Monday, January 22, 2001

Missing the 5.5 Woman on Inauguration Day

My friend, the one who works for the SOS but not in the SOB Building, recently asked to borrow my Tubby Esquire disc because a soon to be departing co-worker, the other big fella (who seemed to be among the multitudes with a crush on her), expressed a desire to have polka music played at his going away party. I gladly gave her the disc and she reported back that it wasn't much of a hit at the party. Figures. I also gave a copy of the disc to my Dad, the biggest polka fan I know, for his birthday. He too didn't seem to get into the spirit of a much spirited disc. Does this suggest a) that the band isn't an authentic polka band? or b) that polka music is too hard for the masses to appreciate?

Speaking of appreciation, for Christmas my Dad's gift to Max the Cat was a plastic circle that has a cloth mouse on the inside of the inner ring. At first as I batted the mouse making it circle rapidly around, Max seemed a bit apprehensive at the toy. Soon his apprehension grew to frustration as he tried to get at the mouse but couldn't. Later it became the one and only toy he'll play with me. I rap the mouse around and he stops it with his paw and then swats it around and looks at me to stop the mouse. We have the most fun playing together.

Meanwhile my Dad's Christmas gift to me was an acoustic guitar. Mr. Max isn't quite so fond of that gift. He bolts from the room as I pull the instrument out of its case and hides underneath the futon covers as I strum my newly self taught versions of "Peace in the Valley," and "Ode to Joy." Oh well at least my SOS friend touched me deeply by telling me she was quite honored that I pulled out my guitar while she was visiting and strummed quietly along as we chatted.

This was among the profound kind of stuff I told my friend Spunky last week when I had dinner with him at Dixie's downtown. He told me about a cash cow of an idea he has about our favorite new web site (better than solitaire). But when I told Spunky I was going to hear Tubby Esquire after we were finished with our dinner (he wasn't brought his gator chowder dammit) he had little enthusiasm to hear what I wanted to hear. I listened to Spunky pleading with me to consider Art Linkletter for this year's woman of the year award as I enjoyed my dinner of coconut chicken and shrimp with my first taste of succotash. Turned out it was only the second most expensive dinner I enjoyed last week.

Prior to my first I had just enough time to stop at home and drop off my brief case and say hello to Mr. Max. He greeted me with big wide eyes as I scurried about checking my mail, my email and my voice mail messages. My acquaintance, the woman who once beat me in a round of thumb wrestling in the Ramsey County Government Center lobby, has many sayings she is fond of using, most of which crack me up in stitches. One of her favorites is a departing "don't do anything I wouldn't do and if you do be sure and take pictures." So as I put on my jacket and was all set to leave Max looked up at me with sad eyes. For no good reason I repeated my acquittance's saying and Mr. Max immediately went over to his toy. He batted the mouse around and looked at me with eyes that clearly said, "I won't do anything you wouldn't do and to prove it I'm playing with OUR toy now..." Made me feel sad to leave but it brought a smile to my face. Dinner with three friends was fine, as we caught up on each others' lives. I just had some appetizers and ended up spending around five bucks for food. My parking in downtown Minneapolis was a mere $12. Not that I kept track or anything.

There was free parking at the Turf Club Saturday night. The blue collar neighborhood clientele of the bar was outnumbered on this night by college aged students. Rest be assured no one in the room probably voted for the newly sworn in President. Tubby Esquire played another solid set to a fairly packed room. Highlights were a Johnny Cash medley including searing versions of "Ring of Fire," and "Folsom Prison Blues," and a medley of two Tubby originals, "Drinking Song," and "Hochsteader Polka." There also was a very nice cover request of what bassist John Schech said was the only polka song to hit number one on the pop music charts, "Just Because."

I sat at a table behind a couple who were getting to know each other quite intimately quite rapidly. The Asian man was asking the woman with a Spock haircut about her many tattoos. She pulled up the back of her blouse to reveal a vine like print and he asked her if it had hurt having it done. She said, "It didn't hurt any worse than taking a razor blade down your arm." Not that I was paying any attention.

The band tried out lead singer Harry Pulver Jr.'s new "Hendrix" accordion plugged directly into Pulver's guitar amp. Schech said it may be an "acquired taste," or the next big thing. The same could be said for the band itself. Still there was something quite invigorating and gratifying about sitting in a bar of full of people enjoying the witty humor of a terrific song like "The One Leg Too Short Polka," featuring lyrics about a man who is pulled over by the cops not because he has had too much booze, but because one of his legs is longer than the other.

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