Turn it Down Yo

Alec Baldwin says they’re ruining music, they play it so loud and so ubiquitously. Anyway, that was his Tweet from yesterday, minus that last word. You have to be so succinct when you tweet he probably didn’t dare go for a word so thick with u’s and q’s, never mind that ‘ly’ suffix that makes it an adverb.

He’s right of course about the music that’s playing everywhere. Bad enough you have to sit next to people on the bus the syncopation of whose music is so loud even coming through theirs skull that it comes through your skull too and makes it think it’s at some dance club, poor skull, alas poor Yorick I knew him well.

Also: the last thing I want to hear when I sit down at the dining section of, say, my local Whole Foods is some warmed-over music from the 60’s.

Music from the 70’s I could stand. Who can get sick of Bohemian Rhapsody with its low growls and high falsettos? But Downtown? They’re truly playing Downtown by Petula Clark on the loudspeaker?

The day I heard that I felt like picking up my whole lentil-and-sprout salad and heaving it against the wall –  which in a Whole Foods would be like taking a Jesus statue and putting one of those hats with the straws and the beer cans attached on its head.

Since that day I’ve never again tried to eat there. I’d rather start the day equipped with my own food, wolf it down in my car come lunchtime, then walk into any old joint, even a McDonald’s where you can get some Newman’s Own coffee and that apple-walnut-yogurt cup and listen to the old guys all joshing with each other, happy as clams to be out of the house and away from their wives for a while.

Yeah give me that anytime: the patter of old guys, or teens skipping school, or young parents begging their kids to stop making a choo-choo train of their french-fries on the germy tabletop.

What can I say? Call me a curmudgeon, a Scrooge, an Andy Rooney, but to me music is really personal. If I’m not at a concert where we’ve all paid actual money to hear this one particular show I say keep it away from me.

Unless of course it’s Queen making the music and the song is Bohemian Rhapsody.


Leadership with a Capital “L”

This is why you never have to worry what you’re going to write next: other people give you ideas. I know you could lose your mind scrolling back over my posts – they spool back so endlessly, to the time when Bush was President – but if you have it in you go back just two posts and read where the seeds of today’s are.

The topic was Presidential politics, a subject one witty commenter weighed in on.

He said,

“Sure, I read the papers, watch the news, follow the issues… but when it comes to casting my ballot I usually end up voting for the guy who reminds me most of Martin Sheen on The West WingMan he was a great President…!”

And that is so true I realized. He WAS a great president and then he also had that nice slightly blousy wife he couldn’t really control…

and that First Daughter with the stick-out ears who has since washed up on Mad Men

He had Bradley Whitford as the cute right-hand man Josh Lyman. (That’s Josh on the right.)

He had our friend John Spencer keeping everyone on track all since the long-ago days of LA Law. There was smart lugubrious Toby always quoting from the Constitution and Rob Lowe who hasn’t been out of work a single day since that time immediately post his star turn in Wayne’s World when he got caught in some sort of videotaped swinger situation. (It’s Teflon with men when it comes to swinger situations, ever notice? Try being a woman involved in such hijinks though. The double standard lives!)

Anyway it was a great time in America when we could tune in to that show every week – even though the fast-talk as they speed-walked through the White House corridors did make you so dizzy you almost passed out. My brother-in-law used to say he fell asleep like clockwork every week between the West and the Wing.

Yeah… Those were the days all right… and speaking of Rob Lowe and P.O.T.U.S as they all so cleverly referred to the President of the United States, how about we see what Mike Myers is doing for the next four years? Wouldn’t Mike-as-Wayne make a dandy president? At least the music would be good!


On Sundays when I put my weekly column up here I like to look at its topic from a fresh angle. This week’s is about how friendly the world is when instead of smiling and looking away at people you smile and keep on smiling.

My Aunt Grace used to do this. I’d be walking a little behind her on the street – you know how kids are, so mortally embarrassed by their grownups  – and I’d watch the faces of the people approaching her. They’d be hustling along looking sort of sour and preoccupied and then they’d see this wonderful smile coming at them. It almost made them stumble, fall off the curb, walk smack into a mailbox thinking “Do I know this person?”  But then they’d look again and realize she was smiling at them, and for no reason at all but only because they were there, walking down the same street in that same slender slice of mortal time.

She was my first model, the first person who ever made me think, “I want to be like her.”

And now I am like her, in just that way: I see people in their cars or walking along and they look so sort of worried. I know I can’t fix all the pain in the world but I can smile at someone, or wave. And I don’t use that quick  wave you see people use in their cars; I wave like a kindergartner  because someone else I love does that too,  even though he’s 6 foot 4 with an extravagance of manly muscles. He opens his hand and gives that rapid left-right-left-right wave.

He was 19 when I first got to know him but “I want to be like him,” is what I thought right away. Proving that you take your heroes where you find them whether, like Aunt Grace, they were born with Woodrow Wilson in the White House or, like this other, they came along the year Queen released “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 🙂