Friday, July 14, 2006

Born again

The great gift of my new temporary crown is that for the first time in weeks, I no longer suffer excruciating pain when I consume hot and cold foodstuffs, such as coffee and ice cream, respectively. If I'm not able to enjoy my coffee and ice cream, I am an excitable boy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


A couple of weeks ago my dentist told me I had a cracked molar, which meant it was time for a crown. I just came from a return visit, which involved lots of drilling. Now I have a temporary crown. In two weeks, if all goes as planned, I'll go once more to have the permanent crown installed.

At the dentist's office, the days of rinse and spit are long gone. I miss them. Nowadays an assistant squirts water into my mouth with one device, and sucks it out with another. It's a messier process, and it removes almost all agency from yours truly. Back in the day, I could rinse for as long as I liked. No more.

I say almost all agency, though, because I still have a role. Each time the assistant rinses my teeth, there comes a moment when she, always she, moves the suction device to the front and center of my mouth, then waits. That is my cue to purse my lips and force into the instrument whatever effluvia she missed. I do not recall ever discussing how to do this with any dental professional -- indeed, with anyone at all, ever -- but I find that it comes perfectly naturally. Is that just good chairside manner?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

That's entertainment

Last Saturday my country ensemble the World's Greatest Lovers were the wedding band at the most stunning wedding locale I've ever seen, an organic farm in Coon Valley, Wis., about 100 miles northeast of Madison. There are beautiful rolling hills in that part of the state, and the farm had a picturesque vineyard and a very lovely pond.

I never did figure out the precise connection, but many of the wedding guests seemed to be involved in the entertainment business, or the circus, or something. The first hint of this: there was lots of ensemble singing during the toasts, as one speaker after another led the group in "Ring of Fire," "You Are My Sunshine," and so forth.

The next development arrived after dinner, as people began juggling, singly and in small groups. But what was truly new and unusual came when it was time for the World's Greatest Lovers to play in the barn where we had set up our equipment. Beforehand, a young man had begged us to do "Tennessee Waltz," and as we started to play it, he and a lady dancing partner appeared on the floor and performed some very elaborate moves. Okay, I thought. Not unheard of.

Then the pair disappeared for a few moments and re-emerged wearing -- wait for it -- stilts. Big tall stilts, with pants. They gamboled about the yard for a few moments, then came to the barn and danced. They were very expert on the stilts, but I sensed disaster. Sure enough, the woman soon went down. A gasp went up from the crowd, but she quickly righted herself and, sensibly, left the dance floor.

By then we had begun to play Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," and the young man got very excited. He dashed over to me, to the extent that a man on stilts can dash, and urgently conveyed his wish: He wanted to sing with me. I can't really converse when I am singing and playing the guitar, but with my shoulders and eyebrows I tried to express what I was thinking: I'm not sure how this can work, since your mouth is way up there, and mine is way down here, and there is only one microphone.

In the end, he just leaned down a bit and sang in my general direction. I don't know whether anyone could hear him, but the visual effect must have been electrifying.

It was, as drummer Scott Beardsley noted, a first for the WGL.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

From the vault

Junker guitarist Matthew Stratton just unearthed a Junkers rarity, a lost track from the Hunker Down sessions that reemerged from a mysterious pile of unlabeled CDs: A cover of Tex Ritter's famous theme song to High Noon. Enjoi.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Happy Monday

The U.S. military is recruiting more Nazis!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Good word

"I killed my dinner with karate."

-- Joanna Newsom
Boo hoo (or: roughing it)

Having read this cutline, I can't bring myself to read the article:

"Margaux McDonald, traveling the difficult roads between Thailand and Cambodia to research a Let's Go guide, had to write her findings in a spiral notebook after her laptop broke down."