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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End Page - 2008

Most people that hit middle age have had their share of New Year's Eve experiences where they ended up like the fellow pictured above. Tonight, I will not be in this condition.

I am still in Mexico with my family (or "my ladies" as I like to call them). They are not big party/night life people. The resort is having a massive blow-out party down on the beach - they have set up a restaurant, bar, bandstand and dance floor down there. The cost is 850 peso per person - about $65. That isn't a ridiculous price tag, but I couldn't get any takers among my ladies. We are going to have a quiet evening - well, as quiet as possible since there will be hundreds of party people on the property all night.

Since I have been at leisure the past few days, I had time to read and listen to music on the iPod. I am almost finished with my 6th book. My favorite of the six was the 1990 novel by Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus." I somehow missed this book when it was originally published. Vonnegut is in top form, weaving multiple story lines and a large cast of characters into his satirical, cynical look at late 20th Century America. Best line: "The two prime movers in the universe are time and luck." This is a thought worth pondering as we enter a new year.

On the iPod, I have gone back into my library of tunes by the two Chicago blues harmonica greats Little Walter Jacobs ("LW") and Big Walter Horton ("BW"). I could write pages on each of these musicians. Only fellow harmonica-playing geeks like me would want to read it. LW didn't invent the Chicago blues harmonica sound (John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson gets the nod on that score), but he expanded it, changed it, invented musical techniques never used before, and continues to influence anyone who picks up the tin sandwich. BW is equally awesome, but he is about tone and rhythm.

A final note - remember New Year's Eve 1999? The Y2K freak-out? What a scam. On that New Year's Eve, my wife and young children braved the snow and rode in a horse-drawn wagon through the streets of Evanston IL. We ended up at a party in a seafood restaurant, dancing with our friends and neighbors until the wee small hours to tunes spun by a DJ that we knew well - he was the adult son of our next door neighbors. Now that was a good time.

Happy 2009.

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