Send in the Clowns

Because it's Sunday, and the last day of October (hello, winter!) I'm going to offer a quick 500 words on politics and religion. I realize there is still another day left in this month, but who made the rule that when Halloween falls on a Monday we therefore must dress in costumes for the entire month of October? Not that I'm complaining about that; I would love it if we dressed in costumes for the entire year, as long as I'm not required to participate. Honestly, it's been all downhill for me after the Halloween my mom crafted me a robot costume out of paper shopping bags spray-painted silver—but as an adult, once, I did sport an inspired costume (I was an ermine dish washer who kept spouting “I won't give up my gin until they pry it from my cold dead hands!”) which not so coincidentally was the wakeup call for me to quit drinking (though my last taste of alcohol didn't come until much later, when I accidentally ingested some flat, brown beer I had thought was iced tea at a lunch buffet in Tampere, Finland in 2001).

We have determined that blogging is out and podcasting's days are numbered, and virtual reality dinner parties are still (at least until holiday shopping season, starting Tuesday) only available to the well-heeled, so I'm going to just give up trying to be anything but a dinosaur (not a Brontosaurus, since they were faked—oh, now they're back!—who can keep up? It's like Pluto. There's an idea for a computer-animated movie, Pluto the Brontosaurus—oh, there is one already? Sorry). But I won't give up my pen until they pry it from my cold dead hands. No one has to read this—I'm not quizzing people at dinner parties. The thing that occurred to me recently is that blog entries can often be insufferable because they can be like someone standing at the dreaded lectern (and the PowerPoint assist is just that much worse), except with the blog version the audience doesn't have to act like they're listening. There was a scene in a children's book (can't remember which one!) where someone is allowed to speak for as long as they can stand on one foot, which I think is a good rule (metaphorically only, of course, due to the Americans with Disabilities Act).

The only time I've been in an actual fight is when someone wanted to take my parentheses away. The parenthetical in conversations and interviews can often be the hidden treasure. I was thinking about how I prefer podcasts consisting of two people talking (and even though there are some good ones with one person monologuing, I tend to avoid those). Three or more people (especially when fueled by coffee, cocaine, and the giggles) can get pretty annoying. I also vastly prefer a conversation in an intimate setting, as opposed to those performed on a stage in front of an audience. I'm not sure why, but it's probably because I vastly prefer human interaction as a one on one enterprise, as opposed to a bunch of humans watching a smaller bunch (or one) on a stage (regardless of whether I'm in the audience or on the stage). Small groups really depend on the people involved (if at the virtual reality dinner party you can heave a plate of spaghetti into the face of someone “holding forth”—I'm in). But it's not just the “pay attention to me” thing—people in the act of just milling around also bug me. Since I've written songs, I've had this conflict in my heart. It's OK with me if other people want to amplify, synthesize, and employ accompaniment—but would it be possible (given how the old models are shattered and recast constantly, now) for one person to communicate songs to one person at a time? (Oh, right, that's called sex. Forget I mentioned it.)