• In Which I Ape Larry King

    by  • 2 Feb ’10 • me, obituaries, rock and roll, society, website • 1 Comment

    It turns out maintaining a blog while taking on increasing responsibilities at work and trying to finish my Masters degree and trying to maintain some semblance of a personal life is a bit tricky. Plus, I think Facebook statuses suck up an alarming amount of my wit (or potential wit). But before I throw in the towel and start a Twitter, I’m going to try my hand at one of those lazy Larry King round-ups of commentary, reviews and “observations.” (Actually, I’ve never really seen a full installment of Mr. Suspenders’ program, so I’m really just aping those even lazier parodic send-ups of Larry King.) Either these are placeholders for bigger, better posts or else they are the aborted remains of very promising ideas.

    There’s a certain poignancy in that moment of steeling oneself at the front door for a charging dog who will never again slam his 90 pound body into your knees. Or how a leash, brush and bowl in a plastic supermarket bag can require the same negotiation as a chest full of heirloom jewels at the reading of a will. And when does dropping little bits of food on the ground cease being nice, and start being rude?

    Upon third listening, the new Spoon record (a sleeper, like all others before it) sounds like a new, incredible advance. Like many of “Transference’s” reviewers, I’m attracted by the idea of Britt Daniel & Co. fully embracing the bombast that they have spent four successive records stripping to the bone. But the more that the band breaks down their songs to the most spare and elemental, the more I enjoy following them on their journey. I’m ready for their next record, comprising the sounds of Daniels’ pencil scratching paper while Jim Eno tunes his snare.

    How hard is it to find a good coffee table?! I realize that furniture is particularly subjective to taste (and there are few people more particular than me), but sheesh. If it’s not one thing, it’s the color. Black, for the record, is not tobacco, not coffee and certainly not mahogany. It seems like everything out there alternates between the extremely baroque or the post-post-modern. Gahd forbid you want to protect the wood finish with a little bit of glass. Oh, no. If you want a glass-top coffee table, the glass will be held aloft by skinny angular metal, positive vibes and pixie dust.

    Having as many obituaries on my site as I do, I’ve grown accustomed to estranged friends of the deceased learning the bad news by stumbling upon my blarg via Gooooooogle searches. It is somewhat dispiriting to see how long it can take before a good college buddy, former comrade or ex-girlfriend decides to investigate a bounced email or missing Christmas card. The responses to one particular comrade’s death (no names, comrades) are notable for their extreme sadness and their extreme tardiness. Did he make deep, profound connections with his friends and then retreat into his own private world? Am I doomed to do the same?

    I’m reminded of the outlaw country singer / mystery writer Kinky Friedman, who writes of his shared fear of dying in his apartment and being devoured by his hungry cat before anyone notices. In his novels, Kinky writes of the “M.I.T. System.” The idea is quite simple. “M.I.T.” stands for Man In Trouble, and the point is to establish a reciprocal understanding with a friend that every few days each will call the other and say nothing more than, “M.I.T., M.I.T., M.I.T.” (Because, really, who wants to force small talk every two or three days?) If you don’t receive an “M.I.T.” call from your friend after three days, convince his Super to let you into the apartment to search for his half-eaten corpse and lay some kibble out for the ravenous cat.

    I’ve made “M.I.T.” arrangements with a handful of friends over the years and, come to think of it, I have not received a “M.I.T.” call from any of them, nor they from I, in a long while. Better start Goooooogling.

    One Response to In Which I Ape Larry King

    1. 2 Feb ’10 at 8:03 am

      What a lovely description of pausing for a ghost at the door. I open and close all front doors very carefully so as not to let out the cat, even when there is no cat; and sometimes hang my hand from the couch to intercept a headbutting that will never come. It’s funny how they condition us, yet we insist on seeing it as the other way around.

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