It ain’t easy bein’ wheat

“(Jonathan) Davis seems happier now. After divorcing his first wife in 2000, he settled down four years later with former porn star Deven Davis, and had two sons, Pirate and Zeppelin. (Davis’s first son from his previous marriage, Nathan, will turn 23 this fall.) He is now, literally, a dad rocker. Occasionally, this middle-aged chill is disrupted and his conservative streak flares up—like in 2014, when he went on Infowars and called Barack Obama “an Illuminati puppet.” But for the most part, Davis is happy to still be here, so many years after metal was nu, with his band intact.” – Steven Hyden

(Editor’s Note: In the 72 hours since The Ringer article was published, Jonathan Davis’s estranged wife, Deven Davis was found dead. As of this writing no cause has been found.)

“Wheat is the most widely cultivated crop on the planet, accounting for about a fifth of all calories consumed by humans and more protein than any other food source. Although we have relied on bread wheat so heavily and for so long (14,000 years-ish), an understanding of its genetics has been a challenge. Its genome has been hard to solve because it is ridiculously complex. The genome is huge, about five times larger than ours. It’s hexaploid, meaning it has six copies of each of its chromosomes. More than 85 percent of the genetic sequences among these three sets of chromosome pairs are repetitive DNA, and they are quite similar to each other, making it difficult to tease out which sequences reside where. The genomes of rice and corn—two other staple grain crops—were solved in 2002 and 2009, respectively. In 2005, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium determined to get a reference genome of the bread wheat cultivar Chinese Spring. Thirteen years later, the consortium has finally succeeded.” – Diana Gitig

“Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own.”- Dr. Johnson

Science Humbles (local) Man

The past five days have created enough angst for three people. As posted above, scientists have cracked what’s genetic code. While having lunch and listening to the radio news a couple of days ago one of those countless people who speak with a perfect Oxford accent leaned into one of the BBC’s microphones and calmly said, “This might try well prove that wheat is more complex than human DNA.”

Oh great.

First science tells us we’re dumb as a bag of hair when compared to whales, porpoises, and dolphins. So now we have to compete with whole grains to see who’s the top dog on the planet?

In my dotage I don’t think as fast as I used to that’s why it took me the better part of an hour to remember that I was consuming a sandwich while finding out that wheat is complicated. That at least to some comfort. Knowing that while some portion of wheat was making it through my digestive tract at least assured me that I still have a place high up on the food chain. Granted, it’s a toe hold these days given summertime shark attacks and a pack of hippos who think they’re The New Manson Family.

As the afternoon wore on a question started to form in the back recesses of what’s left of my mind – given its new found status how long do we have to wait until wheat is politicized?

Now that science has labelled wheat as flora’s anger to the black-turtleneck and tweed-jacket types how long do we have to wait until we get the conservative response to wheat? How long do we have to sit around waiting for the Q-Anon to put forth the idea that all this gluten business is wheat plotting against us?

And where the hell is Jordan Peterson?

All this goddam time he’s nothing but Lobsters! Lobsters! Lobsters! When he should have been studying The Pillbury Dough Boy (TPDB). Setting aside the play on words that comes straight out of American military history, we can see that TPDB in unencumbered, free of a female counterpart trying to compromise his journey across time.

How is it that Peterson has failed to make TPDB his Zarathustra?

If some farmer out in the Dakotas hasn’t called his extension agent to wonder why he’s got a whole acre of wheat getting all heated up over a discussion of Goddard’s La Chinoise, then why hasn’t Peterson proclaimed The Pillsbury Doughboy as the rope between the lowly ape and wheat?

You can digest that all later – we’re moving on to other grains now.

“Korn, Manson, Bizkit—that was the golden age of music, I believe. And after us, it died.”

Before we get started – this is not strictly about people who make it into their middle years only make pop-culture boobs of themselves in public.*

Mom is a bit tired of me using the word ‘elderly.’ Lately I’ve taken to using the word to describe people who have a little bit of trouble coping with modern times. I will spot you this – the 21st Century is a bit new in the larger scheme of human history, but most of us have been living in it long enough that we should act like it instead of coming off like Ricky and Lucy fresh out of the time machine.

Case in point –

Getting coffee the other day I ran into a couple we know. Both were rather agitated by an full page ad that ran in the local paper.

HER: DID YOU SEE THAT AD?!?!?!
ME: We don’t take the paper.
HIM: It was a whole page, a whole page, who has that kind of money?
ME: We haven’t taken the paper in over 15 years.
HIM: But you saw it, didn’t you?
HER: It was right there on the inside.
ME: I haven’t touched a paper in…
HER: (speaking slowly) OK, there’s the front page… and … you turn it…
HIM: And there it was!
HER: That one!
ME: ohhhhhhhh thhhhhhhahhhhht one

In my dotage I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to let people walk away thinking you’re a bit feeble minded so you can make more efficient use of The Quality Time Remaining. Put another way – the idea of 10 minutes you’re never getting back is something you feel more acutely at this stage of life so it’s better to move along.

Which is what we shall do.

The upshot of my use of ‘elderly’ came back to bite me in the butt this week. Someone recently asked what was the last superstar rock era act. I said that I thought it was U2, a band fronted by the self-beatifying Lithuanian-shopping-center mogul, Bono. A few hours later I discovered that it was in fact Korn who created the last known mass media panic when, as the particle points out, 9000 teenagers descended on Manhattan for a look at the group.

At least the article left me with one small scrap of dignity when Mr. Davis said his was a golden age and after him there was nothing.

Now that’s ‘elderly.’

As ‘elderly’ as me assuming that conventional rock superstardom stopped with U2.

What I’d like to know is why this golden age thing is so ubiquitous?

Several years ago I got an email from a guy who wanted me to join some sort of FB group made up of people mostly our age so the two of us could go on and on and on about how great the music in our day was. I don’t remember most of the 10 or 12 paragraphs in total that he sent, but I do remember that he kept using the phrase, “If we’d been born a couple of years either way we would have missed it!”

Yeah, you said it, pal!

A couple of inches either direction and we would have taken the disco era right between the eyes!

Early in the week the subject circled back around when Alaska Wolf Joe wanted to compare certain Starbucks beverages to over-the-counter medications. Strictly out of boredom I tried Starbucks new super extra strawberry flavored strawberry Frappachino. Driving along I did not realize that AWJ was sitting in the passenger seat studying the new super strawberry Frrappichino until he asked, “Does it taste like cough syrup?”

No.

“You sure?”

Sorry no Robitussin notes hiding in the heady like Vick’s nose of that beast.

“Don’t they make it with cough syrup to make it look like that?”

That’s when I politely asked if we could talk about something else. AWJ complied and brought up some new FB group he joined as part of something he’s involved with. “You might be surprised,” he said, “people still use ‘What bands do you like?’as an icebreaker.”

That was surprising as I thought it would be what video games do you play. AWJ that is also asked, but not as often which lead me to ask what kind of bands get talked about.

“Normie shit, you know, like what Fleetwood Mac was in your day. They were normie shit, right?”

You would have be hard pressed back then to find anybody normie-er or shittier.

In my day music was the big dowsing rod for finding your ilk. (As The Perfesser once pointed out Frank Zappa was not only a musician, he was also a way of finding your fellow weirdo. You know, “I like Frank. You like Frank. So you must be a weirdo like me! Let’s go pick on some normies listening to Bob Segar.!”) Over time it seems the big icebreaker evolves into hating the music of today and bonding with your fellow old spoot over what might be your common golden age of tunes.

Isn’t that what the guy with the FB group was all about? Somewhere in all that prose about his gizmo that held 100 cd’s, the $500 headphones, and the Firefall box set wasn’t there a call to action? A call to seek out our fellow old farts who also lived through his tightly defined golden age?

I’ll never know as I didn’t write back. While he had a great deal to say I got all caught up in the Firefall box set. Speaking of normie shit – the very thought of a Firefall box set makes me want to take a shower.

Lastly – I find this paragraph to be a double-edged sword.

If the internet brought about the “… and then everything changed” part of Korn’s Behind the Music story, perhaps the internet can also be credited with the band’s longevity. The days when cultural movements would come along and sweep away yesterday’s news are over. Any band with grassroots appeal, no matter how maligned by critics and the mainstream media, can stick around forever. Over time, controversies fade and stigmas evaporate. At some point, future generations will come around to discovering you. “Freak on a Leash” now has nearly 100 million spins on Spotify. When Generation Z hears bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park the music registers as classic rock.

Feel free to consider that at your leisure.

The upshot of it all is that most of us – musically – live in our own golden age. We lose touch with the new stuff and for us Late Stage Boomers it seems impossible to keep up. That’s why I think the Internet has done something contrary to the above quote – today you can experience so much that there is no hierarchy. When we were kids you could say The Beatles were the biggest thing out there and after they broke up The Stones were the biggest things out there, but when they took a couple years off Zep was the biggest thing out there … and so on and so on and so forth. We go forth intimidated thinking we don’t understand the hierarchy so we might well wander into something that we might find embarrassing when in fact all hierarchies no longer carry the same weight they once did.

You can’t expect a hierarchy when none exist and you can’t depend on a hierarchy that’s been devalued.

And that’s the sort of thing that makes your average Late Stage Boomer very, very nervous.

Soif you find yourself to be nervous this week – dig deep.

Conquer your inner ‘elderly’ self.

Quit taking the paper, go listen to Kendrick, and for Godsake let’s all look around and see if we can find a better musical anthem that celebrates wheat and the humans who tend to it than this normie shit.

* Whatever you do please don’t correct him when he says ‘Blinded by the Light’ was written by Manford Mann. kthxbai