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Entry date: 4-16-2024 – Randomly Placed Kitten – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

For the second time in a couple weeks, we have found a newbie kitten. Two this time. The first one was wrapped in a rag that Rhondi just happened to find in our backyard. We are having some work done on our sprinkler system and the guys who were doing the work found it and didn’t tell us about it.

 

Different cultures, I suppose, and I will say no more.

 

We’re hoping the momma cat that accepted the last one that Ashton found will accept these two new ones. They might be too far behind for her to feel like, “oh, what’s the difference?” Fingers crossed, though.

 

The universe is clearly trying to tell us something, though. Three tiny kittens being thrust into our orbit in a couple of weeks. I’m proud of my wife for being strong, though. She said very strongly, “We’re not keeping them.”

 

The part of me that tends to believe in messages from the universe already felt a little weak when it came to the kittens. They are so freaking cute. The thought of taking on more animals, though, that will be alive when I am 70, probably, is daunting.

 

Well, universe, what is next?

 

*****

 

In another development from yesterday, we pulled out a box of my old belongings yesterday to look for the suit I wore to a few proms and St. Luke’s Balls in 1986 and 1987. Liam needs a suit to wear to prom and he’s right about the right size. It fits him really well.

 

These are the parts of being a dad that make things pretty darn worthwhile in this weary world. I also found an old, like 35 years old, Fugazi shirt that fits him perfectly, too. He scored yesterday.

 

There is no point in keeping shit in a box. I must’ve known there was a reason I should hold onto that shirt. Oh wait…I’m a sentimental fool. I keep the most random shit.

 

I found some great pictures, too, that I hadn’t thought about for a long time. They were of my buddy, Brian, who just had a birthday last week. You might have read that blog on 4-8 and read about him.

 

Memories…like the corners of my behind.

 

***** 

 

I haven’t mentioned the Suns. I can’t believe they pulled that shit off. They haven’t proved anything yet, but goddamn if things don’t seem like they’ve worked out pretty well for them. I might even have to watch the playoff games.

 

*****

 

Rhondi binged the Netflix show, Baby Reindeer, and I watched a lot of it. Holy shit, it is a powerful bit of TV. I’m still trying to figure out what I thought, but as much as it was super uncomfortable in a lot of ways, it was really well done.

 

***** 

 

As a devout Mudhoney fan, I devoured just about anything I could find that was even tangentially associated with the band. It was Mudhoney, for example, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, that was my gateway drug to the Seattle grunge scene and sound. I can honestly say they changed my life.

 

In 1992, Mark Arm and Steve Turner were part of a “supergroup” called The Monkeywrench who put out a record on SubPop called Clean As A Broke-Dick Dog. I am not a fan of the term “supergroup” being applied to musicians who still have to work a day job. I don’t know why, but it seems dismissive in some way. I like to think of a band like The Monkeywrench as a bunch of friends getting together and making a record.

 

Tim Kerr of Big Boys played guitar, as did Tom Price of Gas Huffer/Cat Butt (who I have to mention because the one and only Danny Bland was a member). Martin Bland from Bloodloss and Lubricated Goat played drums. Arm was on keyboard, harmonica, and vocals and Turner, normally a guitar player (and a great one), played bass.

 

Side note: Hillbilly Devilspeak opened for the aforementioned Bloodloss at a show at Hollywood Alley around 1996, I’m guessing. They were pretty darn good although Arm was totally wasted and my big chance to really bond with a hero of mine was washed away in a haze of booze and some sort of drug(s). Luckily, I got to interview him last year and we laughed about it when I shared my memory of that night. Good dude, that Mark Arm.

 

The Monkeywrench only really sounds like Mudhoney because of Arm’s vocals. Clean As A Broke-Dick Dog is super garage-y and bluesy. A lot of the tempos are firmly planted in the upper middle range, too, so the record never really gets too up or too down. I like that about it, actually.

 

As I’ve been listening to it a lot, the first thing that came to mind was how badly I wanted them to come play Phoenix. I think I read somewhere that they played in Seattle and such, but I don’t believe they ever did a proper tour. I had to ask Arm if there was any chance of another Monkeywrench record and he kind of said it would be tough, but that he would be game for it.

 

Listening to it, you can feel how much they enjoyed making it. The songs have a vibrant energy, even when they aren’t being played at the tempos one might expect from guys like Arm, Turner, and Kerr. “Call My Body Home” moves pretty good, for sure, but it’s the opener and sets the table nicely.

 

The first quarter of the 14-song effort is definitely ruled by a cover of Buffy St. Marie’s song, “Codine.” It’s bluesy and grungy and perfect. Kerr plays a gnarly bit of harmonica (aka Blues Harp) on it, too. If you’ve ever taken codeine, you might have a flashback upon listening.

 

The next three songs are firmly in the garage rock world. Martin Bland’s drumming has this really loose yet spot on quality that works so well with what they are doing. It’s almost like he’s barely hanging on, yet still killing it. The eighth track is a weird little thing called “Intermission” where a narrator is talking you through a bit of an exercise routine. I remember finding this very entertaining at first and then I would fast forward through it.

 

Track 10, “Bottle Up and Go” is probably my favorite thing on this record. I have a 7” of it that I spin a lot when I DJ even though most people don’t seem to have any idea what it is. It’s a great song. I love the guitar riff that kicks it off.

 

“Some days it don’t pay to get up/And if I do it still don’t really pay/Workin’ and Workin’ I’m still in the same old rut/and you never gave a shit about me anyway.”

 

That line gets me every time and the little bit of percussion that someone adds at the beginning is quite good, too. Fucking great song.

 

A couple songs later The Monkeywrench covers Redd Kross with a pretty great version of “Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me.” It’s a perfect song for both bands, really, and this version holds up really well. I’m sure Redd Kross appreciate it.

 

Right after they rock a little RK, they cover Mose Allison’s “Stop This World,” which like its predecessor is excellent. Seems like it would be an excellent background song for a Charles Bukowski short story. Kerr and Price really shine on the whole record, but I especially like the guitar on this one.

 

“I’m Blown” is a fitting ender. It is probably the one that sounds the most like a Mudhoney song out of all of them. Of course this was okay with me, as a devoted follower. I guess I’ll still hold out hope for one more record by The Monkeywrench.

 

***** 


See you tomorrow.



Two kittens were riding in a kayak.

Universal kittens gliding down the river

to the banks upon our doors.

Two kittens with a path I may never know.

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