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Entry date: 1-10-2024 – Been Caught Squealing – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

There is something pretty hilarious about reading a classroom sometimes. I have a nice little group of squealers in my room. It’s not a problem, really, but it is fun to watch the person being squealed on watching what’s happening when a student comes to my desk and starts telling on them. They know. They shoot the person squealing a dirty look and don’t realize that the look they have on their face is basically admitting their guilt.

 

In fact, if they don’t have that look, I know the story is probably not the whole truth. Teacher tricks, 101. Yesterday I had a funny incident where the Cocaine Baby got squealed on and the look on his face was fucking priceless when he realized the boom was being lowered.

 

Unfortunately for me, the administration completely dropped the ball on this one. I fear they are deciding to turn a blind eye to the Cocaine Baby’s continued acting out in a sexual manner. There is going to be a point where I will have to go over their heads (or behind their backs) and report his antics to the authorities.

 

Yesterday, during art class, Cocaine Baby decided to draw a picture of a topless woman and showed it to one of my other students. This student described it to me and said the Cocaine Baby said, “You know what I mean?” while doing the “hubba, hubba” eye brow thing. I am really scared that somebody is sexually abusing the Cocaine Baby.

 

Today I am going to speak with the counselor about it and see what she thinks. I am appalled that no one from administration reached out to me when I reported the situation yesterday morning. As happy as I am in my current school and role, I don’t think I want to work for people who are willing to turn a blind eye towards this kind of behavior.

 

I suppose I could be looking at this situation too closely from the old Casa vantage point, but the behavior is disturbing and, either way, Cocaine Baby needs help. There are parent/teacher conferences next week and I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that Cocaine Daddy won’t show. The Cocaine Baby probably won’t even pass on the sign-up form. I’ll have to give him a call.

 

Sometimes being a teacher really sucks.

 

*****

 

I hadn’t really planned on going this direction today, but since I decided to steal from Jane’s Addiction for the title of today’s blog, talking about Ritual de lo Habitual is the thing to do.

 

When I first heard Jane’s Addiction, I didn’t really care for them. My old roommate and friend, Andy/Drew, had some early Jane’s on a cassette tape and he played it for us in the spring of 1988. My first impression was that they sounded like the Three O’Clock on heroin. If you are not familiar with the Three O’Clock, just stay tuned. I will get to them soon enough.

 

By the end of 1988, though, Jane’s was quickly one of my favorite bands. Between the time I first heard them and the release of Ritual in 1990, I think they played Phoenix a few times and cemented themselves as a band to not only watch and listen to, but also a band that you could really feel. They seemed to be playing music for me and my friends and that was pretty darn special.

 

The record starts off like gangbusters. “Stop!” kicks you in the teeth and then “No One’s Leaving” follows suit right into “Ain’t No Right” and as a listener, I was like “Holy shit!” Then the wheels come off for “Obvious.” Pretty quickly, I started skipping the song when the CD was on. I just don’t care for it at all. It was foreshadowing for how the wheels would come off the band completely after Ritual.

 

Even after thirty plus years, I still just don’t jive with the song. The only redeeming quality in “Obvious” for me is the bass work by Eric Avery. He’s still one of my favorite bass players. He never over plays and the combination of he and Stephen Perkins is about as good as it gets in heavy alternative music.

 

“Been Caught Stealing” is a pretty fun song, but there is something about it that always made me think that maybe there was a record company person saying, “hey…got anything that sounds like the Chili Peppers?” floating around in the mix somewhere. I don’t skip the song and I have definitely bobbed my head to it plenty over the years, but it doesn’t compare to previously released material by the band. It’s slick, commercial rock and roll.

 

It might seem like I’m kinda hating on this record, so I will be clear and say that I don’t hate it. It’s way better than anything Guns-N-Roses ever did, if that makes sense. I just prefer Nothing Shocking or the live record from 1987.

 

“Three Days” always kind of felt like the band was trying to re-capture the earlier magic, too. It’s a fine song and one that I enjoy, especially the breakdown that happens just past the  midway point, but it was starting to be clear to me back in 1990 that Jane’s might never reach the heights of those first two releases again. Sadly, history has proven me to be right. There aren’t too many 10:48 long songs in rock and roll that keep my attention for the whole time and this is one that I really want to get to the good parts.

 

Speaking of song length, the last four tracks (when you include “Three Days”) takes about a half hour to get through. That’s some bloated rock and again, I feel like I am dumping all over Ritual de lo Habitual. Maybe I don’t like it as much as I thought I did.

 

I never really dug “Classic Girl,” which closes out the album. “Then She Did” is kinda pretty and I like it, but it also drags on way too long. Stephen Perkins absolutely owns that song. As I reflect on it more, I think there was something about the layers of effects on Perry Farrell’s voice on this record that just was a little annoying to me, too. I mean, I love effected vocals, but Farrell is one rock star that I always got the “don’t hang with this guy” vibe from.

 

The only song I haven’t mentioned yet is “Of Course.” This is another one I quickly started skipping over when I would listen to Ritual de lo Habitual. The song is kind of like “slapping yourself in the face.”

 

It’s still way better than G-n-R, though.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



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