My 3 Year-Old Daughter is Scared of Rush Hemispheres

November 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm (Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , )

While I was cleaning up the kitchen his past Saturday, I was being kept company by my younger daughter, Tasha, age 3. I usually listen to a sampling of music while doing household chores, setting my iPod on “shuffle”. As I was putting away the dishes, Rush’s grand work “Hemispheres” came up. For those unaware, Hemispheres is an 18-minute 1970’s progressive-rock opus from the kings of the prog-rock. The genre includes grand, epic themes, in this case the metaphysical battle of logic vs. feeling, manifested in god-like avatars…well, you get the point. Nerd rock, in other words. At about 12 minutes into the song, the music segues into an ethereal soundscape which represents the aftermath of the protagonist’s body and soul being rent asunder (bear with me)…

At this point, Tasha, who has been sitting quietly on one of the kitchen stools says, “I’m scared.” The interlude lasts about 2 and a half minutes, and flows back and forth between major and minor chords. About half way through she starts really panicking so I pick her up and smile a big smile to convey that all’s well. She’s assured, but not totally convinced.

After this, the Canadian knights of dorkdom abruptly take the listener to a reveille with Geddy Lee’s alto-squirrel falsetto heralding the metaphysical transformation of the protagonist, followed by a passage which resolves in a fist-pumping, head-banging rock out. Tasha’s anxiety grows with every measure. Like an idiot, I keep trying the Rush indoctrination by bouncing her in my arms to the beat, even beseeching her to fashion her hands into rock n’ roll devil’s horn form, to pump them rhythmically and violently, pleading her to “get your horns up!” Some rock purists insist on the variant which involves the extended thumb to approximate a deformed, stubby demon tail, I guess, but I prefer my hand-demon to be of the manx variety). Any responsible father at this point presses “fast-forward” to XTC or the Beatles or They Might Be Giants the soothe the child.

Now, I’ve listened with rapt pleasure to “side A” of Rush Hemispheres countless times for literally over half of my existence here on Earth. Without exaggeration, I’ve enjoyed the album thousands of times. I can play the entire work on the bass, and most of it on the guitar. I’ve internalized it. Breathed it. Loved it. Been it.

So how I could forget about the climax of the song, which essentially is the audio equivalent of a nuclear explosion, remains a mystery so profound that it was recently submitted (but lost) for the “Way To Go, A-Hole!” award.

What followed was an outburst that can only be described as “apocalyptic”. Thankfully, the rulers of the prog-rock pantheon had the foresight to help future fathers’ attempts to introduce Rush to their children by resolving Hemispheres with a folksy, happy, acoustic guitar denouement which reminds one of sunshine returning after a storm. Next: removing 80% of my songlist due to content inappropriate for children.

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Thought of the Day 11-5-08

November 5, 2008 at 5:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

As we were walking home from her school on Election Day 2008, my 6 year-old daughter Maddie proclaimed out of nowhere,
“Only men can vote for president”.
I asked her where she had gotten that idea. She claimed to just make it up. I went on to tell her that a long time, over 100 years ago, it used to be that way; only men could vote. Then I told her, “But do you know what happened? A bunch of women organized and demanded the right to vote…and they got it! But no one just gave them that right; they had to fight for it.”
Maddie asked, “fought? Like a battle?”
I replied, “Yes, but not with swords and shields and bows and arrows… but with WORDS, and LAWS. A bunch of smart women spoke up and used their words and thoughts to get the right to vote. Do you know who is like that? Your MOMMY! She’s super smart, and knows how to use thoughts and words to win. And she knows the Law.”
Maddie then asked, “Can she ride a horse?”

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Now I know why it was called the Great Depression

November 7, 2008 at 11:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

My wife and I both were raised by parents who grew up during the OGD (my new hip acronym, coined here, for “Original Great Depression”).  My Dad was born in Cleveland, OH in 1927, so for you history buffs and mathematicians out there, that would have made him 2 years old when the great stock market crash of 1929. He had vivid memories of the growing up in the ’30s, being a pre-teen when the shit really hit the fan, including a profound life event of being shipped off to work on a farm at age 10 in the wake of his father’s suicide in 1937. Other than that, Dad never really told me much about that time in his life, which needless to say must have been incredibly difficult for him.  He’d usually fast-forward through his boarding school days in Bell Buckle, TN and how he joined the U.S. Navy at age 17 near the end of the War.

But as we know, times were tough all over, as he used to say. Behold Exhibit B, some memories of my father-in-law, Louis (pronounced Louie, thank you very much. Like the king(s)). He and my wife were chatting about the grim future facing us in 2008, and Louis, who has lived in Michigan his 70+ years, shared that just before he was born (in 1934) the city of Detroit closed the city zoo, and in what seemed like the natural thing to do at the time, killed the animals and distributed the butchered meat to city residents in need.

Now, when we heard this, we first thought it was one of ol’ Granpa Louie’s tall tales. A few days later, we received in the mail from him a photocopy of an article on the Great Depression from 10/31/2008’s Washington Post, wherein it included this paragraph:

“…Kyving, a professor at Northern Illinois University, says he stuns his students when he tells them what happened in Detroit, a particularly hard hit city. Overwhlemed by demands from the needy, the city shut down its zoo in 1932 and slaughtered its animals to provide food.”

Gulp.

Attached to the article was a hand-written note by Louis about other stuff he remembers from his childhood. Here is how he puts it:

“Rememberances:

Being hungry, not one gift for Christmas, no heat for the house, no shoes and lack of warm clothing…”

Did I mention he lived in Michigan?

“…I remember a young man going to prison for four years for stealing a turkey to feed his brother and sisters.

“Medical (care), or the lack of it. Many, many people had a child, brother or sister who died from pneumonia, the flu or polio. I remember measles, mups, chicken pox, whooping cough and scarlet fever. I remember being quarantined for the above. How I remember the tooth aches, to this day. I remember children with crooked arms and legs, impetigo, bad vision and no glasses.

“I remember people losing their farms and houses because they could not make the mortgage payments or losing them because they had no money to pay the property taxes. I remember hobos and bums, today they are called homeless people…”

Around here we also call them laid-off Marketing Managers.

“Things that are different today:

Social Security, Medicare, pensions, Medicaid, food stamps and other welfare help…”

He goes on to point out which political party has supported these programs and which continues to oppose them, but I won’t pontificate. He concludes with:

“Let’s hope and pray that future people do not have to have these rememberances.”

Amen.

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Hello world!

January 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm (Uncategorized)

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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