First things first. |

First things first.

Town Talk for Nov. 20, 2002

It has come to our attention that some folks are whining about opening day, insisting it was not the picture of overall fabulousness.

We, the Titans of Town Talk Towers, have this bit of advice: “Knock it off!”

We also have a special message to the boneheads who were letting people get on Chair 5 with ice balls that they lobbed into the large crowd below: “You’re an idiot and you’ll need to get approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture before you’ll be allowed to reproduce.”

Still, no matter how many bonehead plays people make, and how much complaining whiners do about having to stand in line, this is Vail, not France, where the lines are longer and the lifties are professionally cranky.

No matter how bad you think it is, it doesn’t have the makings of a blues song, mostly because this is Vail and there’s nothing tough about what anyone went through on Saturday. A happy accident of birth had you standing in line to ski, or get a pass, not to get food, clothing or shelter.

White people living in Vail do not get to sing the blues. We just don’t know how to make it sound convincing when we say, “My bebbee done lef’ me an’ I be go’n to tro mahsef in the ribba and drown.” For one thing, we’re still in a drought and our “ribba” ain’t deep enough.

And so, spoiled rich white people (like me), here’s a quick lesson from “Blues for Beginners” by Judith Podell, excerpted from “Mirth of a Nation,” edited by Michael J. Rosen and published by Harper Collins. Buy a dozen copies. It’s an absolute MUST for your Christmas stocking. It’s a collection of a bunch of the funniest writing anywhere in this spiral arm of the universe. Nowhere in “Blues for Beginners” does it mention lift lines.

woke up this morning

cat threw a hairball on the bed

went to the kitchen

mr. coffee was dead.

– “Postgraduate Blues” attributed

to Memphis Earlene Gray

Most blues begin “woke up this morning.”

“I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line.

i got a good woman – with the meanest dog in town.

Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes.

got a good woman with the meanest dog in town. he got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and he weighs 500 pound.

The blues are not about limitless choice.

Blues cars are Chevrolets and Terraplanes. Other acceptable blues transport is Greyhound bus or the southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

Teen-agers can’t sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shot a man in Memphis.

You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

The following colors do not belong in the blues:



You can’t have the blues in an office or a honky-tonk. The lighting is wrong.

Good places for the blues:

the highway

the jailhouse

the empty bed

No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

Do you have the right to sing the blues?

Yes, if:

a. your first name is a southern state

b. you’re blind

c. you shot a man in Memphis

d. you can’t be satisfied

No, if:

you once were blind but now can see

you’re deaf

Neither Frank Sinatra nor Meryl Streep can sing the blues.

If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline it’s the blues. Other blues beverages are:


Irish whiskey

muddy water

If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack it’s blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous girlfriend is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room.

Some Blues Names for Women


Big Mamma

Some Blues Names for Men



Little Joe Willie


Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

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