I Think I’m Going Bald (The Ballad Of Lars Dahl’s Bald Spot)

I’m developing a distinct, but not severe (yet), bald spot aka alopecia areata (AA). I never knew since I’ve shaved my head regularly (2-3 times/week) for the past 10 years or so. While performing that task today I checked the stubble on my noggin closely in the mirror and the truth is in the picture. Undeniable. Truth.

Lars Dahl's Bald Spot

The proof is in the pudding. A picture speaks more than a thousand words. Lars Dahl is going bald.

What hurts most is that my wife kept it a secret for all these years. I was thinking of letting it grow out again some day, but clearly that’s not gonna happen. Better bald than a combover. Oh well. If you have the opportunity please link to this post using the search term “Lars Dahl’s Bald Spot“. Being #1 on Google would be a consolation for me in my hour of distress. Go Rush, they know what I’m talking about!

Bald Man’s Creed (An Homage to the Bald Spot)

This is my bald spot. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My bald spot is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My bald spot without me, is useless. Without my bald spot, I am useless. I must polish my bald spot true. I must polish shinier than my fellow baldie who is trying to out-bald me. I must lose more hair than him. I will…

My bald spot and I know that what counts in life is not the follicles we lose, the futile scratch of our combs, nor the clogged bathtub drains. We know that it is the flakiness of the scalp that counts. Scalps will flake…

My bald spot is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its gloss, its softness, its smoothness, like a baby’s butt. I will keep my bald spot clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before The Celestial Tea Pot, I swear this creed. My bald spot and I are the defenders of my dignity. We are the masters of our domain. We are the defenders of my noggin.

So be it, until the science of medicine discovers an actual cure for male pattern baldness, there is no ally but Rogain!

Old Mothers

They don’t die, they just wither away. Time waits for no man (or woman). Happy birthday, you are now an octogenarian.

A little tribute. Bet nobody ever honored your day with this one. Enjoy. Looking forward to the next -genarian shift in a decade’s time.

Your loving son,
Lars G.

And So It Begins – News From My Inbox

I received this email from Midway USA today, one of the country’s largest online dealers of everything related to firearms, and of whom I am a customer:

Connecticut Public Act 13-220

Dear Lars,
On April 4, 2013, Connecticut Public Act 13-220 was signed into law by Governor Malloy. Among other things, this law implements licensing requirements for the sale of all magazines and ammunition beginning October 1, 2013. In order to be compliant with the new law on its effective date, we will be restricting the sale of all ammunition and magazines to Connecticut beginning September 17, 2013. This allows for all in transit products to arrive in Connecticut by the law’s effective date.
In order for any existing backorders to release and to continue purchasing magazines or ammunition after this date, you must be the holder of one of the following permits/certificates: CT Carry Permit, Eligibility Certificate, Long Gun Eligibility Certificate or Ammunition Certificate. Additionally, one of these must be on file with your MidwayUSA account.
The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) is responsible for the administration of the permits and certificates listed above. Please visit the DESPP website for instructions and many of the necessary forms to apply: http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?a=4213&q=494616
If you have already submitted one of these documents to MidwayUSA, no further action is necessary.
If you have not obtained one of these documents, we encourage you to do so. Once obtained, please email (customerservice@midwayusa.com) or fax (1-800-992-8312) a copy to us along with a government-issued photo ID and we will update your account to prevent any disruption in our ability to serve you.
We are very sorry for the inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your business.
Customer Service

I’m including this pop song from 1970s Scottish heart-throbs pop band Bay City Rollers as a sarcastic post script. Figure it out if you can. If not, no biggie. And yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I have this album in original vinyl

Rock Truth #1

Most of the best and most legendary songs in rock history weren’t made by wunderkind instrumentalist wizards and divinely gifted singers, but rather by average-to-good musicians whose sum of combined parts (unsure about grammar/syntax here) where greater their individual talents. That’s when magic happens. There are exceptions.

I’ll admit, though, that this solo by Zakk Wylde is pretty hairy.

Edit: On second thought it is pretty much just noise. While he certainly can play guitar I find his repertoire to be limited. Definitely not top tier. But he does have the sound that Ozzy needs.

Black Sabbath 13 Revisited

In my previous BS 13 post I used the words trite, boring, uninspired, stereotyped, stock, off-the-shelf, copycat and bad forgery to describe the album. I would like to add painful, embarrassing, awkward, geriatric, disturbing, uncomfortable, distressing, humiliating, shameful, graceless, fiasco, blundering and inept to their live performance. Somebody is really trying to squeeze blood from a stone on this one.

Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie and live on the memories. I’m surprised Ozzy is able to stand upright without assistance. Sad. How very, very sad. On his best day Simon Cowell would have dismissed him on the spot with an appropriate insult on American Idol. There is no joy here. All the guys seem to have lost their edge and are playing on autopilot.

Judge for yourself. But remember, once you’ve seen it it can’t be unseen or unheard. Watch at your own peril. Old Heroes will die.

EDIT: The video has been taken down, and for good reason. It was that terrible.

Black Sabbath 13: Nope

So the first and greatest heavy metal band of all time decided to “reunite” (replacing Bill Ward with the drummer from Rage Against The Machine, Brad Wilk, because Bill reportedly couldn’t get a “decent contract”). Too bad.

Words that come to mind: Trite, boring, uninspired, stereotyped, stock, off-the-shelf, copycat, bad forgery. If you told me it was a Black Sabbath tribute band I would have believed you.

Black Sabbath’s first five albums (Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Black Sabbath Vol. 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath) is all I need. That’s how I want to remember them. They defined the genre and spawned many other great bands. Sometimes (always, actually) it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. That was decades ago. To make things worse they’ve jumped on the corporate bandwagon and issued a “Deluxe” version that can only be obtained from Best Buy (cursed be their name!) if you want the extra “bonus” track. Thanks, but no thanks.

In A Cosmic Bubble Far, Far Away…

…I may be the guitar hero of my teenage dreams.

The foam universe theory is the theory that our universe is just a bubble in a foam of countless (I hesitate to use the word “infinite” even though it’s practically a synonym, for the simple reason that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it, be it numerically, temporally and spatially) other universes (I’m reading Lawrence Krauss on and off at the moment, and he knows this stuff). Some of these universes may differ greatly from the one we inhabit, others only slightly or imperceptibly. Another term for this theory is the multi-verse theory.

Lars Dahl winning the inaugural Harald’s Gym club contest in Oslo, 1980. What a cocky little bastard he was!

Some of you may or may not know that I played guitar (not very well) in a band in my teenage years and dreamed of becoming a rock star. My first guitar was a Wilson copy of a Gibson SG stained deep mauve that I nagged my mother to sign off on for a payment plan. All of you should by now know that that dream didn’t turn out very well for me and I pursued other avenues in life (still searching, by the way). I discovered girls for one thing (ironically enough through my meager fame as a guitar player in a band), sold off all my music gear and bought a car, a Vauxhall Viva ca late 1960s with plenty of rust (which also proved very reliable as a pussy magnet), but it ran even though I didn’t have my license yet and by the time I was 20 all dreams of rock stardom were gone and I was hellbent on becoming the biggest, baddest bodybuilding motherfucker the world had ever seen (this didn’t come to fruition either, but that’s a different bag of spoiled shrimp.)

Most people have solidly established their preferences in music, art, food, literature, movies etc. in the formative teen years of their lives, hence, e.g., my love for classic 1970s rock music. There are very few new bands/musicians that I’ve really latched on to in a big way in later years. For me it’s always going to be Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, AC/DC and so on and so forth. (I was also going to mention KISS, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I still like them. Quite a lot, actually.) With two very noticeable exceptions.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai

Around 1990 (I would have been 30-or-so years old), I discovered Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and got hooked. I mean really hooked. Not a bad word about Jimi Hendrix (true and tragic trailblazer as he was), but these guys could have played circles around him, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their backs, and it wasn’t just showing off either, guitar masturbation if you will. They create and play real music, wonderful music, unbelievable music where the guitar is the centerpiece and not just a tool that produces mind-numbing riffs for traditional heavy rock (still not taking anything away from the classics, understand; I mean, who can get the opening riffs of Rock & Roll, Smoke On The Water, School’s Out and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath out of their minds, even if they tried?). But if you really want to have your mind blown away and your socks knocked off at the same time, watch Steve Vai: Where the Wild Things Are in a live recording from Minneapolis in 2009. Like it or be square!

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Imagine my surprise, then, as I surfed Wikipedia (as I often do when I’m bored; I find it to be a wonderful and surprisingly accurate source of all kinds of information (and I even recently made an edit to an article that got accepted)), and found out that there was very little that separated Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and yours truly, both temporally and spatially in our early years. Joe Satriani was born 1956 in Westbury, NY; Steve Vai in Carl Place, NY 1960; and myself in Oyster Bay, New York, 1959. Three small towns all located in Nassau County on Long Island. We were practically within pissing distance from each other; Steve Vai even took guitar lessons from Joe Satriani around 1970. Of course, by that time and in this universe, due to circumstance beyond my control, I had moved to Norway where I would spend the next 30 years of my life.

In a different bubble in the foam-verse it is entirely possible (or so Lawrence Krauss insists) that I might have hooked up with Joe and Steve and formed the most awesomest guitar based band in rock history, no matter which bubble we’re comparing with.

I still have a Fender Stratocaster and a small Marshall combo amp gathering dust somewhere in the house; haven’t touched it for years and I am just as untalented a guitarist as I was when I was 16. So I didn’t get to be a guitar hero in this life or universe, but I am still very happy that i discovered Joe and Steve. I even got to see Steve Vai in concert in Oslo, Norway, in the early 1990s; a small, but not insignificant experience in my life. I am forever grateful for their musical genius. Music is one of a very few things that bring joy to my life, and these guys deliver. Domo arigato, mio amigos!

And I can always dream that I’m performing with my could’ve-been–buddies Joe and Steve in any number of bubble-verses out there. Maybe I’ll even dust off my guitar some day and annoy the neighbors just for the heck of it.

Finally I’m not saying that good music isn’t made today (Shinedown would be a good example of a departure from my 1970s rule), and it would be unfair to contemporary bands anyway, to compare them to the legends of the 60s and 70s. First of all there is much more competition these days, and it’s my firm belief that the pool of truly inspired music and musicians making it bigtime (earning it through talent, hard work and sheer practice, rather than through corporate sponsorship and promotion) is very small. At the risk of sounding like my Mother, “it all sounds like they’re skinning a live cat”. I also doubt very strongly that 50 years from now people will be standing in line for days for tickets to a Justin Bieber or Britney Spears concert