No Dickens, Shelley or Keats.

God bless my husband. I asked him, weeks ago, “What do you want for Christmas?” He replied, promptly, “‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ on CD.” You can either read this as a) typical baby-boomer nostalgia wallowing in itself; or b) a great idea. I’m going with B. I forget, as my distance from classic rock radio grows, how many great records were made in the ’70s by artists who swiftly devolved into bad jokes. Like: Elton John. Blood, Sweat & Tears. You can’t really call Neil Young a joke, but my fave albums are still “Neil Young” and “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” although I guess if you’re not counting “American Stars and Bars,” “Rust Never Sleeps” and about half a dozen others, you’re just not paying attention.

Which is the long way around to saying that before Rod Stewart became a parody of himself, he made a decent record or two.

“Every Picture Tells a Story” came out in 1971. I was 14, so you can’t claim my fondness for it translates to some wonderful period in my life. I was in junior high. Life hadn’t even started yet. And junior high isn’t wonderful in anyone’s life.

Ah, it was a nice holiday. You may have read about the Midwest’s surprise snowstorm a couple days out, which crippled much of the state and pretty much ruined my Columbus relatives’ celebration — my brother moved in with my sister, who at least had electricity, unlike approximately 200,000 others — but here? It was a blissful white Christmas, if cold. I got “Wolves Eat Dogs,” by my beloved Martin Cruz Smith, and I have to keep finding other things to do, so I don’t finish it too fast. The family present was the deluxe edition of Scrabble, and we all played a game yesterday, marveling over the swiveling board. Kate, at 8, is keeping up with her parents (with a little help). She also knows what an ibex is now, and how to spell “yacht” and “waltz.” Sooner or later I’ll have to teach her chess, and then become her punching bag at that, too.

My appearance here this week may be spotty. I appear to have a faulty Airport Extreme, which will have to be remedied, because while I can put up with a lot, I can’t put up with being un-wireless again. In the meantime, I liked G. Beato’s take on the Christmas wars, if you can stand to read some more. I can just about guarantee you, though, that his will be the only one where you’ll find “high definition ass love” and “William Donohue” in adjacent paragraphs. Enjoy.

Posted at 10:09 pm in Uncategorized |

9 responses to “No Dickens, Shelley or Keats.”

  1. Pam said on December 27, 2004 at 11:18 am

    Your bro’ found out at about 1:30 am this morning that he will be further without power until Wednesday at midnight (they hope). He woke up the entire house ranting at the AEP service representative. That will make it exactly one week of service interruption. Obetz is at the bottom of the “restore” list. I told him to pray that Upper Arlington doesn’t have an outage in the next few days or Obetz will slide further down the list. Unfortunately, his business is also without power (as are many others) and that is the real problem. Mayor Coleman wants to go after AEP to find out what they intend to do to see that this doesn’t happen again — uh, like rebuild the entire midwestern power grid?? But the good news is that we should have temps around 50 degrees by Thursday. So Charlie can throw open the doors and windows and warm up his house which is now about 32 degrees inside.

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  2. Caleb said on December 27, 2004 at 8:43 pm

    Is that the Martin Cruz Smith who wrote “Gorky Park”? I’ve been meaning to read that series for a long time, but I keep getting distracted–first by Carl Hiaasen and James Lee Burke, now by Elmore Leonard and Dennis Lehane.

    You have your child playing Scrabble at age 8. Wow. She will turn out wonderfully.

    (I recently read that, in the old days, copy editors would play Scrabble after deadline to keep their word skills sharp.)

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  3. brian stouder said on December 27, 2004 at 11:13 pm

    I was late coming to Neil Young. More than a decade ago I immediately fell in love with Pearl Jam, and continue to strongly identify with the power of the poetry of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. When Young and PJ began working together (Mirror Ball, et al), I began to see what I was missing, regarding Young. Also – IFC has a tremendously good, loosely edited Young touring movie – which is sublimely good stuff (although I forget the title of it).

    Eddie Vedder made an extremely good (if wrong headed!) political point during one Pearl Jam/Neil Young’s Rock the Vote concerts in Ohio last October. He pointed out that Ohio sustained 25% of the gross number of job losses in the United States, despite equalling only 4% of the work force. His punch line was the incredulous rhetorical question – “And you’re a SWING STATE???!!!”

    But what the hell; we conservatives who are fans of artists with differing political views are the souls of genuinely pluralistic open-mindedness!

    I got Pearl Jam’s “Lost Dogs” for Christmas, and am enjoying it immensely!

    On another subject – my God. The literally earth shattering news from southern Asia is exactly the type story that exemplifies why newspapers (or printed news – whether or not the medium is paper or electrons) shall always exist.

    A genuine human horror and massive tragedy of this magnitude simply doesn’t come across television. A story like this comes into being in a thunderclap – and then the consequences and deepening repercussions multiply and radiate outward.

    Understanding the abysmal human despair and the dauntingly large response required to deal with this event – to the extent that anyone ever can -depends on intellectual (as opposed to graphic) communication. Television news loops cannot achieve it.

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  4. Lex said on December 28, 2004 at 12:40 am

    Elton John did indeed devolve into a bad joke, but hardly swiftly — by my count, he released at least 9 albums (“Elton John,” “11/17/70,” “(the one with ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Levon’ on it),” “Honky Chateau,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Caribou,” “Greatest Hits,” “Captain Fantastic” and “Rock of the Westies”) before devolving.

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  5. deb said on December 28, 2004 at 11:43 am

    elton john’s devolution really saddened me. i loved those early albums. if i’m driving somewhere and hear “funeral for a friend/love lies bleeding” on the radio, and arrive at my destination before it ends, i’ll still sit in the car and listen until it’s over. so how did he travel from that point to songs with wince-worthy lyrics like “laughing like children/living like lovers/rolling like thunder under the covers”? ewwwww.

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  6. Linda said on December 28, 2004 at 1:21 pm

    Depsite his annoying penchant for young, blonde, leggy things, and his tired, phoned-in performance on the Ellen Degeneres show, I’ve always said Rod Stewart is the kind of guy that when you’ve finally decided to write him off as a has-been, he comes back with some really great songs (I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, Downtown Train, Rhythmn of My Heart, etc.). Although I don’t care much for how his voice sounds doing oldies, his new re-invention of himself as a singer of old standards apparently is doing quite well.

    On another note, I won an Apple i-pod from the Pepsi contest here in Canada (not sure if they did that one in the states?) and my original intention was to sell it in the classifieds for the money. From the moment I found out we won one, I could tell my hubby wanted to keep it, but I said “What are we going to do with it?” Boy, am I glad I was wrong. I’ve got all my classic tunes loaded in there already and I’m sweeping-to-the-oldies while I houseclean.

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  7. Linda said on December 28, 2004 at 1:28 pm

    I like Elton John’s old stuff, too. Daniel, Your Song, Island Girl, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, etc., are still better to me than anything Britney can come up with. It’s been several years now since I’ve come to the realization that, musically speaking, I’ve officially become “my parents”, but that is okay with me.

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  8. Reporter Abe Aamidor of The Indianapolis Star said on December 30, 2004 at 11:29 am

    The Indianapolis Star is doing a feature article on the popularity of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and is seeking to speak with people familiar with the show. You can contact reporter Abe Aamidor at 317-444-6472 or via e-mail at

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  9. Dave said on December 30, 2004 at 8:05 pm

    Every Picture Tells a Story! Oh yeah, whoever his drummer was totally annihilates his drum set on that tune, I loved Rod’s first three or four albums before he lost it and mostly became (to me)unlistenable.

    Neil, always loved Neil, too, Buffalo Springfield on through the drug-laced (at least, it sounds like it) sloppy album, “Tonight’s the Night”.

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