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.