Sunday, November 10th, 2013

The song stuck in my head all last week was The Bangles’ Manic Monday. Pick just about any one of their songs and I’ll tap my feet or sing along with it, so ordinarily I wouldn’t be bothered if one was stuck in my head for days on end, but Manic Monday is arguably the worst song The Bangles ever recorded. And I will argue the point right here and now. To death. You’re welcome.

What the hell is it about Manic Monday that made it so goddamn popular? The tune’s not especially catchy. Try whistling it. If you’re not bored after the first two lines, you will be by the time you get through the three-note bridge of the song. I’m not saying that every pop song has to be as intricately complex as a Beethoven minuet, but I’d like something a little more imaginative than a tune a chicken could peck out on a toy piano.

Then there are the lyrics. Even in a pop song, they’re supposed to be, well, lyrical.

Six o’clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream

Yeah, I hate it when that happens. Okay, I’m listening. What happened next?

I was kissing Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream

I’m not going to question how you knew it was an Italian stream. In dreams, sometimes you just know you’re in Italy, or the dog you’re talking to is actually your mom, or something really weird. But Valentino? Who dreams about Valentino? How many people these days even know who Valentino is? And Valentino was in movies before they were in color. Well, never mind. Bring on the next line.

But I can’t be late ’cause then I guess I just won’t get paid

What the hell was that? Did you write that on a napkin that was too wet to let you cross it out? That line’s as clunky as a 98 Ford Escort on its last legs! Fifteen-year-olds composing their first poems in the margins of their algebra workbooks write lines that scan better than that!

You guess you just won’t get paid? Why are you guessing? I think it’s a law that they have to pay you. Maybe a couple dollars less, and maybe your boss is going to yell at you, but all the places I’ve worked at had to pay me even when I was late.

And why just? Why won’t you just get paid? That doesn’t make sense. Don’t use “just” when it doesn’t make sense. There’s a special ring in songwriting hell for people who pad lyrics with junk syllables.

These are the days when you wish your bed was already made

I don’t make my bed unless I’ve got lots of extra time. First I shower, then I make my coffee, then I drink my coffee while I’m catching up on Facebook or watching cat videos, then I get dressed, and so on down the checklist of things I do every morning. Making my bed is the last thing on the list. If I don’t get to it, no biggie.

Anyway, you tell us later in the song that your boyfriend’s not working. Tell that shiftless bastard to make the bed. It’s the least he can do while he’s mooching off you.

Just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day
Just another manic Monday

I’m still not getting why it’s manic, other than it’s Monday and you’re making the shift from the weekend to the working week. Elvis Costello did it a lot better, by the way. You’ve got to do it, so you’d better get to it.

Have to catch an early train, got to be to work by nine, and if I had an aeroplane I still couldn’t make it on time

Okay, you’re not making sense again. You woke up at six o’clock. Most people don’t wake up that early unless an alarm goes off. You set an alarm for six, right? This is what you do every day, right? If so, how did you not have enough time to catch the early train? How early does that train have to be? How far away do you live from work that you couldn’t get there in time even if you flew, for shit’s sake?

And “aeroplane?” Are you kidding me? Who says “aeroplane” anymore? You’re padding again. Knock it off.

‘Cause it takes so long just to figure out what I’m going to wear.
Blame it on the train ’cause the boss is already there.

Oh. I’m starting to see now. You’re an employee with a record of attendance issues, aren’t you? “Sorry, boss, I missed the train.” “For the third time this month? Sure you did.”

Just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day
Just another manic Monday

Buy some work clothes. Black slacks, white shirts. Wear those every day. Stop thinking about what you’re going to wear and you won’t have to run for the early train any more.

Out of all nights, why did my lover have to pick last night to get down?
Doesn’t it matter that I have to feed the both of us, employment’s down?
He tells me in his bedroom voice, “Come on honey, let’s go make some noise.”

Wait a sec, why does he get to pick? You’re the working girl, you pay the rent, you bring home the bacon. This guy’s got it made! He’s getting all of that and you’re staying up late for him when he wants nookie! Even when he uses a laugh-out-loud line like “let’s go make some noise.” Does a line like that really work? I can’t believe that works.

Just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day
Just another manic Monday

Those have got to be the worst rhymes for Monday ever.

Manic Monday | 4:51 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, music, play, yet another rant
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Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Funny thing: I’ve been to two beer festivals in two months and at both of them I’ve seen bluegrass bands that made me, and I mean made me tap my feet. Last month it was The Material Guys at the Dilly-Dally, hosted by Karben4. This month, it was Horseshoes & Hand Grenades at the Great Amherst Beer Fest hosted by Central Waters. It gets me to thinking I ought to look for more live performances of bluegrass bands, but then I wonder if it would take the wonder out finding them by accident.

horseshoes & hand grenades | 8:34 am CDT
Category: beer, entertainment, festivals, food & drink, music, play
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Saturday, September 14th, 2013

The song stuck in my head this morning is the saccharin-sweet teen ballad Loving You by Debbie Gibson Minnie Riperton. It’s been playing on a loop for hours. I want to die.

Next-day edit: I eventually got this song out of my head without killing myself, but it came back the next day. Not only that, I had the nagging feeling that I couldn’t blame this song on Debbie Gibson. That bugged me so much I had to ask the Google who sang it. Turns out to be the hit song that crowned the career of Minnie Riperton, a 28-year-old singer who had lapsed into semi-retirement when she was discovered by a recording studio that signed her on to record this and other songs for the record Perfect Angel. So the song that made her a star is the one that makes me want to hang myself. Kinda makes me feel like a grinch.

Wait, it gets better. Three years after she hit it big with that song, she was dead of cancer. And as if that wasn’t enough to make me feel guilty about hating this crappy, crappy song, it’s based on a lullaby she made up to sing her daughter to sleep. There. My total shittiness is now complete.

Kill Me Now | 12:16 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, music, random idiocy
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Sunday, September 8th, 2013

I did not know that I liked Madonna songs until I went to the Dilly Dally last weekend.

The Dilly Dally is a small gathering of microbreweries from the Madison area: Ale Asylum, Bos Meadery, Capital, Next Door, Old Sugar Distillery, One Barrel, Vintage, Yahara and, last but certainly not least, Karben4, the brewery that sponsored the event. Or at least I assume they sponsored the event, because it took place on their lawn. They had a great big tent set up out by the patio, The Tipsy Cow was there to cater the event and there was even a bluegrass band to provide the entertainment.

The first couple of tunes the band played sounded vaguely familiar, but then all bluegrass tunes sound familiar to me because they all sound more or less the same. I’m not saying I think it’s boring music, I’m saying I don’t know enough of it to recognize a tune when it’s played for me, so they all sort of blur together. Besides, there was all that beer to drink, so I wasn’t really paying attention.

After sampling a couple of beers, My Darling B and I ducked inside for a bite to eat, then came back out onto the patio to sit for a bit. The band was twanging away on another tune that sent a bell ringing somewhere in the back of my memory and, as I paid a little more attention to see if I could get the words, it hit me: it was the Madonna tune True Blue! They were covering Madonna tunes! If memory serves, and I don’t think it does very well at this point, the next song was Borderline, and then they did a cover of the Duran Duran song Hungry Like The Wolf. They did it awesomely!

My Darling B and I parked ourselves right in front of the band and stayed there the rest of the afternoon, taking turns getting beer so one of us could hold our spot. The banjo player came over during the break to talk with somebody right behind us and we had to tell them how much we were enjoying them. He stuck around to talk about the other songs they were working on, and then they went into their last set, when they sang Like a Virgin, which has got to be their signature song. Although they finished off with a scorching version of Rocky Top, which turned into a sing-along. Of course.

greatest cover band ever | 1:32 pm CDT
Category: Dilly Dally, entertainment, festivals, music, play
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Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Baby, The Rain Must Fall, the song in which Glenn Yarbrough uses weather as a metaphor to tell his gal why he wants to boink other women, has been playing on a loop in my head ALL FREAKIN’ DAY!

Memory is a cruel thing. In thirty years I probably won’t be able to remember my own damn name, but I’ll bet the nursing home orderlies will all think Baby, The Rain Must Fall is my favorite song, coz why else would I sing the chorus over and over all day long?

this is your brain on drugs | 3:30 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, music, play, random idiocy
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Friday, June 28th, 2013

Too good not to share:

Dumb Ways To Die | 9:47 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, music, play, television | Tags:
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Monday, May 13th, 2013

Even though I’ve never especially liked David Bowie’s Space Oddity, this cover by ISS commander Chris Hadfield is not only just plain awesome, the production values are going to be hard for anyone else to beat ever:

Hadfield is a Canadian member of the ISS and is playing a Canadian-made Larrivee Parlor guitar – how freakin awesome is it that there’s a guitar on the space station?

ADDED: How Hadfield’s recording of Space Oddity came to be.

Space Oddity | 6:51 pm CDT
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Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

I asked My Darling B to go with me to see The Fountain Big Band Sunday night, but the weather was so warm and sunny that, when she went out in the morning to play in her garden, she couldn’t leave it for anything. She had to keep on playing in the dirt, so I went to The Fountain on my own. Can’t miss that big band sound!

garden vs. big band | 6:23 am CDT
Category: entertainment, music, My Darling B, O'Folks, play
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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

We saw two really good films today, the first one at the beginning of the day and the other one at the end of the day, that sort of bookended the day and made it worth going out for.

And we saw two stinkers. One of them stunk so bad it took under thirty minutes for us to get up and leave. The other one, Comrade Kim Goes Flying, took me a little longer than that to figure out.

I thought at first it must have been a joke. The actors were all so gosh-darned Beaver-Cleaverishly wholesome that I figured it had to be satire. Some of the people in the audience were laughing, but other than sounding weird, I though all the jokes fell flat. I nodded off before I could figure it out.

When I woke up, quite a lot of the dialogue made me think that maybe the movie was a straight-up propaganda piece, although the audience was still laughing. Maybe they thought propaganda was funny in an ironic way, but I still didn’t get it. I nodded off again.

I only stayed with it after that because I figured I’d already stuck it out so far and there wasn’t anything to do in the lobby, but after another fifteen minutes of that awful dialog I felt that staring at the wall would be preferable, so I patted B on the shoulder and said, “I’m out. See you in the lobby after.”

I’d been waiting barely ten minutes when I got a text from B: “Where U at?” I caught up with her as she was coming out of the ladies’ room.

“You couldn’t put up with any more either?” I asked her.

“I was asleep when you poked me,” she admitted. “You woke me up!”

So neither one of us gave Comrade Kim high marks.

Comrade Kim Goes Flying | 12:02 am CDT
Category: entertainment, festivals, music, play, Wisc Film Fest
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Friday, April 12th, 2013

My one-word review of Gideon’s Army, the second movie we saw at the Wisconsin Film Fest last night, would be: Inspiring. It’s inspiring to know that there are people like public defenders out there, if ‘inspiring’ is the word to describe the way they made me want to get a law degree and fight for the rights of the indigent. I wonder how long it takes to get a law degree?

Gideon’s Army | 11:02 am CDT
Category: entertainment, festivals, music, play, Wisc Film Fest
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Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

brucesIt was the kind of day that a thoughtful man such as myself could only ponder over two martinis. One martini just would not provide enough pondering time.

Which reminds me of a song:

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable
Heidigger, Heidigger was a boozing beggar who could think you under the table
David Hume could out-consumer Shopenhauer and Hegel
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine who was just as shloshed as Schlagle

There’s nothing Nietche couldn’t teach you ’bout the raising of the wrist
Socrates himself was permanently pissed

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will, on a half-pint of shandy was particularly ill
Plato, they say, could stick it away, half a crate of whiskey every day
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle, Hobbes was fond of his dram
And Rene Descart was a drunken fart, “I drink, therefore I am!”

Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed
A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he’s pissed!

philosophical repose | 9:09 pm CDT
Category: booze, entertainment, food & drink, music, play | Tags:
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Monday, April 8th, 2013

I just love these guys.

Goodbye | 7:26 pm CDT
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