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Entry date: 1-18-2024 – Feral Dogs and Butterscotch Pie – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

Parent/teacher conferences should be on TV. The acting that takes place in some is top notch. Not just on my part, but on that of the parents. What is it about talking to a teacher that makes people want to say what the teacher wants to hear? I appreciate the parents who are honest, though, and say things like, “Hey, I’ve got a two-year-old and I work and I’m doing my best, but sometimes I just don’t have time to make sure my kid reads for ten minutes a night.”

 

Yesterday, I talked to ten different families. It was a long day. Today will be even longer. I have sixteen conferences starting just after some of you have lunch. Will they all show up or answer the phone? No fucking way, but I’ll be talked out at the end of the day, either way.

 

I know some of you want to know if I saw Cocaine Baby’s dad yesterday. I did not. He’s supposed to show up today. We shall see. I’m not going to hold my breath on this one. So far, little CB has had a decent week, although CB ended up getting in trouble right at the end in front of the lady who runs our in-school suspensions. Bad move, Cocaine Baby.

 

It put me in the fun position to tell CB that he had no recesses for the rest of the week which means I don’t get my quiet, 25 minutes of alone time that I desperately need during the day. I think I have mentioned that I don’t socialize at lunch at all. I go to my classroom, eat, and catch up on the news of the world. I do the same thing with students in the room, but it’s not the same.

 

*****

 

Feral Dogs

I’m not a fan.

 

Butterscotch Pie

I am a fan.

 

*****

 

Feral Dogs and Butterscotch Pie are not alike. They are also not unalike, either.

They simply are.

They have to be dealt with accordingly.

 

You should only eat one of them unless you are super hungry, or it is culturally acceptable.

 

I’ve seen dog shit that looked like butterscotch pie, but I’ve never seen butterscotch pie that looked like a feral dog. I hope I don’t see that, actually.

 

These are my thoughts on my ridiculous title of today’s blog.

 

*****

 

I was eight years old when Saturday Night Fever came out in the theaters. I don’t remember where or when I saw it, exactly, and I remember not fully understanding it, but I liked the music and the dancing. I was a reluctant John Travolta fan, even then, but the guy could really move.

 

My dad had an 8-track player in his car. He also had an 8-track recorder, so he would make mix tapes for us to listen to as we drove around or went on road trips. Some of my favorite music in those days came from the soundtrack to film. It was an American phenomenon.

 

For me, there were some tracks on the album that just got me going. The disco takes on classical music, especially, were right up my alley when I was eight. I still don’t mind listening to them today, either, but I don’t know if I would plop down and listen to the soundtrack like I did back in 1978.

 

“Night on Disco Mountain” and “A Fifth of Beethoven” were probably my two favorite tracks, although I do like the “Calypso Breakdown” by Ralph McDonald a lot, too. It just has a great groove. David Shire’s “Night on Disco Mountain” has a little nod to the Jaws theme in it, but maybe John Williams stole that bit from Mussorgsky (who wrote “Night on Bald Mountain” in the mid-1800s).

 

As an 8-year-old, what could be better? I’ve played these tracks for students over the years, too, to show how classical music made it’s way into the mainstream with this film and soundtrack. Walter Murphy made a little name for himself with “A Fifth of Beethoven” and let me tell you, second graders really love that song when you play it after a symphony playing the same riff.

 

There are other fun tracks on this record. I can’t listen to “Boogie Shoes” (KC and the Sunshine Band) without thinking of the movie, “Boogie Nights” for some reason, but it’s still a very fun song. As much as disco music was maligned by a lot of people I respect and admire, there was some funky grooves to be found in the genre. There is a part of me that would probably take a time machine ride to Studio 54 if that was an option so I could see all this in person.

 

I have to admit, too, that I have a soft spot for The Trammps “Disco Inferno.” Probably because it has a killer bassline. The Bee Gees contributions on here were never my favorites, but if I had to pick one, I’d probably choose to listen to “More Than A Woman,” but even that is pretty sappy. Perhaps eight-year-old me would disagree and tell you The Bee Gees were amazing, but I was just about to fall in love with The Knack.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



This was a very fun night in 2018. Rhondi and I made a nice weekend of it and had a good time just being together in San Diego. The guys in Death Eyes were super cool and we had them out to Phoenix for a show before their singer, Alberto, died unexpectedly in 2020. I had a lot of fun playing in The Freeze.

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