Someone’s In The Attic And It’s Not Gary Busey This Time

December 30, 2008

Several months ago, I awoke early one Saturday morning to find Paloma hanging out the living room window. Through my pre-coffee haze of grogginess, she explained that she had brought home a stray kitten and the feral creature had made a break for it – out the open window, onto the eave, and down a tree.

When the kitten returned the following morning, again in early morning hijinks, Paloma took it as a sign from the universe that the stray should be added to our menagerie. She looked to me for confirmation.

“I get to name her.” Thus, Pizza is now not only a delightful meal but the moniker of our smallest roommate.

Since her arrival, the fits of hyperactive, manic behavior by Pizza has inspired my completely non-sensical and totally unserious threat to box her up and FedEx her to Gary Busey.

I, for one, would not want to be under the supervision and authority (or even in close proximity) to Gary Busey. He seems to be just a bit too zany in 3D for my personal taste or piece of mind.

Of course, the idea of the always calm, cool, and collected Busey opening a box containing a wild, stray kitten that had been shipped cross country has incredible potential for comedic value. I picture it as some demented cartoon from the ’50s come to life.

My thoughts turned to Mr. Busey this morning as I read the news and an article about a family in Pennsylvania. Some hobo-type had lived in their attic for several days before they discovered him.

The tale mirrored the plot of one of Busey’s films brought to life – a little flick which I had the pleasure of watching called Hider In The House. His performance in the title role was something to behold. I truly believed that somewhere Gary Busey had been living some family’s attic, eating their porridge and stuff.

I suppose that it you had to choose between a total stranger and Gary Busey to be hiding in your attic, taking your chances with the stranger might be the smart move.

And as I read the news story, I wondered the same thing I did years ago when I saw Hider In The House – is it logistically possible that a psychopathic stranger (or Gary Busey) could live, undetected, in our attic for any length of time?

I have no “attic” songs, so here are a few songs by other Garys that may or may not be living in someone’s attic.

Gary Myrick & Havana 3AM – Havana
I knew Gary Myrick from a couple of songs on the soundtrack to the ’80s classic Valley Girl and, about ten years ago, I received a promo copy of his album Texas Glitter & Tombstone Tales. It was a pleasant surprise. Hardly the New Wave-tinged rock of the stuff I knew, it was more rockabilly inflected (although Havana has a more laid-back, Southwestern cantina vibe to it).

Gary Numan – Cars
Paloma and I recently snagged a couple of Gary Numan albums on vinyl, but Cars is an iconic track from the ’80s that still sounds spectacular nearly thirty years later.

Gary Wright – Love Is Alive
Wayne’s World or no Wayne’s World, I never was very taken with Dreamweaver. I much prefer the other two songs I know by Gary Wright, Really Wanna Know You and this one.

Gary “U.S.” Bonds – This Little Girl
I know that Gary Bonds had a run of hits in the ’60s, but I couldn’t name one or necessarily know one if I heard it. However, This Little Girl was constantly on the radio in the autumn of 1981 and its a fantastic pop song. I suppose it didn’t hurt that Bruce Springsteen wrote, produced, and appears on it.

Iggy Pop And The Surprising Gravity Of A Seemingly Inconsequential Decision

December 22, 2008

Sunday was the twentieth anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, an event I vividly recall. As it was days before Christmas and most everyone was home on winter break, the house I shared with five roommates was empty. I think the only one still in town was at his gig at Pizza Hut.

I was bound by my job at a record store to remain in town until Christmas Eve and I had closed the store earlier that evening. It was late and I was channel-surfing when I heard the news from Lockerbie.

Now when I hear of that event, I think of the girl I almost knew who had been saved from being on Pan Am 103 by Iggy Pop.

Five years after the Lockerbie bombing, four years after I had graduated from college, I was the buyer at a large record store and The Mogul (as our group of friends had dubbed him) was one of my closest friends. He was a rising star working for a major label.

One day, I mentioned a band, The Situation, that was popular in my college town while I was in school. I was likely recounting how my friend Shafia had been the inspiration for one of their songs – Shafia Has A Dilemma – which they continually updated to reflect Shafia’s usual chaotic state of affairs. She provided them with ample material.

Shafia was quite taken with Craig, who seemed to be The Situation’s de facto leader. However, there was some drama involving another musician, Trina, who I took as the mortal rival of Shafia for Craig’s attentions. Shafia scorched my eardrum on a number of occasions with rants on the matter. I never personally met Trina.

As I told The Mogul this tale, we began to connect the dots. Even though he attended college in Maine and The Situation and I had been in Indiana, he knew of them. Odd, as, to my knowledge, they were a regional band.

Furthermore, The Mogul knew Trina as she had dated a close friend of his while they were studying in London. He had known Trina two years before I had even met Shafia. He told me how Trina had been booked on Pan Am 103, but she hadn’t been on the flight.

Apparently, Trina had blown off the flight, deciding to stick around the city to see an Iggy Pop show.

Living with that experience has to be a strange thing.

Iggy Pop – Livin’ On The Edge Of The Night

Iggy Pop – Real Wild Child

Iggy Pop – Candy

Iggy Pop – China Girl

Courting Cousin Vicki Could Be Problematic

December 20, 2008

A staple when it came to video rentals for my high school friends and I was National Lampoon’s Vacation which featured Chevy Chase leading his family on a “pilgrimage to see a moose.” It supplied us with an endless supply of lines for the times when we did venture outside the city limits (it also had Christie Brinkley).

One of the many colorful characters in that flick was Cousin Vicki who rocked the ganja, stirred Kool Aid with her hand, and boasted that, regarding her French kissing abilities, “Daddy says I’m the best.”

Several years ago, I realized that the actress who played Cousin Vicki – Jane Krakowski – was now on the show 30 Rock. She hasn’t been taking orders in a drive-thru for the past twenty-five years (her list of credits at The Internet Movie Database is lengthy including several years on Ally McBeal), but I hadn’t seen anything she’d been in.

In my universe, Krakowski had gone from the age of thirteen to late thirties in a flash. What if I’d met her in some bar and shared a few drinks during those years of her career of which I was oblivious?

At some point, our respective professions would become a topic of conversation. I would probably tell her I was a Bedouin because, as Paloma has astutely pointed out, I like to say the word Bedouin.

Jane, having told me she was an actress, might tick off a list of movies in which she had appeared. I would sit there “like a dog that had been shown a card trick” (to quote Bill Hicks) until, finally, she would ask if I’d ever seen National Lampoon’s Vacation. The light bulb would flicker and my mouth would then fall open.

“You’re Cousin Vicki.”

And if such a scenario had ever occurred, would it be possible to date this woman? She’s Cousin Vicki, for God’s sake!

It would lead to me immediately tracking done those high school buddies with whom I had shared the movie years before, most of whom I haven’t spoken with in years.

“Dude, you would not believe it, but I’m dating Cousin Vicki.”

The news would immediately elicit a reference to her French kissing skills.

I think it would be impossible for me to view Krakowski as anyone other than Cousin Vicki. Repeated viewings of Vacation had seared that into my brain years ago.

I’d live in a state of perpetual fear that, if things got serious, I’d end up meeting her family and expect Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, her father. There would be her youngest sister, Daisy Mabel, who “sings like a bird and eats like a horse” despite being born without a tongue. And would her brother Dale be prospering as an earthworm farmer?

It would, quite simply, be a star-crossed mess which would invariably end in tears. Sometimes the universe gets things right.

I was surprised at how many “Jane” songs I had (as opposed to “cousin” and/or “Vicki” songs), so here’s a handful…

Over The Rhine – Sleep Baby Jane

Icicle Works – Understanding Jane

The Point – Hey Jane

Jon Astley – Jane’s Getting Serious