Blues for Beginners: The Book

via Blues for Beginners: The Book

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You Can’t Have the Blues In France

You can't sing the Blues in FrenchYou can’t have the Blues in France.  Not even if you’re blind.

You can’t have the Blues in France.  The language won’t let you. “Je reveillais ce matin” is French for “Woke up this morning”.  The accent falls on the wrong syllable.   None of the vowels sound right.   You have to hold your lips just so.

When Marcel Proust felt like a motherless child, he wrote In Search of Lost Time, which is about a million words too long. The French are too self-possessed to sing the Blues.  Occasionally a French person will run amok and commit an existential act of gratuitous violence.  Like in L’Etranger, by Camus.

Instead of the Blues the French have L’Existentialism,  which was invented by intellectuals.    The French think Intellectuals are sexy.  They also think older women are sexy.  No one expects the French to smile if they are not amused.

DSC_1346

This is where I took my early morning walk, through a 12th century village  so small it’s not on most maps. This was Vichy France. Before that it was Cathar Country, L’Occitane.

History repeats itself.  No one seems to learn from it. The veneer of civilization is thin.

 

 

 

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I Hate Siri Blues, a Work in Progress

To Siri with Love, by Judith Newman is a heartwarming book.
Siri is the best friend and etiquette teacher an autistic boy could have.
I am not an autistic boy, and I hate Siri.

Memphis Earlene and me, we’re hanging out on the Virtual Verandah.  Memphis Earlene is drinking White Russians in honor of Fearless Leader’s Fearless Leader.

I’m getting to know my new ipod Touch, which I was bullied by Apple Corps into buying because they no longer make the ipod Classic.  If you need lots of GB for your extensive music collection, the ipod Touch is all that’s available these days. It comes with a lot of other stuff I didn’t ask for, including Siri.

 

blue lunacy

Siri pops up as soon as I unlock New Device.
“How can I help you?” Siri asks.
“Take me to my i-tunes music library.,” I say.  Over 2000 songs on it, all of which come from my CD collection. having spent the last hour transferring some of my playlists and Genius mixes from laptop to New Device.


Instead Siri connects me to the Apple i-Tunes store and a barrage of ads for new music to buy.


“Siri, take me to my Own Music Library,”I say in an angry hostile voice I would never use on a fellow human being but Siri is an Android who works for Apple.
“I do not understand the request.” says Siri.


I go to the settings. Because Siri pops up automatically after I’ve unlocked the I-pod touch, and I haven’t figured out how to evade her.
I go to settings. Yes, I want to turn off Siri.


“You’re sure? Think again.” Or some equivalent message appears.
Also a choice of two buttons.
The button that will let me disconnect Siri does not respond.

“Siri is every obsequious salesperson who spritzes me with perfume and offers a free makeover when I just want to check out the shoe sale. Except she doesn’t respond to a polite no thankyou.” I tell Memphis Earlene.

“This is an  Upper Class Lament, and not the Blues” says Memphis Earlene.

Not yet, but I’m working on it.

 

 

Posted in Apple, Blues, Boomer Geezer, Depression, Technology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

I Hate Siri Blues, a Work in Progress

To Siri with Love, by Judith Newman is a heartwarming book.
Siri is the best friend and etiquette teacher an autistic boy could have.
I am not an autistic boy, and I hate Siri.

Memphis Earlene and me, we’re hanging out on the Virtual Verandah.  Memphis Earlene is drinking White Russians in honor of Fearless Leader’s Fearless Leader.

I’m getting to know my new ipod Touch, which I was bullied by Apple Corps into buying because they no longer make the ipod Classic.  If you need lots of GB for your extensive music collection, the ipod Touch is all that’s available these days. It comes with a lot of other stuff I didn’t ask for, including Siri.

blue lunacy

Siri pops up as soon as I unlock New Device.
“How can I help you?” Siri asks.
“Take me to my i-tunes music library.,” I say.  Over 2000 songs on it, all of which come from my CD collection. having spent the last hour transferring some of my playlists and Genius mixes from laptop to New Device.
Instead Siri connects me to the Apple i-Tunes store and a barrage of ads for new music to buy.


“Siri, take me to my Own Music Library,”I say in an angry hostile voice I would never use on a fellow human being but Siri is an Android who works for Apple.
“I do not understand the request.” says Siri.


I go to the settings. Because Siri pops up automatically after I’ve unlocked the I-pod touch, and I haven’t figured out how to evade her.
I go to settings. Yes, I want to turn off Siri.


“You’re sure? Think again.” Or some equivalent message appears.
Also a choice of two buttons.
The button that will let me disconnect Siri does not respond.

“Siri is every obsequious salesperson who spritzes me with perfume and offers a free makeover when I just want to check out the shoe sale. Except she doesn’t respond to a polite no thankyou.” I tell Memphis Earlene.

“This is an  Upper Class Lament, and not the Blues” says Memphis Earlene.

Not yet, but I’m working on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Apple, Blues, Boomer Geezer, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Boomer Geezer Blues 2

Memphis Earlene and me back on the Virtual Veranda, all bundled up,  It’s cold outside but we’ve been indoors too long and it’s time to be sociable.  Memphis Earlene still drinking White Russians.  She doesn’t exactly follow the ins and outs of Mueller’s investigation but she gets the gist.  That’s because  we watched Godfather 2 last night.

Nothing beats the Classics for illuminating the present.

“Trump thinks he’s Michael Corleone or even the Godfather himself, but he’s really more like Fredo,” says Memphis Earlene..

Two weeks ago when we watched Cabaret I kept thinking about Charlottesville and Tiki Torches.

Can’t wait to see Casablanca again.

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” I tell Memphis Earlene, but I’m saying the words aloud for my own benefit.

Fear makes me stupid and  I’m easy to scare, but I believe in the power of the Blues.

“Don’t worry,” says Memphis Earlene. “It wastes time.”

 

 

Posted in Blues, Boomer Geezer, Depression, Existentialism | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

#Me Too Blues

  It’s Happy Hour on the Virtual Verandah.  Me and Memphis Earlene are trading war stories.  Mine are tame compared to hers.

Blues Women eat meat and pack heat.

Just because you shot that two timing man doesn’t automatically make you a Blues woman, but it’s a good start, says Memphis Earlene.  So is buying him an Armani suit, or paying his child- support.

Without the birth control pill and Motown music I’d probably still be a virgin.

There was a brief period, roughly 1964-1981 when sex got deregulated and  drugs could cure all sexually transmitted diseases.  Freedom wholesale was handed to girls like me who hadn’t consciously set out to be sexual outlaws but were willing to put up with a degree of male loutishness the way  immigrants from repressive regimes give America the benefit of the doubt.

“Woke up the morning of my Advanced Civil Procedure final exam with a hangover in a strange bed with a strange man whose pick-up line was  You must be a Libra. There was a mirror on his bedroom ceiling, a fire-place bar in his living room, and not a book in sight.”  I tell her.

“There you go bragging again,” says Memphis Earlene.

“No, I was an idiot.  The time to get drunk at Daisy Buchanan’s  and blow off  steam is after final exams, not the night before.   I got a C plus on what should have been an easy A.”

But I didn’t get pregnant like I might have before birth control was readily available, and my life wasn’t ruined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in # MeToo, Boomer Geezer, Feminism, Humor, women | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Boomer Geezer Blues

Hanging out on the Virtual Verandah with Memphis Earlene and the gang, recuperating from Labor Day festivities, which involved Single Malt Scotch. Now I’m drinking penance–unsweetened cranberry juice.

In a gesture of patriotism, Memphis Earlene has renounced White Russians and come back home to Southern Comfort and Coca Cola. She remains a beacon of clarity and equanimity in dark times. Dark times are normal to Memphis Earlene, not some kind of rude surprise, like they are to me.

Latte Woman mainlines caffein and reads the news to us.
“It’s your civic obligation to remain informed,” she tells me,  but I wish she’d stop.

 “Do I have to pay attention to North Korea? Because right now the news that matters most to me is the weather: California wildfires, and Hurricane Irma. Goddamnit, we’re still in the early alphabet stages of Hurricane season-. “latte womanLatte Woman interrupts my rant with a list of additional concerns, including the Prison Industrial Complex, Domestic terrorism, and the cholera epidemic in Yemen, which has reached Number One in Humanitarian Crises.

Anyplace I visit more than once becomes part of my neighborhood, and we’ve been to Yemen twice. How does one hold all this bad news in one’s heart without buckling under the weight? Especially if one’s heart is on the small side.

qat chew

 

Competing claims for my undivided attention include Omar, my emotionally needy cat and The Girl Who Loved Kafka, my novel in progress.

” Just keep on writing. Ain’t nobody stopping you but yourself,” says Memphis Earlene.
“This is what real writers do,” I explain.”We look for ways to evade work until the last moment so we can build up that head of steam and gonzo energy to writer for our lives. ”

Latte Woman reproves me with the immortal words of Hunter Thompson: When the times get weird, the weird turn pro .

The days are getting noticeably shorter.   Autumns have been getting warmer, I’ve noticed the past few years. There is an eerie feeling about warm weather and Autumn nights. A mismatch between light and temperature.   Inside, Larry’s working on his book and Omar is sleeping on the guest bed. I resist the urge to knock on wood.

I’ll delegate worrying about North Korea to Larry, keep Yemen in my heart, and my eye on the weather. Life is good and the world is going to hell.  It’s that simple.

For all I know FatGuy with Bad Hair Cut has his hand on the button, gonna blow us all to kingdom come. There is nothing I can do to stop him, nor do I have sufficient expertise in foreign affairs and diplomacy to play Monday Morning Quarterback. World War III is breaking out in pieces, if I need a global perspective.   That’s what the Pope said.  He’s not my spiritual leader anymore than the Dalai Lama, but both of them seem wise.

Overall I’ve been disappointed in my generation, at least the ones who went into politics.  Those A students who went to Ivy League Schools?  Good at making careers for themselves.  Some of them I’d probably enjoy playing Scrabble with.  Smart, some of them.  None of them wise.

It has taken me a while to get used to turning 70. Boomer Geezer. First footprints in the snow.  I aspire to face each day with more curiosity than fear.   Don’t always succeed.

This is what it feels like, life under wartime.

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Posted in Blues, Book, Boomer Geezer, Depression, Existentialism, Humor, mental health, Writer, Yemen | Tagged , | 6 Comments