Out Of Africa And Headed For Hollywood

April 3, 2009

I am a dog person.

I am a dog person sharing a home with a trio of cats.

There does seem to be much posturing between those who prefer canines and those who opt for felines, the two factions seeming to be only slightly less contentious than the Christian right and, well, everyone else.

Although I do prefer dogs, I have come to grow fond of the cats which Paloma has brought into my life.

I’ve often been inspired by television commercials to suggest that our cats might be able to get into that line of work. The animals jockeying for position on our couch seem to have as much personality as those shilling products.

The other night, I brought up the idea – again.

“I’ve heard the cats in commercials scheme,” Paloma assured me. She seemed mostly amused.

“We’ve got one on death’s door (she isn’t), one who’s overweight (she is) and one that’s a feral kitten (it’s true). And you want to put them on a set with a bunch of strangers and cameras and have them perform on command?”

Admittedly, her review of the plan, while accurate, made it seem slightly half-baked.

“Umm. Yes?” I replied.

On cue, Pizza, the kitten (see photo courtesy of Paloma), shot through the room in a blur of fur.

(Paloma brought her home as a stray and she is, literally, feral as we have discovered that she is a Savannah, a relatively new breed that is a cross between an African serval and a domesticated house cat)

Pizza’s mad dash ended abruptly in a collision with a chair. She flopped back on her haunches, blinked, turned, and darted off as quickly as she had arrived.

“So, are you going to have business cards printed that say ‘Cat Wrangler’?”

Maybe not quite yet.

Francis Dunnery – Everyone’s A Star
Some artists undeservedly slip from my radar, so it’s always welcome when something prompts a reminder. I’d kind of forgotten about Francis Dunnery until he was mentioned over at Fusion 45 recently.

I own two of Dunnery’s solo albums and both are well worth searching out. Everyone’s A Star comes from his debut, Fearless, which also includes Good Life, one of the most heartbreaking songs I think I’ve ever heard.

He also was a member of Robert Plant’s touring band and I got to catch him with Plant on the latter’s Fate Of Nations tour in ’93 or so.

James – She’s A Star
Another underappreciated act (at least here in the States), but James did find brief success with their song Laid.

She’s A Star comes from Whiplash, which was their first album after Laid was a hit. It failed to maintain their momentum even though they snagged a spot on Lollapalooza that summer.

Billy Joel – Say Goodbye To Hollywood
I’m strangely ambivalent about Billy Joel. If you asked me if I liked Billy Joel, I’d probably shrug and say something like, “He’s OK.”

But when I do hear one of his songs, I’m surprised at how often I pause, mentally list his songs in my head, and realize that the guy does have some truly fantastic tracks in his catalog. Say Goodbye To Hollywood is certainly (and always has been) one of my favorite songs (maybe the favorite) by him.

I never tire of hearing it.

Concrete Blonde – Still In Hollywood
I’ve realize that I’ve had the opportunity to see each of the acts in this post live. I’ve been quite fortunate that way.

I keep vowing to write about Concrete Blonde as the trio did produce some of my favorite music of the late ’80s/early ’90s. And as much as I adore Johnette as a frontwoman, I thought guitarist James Mankey never got as much love as he should have.

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