Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two Whos Do I Make the Check Out? or Dodes Hears A Who

Warning: This is a lengthy post. Might want to get a cup of coffee, or even dinner, before committing.

There are a handful of joyful moments in my life that have driven me to tears: getting my first teaching job, seeing fall foliage in Vermont, giving birth to my daughter, and listening to Johnny Mathis sing "O Holy Night," while sharing a warm bath with her at four months old.

Tonight, I enjoyed another magic moment, on the scale of Roy Orbison singing "This Magic Moment," to the same effect.

Flicking through the channels, I happened upon The Kennedy Center Honors, and my finger hovered over the remote control button as I mulled over a decision to keep on clicking.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend sitting among the other 4 honorees, high up in the mezzanine, next to George and Laura Bush. Ok, scratch that last part about the Bushes, let's not ruin the flow here.

After a humorous monologue by Jack Black, about his being The Who's biggest fan and calling them gods, devils, angels, or not, four contemporary artists each sang a Who number.

During the last performance, about half-way through, a curtain rose above the orchestra, and an army of New York City firemen and policemen belted out the chorus of "Baba O'Riley" directly toward the two seasoned rockers who wrote it. Daltry and Townsend were visibly moved.

Had I not seen the broadcast of "The Concert for New York," performed by Roger and Pete shortly after September 11, 2001, I might not have been so emotional. At that concert, Daltry and Townsend, in true form, performed for a HUGE audience of NYC fireman and policemen. It was the first opportunity for NYC to smile and enjoy themselves since those dark September days. And, enjoy themselves they did, singing, dancing, merrymaking.

So, when I saw the curtain go up tonight, and my brain-delay caught up with my eyes and ears, I burst out crying. I relished every note, every movement, and every emotion, but I didn't think to record it (by pressing two remote buttons). Sigh.

BUT, thanks to YouTube I can see it again and again.

I thought it would be a great blog entry -- another diatribe on what an emotional nutcake I can be.

As I thought about what to write, I remembered suddenly that at the end of October, this year, 2008, I attended my very first Who concert with a co-worker, Betsey.

Quite the coincidence, eh?

I hadn't planned to buy the tickets, I didn't even know they were still around or performing together.

I just received an email from Live Nation, delivered to me at work one day back in August.

I pondered it, but hesitated to spend the money. Given the age of the performers, though, and an idea of what old rockers sounded like--think Rolling Stones in their Steel Wheel tour--I decided that it was now-or-never-time to see The Who live (in both senses of the word).

(I, on the other hand, haven't aged one minute since I first heard The Who in an unnamed, previous decade, but I digress.)

I asked Betsey if she wanted to go and she accepted without hesitation. bless her spirit.

We drove an hour to an Indian-reservation-turned-casino, and took our seats in the nosebleed section of a medium-sized, indoor arena.

We expected nothing beyond a decent performance from The Who--certainly not as good as the gigs of their younger years.

But, Daltry and Townsend turned out a show nothing short of sensational. They played for two hours, no break.

Their voices and stamina held up amazingly, their energy was intense, and they had Betsey and me shouting lyrics and acting like two crazy ladies, minus the acting.

From the first word out of Daltry's gorgeous mouth, coupled with impish Townsend's windmill, their two instruments, voice and guitar, reached down to my toes like a great glass of smooth, red cabernet.

Wow, there's some cheesy prose for ya.

Simply said, The Who's music inspired me, wowed me, and possessed me. They've had that effect on me since the 70s, and I happily remain their slave, hoping never to be released.

Two Who-related performances, happenstance, that reached my core, and woke me up.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Can we have Thanksgiving earlier next year?

Did anyone notice that we had one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2008?

Talk about cramming 10 lbs of #^&* into a 5 lb bag!

Thanksgiving came and went, and it left me depressed for a variety of reasons: mother/daughter strife, prospect of waking up alone Xmas a.m. for the second consecutive year, and money issues.

I thought seriously about not having my annual holiday party because I simply wasn't motivated. Over the next week or so, I voiced my thoughts and concerns to a couple of close friends, and they all encouraged me to go for it.

I said, "F^@* it." and decided the party would be the only remedy for my malaise.

And so, on a snowy evening, when the roads weren't the best, 30 people still showed up at my house, and life began to look brighter.

Thank you 30 people for the pick-me-up, the pot luck and bottle luck, and especially for the non-perishable food items.

Your good will and generosity heartened me as I dropped off three boxes of canned and dry goods, paper items, and toiletries to the local shelter.

The food drive will be an integral part of my holiday party going forward.

And, the 30 people, plus those that could not make it this year, will forever be an integral part of my life

You're the best!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Going to Hell in a Handbasket

In my previous post about the meteor, I profered, "We are all going to hell in a handbasket." I have no idea how I learned this phrase.

In any case, I meant it as defined in #1 below, specifically, "... a situation headed for disaster without effort."

According to Wikipedia, there are several possible origins of the phrase:

"1."Going to Hell in a handbasket" or "Going to hell in a handcart" is an English alliterative phrase of unclear origin, which describes a situation headed for disaster without effort or in great haste.

2. "There has been some speculation that the phrases may be related, with "to Hell in a handbasket" perhaps being a mocking reference to the Guillotine which often used a lined basket to catch the severed head." (Ouch! At least it was a soft landing.)

And this third definition is difficult for me to even consider as true:

3. "Its first use recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary in the 1860s is in a historical work with the quote: "Thousands of our best men were prisoners in Camp Douglas, and if once at liberty would ‘send abolitionists to hell in a hand basket.'"

Now, who the heck determined its "first use" and how was it done? Did the researcher(s) read every word that existed in the entire world, and make a mental note about all of them? Wow, that must have been a VERY old person by the time they were done reading, not to mention a powerfully well-read one.

With all the blogs around today, I imagine their head would explode searching for "first" uses of phrases.

Ya think?