I can feel your anxiety from here.

Christmas is just over two weeks away and you’ve still got shopping to do.  You opted for the “lots of little presents” route, instead of the “one big enchilada” route, and now you find yourself a few gifts short of a stocking.  Worse, you’ve got one or more rockers on your list, and they’re such ungrateful snobs that you’re afraid to get them anything having to do with music for fear of the inevitable snarky comment ending with the word “lame.”

What’s an elf to do?

Relax- I’ve got you covered.

Spam, Annotated

By Jeremy Resnick

Humor

“I got some cleats,” she said. “Yes!” Fred reached into the coffer and pulled out a team up free of underhanded size 21 Adidas cleats, ending the kind’s crave and frustrating moreover to find a two of a description of Chrsitian Louboutin shoes that could robust the women oversized feet. “Oh, this is vitriolic,” Fred said as sje held the shoes in façade of him. “I like this. I can’t meanwhile to nag them.” She smiled again as she tried on the shoes and as members of the coaching combine took photos.

*

No doubt whole dissertations will be written about this passage, the careers of spam scholars forged on the anvil of its impenetrability. It is the new art, in that it is the old art made new, the scene expanding and contracting like a funhouse mirror, and then shattering and putting itself back together like a video of the shattering of a funhouse mirror played forward and backward:

“I got some cleats,” she said. “Yes!” Fred reached into the coffer and pulled out a team up free of underhanded size 21 Adidas cleats, ending the kind’s crave and frustrating moreover to find a two of a description of Chrsitian Louboutin shoes that could robust the women oversized feet.

From the triumphant first line to Fred’s pulling from the shoe coffer these devious Bob-Lanier-sized shoes, we are thrown right into the action. (Or has Fred pulled not shoes, but a whole soccer team, none of whom wears the sinister cleats? Is Fred a god? The Chrsitian God? For sanity’s sake, let’s assume he pulls out the shoes.) The wealthy, generous Fred gives these shoes to “the kind.” But what sort of creature is “the kind”? Are “she” and the “the kind” the same entity? The best, largest-footed soccer player ever to come out of Humboldt County? It seems so. (Unless the shoes are “the kind,” and they are animated shoes capable of “craving.” But no, I don’t think so.)

We have no time to dwell on these questions, because in the same breath “the kind” is both sated and foiled in a word maze in which one suspects a pair or two pairs of shoes (or descriptions of shoes) either do or do not work.

Or both. Or all! As with Duchamp’s descending Nude, Pynchon’s Lot 49, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, quantum theory, and Hermaphroditism, in this spam there is yes and there is also no. These two-of-a-description shoes both fit and don’t fit.

Then, of course, the “already women oversized feet” could get robusted. (Robust: to enhance a body part’s size, as in “Oh, she definitely robusted those bazombas…. Definitely.”)

 Oh, this is vitriolic,” Fred said as sje held the shoes in façade of him.

In addition to playing with parallel universes of yes and no, the author plays with time. Only after we get Fred’s reaction do we find out what he’s reacting to. What he finds vitriolic is the sudden presence of his rival sje, the Norwegian architect/e.e. cummings disciple. sje immediately shows “the kind” what she can do with those shoes. Façade, anyone?

 “I like this. I can’t meanwhile to nag them.”

She appears to be pleased with sje. Being a truly negative “kind” though, she can’t think to say anything nicer than that she can’t “nag” them. (What? Are the shoes in fact animated? And if she didn’t like them, would it really be their fault? I mean, would they deserve to be nagged?) But she covers up her negativity for the cameras:

She smiled again as she tried on the shoes and as members of the coaching combine took photos.

And doesn’t that just encapsulate our entire age right there? Rich Fred, who put all his self-worth into his shoe coffer, is left empty-handed, a soul pauper. Even sje, the “artist,” is abandoned, left holding the enormous shoes in front of him like the house painter’s ladder-holder he used to be. Meanwhile, a whole combine of coaches fresh from talent-threshing has expanded their exploitation of athletes to include the photographing of them, thus stealing work from the struggling paparazzi, who may be forced to go back to their fast-food service jobs.

What of “the kind”? She hardens her heart and swallows her unhappiness so she can present a grinning face to the masses and keep her sponsors.

It’s a sad old story, but one has to admire the way it’s told.

 

The Supergroup.  That mythical entity that carries such soaring expectations that it is remarkable that any of the bands ever make it into the studio.  It’s like the Honors Society kid who letters in three sports, dates a cheerleader, and is a top flight boxer- how can he fail, right?  Until it’s ten years later and the sheriff is tucking the eviction notice into the pocket of his work shirt while he’s passed out on the trailer floor with a needle in his arm.

What’s a Supergroup?  A gaggle of well-known musicians from different bands (and often different genres) who come together to form a new musical entity.

Just like the Honors kids, Supergroups start out with great pedigrees, lots of breaks, and doors swinging widely before them, but that doesn’t always mean that these advantages translate into something memorable.  But when they do click it can be one of the most exciting spectacles in music.

Supergroups are the embodiment of our musical fantasies come true.  “What if?” becomes reality.  This is the stuff that even casual music fans stop to ponder.  Die hard musos can come to blows over them.  Somewhere in the world right now, there is an intense, late night, cocaine-fueled debate raging about the ultimate Supergroup.

I Envy Everyone

By Paul A. Toth

Humor

“Envy eats nothing but its own heart.”  ~ German proverb

I envy everyone.

I envy you my love with your wobbly leg and neurological condition. I wonder what it’s like to have a physical reason for suffering and I wonder why my infirmities teach me nothing yet you seem to learn with every fall.

I envy other writers. I won’t read your words too closely unless you’re dead. It goes that far.

I envy people with a few good friends and those with many superficial friends and others with no friends at all. They seem content in their social standing.

I envy those who set themselves on fire. I wonder what it’s like to care that much. I pretend to care that much but don’t.

I envy those who learn not to drink and those who maintain drinking at a safe level. Sometimes I wish they would trade places just to make me feel less lonely.

I envy homeowners with barren houses and I envy homeowners with things placed everywhere so that I can’t move a toe without breaking something of questionable value but which they value. I envy those who value nothing and I envy those who value everything. I’m always in between, wondering which one to be.

I envy people who exercise in the Y across the way from my apartment. They take care of their bodies like their cars and I guarantee their cars are in better condition than any car I’ve ever owned. People live until an an age computed from the average mileage their cars reach before the engines blow.

I envy people who worry about smoking and others who don’t worry about smoking. I wish I cared more and I wish I cared less.

I envy dog owners with the patience for barking. I can only imagine such patience. I wonder if dog owners are better for it but I can only wonder. I am always wondering.

I envy people who buy things and love them like people. I often move away from everything I own and then I wonder if I love anything and worse whether I love anyone. I wonder if people who love things love people. Only they can tell but I’m too shy to ask.

I envy people who constantly talk and I envy the silent types. Both seem comfortable with their social skills.

I envy everyone. I easily assume the German accent of a not-so-gentle man seeking liebestraum for his endless wondering and wandering. I hope he finds his answers and loses the phony accent that hides his envy when he smiles at you and says, “Hello.”