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I Have Seen Things


How is your 2020 going so far? My Mom, rest her soul, was born in 1929.  I always struggled imagining how much her life had changed. She once opined that “if you live long enough, you’ll see just about everything and anything.” She passed away in December, or she would be living through her first pandemic. And living is the operative word here, as I’m still here but the amount of devastation and death and economic turmoil we’re seeing will keep historians and doctors studying this event for decades. We are still in the very early stages despite our hopes for a swift resolution.

I read the obituaries now. I notice that everybody “dies peacefully.” I’d like to see one that reads, “Bill passed away at home, struggling mightily against his restraints, while family members played the Stones, Stooges and Ramones. Finally, Thorazine calmed him down. Upon death, all of Bill’s bodily fluids escaped at once. Donations can be made to ServPro, to cover the massive cost of clean up.”

I’d send money if I saw that.

 Been watching lots of TV,  of course. What do people not understand about the phrase, “these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA?” Or, “these results are not typical.”? Or, ” this is not intended to treat, cure, relieve any symptoms or conditions?” And yet, in commercials and pitches I’m encouraged to try to lose weight, gain muscle mass, grow hair, stop explosive diarrhea, develop arms like tree trunks, and plow the wife so intensely she’ll be your sex slave forever. Just give them my credit card,  shipments will start but can be stopped if I send a notarized affidavit stating I want to cancel within 18 days. The prescription ads are worse. The redhead with depression would probably be less depressed if she wasn’t a caterer. She must have figured that out because I just saw her on a Petsmart ad. Good for her. I guess that Rexulti works! I would stay away from a drug where death is mentioned as a side effect more than once, even if they’re tricky about it, “you may find it difficult to breathe, and call your doctor if you start bleeding out from every orifice.” I didn’t realize how much plaque psoriasis torments the world.  It looks nasty but if lower intestinal polyps and bleeding is a side effect of the cure maybe just try sandpaper and Neosporin.

There are some good ads. I love the people with a RATT problem. I can watch that over and over. The “Wassuuup” ad isn’t bad,  but I really like the two roommates getting up to drink Coors, eat eggs with hot sauce, settling in to watch football while a song from “Oklahoma” plays. Hopefully those guys will be doing that again, soon.

I stumbled on a few hideous shows, so bad I watched for a bit in horror before switching. “Mama Mia- The Return” implies that the first one was made. It’s kind of like High School Musical (I guess, I wouldn’t really know). It’s so bad I swallowed vomit from a meal I ate in 1978. I retched so hard I bruised ribs. Just watching the trailer of Mark Ruffalo’s tortured face was enough for me to skip HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True.” If Ruffalo was really being subjected to that much pain I would probably watch. Watching the late-night talk shows or SNL with no audience is instructive. I never watch those shows, they NEVER make me laugh; now it’s obvious that nobody in Hollywood can write comedic material, or jokes. The point and laugh political humor these guys employ can’t be effective without the laughing hyenas in the audience. I watch a little now because it’s fun to watch the “talent” squirm. I’ve been watching Westworld, the past few episodes winding up season three were very cool, Aaron Paul was great (his patented Jesse Pinkman look even MORE angry and distressed and unhinged) and the soundtrack has been a swirl of synthesizers and electronic doom music worth finding on Spotify. Also checking out the uneven Run, with one of my favorite actresses Merrit Wever. Her face can go in any expression she wants, but anytime it’s briefly angelic I just want to hug her. She’s smart and funny. I just wish the show was better. After watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood a few more times Tarantino has officially become my favorite director and writer. His energy, pacing,  dialogue, music- everything comes together every film he makes. How many times this month might I watch American Graffiti? I’ve been studying it for years, early George Lucas, and I love something different every time.  The way Candy Clark steals the movie. The John Milner character, the Wolfman Jackscene, the way Toad falls into Milner’s car at the end, “Sheees what a night” And even the two biggest puss wipes in screen history, Ron Howard’s Steveand Cindy Williams’ Laurie.  Pathetic.

Speaking of pathetic,  it’s time for MLB to sink even lower in fan appreciation as the owners and players fight over the prospective start of the season. Wake me when the FANS benefit from a labor negotiation. It would be great if baseball economics could solve the problem of 15 teams being out of it before the season starts, and the big payroll teams dominating every single year. Not bloody likely. No other sports to write aboutplus I’m Michael Jordan’d out. Maybe next article….

The highlight of May so far has been Sirius Radio’s Rolling Stones channel. OMG. I am taking long drives, I sit in the driveway- it’s just incredible how great a band they are.  Today a live version of Gimme Shelter with Lisa Fischer singing with Mick, followed by All Down The Line, Only Rock and Roll, Let it Bleed and finally Memory Motel was just a bit of a staggering day of rock and roll for Sirius radio. In the 70’s WMMS in Cleveland would play nothing but the Stones for the week they were in town playing at Municipal Stadium or Richfield Coliseum. Cleveland’s population was trashed the entire week. This channel takes me right back to those frenetic and fantastic days.

That’s my pandemic report for now. Like the kid in Almost Famous I still have to look over all my notes and figure out what else to write for my next article. One thing about that film,  if I was 16 years old and just banged three groupies you’d never catch me crying in the hallway. More like yelling from the rooftop. The kid (Cameron Crowe) obviously had too much Rolling Stone and not enough Creem Magazine in him. Boy Howdy!

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