condescending twatbags, music, rock stars, YouTube

Repost: Druscilla Penny…

I originally posted this article on the first OH blog on October 21, 2016. I’m reposting it as/is today, because I have a case of writer’s block and can’t think of anything to post right now. This post actually got some interesting engagement from new commenters when it was fresh content, six years ago. So, for that reason, I’m making it available again for the intrigued. I might be back later with something new, or I might not. This has been a stressful week, and to be honest, I’m kind of tired.

I probably ought to write this post on my music blog, but I figure what I’m about to write has enough in it that isn’t about music that it belongs here on my big blog.  Besides, the only reason anyone reads my music blog is to find out about Richard Carpenter’s daughter, Mindi, who probably gets unfavorably compared to her famous dead aunt Karen more times than she can count.

Yesterday, I took my dog to the vet. Zane (who passed in 2019) has had an ear infection and the vet had given us some meds. I’ve been using the meds, but his ear is still full of gunk. The vet wants to sedate him and flush it out. I’m going to try to have a sebaceous cyst removed from him on the same day. ETA: The “cyst” turned out to be a mast cell tumor, which is linked to canine lymphoma. Both Zane and Arran had mast cell tumors, and both went on to get lymphoma. On the way to the vet’s office, I was listening to music. The old Carpenters’ song “Druscilla Penny” came up on the iPod.

Richard plays a song about a groupie who wears too much makeup.

“Druscilla Penny”

Druscilla Penny, what a name!

Are you sure you didn’t make it up yourself?

You’re very pretty, yes you are

But with all the junk you wear, it’s hard to tell

Man, you must work hard to get your hair to look like that

I don’t need a horoscope to tell me where you’re at

Your family’s probably given up on you

Since you began to follow groups of long-haired rock ‘n rollers

I can hear your mother crying for her daughter

Ah, ah, ah ….

Ah, ah, ah ….

Druscilla Penny, what a girl!

Where’s the purpose to the crazy life you lead?

It doesn’t matter after all

You’re so sure instant love is all you need

I’ve seen your face at least a thousand times

You’re always standing there behind the stages at the concerts

Waiting for an offer to be with someone after

Druscilla Penny, how’s your head?

Do you ever wake up lonely in the night?

It isn’t easy for a girl when she can’t decide

If love is wrong or right

I hope I live to see a change

Could you ever really love?

Ever really care?

Ever really get it together? no no

This is one of a couple of songs on the Carpenters’ 1971 self-titled album that features the metallic voiced Richard Carpenter singing lead.  I read on a message board that this song was kind of a comedy skit, with Richard singing to one of the countless groupies who were waiting around to get with a musician.  I’m sure Richard fielded his share of horny women back in the 70s, though he sounds so uptight and straight on this song that it comes across as funnier than it probably should.

He sings about her crazy life, her love of substances, makeup, and weird hair, and the fact that her family is sick over her departure from respectability.  I’ve heard this song many times, but yesterday was the first time Richard sounded downright disdainful to me.  Like, I could picture him backstage telling off some poor kid, standing over her like an overbearing father.  It just doesn’t seem to mesh with the concept of a famous pop musician.  On the other hand, it does seem to suit Richard’s personality. Case in point…

“Piano Picker”… another song that highlights Richard’s attitude…

“Piano Picker”

Everybody always asks me

How I got to play so fine

And friends, I’m gonna tell ya

It really did take some time

Yes, after years and years of practice

And a case of real bad knees

Whil the other guys were out playin’ with the football

I was home bangin’ on the keys

And it got me

Right were I am, this is me

Playing the piano

I hope ya like what I do

It’s for you, and I’ll try and sing right too

I guess I’m really very lucky

That I’ve got this thing to play

‘Cause it can really make me feel good

Even when it’s cloudy and grey

Yes, after years and years of practice

And awful allergies that made me sneeze

And now the other guys are out playin’ with their girlfriends

And I was still bangin’ on the keys

And it got me

Right where I am, this is me

Playing the piano

I hope ya like what I do

It’s for you

And I’ll try and sing right too

Someone get this guy a glass of chocolate milk and some Claritin.  And maybe something to kill the bug up his ass.

Actually, the whole “Druscilla Penny” story seems kind of funny to me because everyone and their brother seemed to be taking drugs back in the 70s.  I mean, Richard himself spent some time in rehab for being hooked on prescription meds.  As far as I’ve read, he was not a drinker even in those days, but he did take Quaaludes or something like them.  And while Karen was getting some help for her anorexia nervosa, Richard was seeking treatment for his addiction to pills.  So why should he be looking down on a groupie whose head is in the clouds?

I know… it’s just a song and a rather silly one at that.  It might be funny to hear someone do a cover of it.  I bet Pat Boone could turn it into a big band standard, much like he did with Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”.  On the other hand, maybe it’s time I got a life and started listening to music from the 20s.

Below are the original comments:


October 23, 2016 at 9:20 AM

I remember both of those songs. “Druscilla Penny” always seemed really condescending to me, as in the one girl who was so low that even Richard wouldn’t take her up on her post-concert offers.

  1. knottyOctober 23, 2016 at 9:50 AMYeah. That is exactly what I thought. Very condescending. As if Richard has room to be picky.


February 27, 2017 at 6:29 PM

Love this song. I’ve always thought of it as “Penny Lane Lite,” though I have to say, I’ve never considered it to be condescending in any way. More of a cautionary tale. Considering the mindset regarding the pills he was taking at the time (they were given to him by his mom, who had a prescription), I can see how he wouldn’t have associated the fact that he was taking pills to help him sleep with the rampant recreational drug use he probably witnessed in the late ’60s/early ’70s. Also, I don’t think he had quite developed an addiction yet when this song was written.


  1. knottyFebruary 27, 2017 at 6:40 PM Well, you’re right that this was one of their early songs and Richard didn’t get help for his addiction until the late 70s. Which, if you think about it, makes it even funnier. He was what, 24 or 25 years old at the time? I’m not sure exactly when the addiction started, but I did read that it went on for years until he entered the Menninger Clinic in Kansas.

    Anyway… I love listening to the Carpenters. I enjoy a lot of what Richard and Karen did, especially in the early years. This song is a guilty pleasure for me, but I was inspired to write this post because I happened to hear it a different way on that day. And I’ve been listening to it since the late 80s (and probably before then, too).  

Melanie Kyle

January 4, 2019 at 8:22 PM

Hi, I actually know Dru. I met her in the early 90s and we became very good friends. She went to school with Richard told me that she was very hurt by this song. He was judgmental and nasty toward her. Basically, he was clean cut and she was a hippy and he bullied her both at school and by writing and then publishing this mean inaccurate song. 


  1. knottyJanuary 4, 2019 at 8:56 PM I’m sure knowing the woman behind it makes it seem all the more mean spirited… it doesn’t seem very becoming to the Carpenters. And I am sure Dru was mortified.

music, videos

It’s Friday, so…

Here’s a new video. I bought a new interface for my computer in case I ever get good enough at guitar that I can record myself playing. Also, I had been using Shure xlr to x2u device, which makes it possible to connect dynamic non-USB mics to the computer. I’ve so far owned four of those devices. They’re expensive, limited in what they can do, and after about a year or two, they tend to break.

This new interface allows me to sing into a mic without an extra doohickey that can break and cause the sound to go out. I suspect it will also be more robust and, should Bill ever want to record his guitar playing, there are spare jacks for that, too.

So anyway, this video was made with the new audio equipment. The pictures are of Bill and three of the five dogs we’ve rescued so far. I think it turned out alright…

Yeah, it’s a little like elevator music, but it’s only three minutes. And I have a soft spot for The Carpenters. I think this new interface could be a game changer!

Next week, we’re taking a trip, so that means new photos! Yea!

musings, narcissists

Love me for what I am…

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Carpenters’ music. I know some of it is super schmaltzy and borderline insipid, but they did have quite a few poignant songs that resonate decades after they were recorded. For some reason, I was reminded of a song from 1975 called “Love Me For What I Am”. The first time I ever heard it was on YouTube. Someone made a school project about anorexia nervosa and used “Love Me For What I Am” as background music. I can’t find that specific video now, but I was struck by how perfect the song was for Karen Carpenter, who famously suffered and died from years of anorexia nervosa.

Karen Carpenter sings her version of the blues.

Anorexics often become obsessed with perfection to the point at which they completely lose touch with reality. They might focus on one part of their body that isn’t quite right, losing sight of the fact that they have become emaciated and extremely unhealthy looking. For years, there was a theory that anorexics got the way they are because someone else had expectations for them that were too high. Nowadays, I think the theories have changed regarding why a person develops an eating disorder. It’s no longer automatically attributed to the pat hypotheses of yesterday– absentee father, demands for perfection, or not wanting to grow up. The truth is, people develop eating disorders for different reasons.

Although “Love Me For What I Am” seems like a perfect plea from someone suffering from anorexia nervosa, I think it’s actually more appropriate for someone in love with a narcissist. If you pay attention to the words, which were written by John Bettis and Palma Pascale, they describe a whirlwind romance that slowly develops into a hypercritical hell. Narcissistic people frequently give their love interests “the rush”, flooding them with positive regard and lovebombing them into believing perfect love has suddenly bloomed.

What makes this song different is that most people involved in this type of relationship lack the self awareness to see what is happening. As Karen pleads for her lover to “love me for what I am, for simply being me”, she might as well save her breath. Narcissists aren’t capable of that kind of love and they almost never change. They only love themselves… and even that “self-love” is kind of iffy and not very genuine.

The words go:

We fell in love
On the first night that we met
Together we’ve been happy
I have very few regrets

The ordinary problems
Have not been hard to face
But lately little changes
Have been slowly taking place

You’re always finding something
Is wrong in what I do
But you can’t rearrange my life
Because it pleases you

You’ve got to love me for what I am
For simply being me
Don’t love me for what you intend
Or hope that I will be

And if you’re only using me
To feed your fantasy
You’re really not in love
So let me go, I must be free

If what you want
Isn’t natural for me
I won’t pretend to keep you
What I am I have to be

The picture of perfection
Is only in your mind
For all your expectations
Love can never be designed

We either take each other
For everything we are
Or leave the life we’ve made behind
And make another start

You’ve got to love me for what I am
For simply being me
Don’t love me if what you intend
Or hope that I will be

And if you’re only using me
To feed your fantasy
You’re really not in love
So let me go, I must be free

I decided to record this song today. I recorded it four or five times. Sure enough, I was focused on perfection. Even as I listen to it right now, I am not totally happy with it, even though I know it’s pretty good for amateur hour. We waste a lot of time trying to achieve perfection, which is mostly impossible to reach. That is especially true when you’re trying to record vocals live on the Internet. You get static, distortion, or the timing is thrown off because of the instability of the Internet connection. When I want something more perfect, I use Garage Band, which has its own issues. But at least when I use Garage Band, it’s done offline and I get more clarity.

The funny thing is, it doesn’t even really matter how perfectly I record it. Not that many people bother to listen to what I record. The desire for perfection is for me, because like a lot of people, I don’t like to hear the sound of my own voice. I can’t simply enjoy the fact that I have a voice– good or bad– and have the ability to use it to communicate.

The Carpenters were always good for emotional, introspective songs. They also did “I Need To Be in Love”, which I also decided to do this morning. This one, I sang in one take. It’s probably not close to perfect, but I’m somewhat happier with it, even though I didn’t get the rhythm quite right, and the mic goes in and out. I guess it’s close enough to perfect for me. Actually, it’s not. I had to do it again… and it’s still not quite right.

I’m not a perfectionist about everything, only certain things, like music and writing. Some people are perfectionists about every aspect of their lives, particularly regarding other people. They have a fantasy of how things should be and they try very hard to make other people buy into their vision. It’s enough to drive an innocent person crazy. I may drive myself crazy trying to hit a note in just the right way, with just the right emotion or inflection, or choose the right words and phrases to get my point across in the best way. But that focus is not on someone else; it’s only on me. I don’t tend to care that much about what other people think, in the grand scheme of things. I mean, if you insult me to my face, it will hurt my feelings. But I don’t go searching for other people’s opinions about me… and I can’t abide hypercritical people.

The more videos I watch by Les Carter and the more Internet posts I read from people being driven crazy by narcissists, the more it seems like it’s an epidemic that is damaging or even ruining other people’s lives. My husband spent years with a woman who didn’t value him for anything more than what he could do for her. He tried to love her for who she was, but she couldn’t reciprocate. She blamed him 100% for all that went wrong in their relationship. She couldn’t love him for who he was.

I know so many people in this predicament. It’s not just lovers or spouses, either. Narcissists are everywhere and involved in every kind of relationship, from boss and subordinate to landlord and tenant. These are people who cannot accept responsibility for who they are. They won’t admit mistakes or accept defeat, at least not without a tremendous fight. They portray themselves as long suffering victims, even when the facts point to the opposite. So, as eloquent and plaintive as Karen’s singing is, a narcissistic person will never love her for who she is. It’s not in them. They’re always looking for flaws and defects, much like an anorexic is always looking for one part of their body that is “too fat”. They can’t get past the distortion that allows them to simply accept and trust another person and allow them intimacy.

The people I have known who were narcissistic usually had difficult childhoods. At least two of the known narcissists in my life didn’t have access to their biological mothers. It’s probably a coincidence, since I know not all adoptees turn into narcissists. The ones I’ve known didn’t have good relationships with their adoptive mothers, either, and exhibited feelings of anger due to being abandoned. But I will admit that I haven’t spent much time studying this link, at least not at this point. True narcissistic types have never learned empathy. They somehow stopped developing emotionally when they were still children. They have to be right at all costs, and will stoop to very low levels to achieve what they think is the upper hand.

Still, I have to admit to loving Karen Carpenter’s take on narcissism in the song “Love Me For What I Am”. She’s taken other people’s lyrics and injected them with heart and soul. One would have to be made of stone not to be moved by her emotional reading. Sadly, a lot of narcissists are like that.

Interestingly enough, my husband Bill doesn’t like Karen Carpenter’s voice as much. He says she’s too technically “perfect” for him. He doesn’t hear emotion in her voice. I think he hasn’t listened to enough of her deep cuts… or maybe we just have a difference in opinion, which is alright, too. Some of the Carpenters’ songs are truly cringeworthy, even if Karen could sound good singing the phone book. Just my opinion, of course. Some people feel that way about Barbra Streisand, who impresses me more when she acts than when she sings.