Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Sunday, January 28, 2018


He had written the instructions years ago, sealing them in a plastic wrapper so they would be in perfect condition when the day finally came when they would be necessary.

Now it was time.

A black-suited functionary slit the wrapper and withdrew the single sheet of paper. His task proceeded wordlessly. Moments later, he was ready for the final steps.

The carefully constructed container, contents now in place, was sealed permanently with four turns of the Allen wrench: one per corner. A brief eulogy was all that remained before Ingvar moved to his new home... only fourteen square feet!

[Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Thanks to Paul Cahlstadt for inspiring this story.]

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


It occurred to me recently that, of my two sets of grandparents, I can only recall hearing music in my paternal grandparents’ home.

Mom’s parents probably liked music as much as anyone, but I just don’t remember any evidence of it. Maybe after my mother decided not to be a piano prodigy, her folks gave up on music in frustration. Who knows?

On the other hand, Dad’s parents - or at least his mother - liked having a little melody in the house.

They had an actual record player - a turntable with a record changer! - and a tuner, in case they got bored listening to records. If my memory serves, the turntable/tuner assembly was housed in a cabinet with speakers, and it was on some kind of sliding drawer affair that enabled one to pull it out in order to load a stack of records.

I remember listening to “South Pacific” on that thing. It was a real old-school record album, a pile of 78 RPM shellac discs that were stored in - literally - an album. You would take them out of their sleeves and load them onto the changer. After the first sides all played, you’d flip the whole stack over at once and listen to the other sides. (The turntable could also be used to listen to those new-fangled vinyl LP’s.)

Grandma liked her music, she did. In the late 1960’s she became a Tom Jones aficionado, and whenever one of the local FM stations would play “Delilah,” she was entranced. Nice going, Grandma - a song about a romance-fueled murder. I suspect Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead were a little too much for her.

But what I remembered from my little-kid days was a rockabilly number that she would listen to incessantly... hardly the kind of thing you’d expect to appeal to a little old Jewish lady in Brooklyn, but there you are. And the lyrics got engraved in my brain thanks to ceaseless repetition:

Be-bop - I love you, baby
Be-bop - I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop - I love you, baby
I’m stickin’ with you 
I’m stickin’ with you...

Thanks to the miracle of the Inter-Webby-Netz, I was finally able to track this little tune down - a song by one Jimmy Bowen with which he kicked of his recording career in 1957. The song charted at #14 - not bad for a flip side - but Bowen eventually decided to work on the other side of the mike. I’m happy to report that he’s still walking the planet.

Have a listen:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


The Pope had a big sack of potpourri
That would cheer him when he would feel motpourri.
He’d stay up all night long
Smoking it in a bong -
’Twas the closest he could come to dotpourri.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Who can take your tension (who can take your tension)
And make it go away (make it go away)
Keep your angsty feelings and insomnia at bay
Oh, the Ativan Man (the Ativan Man)
The Ativan Man can (the Ativan Man can)
With his Ativan Van
‘Cause he drives his Ati-Van
And it’s filled with Ativan
To make your brain feel good
(to make your brain feel good)