Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"The Eggplant That Ate Chicago..."

Okay, so here's the deal, I think my brain is just too tired. Seriously, maybe I have dengue or some brain fever; thinking straight has been rather difficult the last couple days. The main problem? Songs keep drilling themselves into my head and WON'T LEAVE!

Case in point: I was just reading Knit & Tonic and thanks to her title, all I could think of as I read was that bloody Napoleon XIV song! As I posted in her comments, in HS during my sophomore year we did a Speech unit and I performed "They're Coming To Take Me Away" for my class. Which then led to remembering the album (because yes, I owned the album) of Dr. Dementos Greatest Hits (Vol. 6 or so...I dunno). Yes, "The Eggplant that Ate Chicago" (wack-a-do, whack-a-do) was on the same side. (heh, remember when albums had "sides?" Hoo boy, I just alienated someone, I'm sure...)

Yep, hard to concentrate on checking books in and out when your head is filled with songs that have infiltrated you to the core. My own fault, I think. See, as part of the whole "clean up and clean out" project I have begun with myself now that I'm settling out of the "crazy" and returning to the
pseudo-normalcy of my life, I decided to make my parents the CDs I was going to make LAST xmas (and now George Michael sneaks in...."the very next day, you gave it away..." eep.)

Where was I? Right, so a little history: my mom and I had spoken back when I was in Mexico, really (in 01-03), about my gathering up some music she liked and me burning a CD of it so she could play it on her brand new CD player (in her brand new car). So I did. Gather. In October of 04 I'd gotten enough to fill a few CDs. So I narrowed down the focus and the plan was to burn her a trial copy of one singer's stuff for an xmas present. It wasn't a surprise, we don't really do surprise gifts in my family, we're lame that way, I know. Then, of course, that same month my X dropped the big "we're no longer traveling down the same path" bomb and I promptly forgot everything, as I was a bit busy trying to figure out the whys and hows of my situation. It's great fun when your X's play-thing tells you, "You know, when he first told me about you, he described you as a monster." Thanks, no really, may Karma bite you some place special. Even more fun when you confront X and he doesn't believe you, cuz well, right, you've only known one another since you were 18 (and it's 12 yrs later), and she being the new thing in his life of course she'd NEVER say something like that, and etc. Can we say "bitter much?" Yeah, the wound is only scabbed you see. So if I'm not careful it reopens and the bitterness just flows.

Right, well, tangents galore yeah, anyway, as I was looking through my hard drive this last weekend and wondering where the heck my memory had gone (computer memory, that is), when I ran across what I lovingly labeled: "Mami's old-people music." Soooooo, I figured, what the heck, I have to listen to something as I work on everyone else's presents...(oooh I didn't mention, since I slammed about it so badly in one of my last blogs, my computer was giving me SOUND again!!! Then the housemates blew a fuse yesterday and my computer'd been on and yeah, no more sound...I figure it was its last hurrah). So I strapped on the headphones and listened to almost FOUR HOURS worth of Lola Beltran, Vicente Fernandez (and sons), Pedro Infante, Javier Solis, and a whole bunch of other people probably long-time gone; culling the recordings that were too scratchy (some had been digitized from vinyl) or badly recorded. It so ruined me.
This is Lola, the Queen of the Ranchera songs for 40 years!

You see, if you don't recognize these artists immediately, it's probably cuz you're not Mexican or of Hispanic descent. (Not your fault :).) These guys (and girls) were the shiznit of the 30s, 40s, 50s, maybe even up to the 70s for old "Chenche" (as my tia Tere calls Vicente Fernandez).

The man, the myth, the legend...Vicente Fernandez. He's still goin' strong...or at least still goin'. He's got his sons doing most of the singing now. This man owns most of the state of Jalisco

But man oh man all these people must have led some horrid lives. Lemme tell you this much, Mexican music is all about one thing: sadness. My horse died, my girl ran off, my man is gone (that's Gershwin too), my heart is broken, my town is not my town anymore, sad, sad, sad, sad. It's like country music with an accordion (or a big old mariachi band depending on the presentation). I mean, HI, my parents used to just go off on my music (I had the HAPPY experience of a DAILY 2-hour rush-hour LA commute to/from my HS with BOTH my parents FOR FOUR YEARS... We listened to A LOT of my teenage angst music, poor things). How could I listen to this garbage about death and who knew what else (Yeah, The Cure, Depeche Mode, I wore a lot of black too...) WELL, after four hours of listening to the songs they grew up with... HELLO, I was so lonesome, I could cry. If one of them wasn't lamenting a girl that had left them (Por tu MALDITO Amor (Because of Your Damned Love)), they were comparing their relationships to crops that flat-out FAILED (La Milpa (The Cornfield)). How did these people get out of bed in the morning?

Right, they were artists, they had money and fame...I forget.

So my dear readers, your humble narrator now desperately needs something to kill all the music embedded in her brain. I know they say that if you get a song stuck in your head the best thing to do is to hum the tune to "The Girl From Iponema." Which has now started playing in my head....but I'm afraid it too might get stuck.
Pedro Infante
I had to add a second Pedro Infante picture, he's my mom's favorite, but shhh, don't tell my dad :). He was born in 1917 and was one of those "singing cowboys" of the big screen. His movies totally had you on the edge of your seats sometimes, but you knew he'd live, cuz, well, he had to sing the song at the end of the movie, right?

With that ladies and gents, I leave you to happily celebrate whatever it is you're celebrating these next few days. A friend came up with the word but I'ma gonna totally mess it up, ready? Happy Chakwanamas (?) and all that :). Much more fun to say than "holidays." See ya in a few.

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