Salubrious Saturday: “Live It Up,” 11 Acorn Lane

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Some Saturdays, you want to relax in a hammock, or take a long walk around town, or go for a hike, or file, or spy on your neighbors, or read the complete works of Kierkegaard.  Then there are other, special Saturdays when you want to gather all your best friends, get a suite at the Ritz, make a number of cocktails, play MarioKart on the TV, and have an adult slumber party.  This is one of those Saturdays.

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Funk Friday: “Eyesight to the Blind,” Bad Influence

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Okay – first of all?  I know the drummer.  That drummer is a friend of mine.  (And you, sir, are no drummer.)  That drummer is a total badass and just about the nicest person you’ll ever meet.  So, now you, by extension, know the drummer.  You see once again why reading this blog is a good idea.

And second of all, this band is seriously incredible.  How they manage to have a sound that’s tight and at the same time so gritty, I’ll never know.  I’ve been a blues band myself it’s hard to sound…right.  You don’t want to sound too polished because that’s inauthentic.  The blues is earth-bound and cracked and held together with tape.  But if you sound too sloppy, then you just sound like you suck.  Bad Influence does not suck.  Anyone who knows me knows that’s a pretty big compliment.  Rock on, gentlemen.  And all y’all who like these guys, go to http://www.badinfluenceband.com for tour dates and other stuff.

Throwback Thursday: “Miri It Is While Sumer Ilast,” Anonymous

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Hooray, climate change!  Thanks for making the temperatures hurl themselves from the 90s to the 50s in the space of a day!  Miri it is that we might get to look forward to bizarro-world weather swings like this as our new normal, and the phrase “wardrobe-planning” take on a new scope.  I don’t own a car and already judicious with my energy usage at home, so I’m not sure what more I can do reduce my carbon footprint that wouldn’t equally reduce my living standards to those of our friendly English composer “Anonymous” in 1225.  But at least I’d have pretty songs to sing.

Miri it is while sumer ilast with fugheles song, oc nu
neheth windes blast and weder strong. ei ei what this
niht is long. and ich with wel michel wrong, soregh and
murn and fast.

Merry it is while summer lasts with the song of birds; 
but now draws near the wind’s blast and harsh weather. 
Alas, Alas! How long this night is! And I, most unjustly, 
sorrow and mourn and fast.

Worldly Wednesday: “The Woodpile,” Frightened Rabbit

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It’s been a long time coming, but I finally feel settled in some sort of groove these days.  This is in no way synonymous with phrases like, “of course I know what I’m doing,” “please ask me for directions and/or advice,” or “I’d love to tell you where I’m going to be in five years.”  Rather, what I mean is, I know what to do when catastrophe strikes, when I don’t know how to cook a squash, when my faucet is leaking, when I need to go to the E.R., when I’ve had a terrible day, and when things upset me.  I call one of my people.  That’s what I do.

You spend most of your 20s constructing yourself.  Somewhere around age 29 or 30 you have a sense of deep satisfaction that comes from having a fuller grasp of who you are and what you’re about.  And then you spend a good part of your 30s realizing that, to paraphrase President Obama, you didn’t build yourself alone.  You had a lot of help.  I know how to deal with the E.R. on a rainy Tuesday because a friend came with me when I hurt my knee.  I know how to process my terrible thoughts because I have friends who listen to them.  I know how to deal with the vagaries of my job because I have peers who can relate and tell me stories that remind me of my own issues.  Creating your own family is the very best part of growing up.

Far from the electric floor
Removed from the red meat market
I look for a fire door
An escape from the drums and barking
Bereft of all social charms
Struck dumb by the hand of fear
I fall into the corner’s arms
The same way that I’ve done for years
I’m trapped in a collapsing building


Come find me now, we’ll hide and
We’ll speak in our secret tongues
Will you come back to my corner?
Spent too long alone tonight
Would you come brighten my corner?
A lit torch to the woodpile (aye)


Dead wood needs to ignite
There’s no spark on a dampened floor
A snapped limb in an unlit pyre
Won’t you come and break down this door?
I’m trapped in an abandoned building


Come find me now, we’ll hide and
We’ll speak in our secret tongues
Will you come back to my corner?
Spent too long alone tonight
Would you come brighten my corner?
A lit torch to the woodpile (aye)
Come find me now, we’ll hide and
We’ll speak in our secret tongues

 

Termagant Tuesday: “Fear of the South,” Tin Hat Trio

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I know.  It’s the first work day after a long weekend.  We’ll get through it together.  Throw your shoulders back and march into the office with vigor and aplomb.  Make up a story about how you got that sunburn that’s even better than the truth.  No one will believe you actually went paddle-boating anyway.

Modernism Monday: “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue,” Ray McKinley

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I was going to hesitate to assert that this is the finest song one could listen to on Memorial Day, since it embodies the stereotypical Memorial Day activities of barbecuing and playing the clarinet, and then I realized that this my blog and I can assert whatever I damn well please.  So: this is the finest song one can listen to on Memorial Day – barbecue, clarinet, etc.  I will also assert that this is the finest version of this finest song.  I do love Jim Cullum and his Happy Jazz Band, but you have to love Ray McKinley’s panache.

Sacred Sunday: “Eternal Father, Strong to Save

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Memorial Day was created three years after the end of the Civil War. Originally called “Decoration Day,” late May was chosen for its observation because it was thought that the flowers to be places by the graves of the fallen would be in bloom at that time around the country.

Patriotism and nationalism are easy to confuse and have gotten completely mixed up in recent years. To the extent you can, put politics aside this Memorial Day and honor the ideas of service and sacrifice embodied by the men and women of our armed services. Think about those serving abroad. Think about their families. Offer up a prayer for those in peril on the sea, and around the world.