In Praise Of…

Yo, get your praise on with the Milwaukee Lutheran High School Praise Band!

Hershey Syrup in The Can:  Simply put, it tastes much better than the Hershey’s Syrup from the squeeze bottle.  How can I account for this?  The taste taboo that makes people avoid canned vegetables and meat marinated in metal bowls actually works for Hershey’s Syrup In The Can.  The can itself is the key ingredient that sets the HS apart from its bottle counterpart.   The tin undergirds the dark intensity of the chocolate and elevates it above mere sweetness.  It tastes of times gone by, when things made to last were made of metal: cars, back yard fences, coffee pots…  I don’t expect anyone born into the “Hershey squirts” era to understand the charm of the HSITC, but it’s my hope that they find a way to hold onto that juvenile plastic ass-joke sweetness and cherish it in the future days of eco-friendly-flavor-neutral packaging.

“When I’m With You” by Best Coast : This song sounds like Jesus and Mary Chain gone surfing with the Go-Go’s: fun in the sun offset by doomy, reverb-drenched shadows.  The lyrics of this song are almost as deep as a jello shot, and this is fine with me.  I heard “When I’m With You” on the also praise-worthy college radio station WONC during my commute and for 4 minutes, I was on vacation.  It was all I ever wanted…

My Sunglasses:  Pure exasperation dictated my choices when I ordered my prescription sunglasses.  I’d just survived a grueling gauntlet of frame options to find my main pair (and in the process, ending up with a set of men’s Foster Grant black retro frames, which I suspect were offered to me in jest), and at that point, I just wanted something simple and dark.  Since that day, I look like Buddy Holly when I’m inside; outdoors, I look like a cast member of The Matrix.  But what’s praise-worthy about My Sunglasses isn’t how they distinguish me as a taker of the Red Pill, it’s how they make the world look when I’m wearing them.   The dark lenses filter color into gorgeous Kodachrome clarity.   The blues are richer, variations on an otherworldly azure, and the greens, fresh as pine.   When I’m wearing these sunglasses, everything takes on the dreamlike dimensions of a picture postcard from the fifties.  Looking at the sky and its heartbreaking blue, the clouds shot through with glorious summer sun and satin-like shadows, I get the sense of a time in which cliches like “every cloud has a silver lining” and “true blue” were not yet passe’ cornballisms, but observable phenomena, communal truisms upon which relationships were founded and lives sustained.   Behind these sunglasses, I’m a serene inhabitant of  better days that came and went long before I was born.

Sweet Kodachrome Magic

Sweet Kodachrome Retro Magic

Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” poem:  From her tiny sequestered nook in 19th Century New England, Emily Dickinson somehow predicted the wholesale emptiness that is modern fame.  As anyone who’s been subjected to more than 10 minutes of reality tv can tell you, all it takes to be famous these days is a shameless, shirt-lifting narcissism and the inhibitions of a drunken chimp.  You don’t need to cure a disease, or write a book, or lead a movement for societal change.  You just need to be your stupid self in public, a frog who “tells one’s name–the livelong June–/to an admiring bog.”  Nice burn, Emily!

This post is dedicated to my friend Van Cagle, whose love for the past infused the present with a  profound and joyous perspective.  Rest in peace.

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5 Responses to “In Praise Of…”

  1. Kelly Says:

    OK, that Best Coast song is fantastic, and your Go-Go’s/J&MC comparison is dead on. Cool! I assume they have other songs like this…?

  2. hellraisin Says:

    I would assume the same. I’ve launched an investigation into their awesomeness and will report my findings to you at a later date.

  3. Pamela D Hardy Says:

    The cross reference between Buddy Holly and The Matrix–only you, dear genius could pull that off. Once again, you provided us with funny and insightful commentary on the hilarious, scary and downright bizarre state of the universe.

  4. Nancy Says:

    Went to the Hershey store at Niagara Falls last fall. Sadly, these young retailers, with their Chinese-fleece stuffed peanut toys and sloppy HERS HEYS pillow kisses, just don’t GET IT like you (and I) do… Same goes for ketchup and mustard…
    Thanks for the sweet tune as well… even tho I am a’feared of clowns…

    • hellraisin Says:

      I, too, remember the days when whoopie cushion technology overtook the ketchup and mustard packaging industry. The well-timed squeeze added a raunchy, Algonquin Round Table For Rubes element lacking in most mealtime repartee, which is a revelation when you’re 12 years old. But sadly, the end result lacks flavor and taste.

      I hate clowns, too, but the BC Clown sets himself apart from the crowd as a satirist and, let’s face it, a stone-cold stud. He’s a credit to his race.

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