I got three gifts on Saturday, all to be envied by you people. They are:

1. In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot

The harrowing, true story of Bigfoot, as told in rudimentary English by the one and only Bigfoot. Sample: “I am not Chewbacca. Me think Chewbacca jerk. He no can act. He ride Bigfoot coat tails.” There is also a section entitled “I You Private Dancer,” with drawings of Bigfoot performing moves like “The Honking Ninja,” “The Dandy Badger” and “The Sneaky Pete.” This book is probably the best gift anyone’s ever gotten me — and that includes the Jellybean of the Month club voucher I received in eighth grade. Thanks, Dawn Bauer of Medford, New Jersey, who, until now was entirely un-Google-able!

2. The Complete Peanuts: 1950 to 1954

Owning this two-volume set of early Schulz strips makes me as happy as a little girl. Why? It’s blissfully free of Woodstock and takes place before Snoopy started “talking.” No Marcie or Peppermint Patty. No Spike, from Needles, CA. Charlie Brown’s head is still twice as big as his torso. These strips aren’t as consistently funny as the ones done in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but the early antics of the Peanuts gang sure beat the heck out of anything Marvin, Marmaduke or Fred Basset ever did.

3. Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the 80s Underground

This gift was given to me because a little bird knew that my high-school-class colors were hot pink and black, just like the cover of this four-CD box set of classic alternative music. The track list has some clunkers (e.g. “Ghosts” by Japan), and features many songs that anyone in its intended audience would already own, such as the Pixies’ “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe.” But at least it’s trying. Included songs that I love and didn’t already have on CD: “Going Underground” by the Jam, “Pay to Cum!” by Bad Brains, “Ana Ng” by They Might Be Giants and “A New England” by Billy Bragg. Included songs that I wish never existed because they suck monkey nipples: “Black Celebration” by Depeche Mode, “This Corrosion” by Sisters of Mercy and “Enola Gay” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. But any CD collection that sequences “Freak Scene,” “This Charming Man” and “Stigmata” in order is a CD collection that pleases me.


I just remembered that Steve Vai plays guitar on Public Image Ltd.’s vastly underrated song “Rise.”