Joe Theismann Has Never Made Me Want To Set Fires

August 28, 2009

I happened upon an NFL pre-season game on which Joe Theismann was doing commentary. I know that Theismann was quite the irritant for several friends during his years as part of ESPN’s Sunday night broadcasts.

I was mostly indifferent.

Sure, he’s a bit of a pompous blowhole, but spending three hours listening to his proclamations, once a week, actually held a certain charm to me.

However, one friend was so apoplectic over Theismann’s broadcasting style that he once declared a desire to set him afire.

I found that to be a bit drastic.

Meanwhile, yesterday, I stole down to the parking lot for some quiet and a cigarette. I was thinking of some poll I’d read which questioned people as to what superhero power they’d most want to possess.

(I think invisibility and super strength were most cited)

I looked up to the fifth floor of our building and I thought how the superhero power I most wanted to possess was the ability to start fires telekinetically.

Apparently there is a tiny fire bug living inside me.

And, apparently, the stress of my job has done what Joe Theismann could not do and driven me to thoughts of pyromania.

Graham Parker – Get Started, Start A Fire
from The Mona Lisa’s Sister

I know that Graham Parker is fairly well-regarded and I own a handful of his albums, but I’ve just never found his stuff to be all that memorable.

That said, I love Get Started, Start a Fire. Maybe that explains why, to Paloma’s bemusement, I’ve inadvertantly bought three copies of The Mona Lisa’s Sister on vinyl over the past year.

Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home
from A Few Small Repairs

I pretty much ignored A Few Small Repairs when it briefly made Shawn Colvin a superstar. It wasn’t intentional.

Later, when I actually listened to Sunny Came Home, I was blown away.

It’s safe to say that neither Joe Theismann or my office building would still be standing had Sunny been around.

Rolling Stones – Play With Fire
from Out of Our Heads

I freely admit that The Stones have been phoning it in for so long now that it has affected my view of them. And that makes it all the more astounding when something pre-Goats Head Soup pops up on the iPod.

Play With Fire is menacing which is something that The Stones once did as well as any band ever has.

The Thorns – I Set The World On Fire
from The Thorns

Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, and Shawn Mullins – The Thorns had some alternative credentials individually when they got together for one lone album in 2003. The first song I heard from it was I Can’t Remember and the obvious comparison was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

If I recall, the album didn’t cause as much of a stir as I thought it might (or, more likely, had hoped it would). Too bad as it’s well worthwhile.

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Maybe There’ll Be Soylent Bacon

August 14, 2009

Well, the future’s here and somehow we’re expected to handle it without the guidance of Charlton Heston. This is disconcerting.

I realized from watching The Planet Of The Apes as a child that no one was more at ease in dealing with the future than Heston. It wasn’t just maladjusted monkeys. An after-school viewing The Omega Man in the mid-‘70s made it clear that the man was equally as capable of keeping a horde of psychotic, Luddite cultists at bay.

And, with The Omega Man, it’s almost as though the filmmaker had peered thirty-five years into the future and been inspired by a glimpse of a town-hall meeting on health care.

(of course, that flick ended badly for Heston – it would seem that you can only keep a horde of psychotic, Luddite cultists at bay for so long)

Each time I read of the folks who believe that passing a health care program would be like smothering old folks with a pillow, I can’t help but think of another Heston movie – Soylent Green.

I think I was eight or nine, sometime in the late ‘70s, when CBS showed Soylent Green on the Tuesday Night Movie (or whatever night it happened to be). It had one of those “mature audiences” announcements beforehand.

Of course, I watched it.

And it freaked me out.

Soylent Green was set in the future – from an early ’70s perspective – with most of the human population unemployed and sleeping in the crumbling stairways of roach motels.

The small handful of uber wealthy live in high-rise apartment buildings playing video games and eating steaks and strawberries. The poor have never seen a steak, a strawberry, or a Pop-Tart as pollution and global warming has ravaged the environment.

So, the future is playing out pretty much according to that script.

(why couldn’t it have been talking monkeys running the planet?)

And, if the rantings of the misinformed and Sarah Palin are to be believed regarding old people and the health care debate, you’d think Soylent Green – the foodstuff – might be in stores by Thanksgiving.

A Girl Called Eddy – People Used To Dream About The Future
from A Girl Called Eddy

I received a promo of this album; the debut for an American ex-pat in London named Erin Moran who goes by the less Happy Days-centric A Girl Called Eddy. Her 2004 debut was one of those deals where I checked it out, thought enough of it to move it into another pile of discs, and it promptly got lost in the shuffle.

Hearing this song was a fortunate rediscovery. I’m not sure how the rest of the album sounds, but People Who Used To Dream… is gorgeous. If you’re a fan of Burt Bacharach, it’s an excellent use of five-and-a-half minutes.

Leonard Cohen – The Future
from The Future

There are outtakes of stuff I’ve never posted where Leonard Cohen has popped up. And I keep thinking I need to write about him. I mean, the man has lived a full-grown life.

If I were Canadian, I’d want Mr. Cohen to be prime minister.

Timbuk3 – The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
from Greetings from Timbuk3

This song’s simply more fun than killin’ drifters.

Matthew Sweet – Future Shock
from In Reverse

Paloma does not find The Heston to be as endearing as I do. Fortunately, I have studied his work and should we have to address talking monkeys, a horde of psychotic, Luddite cultists, or Soylent Green in the future, I will be prepared with a dramatic, over-the-top solution.

Paloma is extremely fond of the work of Matthew Sweet and, after hearing Future Shock, it’s not difficult to understand why.