1. ‘weeniversary: In addition to being a fun, filling holiday, Hallowe’en is also my parents’ wedding anniversary. My father was on active duty as a young officer in the Marine Corps back when they decided they wanted to get married, and back in those hardcore, oldschool days, when the Corps wanted you somewhere, you went, no matter what else you might have going on in your life. So if the only available day for the nuptials, given your busy work schedule, was Hallowe’en, then hey presto Semper Fi, that was the day you got married! I always admired my Mom and Dad for spending their anniversary day taking us out to grub for candy or staying at home shoveling candy into the gaping, clamoring maws of the other neighborhood grubs. So happy anniversary to my Mom in Beaufort and my Dad in Glory. Now give us some candy.
2. Don’t Say Mope: I have been very expectantly awaiting the new album from the Cure, 4:13 Dream, which arrived on Tuesday and is, I think, the best thing they’ve issued since The Head on the Door in 1985. While most folks only pay attention to Robert Smith when they consider the Cure, I’m one of those music geeks who also appreciates the less-well-known members of bands, and what makes this new disc so good is the return of prodigal guitarist Porl Thompson, who’d last been heard with the Cure on 1992’s Wish. The records since that time had featured guitar by Perry Bamonte and keyboards by Roger O’Donnell, both of whom I considered wan and uninteresting, so those albums suffered by my accounting. Thompson’s got a great, unique tone and attack to his instrument, and his return restores the best frontline the Cure have ever had, with Robert Smith (guitar, keyboards), Thompson (guitar) and stalwart Simon Gallup (bass). The other thing that people always seem to bring up whenever the Cure have a new album out is the whole mope-rock factor, since they did put out some dreary records back in the day. But fact of the matter is, for every dirge that Smith writes these days, he writes three wiggly, funny, goofy, sexy tracks, and his chops as a pop craftsman are truly impeccable. Add in the fact that his voice at 50 sounds better than it did at 20, and this record is a winner from start to finish, a wonderful return to form by a group who I really adored once upon a time. It’s too bad that they get blamed for emo kids (like Bauhaus get blamed for goth kids), since those latter day wannabes are pale immitations of one passing facet of those groups’ styles, minus the humor and warmth. 4:13 Dream isn’t mopey at all, no matter what the critics will tell you. It’s giddy and sweet, and I like it bunches.
3. Gym Rat: Since March or thereabouts, the co-pilot and I have been playing five games of 21 Rebound every work day at lunch time, and most weekend days from April to September were filled playing golf with Marcia, while I spent non-golf days tearing up my body on my bike doing the Hidden in Suburbia series. Weather has ended the golf season at this point, and the 21 Rebound season is getting close to wrapping up, since we’ve been out playing in blowing snow at 34 degrees for a couple of days now. (I actually do better on those days than I do most times, since the insanely-high-percentage three-pointer shooting co-pilot not being able to feel his hands sort of levels the playing field a bit). So in order to keep fit over the winter, Marcia and I re-joined our neighborhood gym a month or so ago, and I’ve been giving it my usual masochistic applomb with daily attendance since that time. I have a short attention span, so what I like most about the gym is the fact that I can do three or four things for fifteen or twenty minutes and get an hour’s workout in without getting too skull-crushingly bored. I’ve been doing cycling machines, ellipticals, playing basketball, running on their indoor track, and for the first time since college putting on boxing gloves and giving the heavy bag a thorough what-for. There is something very satisfying about beating up dead weight for ten or fifteen minutes. Plus it’s a darned good workout to keep on your toes through a simulated Golden Gloves match with the heavy bag, and much more enjoyable than actually boxing other people, because the bag doesn’t punch you in the head when you let your guard down.