The flag at the fire station is at half mast. Olivia Newton-John? I know she was English/Australian but she was also an American treasure, a real-life Malibu Barbie.
The late pop icon was also, for all practical purposes, my very first love.
“Have you never been mellow, have you never triiiii—eh-eyeeeee….?”
See how she took the word “tried,” wrung it out, twisted it and turned it into an aria?
I saw her on Carson once, singing “I Honestly Love You,” in a peasant dress and the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen – like jewelry. Her appearance on Carson triggered puberty. And I was already pubered. Imagine double-puberty at such a tender age?
I love you…I honestly love you…
When my high school counselor — who could not have been more disengaged, less concerned with the prospects of a middling student like me – asked what I hoped to do with my life, I told him that I wanted to play steel guitar in Olivia Newton-John’s band.
He took a beat to process.
“Do you even play?” he asked.
“That’s irrelevant,” I said. “You asked me what I wanted to do.”
I was a dreamer then, back in the ’70s when dreams still meant something. My dream: To date Olivia Newton-John a while, then marry Carly Simon once James Taylor lost his hair.
If that fell through, Barbarella.
In the words of Manilow: “We dreamers have our ways…”
Still, there was a dog toy in my bed the other day, a hard-rubber symbol of how my dreams never quite worked out. Then the other night, we had what they call a sturgeon moon. Ever hear of that? No one has.
FYI, a sturgeon is a big prehistoric fish/monster, best served as sushi if you serve it at all. How one made it to the moon is beyond me. Add it to the list of things I’ll never understand, along with cribbage and slugging percentages.
Let me just say that the moon has a very good publicist. It’s always in the news, triggering excessive tides, grunion runs, sturgeon appearances.
“Moon River” is one of my all-time favorite songs. The first time I heard it, I proposed to myself.
“Fly Me to the Moon” is another lunar classic. Basically, if you put “moon” in the title of your song, you’ll have a hit on your hands.
- “Walking on the Moon,” The Police
- “Bad Moon Rising,” Creedence Clearwater Revival
- “Harvest Moon,” Neil Young
- “Moonlight Serenade,” Glenn Miller
- “Moon Over Bourbon Street,” Sting
- “Moonage Daydream,” David Bowie
See, finally I seem to have a little bit of life figured out, one tiny stupid sliver, one moonage daydream.
Similarly, always considered Warren Moon an underrated quarterback, and thought that Keith Moon was an underrated drummer, that Moon Unit Zappa was an underrated Zappa.
Look, even by suburban standards, I am an extremely dull person. I check the front door twice before retiring, and say goodnight to the dog, wish her sweet dog dreams. I bring the neighbors trash cans in. Sometimes I take the ladies on the street flowers just because. Obviously, being dull is kind of exhausting. And dull.
Now, there’s this half mast thing to figure out.
“Sometimes that flag just falls down,” Smartacus explained when I asked him about the firehouse.
I’d like to think, as a nation, we’re better than that, that we can fly our flags high and proud. Maybe not.
FYI, I had a heat attack the other day, as is the norm this time of year. Technically, a “heat attack” happens when your brain temp reaches quadruple digits, as mine did Friday.
Thought “a cool drink might hep,” as they say in the South…not just any drink, the coolest, crushed-iciest drink possible. A Moscow Mule perhaps, aka “A Frosty Donkey,” aka “A Flaccid Putin.”
Speaking of which, I used to think — quite recently in fact — that madmen and despots were a thing of the past, that media scrutiny and widespread global awareness would prevent tyranny from ever grabbing a foothold again.
So maybe it’s not a heat attack after all. Maybe I’m just kind of bummed.
We are a kind and careful family, as I say, nicer to strangers than to each other. If we find a lost wallet, we always turn it in, adding a small tip.
Maybe we’re too kind?
When I go to the butcher shop, for instance, I always over buy, as was the case when I went out to buy meat with Suzanne the other day. No comments, please.
There’s this little pa-and-pa butcher shop in La Verne, and knowing full well that the world could collapse at any moment, that madmen and despots are, in fact, running wild, I bought several hundred dollars worth of ribs and ground beef, some ribeyes, a half dozen brats…
It was my way of betting on the future, amid climate change, despots and weird fishy moons.
As I explained to Suzanne, who also has 14-karat eyes: “Have you never been mellow, have you never triiiii—eh-eyeeeee?”
Highly recommend The Corner Butcher Shop in La Verne, run by brothers John and Will. Voted “America’s No. 1 butcher shop” by their mom. Pick up a few brats, or a half a steer, some rub, some BBQ sauces and the best burger mix you’ve probably ever had. Only 20 minutes from Pasadena in good, mid-day traffic. Info: http://www.cornerbutchershop.com