(From the STMcC Archives: 2007, March 18th)
Below is a review I wrote for a music compact disc in 2007. Everyone (except for one good friend) absolutely hated it. Hated it! That alone told me it must be pretty good. One stranger left a comment saying in part: "Typical, however of the prevailing recurring phenomenon of arrogant Americans taking something beautiful like music and cheapening it by selfishly using it for their own base sexual inadequacies or insecurities." She called me an "imbecilic moron" (not just an imbecile, and not just a moron, but BOTH), said my review was "trash" that "conjures up images of the song 'Midlife Crisis' by Faith No More... A 47-year-old 'man' claiming to have been christened (likely self-christened) 'Mr. Intense'... Pathetic."
Damn! It's like she'd been reading my mail and my mind.
For the record, it was my old friend Pooh (General Poohregard) who nicknamed me Mr. Intense
A few weeks ago my friend FAE ('Far Away Series' - the first BOTBer) read this review for the very first time and told me she thought it was really funny. So, if you hate it too, like them others do, blame FAE for me having posted it here and subjecting you to it. (But, you know what "tongue-in-cheek" means, right?)
[I first became conscious of the strange phenomenon when I was about 15 years old: I ordered something to eat in a little fast food Mexican joint on Venice Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Unbeknownst to the young Latinas working behind the counter, the very next person to place his order was my Pa, and when he joined me at a table, he related to me how one girl said to her co-worker after I walked away, “That guy was cute,” and the other agreed.]
Good Friend Melanie gave me the IBRAHIM FERRER album of Cuban Jazz as a gift the Christmas before last. (I had mentioned beforehand that I have more music than time to hear it, but she listened to me about like men listen to women. No one’s to blame for the communication disconnect between the genders, really, because we have such disparate origins: A woman is from Venus and a man is from a woman’s “Monologue.”)
[Including my ENTIRE life, I can count on two fingers how many White, Black, or Asian women have had me and the “Mystery Dance” occupying the same thought in their mind. But Hispanic women have always found me to be irresistible, and I don’t know why. I am a very ordinary looking but extremely analytical individual who tends to mentally dissect everything in order to comprehend why and how such and such is so. But I’ve yet to concoct even the most rudimentary theory to explain the Latin woman’s attraction to me.]
I almost gave up on the IBRAHIM FERRER recording because I just couldn’t seem to warm up to it for the longest time. At one point, I considered posting a Two-Star review on a music website which I thought to title, "I'LL HAVE THE NUMBER THREE COMBINATION PLATE AND A MARGARITA, PLEASE." The music just made me feel like I was sitting in a booth at a Mexican restaurant. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”, but tunes for home listening? And since Good Friend Melanie wasn’t too crazy about Bright Size Life – the Pat Metheny disc I had given to her – we even considered trading, and each of us keeping the item we had purchased.
[The brilliant and world-renowned South American sociologist, Yoey O’Dogherty, once observed that, “Hispanic women are especially drawn to the warm magnetism of masculine intensity; just as conversely, snowmen are drawn to frigid climates.” And in my youth I was sometimes known by the nickname, “Mister Intense.” Perhaps this accounts for why Latinas are so susceptible to the energy of my aura?]
I finally decided that I would play nothing but IBRAHIM FERRER whenever writing on my computer until either my ears became educated enough to enjoy it, or until I could stand it no longer and gave it away to Lupe, the waitress at Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy who always gives me extra guacamole and a wink.
[You know how women can give men “the once over” without tipping their hand to the guys, while men just ogle openly? Well, these spicy Hispanic gals sometimes lose their highly refined skills around me, unable to extinguish the hungry flames in their orbs. Even at my advanced age of 47, wearing spectacles, and with plenty of grey cohabitating with the brown on my scalp and in my goatee, I still sometimes catch ‘em eyeing me.]
Well, to my great surprise, I not only eventually came to differentiate between all of these melodies, but came to embrace them as if they were part of my own culture. The tremendous blasts of brass; the lively, intricate percussion work; the sparse but soulful guitar touches of Ry Cooder; and the emotional and romantic Spanish vocals really move me … and they make my writing move, too. I’ve found that IBRAHIM FERRER puts some added zest into my words – really gets the creative juices flowing. (Can’t you tell?) Because of its dancing rhythms, it’s become maybe my very favorite disc to play as background music while writing anything.
[I once had a sweet and shy Mexican girl tell me about a week before her wedding that all along it was me she had been hoping to catch. And less than twelve months ago, this 18-year-old hot Hispanic thang let it be known that she was interested in me. (She went by Wendy, but I’m pretty sure her Mama named her Maria.) She was a real cutie and had an absolutely OUTRAGEOUS body to go with that face: all the curves in just the right places and very well pronounced like: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!” To borrow from The Commodores, she was truly built like a “Brick OWse!” The night I had to turn her down, pointing out that at my age I was nearly old enough to be her grandpa, I drove home gnawing on my knuckles and chanting over and over again, “There had better be a Heaven! There had better be a Heaven!”]
As if the music alone wasn’t reason enough to purchase IBRAHIM FERRER, the song MARIETA contains one of the funniest lyrical passages ever. Translated into English it says: “My wife was suffering from an illness of the heart in Havana. So the doctor came one morning to examine her. He took off her dress, her p*nties, too. And her slip. But when I saw that indecency I said: This isn’t good; I really don’t think my wife’s heart is that far down.” Imagine that, a song about a doctor “playing doctor.”
[So, you’re wondering why I told you how attractive Latinas find me? Well, it just so happens that I wasn’t talking to you, dude; I was trying to send a discreet message to your hot, Hispanic girlfriend. But you know what? To heck with subtlety: Hola guapa, llamame cuando tu novio esta fuera.]