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November 2002
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caroline says 2 by lou reed

Caroline says - as she gets up off the floor
Why is it that you beat me - it isn't any fun

Caroline says - as she makes up her eyes
You ought to learn more about yourself - think more than just I

But she's not afraid to die
All her friends call her "Alaska"
When she takes speed, they laugh and ask her
What is in her mind, what is in her mind

Caroline says - as she gets up from the floor
You can hit me all you want to, but I don't love you anymore
Caroline says - while biting her lip
Life is meant to be more than this - and this is a bum trip

But she's not afraid to die
All her friends call her "Alaska"
When she takes speed, they laugh and ask her
What is in her mind, what is in her mind

She put her fist through the window pane
It was such a funny feeling

It's so cold in Alaska
It's so cold in Alaska
It's so cold in Alaska

my so-called halloween

Just a warning for anyone out there watching the My So-Called Life episodes: skip "Halloween." Well, that's not entirely a good idea, since if you skip it, you miss Angela's little sister being Angela for Halloween, which is hilarious. But the episode truly stinks. I remembered this before I watched it on the DVD, then told myself I was probably mis-remembering. I wasn't; it stinks. The one where Juliana Hatfield plays an angel stinks too, as I remember, although I haven't gotten that far into the discs yet.

abre los ojos

Abre los Ojos is a terrifc film that seems to follow a recent theme I've been pursuing the last week or so. While this Spanish film has no direct connection to the work of Philip K. Dick, the way the plot plays out is very reminiscent of a Dick novel. I haven't seen Vanilla Sky so I can't comment on the relative merits of this film and its American remake, but I was entranced by the original. It's hard to explain what it's like ... it's the kind of movie that reminds you of other movies you've seen, which fits in with the predicament of the film's protagonist so maybe that's a good thing. There's a little La Jetée (and someday maybe I'll tell my story about watching Twelve Monkeys) and a lot of Vertigo, but in some ways it reminded me most of Italian movies that used to show up on Creature Features when I was a kid, like a Mario Bava movie, except there wasn't the goofy camera work of Bava, and it wasn't dubbed. Abre los Ojos works on a lot of levels and covers a lot of ground; it's far superior to director Alejandro Amenábar's recent The Others.

diary of a rock'n'roll star

Diary of a Rock'n'Roll Star is Ian Hunter's written-as-it-happened account of Mott the Hoople's U.S. tour of late 1972. This statement might be one of those that inspires a "there's two kinds of people in the world" comments, where one kind of person thinks "wow, I'd like to read that" while the other kind thinks "who's Ian Hunter?" Those of you who don't know Ian Hunter (and are Americans) likely know him for his song "Cleveland Rocks," which was the theme for The Drew Carey Show for many years and which had an earlier and mostly-forgotten life as "England Rocks." Or maybe you know him for "Once Bitten Twice Shy," which to be honest was a bigger hit for other artists than it ever was for Hunter. Or, and this is probably the least likely of all, you might remember Mott the Hoople for their version of Bowie's "All the Young Dudes." The only real question, though, is whether or not someone who doesn't know of Ian Hunter would possibly care about a diary he wrote 30 years ago, and I suspect the answer is "no."

Me, I've wanted to read this book pretty much since I first heard of it in the mid-70s. I'm not sure it's ever been released in the States before ... in any event, Jillian got it for me as a xmas present, and I read it v.quickly (it's not very long). I think Mott the Hoople was a fine band; their album Mott still sounds good today. Hunter's a good enough writer, but the book's appeal at this point comes mainly from the peeks at some folks we still hear from today, as they were in the early 1970s. David Bowie pops in, Hunter sneaks into Graceland when Elvis was still alive, and Mott plays on bills with such acts as Dr. Hook and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The picture Hunter paints of rockstar life is pretty mundane ... sometimes it seems that the only thing the band does when they hit a new town is go to pawn shops looking for bargain guitars. But there's charm in the mundane-ness, and while the book in no way replaces listening to "All the Young Dudes," it's a nice sidebar for fans. It also reminds us that Mott the Hoople came out of the 60s ... literally, they were formed in the late 60s. Glam seems like such a 70s thing, but reading this book, it's clear Mott, at least, is a 60s band.

If there's an odd postscript to the above, it's Dave Letterman the last coupla days. Thursday night, one of his guests was one of the guys from Dude, Where's My Car?, and I guess Paul and the band played a little of "All the Young Dudes" as bumper music for the guest. This got Dave on a roll that continued into the next night's show, where he confessed how much he loved the song, especially when Hunter shouts out "Hey Dudes!" Dave and Paul had a long philosophical discussion, doing a close reading of the lyrics that was very funny ... words on the screen don't really get it, but there was Dave's "I like the notion that he's calling out to dudes. He's rallying dudes!" And then, when Paul sang "all the young dudes carry the news," Dave wondered "What news are they carrying to the dudes?" and Paul said his own explication was that it was the dudes carrying the news, not that the news was being carried to them. Dave didn't care, in his mind, when he hears "Hey Dudes!" that is his "favorite moment in all of rock-and-roll. From the beginning of rock-and-roll history to now!"

Anyway, Ian Hunter's trick was to adapt the phrasing of Bob Dylan to a Rock (as opposed to Rock and Roll) sound; at its best, Mott sounded like what Dylan might have sounded like if he'd played with Black Sabbath. And on occasion, Hunter's lyrics were up to the challenge, as well. But Dave Letterman's fave was written by Bowie ... it's unlikely Hunter would have written an anthem so gay, to be honest ... here, for perhaps the last time all year, I'll quote lyrics:

Well Billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he kicked it in the head when he was twenty-five
Speed jive don't want to stay alive
When you're twenty-five
And Wendy's stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks
And Freddy's got spots from ripping off the stars from his face
Funky little boat race
Television man is crazy saying we're juvenile deliquent wrecks
Oh man I need TV when I got T Rex
Oh brother you guessed
I'm a dude

All the young dudes (Hey dudes!)
Carry the news (Where are ya?)
Boogaloo dudes (Stand up Come on!)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (I want to hear you!)
Carry the news (I want to see you!)
Boogaloo dudes (And I want to talk to you all of you!)
Carry the news

Now Lucy looks sweet cause he dresses like a queen
But he can kick like a mule it's a real mean team
But we can love oh yes we can love
And my brother's back at home with his Beatles and his Stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag too many snags
Now I've drunk a lot of wine and I'm feeling fine
Got to race some cat to bed
Oh is there concrete all around
Or is it in my head
I'm a dude
All the young dudes (Hey dudes!)
Carry the news (Where are ya!)
Boogaloo dudes (Stand up!)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (I want to hear ya!)
Carry the news (I want to see you!)
Boogaloo dudes (And I want to relate to you!)
Carry the news

All the young dudes (What dudes?)
Carry the news (Let's hear the news come on!)
Boogaloo dudes (I want to kick you!)
Carry the news
All the young dudes (Hey you there with the glasses)
Carry the news (I want you)
Boogaloo dudes (I want you at the front!)
Carry the news (Now you all his friends)
All the young dudes (Now you bring him down cause I want him)
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes (I want him right here bring him come on!)
Carry the news (Bring him here you go!)
All the young dudes (I've wanted to do this for years!)
Carry the news (There you go!)
Boogaloo dudes (How do you feel?)
Carry the news
--- David Bowie

food poisoning

I have to admit, I usually don't believe people when they say they got food poisoning. I nod sympathetically, but inside I'm thinking "you had a stomach ache" or "you got drunk" or something like that.

So my attitude seems to have caught up with me. I decided to have a late-night snack on xmas ... there was some cold fried chicken in the fridge ... I vaguely remembered that it had sat out for several hours before we got around to putting it in the refrigerator, but so what, right? Had a coupla pieces, went to bed. Felt kinda funny, went out to lay on the couch so I wouldn't bother Robin. Over the night I puked, oh, I lost count, but six or so times. Good ones, too, projectile stuff. And all along, I didn't feel sick except for the need to barf.

Spent yesterday recovering. Today I'm mostly OK, still sore is all. So time to get back to normal. There are xmas pix here. As for xmas swag, here's what I got, with apologies for anyone whose present I'm forgetting:

A sweater, a watch, other various clothing like shirts and sweatshirts, coupla DVD box sets (Naked Gun, Simpsons first season), Aftermath, and a book, Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star by Ian Hunter.

smith-rubio family letter

Since it's xmas eve, here's one of those family letters people send out to tell you what they've been doing all year long.

I guess the biggest thing that happened to Robin and I this year was the new addition to our family. Yes, it's true, we finally broke down and got a dog. She's the cutest little mutt you ever saw. We call her Spot. Here's her picture:


Our professional lives took a big turn as well in 2002. As most of you know from reading this blog, I got my first full-time job in 18 years, working as a butcher for the local grocery chain, Andronico's. Here's a picture of me at work:


Robin decided she was ready for a break after working so hard to support the family all these years, and so she's been on sabbatical since last spring. Which doesn't mean she's been idle; she has thrown herself full-bore into her favorite activities:


Of course, no account of the Smith-Rubio 2002 would be complete without mention of our terrific kids, Neal and Sara. After many long years, Neal and his girlfriend Sonia finally broke down and took the big step everyone expected for so long: they got Tivo. Sara, meanwhile, spent the summer learning how to speak with a Jamaican accent, which became necessary when she realized she was working four jobs, mon.

Everyone in the Smith-Rubio family wishes everyone reading this the best of holidays!