On Over-Thinking Bob’s Burgers

Bob's BurgersI had to go to the hospital this morning. The doctor didn’t tell me why, so I figure it is just that she is a vampire. Either that or it is standard when you get a check-up. I prefer to think she’s a vampire. Regardless, afterwards, I was waiting for my ride so I called up Andrea. Now Andrea can be the most charming person in the world. But she fell into a bit of a depression about three years ago and so our conversations mostly involve my bringing up random things to see if I can get her interested in anything. One of those today was Bob’s Burgers.

Normally, I don’t bring up Bob’s Burgers because I’ve used the show a lot. Speaking of which, here’s a great bit. After Louise said, “Why is the front door open?” And Gene responds, “Maybe God closed a window?” Now come on folks, that’s great comedy. But maybe I just like it because I hate that platitude. My thought has always been that when God closes a door, he usually collapses the roof on you as well. But I wasn’t thinking about that. I was, as I often do, speculating about the future lives of the kids.

And Andrea said, “You’re way over-thinking this show.” And I thought that was a distinctly unkind thing to say. To begin with, she is the person who introduced me to the show. But more important, I over-think everything. That is who I am and she should know it better than just about anyone. If I didn’t over-think things, I wouldn’t be Frank. And over-thinking trivial things is what I’m especially good at. Did I not write, The Evolution of the Pets.com Sock Puppet? And, The Shocking True Story of Twin Chickens? And, Bugs Bunny: Rabbit or Hare? Yes, yes, and yes!

But my fascination with Bob’s Burgers is not just that it is a hilarious show. Much more important is the fact that Bob’s Burgers is the story of my childhood. My parents always had some little business that was barely getting by. When I was older, we had had a deli, and I remember that at the end of each month, it was this big production to get the money for the rent — just like in the show. And notice that it is a dysfunctional family, but not a hateful one. If I were going to fictionalize my childhood, it would be something like Bob’s Burgers.

So I think that it is about the most accurate depiction of an American family that has ever been on television. The only thing I can think of that even comes close is Roseanne. But this is from my perspective. I come from people who might be described as white trash with big dreams. But both of my parents were the black sheep of their families and so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the world ended up with me. It’s probably a good thing that I never had kids. If I had had a son, he probably would have been someone like the Unibomber, but with puppets or confetti or something.

Regardless, many people may be able to over-think Bob’s Burgers, but I can’t. And yesterday, when Bob made peace with his father, I cried like a baby — even as I laughed, because Bob is awkward in much the same way I am. Oh, the humanity!

Update: I’m Not Sick

Thank you for all the kind wishes, but I’m not sick. I just haven’t been to the doctor in about 8 years, and thanks to Obamacare, I have a doctor. So I got a check-up and she sent me to get a little blood drawn. And how she has me on Kelp. I feel like a sea otter.

Actually, as a result of going to the doctor, I caught a minor cold. Next time: mask and gloves!

Morning Music: Six Pack by Black Flag

Black Flag - Six PackProbably the most bizarre choice for my video music is Black Flag’s song “Six Pack.” They are (I guess they are back together) quite an interesting band. It was really the Greg Ginn show. He’s a genius. Everyone today thinks of it as Henry Rollins’ band. But they went through many singers before Rollins. And certainly Rollins always saw it was Ginn’s band. And in those early heady days before their first album, they released a few EPs, including Six Pack.

I had never heard it, but I was over at The Last Record Store, going through their $5 or 3 for $10 bin and found this micro-CD with a total of three songs and five and half minutes of music — closer to a single, to be honest. But I was glad I bought it; it packs a punch.

The lead vocalist on Six Pack is Dez Cadena — later a wondering singer and guitarist, most notably with Misfits during the Bush years. He is apparently the third singer that Black Flag had. Henry Rollins took over from him, but Cadena didn’t leave the band; he just switched to rhythm guitar on what is almost certainly their greatest album, Damaged. There is, interestingly, another version of “Six Pack” with Rollins doing lead vocals on that album. It’s similar, but I actually prefer this Cadena cut — not because of the vocals but the purity of the performance.

The subject matter is classic. It’s kind of the punk version of the Merle Haggard (RIP) classic, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” It’s just a guy ranting about how he doesn’t need his ex-girlfriend because he has a six-pack and $35 dollars to his name. I can’t help but think that Greg Ginn was writing from experience.

The following video has the entire EP. “Six Pack” is first, followed by “I’ve Heard It Before” and “American Waste.”

Anniversary Post: Siege of Leningrad

Siege of LeningradAccording to Wikipedia, on this day in 1942, the Soviet forces managed to open up a “much-needed railway link” during the Siege of Leningrad. That’s important stuff that not much attention is paid to by normal people: supply chains. To military people, well, it’s one of the biggest things they think about. And I have to admit to being in awe of the organizational capabilities of the US military. But then, I love systems; so it is a lot easier for me to get excited about how you manage to feed a couple hundred thousand troops than military tactics.

I was in a conversation with one of “my writers” who lives in Bosnia about World War II. He is really well informed about it. In fact, he pushed back a bit against the theory, Stalin, Not the Bomb, Defeated Japan. We were actually talking about Erwin Rommel and the plot to kill Hitler. He mentioned something that I had never thought about: that the war might have gone on longer if the military had been able to take control of Germany.

I had always assumed that if they had, the military government would have sued for peace. But it’s possible that the Allies would not have accepted anything but complete surrender, given that FDR had said just that. Rommel and company were proud men and probably wouldn’t have accepted that. I think it is more likely that FDR was just being rhetorical — at least as regards a non-Hitler Germany. But one can never say in alternative history, which is why it is so much fun.

But the reason that I’m bringing this all up is that I’ve always thought that if Hitler had not broken his pact with Stalin, World War II would have ended rather differently. Certainly I don’t know. I’m not that much up on this history (and it isn’t a period I’m that interested in, anyway). But if all those wasted resources on the eastern front had been put to the west, could the Nazis have been stopped? I wonder.