- 8 jan
On New Year's Eve I did what any American boy should do when he has the opportunity - I danced with purdy ladies. And some of 'em was dolled up real fine with leather pants and velvet dresses and sparkly thangs on their heads. There wasn't nearly enough teenager moaning going on, so we put on lots of '70's music and that took care of the deficit. We were sweatin' to the oldies, chompin' on California rolls, shoot, we even had them little party poppers. Whee dogies.
As your hot-blooded Chicano type, I am blessed with rhythm and a proclivity for hip/shoulder isolation when it comes to the art of the dance. The other men in this neighborhood, god love 'em, didn't ask to be born with genes that give them the fluidity of Stonehenge, and cannot be blamed for exhibiting all the snot-throwing revelry of the Anglican Church. Heck, if I danced like the Timbertoes, I too would spend the evening drinking beer out by the fire while the womenfolk did their bumping and their grinding with the ethnic fellow. And so, as a result of millions of years of evolution, mutation, culturally inbred restraint, Earth, Wind, and Fire, I spent a major chunk of that evening in Boogie Wonderland, forcing myself to bring terpsichorean pleasure to a bunch of screaming females who were more than ready to partay. I'm as sorry as I can be about that. End of apology.
The cultivation of my bad boy image now includes some preliminary experimentation with moustache wax. After having trouble finding it in stores, Santa Claus came through and presented me with a small silver tube of The Original Pinaud® Clubman® Moustache Wax, Hygiène De La Tête, Famous Since 1810, NY, Paris, London. The drawing on the package of the gentleman in the top hat and cutaway, hand on hip, leaning on his cane, is not, however, the direction in which I am headed. For me, hat wise, it's baseball caps or, yes, okay, a motorcycle helmet, but I am leaning only toward a modicum of style with the introduction of this wax. I seek only the finest of control over the wayward whisker, particularly during my high-speed Vespa scoots. With all the heartfelt passion of Richard Nixon, I implore you to believe me when I say, "I am not a dandy."
If you now have, or ever had, or ever were, a child in the fourth grade in a public school in California you know all about The Mandatory Project. The Must Do. Fourth Grade in this state means you study the California Missions. It's a big deal. This is the time of year when supermarkets see a shortage of sugar cubes as students (parents) use them as simulated adobe bricks to build a model of any of the 21 missions. Corrugated cardboard (tile roofing) becomes a scarce commodity. If you go to a crafts store you will discover that some companies sell prefabricated Styrofoam mission building kits (I get a picture in my head of descendants of Native American laborers who built the missions now standing in factories cutting out little Styrofoam walls and doors and roofs) and they fly off the shelves.
In our school district a model is not compulsory. Here, all that's required is a report with three major parts: a timeline of at least ten events that have occurred at the mission assigned to the student (through a lottery - "Mission assignments cannot be changed for any reason!"), a photographic album of at least ten pictures taken at any California mission, and a written report that answers questions regarding the assigned mission.
To this end, the entire fourth grade is going on a field trip this Friday to Mission Santa Barbara and I have volunteered to be one of the parent tour guides. Tomorrow after school, these parents, these few, these proud, will have an informational meeting to review and assign duties. Should be fun.
And as your hot-blooded Chicano type, I look forward to explaining to fourth graders how the Spaniards abused the Native Americans, used them as slaves, brought disease, and basically ran roughshod over the spiritual beliefs and way of life of our indigenous population.
I may even show 'em a little rain dance.
"Artistry In Boogie" -- Stan Kenton -- KENTON IN HI-FI
"History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
- James Joyce (Ulysses)