Monday, September 25, 2006

Old Pictures of Happier Times


The other day when I was riding around in my car, Snowflake (he was named such because I bought him in a snowstorm), I heard Neil Diamond's "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show." It's not pretty to see a grown woman cry is all I have to say. I've always loved Neil, a Jewish guy from Brooklyn with the artistic hutzpah to assume the persona of a southern Pentecostal preacher, and produce one of the best pop songs ever. Neil serves as a great emotional barometer for me --if I am depressed, his music plunges me into the depths of despair, if I happy, it makes me feel like dancing around the house, except for "Love On the Rocks" which is always sad. You might be emotionally dead if this one doesn't conjure up visions of drinking scotch by yourself and tearing up your old pictures of happier times. "Solitary Man", a bitter ode to the pleasures of aloneness, conversely, always cheers me up. There's nothing like an angry Neil as a great antidote to some of his less thrilling attempts, like his E.T. -inspired suckfest ballad "Turn On Your Heartlight." In the great movie (thanks for the suggestion, Robin!) What About Bob?, Bob claims that there are two types of people in the world -- Those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't. Bob says in a bitter tone, My ex-wife liked Neil Diamond. I suppose he has a point.

My dad looked a lot like Mr. Diamond during the thinner phases of his life, a resemblance that was oft-remarked upon during Neil's more successful years, the decades when his soundtracks to Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Jazz Singer made more money than the movies themselves. Some of my massive, unhealthy, Electra-ridden attachment to my daddy transferred to old Neil, who became my top pick for music to perform baton-twirling routines to ("Coming To America"), jazz dances ("Forever in Blue Jeans"), and a final ill-fated dance team favorite("Sweet Caroline"). I couldn't twirl without hitting myself in the head repeatedly (good practice for writing, now that I think about it), couldn't dance worth a shit. But Neil forgave everything. He put one hand out for me, one hand to the Lord, because according to Brother Love, that's why we have two hands. One for the heavens, one for the earth. And if that doesn't work, we always have the scotch. Neil, while claiming to be a solitary man, was also a pragmatic one.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"My voice is unadorned. I don't try for perfection. I try to be honest and truthful and soulful with the voice I have. If I make mistakes in notes, or there are cracks in notes, I don't fix them. That's the way it is." Neil Diamond

Cocktail Hour

Solitary Man

3 parts gin
1 part Cointreau

Serve over ice.

Benedictions and Maledictions

Malediction

May you forget what you know
and try again. Do you like feeling
your heart in your throat? I can
arrange that. You want to sit
up nights waiting for your invisible
stigmata to manifest, your love
to come down, a foreign ship
in a familiar port? So much is not
a problem. Trains come and go
in the night, or at least that is when
I hear them and make you notice.

24 comments:

Barry Manilow said...

Hey, cracklin' Michelle, what did you do, throw Grouchie off the train? Evil Michelle. Mime shame on you. Very creative jewelry.

Rachel Rae said...

"Trains come and go in the night." Nope. Those are lake freighters. You ate those blue cheese stuffed olives, didn't you, Michelle? Show a little self control, please.

Sidney Greenstreet said...

Personally, I thought your father looke like Peter Lorre.

Victoria Gotti said...

"Do you like feeling your heart in your throat?"

Clive Barnes said...

You know, Michelle, "Electra-ridden attachment" is a really good literary allusion. It has something to do with Geek mythology, I'm sure. Well done! Chivas Regal to you and yours! Cheers!

Orestes said...

Can it be the hapless Electra? Shall wee stay here, and listen to her laments?

Mom said...

Wee, wee, wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

Hot Italian Dish said...

There's always cold pizza when all else fails.

Young Polish pre-med said...

With Minute Maid Orange Juice.

A Clarence Thomas man said...

Geez, if there is a blogger party and I get invited, Michelle, can I use the handle Cindy Cobb laid on me--"Dirty Old Anonymous Fuckface"?

Fr. Damien said...

I have given the poor child a cross to wear around her neck, and now she must repent. Let us pray for her.

Jake and Ellwood said...

We're on a mission from God.

JLCGULL said...

I know what you're doing with your Virgin Mary statue, Michelle.

Dr. Phil said...

I know that you're not above rubbing one off to a porno site, Michelle.

AP said...

Can you break the habit, Michelle?

Short bus said...

Is "rubbing one off" like erasing?

Special said...

Yeah, it is.

Sister Peter Marie said...

It's the sin of self abuse.

Fr. Damien said...

Yes, it is.

Anonymous said...

This has not been an Aaron Spelling Production.

Sheila said...

Very intriguing post today michelle. You named your car? hmmm I think I should name mine... how about Damn It. Yeah I like that.. especially since that's what I always call it when something breaks on it or it starts making funny noises. "Damn It don't do this to me now! I have somewhere to go Damn It!!!"

Jamie said...

My only surprise is that today's coctail didn't involve scotch...

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle, what a lovely, sexy view and post. Neil is good beans and your Daddy must have been something. I enjoyed the poem as well. Bravo!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I sure could use a whiskey & water right about now; unfortunately, I've been banned from alcohol.

Also, I'm one of those people who happen to like Neil Diamond. However, Richard Bach's inspirational novels haven't done much for me.