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Entry date: 2-12-2024 – Mmmmonday – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

What a difference a little conversation and some Super Bowl fun can make. After the heaviness I felt on my heart yesterday, it is certainly nice to start the week with a little pep in my step. (Exhale.)

 

It started off pretty terribly. I was persona non grata until I apologized for my little outburst and explained why I was frustrated. It certainly helped to write about things, as it always does, so I was focused, humble, and ready to listen, as well.

 

I got my laundry done and did some baking. I really love making shortbread. I think I will have to work shortbread into the Rye’s Above story when I can carve out some time to get back there. I think about it a lot, actually. Shortbread is simple, but I feel like there are so many ways to jazz it up. Yesterday it was more Heath Bar shortbread, a little butterscotch shortbread (which was very popular), and some chocolate shortbread.

 

After taking a shower, I decided to do a virtual health visit to a nurse practitioner and got a prescription to (hopefully) help knock this crud out once and for all. The pain in my lungs was giving me a bit of a scare and no one needs pneumonia. It takes people in their 50s out every once in a while.

 

We went over to the J’s to eat delicious food, have some quality friend time, and watch the game. It’s always a good time over there and it felt so good to be around my people. Due to this crud, I haven’t seen them all in three weeks. Usually, I am in Maine if we go that long without hanging out.

 

The game was amazing. I didn’t really have a dog in the hunt, although I thought Kansas City would win. My score prediction was off, but it turned into a thriller. If San Francisco would have won, I wouldn’t have been bummed. They were pretty evenly matched teams and it showed. Even a few of the commercials were funny although nothing really stood out.

 

As for this morning, I’m predicting I have at least five students out today. The Monday after the Super Bowl is always iffy when it comes to attendance. Too much partying to get the kids to school, I guess. Most of my kids walk, but whatever. There will be a few teachers who don’t make it, too.

 

Three-day weekend coming up, so this week needs to go smoothly.

 

*****

 

Mommy’s Little Monster is a punk rock record. It’s baffling to me how Mike Ness has tried to distance himself from punk rock over the years. I’m sure he has his reasons, but when I see that Discogs lists Mommy’s Little Monster as a “Rock & Roll, Punk” record, I just laugh a little bit.

 

As a person who was new to shows and such in 1985, it didn’t seem like it go much more straight up punk rock than a Social D show. In those early days for me, I think I saw them four or five times in a span of a few years. They played Phoenix a lot. The shows were fun, and people loved them. I loved them.

 

I know that people still love Social D now. I don’t, though. I love Mommy’s Little Monster and some of the early singles, but when they went soft rockabilly, they lost me. I mean, I can hear it in there in Mommy’s Little Monster, but I guess I wish they would have made at least one more record with that same attitude.

 

This is not the time, though, to bag on Mike Ness or Social D. When I listen to Mommy’s Little Monster, I still enjoy the hell out of it. These songs were ‘go to’ songs for me as a teenager when I was feeling a bit rowdy. I wanted to go out and break some things when I heard Ness sing, “I love the sound when I smash the glass” on “Telling Them.”

 

The opening riff of “Telling Them” can still get the little hairs on the back of neck to stand up straight and tall. It’s not the most technically proficient punk rock song ever, but it just oozes the type of emotion that gets the young (and old) folks going. If you love punk rock, there is a good chance you love this song.

 

Really, the whole record is strong. It doesn’t start with “Telling Them,” of course. “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You)” and “Another State of Mind” are both anthemic and full of piss and vinegar, too. Even “It Wasn’t A Pretty Picture” is a compelling song and fun to sing along with on any occasion.

 

Ness wrote some great anthems. I knew all the words on Mommy’s Little Monster in the 80s and 90s. Admittedly, a few have slipped from me in the years that have passed but I’m guessing they would come back if I listened to the record more often. I can still belt out all of “Mommy’s Little Monster.”

 

What a fun song to sing, as well. As I listen to Mommy’s Little Monster now, it is apparent that many of the songs would have made a great title track. “Mommy’s Little Monster” actually kind of foreshadows Ness distancing himself from punk. Maybe he just feels like he grew up? I don’t know, but damn, I’m so curious.

 

“Anti-Fashion” would have been a great title track. Brent Liles kind of made this one with a pretty great bass line. He just kicks the hell out of the song and drives it in a way that I have always liked.

 

Maybe this kind of attack was just unsustainable for the band. There was a lot of heartache and trouble for them. I remember playing pool with Ness at Prisms in 1987, I think, and while he was cordial and acted like he was having a good time, it was clear that he didn’t really want to be there.

 

Either way, though, Mommy’s Little Monster is a great punk rock record and a big part of my life for a period of time. I know they rereleased a 40th anniversary version of the record last year. I didn’t pick it up, but maybe I should.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



So, true story. I occasionally select pictures from thumbnails on my hard drive that I cannot see. This was a sculpture we saw at the Art Institute in Chicago in 2013. I completely forgot about this one.

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