13 December 2014


The bus is regularly 20-40 minutes late, not on my way to work, happily, but the buses to take me home. It's going to keep happening and I really don't like being mad. It's fruitless and frustrating. There must be a good reason the bus is late, right? Just because I don't see any traffic and all the other buses seem to be running just fine doesn't mean there's not a valid reason. I just have to make one up.

My first thought was that maybe there's some sort of sparkly rainbow cat that holds the bus up and demands the driver and passengers dance around to annoying pop music until it's thoroughly amused before it let's them pass. It would be a traumatic experience for all involved so when the middle-aged, tired-faced bus driver greats me as I board I should give him a reassuring smile.


After thinking of that story the bus pulled up, I gave the driver a reassuring smile, and I gave up imagining reasons for why it was late.


This week I've completely fallen under the spell of Stromae, a Belgian human of pop amazingness. He's really popular in Europe so I heard him all the time last year and thought, "Oh yeah, this guy's pretty good but let's listen to some Bob Dylan." But this week I've been obsessed. Last night on my bus ride home (that was only ten minutes late) I watched this music video over and over and over, you should too. All of you. To give you a brief synopsis, one of the lines in the song translates to: "Everybody knows how to make babies but nobody knows how to make dads." (Which isn't true, I must say, I can't keep quiet on that. Some people do know how to be dads. I know some excellent fathers including my own marvelous Dad.) Now keeping that in mind listen to the music and watch the video and wonder at the layers of what is going on here. And even though you may not understand the lyrics, rest assured he's exceedingly clever at playing on words (at least according to this French novice who's typing this up) to say what he wants.

And in closing, I need to work on my bacon cooking skills.  

10 December 2014


This is so incredibly important. You need, need, need, need, need, need, NEED to know about Franek Kimono. He's brilliant. Imagine Rocky if he were Polish and decided to record a disco album. 

My coworker and I discovered him during a morning absorbed in Polish music exploration, a pursuit I highly recommend. Time and time again I've found Poland is a frequently overlooked rich treasure trove.

Franek is actually the creation of a man whose name, Piotr Fronczewski, I cannot pronounce but nevertheless is an actor and singer who in 1983 decided to record the Franek Kimono album as a joke and stumbled into success. I am not in the least surprised, the album is incredibly delightful.

A longtime favorite Pole of mine is the film director Andrzej Wajda. His films are masterful and poignant and I am fully aware that's the least substantive sentence, I essentially have told you nothing about him. Let me put it this way: his films, from the first viewing, have reached themselves deep into the folds of my mind. I regularly reflect on them, tracing the outline of their images. Ashes and Diamonds (1958) and Katyn (2007) both deal with war from which I've pieced together histories we don't hear often. I never knew Poland was invaded both by the Nazis and the Soviets during WWII and suffered under each, the Soviet control lasting for decades.

Perhaps you're crazy and history and movies about the terror and tenderness that occurs during war isn't your thing. I still think you should watch them. Particularly look for a reference to Antigone in Katyn. In fact, brush up on your familiarity with Sophocles' and Anouilh's versions of the play, then watch Katyn. With a box of tissues. And some candy canes, for 'tis the season.


07 December 2014


Me and Bubbles the yeti whom we've been making at work when we get the chance. He's so hug-able.

Aside from the usual favorite songs like Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," Velvet Underground's "Found a Reason," and The Smiths "There is a Light that Never Goes Out," I've found a lot of new musical obsessions lately. In playing DJ in my office, I instituted cultural music mornings which my coworker heartily embraced and which have taken over the whole day. Some of our forays are more adventurous than others, like that time we tried didgeridoo music.

On stressful days we may put on the Chet Baker radio station; when we're peppy it's the Regional Mexicano station. Our lists of internet radio stations are ever expanding. My coworker is regularly calling out requests, we're both always looking for new things. Tonight I found a Russian songstress who sings in Russian I'm excited to delve into, and I believe I've figured out how we can listen to more of Benoit Quersin and Esole Eka Likota's Anthologie de la musique Congolaise. I bring all these up to spread the delight I find them to be, I think you should all be listening to them. Also, to point out that I am largely out of touch with whatever may be on a contemporary radio station. Don't worry, I'm really 87 not 27.

Accordingly, I've got two treats for you tonight you must immediately listen to.

One is the Accordion Tribe's "Waltz for Sandy."

Accordion Tribe - Waltz for Sandy (Klucevsek) from Boléro on Vimeo.

The other star is Nino Ferrer's "Les Cornichons." That translates to a song entitled "Pickles." The entire song is about food. It's largely comprised of lists of foods and condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, mushrooms, chicken, chocolate, etc.

That is all, now go about your ways with love and fascination.