Swamped

Every once in a while I come across something so good that I can’t wait to share it with you all. Such was the case this past week with Pat Boone. Older readers will remember Mr. Boone from the 50s when he had a string of hits and was really on top of the heap until rock and roll came along and blew out his candle.

Pat was a member of some conservative religious community whose name I have forgotten, didn’t drink or smoke, never played around, and became famous for singing the kind of song that you would warble at your girlfriend’s window if you had that voice. Songs with titles like April Love, Love Letters in the Sand, Friendly Persuasion, etc. He had good teeth, good skin, and didn’t threaten a single parent of the Eisenhower generation.

Pat was safe.

I Almost Lost My Mind, by Pat Boone

I had looked him up because I wanted to play his version of a particular spiritual for Robin, and found not only his old stuff (I can still sing the lyrics), but one that was new to me, and something of a surprise.

Here is a sampling of album covers for the guy. I think you can see how squeaky-clean his image was.

But then came 1997, when he made the album below. Wot! I could not believe my eyes, and with some trepidation I sought it out on Apple music and listened to the songs. I could stand none of them all the way through. Because they were awful! It it right up there for the worst album I have ever listened to.

Song titles on the album include covers of rock classics like:

  • Panama (Van Halen)
  • Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple)
  • Love hurts (Nazareth)
  • Paradise City (Guns n’ Roses)
  • Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)

It is painfully obvious that someone is trying to pry a few more dollars out of a fading career. But “In A Metal Mood?” “No more Mr. Nice Guy?”

Pfaugh! Unforgivable!

.

I can hardly decide which cut to play for you from this bit of ghastliness, but let’s do Panama, just for kicks. Listen in whatever order you choose, you will get the same result. One is rock and roll gold, one is purest dreck. I trust you to figure out which is which.

Panama, by Pat Boone
Panama, by Van Halen

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Some of you might be wondering about the name of this blog, while most of you couldn’t care less (which is by far the more appropriate stance to take). When I started it something like 15 years ago, I was living on the prairies of South Dakota. I wanted to name it Little House On The Prairie for that reason, but changed it slightly to avoid confusion with the entire gigantic ball of schtick that is the books and television shows of the name “Little House … .” I didn’t want all those wholesome people being ticked off at me for blurring boundaries. Even though this enterprise is infinitesimally small potatoes, entertainment successes are continuously watching their trademarks and copyrights and can be quite ruthless in defending them.

When I moved to Colorado, changing the name seemed the right thing to do, and since I hate to give up on anything no matter how trivial, the blog became “Little Home In The Mountains.” I could have been a lot more creative in the naming, but in the continuing internal personal battle between creativity and sloth, sloth won once again. (The lifetime score in this regard is Sloth 10067, Creativity 0)

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From The New Yorker


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A sad day for me yesterday. I was putting on a sport shirt which is one of my favorites when I inadvertently poked a large hole right through the material in simply buttoning a button. At that point I realized that the passage of years had reduced the entire garment to something that was tissue-thin and more imaginary than real, and that any wind at all could strip it from me and leave me half-nude in the public square. So I sadly retired it from active duty.

Now at one point in my life having my shirt dissolve and fall from my torso would not have bothered me in the slightest. Going topless did not pose the challenges to good taste and propriety fifty years ago that it does today. In fact, my physical appearance is behaving much like the painting in the story A Picture of Dorian Gray. Except that in my case it is me that is becoming wizened and misshapen while somewhere in the world there is my doppelgänger who never seems to age at all, with a face as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

But to get back to the shirt – it was far from the oldest shirt in my closet. That honor belongs to a hot pink number that I wore on my first date with Robin 36 years ago. While I may have changed, that shirt still looks as good as ever. Even if it should one day become unwearable, I will keep it as a talisman. I have never owned anything that brought me more good fortune.

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The Hurley family came for a brief visit this past weekend. On a whim I had rented four small packboats to run down the Uncompahgre River for a couple of miles. There is still a fair amount of flow and it looked entirely do-able, even for someone of my vintage. A lazy trip, no problem. What I found was more water than I bargained for, less boating skill than I needed, and an altogether exhilarating experience.

The boats we were using were made by the Kokopelli company and designed to be carried into exotic locations. They were tough, lightweight (10 pounds), and easily inflated.

In the photo you can see a perfectly excellent sprayskirt, meant to keep the river on the outside. Deciding that for such a tranquil float I didn’t need the skirt was my first mistake of the day. Because halfway through the trip my boat was completely full of water. It may be due to my lack of skill in whitewater paddling, but I found that a drowned boat is not nearly as maneuverable as one that is dry.

The river was swift and by some strange chance a dozen trees had sprung up along the banks that had one thought on their leafy minds – to entrap me, spill me from the craft, and if all went well, to drown me in the process. I would be swung from one bank to another and thrown into yet another Russian Olive tree with its thousand thorns.

It went something like this:

omigod the water is much faster here than I thought it would be and the only thing to do is to forget about the whole thing but then what would I look like an ass who is afraid of a few riffles well here goes nothing and wait is that a boulder i’ll go around it well maybe i’ll go over it and oof i’m looking backward and i think i swallowed a minnow i am out of control and i will not miss that tree my life is flashing before my eyes wait only one eye is flashing what’s in the other eye – a tree branch-crap another boulder and another tree and i’m in the shallows and my rear is scraping along the gravel and ayayay the river is narrowing and running much faster and now i can hardly paddle with all the water in the boat and is this how it will all end and where will they fish out my carcass at the end of the day i hope it’s not where anyone i know will see me hanging from a branch like a drowned rat but hey there’s the landing and I MADE IT!

Somehow I did make it all the way downstream, found the designated landing area, and beached the thing. Looking up, I saw that Robin was was on the wrong side of the river and was not going to be able to cross in time and off she went down the stream and out of sight. We caught up with her a couple of blocks further on where her boat had become tangled in the branches of yet another one of those Satanic trees. We extracted her and the craft with no serious damage to either one.

At the end of it all, we decided that this would be enough of watersports for the day, thank you very much, so we folded up the four Kokopellis and stowed them in the car.

By the way, it was all in all, a blast.

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