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Entry date: 4-24-24 – The Cocaine Baby is Back – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


It was bound to happen. The saddest part is that it is totally unnecessary.


Cocaine Baby was back in full, ultra-mega evil force yesterday. There was a glint in his eye that just said, “Destroy something.” This could have been prevented if his dad had followed through and made sure his prescription had been filled. He ran out of medication and the medication was helping him.


Over the last month or so, he’d actually been pretty good. He’d had some mini meltdowns, but nothing like yesterday. From the get-go, he could not sit still.


Lately, when I re-direct him, he might protest a bit, but if he’s fucking up, he’s been owning it. Yesterday, though, he could not sit still. The chemicals that make him a danger to himself and others were flowing unabated after being kept at bay for a good long time. It was truly kind of scary to watch.

And very sad.


During PE, he got into a fight and got his ass handed to him by a girl. According to the coach, she “wailed” on him. I so wanted to say that it was karma and give her a high five, but I didn’t do that. Instead, I brushed off my best speech about how hitting people never solves a problem. She seemed to buy it and expressed remorse, but she did say that she had warned him, and he didn’t let shit go.


After PE, he didn’t seem to want to listen at all. It was full ‘fuck shit up mode’ for him. By the time he got back from his stint in the discipline office at lunch time, he was just bitter and pissed. At one point, the young fellow who sits directly across from him came to me and said that the Cocaine Baby was taking his eraser (one of those larger, pink ones) and rubbing it on his crotch just to taunt him. At that point, I just took his desk and put it right next to mine. He was in full self-destruct mode and if he was going to try and take someone with him, I guess it should be me.


I called his dad and let him know about the eraser incident and what does he do? He goes and picks him up early. I’m guessing I won’t see him today since dad asked me to prepare a packet of work for him.


It’s just sad.




The Suns made a game out of it for about 30 minutes last night, but that was it. Sadly, I think they are toast. They are outgunned by a deeper, more fundamentally sound Minnesota team. I keep doing this to myself, too. I say I don’t care, but I can’t make it stick. I want them to win. I want them to look good, but they just don’t. I think Minnesota is going to be a tough out if they keep playing defense like this. We shall see on Friday night whether the Suns have any fight left.




The energy you can get from a good song can change the course of a day. Hear the right song at the right moment and your mood is lifted, the road doesn’t seem as weary, and your shoulders feel lighter. Over the years, I’ve been able to find a lot of songs and bands that can do this for me.


One of the bands that has been doing this for me for the last 40 years or so is The Jam. The first record of theirs I got was In The City. I ‘borrowed’ a cassette of it from Tower Records near Christown and never returned it. Somehow it found its way into my pocket and that was that. I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t until a year or two later and I got a copy of Sound Affects that I really heard what they could do.


Sound Affects is kind of my perfect Jam record. I could make a better mix on Spotify, sure, but it would include the majority of Sound Affects, so why not listen to it instead. Plus, this is one of those records that makes you feel like you are pretty fucking cool.


As previously mentioned, during my sophomore and junior years of high school, I became secretly obsessed with the idea of being a mod. I knew I loved punk rock, but I really liked the whole style of the mods. Not mods like we called ourselves in 1984 and 1985 when we discovered the men’s section at Judy’s at Metrocenter.


That’s a whole ‘nother story.


I mean a scooter riding, sharp suit wearing mod. I was pretty obsessed with the movie, Quadrophenia, early on. I watched it first when I was around ten or eleven. They showed it on ON-TV for awhile and it was one I would go back to throughout my teenage years. I could identify with the main character, “Jimmy” a lot. He was kind of looking for his place on many levels and as a teenager, I was doing the same thing.


Most teenage boys are doing that, but it seemed like Quadrophenia was written for me at the time. I knew a few people in high school who were well versed in actual mod things, especially music, and I remember seeing “The Jam” written on my friend Christine’s notebook in 1984. I couldn’t admit that I didn’t know their music, so I did the next best thing and stole some.


Come to think of it, I’m probably giving myself an extra year of cool credit here. It was 1985 when I stole that cassette, so 39 years of getting energized by The Jam is more accurate. I saw them as true mods and the mods I knew were into them.


I still have a huge soft spot for mod music and northern soul. As I listen to Sound Affects now, I realize that The Jam are never far away from my life. I play some here and there and they pop up on my Spotify mixes at least a few times a month. They are definitely part of my soundtrack.


One thing we didn’t really realize here in America was how popular The Jam were (and probably still are) in the UK. I had no idea how many hit songs they had. It was a shit load.


The other thing about The Jam that I have to love is the bass playing of Mr. Bruce Foxton. The dude may not have been the songwriter that Paul Weller was and is, but his bass playing is just as important to The Jam as Weller’s melodies. Every song is just solid. Take “Scrape Away” which is the last song on the record, for example. Foxton’s bass line drives the song steadily through the whole way.


It’s kind of the same thing, at least for me, with “Boy About Town,” which is the penultimate song. It’s not Foxton doesn’t shine throughout. I mean, even though it is a full Beatles’ rip-off, “Start!” is probably my favorite Jam song because of the bass line, but I find myself looking forward to the last two songs when I listen to Sound Affects. Maybe because they are kind of underrated, but I just dig’em.


Sound Affects has the hits, though. The aforementioned “Start!” absolutely rules. The record starts strong with “Pretty Green,” too. Weller’s guitar soars over Foxton’s super deliberate bass line, at times, and there is space for each of them (including drummer Rick Buckler) to shine.


“Monday” is one that has that whole ‘slow burn’ Northern Soul thing going on, too. It sets me up perfectly, from an emotional standpoint, to just explode with toe-tapping glee when “But I’m Different Now” starts. I love that song so much. “I’m different now and I’m so glad that you’re my girl” is a line that I’ve always loved. It always made me wish I had the perfect ‘bird’ to wrap my arms around back in the 80s.


The energy of “But I’m Different Now” is fucking perfect, as well. Again, it is Foxton taking me for a ride like he’s got some bad ass Lambretta with a side car just for me. In the bridge when Foxton and Weller trade riffs, it’s sublime. The good kind of sublime.


Side one just scorches from that point (pun intended).


“Set the House Ablaze” is a barn burner (I can’t help it). Then “Start!” cranks it up to 11 before “That’s Entertainment” just crushes it. It’s really hard, especially as I float on Sound Affects’ glorious sound waves, to imagine a record with a better first side. I’m sure I’ve written about several already this year, but right now, I can hear only one.


“If I never ever see you again” or “And what you give is what you get.” Both lines are so damn good. I’ve been partial to the latter for a long, long time.


I have to mention “Dream Time” and “Man in the Corner Shop,” too, from side two. I’ve always dug both of those songs as well. “The Man in the Corner Shop” is a great example of how Weller can take something that seems so simple and turn it into something beautiful. He and Pete Townshend have that unique ability. Must be the uncanny British sensibility.


This record was released on my dad’s 31st birthday. I wonder if he’d like it. Maybe I should find out.



See you tomorrow.

If you can guess what I told the AI generator, I will buy you a drink.

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