Does This Sound Familiar?

From Barry Miles’ Zappa: A Biography:

[Zappa’s] parents had no interest in music and there was no radio or television in the house, so the only music Zappa heard as a child came from outside: movie soundtracks, background music to soap operas, the big band music that was still popular in the early fifties, which he heard at friends’ houses. Zappa: ‘I think the first music I liked was Arab music and I don’t know where I ever ran into it, but I heard it someplace and that got me off right away.’

Then came the big breakthrough. Around the time of his thirteenth birthday, Frank was riding in the Henry J with his parents when ‘Gee’ by the Crows came on the radio, followed by the Velvets singing ‘I’. ‘It sounded fabulous,’ said Zappa. ‘My parents insisted it be dismissed from the radio, and I knew I was on to something…’

I think it sounds like the musical aesthetic he chased for the rest of his life.

The Velvets, “I” (embedding disabled)

A bonus:

In the summer of 1954 the Zappas acquired a Decca record player from the Smokey Rogers Music Store in El Cajon. It had a speaker on the bottom, raised on little triangular legs, and the pick-up arm needed a quarter balanced on it to ensure accurate tracking. Zappa remember it as a ‘really ugly piece of audio gear.’ The record player came with some free 78s, including a copy of ‘The Little Shoemaker’ by the Gaylords, which had entered the Top 10 in July 1954. Rosie liked to play it while she did the ironing.

I have to admit. It is catchy.

Just for shits and giggles: Francis, Rose Marie, and Frank Zappa pose for Life Magazine.

The Snow Man

The Snow Man | By Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Manwich Is A Girly Man

Sloppy Joe

Do not buy Manwich. Do not buy Manwich ever again.

You may very well have everything you need in your pantry right now to make “sloppy joes” that will make a “manwich” taste flat and stupid.

Here is the recipe, so simple and yet so lively and wonderful that you are going to hit yourself in the back of the head for days for not having this (Alton Brown) recipe in your possession before right this minute:

1 onion, cut up

1 teaspoon garlic

1 pound hamburger

Brown all together then drain (ahem…or not…).

Add 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup water with 1/4 cup brown sugar dissolved, and 1 tablespoon molasses. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and wait to thicken.


I would only add that half a red pepper diced adds some awesome color and flavor. And other peppers you might have sitting around might add a bit of heat.

By the way, this method, with the ketchup and the brown sugar and the mole-asses? What a great meatloaf glaze it is.

Not The Post You Think It Is

My archives indicate that I have been a blogger since March 18, 2001.

Life was pretty groovy at the time I reckon. I was two years into a job in an office in Washington, D.C. I liked working downtown. I liked riding the subway. I liked my job, to whatever extent a person can like a job. I may very well have been in love. Or I was trying to be. I’m not sure which, in this period of my life it is difficult to tell. I do know I was forever seeking a new crowd and a way to fit in in my new home.

I was either on my way to a Georgetown walking tour or just walking back to the subway after one, when I had an idea to purchase a domain name that would reflect a joke I used to share with my Father when I was a kid. He and I would be revving up to go on a road trip or something, and I would turn to him and indicate that it was time for another adventure into the well-known. This was one thing I could regularly say to my Father at the time to make him laugh.

The idea was to have this here blog to spur my introverted ass to go out and do things and meet people. It worked, sometimes, in some ways. Going out and doing things and meeting people gave me some things to write about sometimes. And there were at the time a lot of smart interesting funny and even weird people blogging who also liked to go to a certain regular happy hour or two, which, by the way, is the most basic unit of measurement when it comes to social interaction in Washington, D.C.

Yep, for a new kid in town with a working—nay, downright fussy—knowledge of the English language and a general proclivity for rocking back and forth in the corner rather than interacting socially, blogging was a hell of a good tool for bringing me out, at times.

No, this is not the obligatory “time to move on and abandon my blog” post. I don’t think I shall ever have the occasion to write that post. I may be a little old to still be journaling online, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop. It may get kind of sad here, folks. I’ll be 80 and at a desk in my Rumpelstiltskin beard and writing blog posts complaining viciously about drivers who don’t use their turn signals and Justin Bieber. I may never write my novel or even get my damned trilogy published, but by gosh, there will be acres and acres and acres of blog postings about my life before I’m gone.

No, this is just a blog post to acknowledge that there’s been a bit of a change.

Look out, Rochester.

New adventures to follow.

That is all.