A Thanksgiving Message of Sorts

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”

~ Edwin Louis Cole

img_0907

I take an overly ambitious bite of my piping hot fish sandwich before it hits me.

Swirling the overheated flesh hurriedly around my mouth, in a vain – and ultimately unsuccessful – effort to cool it off; I look around to make sure no one is witnessing my faux pas, when all of a sudden it strikes. The observation that within the central section of this particular Burger King, couples are seated on the hard plastic seats, with all of them smiling and carrying on, regardless of their backside’s discomfort or protest. Couples of all shapes, sizes and ages, mulching through their fast food while leisurely enjoying each other’s company. Scanning the perimeter, I then take notice that these couples are seemingly surrounded by people of a most decidedly “singular” nature.

People that are alone.

It strikes me odd that those who “have each other” are encircled – in a sort of “round-up the wagons, boys!” style I suppose – by those who do not. The couples touched by love are surrounded by the untouchables. Or the untouched, if you will. And of the untouched, I find myself to be one.

One with a slightly burnt roof, resulting from the aggressively nuked fish, of course.

I look again at these centralized people, and unlike other couples that I’ve seen before at other locales who simply stare through each other, sharing only the bill; each and every one of these love-duets seems to share a life. A hope, a joy, a smile, a whatever-you-wish-to-call-it, that you notice about them. The point is, they are sharing Who They Are with someone Who Cares To Know. We on the perimeter however, are simply sharing our silence as we stare blankly into our phone screens, hoping that the food will go down easily, and the time will pass swiftly.

I find myself a touch jealous of these couples, although they be seemingly trapped unawares by the untouched, during their hand-held fast food lovefest excursion. I mean, it’s my thing, right? To long for that which I thought I had (but maybe didn’t) and still, on occasion desire to have again (though I don’t really know if it even actually exists at this point, outside of dime store romance novels) in some form or fashion, and with the elusive “someone special,” in order to – I think? – set my heart at ease.

The idea… the thought, brings me to tears (again, it IS my thing after all), and I shove every last fucking bite of that damned fish sandwich, one crafted with far too little tartar and way too much iceberg lettuce mind you, into my cake-hole as I try to fill my belly and still get back to work on time.

I do, by the way, and afterwards my day simply goes on. And I go on. And the jealousy that I feel decreases none (well, OK, a little), and the aloneness that I feel stays at a similar-to exact level as well.

A sad story, right? Pathetic. But one that is not exactly true.

You see, my feeling of aloneness only hung about until I became distracted by the prospect of the movie I was going to see that evening with my friend (“The Day Of The Doctor” in 3D, if you must really know, and YES, it was totally worth the price of admission AND having to sit in the front row so that we could all be seated together), and I was distracted further still when other friends touched base simply to see how I was and/or to fill me in on how their days were going. Laughing along the way as one auto-correct took “for school” and mis-diligently translated it to “fur school” (a phrase which abounds with a plethora of definitions, as it turns out.)

But that’s not the point though. The point is that I realized in the course of my afternoon that I am about as “alone” as Jesus was, the time that He happened upon 5,000 spare loaves of bread.

And for that, I am thankful. I am enveloped (because “shrouded” sounded a little too cocky) with a net of love that would not even be possible to enjoy to its fullest, if I was still “coupled.” I am still untouched, that’s true. But in all honesty, I think that that’s OK for now, as I’m still what I would consider relationshipinal “damaged goods” anyway. And while I loathe the prospect of being like the one older gentlemen I saw on the perimeter – so angrily alone that even Death wouldn’t be seen with him – until such time as the “right one” comes along, should they ever, I think I’ll be just fine.

Better than fine, in fact. Thankful.

I’ll be thankful for the friendships I have and can now enjoy, and thankful for the friendships to come – including those of my soon-to be adult children, and those that might have never been possible without my new-found freedom. In short, I’ll be thankful for what I have been blessed with, instead of jealous of those who might have something different.

And the next time I partake in a piping hot fish sandwich, I’ll be especially thankful if I can just remember to let the damned thing cool down a bit first…

•••

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Advertisements

Love Is Stronger…

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.”

~ C.S. Lewis

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013 - please click image for more information

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013 – Please click image for more information.

I believe that we find ourselves feeling the need to perform annually, rituals such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, only because we continue to allow ourselves to live in a world where it is literally easier to take a God-given human life, than it is to permit them to simply live their own.

We find it easier to live in ignorance and hate, than we do in the Truth and Love.

Listen, I’ve no idea who I truly am today, but I do know that people – good people – have been brutally slaughtered, simply because they were not afraid of being who they knew they were. That is wrong, and that has to stop. And that has to stop now.

Love IS stronger than death. Isn’t it about time that we proved that idea to be true?

•••

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth — only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

~ C.S. Lewis

 

Sounds Astound… in Stereo Action!

This week’s prompt for Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday is “Dealer’s Choice,” which basically equates to “t gets to do whatever in the flip he wants!” So, and without further ado, welcome to my lounge.

No, seriously, this overdue return to the ranks of the TMTT tweeters is going to be all about the lounge music, ya dig?

I first discovered this musical smorgasbord, when I decided that while playing bands like The Exploited and GBH around the house wouldn’t necessarily be healthy for my young children’s ears, I still craved ear worm oddities. What I didn’t expect, but realized as the Lounge scene was dribbling all over my mental radio’s play list, was that bands that I formerly thought were groundbreaking – bands like Skinny Puppy – didn’t even hold a candle to the weirdness and creativity that folks like Les Baxter orgasmed all over almost every single disc he put out. And HE did it in a suit and tie, sans fake blood and pyrotechnics!

Although he’s the Big Daddy of the lounge scene, he’s going to bring up the rear today, as one of his biggest contributions to the era, was performed better and more famously, when covered by lounge’s other Big Daddy, Martin Denny…

Now most folks knowledge of lounge music starts and ends with the above played “exotica” genre. But there were multiple flavors of the stuff, and the second most fascinating would HAVE had to have been the Space Age scene. While not pertaining to matters sci-fi in each and every instance, instrumentally these cats were flying in the atmosphere nonetheless, as J. Hoffman once showed with the help of Billy May…

Instrumentation was important to the burgeoning population undergoing the “Surround Sound” evolution, and for whatever reason, the Hammond B5 bore a scene all unto itself. Quite possibly the very first recorded instance of geeks proving that they could be cool and hep – some even getting laid in the process – regardless of the fact that every natural law would seem to have been in opposition to the idea…

Now it’s has been reported that lounge music developed as a result of American soldiers traveling overseas and hearing for the first time, wholly “other” musical concoctions. Mounds and mounds of releases capitalized on this idea, and of all the countries “explored” South America was by far one of the busiest. Represented poorly quite often by white men with New York accents, it was also performed to loungesque perfection by the Third Head of Lounge’s Unholy Trinity, a certain Juan Esquivel…

Of course, one simply could not travel Lounge’s seven booze-soaked adventure-filled seas without a layover in sunny Vegas. And while stopping there, we’ve really no need to look at too many of the other usual suspects (in this post, at any rate), than another New York accent you might have heard of – maybe even here – who spent at least a bit of his life riding high…

And yes, before we scuttle off, we must tip our hat to the original pack of “Mr. Vegas’…”

Nice!

But t, what about Baxter, daddy-O? You said he was swinging up the rear, and you’ve already blown through five + 1 choice slices of musical peculiarities. Last call’s been called, and Happy Hour is over, Jack! What gives?

That, my friend, is why God invented the Bonus Track.

As I mentioned, Les was The Man. The man who never got the credit due, for being The Man in a scene that would – in the final analysis – never get the credit due for being the door opener for so many of the other scenes to follow. So to play us outta here today, we’ll listen to one of the tracks that I feel best epitomizes the lounge era sound. The cherry on top of an already multi-flavored, layered, and dipped in martini sound cake…

Thanks for stopping by my joint today, and please, remember to take a complimentary gift bag on your way out…

mixtape-jenkehl1-300x300

The Dreaded Also Ran’s

PS: Here’s the “Also Ran’s.” A collection of the tracks (consider them “B” sides to the above selections) that almost made the cut, only to be nixed once I remembered that the final result of each post was supposed to be worthy of a well-mixed mix-tape… Enjoy!

Exotica

Space Age Bachelor’s Pad

Hammond B5

International

Vegas

Rat Pack

Bonus Baxter

PPS: If interested in learning more about this scene, start by exploring Capitol Record’s Ultra-Lounge compilation mixes. A veritable cornucopia of all things Lounge, and a worthwhile addition to anyone’s music library.