Let my finger go!
I have to wear this one... wait for it... for four more weeks. (Though Dr. O'Hayon says I can temporarily switch to the Oval 8 splint for New Year's Eve. It's like when they allow prisoners to spend one hour a week in the yard.)
I have resigned myself to the fact that I am simply going to be splinted for the rest of my natural life. My tendon, like my sexual orientation and career path, simply refuses to go straight. I have also learned more in the past two months about finger splints and tendon injuries than a first year medical student specializing in orthopedics. You'll note that all the content-driven ads on this page are now offering treatments for arthritis and other assorted bone maladies.
Anyway, I suppose if this is my most serious medical challenge right now I should consider myself lucky.
As I searched my iPod playlists at the gym the other day, I came across "Scott Joplin: Greatest Hits." Figuring I'd be the first person in history to ever do stairmaster while listening to "Maple Leaf Rag" at 24-Hour Fitness in Hillcrest, I went for it.
He's gonna make you sweat!
It was disappointing -- not because the songs aren't step-worthy; they are. It's just that the arrangements on this particular compilation are terrible. For one thing, they're way too rushed; Joplin himself decreed that rags should never be played fast. But more importantly, this greatest hits collection, performed by some unfortunate soul with the name of Dick Hyman, are piano-only.
When I was a child, my father had three albums he played regularly: One was the original London cast album of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (which is virtually impossible to find nowadays). The second, inexplicably, was an Anne Murray record whose name I have happily forgotten. And the third was a collection of Joplin rags, performed by what sounded like a 10-piece jazz orchestra. On the cover was a cartoon rendering of Joplin and his fellow band-mates wearing bright red suits.
Murray = Murder.
I cannot find this orchestrated Joplin collection anywhere. I wish I could. Other than Carly Simon's "Hotcakes" and Carole King's "Really Rosie," two other Sank family favorites, these Joplin songs were the first tunes I ever "knew," in the sense that one can know instrumental songs in one's head.
Actually, Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer" were also the first songs I ever taught myself to play on the piano. When I say, "play" I don't mean the way an actual trained musician plays. What I would do is figure out the melody -- the right hand or G-clef part for you musician types -- and then bang it out using both hands. This was impressive for a four-year-old, and I was thought to be something of a musical prodigy.
Of course when I was still playing at the same level five years later, despite the attempts of numerous piano teachers, it was no longer considered very impressive. That was the year Mike Bultman, a true prodigy, moved to town from Michigan. Mike could play -- really play -- "Maple Leaf Rag," both the left and right hand parts, as if it were the easiest thing in the world. He could also play Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man," a feat which amazes me to this day.
Seriously -- can you do that?!
Once it became painfully clear that I was the musical Lenny to Mike's George, I quit the piano for good and focused on singing. The fact that Mike sang better than me too was something I chose not to notice.
And so this is Christmas -- my first one with Boy Wonder. It's hard to believe almost a year has passed since we met, but it has; we celebrate our one-year anniversary New Year's Eve.
I spent yesterday cooking and listening to Christmas carols while BW and CW played video games in the living room. I had ambitiously chosen a recipe for Boneless Garlic and Rosemary Rubbed Prime Rib with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce. That was until I discovered that boneless prime rib costs $9 a lb., even at the discounted military commissary where we do our shopping. So instead I made Boneless Garlic and Rosemary Rubbed Flank Steak with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce. Do not attempt this; it was dry and rubbery.
But we had a lovely time anyway. BW made two of his mother's signature Jell-o dishes, and CW contributed some sort of sweet potato bread pudding. Also joining us was CW's special friend, Dr. Strangelove, who brought green bean casserole and red wine.
We also had eggnog -- lots of eggnog. Following dinner was a drunken gift exchange, which proved very fruitful, pun intended. Here are the photos, with faces of all military personnel redacted as usual.
Our environmentally correct fake tree.
Super-Jew Robin Fox asks: "Why are all the menorah's candles in place when it's only the third night of Chanukah?"
To which I reply: "You want we should be even more dwarfed by that big honkin' tree?! We need every candle we can get!"
Sprinkling nutmeg on the eggnog while the flank steak dries.
Dr. Stranglove and Catwoman, getting snuggly with it.
Thrilled by my gift, Kona coffee, from BW's Mom & Sis.
They also got me a french press set and a beautiful shirt.
Love you, Wonder Family!
Like a kid on Christmas; BW opens a gift.
Opening my gift from CW and Doc S... a Cuisinart coffee maker!
I shall never sleep again...
Two guys, one wreath.
How about lifting that military ban now, President Obama?
We miss you, Mama & Sister Wonder!
And you, too, Pugsley!
Heading to NYC and Jersey Saturday to spend Chanukah and New Year's with family and friends. I'll also be performing at two of my old stomping grounds -- Therapy and Comix -- if anyone's in the mood for some holiday ha-ha's.
Here are the details:
Sunday, 12/28/2008 @ 10:00 PM
ELECTRO SHOCK THERAPY COMEDY HOUR @ Therapy
348 West 52nd Street
New York, NY
New York, NY
Monday, 12/29/2008 @ 8:00 PM
HOT COMIX @ Comix
353 West 14th Street
New York, NY
353 West 14th Street
New York, NY
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Blessed Kwanzaa and a happy, healthy, prosperous 2009.
Homo festive. ♥