Friday, April 13, 2007

I (heart) Don Henley

First of all, what's going on here? About a month back I made a joke at the expense of the city of Los Angeles and got taken to task for that (by a Los Angelite, I can only imagine). Then I write a post about Don Henley, and suddenly one of his good friends is reading my blog. And that's totally fine, might I add. Any friend of Don Henley is a good friend of mine (and please tell Don I said that). But it is a tad discombobulating. Apparently it really IS a worldwide web. Go figure.

At any rate, Anonymous (see yesterday's comments), I honestly am a fan of Don Henley. He's a talented musician and songwriter. He also has a fine voice. He did a duet with Trisha Yearwood several years back, a song called 'Walkaway Joe.' It's a song I like very much, and that's largely due to Mr. Henley's accompaniment. I like any song that tells a story. In fact, if I broke it down, I think I'd find the majority of songs I've liked over the years tell a story of some kind. And I don't need the whole story. I just need to know a little bit about the person being sung about and at the end of the song I like to have some vague idea of what happened or might happen to them. That's my criteria.

Anyway, back to Don Henley. As my blogging chum Rand noted, Mr. Henley also wrote (and sang) 'Boys of Summer.' That in itself guarantees him a permanent spot on my good side. A friend I'm no longer in touch with told me that him and a chum took off on a west coast road trip many years back, and as they descended upon the Hollywood hills (I'm not sure that makes sense. I may have gotten that part wrong) on a beautiful summer night, 'The Boys of Summer' came on the radio and it was THE perfect song at THE perfect time. I love moments like that. And I'd have to agree with him as far as his assessment. It must have been like Don Henley himself looked down from heaven and said, 'Here's a little song I wrote back in the early 80's. Maybe you've heard of it, it's called 'The Boys of Summer.'

Not that Don Henley is dead. He's alive and well and I wish him many continued years of good health and prosperity, but when I think of that story, that's where I picture Don standing. I also see him looking down at the earth, standing next to God, and telling God, 'I'd have done that a little differently. And that, too.'

And God saying, 'I know you would have, Don. I know you would have.'

Not that Don Henley is domineering. I just think he has this very precise vision and extremely high standards. And good for him. Obviously, this has served him very well. So to sum up, Anonymous, I agree with you when you say Don Henley is a good and decent fellow. I know he's performed many benefit shows and he was very involved in efforts to save Walden Pond. And I'm a fan of anyone who's a fan of Walden Pond (tell him I said that, too, would you?).

If you ask me, Don Henley is a very intelligent, righteous man on a world where intelligence is too often undervalued and and justice is not upheld often enough. That has to be very aggravating, and I can understand that. And that's one of the many reasons why I (heart) Don Henley.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mr. Don Henley

A lot of the time, I'm a fan of The Eagles. I know they're overplayed, I know musically there were and are many groups who were and are far superior, but I grew up listening to these guys. I think I've been through every stage there is when it comes to The Eagles. 1) They're the greatest band in America! 2) They're the greatest band in The World!! 3) Alright, if I hear Witchy Woman one more time I'm going to punch somebody. 4) Oh, God. Hotel California. Please, God, kill me. 5) Turn station immediately as soon as Glenn Frey or Don Henley's voice is detected. 6) 'I Can't Tell You Why,' Hm...I haven't heard that one in awhile.. 7) Maybe I've been wrong about this band. 8) 'Tequila Sunrise'...A tad schlocky and overdone, but it really isn't too bad a song. Hm.. 9) Buy the Eagles greatest hits for at least the 3rd time in my life. 10) Play disc sparingly, primarily when crossing the Rocky Mountains.

Anyway, and I have no reason why I remember this, back in 1992 when it seemed that change was in the air and Bill Clinton was elected President, there were many inaugural balls. At one of those balls, two of the hottest bands in the world were booked -- U2 and R.E.M. Yep, and as they were two of the hottest bands in the world, they decided to play together and whoever was in charge wanted them to kick things off. Enter Don Henley.

Apparently, Mr. Henley was still under the impression that he/The Eagles was/were still the biggest band in the world. And he huffed and he puffed until he got his way and he kicked the shindig off, I believe with his own song, 'Dirty Laundry.' I kind of wish I had been the manager of either U2 or R.E.M. I would have said, 'Bono, relax. I'll handle this. Go get yourself some green tea, okay?'

Then I would have gone up to Mr. Big Shot, Don Henley, and said, 'Listen, a**face, I don't know if you've checked the calendar recently, but it's 1992. The 70's have been over for awhile. Now I know you're a respected solo artist, as well, and you've put out some critically acclaimed albums all by your lonesome. But the deal is, you're not the top dog anymore, my friend. That title belongs to either of the two bands behind me. As such, you'll play when it's your turn to play, which will NOT be before my guys take the stage. When they're done, THEN you can go out and play your little song about your exploits down at the laundromat. Capish?'

Then I'm pretty sure Don Henley would have beat me to death. He's a mean-looking dude! He looks like the kind of guy who would kick you for bringing him a cup of tea on a cold day -- and then kick you again for neglecting to bring him some crumpets to enjoy with his tea. Maybe he wouldn't have beat me to death. Perhaps he would have just grabbed a handful of royalties and shoved those down my throat. "Do you like the taste of that, you little punk?! That's $73,018 and fourteen cents you're choking on! I make that every five minutes I'm alive! Every five minutes! Do you like the taste of it? Do you?'

ME: Gahkkkskaa!! (translation: 'Please don't kill me, Mr. Henley, please!!').

I'm a big fan of Don Henley's, actually. I think 'Heart of the Matter' is a darn fine tune.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

bagel etiquette

I'm at work and an announcement was made mere minutes ago that there were some excess bagels in the break room. I'm downstairs, the break room is upstairs, and I guar-an-tee you I was up there in 8 seconds flat. The selection was fair and I grabbed a plain bagel. Score!

Just then, a friend came along and proposed that we split that bagel. I like to think of myself as the generous sort, so I held the bagel up in the air and ripped it in half with my bare hands. Well, my friend gave me a look like I had just licked the bagel and then used it to dust behind the refrigerator with! He said the civilized thing to do would have been to cut the bagel in half the flat way (on its axis) with a knife. I must have missed that meeting. Where I'm from, if someone is willing to share something with you, I don't care what it is (gum, a snack, stolen loot), you take it. You look them in the eye and you say thank you.

Well, there was another plain bagel in the bag so he rebuffed my generous gesture and took a knife out of the drawer, sawed it (the bagel) in half and the crisis was averted. Who knows? He's probably right. Maybe I am the uncultured brute he thinks I am. I'm not ruling that possibility out, not by any means.

Speaking of bread, do you know what I like? I like good, rugged French bread. You know, those real hard rolls? The ones you have to tear apart with your hands. I get real territorial when I'm ripping one of those bad boys into pieces. In fact, if anyone gets too close to me when I'm doing that, I generally growl at them. I bare my teeth and snarl, just to let them know this is my frickin' hard roll, okay? You want one, reach across the table and grab one out of the basket yourself. It's important to have boundaries, I feel.

Speaking of France, here's a poem I wrote a real long time ago. It's called 'Je ne sais pas'

Je ne sais pas
I dreamt I was in France
last night,
but I didn't have
my passport,
so they made me wake up.

Monday, April 02, 2007

my life in a bowl of soup

When we left off, I had just ordered a bowl of chicken and wild rice soup at The Loon in downtown Minneapolis. Everything was looking good. However, when the bartender came over with my soup, instead of the rich, creamy texture I'm used to, there was some form of broth-based soup staring me in the face. I was hoping to God there had been some kind of a mistake, but the presence of wild rice in the soup seemed to nullify that possibility. After a perfunctory check with the bartender, it was official: there had been no mistake. My soup was served.

Now in the past, this would have been a day-wrecker. I would have pissed and moaned and moaned and pissed until the cows came home. This day, I let out a small sigh and got to picking. Before too long, I realized the soup, though not what I had imagined, was actually quite tasty.

That's when it occurred to me that all our lives are kind of like this bowl of soup. We get out of high school or college or whatever and we have this image of what our lives will or should be.
Then it gets slapped down and front of us and we find ourselves saying, 'Uh, waiter?' Only there is no waiter. And the soup we have is the soup we have.

But once we delve into the soup, really check it out, it's actually pretty good stuff. And from there, it' s up to us to add or find the ingredients that are missing, if anything is in fact missing. That process never really stops until the day arrives when you realize your soup is perfect and you reach for that sprig of parsley, drop it in the broth, put your thumb and index finger into your mouth and exclaim, 'C'est magnifigue!'

That's life.