“I swore never to read again after To Kill a Mockingbird gave me no useful advice on killing mockingbirds. It did teach me not to judge a man based on the color of his skin, but what good does that do me?” – Homer Simpson

Let’s do a random post, whaddya’ say?  By the time you’re reading this, there’ll be some random Simpsons quote in the post title.  But–Derek Brink Fun Fact–I never choose them until the last moment before posting…

  1. I did end up going to Jeff Moody’s wake.  I figured that I’ve talked about the time we worked together pretty often over the last 15 years, so it was the right thing to do.  I met his dad, who seemed a very sweet man.  I got there early enough that the family wasn’t weary of talking to people yet.  His wife said she remembered me, but I think she must’ve been thinking of someone else–we’d only met once.  When I first walked into the room, I bumped into someone I knew who sort of directed me toward Jeff’s dad, sitting next to the casket.  I introduced myself and said, “I worked in your son’s band for about three weeks 15 years ago…but I still wanted to come here and pay my respects, because that’s the kind of guy he was.  I knew him for 3 weeks 15 years ago, but had to come say goodbye.”  His dad seemed moved by that and we spoke for a little longer than I might’ve anticipated.  I won’t be writing what he said to me here.  If there are any sacred words, they are the words a father speaks of his dead son to a stranger.  But suffice to say they’ve stuck with me.  And I want to give you one piece of advice…  If you go to a memorial and meet the deceased’s parent for the first time; if they give you their hand to hold while you talk, you take their hand and you DO NOT allow yourself to be the first to let go.
  2. On a related note, I want to apologize if my previous post painted Jeff in a way I didn’t intend to.  I think it might’ve sounded more negative than I meant it to.  I mean, the couple of stories I told were true, but I feel like I should’ve spent more time focusing on saying he was a very good, warm, well-intentioned guy.  I was trying to paint a picture of a guy who was serious about his work and ministry, but that it was a seriousness that was informed by wanting people to feel the same joy in their hearts that he did.  Sometimes that kind of seriousness can come off abrasive, and sometimes describing it is difficult…  I’m sorry if I didn’t underline his warmth enough.  I didn’t get to reconnect with Jeff again before he died (except for the one brief meeting at SLCC) and I regret that, especially because I think I understand him better now than I did then.  I stood by the casket quietly a little longer than I do at most wakes.  He was 56.  That’s too damn young. Unless I’m very mistaken, I think he was the first musician I’ve been in a band with who’s died.
  3. Sorry this post is sort of a bummer so far.  I thought I’d be writing something fun by now when I started it.  They don’t all live up to the Simpsons quote–which, again, I have not chosen as of this point in the writing.
  4. A friend has introduced me to the writing of Dennis Lehane.  If you haven’t read his stuff before (like me, this time last week), you’d likely be familiar with him as the guy who wrote the books that the movies “Shutter Island” and “Mystic River” were based on.  I’d heard his name a few times, but hadn’t investigated him.  Brandon (my aforementioned friend, who I for some reason opted not to name in that sentence, but did in this one) highly recommended him and I picked up his first book, “A Drink Before the War.”  Enjoyed it a lot.  It’s gritty and funny.  The racial-theme of the story could’ve easily been set in St. Louis instead of Boston.  I totally got it and read it cover to cover in roughly three sittings.  Looking forward to reading the rest of his stuff.  Glad I’m late to the party…there are a dozen books that are just THERE–no waiting!
  5. I’ve been watching a lot of old-school pro-wrestling matches and interviews lately.  I’ve also been listening to podcasts and present day interviews with guys who’re pissed off that it’s not still the old territory days.  I largely wasn’t aware of the old territory system.  I never got to experience a “Wrestling at the Chase” show, although I’m more than aware of its legacy both in the business and also in St. Louis history.  The “golden age” was just a few years before my time.  I came along when Hulk Hogan and Sting were the big names for their respective companies.  Watching the old stuff is a blast though.  I don’t know who won those old matches and it’s a kick to see some of those guys young and in their peak.  Sometimes YouTube is a wonderful place.
  6. I’m still kind of ticking on Prince.  I think a lot of people are…  I watched Kevin Smith’s “Fat Man on Batman” show on YouTube just today and watched him and cohort Marc Bernardin talk for an hour, when they thought they were going to do 20 minutes.  Kev is well known for a dispute with Prince, where he made light of the Artist’s well-known excentricities and kind of tore him a new one…  But as Smith himself pointed out, even in that footage, you can see that Smith has a genuine love for Prince, but that the story was so specific and unique he told it anyway.  A sweet moment happens around the 40-minute mark where Kevin tells a story about Prince dancing with his daughter Harley. Kevin visibly and audibly tears up at the memory.  I’m sure it had more to do with thinking about his kid than about Prince, but it was really touching to see.  There was a moment where Marc referred to Prince as being to a young black man what Bowie was to a young white man that made me pause and say, “Oh.  I get it.”  It’s a good watch/listen if you want to click that link.  Kev ends his thoughts obviously thinking back over the video where he sort of trashed Prince–clearly about to break again–and then saying, “…and I’m a dick.” Marc corrects him, “You WERE a dick.”  Sometimes when you’re young enough, you forget that things are temporary and you regret some of the things you say.  Kev’s reactions throughout the video speak to that…  And it’s something I’m trying to do a better job to remember myself.
  7. I think everyone knows my obsession with records–particularly vinyl now that it’s back.  After seeing the Who, I’ve decided I’m going to collect all of their albums on vinyl.  Specifically, though, I’m looking for old copies on the thinner vinyl with the old mixes/masters.  Not necessarily EARLY copies, but the copies I would’ve been familiar with as a kid.  80s mixes.  I recently picked up and have listened and relistened to “Who’s Next” a number of times.  Hearing “Baba O’Riley” on vinyl is like hearing it for the first time.  Records open up songs in a way you haven’t heard them, even if you’ve heard them a million times.  But of course, I’ll always love CDs too.  Just last night I was at a small indie store (of which I’ve never caught the name, for some reason!) and picked up a Los Straightjackets CD.  They’re fun too.  I love a good music store…and fortunately there are about a half-dozen of them in a reasonable driving distance.
  8. It’s May.  My birthday is this month on the 29th.  I will be 36.
  9. There’s been a ton of rain in St. Louis lately.  Earlier in the week, we had a day that was genuinely frightening outside.  The kind of day where you consider telling people you love them just in case.  (Actually…that was the same day as Jeff’s wake now that I think of it.  Huh.)  Last night it was raining so hard I could barely keep my car tires on the ground–scary driving.  Today, there was hail all over town, up to ping-pong-ball sized.  Give me snow any day, I say…  I’ve never feared for my life with snow quietly falling with a warm cup of tea or coffee.

That’ll do it.  Go watch the Kevin Smith thing I linked to.

Current Listening:

  • Los Straightjackets – The Further Adventures of Los Strahtjackets
  • Prince – The “Love Symbol” Album and assorted other works
  • Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet – Oh I Guess We Were a Fucking Surf Band After All
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