Monday, August 23, 2004

That's the sound of a man, working on a cell phone.

Senator Bob Dole has weighed in on the Swift Boat controversy, declaring that John Kerry’s wounds were “superficial,” implying that HIS wounds were real war wounds, by golly, not wimpy little scratches obtained in Viet Nam. Could that even be considered a war?

It strikes me that this kind of one-up-manship is a little unseemly, but then again, the closest I ever came to a war wound was a blister incurred when I used my draft card to sift seeds from my marijuana stash.

Contrary to what you might think from my little joke above, I wasn’t much of a party animal in the sixties. I was too busy studying and being earnest.

I never liked big concerts much. Standing upright for hours, squeezed in by young men my age reeking of patchouli oil, stoned out of my mind, listening to some endless drum solo, or ear-splitting squealing guitar – well, I came to conclude that it just was not my idea of a good time.

Later on, concerts became more sedate, as Laurel Canyon mellow chic supplanted wild-eyed roaring psychedelia. It became the practice, if one approved of a performance, to wave a lit lighter or match in the air. OF course, back then, everybody smoked SOMETHING, so the gesture had an impact.

I thought of this defunct practice recently.

I had been invited to attend a performance by Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi, who were performing locally (San Francisco) at some industrial function. (I work for Dan Aykroyd, kind of. Currently, I write the scripts for House of Blues Radio Hour, a syndicated weekly radio program, of which Mr. Aykroyd, in the guise of Elwood Blues, is the host.)

I couldn’t make the show, but speaking later with one of the attendees (a producer of the House of Blues Radio Hour),he told me that the corporate types attending the event all had newfangled cell phone/digital camera combos. At crucial moments, they would all raise their cell phones aloft, and snap pictures. I don’t suppose they weaved back and forth dreamily as they did this. I didn’t ask.

What a difference half a generation makes. Today, nobody smokes, but we all have digital devices that can record everything that ever happens to us, to be dumped on a hard drive, and then forgotten.

You can buy snippets of pop songs to use as your cell phone ring. (As a matter of fact, the record industry, of course, is now trying to get a piece of that action.) Well, the next time your favorite group comes to your area, get all your friends together, and program your phones to play the chorus of their smash hit. Then, when you go to the concert, and the band plays their smash hit, and the chorus comes around, call each other on the phone! And don’t answer! That would be cool! It would be like singing along, only you don’t have to do anything!

On Friday, goes the plan, I will record an Ian Shoales commentary to run over the end credits of the DVD. I will have to walk a thin line between heartless sarcasm and relentless self-promotion, but do not worry. It is a line I have walked many times before.

Does marijuana even have seeds any more?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't read your blog. Light blue letters on black background; worst possible combination. Please redo.

11:32 AM  

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