I went through a period about 12 years ago in which I always had a roll of Certs handy. I think it lasted three months, at which time concerned friends and family staged an intervention to help thwart my growing Retsyn addiction. I only mention this because today you get not one, not even two, but three, three, three posts in one.
What A Bunch Of Pricks
Last Saturday morning started with my first acupuncture appointment. Get it? Pricks? I’m friggin’ hilarious. So if you remember a couple years ago I concocted that whole cancer story for financial gain? And instead all I got were prayers, a Crystal Bernard pillowcase and a pooping pig keychain. Next time I need to be more specific and request cash when I try to scam you guys. I mean, I even went through chemo and radiation to give the story credibility and destroyed my thyroid and salivary glands in the process. Now the docs have given me prescriptions for the side effects but I can’t afford to fill them so send me cash.
I’m joking, of course. I have plenty of cash since I’ve been embezzling all the blog proceeds from that lame Google advertising thing – that’s why Moist Rub thinks we’ve only made $5.45.
The thyroid thing is no big deal – I pop a cheap pill each morning and no worries. Just like a hungover sorority broad.
The salivary gland thing is a little more complicated because that pill not only stimulates the salivary glands but also stimulates the sweat glands. Meaning that a dose large enough to generate enough spit to lick a stamp makes me look as if I just stepped out a Bikram yoga class.
All I know is I paid $40 to some American guy who went to an Oriental medicine school to stick three pins in my face, one in each foot, two in each leg, and three in each arm. Then he told me to relax for 30 minutes with the other dopes sitting around with pins sticking out of their body parts. He comes back, takes them out and tells me to come back next week. Unless I end up with more spit than the floor of a major league dugout in the next week, I’m not sure I’m sold on this acupuncture deal. I’ll keep you updated.
Blades of Glory
As soon as I returned from the clinic it was time to go to the Ice Capades. It’s really not my first choice for entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. In fact, I’m not sure it would make the top 100. It would probably fall somewhere in between shopping for a toaster oven and putting my t-shirts in alphabetical order. But Mom really digs figure skating and she was kind enough to carry me around for nine months and put up with me for 18 years after that, so I got her tickets to the Smucker’s Stars On Ice tour. I let her know she didn’t have to take me and the Mrs, but for some crazy reason she likes hanging out with us and insisted we attend. Or maybe we pissed her off somewhere along the line and she was punishing us. Regardless, we got her to the arena and prepared for the worst.
It delivered. There were throngs of tweens with their bedazzled cellphones in the crowd. There were senile old women with Dorothy Hamill haircuts looking for Dick Button. There were Asians traveling in packs of no less than five. As far as the show, there were cheesy introductions to most of the skits (routines?). Sparkly costumes that would be humiliating to the normal person. And the routines were sorely lacking in the triple toe loop – double salchow combos for which I was hoping. Even the biggest “star” that I recognized – Sasha Cohen – fell on one her jumps (apparently you’re not supposed to laugh) and exhibited the charisma of a barber’s pole. People say the same about me, but I’m not the one with the lucrative Smucker’s contract.
Okay, so there was a dude that did a back flip a few times. That was impressive. And there was French-Canadian couple (or are we still calling them Freedom-Canadians?) who tossed each other around the ice without crashing. Also impressive.
But the gayest blade moment came after intermission (yes, intermission since the excitement level was getting out of hand and we needed 20 minutes to calm down), when all the male skaters welcomed us back in black leather pants and fitted turquoise shirts for a routine. Before long one of them lifted a fellow skating dude over his head, brought him down on top of his head, and spun him around like a helicopter bringing wounded queens to an icy MASH unit.
At some point I was hoping they might re-enact the Nancy Kerrigan attack in celebration of the 15th anniversary, but no such luck. Why, why, why?
The show ran almost three hours, so dinner turned into a quick trip to Portillo’s before dropping Mom off on the way to our next scheduled event.
How I got to the next show is a long story and about funny as a heart attack. Back in Dallas I was introduced to a local musician named T-Buckk. I ended up taking lessons from him and we got to be pretty good friends. When we were getting married (me and the Mrs, not me and T-Buckk (Texas kind of frowns upon same sex marriage)), we asked if he would play at our wedding. He not only agreed, but refused to take any money as long as he was free to enjoy the reception. Done. He played Little Wing as the future Mrs. walked ill-advisedly down the aisle, which was actually a staircase near some fountains in a downtown Dallas plaza, he played a couple other originals we requested during the ceremony, and then got swept onto the dance floor by my family during the polka set at the reception. And then, two months later, he died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. Told you so.
There was a swell memorial service for him at Winfrey Point overlooking White Rock Lake – one of those memorial services that people always talk about wanting when they die, but never seem to come to fruition. A casual gathering of friends to celebrate his life, his music, his friendship, hanging out, playing music, maybe even doing some drinking. And after a few words by some of his closer friends, a woman who sat in with him occasionally during his Thursday night gigs at Mick’s gave us an incredible a cappella version of Amazing Grace. That was the last time I saw Ruthie Foster perform.
It’s a moment that stayed with me, and soon after I noticed she began releasing records, gaining a following, and touring the country. Her most recent tour brought her through Chicago Saturday evening, opening for Jorma Kaukonen and Robben Ford. Who? That’s what I said. Turns out that Jorma was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane and long-time founding member of Hot Tuna. I suppose I should have known that since I briefly dated a girl who was obsessed with Jefferson Airplane, although I think she was more a Paul Kantner girl. That’s why we had to break up. But I digress.
Turns out ol’ Jorma is a pretty good fingerpicking blues guitarist. Pretty eerie, but based on what I heard I’d bet that my old buddy T-Buckk had some Hot Tuna records in his collection.
Robben Ford is also apparently a respected guitarist with a blues, rock and jazz background, but no jazz hands as far as I could tell. He since formed his own blues band, but was oddly dressed as if he were auditioning for a wandering minstrel role in The Princess Bride. Despite an impressive bio including stints backing up people like Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Witherspoon, George Harrison, Joni Mitchell, George Michael, and Miles Davis, I found his band technically solid but rather uninteresting. Not unlike a high-priced escort. Oh, and I was joking about backing up George Michael. Just seeing if you’re still paying attention at this point.
After each of the three played their individual sets, the remainder of the show consisted of various collaborations that went together like a slab of ribs and cole slaw and a cold beer. As long as you like those three things. If not make up your own analogy. Just don’t miss them if they come to your town.