Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Black Oak Arkansas - “Jim Dandy”
My day job lacks excitement. Enter numbers and dates and accounts, reconcile, email some reports. I avoid phone calls and meetings like the plagues they are, a good day is getting up early and getting things done shortly after lunch so I can head to the coffee shop and read or write. (Last year work was driving me nuts and I scurried off to the coffee shop to read the paper and avoid a cash flow projection, the barista asked how I was doing and I said: “Good, now that I’m in the satellite office.” That got a chuckle.)
But when a new project comes along that involves research, a spreadsheet, and extra coffee? Well that puts the day’s excitement up to a six on a ten scale! An accounting client recently asked if I could complete a project with calculations that were assured to be complex. I fired up an Excel spreadsheet and applied my best data sorting, subtotaling, (and for good measure) Silver Surfer/Google search techniques. Voila … this file did everything they had asked and they didn’t have to sub the job out to somebody else. I left no money on the table.
After getting a high praise email on my work? I glided from my office to the living room, all the while singing the chorus of this song.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Morphine - “Cure for Pain”
When another pain hits and you imagine a future of using a cane or being in a wheelchair or wearing a back brace or learning to write left handed and on the worse days waking by going for an ice pack before coffee and hey forget those pills, maybe amputation is the best route ... you just know calling the 24/7 nurse or going to the clinic will result in “Naproxen, stretch, RICE” so you save time by researching physical therapy exercises on YouTube, making sure your ice packs are in the freezer, and embracing RICE:
Rest: No problem at all with this one, dude.
Ice: Ice, baby. You need more numbness in your life.
Compression: Strangle the f**k out of the pain, like you never can with your anxieties.
Elevation: Think of the Chance card, Mr. Monopoly with feet kicked up on desk.
And more often than not, after days or weeks the pain goes away and you take the time to hand-wash your compression bandages in Woolite. You sleep through entire nights and some mornings and while you enjoy a coffee or beer on these pain-free days, you vow to not take walking, standing, or writing by hand for granted ever again.
Tuesday, June 05, 2018
Billy Thorpe - “Children of the Sun”
An Aussie updates Billy Lee Riley’s “Flyin’ Saucers Rock and Roll” from 1957 with synths and power riffs. It’s the title track of what is allegedly (sez Wikipedia) a space opera, which takes up side two of the album. (Side one? Don’t ask. Let’s just say it was also futuristic as it presaged the worst stuff you’d hear on hits radio in the eighties.) And no, Roman, I don’t know if its hard sci-fi or not. I scored this on vinyl ten years ago (and the sticker on it indicated it had sat in the Roadrunner Records used LP racks for four years) and have only listened to it in its entirety twice, afraid that if listen more I may actually understand the opera’s plot and start blabbering about it to my two friends who remember this song. Then that’ll be two guys who would “forget” to invite me to bull sessions at the CC Club. I can’t get over the photo of Thorpe on the back cover and MOST IMPORTANTLY: this song was used in Fargo season two, when Rye Gerhardt was driving down the highway — undoubtably blasting Q-98 on the radio.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Guns n' Roses - “Live and Let Die”
Loft writing class summer of 2001, one evening a week, six sessions of learning a new form. After the last class I was pumped about what I’d learned and where I could take it. Feeling I deserved a reward, I headed a block over to Grumpy’s for what I thought would be a couple of beers and watching the Twins. I grabbed a seat at the bar, ordered a beer. The bartender poured a cold one and I sipped on it, daydreaming about my literary takeover. Then the perils of being around people slapped me down. As it did, as it does.
A tall overly-tan blonde gal in jeans and a gold top sat down next to me.
“I’m Sheila from KQ, how are you?”
“Fine.” (I don’t want to talk to anybody except the bartender.)
“What’s your name?”
“Bill.” (I should have lied, guess it wouldn’t do any good.)
“I’m doing a promotion tonight, going to be asking some trivia questions and doing giveaways.”
“Cool.” (It doesn’t sound cool. I just want to watch the game and have a couple of beers and be alone with my thoughts.)
She tapped me on the knee. “You’re going to help me.”
“So, where’s the ladies room?”
“Over there to the right.”
She left for the ladies room. Suddenly the bar seemed too loud, the air conditioning too chilly, and the evening sunlight a little strange. Wanting anonymity and believing that this minor celebration of mine deserved it, I pounded my beer, grabbed my bookbag, and fast-walked to the front door. Out on the sidewalk, I pulled my hat low and made for my car, muttering about promises to myself broken. There was beer at home. Goddamn you, KQRS.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
The Beaches - “Let Me Touch”
A. Rock Is Dead (Long Live Rock)
The new band, the new love. The chance to revise your outlook, reinvent yourself, recoup all the losses from these past years where you would turn on the radio or click an icon on your phone and be bored bored bored.
Late Show by The Beaches. You haven’t been this excited about an album since you started with Apple Music and found out it had Mitch Hedberg’s Strategic Grill Locations. To wit:
- There’s interjections: “Yeah!” “woo-hoo!” “hey!”
- There’s handclaps.
- Flawless production.
- Zero guitar solos.
- The whole go for broke-ness of it is breathtaking: 12 songs in 39 minutes means 3 minutes, 15 seconds per song. Not a wasted note and there’s no time to think before the next beauty hits.
- Even the slow song works.
- A throwaway line is better than your favorite lyric: “I want to go to the late show (and play tic-tac-toe”).
- And the lyrics are the best kind — not Deep Songwriter Thoughts, but lines that jab at you at stick:
“Play with the Queen of Ice you get cold”
“I’m just a girl I’m not a thing”
“Need to make money”
“You’re just an insult to my eyes and ears and mouth”
“I want a milk shake filled with pills”
These are anthems, these are goddamned anthems. The riffs slice perfectly, the hooks grab and don’t let go. How many times have you had a Beaches song going through your head as you wake up to shower, shave, coffee?
B. The Sign on the Door Says: “$2.00 per Person, $5.00 for Couples”
Dance party in the living room. Longnecks of Premium and cans of Bud Light Lime-A-Rita in the massive Schmidt seventies-style cooler on the kitchen floor and you have The Beaches blasting and you don’t worry about catering this because it’s like when you were young, get the big box of Old Dutch Rip-L chips and some French onion dip, those are the snacks fuck appetizers who the hell cares about food this is a party and we’re listening to The Beaches if you get hungry later pizzas are in the freezer. Now just want the music and to move around and feel it and smile and dance and Monday is a long ways away. Continue this past midnight until it’s pizza time with some wind-down music from 88.5 on the radio and then there is tomorrow to play The Beaches again and you can clean the apartment later, time to put hockey on the tube on mute and Late Show on the stereo, have a slow whiskey, and don’t plan anything, not for a while now. No worries, just enjoy the songs.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Joe Simon - “The Chokin’ Kind”
They said I was a smart kid because I got good grades. But when I was eleven, I proved to be wise beyond my years. The Vikings lost their fourth Super Bowl and I said: “I will never cheer for this team again.” Not only did I hold myself to my word, I have been actively cheering against them these past 41 years. They’ve been 0-6 in NFC Championship Games since and have continued their fifty-plus years pace of being a nationwide punchline. Lord, it’s been glorious.
This season’s NFC Championship game was one of the more enjoyable Vikings choke jobs. The Purple faithful were begging them to “bring it home”*, they said this team felt different than the sad sacks of the past, they told us the Vikings would win by scoring touchdowns and holding the Eagles to field goals. They told us Philadelphia was beatable at home (even though the Eagles were 8-1 at home, only losing when they rested starters in week 17), they said no way could Nick Freakin’ Foles beat a Mike Zimmer defense. The Vikings executed a flawless opening drive and then fell on their faces for the rest of the game. My favorite part was when Troy Aikman said “Doug Pederson has been one step ahead of Mike Zimmer all night” seconds before the Eagles ran a 41-yard flea flicker for a touchdown to put them up 30-7.
Ah yes, Mike Zimmer. The alleged defensive savant. This is the guy who Vikings fans think is the next Bud Grant. Zimmer has a ways to go before he can find a way to lose four Super Bowls, but we were assured that he is The Man like his mentor Bill Parcells. Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune told us a few years back that Mike Zimmer was like a chess grandmaster**. If Zimmer was playing chess, than Doug Pederson was playing 3-D chess like Spock in Star Trek. Zimmer had no clue what Pederson and the Foles-led offense were up to: The Vikings’ defense clowned around all day like any Vikings defense in a big game over the decades: There were missed tackles, blown coverages, and a noticeable scent of wanting to just quit and not play sixty minutes.
But hey that is the Vikings, that is what they do. They have been a thoroughly unlikeable team for decades now. From the hideous purple uniforms (which many times look blue on TV), to the stupid horn on the helmets, to the choking in big games, to the quitting in big games. And vs. the Eagles they went all Vikings by choking AND quitting. Buh-bye Vikings, you’ve been my favorite comedy for decades now. Hope your seasons-long history of failure is streaming on Netflix soon. I’d love to hear that Hank Stram cackle again.
* To quote Faith No More: What is “it”?
**Around the same time, Souhan also assured us that the Twins’ Paul Molitor was like a chess grandmaster. Good thing Wes So has two playing partners to square off against in town.
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
Tuesday Tuneage is on hiatus while I work on my screenplay for Escape From Lake Placid. (Ha - not really, but someone who has the a/v skills that I don’t has to do the Escape From New York/Miracle Kurt Russell switcheroo on YouTube ... Herb Brooks saying Snake Plissken quotes and vice versa ... c'mon!)
I’m working on something else for a while, it won't involve me posting here. If I find something that fits Tuesday Tuneage, I will post it. Thanks as always for reading.