Thoughts on Home

Without much commentary, because I haven’t really done much mulling-over of it, I wanted to include the opening words of Giles Morris‘ Read This First segment in this week’s C-ville. They just really resonated with me.

You can never go home again. The line expresses a quintessential sorrow embedded in the American dream. You move up and out. You can never go home again, because you left and became someone different. When you go back, no one will understand you, and the place you idealized can’t ever live up to the new tastes you’ve acquired. But is the message historical or progressive? Essential or didactic? Was it coined to communicate immigrant longing? Or as a warning to those who made the upwardly mobile journey from the provinces to the city? Or, more basically, does it say something about time and memory?

And since the phrase “American dream” found its way into the very first sentence (and since you know how I feel about media-less posts, and since I spent a good amount of time last week strangely engaged in this song) I’m going to throw in David Bowie’s “Young Americans” along with an insightful interpretation from SongMeanings.net. (Haha I don’t know if I should be embarrassed by admitting that I find myself doing investigating on that site with relative frequency.)

all the way from washington, her bread-winner begs off the bathroom floor: “we live for just these twenty years… do we have to die for the fifty more?”

Several people have mentioned the allusion to the Beatles: “I heard the news today, oh boy.” …Remember the rest of the line? “About a lucky man who made the grade.” You see, Bowie’s song is about someone who has NOT “made the grade” that is collectively articulated as the American Dream. That, in a nutshell, is the point of the song: America bombards people with a litany of flashy expectations -Ford Mustangs, Barbie dolls, Daddy’s heroes (Sports, Hollywood, etc.) material success, etc., but the disconcerting reality is that few people ever attain this tantalizing vision of success, because it’s unrealistic, and when their adult lives turn out to be about divorce, alimony, and general failure, they are just confused. The speaker of Bowie’s song asks questions like “”We live for just these twenty years… Do we have to die for the fifty more?” and “Ain’t there a man who can say no more?” Because he is confused when he sees that a culture that only values youth and flashy things leaves everyone over 20 in the lurch. And there’s no Hollywood hero who will step in to save the day, because that’s just in the movies. In the final evaluation, those who fail to realize that the American Dream is, after all, a dream, will wind up in mid-life wondering what kind of meaning they were really supposed to have sought instead. The ironic part is that Bowie (who is British) is so smart that he manages to critique America without being obvious; most people mistakenly think this song is some kind of celebration of the American way of life. It’s not. It’s an intelligent critique of our shallow culture and the hollow expectations it encourages in place of anything that could actually provide meaning-religion, literature, learning, family, etc.

(Comment– which I don’t mean to say I relate to entirely, but certainly in some ways– by lazerpj. Full lyrics available here.)

But still a sick jam!

(Oh and don’t let me trick you into thinking I’m bummed out or anything… I’ve got housing sorted out for next year, I think I’ve got some second income about to kick in, and Foxfield 2013 begins in three days!!!)

Home for Christmas

There’ve been a few years where the Christmas classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (links to Josh Groban’s, since serendipitously enough it started playing right as I started this post) struck a certain chord for me, particularly the “if only in my dreams” bit. This year, however, was not one! It’s been great being home for the holidays this year and getting to celebrate with my family. Work finished early on Friday so Ollie and I piled in our little Nissan Frontier– with my two brothers and all our belongings– and headed home. It was a tight fit and I don’t know if you’ve ever traveled any great distance with a fidgety, 40-pound mutt on your lap, but we eventually arrived no worse for the wear.

cookies for work friday morning. because i love puns AND cookies.

cookies for work friday morning. because i love puns AND cookies.

ollie heard they were teaching dogs to drive...

ollie heard they were teaching dogs to drive…

(In case you missed the story about dogs learning to drive…)

haha... attempt one

haha… attempt one

tight fit 2

Sunday was extra special for the pups because we went hiking with our good friends the Leehans at Bull Run mountain. We’re able to let them off the leashes and let them run free through the woods, which is pretty much a dog’s dream. However, whereas Moose never ventures too far from the sights of her People, Ollie’s more prone to playing the Lone Wolf and setting off on his own adventure, leaving us all somewhere between slightly-concerned and fearful-we’ll-never-see-him-again. This time was no different, with an even more prolonged absence than before. Eventually, after asking everyone we passed on the trail if they’d seen a little black dog with a goofy curly tail, we were informed that some people had found him and put him on someone’s extra leash. We were very grateful to them, and expressed as much, and then Moose attacked the Helpful Lady’s chihuahua. Excellent.

ready to go!

ready to go!

bull run mountain

mom, mark, and andrea atop the mountain.

mom, mark, and andrea atop the mountain.

bull run mountain

dad: "is this one titled, 'in search of'?"

dad: “is this one titled, ‘in search of’?”

tired pups returning

tired pups on the return trip

Christmas Eve was chilled out at home with one nice surprise: the first snow of the season (and Ollie’s first snow ever!). My little Thai dog thought the white stuff was pretty cool.

ollie snow instagram

frozen fountain

snowy baby

snowy baby

moose, on the other hand, prefers to snuggle with teddy bears

moose, on the other hand, prefers to snuggle with teddy bears

Ryan had to return to Charlottesville to play trumpet at two Christmas Eve church services, but was home this morning to open presents and to spend our first Christmas with just the five of us in… many years. The boys are now making us laugh with their RC helicopters and I’ve got to sign off now to go play Mom’s new Jeopardy video game. Merry, merry Christmas everyone! May your every New Year’s dream come true.

midget dad fighting over ollie's ball

midget dad fighting over ollie’s ball

note mom's new moose figurine...

note mom’s new moose figurine…

merry christmas from the calonders!

merry christmas from the calonders!

uncle nate in the traditional christmas 'get-up' fighting with his nephew

uncle nate in the traditional christmas ‘get-up’ fighting with his nephew

ornaments

stack of giftsmoose fox ollie tree

dad opening his 'shield' 'from moose and ollie.' aka the lid of the brew pot for his home brewing kit! look for 'big daddy jazzy jazz jazz' hefeweizen at a minimart near you.

dad opening his ‘shield’ ‘from moose and ollie.’ aka the lid of the brew pot for his home brewing kit! look for ‘big daddy jazzy jazz jazz’ hefeweizen at a minimart near you.

spoiled pup with one of his many new toys.

spoiled pup with one of his many new toys.

all i want for christmas!

all i want for christmas!

someone's had his eye on an electric uke...

someone’s had his eye on an electric uke…

moose couch family christmas

haha... first attempt at our family photo...

haha… first attempt at our family photo…

merry christmas!

merry christmas!

DSC00253

Oh and what’s Christmas without some tunes? I’d wanted to do a whole post about Christmas songs but… didn’t get around to it. So here’s the truncated version…

Mine and (everyone else’s) favorite version of an old not-quite-classic (but getting there!):

And yes, I know you’ve all already seen that posted on every third person’s facebook wall (excuse me, “timeline”) BUT… has anyone’s reaction to it been this good?

And speaking of favorites and versions… I know “O Holy Night” tops many people’s lists. But there’s one rendition that hits me just right that I went and took the liberty of posting on YouTube myself because I feel it needs more exposure. 30 Rock‘s Jenna Maroney and her beau, Paul L’Astnamé (on another note… best TV surname ever?) performing this classic in a very special way.

And because I’m sure you’re already wondering how I’ve made it this long without posting a Bright Eyes song, their rendition that made me actually like this song:

And because my dad has recently added this David Bowie/Bing Crosby collab to his Christmas playlist I figured I’d throw that in here, as well as Will Farrell and John C. Reilly’s excellent parody. Me: “Oooh, thanks for reminding me! I’ll put this in my blog. But… the parody’s so good too… I don’t know which one to choose…” Nate: “Use them both?” Always thinking, that kid.

One year ago: Rainy Day Ramblings
Three years ago: The Gender-Blind Christmas Play (haha… my 30 Rock references never get old, apparently…)