Walter Hellman: I salute you. I salute your cool name, first and foremost, and want you to know that I'm not being an obsequious bootlick just because you own part of Slim's. I wouldn't do that. I might not have much class but dammit, I've got pride. I salute you for the same reason hundreds of thousands of other people will be saluting you in a few days time. Why, might you ask? Free banjos, I might answer.
See, each October in the City, we get this event called Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. I think once it was called Strictly Bluegrass until someone decided to book music made by folks with a majority of their molars. This year, among others, we get Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and one of the Skuggseses, plus Elvis Costello on Friday night. I will be there for Emmylou because, well, we know how I feel about Emmylou (who, I'm sorry Hellman, has a cooler name than even you. Perhaps you'd think about naming your next daughter Emmylou Hellman? There's simply no topping that, except for Gonz Gonzales, but, really, there's nothing wrong with being second to perfection). If she plays "Red Dirt Girl," I'll become molten putty. Must remember to wear old pants.
The big bonus here: freeness. The whole thing is gratis. I'm sure there's a possibility that water vendors will be onsite, charging Woodstock II prices, but, hey, I didn't spend $300 a ticket to watch Scott Weiland sweat out last night's heroin binge, so I'll pay $4 for a twenty ounce Evian. And, since Hellman & Co. are obvious geniuses, they'll planned the thing for October, the most unseasonably pleasant month on our happy little pennensula.
And I ask you: What weekend couldn't be improved with free bluegrass? Not a one. And that's something you can't say about, say, Bubblegum Pop or Sweedish Gloom Metal or a hundred piece orchestral arrangement of "Do You Like Pina Coladas?" Those things, regardless of their price, would make most casual onlookers go righteously batty. In fact, any permutation of "Do You Like Pina Coladas?" causes me to seriously consider deafening myself with a finely sharpened chop stick. Bluegrass, I think, is just immently loveable. Plus, it comes from Appalacia, which is really only famous for inbreeding and retardation. Embrace their music instead of mocking their low standardized test scores.
Other than that, not much happening in Birdworld. I've settled into work and am moving desks daily like the barely not-expendable employee I am, I've finished reading my most recent book, and I feel like I'm home for real. Finally. The first week back was, well, surreal. At least I had a frozen tomale to greet me. All my produce met a far fuzzier fate.