Friday Fives – somehow ends up being about Alice in Wonderland again

alice cover

What’s your “I can’t believe they got away with this in a kid show” moment?

I am reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ again… slowly (on the toilet) and it holds up SO well.  Its my favorite  book in the world!.  I say that with a literature degree!  Anyhow, the books reminds me of Spongebob, in that it is clearly designed for both audiences.  You probably know the book is famous for a LOT of druggy psychedelic references.  You probably know that Grace had a VERY big hit with this song singing for the Airplane.  You probably know it was written clearly in the 60s.  It was.  The 1860s!  By a motherfuckin’ Reverend!  Not just a reverend but a published math wiz.  He isn’t called Lewis Carroll, either.  Dodgeson was so embarrassed by his writings of ‘Alice…’ that he used a fake name.  The man you know as Lewis Carroll is Rev Charles Dodgeson.  Also, Alice was a very real person… Alice Liddel.  Here are pics of her, which is SUPER cool.  And stop saying pedophile jokes.  Dude was a family friend, and he was never alone with Alice.

So… what does any of this have to do with the question?   Alice in Wonderland is a pretty f’d story composed almost entirely of antagonists.  Not sure it is should be a kids book.   Tell what what, if I ever get our kids back from the state, we’ll test it one of them.  Another reason this came up is legit, a couple weeks ago I got this in the mail.  Reminds me of the time I read this, when I found a Steadman copy.  To me knowledge, the Steadman editions are not currently available, and may have never been.  I got one, and it was a stolen library book.  Still worth it.

What’s the darkest secret you found out about a family member/ relative?

I have one, and if it were truly personal or bad, I would never share it with the likes of you.  Years after my pops passed away, I learned he briefly owned a toupee shop.  Needless to say, I have SO SO SO many questions.  No one seems to have answers.

Headphones or earbuds, which do you prefer and why?

All things being equal, it would be over the ear headphones.  These are more comfortable, and offer more sound protection.  Generally, if I am wearing headphones I am doing something very loud.  Running the tractor, woodworking, mowing… whatever.  The first job of the headphones is to protect my ears and hearing.  Also cool if it plays music.  

BUT… having said that, I just got some new in ear headphones that have incredible sound.  So which wins?  Won’t know until tomorrow when I am out spreading the horse poo.  These earbuds are so new I haven’t done any loud work with them.

What are your current go-to lazy meals?

A box of mac and cheese (any brand, who cares), a protein bar, some yogurt.  Alternatively, your sister!

 Who’s your favorite comedian?

That changes often.  Most recently, John Mulaney and Jimmy Carr.  Historically, it would be Mitch Hedburg and Brian Regan (got to see both of them live).  If we are to talk about comedy specials > it would be Delirious, and then anything Brian Regan ever did.

*** wait – why aren’t we still talking about Alice in Wonderland still?  YOU started it, Dad. You think I would just glance past an opportunity to talk about ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and move forward?  Ever ask your Uncle what makes Steely Dan so great?  Do it, I dare you!  and get comfy as he goes all ‘Uncle Rico’ on your ass for 35 minutes.  ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is actually two books.  Neither of them are called ‘Alice in Wonderland’, either.  The first book (and truly the most iconic on every level) is called ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’, and the second book is called ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’.  That second (and last) book?  It is also a playable chess game.  Serious.  I’ll let someone smarter than me explain it

The 64-Square Grid Design of ‘Through the Looking Glass’

The sequel to Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland was designed to be a playable, albeit whimsical chess problem

ALICESL PG 028

One two one two and through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He game galumphing back

And hast thou slain the Jabberwocky?

come to my arms, my beamish boy… calhoo, calhay!

THAT – I just recited from memory.  Its about the Jabberwocky, a poem/story in the book that is unique as almost every word is total nonsense.  The poem is longer than that above, am just curious how I did.  Let’s look.  Above is my rickety ass memory, below is a cut and paste verbatim.  Think I nailed it!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

Third week in Chelsea – ever watched a band break up?

Even heard a band break up?

I don’t think you have.  You have watched a band break up, sure  The Beatles did that magnificently in ‘Let it Be’.  Maybe its been referred to, or coyly alluded to. However, its certainly never been done as perfectly and beautifully as Jorma Kaukonen did with Jefferson Airplane.  A quick and obligatory set up. Jefferson Airplane was a big San Francisco success that gave us ‘Somebody to Love’, and ‘White Rabbit’. It is NOT the band that brought you ‘We Built this City’.   That is Jefferson Starship. BIG difference. All the people are different, except Grace Slick. Plus, that was 15 years later after this.

The Airplane had a LOT of people in the band, five.  Frankly, it’s too many. See, like every band, they got big and famous and most of them became intolerable, drug addled, assholes.  Paul Kantner, I am looking squarely in your direction. Also, according to absolutely everyone who was there (Grace included), Grace became a raging alcoholic monster.  Also leading to the strife is ‘who’s band is it really?’ You have NO idea how big this one is. It is what broke up the Beatles, and Guns and Roses.

(recently deceased) Marty Balin started the band.  It was his band. I will always think of it as his band.  Grace wasn’t even in the band for years. Thing is, once Grace dropped it… it propelled them to greatness.  She became the focal point for the band, as all great charismatic front men do. Grace got to basically run the show.  But with whom? Again, it depends who Grace was banging in the band at the time. I am serious, and (again), Grace has admitted to this.

Jorma is their awesomely talented guitarist, one of like 6 in the band.  As the are getting big, Jorma is tired of all of it… the rock star-ness, and egos, and clashes, and drugs.  We are lucky that Jorma and Jack (bass player for the band) are still around. And… still touring… together… in their goddamn 70s!  Jorma wakes up on day on tour in Manhattan and just kinda snaps. He writes this ode, ‘Third Week in Chelsea’. I won’t bore you with all the lyrics, but they are here.

What I will bore you with is some key lines.  Again, usually songwriters cloak their feelings in obtuse metaphors.  Not Jorma, god bless ‘im!

So we go on moving trying to make this image real

That what they read in the Rolling Stone has really come to be

And trying to avoid a taste of that reality

All my friends keep telling me that it would be a shame

To break up such a grand success and tear apart a name

But all I know is what I feel whenever I’m not playin’

Emptiness ain’t where it’s at and neither’s feeling pain

Well now what is going to happen now is anybody’s guess

If I can’t spend my time with love I guess I need a rest

Time is getting late now and the sun is getting low

My body’s getting tired of carryin’ another’s load

Oh man, that smarts.  Look at that last time.  “My body’s getting tired of carryin’ another’s load’.  No subtext there.

This song reads to me like.  Like he quit, and the band asked him to stay… and he comes back with this letter.  Can’t argue these lyrics.

And that isn’t even my favorite part of the song.  Btw, the song is GREAT. That is the most important part.  It could be a hummingbird shit, the song stands on its own mightily.  My favorite part is that Grace sings the whole song with him. NOTE: this is him deciding to leave the band because Grace has become insufferable.  I also don’t doubt that the others ‘load he is carrying’ is another reference to Grace. Grace didn’t play any instruments, which means she didn’t write songs.  YET… she is getting all the fame and probably most of the money. What does Grace do when she sees the song? Fire him? Shoot him? Discredit him? No, she embraces it and sings along.  Just because of that, I have endless love and respect for Grace. Ok, wih all that… let’s have a listen, eh?