrd’s One More From The Road deluxe CD. recorded before the plane crash with the regular guys
I also rather like Skynyrd’s First: The Complete Muscle Shoals album.
(Pronounced ‘L?h-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)
Being cool on the radio… “Lyn-Skin”.
I still go old school when doing my taxes. It is a ritual, put on a Yes album (vinyl, not CD) and go through the process. No software, no one else doing it, it’s one of the things I refuse to give up.
I’m also a DIY tax returner. It takes me an entire weekend (living in two states and owning two houses and renting out another two, plus my own business and investments so it is now almost 70 pages for federal and state forms), but there is fierce pride involved here and enormous satisfaction when the checks come in. A CPA once quoted me $750 to do the lot, but that can be the size of my refund sometimes, so no way.
I have a pair of rabbit ears hooked up to my 55-inch 4K UHD TV. That’s how I watch local TV. And if it doesn’t come in well I get up and I maneuver the rabbit ears manually like my grandfather must have back in 1958 until it does.
Same here. Never have gotten NBC though. Or Grit. I have to emerge from my
Lair and utilize the living room for that.
As a guy who was maneuvering rabbit ears in 1958, I find myself doing so again. I find it mildly interesting that the TV reception is highly correlated with very low and very high pressure weather systems moving through the Great Pacific Northwest: My television has turned into a kind of flat-screen barometer and, as a bonus, it shows old episodes of House and The Wire from time to time. Old men forget, but the rabbit ear dance endures.
I don’t think this is old-fashioned, but I pack a vintage John McCain model 2003 LG flip phone. It sends and receives calls and texts, and keeps on ticking. My monthly bill is very low and, well, it’s a fucking John McCain autograph model. A man could do worse.
And just for the record, I’m well beyond the child-bearing years and have stopped using a UHD.
Do you arrange foil on the rabbit ears? I always found that amusing.
I’ve tried attaching small pieces off my hat, but I keep receiving the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Could the foil impart some kind of signal delay — 50 years give or take?
48.6 years according to my hat…
I thought Mad Dogs was great. It left me wanting more.
We flew down to Disney on Saturday. Disney now has beer and booze in all the parks but the Magic Kingdom. whoohoo! I dont want to start a fight with the other Surf Reporters but I think those who bad mouth the place have never been here or came with kids during the busy season. This is the happiest place on earth. Oh can’t forget, we are having a blast playing “Name the Trauma”
We made the terrible mistake of doing Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve in 2015. That’s also our anniversary, and by the end of that awful day we were seriously discussing divorce. They set everyone loose with free noisemakers starting at 5 pm (think vevoozela only more obnoxious and more of them, and 15,000 kids perfectly happy to sound them off continuously). Migraine inducing. We wound up leaving the park before the fireworks, not speaking to each other (I can’t even remember the reason for the argument).
Our oldest son convinced us to get to TGI Friday’s for a beer and a kiss before midnight, so we’re still together…
Disneyland on New Years Eve is no joke. The last time I ever did LSD was in Disneyland on New Yews Eve in 1980. Talk about sensory overload. Holy shitballs! The fireworks were fantastic that night, though. That’s when I realized I was getting to old for both Disneyland and LSD.
Holy Jesus, Skip. My buddies and I used to freak out just going to the Dairy Queen, telling each other to “act normal”, then all hitting the door at the same time, making sort of a Three Stooges entrance. I just can’t imagine Disney and fireworks.
Old fashioned stuff I do…listen to the radio, an FM station out of eastern Long Island, WLNG. It’s still has that early 60’s patter w/jingles and the music is a good selection from 1950 thru 2000. I also read a real newspaper every day. I can’t get comfortable with the digital version. The same holds for my Kindle,…books still feel better to me. I also present a firm handshake when needed. Getting a limp, “sack of room temperature cold cuts” handshake in return is still uncommonly disturbing to me. It’s not a man/woman thing either…I know a number of ladies with handshakes stronger than Romanian bricklayers.
Snow shoveling…? You’re paying it forward for the nice summer days. Beer and Chinese food is good pay back for all that lifting and throwing. Mad Dogs is a disturbing but entertaining series. Enjoy and endure.
WOW rar, I’m a HUGE WLNG fan! Discovered this little treasure by accident and now I listen all the time.
This is the kind of radio station that will have a playlist consisting of Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and then something like Vicki Lawrence The Night that the Lights Went out in Georgia followed by doo wop. No rhyme or reason – just pure enjoyment.
madz – I owe you a review of the Bruce on Broadway show and I will get to it, I promise, but I am still digesting the experience and every day since, a new thought (or two) comes to me about just how special it was.
EXCELLENT! Can’t wait to hear all about it, Malcolm!
OK this is LONG, so I apologize. But it was fun to write and so many people have asked that I will most likely post it to FB as well.
Springsteen on Broadway – a review.
First and foremost, this is a VERY different show than Bruce has ever performed previously. It is a true theatrical experience, tightly scripted and timed, with superior sound, lighting, and set design. It is at or above the high Broadway standard for professionalism, and yet Bruce also made it deeply personal and intimate for each of the 939 members of the audience. The set was that of a warehouse or the backstage of a theatre, with sound equipment cases stacked in front of a tall, wide, grayish-brown, windowless brick wall. He was lit mostly from two spots, one from the right side of the stage and one from very high up center stage. It worked because it made him seem mysterious and somewhat mystical. He talked a lot about the “magic trick” of revealing himself, getting to know himself and his audiences, and how difficult that has been throughout his career. The show’s scenery and lighting provided a canvas for that revelation over the next 2 hours and 15 minutes.
As a long time fan who first saw Bruce on the “Chicken Scratch” tour of summer 1976 and has missed only 3 tours in 42 years (Tunnel of Love, Ghost of Tom Joad, and the Seeger Sessions), I was enthralled from start to finish with readings from his autobiography and the song arrangements. Many songs were surprisingly effective reworkings.
I sat six rows back to the left of the stage on the aisle. I was lucky to win a Ticketmaster lottery to buy expensive but very good seats – the couple next to us paid $2000 per ticket on an online auction site, which was a almost a factor of three higher in price. My seat placed me about 30 feet from the artist when he was on the guitar, a bit further away when he was playing piano.
The Set List:
1. Growin’ Up
2. My Hometown
3. My Father’s House
4. The Wish
5. Thunder Road
6. The Promised Land
7. Born in the U.S.A.
8. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
9. Tougher Than the Rest
10. Brilliant Disguise
11. Long Walk Home
12. The Rising
13. Dancing In the Dark
14. Land of Hope and Dreams
15. Born to Run
Each song was punctuated by Bruce reading an excerpt from his autobiography, Born to Run. I had just finished the book three days before the show and I am still conflicted as to whether it would have been better to hear his words for the first time at the show, or, as it happened, to listen to his elocution of passages I had already read and made up my mind about. What’s done is done.
The first four songs formed a worthy introduction to his life before a record contract. Growin’ Up is one of my favorite Bruce songs and he made me feel I was hearing it for the first time. It was a perfect leadoff, with several anecdotes about his reaction to Elvis, his first guitar and how, even after ditching it, “he smelled blood.” My Hometown was lovingly reinterpreted for the piano and described Freehold New Jersey perfectly (although he did joke about trying so hard, and for so many years, to get away and now living 10 minutes from the house he grew up in). My Father’s House (on guitar) and The Wish (on piano) were dedicated to memories of his father and mother respectively. These were both funny and poignant; worthy dedications to his early family life.
The next four songs formed and interpreted his experience with fame and fortune, as well as leading a band. An uplifting guitar and harmonica version of Thunder Road described his escape from New Jersey perfectly – the romance of a young person’s dreams for the future are perfectly embodied in these lyrics. For me, the high point of the show came next: a marvelous reworking of The Promised Land as a folksy ballad. And for the closing chorus, Bruce did a remarkable thing: he walked out in front of the microphone and sang softly, over and over, “and I believe in a promised land…” without amplification of his voice and barely strumming the guitar. Not a single peep from the audience. Here is where I thought “oh my god he’s done it – he took almost a thousand people and made each of them feel like he was singing to them in their living room.” I am man enough to admit that I teared up here.
Next up was his experience avoiding the Vietnam draft, with a slide guitar version of Born in the USA. Well executed but somehow it felt like a shorter version than I have heard previously – maybe less of the final chorus? It did not feel rushed, though. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out was about the band, and more specifically about Clarence. This song was another reinvention – done solo on the piano, with three “Clarence!” shout outs with the audience at the end. He was careful to let us know with his body language that our participation was appreciated and wanted, but now…back to Broadway.
Bruce’s wife Patti Scialfa then joined him on stage for two numbers. The first of these, Tougher Than the Rest (with Bruce on piano) was well done and although Bruce always looks slightly uncomfortable on this instrument, he pulled it off well. Patti’s harmonies complemented the melody well. The second song was Brilliant Disguise, with the two of them on guitar and vocals. This was the only part of the evening that seemed “ordinary”, in that the arrangement was fairly standard and could be compared (favorably) with versions from previous “full band” shows.
Everyone knows that Bruce is both political and left-leaning, so it should be no surprise that at some point in the evening, he would discuss the current situation. He lamented the return to the landscape of memories of the 1960’s race riots that he thought we were well past, and then went into a guitar-based, hard strumming version of Long Walk Home. It was lyrically understated and well-received. This was followed by a rip-roaring version of the Rising without very much talk in between. At the close of this song he seemed to be channeling to us the words “here endeth the lesson,” without saying a word.
The final three songs formed an excellent trilogy for a final act: First a fun, acoustic guitar only version of Dancing in the Dark (did you ever think you would hear THAT?). It’s clear that Bruce worked very hard on this arrangement: he even got the guitar hook to mimic the synthesizer sequence of the original record. It did not look easy to play and yet it came out perfect: playful, sexy, and as much fun as ever. Next up was Land of Hope and Dreams, which was simplified, shorter, but well arranged for acoustic guitar and brought the mood in the room even higher.
Ditto for Born To Run, which came last (did we think we would get out of the building before hearing it?), also on acoustic guitar but arranged much truer to the original than you might think it could be. By now he has played that song 10,000 times, but he can still belt it out like it is the first.
Taking his bows, we were allowed to take photos (finally), and both he and Patti were gracious to stay out on stage as long as they did. He clearly enjoyed the more intimate setting of the 3-level Walter Kerr theatre. His spoken words were funny, eloquent, and well-meaning, demonstrating that there is more than a little acting talent in him, should he ever decide to go down that road.
I do hope that eventually there will be a recording and video of this show. It was his life story, and I have been along for the ride for most it so it was fun to listen to new arrangements of familiar music. His story is very American, and he understands that inside out. I was very appreciative of the additional insight into the persona that this show (and his book) provided.
P.S. There were apparently a few previous shows where Patti was hospitalized with the flu, and Brilliant Disguise was substituted with Ghost of Tom Joad. Otherwise the show is played strictly to the set list above, five nights a week until June.
Agreed, great review. Love Tom Joad. Rage Against the Machine did it justice, as well.
Indeed. Tom Morello’s solo from Tom Joad during the 2014 tour is one of the best you will ever hear – the audience in Raleigh was gasping. Another great solo from his band is Nils Lofgren’s work on Youngstown from an earlier tour.
Malcolm, this review gave chills. Excellent review. You should submit this to the NY times.
Thanks madz, that is very flattering.
FYI, NYT reviewed the show in previews last October. It was a very general description of the show although also overwhelming positive. I wanted to give more specifics about what made it so good, hence the long review.
The take home message from the NYT piece was how special it was that he can take his entire catalog and present it, again, using a unique platform, so that even his oldest fans find something new. Few artists have this great skill.
I was very lucky to have been in the audience (and so close!). If you do the math, only about 150,000 people (max, some I’m sure double dip) will see this show (if it ends on schedule in June). That amounts to about 6 arena shows.
A true fan should definitely write the reviews. You honestly captured the whole essence of the show. Send a copy to Bruce via the theater. If not, I will! (PS and if he gives you 4 more tickets, I’ll meet you down there!)
madz – I was not able to reply to your last message – how would I submit the review to the theatre? Also, I have polished it one more time and I think it reads even better now…
Walter Kerr Theatre
219 W 48th St
New York, NY 10036
Attn: Bruce Springsteen
He probably gets a lot of fan mail there. Hey, *I* think it’s worth a shot
The named winter storm thing is a Weather Channel invention.
Old fashioned stuff: I knit and sew and type with all my fingers – not just my index fingers.
We got no snow here in the DMV on Friday. What we did get was winds in excess of 60mph. I received a bonus gift of roof damage, which was much appreciated.
Speaking of involuntary sackism, the government facility where I work was closed today, and pretty much nobody was allowed to go to work. But my actual employer – a contractor – required each of us to take a vacation (PTO) day.
Old-fashioned things: I run sendmail. I buy CDs and even the occasional LP. I read paper books and listen to the radio. I use email. I still have an actual landline phone, the kind that works when the power is out.
I still subscribe to an actual paper newspaper…but probably not for long if the slackers can’t start bringing it before I leave for work. Was never a problem for years, now they have some “delivery service” which it turns out is a real misnomer. Also still have a landline, still dress relatively appropriately for an office work environment, unlike the new breed of youngsters. And I still hold the door for ladies, equality be damned.
I have the same problem with scheduled days off. Not only do they not go as planned, myself, one of my kids, or both, usually get sick, too.
Nicely played, universe.
Almost everything I do is old-fashioned, but I don’t buy CDs.
My old flip phone is so old hipsters think it’s cool.
No cable teevee – we have ugly lil antenna stuck behind one of the arts on our wall that we can adjust to hang out behind other art if primary art isn’t cutting it in the reception department. It is a glamorous as it sounds.
PAPER BOOKS. I got a Nook for my 50th birthday and never got the hang of it.
I own no ‘device.’ If I want to go someplace that requires directions, I WRITE THEM DOWN and then go.
Or tell my car partner to look it up. The rest of my family are very tech-friendly.
I love actual books too, but the Nook is great because I can stick it in my purse. If I’m reading something huge (like The Stand, for instance) I might have a harder time carrying it everywhere. I got the Nook that looks like an actual page rather than the one that’s like a tablet. I have a low tolerance for boredom so I need reading material accessible at all times.
Phil Jett says
Still buy CDs and listen to my LPs.
I install/repair all electrical and plumbing in our house myself. I spent an entire day at my son’s house showing him how to remove the water from his flooded basement, remove the padding and dry and reinstall the carpeting. No calling Stanley Steemer.
I still masturbate to magazines, no videos. Dad had every Playboy since #1 and I inherited them when he died. I continued until they ended the nudes and didn’t pick it back up when it was restored by Hef’s son.
Not Oprah says
Thanks for the LOL! Reminds of a comedian who said he used to sneak away with the Sears catalogue and go through the undie section. He was complaining about how kids these days have it easy with the internet and how he was just getting used to searching for the Sears catalogue on-line.
Janrinn in Fall City says
Have you watched the Great British Baking Show on Netflix? They only showed 4 seasons here in the US of A. I loved that show!
It’s on the web to download as the Great British Bake Off, soggy bottoms and all. Excellent show.
I thought that’s where the State Department was.
Good one John.
Within the last four hours, I went to the WVSR Amazon link and purchased a CD and a paper book. Also some rack screws (with cage nuts!) and, inexplicably, several spray bottles.
I still write, in cursive, a bunch of Christmas cards every year. I don’t receive as many, but it’s a tradition I can’t let go of. Yet.
Root 66 says
Old-Fashioned things I still do:
-I write physical checks for my bills. I don’t like the idea of every Tom, Dick and Harry having their grimy meat hooks in my bank account. I’ll send you money when I darn-well feel like it, thanks!
-I still have maps in the car. Turn-by-turn GPS stuff gets on my last nerve. I’ve asked my kids where something was and their answer is, “I don’t know, I just followed Siri!” Really? Learn how to read a dog-gone map, fer-cryin’-out-loud!
-It’s also been mentioned above, but I too use rabbit ears for the boob tube. I really don’t watch much television, so cable seems a waste of money to me. I seldom watch anything except stuff from our rather large collection of DVDs…hmmmmm, maybe that’s old-fashioned, too! Oh well.
-Doing “Apple Pay” or whatever and holding your phone over a cash register to pay is also waaaay beyond me. I mainly use a debit card, but I even carry cash–AND coins. How old-fashioned is that?!?
Gee, it seems like I do a lot of old-fashioned things…maybe I’m just becoming an old coot! 🙁
For the most part, I hand write checks, too.
And I still consult an actual dictionary.
I also enjoy studying maps and road atlases.
OMG I’m a decrepit antique.
Root 66 says
Here’s what’s strange–these weren’t old-fashioned things when we started doing them!
True – it’s not like we’re cooking a yak over an open hearth.
But I wouldn’t rule it out!
It’s better poached: In a six foot Griswold cast iron skillet, melt a pat of butter and add five or six bottles of an insulting little French red wine . . . . . .
Our local “fancy” steak restaurant was offering yak burgers when we went a few weeks ago. I pondered, but decided against it and went with the wild boar sausage instead, followed by the obligatory bison filet. Both were excellent.
I still buy CDs. In fact, Mr. Sixto Rodriquez should be in my mailbox Thursday.
Rabbit ears on 20+ yr old tv, use old flip phone, I watch Lawrence Welk, and love
Disco. Still can roll a mean joint.
I do enjoy a little old-time western swing on occasion, which some people consider old-fashioned. Maybe some Bob Wills or Hot Cub of Cowtown, or even Merle Travis. Hey, here’s Junior Brown now, with a heart-tugging tale of almost unforgotten lust:
Asleep at the Wheel turned me on to western swing. Never did get to hear them live.
Speaking of Verizon shitting the bed, my old-fashioned land line failed the other month. It was a while before I noticed; what clued me in was the dearth of telemarketing calls. When I called repair service, they agreed to fix it, as expected. They also silently put in the repair order as an “upgrade” to fiber. I found out and put the nix on that shit. They repaired the copper, and I’m back to my heaven of bill collectors looking for the previous custodians of this phone number.
Anyway, the fiber fix is in. I’ve pulled the trigger and ordered fios. This will be less money than my current internet setup, and 100 times the speed. It could be awesome, or a nightmare. I’ll know in about a week.
I am soooo jealous! The worst part about living in the sticks is we can’t get a
fast internet connection. Me and my wife miss World of Warcraft ever so much.
We feel as though we have been banished from the realm.
Use a landline?
There isn’t even a land line wire piped into my house. It’s cell phones or stand on the roof shouting.
I was just checking, then I remembered: damn, it’s Ron Jeremy’s birthday.
Also known as Spiny Norman.
When I’ve been worrying too much about psychopaths with H-bombs and incoherent agendas, sometimes I just need to lean back and listen to Mose Allison. Then it starts to get a little better.