Reading the paper in the morning is becoming a real challenge. Not the paper-paper, but…oh, how about the Freep? On a morning when nuclear disaster looms across the far Pacific, a Web headline:
I looked at that for a minute before clicking. Really, what could a 63-year-old Republican golfer do that would be considered shocking, even by the wet-behind-the-ears web staff? Appear before his monthly root touch-up? But I’ve heard Vincent Damon Furnier speak before; he’s a witty man who’s always in on his own joke. OK, you’ve got me. I’ll click.
Alice Cooper came into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a boa constrictor.
Cooper, also known as Vincent Furnier, wore a blood-splattered shirt and brought schoolkids along to sing “School’s Out.” It all seemed appropriate for a band that inductor Rob Zombie said invented the rock show.
That’s it? That’s the shock? A snake and a stain and a few kids? Kids sing on the original “School’s Out,” a hit delivered well past Alice Cooper’s prime, in my opinion. (I lost interest after “Love it to Death,” but all my peers found it.) Even at 14, I knew when I was being “shocked.” The last interview I heard with Furnier — I’m going to call him that, because Alice Cooper was the name of the band — he made a big deal out of putting one over on the squares, how parents were so terribly upset by him, but their kids knew it was just showbiz. For the record, I’d like to note that my parents were never upset by Alice Cooper, not even a little bit. I don’t think they were even aware of them. They followed the Don and Betty Draper model of adulthood, in the sense that they acted like adults and didn’t want to rap with me about what was goin’ down.
To my mind, Alice Cooper was the band made to order for Bob Greene. He went along on their 1973 tour, promoting “Muscle of Love,” an album I don’t recall making it into the collection of a single person I know. I bet whatever he wrote about them was really, really shocking.
I’m vamping here because I don’t want to read any more about Japan for a while. It’s making me very sorry I read Martin Cruz Smith’s novel “Wolves Eat Dogs,” in which Moscow militia investigator Arkady Renko follows a case to Chernobyl. I’m sorry I remember so well the passage where a scientist there tells the story of the night the reactor blew at a drunken party:
In a second the reactor coolant began to boil. The reactor hall started to pound. An engineer hit the panic switch for the control rods, but the rod channels in the reactor melted, the rods jammed, and superheated hydrogen blew off the roof, carrying reactor core, graphite and burning tar into the sky. A black fireball stood over the building, and a blue beam of ionized light shot from the open core. Fifty tons of radioactive fuel flew up, equal to fifty Hiroshima bombs. But the farce continued. Cool heads in the control room refused to believe they had done anything wrong. They sent a man down to check the core. He returned, his skin black from radiation, like a man who had seen the sun, to report there was no core. Since this was not an acceptable report, they sacrificed a second man, who returned in the same fatal condition. Now, of course, the men in the control room faced their greatest test of all: the call to Moscow.
It should be noted that no black fireballs have appeared in Japan, but I have to wonder about the 60 workers left behind, trying to cool this thing off. I wonder if this is a suicide mission. I note that the power company’s apology is being parsed in Japan, making me sorry I don’t understand all the nuances of the apology in Japanese culture. I should have paid more attention during our Japan worship/paranoia phase back in the ’80s.
So let’s go bloggering, eh?
Evan Bayh signs with Fox. I’m so totally, totally surprised! I saw him on the network news a few days back; he and his wife were in New Zealand when the earthquake hit there. Susan looked sort of puffy. Not fat-puffy, or crying-my-eyes-out-from-fear-of-aftershocks puffy, but more like my-life-sucks-and-I’m-self-medicating-with-box-wine puffy. She was always his greatest asset, a warm and funny charmer to balance his robotic affect; what happened, Hoosiers?
Does anyone have a more contemporary photo of Owsley Stanley? Although kudos to the NYT for this hit of microdot:
Mr. Stanley, the Dead’s former financial backer, pharmaceutical supplier and sound engineer, was in recent decades a reclusive, almost mythically enigmatic figure. He moved to Australia in the 1980s, as he explained in his rare interviews, so he might survive what he believed to be a coming Ice Age that would annihilate the Northern Hemisphere.
And after he got there, I guess he just liked the weather.
And that’s it for me, pals. A swell Tuesday to all.