Hot Rats

Wow. I am finding it difficult to believe that I have never before listened to Zappa’s Hot Rats. It is, truly, the necessary companion piece to Burnt Weenie Sandwich, while somehow simultaneously both bridge and precursor to later works like Jazz From Hell. Hot Rats is like the missing link.

And it’s awesome. I find myself hearing some gorgeous melody in it and wondering if this grouchy, practical man actually had that voice somewhere, or if he was merely exploiting music theory, and if Willie the Pimp is meant to tip the scales on that question.

Anyway, I’m amazed that I’m a Zappa nut at my age who’s never heard this one. That’s the lovely thing about Frank. He did so much that you can always learn something new.

(By the way, did I mention that eMusic carries a whole lotta Zappa?)

You Better Get Right…

Whilst in sunny Illinois: I couldn’t help but read the bumpersticker out loud in the back of the cab. I wish I hadn’t. But it made use of an ol’ Southernbaptisism that I only know because it’s a Jennyanykind song. It was sort of in rhebus form somehow, and it said, “you better get right with God,” and so I read it out loud and went “hmmmmph.”

The coworker next to me said, “That’s right.” Then said, “What, are you not a true believer, Aaron?”

Now, my religious beliefs cannot actually be written on a notecard. I tend to follow the thinking of many of our Founding Fathers, most of whom were Deists. However, I also tend to believe in some form of reincarnation. But I do not tend to accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. Call me a skeptic, or call me a person who was not * raised * with any particular faith. More certainly, call me someone who has noticed that belief in Jesus Christ has been one of the most politically misppropriated forces of the universe, evar, and that this trend has been on a spectacular rise as of late. You may also call me somebody who has found more universal truths in Frank Zappa’s Only In It For The Money than from any book in the Bible. Finally, call me someone who thinks a tale that spans from virgin birth to resurrection is only slightly less goofy than the one about the winged horse flying thousands and thousands of miles in an evening or the fella what found holy documents based on the advice of an Indian ghost. But how do you explain this to the Suthun belle sitting next to you in the cab after the wine and the prawns and in a still semi-work environment yet?

So I mumbled something like, no, but I appreciate folks who do have faith. Which I do. As my answer trailed off, she chimed in with a “Veddy intedesting.” Which I thought was weird. Her editorial comment was as if to say, how very strange it is that you say you don’t believe in the Christ. Wow. You really are a weirdo. And I find it sad as a progressive that this country hasn’t gotten further than this, that in fact the government has been infiltrated by the Lubavitch of Christianity, and that just admitting that you believe differently than a Christ-worshipper grants you an eyeroll.

I once, seriously, had a fella tell me that the Constitution guarantees us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Seriously. So, by this guy’s mandate, I’d be game to be locked up in the stocks because I tend to believe that some fortuitous spark, not an ethereal being who watches over us like Santy Claus and requires us to kiss his ass every Sunday, is what led to all of this?

Anyway, I know I’m probably overreacting. I often do. Still, I sort of wish I hadn’t read that stupid bumper sticker out loud.

Play Spy at the Airport

I have just got back from the Chicago trip. It was a good meeting, and I’m glad I went. I schmoozed with members of the trade association I work for as best I can and schmoozed with a few coworkers as well. Six of us took a train into the city and ate Chinese last night at a trendy little joint called “Opera.” I had the prawns.

I left the hotel right after the noon meeting. I didn’t need to, as it turns out. One of my colleagues at the D.C. office had overnighted me the replacement driver’s license I’d ordered after I lost my wallet, so the full cavity search I received at Dulles (okay, so it wasn’t that severe) was not a concern. And, as it turns out, my plane was delayed. But I got to snoop around at O’Hare. Ate lunch at the Chili’s, which seems to be the only reasonable place at O’Hair where a man can get a beer and lunch and sit down and enjoy it. Then I wandered around to the usual suspects, book stores, gadget stores. Picked up a Rolling Stone and a Computer Shopper. There’s some good stuff in RS about the atmospheric C02 that’s ravaging the planet and such.

I flew one of them new-fangled big-ass planes. That was nice. Each seat had a little screen in front of it, and you could call up a map to show you where your plane was and how long it was before you’d get there and such. Very good for the little kid inside of you going, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

So I’m home and I’m glad and I haven’t yet seen my cat, who I assume is upstairs snoogling with the housemate who’s been taking care of her. Time to catch up on e-mail and Tivo. Good to be home.