Charles City Press, 2-6-20
When I was finishing up a phone call with my surgeon the other day, I said something that sounded strange to me immediately afterwards.
“See you Friday,” I said.
It seemed strange because I said it so naturally, as though we were making plans together. It was as if I was picking him up Friday so we could go fishing, or to go watch a ball game or a movie, or build a shed or something.
I decided that I’m getting to know my surgeon too well — he’s becoming too familiar to me.
He really isn’t though. I actually don’t know all that much about him, just that he seems like a nice guy who has a talent for cutting me open and taking bad things out of me, which is what we’ve got planned together for Friday.
We’re planning on killing some cancer together.
As some of you know, and many of you don’t, I’ve been fighting cancer for almost four years now. I had major surgery in 2016 and several months of recovery and chemotherapy, and after a fight for my life, I was clean for almost two years.
Some cancer popped up again about a year ago. I got some more chemo, then had surgery in August, then had more chemo through the end of last year.
Scans last week and earlier this week showed that, although we took care of the cancer we were trying to get rid of, there are some spots of cancer growing on my liver that we didn’t see before, because they were obstructed from view. We see it now.
We need to get that crap out of there right away. I will be getting a chunk of my liver removed, maybe some other procedures if necessary.
It’s me, my surgeon and his brilliant ensemble, all together again for another sequel. Get your tickets now, seats are limited.
I have to admit that for the first motion picture four years ago, I was pretty scared. This kind of thing was unknown to me, and it was pretty risky surgery. I managed to fight through it and keep breathing, with help from God, family, friends, and doctors and nurses.
Today I’m scared again, not because of the unknown, because I’m used to this. I’m scared of what I know. I’m scared that this will be the new normal for me, that this kind of thing will be something I have to regularly do, every year, every few months.
It will become like going on a fishing trip, or to a ball game or a movie, or building a shed.
I’m scared that this kind of thing will be all too familiar to me.
In some ways, however, my seemingly perpetual fight with cancer has been a blessing for me.
My wife, my daughters, sister, parents, family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances — and sometimes total strangers — have all been squarely in my corner and have given me the kind of moral and emotional support I never could have imagined.
The smartest thing I’ve done in this life is surround myself with good people. I’ve become closer to all of them since cancer.
I’ve reignited relationships with long lost friends, and tried to support some of them through their own battles with cancer, and battles with all the other things in this world that are conspiring to destroy us.
American author and poet Charles Bukowski is credited with once saying, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
That’s what I’ve tried to do for the last four years. I’ve tried to make Death tremble at the thought of laying its hand on me.
But as Death trembles, the reality of survival is also a fear. I feel bad for my wife. No matter how successful the surgery and my recovery is, she will lose the husband she knows for a little while. There will be some sick, tired and crabby guy sitting in my chair, sleeping in my spot next to her for an unspecified amount of time.
My kids, my parents my friends — they’re fighting this with me — this is putting them through hell. Sometimes I feel like I’ve let them down by not beating this once and for all.
Hopefully, this surgery is only going to put me out of commission for a couple weeks. You probably won’t be seeing my byline here for that while. Good vibes, warm thoughts, and sincere prayers are always appreciated.
Also appreciated — take care of yourselves. Get checked, get scanned, take preventative measures. Catch it early — it is so much easier to take care of it when you do.
Also, donate to cancer charities, sponsor a child who’s fighting cancer, help others.
Support local families with members fighting cancer. I don’t mean just with your money — although money is good if you have some to spare — sometimes just a kind word or a note can go a long way, and helps more than you know.
Let’s all kill some cancer together, or at least ease the pain it causes us all.
And please remember this — something that I once said, a couple years ago, as I was riding in the car and looking at a beautiful winter morning sundog in the eastern sky.
The world is full of wonder. Sometimes you need to inhale it, hold it in a while, just listen to how it makes you feel.
Reflect and keep going ...
Charles City Press, 1-30-20
I like the Iowa caucus.
That’s not to say I like everything about the Iowa caucus.
I don’t particularly care for perpetual phone calls from amateur candidate marketers. I don’t especially like strangers in matching T-shirts knocking on my door to discuss politics. I don’t like political flyers in my mailbox — and I especially dislike negative television and radio ads.
These things irritate me, but that’s OK. I can stand a little irritation from time to time. If it weren’t this, it would be something else.
I like the Iowa caucus because every four years, a bunch of people who actually want to be the president of the United States come to the town I live in and try to explain to me, sometimes face to face, why they want that horrible job. No matter what political party you belong to, and no matter where you stand on the issues of the day, I find the desire to be president fascinating.
Why would you want a job where — regardless of how good or bad you are at it — half the country is going to automatically hate you?
And if you think “hate” is too strong a word, you haven’t been paying attention. When people start to discuss politics, even here in “nice” Iowa, there is an inevitable amount of indiscriminate — and sometimes literally odoriferous — nastiness and hatred that spews unfiltered out of mouths, off of keyboards and mobile devices and over airwaves, penetrating our skulls and leaving permanent stains on the more pliable segments of our brains.
I’ve been guilty of it. So have many of you. It might be the price of living in a free-thinking society, although I wish we’d all concentrate a little more on the “thinking” before we open our mouths or activate our fingers.
Regardless of all that, the Iowa caucus brings all these possibly insane people who actually want to be president to our communities, and you and I get to meet them personally, if we so choose, and form our own theories and conclusions about them.
Everyone’s conclusion is going to be a little bit different — although mine is probably going to be better than yours. You’ll think yours is better than mine, but you’ll be wrong.
If that joke made you immediately angry at me, then you see my point about politics and hatred. It was just a joke. Calm down.
This year, it’s been the Democrats — I think about 200 of them, give or take a few. Four years ago, there were just a couple of Democrats, but a whole bunch of Republicans running around. For me, it’s been a pleasure to meet every one of these strange people who actually want to be president. Every time I’ve gotten a chance to talk with them, I’ve taken a second to thank them for coming to the town in which I live.
Of course, for years there’s been movement inside both political parties to do away with the Iowa caucus, or perhaps just juggle things around a little so that the Iowa caucus isn’t the nation’s first election, and isn’t as important as it is now.
The main argument is that Iowans aren’t representative of the rest of the country. We’re way too white, we’re way too old. We’re terrible at choosing candidates that speak for the nation as a whole.
This stands to reason. Candidates who do well at the Iowa caucus are going to say they like the Iowa caucus. Candidates who do poorly at the Iowa caucus are going to say the Iowa caucus is terrible. Since there’s only one winner from each political party, there are always going to be far more candidates who do poorly than there are candidates who do well. So there are going to be a lot of people out there who hate the Iowa caucus.
Personally, I think my state does a pretty good job, and I appreciate the opportunity we have here in Iowa to meet all these people, regardless of how I feel about their politics. But to tell you the truth, I’d also be fine if we took a break and let some other state take a turn at it.
See how much you like it, Ohio. Give it a try, New Mexico.
See how much you like truckloads of east coast media elites moving to your state for six months and analyzing you. Every time, some of them are bound to say untrue and condescending things about my fellow Iowans and our quaint traditions. A handful of them will say nice things about us, too. They’ll say we’re “smart” and “well-informed.”
Most of the things they say, negative or positive, will have just a small grain of truth to them. We aren’t a bunch of hicks, but some of us are. Nor are we any smarter or better informed than anyone else in the country, although some of us are.
Let some other state try it for a couple of years, and see how they like it. My best guess is they won’t. They won’t be able to take it, they won’t be able to behave themselves, they won’t be any better than we are at choosing candidates who represent the nation as a whole.
In the meantime, I’m going to caucus on Monday. I asked for permission to do so, and received it from my superiors here at work. When I report the news I need to be an unbiased observer, but I have the right to vote as an American citizen, after all, and since the Iowa caucus is how we do it here, I’m proud to participate in what I consider my civic duty.
Don’t ask me who I’m going to caucus for. Here in Iowa, rather than fill out a secret ballot, we have to publicly proclaim which candidate we support. I honestly haven’t made a decision yet. I might not know who it is until the last possible moment.
Whoever I choose to support, I’m pretty certain that candidate will be nuts.
You’ve got to be crazy to run for president.
It's been a week since Peart left us ... figured I'd better put something up.
This song was a personal anthem for me in high school. Always playing in my inner ear.
"... any escape might help disprove the unattractive truth, but the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth ... "
Or to quote Neil's lyrics from another tune ...
"... no changes are permanent -- but change is."
Truth. Always simple truth. Unmatched rock and roll lyrical skills.
And those DRUMS! Good God!
Charles City Press, 1-9-20
“Are you okay, Uncle James? It’s snowing here, is it snowing there?”
I’ve been getting a lot of text messages on my phone like that one lately.
At the family Christmas gathering, I made a snap decision, and I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do or not. Time will tell.
I gave my phone number to my nephew. I knew it might be a mistake when I did it, with unintended consequences, but I’m an old softy sometimes as an uncle, so I just did it.
I should tell you a little bit about my nephew, new owner of my phone number. His name is Christian. He was born at Christmas time several years ago, a Down syndrome baby. He’s highly functional, very self-aware, and one of the most caring individuals I’ve ever met. You haven’t been hugged until you’ve gotten a Christian hug.
Of course, he has special needs. He has disabilities and mental and physical developmental delays. He was fortunate to be born into a family with one parent who regularly works with disabled people as a part of her career, and another parent who has the patience of a saint.
Christian is lucky; many who are like him aren’t. They need help, and their families need help. That’s a different newspaper article for a different day.
Christian has grown from a Down syndrome baby to a toddler to now a teenager, and each next step has brought our family joy. It’s safe to say he’s the best Christmas gift our family has ever received.
But since he’s taken control of my phone number, the text messages have been perpetual and the FaceTime calls have typically come at inopportune times.
Sometimes, I’ll get a weather report.
“I just wanted to give you a heads up. It will snow on Saturday and it will snow the following Wednesday. It might start snowing the following weekend and week, so thanks for listening. I love you Uncle James.”
Sometimes he’ll tell me about his jobs — yes, he’s old enough to be getting jobs now. From what I understand, he’s a part of a culinary program in his school district, and he’s learning how to cook. I don’t think he’s putting out master chef dishes; I think it’s more short-order cook stuff, but he’s excited about it.
He’s also, from what I gather, working part time at a movie theater. I believe he’s doing things like sweeping floors and making popcorn. I told him that when people ask him what he does, he should just tell them he’s in the movie business.
“That’s funny,” he texted. “I like your attitude there, Uncle James.”
For the past several years, he’s been involved in a local community theater for children and young adults with special needs. They put on elaborate productions of Broadway musicals. A couple years ago, he had a part in “Beauty and the Beast.” Last year, he was one of the monkeys in “Seussical.” This year, he’s a hyena in “The Lion King.”
I’m looking forward to seeing the show later this month. He spent most of his Christmas practicing his lines and songs — and the lines and songs of everyone else in the show.
I’m so proud and grateful that Christian is involved in all those things, but mostly, I’m proud and grateful that he’s my nephew, my little sister’s kid, my parents’ grandkid, and a good brother to my other nephew.
He’s in a family of diverse sports fans. His dad loves the Bears, his mom and his Uncle James love the Vikings — but Christian loves the Packers. His late Grandpa was a big Packers fan, and I think he chose the Packers out of respect for his grandpa’s memory.
He still watches the Vikings, though, as I found out last weekend, as my phone started squealing non-stop with messages from him.
“Are you watching this game? This is nuts,” was the first text message.
Later it was, “The score is 14 to 13. The Vikings can win this game.”
And then finally, it was, “I told you. The Vikings win this game in overtime.”
Later, he inexplicably sent me a photo of his brother.
“My little brother is so funny. He is the best.”
“You and your brother are good kids and you should look out for each other,” I replied.
“I like your attitude there, James.”
I received a Face Time call in the middle of a meeting last week, which interrupted a speaker and embarrassed me. I quickly hung up, which apparently Christian didn’t understand. So he called back again. And again. Finally, I had to just turn my phone completely off and apologize to the others at the meeting.
When I turned it back on later, there was a text message waiting for me.
“You are not talking to me, are you okay? I hope you aren’t sick. What’s wrong, Uncle James?”
I explained to him that he couldn’t try to Face Time me during the day when I was at work. I think he understood. I told him it was OK to text me, but not to try to Face Time me unless I gave him permission ahead of time.
“Good thinking, James.”
“I like your attitude, there, James.”
The following Saturday, I was doing a little work, as we newspaper people do sometimes on Saturdays, and he attempted to Face Time with me again. I gently informed him I was working.
“You can’t be at work because it’s Saturday. We get the weekend off before we go back to school,” he told me.
I explained that sometimes people have to work on Saturdays, too. There was silence on my phone for several hours. Then this text message:
“I don’t want to distract you but I love you Uncle James smiley face smiley face emoji.”
(There weren’t actually any emojis used. He just typed in the words “smiley face emoji.”)
A few days later, there came this text message exchange:
“Happy back to school day, Uncle James!”
“I don’t go to school anymore, Christian, but your Aunt Michelle went back to school to teach yesterday. I have already been back to work.”
“I see. Is that fun, Uncle James?”
“Because I’d rather hang out with my nephews than work.”
“OK. Good answer. I like your attitude there, James.”
The best text message exchange came a week ago, when I had told him that I had the stomach flu on New Year’s Day. It’s this conversation that just might convince me that giving my nephew my phone number was the right thing to do.
“I have been sick too,” his text message said. “My shoulder is very sore and I got a headache. I’m a lot sick, I got a stuffy nose and the back of my leg is hurting.”
“I hope you feel better, Christian,” I said.
“Aw. Thank you Uncle James. I already do,” he said.
“I like your attitude there, Christian.”
“You’re funny, Uncle James.”
For everyone who is either defending or criticizing the Trump-ordered assassination of Qassem Soleimani …
Truth -- 98 percent of you had no idea who the hell he even was before a few days ago, and all but one or two of have been largely ignorant of the diplomatic situation between the United States and Iran for at least 39 years now.
Excepting a few false factoids and buzzwords like “Benghazi,” and “ISIS” and “Muslims,” 98 percent of you are almost entirely clueless in regard to the intricacies of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East as a whole. You can claim otherwise all you want, but you simply haven’t been paying attention, and the bottom line is, you haven’t given a shit.
Proof is, if you actually gave a shit, and if you actually understood what's going on, you wouldn’t be so sure in your convictions, whatever they are.
If you gave a shit, you would understand that you might be wrong — or the false prophets you parrot might be wrong.
You’ve now seen a bunch of memes, and maybe even some hastily-composed semi-factual articles in the last few days, and a cloudburst of bullshit propaganda has been dumped on top of them. About 98 percent of those creating the memes, articles and propaganda also have no idea what they’re talking about — just like you don’t.
I’m asking everyone to take a few breaths and shut the hell up for a while and try to observe and learn something from non-reactionary sources. After digesting that information — and also taking a look at the immediate and potential long-term unintended consequences as they unfold — then perhaps you can present a reasonable, thoughtful, educated opinion.
My guess is most of you won’t, you’ll simply go back to your natural default position of not giving a shit. And that is OK with me, as long as you shut the hell up about things you know nothing about.
If you're not going to take the time to educate yourself, at least be considerate enough to stop mis-educating everyone else.
Knowledge is earned. Ignorance is contagious.
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
A Christmas story — Tidings of comfort and joy
By JAMES GROB
The young woman furrowed her brow and rubbed her eyes. Her fingers then straightened her long black hair. Everything in the store she had looked at that was any good cost just a little too much, and everything that was within her price range just wasn’t quite good enough.
She needed a perfect Christmas gift for the perfect guy — a blue-eyed, baby-faced guy who had always been sweet to her — and she became more and more frustrated as she roamed through aisle after aisle.
She had looked at sweaters, watches, jackets, gloves, gadgets and colognes — and just about everything she liked cost more than she could ever afford on her wage as a waitress at a small cafe. She didn’t know whether to cry or scream. If he didn’t like his Christmas gift, she thought, maybe he wouldn’t like her anymore.
A white-haired older woman watched her and knew immediately that the young lady had to be searching for a present for a very important boyfriend. As the two came closer to one another in the cologne aisle, she cleared her throat and spoke cheerfully.
“Merry Christmas, dearie,” the older woman said.
The young woman looked at her. The older woman’s eyes sparkled through her spectacles, and she wore a navy-colored sweatshirt with a red-nosed reindeer pictured on the front — a gift from grandkids the previous Christmas.
Something about the way the strange old woman had said it soothed the younger woman. Maybe it was the silliness of the word “dearie,” or maybe it was just the musical tone in her voice.
The young woman smiled. “Merry Christmas to you, too,” she replied.
“Oh, dearie.” (There was that word again.) “You don’t have a thing to worry about. With a smile as pretty as that, your man will love you no matter what you give him. He won’t let you get away.”
The polite, pretty smile quickly became a sincere and beautiful one — the kind of smile that belongs on the cover of a magazine or in a feature film. The young woman simply beamed. “Thank you,” she managed to mutter in reply.
Finding the right gift was easy after that, and as she merrily waited in the checkout line she bumped shoulders with a middle-aged man. A tired fellow with a receding hairline and a growing belly, he didn’t care much for Christmas shopping and cared even less for crowded checkout lines. His patience was limited and he was beginning to dread the anticipated hassle of another Christmas Day — and the outrageous bills that were soon to follow.
“Excuse me,” he mumbled to her after they had bumped.
“No problem,” she said. Then she gave him that sincere smile. “Happy holidays.”
It had been a long time since a pretty young woman had smiled at him like that. His beaten posture changed as his heart lifted in his chest — his upper body seemed to inflate and his face softened significantly. He held his head high and smiled back at her — as he would smile at the whole world for the rest of the evening.
“Happy holidays to you, too,” he cheerfully exclaimed to her moments later as he exited the store, bags of gifts in tow. He seemed to be walking on air. “And season’s greetings and Merry Christmas to all of you,” he exclaimed to all the busy check-out clerks, his once-grumbling voice now lilting with gentle laughter.
His attitude had changed so drastically that he happily left a much-larger-than-usual amount of money in the charity bucket next to the Salvation Army Santa ringing the bell outside. Then, as he drove out of the parking lot, he came across a motorist with a flat tire. Normally he would have driven right by, but today he pulled over to help.
As he put the spare tire on for the nice, white-haired woman, he chatted away — and even complimented her on her “Rudolph sweatshirt.” He laughed as she told him stories about her grandkids. He told her he couldn’t wait to have grandkids of his own, and he was surprised to hear himself saying that — and meaning it.
He then followed her to the repair shop — the only one in town still open on Christmas Eve — and insisted on paying to have the tire repaired.
“It’s not much,” he told the woman. “Consider it a Christmas gift. Just promise to spend the money I’ll save you on your wonderful grandkids.”
She promised. He waved good-bye, shouted “Merry Christmas” and hurried home. For the first time in a long time, he couldn’t wait to see his wife — and to give her a kiss.
The typically-gruff repair shop owner witnessed the man’s generosity, and was so impressed that he decided to spread a little generosity of his own. He gave his only employee the rest of the day off, with full pay and a holiday bonus. It was just a small bonus — after all, business had been slow — but it was more than what the young man had expected, which was nothing.
The blue-eyed mechanic was so thrilled he actually gave his surprised boss a hug as he wished him “happy holidays” and skipped out the door. Although the moment was awkward, it somehow seemed appropriate, and the repair shop owner was pleasantly amazed at how easily he could positively impact the attitude of an employee.
Now the baby-faced young man would have just enough time to get to the jewelry store before it closed, and just enough money to pay off the engagement ring on which he had been making payments for the last few months.
It was a Christmas present for his girlfriend, a thoughtful young woman with long, black hair. He was going to ask for her hand in marriage tonight, on Christmas Eve. He’d always been sweet to her, and she seemed to care about him an awful lot. He hoped and prayed that she would say yes.
When your girl has a smile as pretty as that, you don’t let her get away.
Was it really 39 years ago? I learned about it from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football.
I didn't fully appreciate the significance of it at the time, I was just a kid.
So was he, actually.
Charles City Press, 12-5-19
I had no idea who Billie Eilish was until last week.
I just don’t listen to that kind of music, and honestly, if I did, you’d probably think there was something wrong with me.
My children are all adults, and my age currently resides on the north side of Half-a-Century Street. In the last week, I’ve learned that Billie Eilish is a 17-year-old pop music sensation, and the youngest artist ever to be nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. I can only assume that she’s quite talented.
The fact that I’ve never listened to one of her songs shouldn’t be a surprise. I never cared too much for the Grammys when I was young, so it would be really weird if I was paying attention to the latest pop music trends and listening to the crooning of a 17-year-old pop star, now that I’m old.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized and accepted that popular contemporary musicians aren’t exactly writing songs with me in mind. I’m not their target audience anymore, not sure I ever was. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
My parents couldn’t stand most of the music I listened to when I was in high school. Regularly, they complained that it was too loud, too obnoxious, too vulgar. That was kind of the point. Imagine if my parents would’ve said things like “that’s a great song, play it again, turn it up louder!” I would’ve been horrified.
If a song was good, it was good. If that song annoyed, enraged or disgusted my parents, it was even better. If my parents actually liked it, then there was obviously something wrong with it. Put that cassette back in the case.
My musical horizons expanded exponentially once I got out of high school, and I started liking just about every kind of music available, from rock to show tunes, from metal to classical, from calypso to country to jazz to blues to much more. I still don’t listen to most of what’s on the pop charts, but overall, my taste is diverse.
In high school, Van Halen was the tastiest ear candy I knew, and that’s why I’m writing about Billie Eilish.
The young singing sensation was recently on one of the late night talk shows, and the conversation revealed that she had no idea who Van Halen was. Apparently, she’d never heard of the band. This exchange went viral on the world wide inter-webs and twitter-nets and further fueled the generational feuding between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials and GenXers and whoever else dares to have a completely uninformed knee-jerk opinion.
A blood-red flood of abusive invective washed down on Billie Eilish, and for a couple of days, she became the poster child for everything that’s wrong with everyone who’s under 30. You know, they are all ignorant and lazy and self-centered and eat laundry soap and don’t know who Van Halen is and inappropriately pierce all their body parts and won’t pull up their pants and have a closet full of meaningless participation trophies.
And the young people responded with “OK Boomer” and “get off my lawn,” and pointed out how ironic it is that the generation that thought up the idea of giving participation trophies to kids is the same generation that calls the kids “entitled” for receiving participation trophies.
We’re the ones who gave them the trophies, folks, so let’s stop yelling at them for just going along with our stupid idea — but that’s a whole other column.
This column is about Van Halen, the amazingly talented and innovative guitar band that restored hard rock to the forefront of the music scene and provided the structural template for hundreds of successful rock artists who followed them.
“We came here to entertain you, leaving here we aggravate you. Don’t you know it means the same to me?”
— Van Halen, “I’m the One,” 1978.
My parents hated them, I loved them. (We won’t factor in the Sammy Hagar debacle here — that’s a sore subject for me.)
Pay attention now, young people. The crazy, “unwoke” old guy is about to teach you something about music and culture.
Van Halen’s energy and virtuosity reinvented live concerts, turning a music show into a four-ring circus. Van Halen brothers Eddie and Alex were the freak shows, as they reimagined what could be done on guitars and drums.
David Lee Roth was more than a lead singer. He was a wise-cracking ringleader, a mock-poet, a pop-philosopher, an extreme athlete, a slightly enlightened wise-cracking, toke-holding surfer dude.
Bass player Michael Anthony held it all together and provided unique high harmonies.
The lights, explosions, antics, mesmerizing guitar hooks, howling vocal growls swirling around a crunching heavy metal sound — tempered by a sugary pop-music mentality — demanded the world’s attention.
Most importantly, it was so darn fun.
Van Halen’s music led to the sale of more than 80 million albums worldwide. Most of those albums were sold in the years between 1978 and 1988 — 14-24 years before Billie Eilish was born.
Why on Earth should I expect a 17-year-old kid to be even vaguely familiar with a rock band that was at its musical and popular peak almost 20 years before she was born?
Every day, I hear from people my age, and older, who are remarkably uninformed — or criminally misinformed — about what’s going on around them, in the world, in their own communities. None of these people have the excuse of being 17 — too young to know, or too young to care.
Every member of Van Halen’s original lineup is in his 60s now. How many 60-year-old rock stars were you aware of at 17?
I hope Billie Eilish has taken a few minutes to listen to some old Van Halen tunes in the last week, and I hope she likes what she hears. Maybe they’ll even influence her musical direction in a good way. If she doesn’t like them, fair enough. To each her own. I just hope she gives them a good listen.
I plan on listening to a few of her songs at some point very soon. I won’t promise I’ll like them — as I said, typically not my thing — but I’ll hear them out.
I hope she doesn’t feel as though all of us old guys think less of her for not yet experiencing Van Halen’s music by age 17. It’s actually our fault, for not introducing Van Halen to her.
And really, I hope she doesn’t give a damn about what any of us old guys think of her at all. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. Old people aren’t supposed to matter, that’s the whole point. If she annoys, enrages or disgusts us, that makes her music that much better.
“ … Look at all these little kids, takin’ care of the music biz. Does their business take good care of me?”
— Van Halen, “I’m the One,” 1978.
Face it — if you’re really, honestly upset with Billie Eilish, it’s probably not because she doesn’t know who Van Halen is.
You’re upset because she’s 17, and you’re not.
And you’ll never be again.
Thoughts on all topics from the twisted mind of a Midwestern writer. Playwrighting, poetry, journalism, sports, hunting, fishing, rock music, movies, good food and