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The Mother

Two text messages

Wait. Belinda Carlisle is somehow NOT the mother of Brandi Carlile (pictured). Is she sure about that? Shared publicly without permission under the provisions of the IETBF-TTAP Act[1], a private text message (names changed upon advice of counsel):

[Mama Bear], have you heard the song The Mother by Brandi Carlile? It makes me think of you and [Sister Bear] every time I hear it! It’s so pretty. Dad, have you heard it? Have I already asked you guys to listen to it?

And its also private (but not anymore!) response:

Wow what an amazing song, and the lyrics are so perfectly truthful.
Our culture/society focuses on what is so hard about parenting. And there is lots of hard. But what no one tells you is that it is the easiest thing–life becomes so much easier, because it separates the wheat from the chaff. So many decisions become infinitely easier because they are predicated upon what is best for your child. So many feelings and preoccupations that were hard to shake before just fall away. Of course, I realize I am speaking from a position of privilege in many ways. I’m so thankful for my privileges. I have such a debt to repay to the world.

You may assume the messages were written by my daughters, but I can neither confirm nor deny that. The title “Dad” may be a red herring, who can tell? I can say that this is just the sort of wiser-than-their-old-man stuff they say. It’s also worth noting that my daughter, writing about her (undoubted) privilege–IF it was her–and almost seeming to anticipate a reversal of fortunes, broke her leg yesterday. The next four-to-six weeks spent hobbling around after her energetic 4.5 and 1.5 year-old children in a big plastic boot may qualify as a karmic first payment on that debt.

The video

Carli[s]le revisited

Mike Marshall.I will buy a Brandi Carlile disc today. It’s about time. One of my daughters–who may or may not have shared this video in a text message inappropriately used on some dude’s blog–has been urging me to listen to her for years. It is my less-than-fond memories of Dodger first baseman/outfielder Mike “Moose” Marshall that kept me from following up on her recommendation.[2]

Let me explain.

Surely Brandi Carlile is the daughter of the lead singer and face of the early 1980s girl group[3] The Go-Go’s, Belinda Carlisle? Or so I thought with a kind of persistent stubbornness even in the face of much evidence to the contrary.[4]

“But still, Mike Marshall?” you ask?

Yes, Mike Marshall, “the Lesser,”[5] is the one. I have nothing against Belinda Carlisle, about whom I never said anything worse than (a twenty-year-old sexist’s) “Humma-humma!” But she dated Dodger ne’er-great Marshall. The press might’ve dubbed them “Carmarsh” or “Mikinda” back in the day. Well, no, not in those days before our TMZ-related cultural decline, but they were a La-la-land celebrity couple for awhile.

So, against the possibility that Brandi was the offspring of the man at the tipping-point of Dodger decline, I wasn’t about to give her music a chance. My loss, apparently.


  1. The IETBF-TTAP Act (it’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission), which originated when Eve succumbed to a powerful jonesing for the taste of a new fruit some years ago, is protection against this sort of blatant breach of netiquette. Fathers are specifically mentioned in its “Yeah, dads. What are ya gonna do?” subsection. [^]
  2. Moose Marshall, to me, represents the beginning of the lean years for the Dodgers vaunted organization. Marshall, Greg Brock, and Eric Karros were first basemen representative of the homegrown “talent” to come. I am overlooking their 1988 title and a few talents to emerge after his debut, but in my mind, the years 1971-1981 were the organization’s peak. This a spectacularly ignorant take, but I turned 11 and 21, respectively, during those bookend seasons. This explains my evaluation. [^]
  3. The Go-Go’s were women not girls, of course. It’s not as if the Beatles, Marky Mark et al., the Hanson Brothers, and One Direction were ever called “boy bands!” [^]
  4. In retrospect, that they spell their last names differently–Brandi misspells hers–might have tipped me off. [^]
  5. I only reluctantly grew to be a fan of Marshall “the Greater” during his Cy Young Award-winning 1974 season. The Dodgers traded one of my favorite players, (the washed-up) Willie Davis, to get him. Marshall was a character for sure. With a degree in kinesiology, he was convinced he’d learned how to successfully pitch everyday without harm. He pitched in a record 106 games as the Dodgers’ closer in 1974. And, unlike modern closers who seldom pitch more than one inning, he often earned saves while pitching three innings. His arm–not into all that kinesiology–died that same year. Marshall was never the same pitcher afterwards.
    He was never suspected of being Brandi Carlile’s father.
    Fun fact: one of my daughters and her husband named their golden doodle after Mike Marshall. [^]


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