Monday, April 1, 2024

The sexiest woman in country music history is ...

 Driving home from a meeting in Kadoka, SD, the other night, a song came on the Willie's Roadhouse channel of Sirius/XM that got me pondering the question of who is the sexiest woman in country music history.

It's deep thoughts like that which separate the ordinary man from the genius. It puts me in the ordinary category, obviously. I doubt Elon ever ponders such things.

I choose the word "sexiest" on purpose. Sexy is different from beautiful, in my book. Beautiful is more one dimensional. You don't have to be a Sports Illustrated model to be sexy. You don't have to be bean-pole thin or buxom or have the physical attributes many men would assign to women. I see sexy as multi-dimensional.

To me it includes eyes, voice, attitude, words, talent, intelligence and other intangibles you can't measure like 36-26-36. To me identifying a woman as sexy is not sexist. It's not judging physical attributes. It's the entire package.

Quit babbling, Haugen, we know what sexy means. Who is your sexiest woman in country music history?

He name is K.T. Oslin. Her most famous songs are "Eighties Ladies" and "Do Ya?" but the one that triggered me that night was "Hey, Bobby," a song of hers I'd never heard. It's great.

Oslin died during COVID after a few years in assisted living due to Parkinson's. She has an interesting Wiki page if you want to check it out.

The two things that most draw her to me are her voice and her eyes.

She has the smoky voice I like, as if she puffed a packed of Camels, did a couple shots of tequila and is fronting a band in a dive bar in the Black Hills. Janice Joplin had it, Tanya Tucker, Gretchen Wilson, Bonnie Rait and Melissa Ethridge.

Then there's the eyes, not crazy eyes like a serial killer, but dark, Jennifer Love-Hewitt eyes, that look into the camera or audience like they know you are suspicious, maybe dangerous, but willing to roll with you anyway because it might be fun.

Her lyrics are like that too. She has attitude. Her Eighties Ladies song was considered a female empowerment anthem back in the day. Many of her other songs have an edge to them. 

She seems like a person I would've like to have known.

Not the prettiest woman, not the best singer, but in my book, the sexiest.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Finished: 'The Bad Weather Friend' by Koontz

Like the much discussed absence of Princess Kate from public view, social media has been abuzz (not) with speculation of my where-abouts.

To quote the great Johnny Cash, "I've been everywhere man." But I haven't been on this blog. It took a novel by Dean Koontz, among other things, to bring me out of my winter doldrums, light the fuse and get the uptown funk back for hopefully another run of bloggin'.

"The Bad Weather Friend" was the book. I'd set it down in the evening after a few chapters and just smile. It made me happy. It was just that kind of book. And really I don't know how, except through the wonderful writing of Koontz, because it features monsters, evil villians, beating hearts removed from chests and world conquest.

Benny Catspaw’s perpetually sunny disposition is tested when he loses his job, his reputation, his fiancée, and his favorite chair. He’s not paranoid. Someone is out to get him. He just doesn’t know who or why. Then Benny receives an inheritance from an uncle he’s never heard of: a giant crate and a video message. All will be well in time.

How strange—though it’s a blessing, his uncle promises. Stranger yet is what’s inside the crate. He’s a seven-foot-tall self-described “bad weather friend” named Spike whose mission is to help people who are just too good for this world. Spike will take care of it. He’ll find Benny’s enemies. He’ll deal with them. This might be satisfying if Spike wasn’t such a menacing presence with terrifying techniques of intimidation.

In the company of Spike and a fascinated young waitress-cum-PI-in-training named Harper, Benny plunges into a perilous high-speed adventure, the likes of which never would have crossed the mind of a decent guy like him.

It seemed like a mash-up of Koontz's "Odd Thomas" and "Frankenstein" novels. There's a lot of talk online about it being the start of such a series, but I have my doubts if that's feasible. If any one could it, though, it'd be The Dean.

He had some great quotable writing, but I didn't have a pen handy to mark them until I was over halfway through the book. But here's one fave:

"How you live your life will earn the face you have in years to come; if you think you're superior to others, if you can't live and let live, if your arrogance inspires perpetual anger and resentment because others do not agree with you, then you'll age into a face that reveals the corruption of your soul."

Gonna be a lot of ugly people out there. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

"Book ban" trope has officially become a joke

 Anti-Censorship Bookshop Took 3 Days to Start Censoring Books

I have to admit that while I haven't much of an opinion about RuPaul one way or another--he seemed benign enough given what little I know--I did like the idea of an "all-ideas" bookstore. While I don't think, by a long shot, that every book belongs in K-12 schools, I also don't think that banning books from sale is compatible with democracy. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

I interupt my hiatus with this doozy

 I’d argue that we have become so sad, lonely, angry and mean as a society in part because so many people have not been taught or don’t bother practicing to enter sympathetically into the minds of their fellow human beings. We’re overpoliticized while growing increasingly undermoralized, underspiritualized, undercultured.

Read David Brooks' column here.

We know from studies by the psychologists Raymond Mar and Keith Oatley that reading literature is associated with heightened empathy skills. Deep reading, immersing yourself in novels with complex characters, engaging with stories that explore the complexity of this character’s motivations or that character’s wounds, is a training ground for understanding human variety. It empowers us to see the real people in our lives more accurately and more generously, to better understand their intentions, fears and needs, the hidden kingdom of their unconscious drives. The resulting knowledge is not factual knowledge but emotional knowledge.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Finished: 'The Devil Takes You Home' by Gabino Iglesias

 I finished reading my 34th novel of 2023 a couple hours before midnight. It was almost as bad as the Vikings' performance against the Packers. "The Devil Takes You Home" by Gabino Iglesias is one of those books I requested for Christmas. I'd seen it on some "Best Of" list I'd run across and it looked good.

This genre-defying, Shirley Jackson and Bram Stoker award-winning thriller follows a father desperate to salvage what's left of his family—even if it means a descent into violence.

Buried in debt due to his young daughter’s illness, his marriage at the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. After tragedy destroys the life he knew, Mario agrees to one final job: hijack a cartel’s cash shipment before it reaches Mexico. Along with an old friend and a cartel-insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on the near-suicidal mission, which will leave him with either a cool $200,000 or a bullet in the skull. But the path to reward or ruin is never as straight as it seems. As the three complicated men travel through the endless landscape of Texas, across the border and back, their hidden motivations are laid bare alongside nightmarish encounters that defy explanation. One thing is certain: even if Mario makes it out alive, he won’t return the same.

It might be good for some readers, but not me. For starters, some of the book, not a lot but enough to make it difficult, was written in Spanish. I know just enough Spanish to order in a Mexican restaurant and to say "Buenos dias" and "Gracias" to the guys who shingled my roof, but not much more. 

It was also terribly violent. I like some violence in my books, heck I'm a serial killer book aficionado (some more Spanish I know). But this was too detailed for my taste. Instead of just shooting or stabbing a man, Iglesias spent a chapter on cartel members cutting off a man's toe. Just cut it off and move on.

It also incorporated a lot of mysticism, dreamy stuff. I didn't care for that either.

It kept me interested enough to finish, but I did speed read the final half of the book. My speed reading method I picked up somewhere is to read the first and last sentences of long paragraphs. If there's enough to interest me I read the entire paragraph, but usually not. It's enough to get the gist of things and not lose sight of the plot.

So I made it through. Will give it a 5 of 10 on the Haugenometer. It has a 4 of 5 on Amazon and 3.7 of 5 by Goodreaders, so they weren't exactly knocked out by it either.