Showing posts with label middle age. Show all posts
Showing posts with label middle age. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Mr. Music, please!

What is happening to me?

This is PARENTS music! Old-people stuff. Like, it's completely L7, maaaaaan! And it's what I'm listening to this evening.

Well, I like it. I think it's cool. And, in case you haven't looked in the mirror in the last 20 years or so, Self, you're old people now. And according to, well . . . everybody . . . you're pretty L7 yourself.

Because that just sounds pretty Dobie Gillis right there, Maynard.

On the other hand, you want to know one of the benefits of advancing age? It neuters the stranglehold of "cool" on the brain, thereby freeing the mind to consider things that once would have cost one no small measure of social status.

And chicks.

So screw it. I'm middle aged, and I'm married . . . and reliably informed by She Who Must Be Obeyed that I don't need to be getting any more chicks. Do they still call the fairer sex "chicks"?

Don't answer that, because I don't care.

Now back to Henry Mancini and, perhaps, an adult beverage.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sometime near the zenith of American culture

Do you know how awful a feeling it is to be pretty sure you were born a generation too late?

To be enthralled by a time and a popular culture you were born into -- barely -- but which exists no more?

To know there was a time when the grown-ups were in charge of it all, more or less, but to have lived all your life amid the Detereorata and see the barbarians not at the gate, but running the whole show? Today, we have Gaga and Nicki Minaj  -- not to mention Madonna and her pathetic and desperate attempts to remain relevant -- and we think that's entertainment.

Well, it is if you've just sacked and burned the Eternal City, but otherwise not so much.

TO ME, a fossil born 20 years shy of being fossilized enough for my own taste, this is entertainment -- Keely Smith on the Frank Sinatra Show in 1958. Sure, I love my rock 'n' roll, but if there's no room in your soul for something as beautiful and classy as Keely Smith casting a magic spell over a well-written popular song, you'd just as well go pillage, burn, loot and rape with the barbarians, busting a rhyme with Ms. I'm Gonna Cap Yo' Ass, Mariah Carey.

In my humble opinion.

By the way, no 3 Chords & the Truth this week. One, I'm pretty shot -- no sleep will do that to you -- and, two, I'm trying to make a dent in digitizing the 31 LPs and nine CDs I grabbed at The Antiquarium before its sad passing from Omaha's Old Market scene. And then there's the other bunch of LPs and CDs I have in the "Put Onto the Hard Drive" stack.

Unsurprisingly, there's a lot of jazz and classic pop in that number. Ring-a-ding-ding, pally!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bonne anniversaire à moi

Happy birthday to me.

A wonderful three-martini and duck à l'orange dinner on the town with my honey and dear friends.

Kicking back and listening to the 1957 Julie London album I bought from the used-record bins earlier in the day.

No, it wasn't exactly akin to Don Draper's surprise party on Mad Men tonight, with the big crowd of people, hepcats smoking weed on the balcony and the ooh la la burlesque en français. If it were, I'd probably end up, at age 51, having a heart attack just like Roger Sterling did a couple of seasons back.

And -- as the paramedics loaded me into the rescue squad -- I'd be thinking "Well, that was stupid. And I don't even like slutty French burlesque."

No, I'm a quiet roast duck and martinis kind of guy, content to spend the evening with friends and with my new wife . . . of almost 29 years. (No, seriously, I don't think the woman ages. Let's see Draper's trophy wife in 1994, eh?.) That suits me -- just like the '50s jazz on the old record player.

And I don't have to worry whether the rescue squad will let me take my martini to the hospital in a go cup.

Friday, March 09, 2012


Translation: Stuff Well-Heeled Liberal White People Like.

Wow. At $199.99, this costs a lot more than my Peter Max-designed Hot Wheels car did 40-something years ago.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Joy. Eight dolla, cheap!

Being 50 is a lot like being 18.

Except that you might be a little smarter and a lot wiser. Also, your knees are creaky, your gut is larger, and you find that joy is a lot more a matter of the heart than of the wallet.

No, being 50 is nothing like 18 at all. Forget I said anything.

If you are lucky, when you are 50, your mind merely still thinks it's 18. You just wish you could remember where the hell . . . uh . . . well. . . .

You just wish you could remember what the hell you were trying to remember.

OK. BEING 50 is a lot like being 18 in that you find you still can take unfettered, fist-pumping, sing-along joy in a record album you just brought home.

Of course, real 18-year-olds -- as opposed to the mental kind -- probably know not what a record album is, except that it's something old people talk about a lot. And the store you just left with your musical treasure wasn't Muslcland . . . or Sam Goody . . . or Leisure Landing . . . or any one of a bazillion corner record stores, because none of these things exist anymore.

No, the store you just left is an antique store. Or Goodwill. Or maybe the vinyl bin at the used-CD place.

YOU, sir, are old.

But your spirit is young.

And you believe in magic.

You also still giggle a little over Kama Sutra Records, but let's not get into that in front of the young'uns.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Pop a top with top o' the pops. Again.

It's late at night in the middle of the week.

You're drinking beer and playing this stuff -- the original half-century-old 45 RPM vinyl records, a ritual extending the full breadth of your recollection -- and you're contemplating life and this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

In that moment of being lost in yourself, in your memories, in the music (and perhaps in the beer), you are keenly aware of two things.

ONE. You were blessed with -- by accident of time, place and class -- an amazingly good foundation in popular music.

Two. You, by God, are a Southern boy, through and through. Even if, at present, you do a passable imitation of a middle-aged Midwesterner.

In the cold light of day, other thoughts worm their way into the keyboard and onto the blog. In particular, what is the equivalent for those a generation or two younger than a fool such as I?

What today, musically or otherwise, sets in stone one's sense of place, of culture, of identity? When does it happen -- mine happened at about the age of three, I reckon -- and what does it mean in these postmodern times?

What are the things -- the sounds -- that bypass the mind of the millennial and head straight for the soul? Do they understand identity and culture in the same way as their forebears? Indeed, does a young person in Omaha understand who and what he is in anything resembling that of a 50-year-old in Baton Rouge? Or a 20-year-old in Pascagoula?

Who am I? Of what am I? What do I hold dear? Hold sacred?

Eternal questions. I suspect how we answer them only has the whole world riding on it.

Welcome to the intersection of Culture and Everything.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Old man, get off of that stage

People try to put us d-down
(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Just because we get around

(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold
(Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old

(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

-- The Who,
My Generation

When you're 20, a song can be profound because it captures -- perfectly -- your fear and loathing of the Establishment.

When you're somewhere on the far side of 50, that same song can be profound because it captures -- perfectly -- your fear and loathing of the Establishment. Which now is you.

I'm talkin' 'bout my generation. Or, in this case, the one immediately before mine -- not that my Baby Boom generation is any better.

Above, from 2009, we see Gary Puckett singing his 1968 hit "Young Girl" at The Villages, a massive central Florida retirement community. Now it's creepy enough when you have a 26-year-old warbling an ode to age-inappropriate relationships which, back in high school, we used to call "15 will get you 20."

TODAY, the same dynamic will get you nabbed in a police Internet sting. You know, like when the pretty young thing posing as a 14-year-old asks you if you brought the "protection," goes to the back of the house to "freshen up" and then Chris Hansen walks in and says "Why don't you have a seat right over there?"

When the guy who can't get that young girl out of his mind -- or his set list -- is 67 years old, we suddenly have reached the second act in the profundity of "Hope I die before I get old."

Failing that, perhaps I just can claw my eyes out before watching this again.

It's almost as if Pete Townshend, when he wrote "My Generation," subconsciously saw what was coming in a mere four decades. Like old men singing young men's songs about jail bait to an audience of aging hipsters in a Florida retirement village. Needless to say,
I don't think we'll see The Who performing "Young Girl."

Sometimes, I wonder why don't we all f-fade away.

Talkin' 'bout my generation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not this Bing, that one

You know you're getting old when . . .

Your first thought, when hearing the name of Kate Hudson's and Matthew Bellamy's new baby is "They named the kid after Bing Crosby?" while Mashable's first thought is "They named the kid after a search engine?"

But what I really want to know is how Hudson got hooked up with one of the Bellamy Brothers. Aren't those guys waaaaaaay too old for her?

I guess the May-September couple just let their love flow, and nature took its course. It happens.


Muse about what?

Monday, March 28, 2011

The world I used to know

I just turned 50. That's a blessing and a curse.

The blessing of making it to 50 is the wisdom that comes from remembering 50 years' worth of stuff. The curse is the burden of remembering 50 years' worth of stuff.

See, in some respects, ignorance
is bliss. There is a certain contentment in not knowing what you don't know.

Take the state of radio, for example. It's the little story that tells the big story of life in these postmodern times.

If you don't know anything about what radio was, it's difficult to get all grief-stricken about what radio -- and by extension our society -- has become.

I have loved radio for as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid -- back when music came on records, sound got recorded on reel-to-reel tape and computers were the size of small rooms -- I used to trek up and down the dial of our big five-band transistor set, listening to all the world that would fit in
(and squeeze through) a six-inch speaker.

I would listen to a wonderful world of music -- all kinds of music. I would listen to network broadcasts from New York . . . and the world. I would listen to, and wonder about, life in exotic places like . . . New Orleans. Nashville. Little Rock.

Little Rock? Little Rock. When you're 8 or 9 and growing up blue collar in Baton Rouge, exotic is a catch-as-catch-can affair.

Little Rock was the Mighty 1090, KAAY, with rock 'n' roll in the night. And as I was to learn through the magic of someone long ago hooking a reel-to-reel tape recorder up to an AM radio, Little Rock also was
KARK. Or, as the announcers there said back in 1971, "Kay! A-R-K."

IF YOU'RE a lot younger than my 50 years, the above hour of KARK, circa May 19, 1971, must sound like a transmission from an alien culture. That's because it is.

In 1971, the mass media was just that. While in many respects, we were just as much a tribal society 40 years ago as we are today, all our various tribes were on a first-name basis. Even when we hated one another's guts.

Though alienation was a fact then just as it is today, alienation was not a business model for mass media. Though we often screamed at one another four decades past, radio and television by and large weren't about displacing light with heat.
Or hot air.

Radio stations like
KARK -- those one's parents were most likely to favor -- were all about being the voice of a community. Today, by contrast, the picked-over carcasses of stations like KARK (now KARN) are all about being the cynical voice of an outraged sociopolitical demographic, usually on the far right.

Today, if you don't want to listen to a single thing "The Other" has to say, you don't have to. You can get all your "news" from people who think just like you do. You can listen to radio stations that pull angry voices from the sky -- via satellite -- that tell you exactly what you want to hear.

YOU CAN wander across the AM dial in search of exotic voices from exotic places, only to find that everywhere is just like Nowhere . . . that nondescript backdrop for our unremarkable lives of quiet desperation. The voice from New Orleans is the voice from Omaha is the voice from Little Rock is the voice from the satellite.

The overwrought voice of outrage.

The voice that shouts but never sings.

A few years after the time of our 1971 archived transmission from an alien culture, Harry Chapin sang about a "bright good-morning voice who's heard but never seen." That guy got fired years ago.

Now there's Ryan, or Rush, or Glenn, or Laura, or Sean . . . or the conspiracy theorists selling doom late at night.
They're not from around here.

THE BLESSING of my 50 years on this earth is I can remember a time when I had a working knowledge of subcultures not my own. When the snot-nosed kid that I used to be couldn't help but have broad familiarity with my parents' Squaresville landscape. With their history, their cultural underpinnings.

Memory also is the burden I bear. This curse is born of a half century of learning the hard way that "progress" oftentimes isn't -- that things don't always get better and better.

When I close my eyes and shut off the noise we can't ignore, I hear music. I hear exotic voices from magical places. I hear New Orleans. I hear Baton Rouge.

I hear Omaha.

I hear Nashville.

I hear Little Rock.

I hear 1971. It's right there . . . the troubled but magical world from when most of my life was ahead of me, not behind.

I hear it . . .
I can almost touch it. My blessing.

I open my eyes, and now it's gone.

My curse.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Busted. Trapped. In their sights. Over. Out.

It had to happen. I turn 50 this month, and the AARP has caught up to me.

AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons. You get this mailing -- kind of like a draft notice back in the day, only worse, because the military only wants young people -- just before you turn 50.

That's when this bunch of old-fart
, bloodsucking bastards starts chasing you down like a crazed redneck with a 12-gauge and a spotlight on his head chases down a scared, helpless raccoon in the dead of the night. Only worse.

They try to trap you, using senior-citizen discounts and cheap auto insurance as bait. Then, when you open the envelope, thinking "Gee, that's interesting. What could it hurt?" . . . WHAM!

You got your head deep in an open jar of peanut butter when you hear the click of the metaphorical hammer being pulled back on the proverbial shotgun, and it's too late for you, podna.


Next thing you know, you're heading out to the Old Country Buffet for a 5:15 supper, dressed to the nines in your "Old Fart" T-shirt, garish Bermuda shorts, calf-high black dress socks and K-mart store-brand tennis shoes. Kill me now.

I didn't take 40 well, and I suspect I'll take 50 even less well. If you want to do me a favor, send booze.

Lots of it.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

What were we talking about, again?

My life, in song.

And hey . . . uh . . . uh . . . uh . . . podna, why did I walk into this room, again?

Monday, November 22, 2010

All we need is sex

mud kiss

We didn't die before we got old after all, and that's a real bummer, maaaaaaan.

Associated Press poll finds that the generation that gave us the sexual revolution now wonders whether that's all there was once the passion fades and your freak flag, as often as not, hangs limp waiting for a mighty wind:
Faced with performance problems, menopause blues and an increased mismatch of expectations between the sexes, middle-aged Americans are the unhappiest people of all when it comes to making love, a new Associated poll shows.

Only 7 percent of people between 45 and 65 describe themselves as extremely satisfied with their sex lives. And nearly a quarter of the middle-aged Americans say they are dissatisfied. Even among seniors, fewer are dissatisfied.

"Older people can learn new tricks," said Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist better known as Dr. Ruth. Aging men and women need to work on being "sexual literate - to really know what they need, what their partner needs and how to pleasure each other," she said in an Associated Press interview.

The findings represent a stark turnaround for the group of Americans who spearheaded the sexual revolution, coming of age as birth control became readily available, premarital sex gained wider acceptance and abortion was legalized. The Many of the first victims of the AIDS epidemic were in this group.

Younger and older people report better feelings about their sex lives. Some 24 percent of middle-aged group say they are dissatisfied, compared with only 12 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 20 percent of those 30-44 and 17 percent of those over 65.

Perhaps the middle-aged group have given up on experimenting. A surprising number of them feel they have learned just about all there is to know about sex - nearly three in five women and half of men.
IF YOU HAVEN'T noticed before now, my generation whines about everything. Why?

I'm glad you asked. It's just that. . . .
People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
We had hoped we'd die before we got old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
NOW, WHERE did I put my glasses? I'll never find my Viagra without them.