Saturday, January 22, 2005

Focus on pants

If you want to know more about the notorious video that proves SpongeBob SquarePants is gay, if Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family are right, you can read about it--and watch it--here.

I've watched the video, and I must admit, Dr. Dobson has a point: it's pretty gay. It's a bunch of cartoons and puppets singing "We Are Family," which is, let's face it, the gayest song in the whole entire world (with the possible exception of "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy"). I also spotted two living, breathing gay icons, Whoopi Goldberg and Diana Ross, not to mention a bit of drollery from "Sesame Street's" Oscar the Grouch, who has the same name as Oscar Wilde.
Huff puff

When the snow's this deep, there's only one thing to do: shovel, shovel, shovel. I decided to forego my Tanya Tucker workout today and instead invested in a shovel down at the hardware store, then started heaving the stuff around. I shoveled the driveway, I shoveled the place where I park the truck, I shoveled the walk, I shoveled the porch, and I even shoveled a bit of the road. People all up and down the block were doing it, which was very social--we exchanged shoveling tips, kvetched and marveled at just how much snow fell.

As I was finishing up, several passers-by complimented me on what a fine job I'd done. It'll do till next time.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Believe the hype

Come to the Great Dane on Sunday to see my honkytonk disco band, the World's Greatest Lovers. Showtime is 10:00 pm, and there's no cover.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Nuts to the gym

From now on I get my blood pumping with this.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I'm not surprised to learn that Rubik's Cube is making a comeback. It's a classic toy, and in these troubled times we long for the simple days of 1981, when a Republican president at least conducted his corrupt foreign policy in secret.

Back in 1981, when I was ten, Rubik's Cubes accumulated like debt in our household. We had big ones, small ones, round ones, really small ones. We also collected the puzzle's various offspring; I actually never much liked puzzles, so I was fond of Rubik's Snake, which wasn't a puzzle at all, just this twisty sort of thing.

At some point I grew emphatically frustrated with Rubik's Cube, and I despaired of ever learning to work it properly. But I discovered that it was easy to pop it open with a screwdriver, then put it back together correctly. Now that's problem solving.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Little girl, big voice

I can't stop listening to this Tanya Tucker CD, which has the tracks from What's Your Mama's Name and Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone), her 1973 and 1974 releases. Tucker was just fifteen in 1973, but her singing here is sophisticated and emotional, and producer Billy Sherrill chose racy, complicated material that is at moments wildly, delightfully inappropriate for a singer not yet old enough to drive. A good example is "Horseshoe Bend":
Horseshoe Bend, old friend, it's been so long since we saw him
When he laid me down upon your banks and made this girl a woman
As your virgin waters sang us a song
The effect is almost like some creepy parlor trick--hear the young girl sing about sexuality!--except that once the novelty wears off, what is left is Tucker's amazing performances and the high quality of the songwriting. (Kris Kristofferson and Harlan Howard, among others, contributed songs.)

Many tracks are, unnervingly, about children in desperate situations. One of my favorites is "Blood Red and Goin' Down," in which a little girl sings of how her father murdered her mother and her mother's lover. The girl concludes, "At times like these, a child of ten never knows exactly what to say." It's eerie and devastating.

Other songs touch on crushing poverty, alcoholism, faithlessness and disappointment. In one tune, "Teddy Bear Song," Tucker sings prettily that she would rather be an inanimate object than feel the pain of rejection.

Yet the albums are not unrelentingly grim. "Song Man" is, joyfully, about the redemptive force of music, and "What if We Were Running Out of Love" maps, improbably enough, the power of love onto the OPEC shocks of the early 1970s. It shouldn't work, but it does.