PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Registered Mail

Just because your email program can tell if I’ve opened the spam you’ve sent me doesn’t mean it knows if I’ve actually absorbed and internalized your slogans. Just ask anyone in my family: my eyes can pass over the little squiggly words on the screen and my lips can move as I read what’s in front of me, but my mind is pondering more important things:

Will Tom Brady finally win that elusive fifth Super Bowl ring this year? When will WEEI begin selling Red Sox sponsorship slots on a per-pitch basis? And when our coastal cities inevitably succumb to rising seas, will the dispersing of us urban liberals to inland locales mean we can finally win both the popular vote and the Electoral College in the same year?

I hate to break the news to you, but we boys in this household are famous for nodding in agreement at the things you gals say whilst our minds are busy wondering if we’ve put too much chocolate malt in the beer recipe. We’re not proud of it, but dammit we’re man enough to admit it. And don’t tell me you didn’t notice this years ago.

So go ahead and use your analytical tools. My brain laughs at you! Even as I write these words, I’m actually thinking that I should check weather-dot-com to see how warm it is in San Diego, to where Richard has repaired. And how cold it’s going to be in Minnesota in February, 2018, when Howard scores tickets for Uncle Bobby, Mook, and yours truly to see the Pats win another title.

Sorry, did you say something?

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Potato Yarn

Here’s a story that you were thinking of “writing up” but never did: A guy sees his wife go off to the supermarket and realizes that he had left something off the grocery list. So he texts her: “We’re in desperate need of potatoes.”

Oddly, his wife doesn’t text back. In fact, she returns home with whole bean coffee, ground turkey, Brussel sprouts, rye bread, saffron, pickled artichokes, pints of cream and so forth, but swears up and down that she never had seen the potato desperation email.

Late that night the doorbell rings, and after some comical robe-fumbling and searching for spectacles, our hero (loose interpretation) answers the door to find an old friend – well, not really a “friend” so much as this annoying acquaintance whom our hero had gotten to know a little and came to dislike – carrying 20 pounds of potatoes. “You said it was desperate!”

“I was trying to send that text to my wife. I guess I texted you by mistake.”

But now it’s too late and the guy he hasn’t seen in five years – armed with potatoes – is looking to have the friendship rekindled.

Why didn’t you ever write that story up?

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Oober Alice

Why have I become so obsessed of late with this video of the Dead Kennedys doing their punk classic California Über Alles? Is it that the first images we see are those of 4 geeky dudes in a recording studio who haven’t pierced themselves, colored their hair, or otherwise taken on a punk demeanor? Is it the green rubber gloves that front man Jello Biafra wears in various live clips? Or is it simply the line “It’s the suede-denim secret police/they have come for your uncool niece,” which is the kind of rhyme my daughter became famous for making when she was about 3 years old?

First, see the video:

 

Part of the reason this video works so well (for me – maybe not so well for you!) is the excellent studio audio, which provides the structure and muscle over which a series of film clips of the band playing the song at various live and studio venues are overlaid. This is not the first time I’ve encountered this editing technique: there is a well-known Led Zeppelin video of The Immigrant Song, which used bits of concert footage that could not be synced up with an audio recording. Obviously, it works much better to have a seamless audio recording of a song underpinning video/film of varying quality than to have a single seamless video/film running over a mishmash of audio takes of varying quality.

In the mid-1980s I had urges to see the Dead Kennedys but never sought them out and didn’t have my finger on the pulse of the local music scene (because I wasn’t making use of the Boston Phoenix enough, I guess), but all these years later I wish I had seen them. Even if the band mates put aside their differences and were willing to do a tour, I can’t imagine Jello coming at his audience these days with the same vigor he displayed all those decades ago.

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Puckish

I recently was given access to proprietary algorithmic data suggesting that I don’t win quite as many of life’s puck battles as the mainstream media would have you believe.

You’re surprised. I know, a lot of people are. You can’t help but notice that I have just the right physique to win puck battles all over this great hemisphere of ours – the greatest hemisphere in the world! Let’s all stand up and sing God Bless Our Hemisphere.

OK back to my failure to win pucks. What’s it all mean? Well, it either means that I’ve gone soft, or the data is wrong. And if you ask me, the data is wrong. Maybe it wasn’t proprietary algorithmic data at all but just fake news. Maybe I do win my fair share of puck battles.

Makes you think.

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