Saturday, July 31, 2010

Babies Babies everywhere and Steve Martin with a Banjo

Being about 9 months in from the beginning of last years winter, its babytime in springfield. Of Rachel's sisters, one has a fresh baby girl named Avalon and the other is about to have a baby girl named Hartley (thats my vote anyway). Then our good friends the Darst's are about to have a baby boy, whom I hope remains to be called Catfish although I am sure he will eventually be called John or William or something less fish related. With all of these little ones around I think back to my childhood and wonder if I had been born a couple decades later how much different my life would be. I feel sad for the modern child, growing up in a disposable, Politically Correct, me me me society. Self respect and more importantly, responsibility for ones own actions seem to have fallen by the wayside. So many of the little joys seem to be coming obsolete or considered inappropriate. Kids are having to be forced to play outside rather than going on their own, but you can't travel to far from the yard because you never know who is using facebook to keep an eye on your folks so they know when they can snatch you up. There are legal groups trying to get toys taken out of Happy meals and childrens cereals. Their reasoning (and I am not joking), 'Kids arent bright enough to make informed marketing and nutritional decisions and will pester their parents until they buy them.' Pretty much saying todays parents are completely controlled by their kids and have no say in what their children eat or play with. Again, an odd state of constantly shifting arguments of 'I don't want to take responsibility for the actions of myself or my children' and 'Don't tell me what to do or how to raise my kids.' Its mind boggling.

Plus, I couldn't imagine being nostalgic for the toys, cartoons and video games todays kids have. I know I sound like an old man at the ripe age of 29, but I can look at my toys I still have and easily remember my childhood with remarkable clarity. Todays youth culture doesn't seem to be given any type of property that will have any retention value. All of the toys are either rip offs of some decade old japanese cartoons whose entire philosophy is creating as many variants as possible and then making the catch phrase 'gotta buy them all', or anime reimagined versions of toys I had as a kid. The cartoons are more Japanese redubs or crappy flash or 3D animations that have no soul to them. Not to mention, there are almost no Saturday morning cartoons anymore. Used to be you would get up at 730 and have back to back cartoons until noon. Now you have a 8-930 window if you are lucky. And the video games? I somehow cant see being misty eyed remembering an xbox or ps3. The 80's were a time where girls toys celebrated being a girl, hearts and flowers, and all of the toys boys would ask for christmas had a certain gross out factor. Madballs, Garbage Pail kids, My pet Monster, Boglins and mutants. And all of them came with a can of ooze, whether it was Ghostbuster, Ninja Turtle, or He-man. There was one rule to live by, never put Moss Man or Grizzlor in the Slime Pit...ever.

At any rate, cool thing this past week. Steve Martin, yes that Steve Martin, was in Lampe, Missouri as part of his banjo tour. The only reason I can think he ended up at an outdoor ampitheater in Lampe was that when he began his standup career 40 years ago he played there (he mentioned this fact at the beginning of his set) and wanted a certain symetry. Otherwise, there is no reason an intelligent manager would put a place that far out in the middle of nowhere on a tour. Of the 4000-ish seats in the joint, I think they maybe had 1100 full. It was sad. But as Steve said, if all goes well I will only loose $12,000 on this tour. I suppose when you have had his type of success, you can do big things for fun and not profit.

The show in its 3 and a half hour entirety was glorious. Rhonda Vincent played for an hour, then the legendary Earl Scruggs, then Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. They were all incredibly talented, but Martin's combination of comedy and super slick banjo pickin completely blew me away. Also, he gave me a new favorite song that you haven't lived until you have heard, a bluegrass version of 'King Tut.' Although, his song Atheists got no songs was also pretty spectacular. Yes, be jealous that you missed out. Below are some pics from the event. Also, buy the CD if you even think you may like banjo.


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