Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Thud: Growing Up With The Bee Gees

June 29, 2014
My version of the Red Ryder BB Gun: "Bee Gees Gold."

My version of the Red Ryder BB Gun: “Bee Gees Gold.”

I was thrilled to receive a gift of a Bee Gees puzzle from my younger sister Lars last month.  This is not a joke: I was thrilled to get a 200 piece puzzle of the Bee Gees.  I love the Bee Gees, and not in the half-assed way that it’s become acceptable to love the Bee Gees, either.  They’re not a “guilty pleasure.”  Nor is “their early stuff actually pretty good” to me.  I love the disco stuff from the 70’s just as much as I love their British Invasion stuff.  They were my first favorite band.  I grew up with them.   My love, like all first loves, is crystalline and perfect: unencumbered by the cloudy complications that attend my “grown up” affections.   (I love Neko Case, for example, but I’ve backed away from her latest work, which seems stiff and agenda-addled to me.)  As a Bee Gees fan, I’ve become accustomed to snide comments and backhanded compliments.  After all, the Bee Gees have been given a bad rap. When called upon to do so, I’ve been their defender and I’ll defend them again in this story.  Like the contents of the box handed to me by my sister, this story is a jumble of pieces of the past: a past as distant as the summer of 1981, when my love for the Bee Gees became a full-tilt obsession and as recent as May 27, 2014, when I attended Barry Gibb’s “Mythology” Tour at the United Center in Chicago.    (more…)

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A Million Little Salt Crystals

May 18, 2014
Image

ROME and remorse.

I love my daughter Mabel more than I’d thought I could ever love another person.  For her, I’ve incurred cavities of the teeth and mind by way of multiple sugar shock episodes of “My Little Pony.”  I glory in the light in her eyes when we play “school”, despite being cast repeatedly as an illiterate little dullard named Denise Bernice.  Mabel is the ambassador of my fondest hopes; she carries my heart in her little purple leopard-skin purse. She is everything to me. Yet I took her to the (shudder) Olive Garden.   That’s right: the (shudder) Olive Garden.  Like the monster parent of urban legend fame who forced his child to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in one sitting, I did a horrible, valuable thing, and I did it out of love.   It’s quite possible she will resent me for it for the rest of our lives, but I have no regrets. (more…)

Jive Turkey Thanksgiving

December 9, 2012

you-jive-turkey

We’re having Thanksgiving dinner today, but it’s not Thanksgiving. This is a totally bogus holiday, culminating in the partaking of the jive turkey.   Today we celebrate the Totally Bogus in all its many vestiges, from the deviously “counterfeit”  to the flat-out “wiggity-wiggity-whack.”   Jive Turkey Thanksgiving is so Totally Bogus, it’s the Courtney Love of holidays: a holiday that stands before us in tattered evening wear,  confronting us with face smeared out of focus with streaked makeup and multiple plastic surgeries, a holiday that declaims from the top of its rattling lungs: “I fake it so real I am beyond fake.”   Jive Turkey Thanksgiving is, in fact, the only real way to celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that is in itself notoriously jive-ass from top to bottom.

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On Wisconsin: This Ain’t Over

August 21, 2012

Devil’s Lake, Little Devil

“This Ain’t Over” is the seventh and final chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour’s series “On Wisconsin”.

Our Wisconsin visit, was, in the vernacular of the intellectually lazy and chronically slang-prone (guilty on both counts, Your Honor): AWESOME.  Kate, Mabel, and I communed with nature and crass commercialism alike, enjoyed the company of brilliant friends, confronted the forces of conformity and oppression, stared down death, and Helped The World.  We tripped through time. We made pahster tracks.  But as AWESOME as our visit was,  it wasn’t perfect.  When we packed up our tent and drove back over the Illinois state line, we suffered a couple casualties and left behind some unfinished business.

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On Wisconsin: Happy Campers

August 6, 2012

Cockeyed group photo featuring our very special guest stars Amy and Jacci!

“Happy Campers” is the first chapter of The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

When I was a kid, I used to sit under the oak tree in our back yard and pore over the camping equipment in the sporting goods section of the Sears catalogue.  I coveted the lanterns with their adjustable kerosene tongues of flickering light, the foldable army-green camp stoves and their fire-engine red fuel tanks, the canteens with the rugged saddle blanket stripes.  Most of all, I loved the tents– all the tents:  from the bargain-priced canvas pups to the plushest of polyester family compounds.  I loved the idea of being unmoored from foundation, unencumbered by roof, of being both inside and outside at the same time.   With a tent as your portable bedroom, the entire planet is your house.  (more…)