Friday, August 31, 2007

201/365, aka 365/365 Roam

Fly the great big sky
See the great big sea

Kick through continents

Bustin’ boundaries

Take it hip to hip rocket through the wilderness

Around the world the trip begins with a kiss

Ah, what to write for what might be one’s final post in the Dancing about Architecture project? I thought about Mozart’s Requiem, because that piece slays me in its utter requiemness. (Plus, I used to know the alto part, so my mind just loves to follow that line along . . .).

But I digress. I am, in fact, signing off today. I have taken Helen’s suggestion and slapped a 365 before the 365 in this post’s alternate number. I like 201. I challenge all of you on the project to get this far—better yet, get to 365! I’ll keep reading.

But I’ve decided that the daily music thing is wearing me out and that I miss working on Alphabird, where, according to Helen, I am currently engaged in breaking the record for the world’s longest kiss. I don’t want kissing to get too boring, so I really need to come up for air over there.

I hear a wind
Whistling air

Whispering in my ear

“Roam” is one of those B-52’s feel-good songs. I’m old enough now to have lived to see its use in a cell phone service ad. But it seems like a good song for the grand finale. Cheery, full of dreams, maybe even some freedom. Plus, there are camels in the video! And they show up more than once! This song makes me think of Mali, one my favorite blogger/world travelers. Here’s to you, my adventurous friend!

As I sign off, I am happy to announce that my dear friend Sewa Yoleme is signing on for a month, beginning tomorrow, with his new project, September Songs. I can’t wait to read him. I encourage you to do so. Bookmark that bad boy.

Here’s “Roam.” This video is so much fun, so vintage. Keep writing, and watch for me at Alphabird. I’ll try to get back there soon, after a little roaming . . .

Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without wings, without wheels
Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without anything but the love we feel

Thursday, August 30, 2007

200/365 Dat Dere

Hey mama, what’s that there?
And what’s that doing there?

Hey mama, up here!
Mama, hey look at that over there!

And what’s that doing there?

And where’re they going there?

And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?

Who’s that in my chair?

And what’s he doing there?

Mummy, up here!

Mummy, can I go over there?

Hey mummy, what is square?

And where do we get air?

And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?

I love this song. It’s been around longer than I have, which gives it a bit of that “always been there” feeling. But I have to admit that until recently, I had taken for granted that it was written as a song—music and lyrics together. If it has words, it always did, right? Well, digging into its past, I discovered I was dead wrong about that.

Of course I’d heard Art Blakey play it. I didn’t realize that the guy who wrote it—the tune—was part of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, pianist Bobby Timmons. A little later, Oscar Brown Jr. added the lyrics. (Susan, no doubt, knows all this. Duh.)

I think the only recording I have of it is Rickie Lee Jones, and I love love love her cover (channeling Eloise now). It’s on Pop Pop. I have a strange memory of the first time I heard this CD. I was with my friends Janet and Jeff, and they took me to their friend’s apartment—was her name Ann? Had she and her partner broken up? Because I remember him, but not his name, and I think she lived in a house across the park with him before. Anyway, we’re in this basement apartment. It’s summer, it must be hot, but not as hot as it could be, because, as I said, it’s a basement apartment. Ann is there, and she puts this CD on, and all of us and Ann’s dog, which is some kind of basset hound, maybe, some kind of Hush Puppies dog, all of us just sit there as the sun goes down, and it goes down, and no one moves to turn on the light, and there is just this mellow CD of Rickie Lee Jones singing all these wonderful standards, most of which are slow moving but fluffy like clouds. Hi-lili, hi-lili, hi-lo. And I must must must have this CD, ooooooooooooooooooo I absolutely love this song.

So first, here’s Rickie Lee Jones, words and all, being fabulous, and second, for good measure and more fabulousness, here’s the classic by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Postscript Post, or A Little Extra for Wednesday

Faithful readers are sure to recall that about a month ago, Tim and I got up early one morning to attend a rocket launch with George, Michelle, and Emma. (For a refresher in the details, see “Rocket Man”; the most important detail is that George likes to launch rockets into which he has placed a small video camera.) About a week after the launch, a DVD arrived in the mail for us. Not only had the camera in the rocket worked well, but George had created a short film of first Michelle’s footage, then the rocket’s. This short film ends with actual George footage. You’ll see what I mean—I got word yesterday that he posted this piece on Youtube.

I managed to stay out of both video and audio range, but I was there, very much hoping that the descending rocket would miss our car. Given that I appear in the title of this film, this is likely the closest I have ever been—or may ever get—to being on Youtube.

Check it out.

199/365 Zydeco Gris Gris

Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the levees broke. I never got to meet the New Orleans everyone so loved.

My friend Elizabeth lost her family home in that storm. But she worked hard on a rebuilding project for some family friends, becoming part of the startup of a nonprofit group—the Conway House Project—to make things happen for one family. I recently got a postcard that Arthur and Ceal were due to move in mid-August.

To mark the day, here’s the Lafayette band BeauSoleil. If you ever get to hear them live, you may think you’ve died and gone to heaven. They are technically a Cajun band, not Zydeco, but this one’s called “Zydeco Gris Gris.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

198/365 Wheels

So I had a plane to take me to a place so far away from you
Eventually we began to see that we could be completely free
And I could get away from you
And you could get away from me
And we could live each separately in our cities in the sun

There were a couple of days last week during which I felt fairly worthless. I’d had a couple of conversations that had, without meaning to, rather shattered my self-esteem. I knew what I was feeling was temporary, but it sucked.

I had seen a movie earlier in the week, Waitress, during which a Cake song was played called “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” I like Cake, and I liked the song, but I don’t have that CD (and yes, I’m still a CD buyer). But I’d had that experience of having been so into my first Cake CD (Fashion Nugget) that when I bought my second (Pressure Chief), I played it a few times but wasn’t that into it, so I never bought another one. After the movie, I thought I should give Pressure Chief another try. It could be Los Lobos/Colossal Head all over again.

It kinda was. All of it sounded good on Friday. The first track, “Wheels,” is one of those great, bitter, I-am-so-over-you songs. (But then again, no: [I don’t know] why you say you are not in love with me.)

Then a friend called me with a story about picking up the phone to—on a whim—call a former lover who had pretty seriously screwed up her world a couple of years back. She’s over him, quite moved on, and in a position of strength-and-being-past-it-ness, so she called him to check in.

Thinking back on this love gone seriously wrong brought this song into my head once more.

It sounded like their conversation was tentative, but good, maybe healing. I can’t say I would have advised her to do this, if I’d been asked. Sometimes it’s best to never see or talk to someone again. (Obviously, though, I can’t know what’s best for someone else.)

There are very few people in the world I hope to never see or hear from again, but maybe one or two or three bring that Clarence Darrow quote to mind: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” So far, these people have not appeared in the obituaries, so I don’t know for sure that reading them would bring me pleasure—but it’s possible they would not bring me sadness either. Who knows? So far, I don’t.

Speaking of possible death, I found this great longboard footage on Youtube to go with this song. Totally fun.

In a seedy karaoke bar
By the banks of the mighty Bosphorus
Is a Japanese man in a business suit singing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
And the muscular cyborg German dudes dance with sexy French Canadians
While the overweight Americans wear their patriotic jumpsuits

Monday, August 27, 2007

197/365 Love You Like a Man

Last night I went to a kickass party. Leo had (what might be becoming) his annual lobsterfest.

The lobsters arrived from Maine yesterday afternoon.

It had been a long day, what with finally making it to the Washington County Fair after all these years, and I was pretty tired when it that was time to decide to make an appearance at the party. All four of us who had planned to go together—me, Tim, Alison, Sioux—were extremely low energy. Sioux suggested we start by unwinding on her porch by the river.

We did. Had a beer and some talk. For two of us, it was a school night, so at six o’clock I initiated migration. I knew that none of us had energy, but that we’d all be glad we’d gone once we got there.

That feeling turned out to be immediate. Leo’s place is right in the village, and he has this huge backyard, which was already filled with a hundred or so people. The party had started midafternoon, I think. I have no idea how Leo could serve so many lobsters to his friends. At some point, he made an announcement that he still had “about 100.”

There was live music from local musicians. Matt played his guitar a good bit, and Darcie got up to sing with him. She’s got a killer voice, and her first tune was “Love Me Like a Man.”

“Love Me Like a Man”—rather, “Love You Like a Man”—was written by Chris Smither when the guy was like, twenty-three. It is a great song. And although the Bonnie Raitt version is admittedly amazing, there is nothing like hearing Smither do it. Not sure why it is that I can feel these lines in my loins when he sings them:

Cause they all want you to rock them
Just like their back ain’t got no bone
What you need is a man who can rock you
Like your backbone was his own

There’s something about the original version that’s all baby-here’s-what-I’m-gonna-do-to-you that’s different from the woman’s switch to baby-here’s-what-I-need-you-to-do-to-me. There’s something about a man singing about other men having their balls up on the shelf that hits harder than a woman singing about guys who have their souls up on the shelf. Yeah, I know Bonnie recorded it in 1972 for a wide audience. It’s still a down-and-dirty song, but it’s been cleaned up for people to look at it. I wish I could find a Smither clip of it, but alas. You’ll have to listen to Bonnie (always a treat).

Being in the room with Smither is a jaw-dropping experience. (I know what you’re thinking. Stop it. But I’ll continue in this double-entendre vein.) The more intimate venue, the better. To get a slight taste of him, here he is (in a nonintimate venue) covering Dave Carter’s “Crocodile Man.” Smither always says he should’ve written this one, and believe me, it’s surprising he didn’t, because it sounds like him:

Mama she raised me on riddles and trances
Fatback, channel-cat, lily-white lies
Rocked my cradle in a jimmy-crack fancy
Never knew papa and I never asked why

Now that’s poetry. Like last night’s party. So glad I was there.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

196/365 Bamboleo

About a decade before the turn of the century, back when the old gang was in its prime, we would eat many a dinner together, consume many a bottle of wine, and inevitably someone would throw on the Gipsy King’s self-titled CD. It starts with “Bamboleo,” which always managed to get us going, somehow, and remind us that together, the eight of us were our own perfect party.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

195/365 You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Whoo-ee! Ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, oh, are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair!

Twenty-one years ago today, I got legally married. It was the justice-of-the-peace (or is that piece?) wedding, our first wedding, the one down at the Rockville courthouse with one witness. The JP’s name was Bass, and afterward, we rented a canoe and went bass fishing on the Potomac.

It was a Monday. We were playing hooky.

Before we got married, during the long-distance times, this Bob Dylan song was one Tim turned me onto. It always makes me think of him, and how much I love him, and how lucky I am.

Here’s Roger McGuinn (of the Byrds) and the Rock Bottom Remainders, with Steve Martin sittin’ in on banjo.

Friday, August 24, 2007

194/365 Walk on By

I just can’t get over losing you
And so if I seem broken and blue
Walk on by, walk on by
Foolish pride
Is all that I have left
So let me hide
The tears and the sadness you gave me
When you said goodbye
Walk on by

Happy birthday, Deloney! What song could I possibly choose to wish you well? In searching “happy birthday” on YouTube, I did briefly consider Marilyn Monroe singing it to JFK because it’s so culturally/historically…well, strange…but ultimately, given how I love All Things Burt and you love All Things Dionne, I thought maybe this fab classic would be just the thing.

The lyrics I’ve chosen to quote at the top of this post reflect my deepest feelings every time you freakin’ delete one of your blogs.

Do have a wonderful day.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

193/365 Gonna Fly Now

Fifteenth birthday
Green dress
Ferguson tix
A man to impress

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

192/365 Cassidy

I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream.
I can tell by the mark he left, you were in his dream.
Ah, child of countless trees, ah, child of boundless seas.
What you are, and what you’re meant to be
Speaks his name, though you were born to me,
Born to me, Cassidy.

Way back in the 80s, when I wasn’t 100% sure I wasn’t going to have a kid, listening to this Grateful Dead song always made think that if I did have one, Cassidy would be a good name. I mean, it’s fabulously androgynous. And there’s something so earthy and mysterious about this song—even though I can’t claim to understand it, the words manage to create paintings and short films in my head that I really like. So that wouldn’t be such a bad thing to be named after, would it? Born to me, Cassidy.

But then, suddenly, the name got really popular. Which meant that I would never use it.

Turns out I didn’t need to worry about all that, given my ultimate blissful child-free status (blow the horn and tap the tambourine!).

Still, I love the song, and I love its benediction: Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by its own design.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

191/365 Frank Mills/Sodomy

My childhood record stash had its share of Broadway musicals. A lot of these belonged to my parents first, but some, like Hair, belonged to the kids. I listened to this album a lot, and it’s possible I was listening to it a lot before I was 10.

As Sewa Yoleme can attest, I love a lot of the ditties in this musical, and he and I—at least once—have rolled the windows down in the car, played the soundtrack full blast, and sung along even louder (I am such a hag). I have a lot of favorites, but two of them are “Frank Mills” and “Sodomy.”

“Frank Mills” is just such a syrupy ballad. I mean, it’s perfect. So yearny. So naïve. So I-want-the-bad-boy-but-what-will-my-friends-think.

I met a boy called Frank Mills
On September twelfth right here
In front of the Waverly
But unfortunately
I lost his address

He was last seen with his friend,
A drummer, he resembles George Harrison of the Beatles
But he wears his hair
Tied in a small bow at the back

I love him but it embarrasses me
To walk down the street with him
He lives in Brooklyn somewhere
And wears this white crash helmet

He has gold chains on his leather jacket
And on the back is written the names
And Mom
And Hell’s Angels

I would gratefully
Appreciate it if you see him tell him
I’m in the park with my girlfriend
And please

Tell him Angela and I
Don’t want the two dollars back
Just him!

This is one easy song to croon. Or belt. Ask Sewa to sing it to you sometime. (Or Susan, I’m guessin’.)

I once had an international “Frank Mills” moment. A decade ago, Alison and I took a trip to Scotland. When we arrived at the train station in Edinburgh, the Waverley, there was a street performer out front (a young man with a guitar), singing this one. I mean, he had to, didn’t he?

“Sodomy,” another song short enough to list all the lyrics below, may in fact be my first exposure—so to speak—to some of these words, and it’s likely that I was singing them long before I understood them.


Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
Kama Sutra

In retrospect, it seems that Hair was a useful stepping stone in my education.

[Here’s a special “Sodomy” clip for Sewa. It may be too dark and creepy for most of you, but the guy does all right.]

Monday, August 20, 2007

190/365 Lighthouse

Lighthouse tall and grand
Standing on that cold headland
Shine your light across the sea
For a wayward sailor girl like me

I have to go back to work. Right now. First stop: Read final pages for a quarterly journal. So many stops after that.

But it was a good vacation.

“Lighthouse” isn’t my favorite Waifs song, but it’s a good one, and it’s available on YouTube. They played twice in a town near me. I missed it the first time, but after the reviews, I did not miss it the second time. It was among the best of concerts I’d been to, and I’d had no idea who they were.

Sadly, they haven’t been back.

Sadder still, it’s Monday morning.

Oh lighthouse man I’m all at sea
Shine a little lighthouse light on me

Sunday, August 19, 2007

189/365 Manhã de Carnaval

I’m back. What a perfect vacation that was.

This year, everyone who showed up was a repeat—we all had been there the same week previously. There’s an amazing energy with this group, no doubt in part a result of Tim and Valerie’s cocktail parties.

Valerie went a step further this time and organized a music night so that we could formally hear all the informal recorder, guitar, keyboard, violin, clarinet, and harmonica playing that had been happening in various corners of the camp.

John, the professional, played several, but my favorite was his “Manhã de Carnaval” (mmmmmm…Brazilian). You can sample his interpretation of it here at CD Baby (although it pales compared with being in the room with him), or listen to the classic with Luiz Bonfá and Caterina Valente.

That night, I was aware of my happiness.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

188/365 Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Back when I had goals and aspirations, I thought I’d do a week of camp songs, posting ahead while I was away. Instead, you get one camp song, and I’m off for a week.

My friend Lee used to do a version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to the tune of “Psycho Killer.” An amazing guitarist, he was somehow quite able to pull this off.

This version features Bono and U2 (or perhaps Mono and ME2).

Friday, August 10, 2007

187/365 Carolina in the Pines

She came to me said she knew me
Said she’d known me a long time
And she spoke of being in love
With every mountain she had climbed
And she talked of trails she’d walked up
Far above the timberline

This week, this Michael Murphey song came into my head, completely unbidden. I don’t think I’d thought of it in 20 years. Must be because I’m going to Northbrook on Saturday—my one true week off this year.

Bluegrass bands like to cover this one. Here it is by the Saltgrass Band.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

186/365 Ripple

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone.

Today’s the anniversary (twelfth) of Jerry Garcia’s death. I can easily remember this, because it’s my parents’ wedding anniversary (forty-ninth). It’s also the anniversary of the day that Nixon physically left office (thirty-third), which my parents considered a personal anniversary gift (really).

The day Jerry died I was sadder about a musician dying than I’d ever been. It kind of surprised me, actually.

I had very recently moved to Vermont and was by no means fully employed yet. It was a hot, hot summer. I spent the afternoon—in the house across the street from where I am right now—lying around on the couch, listening to Dead CDs.

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

185/365 It’s All Over Now

Well, baby used to stay out all night long
She made me cry, she done me wrong
She hurt my eyes open, that’s no lie
Table’s turnin’ now her turn to cry
Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now

Beatrix Kiddo. When this project started, I truly believed she would be a diehard. She’s all about the music and would have been great.

But she’s a busy woman, and it just never got off the ground.

So that’s that.

She loves the Stones.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

184/365 Big Black Bird

Can you see that big black bird
Sitting in yonder tree?
I wonder what that big black bird
Is thinking as he’s looking at me
I wish I were that big black bird
Sitting in yonder tree
Then I think, I think I’d know
What if felt like to be free

On April 24, Maureen signed off with the peepers.

She was only in this project for 100 songs. And she quit at 87.

Just 13 to go. I couldn’t believe it. But I have a feeling that part of Maureen’s MO is to leave her audience wanting more.

I do. I wish she’d start blogging again. I hear she’s quit doin’ that though. I envision her off dancing in Cape Breton somewhere.

But instead of posting a Cape Breton fiddle tune, I’m going with Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, as there are finally a few clips on Youtube. Maureen kept blogging songs that Rani Arbo’s group had covered, either back in the Salamander Crossing days or in the current Daisy Mayhem incarnation.

Daisy Mayhem includes two Salamander Crossing folk: Rani Arbo and Andrew Kinsey. This is one of Kinsey’s songs.

Can you see that river roll
Rolling on down to the sea?
I wonder if that river knows
Just what’s become of [Maureen]

Monday, August 6, 2007

183/365 Let’s Misbehave

They say that spring means just one thing
To little lovebirds
We’re not above birds—Let’s misbehave!
It’s getting late and while I wait
My poor heart aches on
Why keep the brakes on? Let’s misbehave!

I miss Helen. Not in the “Hey, Helen, let’s you and I misbehave” sort of way, but I always felt I had a like-minded, utterly base buddy out there whose mind would find double entendre anywhere the slightest whiff of it lurked and for whom single entendre could inspire the running of a celebratory mile.

Of course, she’s out there reading and commenting, thank god, and she’s utterly honest about her need to take a break and announces it. I appreciate that. So I still get to be around her wit a bit. But when you’re writing as well as she is in public, I say, hey, get a blog.

Here’s Cole Porter for Helen (and just the slightest bit for Sewa Yoleme, because he loves it so).

If you want a future, darling,
Why don’t you get a past?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

182/365 Crescent Noon

Green September
Burned to October brown
Bare November
Led to December’s frozen ground
The seasons stumbled round
Our drifting lives are bound
To a falling crescent noon

Dona, of Jeux Sans Frontiers: Another mother, disappeared for the summer, gone since June 15. I have a special place in my heart for Dona. First, we’ve lived in two of the same towns (Elgin and DC). Second, she’s the type of person who goes out of her way for others. For me, when she was visiting Elgin, she took photos of the house I lived in 20+ years ago. Then, after a Carpenters post, she sent me some bootleg. Whatta gal.

Frankly, I’ve been so overworked lately I haven’t had time to check to see if she’s blogging on her other sites.

But for her, a Carpenters song, one that only people who had their albums would know, a very not-pop number called “Crescent Noon.” One of the slowest and melancholy tunes I listened to as a kid, in all likelihood. One that I actually liked.

The good news is, Dona’s a blogger. If she’s disappeared here, I’ll very likely be able to catch her somewhere else. Eventually.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

181/365 Lovely Rita

Lovely Rita meter maid
Nothing can come between us
When it gets dark I tow your heart away
Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in a ticket in her little white book

Writing really seems to be performance art for Deloney. Not only will he abruptly stop a project, but he pulls it out from under you—no more access. So when he was done with his music project, Grace Notes (excellent title), it just disappeared from cyberspace, never to be seen again.

And now I find that The Danforth, née Fanny, is gone.

Where is he? He writes bits that make me drool.

His blogs are like time ticking away on a meter.

Friday, August 3, 2007

180/365 Sad Lisa

Open your door, don’t hide in the dark.
You’re lost in the dark, you can trust me.
’Cause you know that’s how it must be.

Lisa. The woman who started it all. Dancing About Architecture herself. She hasn’t posted since June 23! Lisa, Lisa, where are you?

Of course, I know the answer to this. It’s summer, and she’s off being a good mom, spending time with her kids. The child in me wants to remind her that she’s mother of this very blog group, and although we all need to eventually grow up and live our own lives (and obviously, some are already doing that), she still has an obligation to be here for us—not let us flail about like so many bad dancers. Ah, sad Indigo.

For Lisa, whom I miss, Cat Stevens.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

179/365 The Needle and the Damage Done

I caught you knockin’
at my cellar door
I love you, baby,
can I have some more?

I can stop anytime I want.

Blogging, that is. I figure it’s an obsession, not an addiction.

My problem is—well, one of my problems—this obsessiveness I have about needing to finish what I start. So apparently, if I make a slash mark and follow it by 365, I expect myself to fill up the numbers on the front end.

But I could quit. Couldn’t I?

I mean look at what’s happened. All these 365ers come over to this project, and some have completely disappeared, and some may have.

I don’t intend to quit blogging. It’s just that this particular daily aspect of it is wearing me down, and others have disappeared, which is very not motivating. I would go back to Alphabird, the blog I miss. She’d forgive me this other obsession. Wouldn’t she?

Now I find a new blog link on this project by a blogger whose 365 work I’ve been totally enjoying. Just when I was going to quit . . a hesitation.

I think in preparation for possibly quitting, I will honor the Fallen and Possibly Fallen with songs dedicated to them. (Stay tuned.)

And then we’ll see.

I’d say 200 posts is a worthy goal, but again, the very number is a rather arbitrary obsessiveness that comes from living in a decimal society.

Here’s Neil Young.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

178/365 It Ain’t Me, Babe

Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed

I just had breakfast downstairs in this hotel. Didn’t have time to go out. Too much work to do.

The syrup flowed as Muzak brought me this Dylan classic via a full-fledged orchestra.

How often do you think Bob’s subjected to these interpretations?

It ain't me babe. I swear it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

177/365 Rocket Man

And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
Til touch down brings me round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home

At 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, the phone did not ring. Tim said George would call if the rocket launch was on; if there was no call, there was no launch.

I looked outside. Perfectly sunny.

Is it windy? asked Tim.

I saw some ripples in the plastic-covered construction site across the way. But then I looked at an American flag, and it hung straight down, lifeless.


Around 7:30, Tim called George. His wife, Michelle, answered. George and daughter Emma had already head out to the launch site.

George was sure we’d gone to Rocky Horror and was afraid to wake us up. Plus, he thought he and Tim had left it that Tim would call him.

Luckily, we’d called in time.

It was a perfect day for a launch. So perfect that the first time the rocket landed extremely close to the liftoff point. I worried it would actually hit our cars in the lot.

Nothing had broken, so George got to launch again. This time in landed in the next field.

We’ll have to wait for the camera results. George mounts a camera inside the rocket, and when all goes well, the resulting footage is amazing.

Monday, July 30, 2007

176/365 The Time Warp

For July’s four Saturdays, a downtown Portland movie theater was playing Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight. I really wanted to go.

But midnight. Geez. I could barely make the midnight showings when I was young.

Still, we figured this past Saturday, we’d try.

That afternoon, we ran into Heidi’s main squeeze, Colin, at Maine Squeeze, the yummy new smoothie place downtown. Heidi had told Tim that she’d never seen Rocky Horror in her youth. When she’d tried to go, her mother hadn’t believed her, saying something to the effect, A movie at midnight? How stupid do you think I am? We’d been thinking about calling Heidi to remind her that it was the last night, so it was fortuitous running into Colin. He said yeah, they’d thought about going, but it was at midnight, and they were usually in bed by, like, 9:30.

Thank god. These people may be a decade younger than we are. I thought we were the only ones.

Apparently we’d all previously joked about how they needed a senior citizens’ showing, like maybe at 7 p.m.

Then Tim and I tried to stay up. We hung out in the room and watched some DVDs. I played a Youtube of “The Time Warp” to get psyched.

At 8, I was feeling pretty good.

Then George called. He was going to do another rocket launch avec attached camera on Sunday morning, early. Tim (over)confidently said we’d likely to go Rocky Horror, but he still wanted in. There was some discussion about who would call whom the next morning, which got muddled later, of course.

At 10:30, Tim was “napping,” and I was having serious doubts.

At 11:15, I turned off the light.

I love Rocky Horror. I do. I wanted so much to be the kind of person who could stay up til midnight and see it.

But I also know that it’s the first hour that’s really good, and the last half hour falls apart a little. Or at least it always seemed to. And I’m not sure if that’s because it actually does, or if it’s because by 1 a.m., something would have to be magnificent for me to not think, When will this be over? The last half hour of RH is not that, in my memory.

The thing is, the theater was practically just a jump to my left . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2007

175/365 You Shook Me All Night Long

I’m back in an urban environment for a few days. Yesterday, after a long, hot walk by the water, I stopped in coffee shop on the way to Suzanne’s new gallery. I was desperately thirsty. I picked up a bottle of water and got in the long coffee line.

This AC/DC song was on. Far from me, near the front of the line, this guy was totally rockin’ out to it. Singin’ a bit, the works.

He was black.

It suddenly occurred to me that I had never seen an African American guy rockin’ out to AC/DC.

Then I wondered if the realization of that was a racist thought of some kind. You know how white liberals are. Always on the lookout for their own racism, which they desperately hope isn’t actually there.

And yes, I know that the song is on Back in Black.

Of course, there are lots of things I realize I’ve never seen at the moment I first see them. If it’s taken me more than 27 years to see a black guy singing and dancing to “You Shook Me All Night Long,” well, then, that’s how long it’s taken me. When the song was popular, I was in a fairly white environment. My DC decade happened past the song’s prime. I’m not coming up with any time in my life when all proper stars would have naturally aligned for this occurrence. And I’ve never invited anyone of any race to come over to my place and forced them to listen to AC/DC. In fact, I don’t even play it when Tim’s around.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an Asian guy rockin’ out to this song either.

Maybe I should put that on the to-do list.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

174/365 Cocaine

It seemed that every time I turned on the radio the summer of 1980, I heard the live version of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.”

That was the summer I was 18. I’d graduated from high school. I was on my way to college. I was all the time begging for use of the family car.

I was gettin’ some.

This song was always in the air. And although cocaine wasn’t my drug of choice, the song was part of the perfect soundtrack to “Let’s get this party started.”

Friday, July 27, 2007

173/365 Fat Bottomed Girls

Are you gonna take me home tonight
Ah down beside that red firelight
Are you gonna let it all hang out
Fat bottomed girls
You make the rockin’ world go round

On Tuesday I woke up to some serious pain. My hip hurt, my knee hurt, as well as parts environ. All day. I got more than a little freaky about it, because last time I had hip pain, I did lots of physical therapy, lots of acupuncture, and really, the only thing that worked was to rest the hip. Which meant quit exercising in the fashion to which I’d grown accustomed.

That time, I didn’t feel completely pain-free for about two years.

So even a twinge in the hip freaks me out. Tuesday was a particularly bad day. I don’t know if it was bad because I was in pain, and this colored everything, or if the pain was just one more part of a bad work day. Politics in the office of my main client, you know. Nothing directed at me, but just same old stuff. The chronic pain of the organization.

I had my ice skates in the car. I decided it best to not ice skate.

Wednesday, after hip rest, a round of antiinflammatories, and a good night’s sleep, it felt better. But I decided to not get on my NordicTrack elliptical cross-trainer. And I decide to not go back to the river, which means climbing up and down that steep bank.

Thursday arrived with a few twinges. I cut back on the antiinflammatories. I again skipped the elliptical, but, living on the edge, I went to yoga class. So far, so good. Today I have a long day of car travel ahead of me.

Here’s the thing. I’m an eater. I love food, and I eat a lot. The only thing that makes this habit possible in any semihealthy way is the fact that I exercise almost every day. I was a chubby kid, and when I truly discovered exercise that I could love and manage at age 22, it changed my life.

It also works as an antidepressant.

I live in fear that I will have to stop.

But I am forever grateful to Brian May for writing it, to Freddie Mercury and Queen for singing it: that ballad to fat-bottomed girls.

Now your mortgages and homes
I got stiffness in the bones
Ain’t no beauty queens in this locality (I tell you)
Oh but I still get my pleasure
Still got my greatest treasure
Heap big woman you gonna make a big man out of me

Thursday, July 26, 2007

172/365 London Flat London Sharp

I’ve gone to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet a couple of times in the past few years. The experience is always transcendental.

The last time I went, I didn’t buy tickets til the day of the concert. There was a lot going on, Tim couldn’t commit, and I figured I’d see what the day would bring—then if tix were still available, I’d go by myself.

That morning I ran into Leslie at the post office. On a whim, I asked if she wanted to go, and she said yes.

I’d been warned about the balcony at the Paramount—about how the rows were too close together, that there was barely room for one’s knees. All true. But the only seats left were there.

We spent the first set in those uncomfortable seats. But then Leslie spotted some empty chairs on the side balcony—those kind you find around dining tables in ballrooms, ten to twelve to a table. She knew an usher and asked if we could go sit there.

We could. We sat right above the Dave Brubeck Quartet, stage right.

I alerted Leslie to my crush on Bobby Militello, the saxophonist. We realized that we were now close enough to possibly throw undergarments on stage. She suggested a bra, and I said I couldn’t do that, because, well, a bra in my size is just too embarrassing. This is when she recommended carrying a bra in a much larger size in one’s pocketbook, for occasions like this one.


Here’s Bobby and Dave, along with Michael Moore on bass and Randy Jones on drums.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

171/365 Someday My Prince Will Come

Have I mentioned how much I love Bill Evans? Hmmm. Looks like a word I used previously was awe. Let me say it now: I love Bill Evans.

Apparently Dave Brubeck, another favorite of mine, is the mastermind behind taking Disney tunes and turning them into jazz masterpieces. But my first exposure to both this tune and “Alice in Wonderland” was via Evans. The tunes themselves are good, of course. But jazz milks the sappy out of them. One suddenly sees that they aren’t so innocent after all, that they lie in wait in the keys, sultrily whispering “Play me.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

170/365 Bye Bye Blackbird

Pack up all my care and woe
Here I go, singing low
Bye bye blackbird

Today is one of those days I’m thinking about quitting this project. I mean, where is everybody?

Susan, thank goodness, still seems to be in. Bridgett is keeping me going. I see this morning that she’s posted more entries, which I am looking forward to reading just as soon as I get some work done.

I miss the rest of y’all. I’m glad Helen’s still reading.

Lisa, Lisa, this is your baby! Where are you?

Maybe the fact that I keep trying means that here it is, summer, and I have no life. It’s possible. I just sit here, editing medical copy, working on a quarterly journal, and hoping some song will come to me to post each morning. And then I hope to find the time to post it. Steal the time, really.

But I’m running out of steam.

At 182/183, I’d be halfway through. Maybe that should be my goal. To just make it halfway.

Here are the Jazz Birds singing Henderson/Dixon’s “Bye Bye Blackbird.”

No one here can love or understand me
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me

Monday, July 23, 2007

169/365 Turning Japanese

I’ve got your picture, I’ve got your picture
I’d like a million of you all round my cell
I want a doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well

Ah, crazy love.

I can’t help it. I love the 1980 Vapors single “Turning Japanese.” I don’t have it in my collection though—much to Tim’s obvious delight.

I don’t much care about the masturbation debate on this one. Obsession is as obsession does.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

168/365 We Like the Moon

Such an amazing sky last night. Stars everywhere, a bright half moon. We were driving home from another champagne-filled happy hour at Sioux and Duke’s (am I beginning to sound like an alcoholic?), and, upon seeing the beautiful moon, I rather predictably began belting out “We like the moon!”

Then I realized the song hadn’t made it into this blog yet, and it should be here.

“We Like the Moon” is performed by the Spongmonkeys, one of Joel Veitch’s animated creations on his This is the kind of humor one is likely to either like or dislike. I fall into the former category. This song always makes me laugh. The lyrics, posted below, are rather good.

We like the moon
coz it is close to us
we like the moooon!
but not as much as a spoon
cuz that’s more use for eating soup
and a fork isn’t very useful for that
unless it has got many vegetables
and then you might be better off with a chopstick
unlike the moon
it is up in the sky
it’s up there very high
but not as high as maybe dirigibles or zeppelins or lightbulbs
and maybe clouds
and puffins also I think maybe they go quite high too
maybe not as high as the moon
coz the moon is very high
we like the moon
the moon is very useful everyone
everybody likes the moon because it lights up the sky at night and it’s lovely and it makes the tide go and we like it
but not as much as cheese
we really like cheese we like zeppelins
we really like them and we like kelp and we like moose and we like deer and we like marmots and we like all the fluffy animals
we really like the moon

Saturday, July 21, 2007

167/365 I Can’t Get Next to You

I can fly like a bird in the sky
Hey, and I can buy anything that money can buy
Oh, I can turn a river into a raging fire
I can live forever if I so desired
Unimportant are all these things I can do
’Cause I can’t get next to you

There’s no real story here. I just think this is a great Temptations song.

Friday, July 20, 2007

166/365 I Think I Love You

This morning I woke up with this feeling
I didn’t know how to deal with and so I just decided to myself
I’d hide it to myself and never talk about it
And did not go and shout it when you walked into the room

I never got on the David Cassidy bus. I never really got it. I mean, I was like 8 years old when The Partridge Family began airing, and I really liked it, and I bought the records and listened to them ad nauseam, but Cassidy never tripped my trigger. So to speak.

But back in the mid-1990s, he wrote a book and went on book tour. My Internet search tells me this book must have been C’mon Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus. He was going to be at a signing at L’Enfant Plaza, a mere couple of blocks from my office.

So I told Sue.

Sue had definitely been on that bus.

She asked me to please buy her a copy of the book and have him sign it.

This left me in a bit of a dilemma, as I would do almost anything for Sue. However, I have this thing about idolatry, or even the appearance of it: It makes me uncomfortable. I did not want to be standing in a line of 30- and 40-something groupies for god knows how long waiting to get this book signed. I didn’t want to be seen doing it, which was quite possible.

Of course, the timing of the signing was such that I couldn’t take off work anyway. At least that’s what I told myself.

I did in fact go to the bookstore, buy a book, and leave it to get signed.

I walked past the bookstore at some point during the day and looked at that 2-hour line. I may have caught a glimpse of Cassidy, but I honestly can’t remember.

But Sue got her book.

This song is actually a pretty good one, I think, although I hate the bridge. Luckily, I’ve found an abbreviated version on Youtube that not only doesn’t include the bridge, but features Ron/Hermione footage, which seems an appropriate thing to post at fewer than 16 hours til the last Harry Potter book is released.

Apparently, there are many things for which people line up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

165/365 Here’s That Rainy Day

I’m scarily behind in my work. All it takes is to lose one weekday, it would appear. But yesterday I got lucky. It rained. All day.

I’m sure the rain wasn’t good for some things and some people, but for me, on a day when I needed to stay in, not only did it keep me from wanting to go outside, but the darkness of the skies and the sound of the heavy rain kept me feeling cozy and comforted. Someone on the verge of panic needs that.

I’ve always loved this Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen song. It has nothing to do with the yummy part of raininess, but it’s in my head anyway, so you get to hear it if you want to. Until I started searching Youtube, I didn’t know Astrud Gilberto had covered it, and, in my opinion, covered it well. She keeps showing up here. I must like her.

She goes well with cocktails.

Maybe I should have saved those leftover dreams
Funny, but here’s that rainy day
Here’s that rainy day they told me about
And I laughed at the thought that it might turn out this way

Where is that worn out wish that I threw aside
After it brought my lover near
Funny how love becomes a cold rainy day
Funny, that rainy day is here

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

164/365 Sad Songs and Waltzes

I’m writing a song all about you
A true song as real as my tears
But you’ve no need to fear it
’Cause no one will hear it
Sad songs and waltzes
Aren’t selling this year

I love this Cake cover of this Willie Nelson tune. The trumpet solo makes me wanna waltz in some smoky bar.

If you do want to hear it, the only link I found on Youtube has rather silly visuals. Feel free to close your eyes and soak in the bitterness.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

163/365 Don’t Be Shy

Don’t be shy just let your feelings roll on by
Don’t wear fear or nobody will know you’re there
Just lift your head and let your feelings out instead
And don’t be shy, just let your feelings roll on by

Yesterday the ashes of my 32-year-old cousin were interred at his father’s gravesite.

Eric worked in the film industry. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful cemetery in Mystic.

I kept expecting a psst!, then to look up and see Maude darting among the headstones.

Here’s Cat Stevens with advice for the living.

Monday, July 16, 2007

162/365 Theme from Monty Python’s Flying Circus

I’m just back from my cousin’s memorial service. I’m exhausted. It’s all quite surreal (and he was a funny guy), so today, as a bit of an intermission from my needing to think, I leave you with this theme.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

161/365 Girl from Ipanema

Does this ever happen to you? Suddenly, out of nowhere, you think, I need to hear some bossa nova. No? OK, maybe it’s just me.

Oddly, “Girl from Ipanema” was one of those songs I’d heard often but didn’t know the title to until well into adulthood. I probably wasn’t listening to the words. Often, back in my days at the catering service, I heard wedding bands playing it, and they usually didn’t bother to sing this one.

I work with a woman who actively hates this song (essentially, it’s her “Candy Man”). I am careful not to mention it around her.

My buddy Dana has a picture of herself standing in front of huge ship named the Ipanema.

Maybe there is something a little sixties-cheesy about bossa nova. Maybe that’s why I love it.

Here’s Astrud Gilbert.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

160/365 So What

Tim was working late Thursday night, getting the magic late-afternoon light for just the right shot. That left me needing to find dinner on my own. I seem to have little issue with eating by myself at lunchtime, but at dinner it can be tougher, especially if I want something in one of the finer restaurants.

I wanted Cambodian Hot Bowl at Natasha’s.

I figured I could sit at a bar. This can be a good option for introverts like me. I don’t really have trouble talking to people if they talk first. The question becomes, if I can get a seat at the bar, will I be the only one eating? With chopsticks? Is this going to work out?

I went. It’s basically a five-seat bar, and there was a seat available between a couple and this other guy. “So What” was playing on whatever they’re playing music on in restaurants these days: CDs programmed to random? iPods? Bar Guy was talking to a lingering waiter about John Coltrane.

The bartender’s name was Phaedra. Bar Guy told me. He’s a regular.

I hesitatingly ordered the Cambodian Hot Bowl, asking Phaedra how gauche it was to eat at the bar. She assured me it would be fine. I still had worries that I would be the only one scarfing down dinner. I didn’t want to be mocked.

Bar Guy couldn’t predict whether he would mock me. He claimed to be a Zen MockerTM who mocked only in the moment.

By the time the Cambodian Hot Bowl arrived, we were so engrossed in conversation about comedy, extreme darkness, good television, Michael Moore, blogs, and music that Bar Guy must have forgotten to mock me as I—and I alone—inhaled my bowl full of Asian vegetables, dainty rice cakes, shrimp, chicken, pineapple, fried banana, chopped peanut, mint, and cilantro. Every last bit of it. And I forgot to care that Others might be Watching.

I love this town.

When I left, “So What” had come around again.

Here’s Miles Davis, John Coltrane, et al. in 1958.

Friday, July 13, 2007

159/365 Ya Rayah

It was in that same Parisian grotto that I heard Rachid Taha for the first time. Alison and I were mesmerized by some song and asked the DJ to show us the CD, but I could never find it. It was probably never distributed in the U.S.

But I did find a CD of his that satisfied me, even though it didn’t have quite the drive of whatever it was we heard that night. Here’s the first track.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

158/365 It’s Raining Men

I didn’t return to Paris until after the turn of the century. My sister had been having a tough year, and there was an alumni event she wanted to attend at the American University of Paris. She’d attended the school—at the time a 2-year institution—in the mid-80s, back when bombs were going off.

Alison was willing to do all the legwork to set up the trip and make it affordable, so I agreed to go. A plus was that she had a much better command of French than I do, given her years living in Paris and Montreal.

Astoundingly, I had a great time at the alumni events. One night there was a cocktail party on a boat docked on the Seine, and we met a women who’d grown up in the same town as our mother. Another night there was a big dinner, and we sat with some fascinating people, including a German ambassador to France and a woman who taught school in Beirut.

After dinner, there was dancing in the grottolike cellar of the old building. For some reason, I remember “It’s Raining Men” starting up just about the time we got downstairs. When I hear that song now (which doesn’t happen that often), I think of that Paris night, of dancing in that fabulous space until way late, of trying to find a cab afterward and becoming more than a little concerned that that was not going to happen (and how would we get back to the hotel?), and of that young guy my sister made a date with for later in the week…

Here’s the original Weather Girls cut. This one’s for you, Sewa Yoleme.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

157/365 Stayin’ Alive

In June 1978, I went to Paris with the high school French club. It took a lot of begging and pleading on my part to get permission/funding from my parents. But it was worth it. We had a great time.

What surprises me about my memories is the amount of actual freedom we had. I remember an afternoon during which Cheryl and I, on our own, took the metro to the Rodin Museum because we really wanted to see it, and it wasn’t on the itinerary. I can’t imagine anyone these days thinking it would be OK for two teenage girls on a high school trip to run around the city like this unchaperoned. But it was fine, and we were fine, and it’s one of my best memories of the trip.

I also remember the two of us being alone and in search of lunch together, probably another day. It was then that these two dark strangers approached us. This was always happening when Cheryl was around. One of the guys was Tunisian. He could speak pretty good English. His friend was allegedly Parisian, and he spoke none. Our French was high-school pathetic. So Tunisian Guy played translator.

Saturday Night Fever had recently been released in Paris, and signs of it were everywhere. This was back in the days when films didn’t have a simultaneous international release. We Americans had been into it the previous year. But Tunisian Guy tried to impress us with his knowledge of the film. “Ah ah ah ah, staying alive, staying alive,” he crooned at us. “the Bee Gees! Saturday Night Fever!”

Whatever. That was so yesterday. But we indulged him. Yes, yes, Saturday Night Fever . . .

They found out we were looking for lunch and insisted on taking us to a Tunisian restaurant. We warily agreed, walking with them down small side streets til we finally got to this hole in the wall, where we had some delicious and dirt-cheap dish. It was fun. They weren’t too pushy, and when we said we had to get back to the group, they bid us adieu.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

156/365 Minimum Wage

Whenever I come to Portland, I envision a life hanging out in coffeehouses, wandering the streets, taking in a matinée, playing at city leisure. I always seem to forget that my deadlines are exactly the same as they are at home. That if I actually do those things, I will miss my deadlines. Or have to make up the time somewhere, somehow.

I’ve always loved this They Might Be Giants song. Social commentary at its best: two words and the crack of a whip.

Monday, July 9, 2007

155/365 I’ve Got to See You Again

I could almost go there
Just to watch you be seen
I could almost go there
Just to live in a dream
But no I won’t go for any of those reasons
To not touch your skin is not why I sing
I can’t help myself
I’ve got to see you again

Tim and I are in Portland, Maine, for a week. We are both hunkering down to work this Monday morning (I swear, as soon as I post this), but last night we did the dinner/movie/ice cream thing. We were getting ice cream when I heard a song that was familiar, and I was trying to place it. It took me a minute to come up with Norah Jones, “The Long Way Home.”

I can’t remember anyone having blogged about Norah Jones in this project (although I could be quite wrong), which in some ways is surprising, given her popularity. But the fact is, Jones got almost too popular for her own good. For awhile, you couldn’t go anywhere public without hearing her. The backgroundness of her became almost like breathing, to the point that one didn’t even notice her anymore.

I first heard her debut CD during one of the famous river-porch happy hours I attend in summer, back in 2002. It was months before the Grammy awards, months before her ubiquitousness. I was riveted. What a voice. How different to hear something like this, nearly jazz standardy in its quality. I was thoroughly impressed with Come Away with Me. One of my favorite songs was “I’ve Got to See You Again.” Here it is, a bit faster than its CD presentation.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

154/365 Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?

I know, it appears I’m on a 3-day Beatles kick. But they ask a legitimate question here, don’t they?

I’ll be in the car for 5 hours today, on my way to Portland, Maine, and my office-away-from-home.

No one will be watching us . . .

Saturday, July 7, 2007

153/365 Taxman

I opened a letter from the IRS this morning. They think I owe them $5K.

I don’t. I have til August 1 to prove it. I have a call into my accountant, but he’s a part-time resident here, and I’m leaving town tomorrow for 9 days.

This is so annoying.

Here’s the Beatles’ ode to the taxman.

Friday, July 6, 2007

152/365 Blackbird

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

It was 50 years ago today that Lennon and McCartney met, according to Deloney and other celebratory sources.

Here’s a not-quite-polished take of bird song.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

151/365 That’s All Right (Mama)

Mama she done told me,
Papa done told me too
“Son, that gal your foolin’ with,
She ain’t no good for you”
But that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, any way you do

According to Writer’s Almanac, Elvis Presley recorded this Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup song 53 years ago today.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

150/365 Stream

Yesterday Sioux and Aidan kidnapped me. We went to a kid’s play at the Weston Playhouse with Jerry and Roger, then back to their cabin to spend the night.

Their cabin is mere feet from the Utley Brook. Roger built a screened-in porch, and there’s a futon couch on it. Guess who went to sleep last night, under at least five blankets, to the sound of the stream?

This is not something I got to do in my childhood. It’s part of the childhood I wish I’d had.

And I finally got to see about a quarter of Roger’s 365 portraits. Yum.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

149/365 Movin’ On Up

I like reggae. I do. But it turns out I like it in small doses.

I went ice skating yesterday. It was great. There was hardly anyone there. But—as had happened on a previous occasion—the satellite radio was set to some reggae station, so I had to listen to it for a full hour.

Reggae’s just a little too slow (and dare I say monotonous, in the true single-tone sense of the word?) for skating, although every now and again a more lively tune would appear in the queue. An interesting one was a reggae version of “Movin’ On Up,” the theme song from the 1970s (and ’80s) sitcom, The Jeffersons.

I tried to find out who did the cover I heard yesterday, but I still don’t know for sure. Marley’s son Ky-mani has a song by that title, but it’s rappy—not it. It’s possible it was by Beenie Man, but I can’t find a sample. It was interesting, though, kind of fun.

Still, I would have skated a lot faster to the gospel choir version.

Monday, July 2, 2007

148/365 Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day

Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story’s
too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everybody’s on the stage, and it seems like
you’re the only person sitting in the audience?

Today the ice rink opens for 6 weeks. With any luck at all, I’ll be there this afternoon for the first public skate. Not in the audience.

But I could be an audience for this Jethro Tull song.

So as you push off from the shore,
won’t you turn your head once more
and make your peace with everyone?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

147/365 Waiting in Vain

I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love
’Cause if summer is here
I’m still waiting there
Winter is here
And I’m still waiting there.

This Bob Marley song has been in my head this afternoon for no apparent reason. Maybe I felt I was waiting in vain for a song to post.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

145/365 Sugar Mountain

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

This Neil Young song makes me feel . . . well, certainly no more than nineteen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

144/365 Stairway to Heaven

And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter

The last-dance predecessor to “Free Bird,” of course, was Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Because it was the last-dance song near the end of my middle school years and into the first bit of high school, it will always have a little bit of that you’re-still-alone-loser tint to it. For those with more of a social life, it’s probably more nostalgic. Perhaps we should ask Helen.

It’s too bad the piece was overexposed. It’s a good song. It’s got that almost hobbity feel that a few Zeppelin tunes manage to conjure.

And now I have blogged a gross of songs. How much longer can I possibly last?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

143/365 Free Bird

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.

Does this happen anymore in high school? There’s a dance. There’s a last dance. And the last dance is always the same song.

By the end of high school for me, the last-dance song was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” (Maybe I’ll discuss its predecessor tomorrow.)

I like Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Sweet Home Alabama,” for example, is a great song, even if it is too aggressive and conservative and gets its knickers in a twist over Neil Young.

And although it’s fun to get your stoner voice on and scream “Free Bird!,” I was never a fan of the last dance, having never danced it.

Whaddya do then? Do you sit on the bleachers and look longingly at the dance floor? Do you pack it up and leave while the song goes endlessly on and on? I vote for about 1 minute of (a), then, quickly, (b).

Tim and I are in the midst of a Buffy/Angel marathon. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 4, the character Giles gets a few opportunities to sing. The Scooby Gang walks in on him one night to find him singing “Free Bird.” When you hear Tony Head, alone with his guitar, crooning this, you may think, like I did, “Wow. This really is a pretty song.” Even though, once again, the message is “There are things [that have to be] way more important to me than you.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

142/365 Dedicated to the One I Love

While I’m far away from you my baby
I know it’s hard for you my baby
Because it’s hard for me my baby
And the darkest hour is just before dawn

It’s starting again. Tim’s off to Portland today, back and forth all summer long. I hope that I’ll be joining him for a week in July, but what with all the contractors coming this summer to suck up the rest of my savings account and make my backyard look backyardish again—as opposed to a the dumping ground for slate-formerly-known-as-a-foundation, which it currently is—I may not get to go. No matter what, Tim and I will be spending a lot of nights apart.

I’m still a sucker for the Mamas and the Papas, especially Cass. And this is a sweet song for those in the throes of apartdom.

Each night before you go to bed my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby
And tell all the stars above
This is dedicated to the one I love

Monday, June 25, 2007

141/365 I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl

I want a little sugar
in my bowl
I want a little sweetness
down in my soul
I could stand some lovin’
Oh so bad
I feel so funny and I feel so sad.

Ah, euphemisms. This is one of my favorites.

Tim’s crazy summer travel schedule has started, and he’s “home” for about 40 hours (minus that pesky office time).

So here’s some Nina Simone.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

140/365 Put Your Lights On

I spent all yesterday washing windows. I’m still not quite done. Tired, though.

One of the CDs that accompanied my labors yesterday was Santana’s Supernatural. I like this collaboration with Everlast, although its message may be ambiguous.

Cause there’s a monster living under my bed
Whispering in my ear
There’s an angel, with a hand on my head
She say I’ve got nothing to fear

Saturday, June 23, 2007

139/365 Last Train to Clarksville

’Cause I’m leavin’ in the morning
And I must see you again
We’ll have one more night together
til the morning brings my train.
And I must go, oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!
And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home.

Awhile back, Deloney got me thinking about the Monkees again. I don’t remember exactly what he was writing about, but it could have been this very song. As he seems to be a write-and-destroy-type guy, I harbor no illusions that I could find his words again.

Between that and then hearing some short excerpt from some Monkees song on some commercial, I picked up a greatest hits CD. That’s when I discovered that not only were some Monkees songs really good—some were really awful. At least to my ears.

There’s a handful or so I will always love, and they were among the most popular: the Monkees theme, “I’m a Believer,” “Steppin’ Stone,” “Randy Scouse Git,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “Daydream Believer.” All very respectable songs. And “Last Train to Clarksville,” of course, one of the Boyce and Hart songs, a knockoff of the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” written especially for the TV show.

I was 4 years old when “The Monkees” aired on TV, and I quickly developed a massive crush on Davy Jones. It may be the first crush I can remember. I find that embarrassingly predictable now, as he’s so not my type. In fact, based on looks alone, I would now find him the least interesting of the four. But I also had childhood fascinations with Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Flip Wilson, and Tommy Smothers. Were they crushes? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The only thread I can find is that from an early age, I had a thing for music and comedy.

A college friend of mine had more than a passing thing for Davy Jones. As an adolescent, she’d procured his autograph, and she carried it with her at all times. This woman—around whom men turned to jelly and who married first a man, then a woman—was someone who carried Davy Jones’s autograph. One day, sometime after college, I believe, her purse or wallet was lost or stolen, and the autograph was gone. The woman she’d married took it upon herself to get another one—I think she actually wrote to Jones to explain the situation. If I have all the details right, Linda did in fact get Kim a replacement autograph. The two eventually broke up, but I’ll bet Kim still has her bit of Davy Jones.

Funny thing is, even though at 4 and 5 I thought Davy Jones was soooo cute, he sang lead on only one of those songs I listed above. It’s Micky Dolenz’s voice I love.

There’s something so successful about “Last Train to Clarksville,” how the tune is able to convey an urgency that the words alone are not, at least not for me as a cynical adult, who wants to say to the guy, Yeah, well, why don’t you just make another choice? She’s important enough for smoochin’ and coffee, but apparently not important enough to stick around for.

Friday, June 22, 2007

138/365 In Spite of Ourselves

Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize

I have a lot of John Prine music. A lot. But most of it is earlyish stuff. What I didn’t have anywhere was him singing this one with Iris Dement. Thanks to Sewa Yoleme, who sent me the CD A Date with John Waters, that situation has been remedied.

This is a goddang fun song about longtime love.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

137/365 This Is the Theme to Garry’s Show

Back in the 80s, I was a fan of “It’s Garry’ Shandling’s Show.” It boasted just that kind of reflexive humor I enjoyed, something so about itself it was hilarious. This was no more obvious than in the theme song, which pretty much notes that it’s the theme song. According to Wikipedia, cast members didn’t like it. I wonder if that’s true. I loved it.

You can find it on Youtube, but its 30-secondsness comes at the end of the monologue. This particular clip cuts off at the very end, so here are the lyrics that endlessly amused me. I wouldn’t want you to miss anything.

This is the theme to Garry’s show,
The theme to Garry’s show.
Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song.
I’m almost halfway finished,
How do you like it so far,
How do you like the theme to Garry’s show?

This is the theme to Garry’s show,
The opening theme to Garry’s show.
This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits.
We’re almost to the part of where I start to whistle.
Then we’ll watch “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”


This was the theme to Garry Shandling’s show.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

136/365 Take This Job and Shove It

Ah, struggling nonprofits and their boards of directors. Boards of directors and executive directors. Perhaps a better choice today would have been Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” But I just feel like listening to David Allan Coe’s “Take This Job and Shove It.” Especially having spent 4 hours this morning making my own online access possible again.

I’m going to miss this director. Wonder who’ll be the next one?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

135/365 Sing Sing Sing

Benny Goodman and His Orchestra playing this piece of music is one of my favorite things ever. It’s so primal. You’d think that alone would clue me in to the fact that Louis Prima wrote it. But I didn’t figure that out for years.

Monday, June 18, 2007

134/365 Standing on the Corner

When one is but a young child spinning the songs of Broadway musicals on a turntable near green shag carpet, one doesn’t immediately understand all the nuances of the combination of memorized words that one is singing. Even before I was belting out “Big Spender,” I was listening to Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella—a show I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen. My favorite tune was a primer on the ways of men.

Brother, you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking
Or for the woo look in your eye
You’re only standing on the corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls
Go by

Sunday, June 17, 2007

133/365 Grand Canyon

Happy Father’s Day! Two of the three nights we’re in Boston, we’re crashing with the oh-so-generous Anna and her family. Pretty sweet.

Anna’s a singer/songwriter. Here’s a song she wrote for her dad. Check out her website (she’s a songwriter for hire), buy a CD. I recommend Open Now. (How’s that for a shameless plug?)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

132/365 Fat Man in the Bathtub

Spotcheck Billy got down on his hands and knees
He said “Hey momma, hey let me check your oil, all right?”
She said “No, no honey, not tonight
Come back Monday, come back Tuesday, then I might.”

Like any teenager, I spent a lot of time in my room spinning records. Senior year of high school, I couldn’t get enough Little Feat, in particular the albums Dixie Chicken and Time Loves a Hero. I never got tired of picturing a fat man in the bathtub with the blues.

All I want in this life of mine is some good clean fun
All I want in this life and time is some hit and run

Friday, June 15, 2007

131/365 Big Balls

Well I’m upper upper class high society
God’s gift to ballroom notoriety
And I always fill my ballroom
The event is never small
The social pages say I’ve got
The biggest balls of all

I love AC/DC. I find them hilarious, whether they are trying to be or not (I suspect they know exactly what they’re doing—Spinal Tap had nothing on them). Of course, you know enough about my raunchy side now to know that I’m going to love a song like “Big Balls.” Their humor may be a bit more subtle in other songs, but here, it’s right out there.

Some balls are held for charity
And some for fancy dress
But when they’re held for pleasure
They’re the balls that I like best