Today is the last day of Zappadan—Frank Zappa’s birthday, and, coincidentally, that of my little brother—who is now taller than me and is teaching himself to RTFO on the guitar—as well. Happy birthday, man.
Over Turkey Day, brother asked me the same question I asked early on about Zappa as we lounged to Lumpy Gravy, which was man, he must have done a lot of drugs, right? It is an easy, and utterly incorrect, assumption to make regarding Frank Zappa. Ringo “Larry the Dwarf” Starr summed up the answer to this most adroitly: “Probably one of the straightest men I’ve ever met.”
Zappadan 2009 has been an incredible event for me. I discovered Zappadan in its midst last year and so didn’t feel like I’d been able to really give the blogswarm its due. I spent the next year saving up bits and pieces for 2009. I started @zappadan and built an audience (up to 256 from 209 on Dec. 4—thanks!).
It’s been awesome. I have gotten to listen, watch, and read quite a lot, and I’ve gotten to enjoy work of many of talented bloggers. I learned a lot about Frank Zappa. Which is, for me, why one does a crazy nerdy thing like this. To learn.
Thanks primarily to Mark Hoback at Fried-Green al-Qaedas. As I’ve written to him, this is one of those amazing ideas that makes one do a Yahtzee face and say, why the hell didn’t I think of that? (Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or the Snuggie™.) But I’m glad Mark did, and I’m glad for the sharing, creative, cool spirit of it. I intend to keep the Zappadan blogroll through the next. If you did some Z-Dan blogging and I missed you, please leave a comment.
To steal a literary device from late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson: So, what have we learned?
- We learned that Zappadan begins with Bummernacht, and that, for some reason, day 5 is “Titties and Beer Day.” Also, Zappadan’s 20th day is known as “Zappadan Eve.”
- We learned that zombies prefer to live on the brains of shrill conservative pundits but can make do with a nice rib-eye.
- We learned that Frank Zappa was either a Terminator or that he was made out of sunshine.
- We learned the true identity of the Illinois Enema Bandit.
- We learned that you, too, can go to work for Dweezil.
- We learned a bit about the legal theory behind the Zappa Family Trust’s challenges to cover bands.
- We met Fenton Robinson, the La La La Human Steps, The Shaggs, and Mike Portnoy.
- We learned that “In my best, most reasonable expectations, I want to grow up to be Pete Seeger. In my darkest, deepest secret places, I want to grow up to be Frank Zappa.“
- We learned that the intro to “Dickie’s Such an Asshole” may not actually conjure Tricky Dick to your séance—and, also, that an ink-pen to a cartoonist is as an oil lamp to a Maccabee. (Part 2 is at American Street.)
- We learned to “Remember Thy Zappath To Keep It Greasy“
- We learned that Napoleon Murphy Brock appears to be a pretty nice guy.
- We learned that Zappa’s first guitar was likely an archtop acoustic one; bought for a buck fifty.
- We learned that Michael Steele wears his hat like this.
- We learned that Daryl Hall is working hard to make us forget Big Bam Boom—and he’s succeeding
- We learned how to make a muffin better.
- We learned that Zappadan is starting to peek up above the radar a little. Scary.
- We learned of the as-yet vague healing properties of Baby Snake Oil Elixir®.
- We learned that every time an evangelical white teen says “Awwwwww yeah!” into a microphone, Baby Jesus kicks a puppy.
- We learned that Zappa found grapes to be somewhat abhorrent. (LGT documentaries that were “the Find of this year’s Zappadan…” Not to be missed.)
- We learned that snorks are good for selling cough drops.
- We learned that there’s a pledge for the rest of us.
- We learned that even the most bitchen’ compyooter setup is not complete without a good set of headphones.
- We learned that the biggest threat to America today is not communism, it’s moving America toward a fascist theocracy.
- We learned that some album cover prototypes should stay archived, while others might have been pretty friggin’ cool.
- We learned that frank ‘n beans doesn’t always turn out exactly the way it looks on the can. (…feeding all the boys at Ed’s Cafe…)
- We learned what it takes to get Frank Zappa to do a television commercial.
- We learned that the Toyota Trucks logo totally looks like Frank Zappa’s mustache.
- We learned how to pronounce “duodenum.”
- We learned that carnivores and vegans alike honor and revere the mighty Zappadan.
- We learned that Twitter and Facebook are TEH AWESOME.
- We learned that if you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library. Then one day, they’ll place a statue of you in front of one. (#1 Zappadan miracle of 2009…)
We learned too much to list it all. Zappa fans are rabid mothers, there’s no doubt about that. And give a bunch of them blogs? Oh, they go crazy. They…oh, I wish there were a phrase that would describe this…they…they…they…
Oh, yes. They freak out.
I wonder if our efforts here would tickle Frank himself or if he’d just be annoyed. Likely, he’d probably just shrug and sit back down at his Synclavier and create something wonderful. Again.
We miss you, Frank Zappa. Happy birthday.