Heart – Dog and Butterfly

dog-butterfly

There are so many great songs about dogs, or at least songs with the word dog in the title, that I struggled to choose one for today. I went with this classic ballad from Heart, partly because it’s one of those songs that whenever I come across it, on the radio, in a public space, I always stop and pay attention. Ann Wilson’s voice has a way of winding its way into your….yes, I’m gonna say it….heart. But it passes through all the other organs first, giving the listener a full-body experience.

It’s just the two of them, Nancy on acoustic guitar and Ann on lead vocals and there’s a simple joy to the song, a sweetness and an innocence. Kind of like a dog, no?

The song apparently came to be one day when Ann was watching her sheepdog running around in the backyard and noticed that it was chasing a butterfly. It made her think about all the things people chase in life, things they never catch up to and then end up feeling like failures. But her dog never exhibited frustration, he seemed to simply enjoy the company, the challenge, the playing.

I’ve read the lyrics to the song a few times, and if I squint carefully I sorta see parallels to Anne’s inspiration story, but it’s a bit of a stretch. To me, I take it more literally. Dogs don’t wallow in failure, they don’t give up before they’ve tried everything. And when I’m around a dog I move through periods of depression and sadness, I don’t get stuck in them. Dogs are guides; we might be the one holding the leash, but they’re the ones leading the way.

There I was with the old man
Stranded again so off I’d ran
A young world crashing around me
No possibilities of getting what I need
He looked at me and smiled
Said no, no, no, no, no child

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he likes to fly
Dog and butterfly
Below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground, laughing
She don’t know why, she don’t know why
Dog and butterfly

Well I stumbled upon your secret place
Safe in the trees you had tears on your face
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers
Stealing your fires, the message hit my mind
Only words that I could find

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he like to fly
Dog and butterfly below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground
Laughing to the sky, up to the sky
Dog and butterfly

We’re getting older the world’s getting colder
For the life of me I don’t know the reason why
Maybe it’s livin’ making us give in
Hearts rolling in taken back on the tide
We’re balanced together ocean upon the sky

 

Advertisements

Walking the Dog

 

So, since Bernie won entry into the Oakland Animal Shelter 2018 calendar, officially announced tonight (!), I thought I’d write a series of dog themed posts. Below is a short story I just wrote after taking the Bern for a walk….hope you like it.

I chose this song (Originally a Rufus Thomas song: see below) because it’s so good but also it has the most directly relevant title for my story….so many great songs about dogs. What are some of yours?

——————————————–

IMG_0083

Bernie doesn’t know what to make of cats. They aren’t dogs, but they are small and furry like some of the neighborhood dogs that he enjoys playing with. They smell different, though. And they don’t bark. And they arch their spines when he gets near and they sometimes bare their claws.

I say to him, “Bernie, that’s a cat. 99.9 percent of them aren’t going to like you. That’s just a fact.”

Bernie tilts his huge pitty head up at me, his pink and brown lips half-pursed, his ears flopped over, taking in what I’m saying. He doesn’t fully understand. “Yeah, but why don’t they like me? I’m happy-go-lucky and I’m always in a good mood.”

“I don’t think I have enough time right now to explain to you why big, strong and happy-go-lucky dogs aren’t appealing to the cat population,” I tell him. “I wouldn’t take it so personally, if I were you. Can we just finish our walk?”

“OK,” Bernie says, and we continue down the street. I can tell he’s still bothered. He stops, lifts his left leg and pees on a rose bush. Some of it splashes back on him, but he doesn’t seem to notice. “Here’s the thing,” he says, his one brown eye and one blue eye staring up at me. “That cute min-pin on Madrone Avenue — the one that hates every other dog — she loves me! You tell everyone how I’m her big boyfriend.”

Bernie sits, then sticks his paw in the air toward me and I reach in my jacket pocket and give him a piece of chicken-apple sausage bite. I keep forgetting to only give him treats when he follows my orders, not when he sits and shakes when he feels like it.

“I agree, you’re a good looking boy. And by all measures  you have a great personality too.” I worry that I may have inflated his ego with the constant crooning about how wonderful and perfect he is, and now he thinks his shit don’t stink. “But you sometimes come across as a bit over eager.”

Suddenly, Bernie lunges forward, yanking me over to the lawn in front of the Morrisons house. Before I can react, Bernie opens his mouth and slurps down a freshly swirled cat turd. “Goddammit!” I yell, my shoulder joint remaining in place only for the sake of the yoga class I’d taken earlier that afternoon. “Bad dog!”

“Sorry, I guess I’m just a bit over eager,” Bernie says, speeding up to befriend a squirrel circling a telephone pole up ahead.

 

The Babys – Isn’t it Time?

How is it that I haven’t picked a song from The Babys after all these years of Warbling?

Isn’t it time that I finally do just that? Get what I did just there?:)

There’s a new restaurant across the street from my office in San Francisco and it is open late and has comfortable outdoor seating with heating lamps and while they were finishing the construction and the grand opening grew nearer, I couldn’t help imagining all the fantastic blog posts I would write there, clad in a cozy wool sweater and matching cap, sipping my beer, chomping on an over-priced tuna melt, thinking I should have taken a Lactaid. The restaurant is a chain, which sucks, but whatevs, it’s got a decent menu, an attractive color scheme and solid wifi, and the lease is probably way beyond anything a small shop could afford and well, I fucking go to Starbucks or Peet’s on a daily basis, so who am I to be a hypocrite about it?

Besides, in addition to all the other appealing qualities of The Grove (there I said it, I was gonna leave the name of the restaurant out of the post just to be an ass, but decided to give in) — whoever chooses the music played on the house stereo has truly awesome taste for essentially a retro-oldies playlist. During my first visit, I heard The Replacements, B52s, The Who, Queen and The Babys. And, not the obvious choices for each band. No “Alex Chilton,” no “Baba O’Riley,” no “Rock Lobster,” no “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And it also wasn’t the one Babys song that most casual listeners over the age of 40 would recognize: their 1983 hit, “Midnight Rendezvous.” (which, I will add, is an awesome song in its own right…a fine blend of Robert Palmer meets Foreigner… the perfect earworm tune, and dare I say it, a little bit sexy).

But the truth of the matter, is that there are a ton of great songs from The Babys that I simply had forgotten about and I could feasibly change this site to “Babys Warbles” and be able to create new posts every day for at least a week and a half.

I won’t try and fit those 10 posts into one, but I will suggest you go and YouTube search them, or go out and get their Greatest Hits album because there’s not a clunker in the bunch. Also, I’m avoiding going into the successful solo career of singer John Waite, because I’m saving “Missing You” for a future post. So there. Also, I friggin’ forgot he was the lead vocalist for Bad English!!!!

Note: I went back and watched some Bad English videos….can’t take that hour back, but I can share four minutes of it with you…it’s essentially Journey with John Waite as lead singer. Holy Crap!

 

Wow – John Waite rocked some of the worst hairstyles of all time….

I’m hoping that the new Grove helps put me in a groove and that this triggers a new batch of Earworm gems, because, like the lack of Babys until this point, there are surely hundreds more deserving artists worth exploring with y’all on Fuzzy’s Warbles.

P.S. – Although I try and find a personal story or angle to attach to each song-post, I am opening the floor to requests, and if you want to describe what the song means to you, I’ll work it in to the post (if you want).

 

Rush – I Think I’m Going Bald

Rush

I’m not usually a vain person.

I’ve been bald for going on 20 years, which, for vain men (I’ll say people since some women lose the hair on their heads), doesn’t really save any time in the mornings getting ready, like the non-bald citizenry would think. We don’t have to blowdry or style with combs, brushes or gels, but keeping a smooth pate requires a lot of mastery with a combination of razors, trimmers and scissors. And it really helps to have a partner or a roommate around to ask the inevitable question at the end of the grooming process: “Did I miss a spot?” It can take 20-30 minutes and a practiced dexterity with a hand mirror to achieve the gorgeous, “natural” bald look so many in society assume we just hop out of bed looking like.

A Norelco 7000 rechargeable waterproof beard trimmer is my main weapon of choice when fighting to maintain a proper pro-basketball-player-level head shine. I assume the pros keep a highly trained follitician on their staff so that the TV stations’ HD cameras don’t set upon a rough patch, just below the ridge of the occiput, alerting all viewers to a grooming faux pas.

But for me, being a simple layman, the chances of public mockery, should I be so unlucky as to leave the house without proper headscaping, are minimal at best and would most likely come from the mouth of Jeff, the douchebag in HR who thinks embarrassing a man who dresses for work before putting his glasses on is actually possible. And the truth is, most errant hairs, nicks, cuts and uncertain bumps, are hidden behind a hat or cap of some sort, as the exposed noggin is a beacon for all manner of sun-related burn, spot or rash. Not to mention the unpublicized truth that our hairless tops tend to resemble bullseye targets for gastrointestinally loose birds.

But it’s bad enough that I don’t get all this assumed added time to my life (OK, I save money on barbers and stylists, I’ll grant you that), now I have to deal with (emotionally, mechanically) the sudden increased hair growth from places that no one in their right mind would ever desire. Ears, nose, eyebrows — those easily viewable facial areas become a veritable hotbed for unwanted follicle stimulation. And you think those nose/ear trimmers that come with grooming packs actually do anything? Ha! The only tool that even marginally trims ear and nose hair is a pair of (Blunt! Must be blunt!) scissors. And even then, it’s worth investing in one of those magnifying mirrors, because chances are, your perfect eyesight has followed your perfect hairdo into the land of the dusty photo album, which you still are unable to pry the dusty pages open without tears and gnashing of teeth (which, by now, are mostly expensive products from the world of dentistry).

And that’s just the orifices. Now try shaving the outside of your ear — where you might stare dumbfounded, wondering how such a pattern of vibrissa could possibly sprout from the earlobe — and not end up holding a wet piece of toilet paper to the ridge for 10 minutes afterward.

But, thankfully, I’m not a vain person, and now see these physical changes of maturity as outwardly directed manifestations of virility, wisdom and masculinity. A reminder not to cling to a stagnant view of self. That no matter what is happening, good or bad, at that very moment, soon enough it will end, and become something else.