Okay! Here we go again! It’s another brand-new year, full of hope and promise and everything looks rosy! There’s a sense of unity in the country, hell, the world, that humanity has never known. As a species, we all came together, sorta like a fast-spreading virus, and, with the wisdom of God-inspired-science, knocked Covid-19 on its ass before it could even show its ugly ol’ round splotchy head around these parts. Well, not exactly. Denton County recorded a record 2,060 Covid cases in one day about a week ago and it’s been hovering a little below that since. What!?!? A year ago, I was waiting until the cases were below 50 a day, so I could feel fairly okay about going to the dentist. Boy, this decade is sucking pretty bad, so far! Today, I watched the live-streamed funeral of a friend I knew very well, growing up: a neighbor and fellow Baptist church kid. She was about five months older than I am. She was always bubbly and positive. We knew her family so well, I still remember their phone number! Saw them just about every day during my public-school years. In high school, our lives took radically different directions. It appears, she became intensely religious and focused on Jesus while I, of course, became intensely ridiculous and eventually focused on polka. But, we were always super happy to see each other and catch up and discuss the stupid stuff our parents were doing. For some reason, as I understand, she would not get vaccinated and became one of those saddest of statistics, at lightning speed. She started feeling sick one day while visiting one of her children in another state, right after the new year kicked in, went to the hospital rather quickly, and was dead in four days. Story over. I’ve been in a bit of a fog since, trying to wrap my head around just the reality of it all. I live, every day, in a world which believes that Covid-19 was and is a real and present danger. Almost every single person I spend, and have spent, more than one minute around, felt, and feels, exactly the same. We’ve all tried to be good soldiers for the science. I get the flu shot every year and it’s never a big deal. Just got it recently, in fact, at Albertson’s. Plus, a coupon for 10% off my next shopping spree there, because I let them give me the shot. Then I bought some spinach, I think, but didn’t blow the 10% on that. Oh, no. I’m gonna wait until I’m ready to spend something like $200 there! You know, for like a couple of boxes of kitty litter and some potatoes. Ka-ching! My point is that it was easy for me to just follow the evolving science because we all follow basic rules of science a million times a day, just doing stuff. Oh, the wonderful world of science! I liked science films in grade school. Most of them were pretty old. And we also watched film strips. I enjoyed watching teachers fumble with all of that clunky equipment. Not to laugh at them, just to watch them, as they heroically struggled. Google “film strips,” if you don’t know what they are and if you want to waste time finding out something underwhelming and only interesting if you were a kid who remembers actually watching them. But, somehow, I knew the technology was unruly and cumbersome and would someday be archaic. Whatever, back to my point. I am quite aware not everyone lives in my bubble. I’ve always known that, but it has surprised me how many people abandoned science this time around. Eradicating a deadly pandemic seems like the kind of thing everyone would get on board with and automatically look to the experts for guidance, rather than outlets like THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER. But, as I said, not everyone lives in my bubble. No matter what, it’s been a weird week.
Hey, let’s talk about music. I will be starting to work soon on three resurrected Tiny Tim/Brave Combo tracks. We decided not to include them the first time around, 25 years ago, but the things I didn’t like about them then don’t seem so unworkable now. I’m having a hell of a time finding Tiny, though, to get him to redo a couple of vocal lines. Anybody seen him since he and Elvis were hanging out with Andy Kaufman and Amelia Earhart (lovely couple)? Speaking of famous dead people, my wife and I visited Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris once. There were guitar picks all over it. It was lightly raining, but we purchased an umbrella, just before entering the cemetery. I know you think I mainly told you that so you would think I was cool. You’re probably right, but a bunch of other famous dead people were there, too. We got a map of all of the graves with the umbrella.
Back to music. On Friday, February 11th, Brave Combo will be playing a groovy-to-the-max show with our ol’ buddy, Jad Fair, who was, during Brave Combo’s early years, half of Half Japanese, an influential sorta punk band he formed with his brother. Jad’s music is uniquely his and we think this will be a spectacular event. I’m trying to get our friend, and Denton legend, Paul Slavens, to do the show with us, as well. Why not give people something to see and hear. I hope it gets to happen. We were supposed to play the Denton Mini Folk Festival this weekend, but, as I mentioned earlier, over 2000 people tested positive for the virus in one day, five days before the festival and the promoters did the right thing, postponing it until Spring. Thumbs up! We had some crazy stuff to play. It’s cool. We can get the songs a little tighter and I can make my folk dancing a little smoother.
We are, by design, keeping the calendar light and, for now, only booking outdoor spaces still. You know, we wanna rip, without worrying about spitting and sweating on people, because we want to spit and sweat on people and want them to do the same to us; to get lost in the moment, without staring at a bunch of masks reminding you not to get lost in the moment. Yeah, it’s best to wait a bit longer before acting like everything is normal again. It’s really not that much fun to just go through the motions while your mind is worrying about getting sick and/or encourage people to cram into an indoor space and pretend everything is A-okay. Oh, whatever, life is fun and the world of Brave Combo is getting busier by the second. We’re rehearsing again and are thinking about live-streaming one of those soon. Also, I’m still feeding cats behind the office. Let’s rock!
Below is a new video of an old Argentinian tango. I was just messing with the song one night recently and decided to rearrange it and write English lyrics. I haven’t worked on the bridge yet, but you’ll get the idea where the song is going.
One more thing. We took our 15-year-old dog, Foxey, to the vet this week, with some of her freshly acquired urine, and she and the urine were both fine. And she’d lost two pounds since our vet visit a couple of months earlier. On the way home we bought her a sack of donuts for getting such a good report.
Be smart and responsible and keep your eye on what we’re doing. It’s all getting stranger and, perhaps, even more entertainingly interesting.
So sorry to hear about your friend. Totly sucks for everyone involved. Peace and love…
Andrew Feehan says
Sorry about your friend, Carl. There have been many cases of people who have refused to be vaccinated getting sick and expressing regret for their choice. I wish more people would learn from such examples. I hope Foxey enjoyed her donuts.
Patricia Bearer says
Good to know you all are doing well, although I am sorry to hear the bad news of your friend . Let’s get this year turned around!! In other news, I live in Eureka Springs Arkansas now and have cataract surgery scheduled for the end of this week …I also went to see Jim Morrison’s grave at Pere LaChaise..and was also amazed at the large number of incredible people interred within those grounds.
Happy New Year to you and Jane!!
Charles Skinner says
Thanks for many great memories, Carl —— Your music was a big part of my life for a long time. —- I am still “breathing in and out,” —- and trying to stay healthy. —-
Sweet Margie loved your music too. —- “God rest her soul.” —– I have married again, and have a good life now. —– But will always miss her.—– Yes —–
Mike Lynch says
Sorry to hear that Carl.
I’ve noticed that about covid, though: Poof. Gone.
Stay safe. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.
Eventually, if not soon.
Jon Whitsell says
I got my start in Audio Visual syncing LP 45s to film strips for the Vacation Bible School down the street from my house. Little did I know, I would still be syncing sound and movies all these year’s later.
Dan B says
Thanks for your latest ruminations Carl, very poignant. Meat Loaf’s passing from covid was a drag. Maybe vaccination saved my life, maybe it didn’t matter, but I was dang glad I had been vaccinated when I caught it.
My “go to” film strip was the life of Vincent Van Gogh, about 1970, with headphones to listen to the LP record that came with it. Was so cool to utilize the hi-tech of the day!