Lest you think I've gone mushy in "middle age,” here's some random commentary to get you out of the holiday spirit.

 Two weeks ago, the Divine Miss KT and I drove to Fredericksburg, Texas, in search of Christmas gifts.1 Fredericksburg is an old German settlement in the Hill Country that has turned its old buildings and history into tourist shtick.2 Moreover, the stores clash with the intended Fredericksburg Experience: pseudo-African carvings, leopard-print women's apparel, and the increasingly inevitable Thomas Kinkade gallery.3

This month gives Official Boomer types4 another excuse to wallow in their dubious pasts, in this case the 20-year-old murder of teenybopper idol John Lennon.5 Enough bewailing the passing of this drug-addled limey6 who helped stunt a vibrant native culture7 and who died at an opportune time in his career: before the marketplace wised up to his existence as another pretentious, bloated dinosaur, thrashing about with his limited skills to prove his "relevance" in a world that has moved on and that never needed him in the first place. Now, his jabbering widow is to lead a crusade to disarm Americans, according to the Dec. 10 Sunday Times.8 Where's the INS when you need it? As further proof of how fucked up New York is, Lennon's murderer, Mark David Chapman, was slated earlier this year for parole.9 Score one for death penalty opponents.

Elsewhere in the world of music, Sade has released her first new album in eight years, according to Nov. 17 USA Today.10  The Jan. 2001 Thirty Ear Magazine has an interview with Ian MacKaye, the de facto godfather of old-school punk in the Washington, D.C. area.11

Fred Rogers has taped the last episode of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” according to the Nov. 21 Austin American-Statesman.  The final episode has police arraigning Rogers after they discover the basement stocked with the bodies of teenage boys Rogers molested and murdered over the years.12

Meanwhile, in my neighborhood, construction grinds on. A block east from my home, the Church’s Chicken outlet in the new Shell gas station at the corner of Gracy Farms Lane and Metric Boulevard celebrated its grand opening last week. Next to it, work proceeds on a child care center. Both buildings join new Walgreen’s drugstores at nearby intersections along Metric.13  Across Gracy Farms from my bedroom, Tivoli continues with its new building, even as its joined it's rivals and counterparts in post-dot-com crash layoffs.14

The Divine Miss KT and I finished our Christmas chores early, so we went to the Discount Cinema at Wells Branch Parkway and saw “Space Cowboys,” with its grisly kick of an ending.  The camera orbits around the moon to zoom in on a dead astronaut on the satellites surface while Frank Sinatra sings “Fly Me to the Moon.”15 I haven’t seen a movie ending this perverse since “Hoffa.”16

Ring a Ding Ding,



1 “Weihnachten to Spread Christmas Cheer.” Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post Visitors Guide Fall/Winter 2000 16 Aug. 2000: 38.
2 Edpol, Mark. “Fredericksburg: Germany on the Cheap.” INSite Magazine Dec. 2000: 32.
3 Freund, Charles Paul. “Art in Its Own Light.” Reason Oct. 2000: 54.
4 Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. New York City: Broadway Books, 1997: 137, 189-194, 222-233; Strauss and Howe. Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584-2069. New York City: William Morrow & Co., 1991: 10-11, 299-316.
5 Messer, Kate X. “Public Notice.” AC 29 Dec. 2000: 18.
6 EAD No. 9 (Oct. 23, 1999); Norman, Philip. Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1981: passim.
7 Ferguson, Andrew. “Sinatra at 80: Ring-a-ding-don’t.” TWS 11 Dec. 1995: 32-36; Rudin, Mark. "Fly Me to the Moon: Reflections on the Rat Pack." American Heritage Dec. 1998: 52.
8 Rhodes, Tom. “Yoko Gets Call to Lead U.S. Anti-gun Crusade.” The Sunday Times 10 Dec. 2000: 2GN ed.: 25.
9 Jury, Louise. “I Live in Fear, Says Yoko Ono as Lennon's Killer Tries for Release.” The Independent 30 Jan. 2000: foreign ed.: 3.
10 Jones, Steve. “For Sade, This Is No Ordinary ‘Lovers.’ ” USA Today 17 Nov. 2000: 10E.
11 Ensminger, David. “Living the Punk Ethic.” Thirsty Ear Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001: 18-24.
12 Bolles, Don. “Mister Rogers.” Retro Hell, 128-129; Holloway, Diane. “There Goes the Neighborhood.” AAS 21 Nov. 2000: E1.
13 Eisler, Dan. Letter to Chester and Mary Kiser. 21 Dec. 2000.
14 Cocks, Heather. “Tivoli Cuts 50 Jobs as It Changes Direction.” AAS 17 Nov. 2000: D1+; Pope, Justin. AP. “Internet Incubators Suffer With Dot-coms.” AAS  27 Nov. 2000: E3. “Tivoli Begins Campus.” ABJ 10 Nov. 2000: 29.
15 “Showtimes.” AC 22 Dec. 2000: 100.
16 Hoffa. Dir. Danny DeVito. Written by David Mamet. 20th Century Fox Film Corp., 1992.