Let’s dance this mess around one last time shall we?
Hey Vegetable! I Believe In Me. So You Believe In You.
Just in case you needed the lyrics. And also you do.
Let’s dance this mess around one last time shall we?
Hey Vegetable! I Believe In Me. So You Believe In You.
Just in case you needed the lyrics. And also you do.
Literally, since about April, every time I have been in a craptastic mood, and thought that there was no way that I could possibly feel better no matter how much I knew I would if I just found a way to let it go, I have somehow found myself laughing out loud to The Best Show on WFMU.***
Totally derailed despite my brain’s downhill route. I mean come on, Twenty Ten was kind of intense, am I right? Song 56.
Let’s flash back, to several years ago, during the magical Reckless holiday known as “Inventory Day” where we close the store and scan EVERYTHING in it. It’s a real treat. Anyway, one of the dudes put on a CD called “Rock, Rot or Rule”. And we all laughed our asses off. I am right now trying to wrap my head around explaining this to someone who has never heard what I am talking about. But it is so hard to make sense out of the whole thing…which is also one of the best parts. Basically, the CD is an excerpt from a radio show, from New Jersey, where a guy named Tom is interviewing a guy named Ronald Thomas Clontle about his new book, “Rock, Rot or Rule” which is a guide to rock bands and is the “ultimate argument settler” deciding with finality, whether a band rocks, rots or rules. And there is no rhyme or reason to it. And actual people call in, and they are p i s s e d. For example, over the statement that, Madness “Rules” because they invented Ska. I’d try to explain it, but you should just listen instead.
Now flash forward to this past year. It is now, quite recently, one of my jobs at the old record store to do the advertising. And Record Store Day is fast approaching. And I have no idea what to do. I come up with some ideas, but they suck, and I know it. I mean who cares really? Oh shit…suddenly I do! What the what?! But then like a shooting star out of nowhere, Matt shows me last year’s ad and it blows my whole mind apart. I have no idea how it came about but it is a half page ad, black and white, and is simply a paragraph about why record stores matter, just like farmer’s markets, written by none other than Chicago’s own Steve Albini. I would try to explain it but, like Rock, Rot or Rule, you should just check it out for yourself. All I will say is it contains not only a reference to Tomatillos but also Boney M.
Anyway, a short list is made of all the people we know, or people we know that know other people and Matt and I get more and more weirdly pumped about making this a yearly tradition**. This is like the best idea we’ve ever had! Or so it seems. Riding high, I type up a charming ass email and send it out into the ether. Aaaaand…crickets. Ok, well technically, I got one “I’d love to but I can’t.” Now the clock is ticking here people, and I’ve got nothing. At work, I mention this fact and another casual impromptu brain storming session goes down. And a lot of the same names are mentioned. Thanks fellas, I have tried them already.
But then a voice from the peanut gallery says, “Oh! I know. You should ask the guys from the Best Show.” And all the dudes get really excited about this, so I smile too. Although I have no freaking idea what they are talking about. They just keep spouting off nonsense to one another and laughing harder and harder. Finally one of them tells me that there is a show and they all listen to it on the internet, called the Best Show on WFMU and that the host is one of the guys on that comedy CD we listened to and that the other one from it is the drummer from Superchunk. What? Seriously? So I Google it and it turns out they weren’t yanking my chain. But one thing becomes blatantly obvious to me, they should have been the very first people we asked.
So today, while standing in Best Buy trying to exchange the stellar, yet Blu-Ray copy of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” box set I received for Christmas I started laughing like a moron. The gentleman helping me has no idea who the Boss is, but does mention that instead of getting the regular DVD version, I could simply buy a Blu-Ray player, and he does know where those are. At least he didn’t try to sell me an espresso machine?*
*I have already gone down in the Record Store Dork’s Hall of Fame for that one. But, I swear, my little lame peanuts, all I did was ask them. Nicely.
**Next year I’m gunning for Fred Armisen. Hopefully, I will do so through legit channels. But if not, I knew I snapping a picture of him hosting karaoke at Lounge Ax more than ten years ago dressed as Hitler would come in handy one day. Wait…what?
***Sweet Jesus. Try to be nice to yourself this year. And if you need a vacation, may I recommend Newbridge?****
****Can I just remind everyone real quick of who was passing around burned copies of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” back when it was technically canceled? Record store nerds just know stuff. And mark my words I don’t doubt that these dudes have some serious shit planned for next year so get on board already.
*****Holy shit. This one’s for the FOT. I don’t actually have to call in to ask Tom if can have a podcast. That rule is only for famous people, right?
Oh my God I fucking love this song. Since always. Song 55.
Meh. I don’t have anything to say today. Except that going to dinner with a pregnant lady makes you feel like no matter how much you eat it’s totally reasonable. It also makes you feel like an alcoholic.
“Is this your house?”
I will never be able to forget one of the very first things that happened this year. It just is what it just is man.
I’ve been ruined I say! But at least it was in the best possible way. Song 54.
This was my horoscope today. Laugh if you want, but I think about horoscopes like wordy Rorschach tests. You see in them what you need to see.
When we strive to give up old bad habits, we sometimes find ourselves reverting to the age at which we first adopted those vices. It is as if we have to ‘re-grow’ from that point. We also have to face the demons that caused us to wander down an unwise road in the first place. That’s why many people find it so much easier to remain in a rut! The very thought now, of an upcoming New Year resolution is putting you in an odd frame of mind. Yet also, potentially, a very positive one. It’s time your life changed direction a little.
Once, a very long time ago I actually drove to Cornish, New Hampshire with a friend. Once we got there though there was nothing to do. Were we really going to go bother an old man who never really gave us anything but questions? No. We turned around after we having lunch in a diner. A diner mind you, in which not one single old man was sitting alone pondering the missing piece smack dab in the middle of his donut.
I don’t think about reading Nine Stories as my original downfall. But it was definitely my heart’s first real paper cut. It didn’t kill me, but it’s never quite healed either. Couple that with songs like this that I couldn’t play enough times and there you go.
Here is how the whole world started to eek in.
Please accept from me this unpretentious bouquet of very early-blooming parentheses: (((()))).
Jerome David Salinger January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010
Yesterday I was s l a y e d by the Art Institute of Chicago. Standing in the new Modern Wing looking out over Millennium Park I was so Chitown proud that when I got home I couldn’t think of anything but this:
Long, long ago I spent a lot of time in that building…but haven’t really been there in years. Now there’s one thing about 2010 I really like! Back in the day when I went to school there and left class after dark I would walk the long creepy ass way home down Monroe with my keys through my fingers. Back then there was no Millennium Park just giant stories deep holes in the ground littered with garbage and unused train tracks: AKA where they would find the body in the morning. I still remember seeing the original drawings for the park and everyone in the room saying, “So it’s just like a giant bean?” But more on that some other day. It’s fucking cold out man, let’s stay inside. Song 53.
In honor of the massively badass current Modern Wing exhibit HYPERLINKS here is a boatload of ‘em. Wow, it so worth checking out, times a gillion.
Here are some of my favorite pieces:
This changes based on the wind outside
This is so simple it’s genius. Bikes!
This one you just have to walk up to in person
These short films also blew my whole mindhole:
Chicago-Scope: The Films of Tom Palazzolo, 1967–1976
On Thursday January 6th at 6pm there is a talk with the artist.
If you are pissed about the side streets not being plowed than seeing the restored Chagall windows in a room full of miniature versions of some of our greatest public sculptures might be just the thing to take the edge off. Either that or you are crazy for scale too!
I just watched Mike Stanley’s new DVD with my brother and my Uncle Bruce. It was funny as all get out and really filled us with the appropriate type of holiday cheer! Right before that we watched the Great Outdoors…it has it’s moments.
It was a tough call between this and “Land of 1000 Dances” but I wanted to pay some respects to the Upper UB for my stellar Xmas haul which included: The Promise, West Coast Seattle Boy and The Band That Would Be King. As always, exceedingly well played Sir. Song 52.
We have a long day downtown ahead of us so I’m off to lay in bed where I will close my little eyes and try and think of the most boringest shit I possibly can.
*What really blew my mindhole today was how much I love Scrooged.
A. It’s a Christmas Carol inside of another Christmas Carol.
B. Bill Murray looks so cool in the “70’s”.
C. The Christmas future is so Avant Garde and yet so Dune but by my caculations should be roughly the year 2015. So look out people.
D. Absolutely everything about the “Ballbreaker Suite”.
Happy Holidays. Song 51.
I got you a present:
Goddamned Family: 4
Grumpy Princess Baby: 0
1. After returning to the breakfast table with a bottle labeled “Still Spicy @ Sixty Hot Sauce” my brother said “Dad put stale Tostitos Scoops on the lid of a Rubbermaid container out for the deer.”
2. My 2 year old niece first made a bold commentary about Christianity by putting Baby Jesus on the roof of the manger and then filling it with My Little Ponies. She then lined everybody else up conga style and stood in front of it doing the “Tada!” gesture for about an hour. Then we cruised upstairs where she jumped on the bed and riffed about Buddhism while Halmoni just laughed and laughed.
3. I entered Melissa Geil’s post in my family’s funniest Facebook quote competition: “Wanna Go Home b/w I Hate This Christmas”
4. My Grandpa Bill said “Does it light up?” no matter what the present opened was. He also recited this aloud from memory. He is 91.
Robert Service (1874-1958)
The Cremation of Sam McGee
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold, till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead — it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”
A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you, to cremate those last remains.”
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — Oh God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and said: “Please close
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear, you’ll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”
He has another Christmas poem. It is about how the angel got on top of the tree. It is significantly more blue.
I figure if there is something annoying to you about me posting songs and occasionally spilling the goods then you can hide me like I hide Farmville. Happy Holidays! Song 50.
Out of nowhere an old friend sent a me note saying congratulations “On Upping my Internet Profile by 500%” and that they couldn’t wait for song 50. So here you go. It had to be reggae man but, it is Christmas Eve. Thanks to everyone who has gone out of their way to say something about this lukewarm mess. I will be the first to admit it’s silly and lord knows that it’s stupid…but so is a lot of the best stuff in life, right? And I might be kind of a tough guy but I teared up a touch the other day when a different friend totally randomly said “I spent like an hour last night going through all the songs you posted. You are making a lot of people happy.”
I just hope you are one of them. ♥
I can not imagine what it is like for you right now but if you focus on the people you love and find something to love about the people you don’t it will somehow all be okay. I know I have no business saying that but too bad sucka, I just did.
Two days until Christmas at Reckless Records in the popular Chicago shopping destination of Wicker Park. Blerg!
Ok. I know that you haven’t had the time to do any Christmas shopping yet or that your Mother In Law is a total bitch or your kids are melting down or you just got a parking ticket or that for some reason you can never find anything in here even though you never even try or that you just lost your job or that what you really need right now is a snack and maybe a beer but let’s just all of us try and keep it real super mellow today* because I was up kinda late. Song 49. Top hat!
*If you are always crazy no matter what the time of year then we are probably used to you by now so just do what you do I guess. This also goes for tomorrow world. Although, seriously, you must know that we know that you know that we know you are just lucky that we’re open on Christmas Eve.
I am crazy for jokes. Downright crazy. It is a rock solid fact. I cling to anything that makes me laugh like a complete and utter junkie. Maybe even like a fool. The weirder the better, and if we’re talking bittersweet, then forget about it dude, I am a helpless slave.
Some part of me wanted to have a burning party because selfishly I knew it would be funny. And oh man was it. But it was also totally moving just to be there while unbelievable stories spilled out of people that were so theirs and yet were so, so not. And I’m talking Dateline worthy shit here. Massive loads of unimaginable forms just tossed in like nothing. Poof. Cloud of smoke. Profoundly serious for a second and then a dumb ass joke the next. I know not everything disappears. I know that. But you can always find a way to take the edge off if you just let it go a touch.
Well played ladies. I semi fear the next year with the rate I’m tossing out the goods.
This here song has tugged at my shit since the second I first heard it. Now it belongs to you. Song 48.
They’re called The Heartbreakers for a reason. Poof. And a cloud of hilarity ensues.
There is not one thing that defines you that isn’t your choice.
Everything else is just old ass news.