A Random Walk Through Wednesday

August 4, 2010

Several months ago, one of the cable stations burned an weekend showing episodes of The Twilight Zone. I, not wanting to appear ungrateful, burned an entire weekend watching episodes of The Twilight Zone.

This continued a tradition dating back to college when – fall semester, sophomore year – I had to skip all classes that interfered with me watching Rod Serling’s visionary show on WGN (it aired weekedays, noon ’til one o’clock).

One of the classes that I often missed due to this unfortunate scheduling conflict was a class on the occult and strange phenomena.

(The Twilight Zone was better done and far more thought-provoking, so I felt it was a no-brainer)

One of the episodes, The Midnight Sun, was set in a New York City apartment as the earth – due to a change in orbit – is headed for the sun and a fiery end. At the episode’s conclusion, it is revealed to have been a fever dream of a young woman and that the earth is actually drifting away from the sun and to a frigid demise.

So, as this summer swelters on, that episode has popped into my head.

It’s made me think.

If I am in some fever-fueled state of delerium and the earth is heading toward an icy rendezvous with Pluto…Paloma, please get me a sweater…and soup…yes, soup would be nice…with a grilled cheese sandwich…

I am relatively certain that I am not in some bizarre, Twilight Zone-esque netherworld.

I am completely certain that it is hot. Too hot to do much more than think about skipping classes, lying on the couch, and reveling in the genius of Rod Serling.

Here are four songs that shuffled up on the iPod…

The Thorns – Blue
from The Thorns

The Thorns was a trio comprised of Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, and Shawn Mullins (with Jim Keltner on drums) and their lone album from 2003 immediately made me think of Crosby, Stills & Nash – it’s the harmonies and chiming guitar.

It also is much in the same vein as The Jayhawks – a band that Paloma and I devoted much attention to – who they cover faithfully on Blue.

Warrior Soul – Love Destruction
from Salutations From The Ghetto Nation

I honestly know nothing about Warrior Soul and I think I snagged Salutations From The Ghetto Nation as a promo in the early ’90s, dug it, and filed it away for future listens. Like a lot of music from that time, I never truly got around to devoting more time to it.

And I keep intending to do so as Love Destruction pops up on the iPod rather often and it always demands my attention. It’s a brooding slab of thunderous rock with serious punk attitude.

Bow Wow Wow – Fools Rush In
from Girl Bites Dog – Your Compact Disc Pet

I think that Bow Wow Wow released two..maybe three actual albums during their career and, somehow, I have a good half dozen or more. I’m a fan, but, you truly need no more than five or six essential tracks by the creation of the late Malcolm McLaren.

Fools Rush In is a pleasant if inconsequential cover of a song that had already been performed by everyone from Frank Sinatra and Brooke Benton to Etta James and Doris Day.

Journey – Still They Ride
from Greatest Hits Live

Of course I loved Journey in the ’80s. I was in high school and allegiance to the band was hardly an uncommon thing.

But, during the summer of ’82 when Still They Ride was the latest hit from the monstrously successful Escape, I didn’t care for the song much. It plodded.

Now, the song falls into a well-populated group of songs that I have far more affection for thirty years later. There’s no arguing that Steve Perry was perfectly suited for the band and the style of music. The dude has pipes and, on this live version, he belts it to the back row.

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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.