p.s. Neil Diamond

p.s. Neil Diamond was "the bomb," as they say in 2008. There was an overlong (and frankly unwelcome) bird interlude somewhere in the middle, staged to a video loop of swooping pigeons 'neath azure skies, along with some number I'd never heard before about a bunch of random people whose only connection to each other was that they were "done too soon." This was essentially a worse version of "You Didn't Start the Fire," itself one of the worst songs in the history of the world, only Neil's list included, for some reason, John Wilkes Booth. Now "done too soon" is the sort of nonsense tautology that could apply to literally every person who has ever walked the earth (you seldom hear "he lived exactly the right number of years" when somebody croaks), except for someone like Hitler or Idi Amin or, of course, John Wilkes Booth. It wouldn't even occur to me that this was debatable. At first I thought perhaps I misheard a lyric, but there was JWB's face in the corresponding montage video, which actually made it worse. And then I wondered why nobody ever brought this up to Neil. It made me concerned for him a little, that he hadn't realized what he was putting down in song was weird and unwise, and that nobody around him thought to mention it. In the end I guess I don't care about it all that much, except for being a thousand percent sure I don't need to hear any of those songs ever again.

Me shouting to Groucho during the bird segment: "This is like a Christopher Cross video."

Groucho shouting back to me circa John Wilkes Booth: "This must have been a low point in his career."

Here's where our faces tell the story of joy, followed by concern and confusion:

I realize I sound pretty harsh, but there was an entire row of very drunk forty-something men and women sitting right behind us who were enthusiastic about Neil Diamond in all the wrong ways, and even though Groucho and The Old Man and I were appropriately behaved, it sort of colored my enjoyment of the whole affair. The lesson here is sure, have your fun, but also don't use that fun in an oppressive and encroaching way—through kicks in the back of the head and non-stop chatter and the repeated middle-aged screeching of the made-up word "beautimous"—to fuck it up for others. I can't even believe I have to type that out loud, but there you have it. 2017.

He did sing all my faves, though, and wrapped it up with "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," which I hope we can all agree is a pure and unfettered force for good in the world.

Rock on! Enjoy your diamonds while you can! etc.

At the weekend: in the burbs

People always ask me when I visit "Chicago" if I actually want to go "into Chicago" and I almost always say no. I prefer leaving one large city and immersing myself in the burbs of another: it reminds me of many happy former and hopefully future days. I know the burbs are full of chain stores and strip malls and cars and teens, but there are also good people and wide lawns and cool neighborhoods and really tasty tacos and pizza and beer. Obviously, hating on the suburbs or thinking there's only one legitimate place to live a fulfilled life says more about the person doing the hating than it does about any geolocation in question, IMHO. OOO. YMMV! Your life is yours, live it wherever you want.

So I got to do many of my favorite things in the suburbs this weekend:

  1. Stay in a big hotel room overlooking both a shopping mall and a major tollway
  2. Lie on a hotel room bed for hours drinking free room coffee and enjoying hotel wifi while watching Fixer Upper & Friends & a Search Party marathon on an enormous flatscreen TV before meeting my actual friends for meals
  3. Drive around for hours in a rental car with the air conditioning AND the radio cranked up way past the point of logic and comfort
  4. Purchase a lot of goods I probably don't need but probably won't regret, even though I just read and loved this whole article about how every single thing you buy is future garbage. I spent my money wisely on quality items/future garbage that will see me through many summers and storms, and most of it was on sale. I'm not really a bargain shopper but this is America and bargains never hurt.
  5. See actual friends!
  6. Eat in restaurants 3x a day
  7. Eat tacos
  8. Shop at Target
  9. Drive thru multiple drive-thrus
  10. See Neil Diamond!
Sorry my feet look so weird but I did move my bra out of the frame

Sorry my feet look so weird but I did move my bra out of the frame

I drove past no fewer than six of my former apartments Saturday morning while listening to XRT and knocking back a tall Starbucks Cold Brew (which isn't half bad!). Then I met CV for tacos at one of my favorite joints, and we each had two carne asada tacos and Diet Coke and shared the medium guacamole, and it was glorious. A family of four came in while we there and one of the little girls ordered her carne asada tacos with just carne asada, no fixin's, which was a bold move, and my heartlight faxed hers a silent salute of respect. CV ordered hers with onion and cilantro/no sour cream and I ordered mine with everything. We all made choices and walked away winners.

Here's a tally of things I've abandoned in hotel rooms over the years, deliberately:

  1. Bridesmaid dresses
  2. Ill-fitting shoes
  3. Useless, too-small luggage
  4. Shirts
  5. Crushed hats

I realize this is shabby behavior, but I can't feel guilty about everything. Sorry I'm not always the world's best person. I did buy a new hat at Nordstrom (America's greatest department store) this weekend: it wasn't cheap but it's woven with SPF 50 AND I can wear it with my glasses on (it's harder to find a brim that accommodates both ears and frames than you might think). HOWEVER, even though this hat strenuously advertises itself as packable, my mom is going to have to ship it to me next weekend, and now I'll hear for the next thousand years how expensive it was to mail a box. I suspect sometimes that I am her albatross, but we both made our choices and walked away winners.

Packable my ass

Packable my ass

#tbt

Year after year, taped to my wall, this Polaroid fades away... Maybe it's sad but that's life! We are no Dorian Gray(s) nor would we wish to be. Better to age into bitter old crones enjoying tacos and new shoes and sweet Ryan Gosling pix once in a blue moon.

CV's wedding, 2007

CV's wedding, 2007

Sick in May

Blech:

  1. I've been sick for two weeks.
  2. I will never be well.
  3. Buy stock in Kleenex.
  4. Buy stock in Dayquil.
  5. Life is not good.
  6. Life is the worst.
  7. But I streamed all of season 2 "Master of None."
  8. = many thumbs up.
  9. & I fly to Chicago on Friday.
  10. To see friends & family.
  11. & Neil Diamond.
  12. Life is okay!

Stand still for a photo, please

I'm no bonkers royalist, but I do appreciate an instantly iconic shot of a good "tots in satin short pants" duchess scolding that doesn't even mess up her glorious yet precariously perched headgear.

A proposal

Somebody posted a picture of Harrison Ford in Witness today on some movie blog and it occurred to me that this is the sexiest man in the sexiest movie there ever was or ever will be.

Even when he's covered in corn dust:

Or wearing this hat, and this expression:

Exhibit A as in okAAAAAAy:

Exhibit B as in Beefcake:

Those were essentially the same photo, one with background lumber and one with chains, but whatever. Exhibit C as in Case Closed:

+ You know who else is in this movie? Loops with the #1 worst haircut that ever has been or ever will be. Wow.

That's all I've got. That's the whole post! Now you know what blogs are for.

Hope

Old spirit, in and beyond me,
keep, and extend me. Amid strangers,
friends, great trees and big seas breaking,
let love move me. Let me hear the whole music,
see clear, reach deep. Open me to find due words,
that I may shape them to ploughshares of my own making.
After such luck, however late, give me to give to
the oldest dance....Then to good sleep,
and—if it happens—glad waking.

 — Philip Booth

Charades

Can you imagine?

In the meantime, their friendship grew through one of Sondheim’s favorite mediums, games. Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson hosted holiday parties that included charades, in which Streep participated. Mia Farrow brought Sondheim to one.

“I play a different kind of charades than Meryl does,” he said. “I play running charades, in which there are two teams in relay. She likes to play the kind of charades where her team makes up all the things and our team acts them out and they giggle at what assholes we are as we’re doing it.”

Streep replied, “His version is too complicated to do when you’re drunk.”