So, the end of one year seamlessly morphs into a new year. We close down the old, failed, crippled 2007 and jump optimistically into a fresh, unspoiled 2008, full of happy possibilities, cause it’s a clean slate at this point. Even well into January, it will still be shiny and promising. But, by early February the future will look bleak again and our resolutions will inevitably fade away. After all, it’s the same old place and we’re the same old people. Our brief ritual of hope was yet just another superficial exercise. We don’t really want change or, specifically, peace, for that matter. It’s too much trouble to rock the boat and, actually, there’s not enough time in the day to think about rocking the boat, with work and errands and television and sleeping and eating and judo practice and quilt making eating up the hours. Speaking of sleeping, I don’t do enough of it. Does that surprise anyone? Every year, I pledge to myself to sleep more and within a few weeks I’m getting by on whatever. It’s just so hard to give up the day and admit that it’s over. And sleep is so boring. Okay, back to the subject. I guess this is also a time of reflection. But I’m suspicious of those “year in review” magazine issues and TV shows. Why do we need to reinforce all that important knowledge and be reminded of recent bad events one more time; a round up of a few topics that have long since reached media saturation? Sometimes I think the typical sources of news and information that most of us encounter aren’t necessarily biased, they’re just lazy and only interested in the sensational and/or analyzing a viewpoint to death. Hey, does anyone still do that terror alert level thing on TV? Yellow. Orange. RED!!! We must all like the creepy feeling that something evil’s brewing and being scared about it. At least the “emergency situation” or “breaking story” gives us a topic to fret and rant about and may even cause us all to be united in fear. But, you know what? It would be a real shame, in our assessment of the past twelve months, to remember only stupid, shallow stuff or to think only in terms of what we lost or was taken from us or what upset or frightened us, and to simply write it off as another disappointing year of life. Obviously, all we can do is wait for the next twelve months to unfold and see what happens. Then we can decide if those events truly affect us and, if so, how extreme our reaction will be. I like to keep my expectations as low as possible, then everything is icing. Besides, there’s always a funny experience right around that corner, especially if you live with three dogs and five cats. They are the other reason I don’t get enough sleep. Dudley, the dog, has to go out at 9:30 AM (now, keep in mind, I’m usually up until 3:30 or 4:00 AM), then Stacie, the cat, wakes up and wants to eat immediately and really likes to verbally express how desperate her situation is. And by this time, Bobby, the dog, is ready to get out of his crate and stretch, which leads to going outside and joining Dudley in a cacophonous greeting of the neighbor dogs. You get the idea. It’s possible to have everything settled down again in 20 or 30 minutes, but it’s very hard to go back to sleep at that point and if you try, Augie, the dog, will usually jump on to the bed and do some vigorous back flopping. The circumstances are bad, but I guess it’s worth it to me to lose sleep for my hilarious little animal buddies. I’m pretty easily entertained and they provide plenty of stupid humor. They all walk funny and sit funny and look at me funny. And they all interact, sort of. I mean, it’s not uncommon to see a cat stroll under a dog. Or to have a dog carry a cat bowl outside, devour the contents and run back inside like it’s no big deal. And, although our animals aren’t as smart as most people, they do each have distinct personalities and very definite preferences. For instance, we had our house painted recently. Blinkie, the cat, and Biscuits, the cat, hid from all the scraping and sanding. Stacie, the cat, wanted to help out. And Sammy, the outdoor cat, comes when I call 95% of the time. No other cat will do that and most of them even look the other way if I say their name. I guess I should mention JJ, the indoor/outdoor cat. She’s the smallest and the most combative, but also knows how to turn on the charm when she wants something. Cats don’t realize how transparent they are. Dogs don’t care who knows what.
Well, another weird chapter in the BC saga begins. Our CD, POLKA’S REVENGE, has been nominated for a Grammy. We’re delighted and excited and can’t believe it’s happening to us again. One odd twist this time around, though, is that POLKA FREAKOUT, a project by Bubba Hernandez (our old bassist) and Alex Meixner, accordion/polka legend, has been nominated, as well. Hmmm, strange, new territory. They are both fine albums; well-crafted and full of conviction. As are the releases by Jimmy Sturr, John Gora and Walter Ostanek, I’m sure. So, congratulations to us all. Look for the conclusion to this bizarre tale in early February. No matter what, “polka” is the message. We are all merely the messengers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone out there that supports us and helps us live the way we do. I look forward to all the ways 2008 will let Brave Combo make music. We can take chances because the chance to do so is generously offered over and over. And we know how lucky that is. The bottom line is that we play a certain way, the Brave Combo way, and as long as you want to hear it, it will be here or there or somewhere and you’re welcome to tap in. Have an easy segue into the new unknown and hang onto that optimism as long as you can. It’s always justified. Please put us on your New Year’s resolution list. Hello to 2008. It’s polka time!