Rockcrit and A-Mama Ann Powers thinks way too hard sometimes

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Queen and An Elf

Doing a little research on Aretha for a presentation to sixth-graders I did today, I discovered, via Wiki, this startling fact:

"She is the second-most honored female popular singer in Grammy hstory after Allison Krauss.

Allison Krauss?

I don't begrudge the bluegrass elf (and I mean that in the most Tolkienesque way) her shiny statues, but how can it be possible that she outranks the Queen of Soul? Does this say something about the music industry's favoritism toward consistency over risk taking? For, as my pal Xgau eloquently argues here, Franklin is that rare R&B icon who's remained engaged with musical trends. Is it simply a sign that awards are more plentiful now than in the past -- more Grammy categories? Is it a sign of racism?

I have no answers on this. But as much as I appreciate her spectral hum, I can easily imagine life without Krauss. Not without Spirit in the Dark.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Bebe loves American cheese. I try to feed her the healthy stuff, the good stuff, the Parmesan and farmhouse cheddar that will make her a tiny connoisseur. And she just wants the plastic stuff. For a kid who eats mac 'n' cheese for breakfast, she's also rather fussy -- for example, this fine product interested her for two bites . That's why I'm sitting here watching the only truly bad Law & Order show while the soy milk banana bread bakes, ensuring her at least a nibble of healthy breakfast.

My inadequacy as a nutritionist puts me in the "bad mommy" category, according to the current Details -- in an insipid article about how men should overome their disapproval of their working wives, because let's face it, ALL working parents suck eggs, you boys too! The piece distinctly mentions Junior eating Cheez Nips for dinner as the ultimate sign of inadequate parenting. Now, Bebe has never had a Cheez Nip (only this organic variety!), but she loves her a Triscuit, and though I never serve them to her at dinner, sometimes they're all she'll eat in the afternoon. The books tell you that being a good mommy is all about offering your kid ONLY HEALTHY CHOICES, so the fact that she has had a Triscuit tips me toward trouble. But hey, advice givers, what happens when offering ONLY HEALTHY CHOICES adds up to startvation for your whitebread-loving kid?

It's belaboring the obvious to point out that my gen's obsession with monitoring what goes in to our babies' bellies is related to our utter terror of the world that's eventually going to eat them; what ONLY HEALTHY CHOICES will there be given global warning, the evisceration of the social contract by the Bush Dynasty, rising fundamentalism, and the mad consumerist Barbie fetishism of the Paris Hilton obsessed. And how much pleasure are we denying ourselves by trying to stuff fruit-juice sweetened oatmeal yuckies down their gullets? I like to take Bebe for a cupcake now and then. I am a bad mommy, then, according to a publication that puts Patrick Dempsey on the cover and sweats about Italian shoes.

Props to Ange and Zoe for sending props to me. I pledge to continue this blog even as the giant SoCal metropolis devours me. Somewhere I have to keep talking about the human side of "me."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I said I'd never

Never write in my blog about how I haven't been writing in my blog. However, as many of you know, I've had some big news of late, and therefore am even more remiss than normal in not posting. Well, here's the scoop. I have about seven weeks to wax reminiscent about Seattle, share my anxieties, and tell you what I'm packing and what I'm taking to Goodwill. So for now I'll just share the news and say good night.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Panic in Space Needle Park

The other night I started a new medicine for my various lady problems, and a few hours later I awoke in the midst of a panic attack. What an awful and odd feeling. Some aspects were fairly familiar from my bouts with asthma -- shortness of breath, tightness of chest. But then there was the psychological part. Every time I closed my eyes I saw myself enclosed in a small colored box, like a tiny boxcar, fighting to get out. Where did I get this image? Even weirder was that it felt like a memory, not a dream or a fantasy. My mind kept reaching back toward it, you know how that happens when you can't quite recall something and you're getting pieces of it, like glimpsing at a vista through a tiny airplane window, you're speeding by it and never really get the whole view. Then I'd stop myself because being in this memory or whatever was just too physically threatening. I felt like if I let it take over, I would die.

Next day I still felt weird so I went to the doc, who only vaguely confirmed my panic attack suspicion. "The little box -- that's the ticket," he said, trying to diagnose me, but he never told me what the ticket was for. Did I have some kind of trauma as a child, was this a repressed thing? Or a past life surfacing? Or, more likely in my view, is the small colored box some kind of archetypal image that people see when their systems are shutting down? Was I seeing my own future death?

Now I'm fine but still feel uncomfy when I ponder boxcars. Also, I'm sad for young Nick Sylvester over at the Voice, who apparently really blew it . The question burns: why would you fabricate quotes for a fluffy lifestyle piece? In what universe would that risk be worth it? Also, seems he did it in re people he actually interviewed for the piece, whom he could expect to read it. Teenage suicide, don't do it! as the cast of Heathers once sang. Nick is slightly beyond teenage, and a charmer and a good writer too, but when I met him I did feel he was making too much of his youth. A journalist needs to know that even when you're writing in first person, it's not about you, the Person (or your youth and precocity or wisdom or coolness or whatever). It's about the STORY. Seems like Sylvester was trying to make points for himself and let his work matter less to him than it should. Sad.