Salubrious Saturday: “The One,” Twin Shadow



Holy wowza, that was a tough week and Lord knows it’s not over yet.  Your plucky heroine is spending the weekend working*.  But that’s okay, dogs.  The tides are turning.  So I’m putting on a strong pot of coffee and turning on some Twin Shadow to keep me company today.  I hope you’ll join me.


*In her cool apartment.  #winning  #hashtag  #Isawthegreatestmindsofmygenerationdestroyedbyhashtags


Funk Friday: “Get Up Offa That Thing,” James Brown



I’m not entirely unconvinced that I haven’t spent this week in some sort of strange sonic pressure cooker.  Actually, I’m not entirely unconvinced that all of us poor humans haven’t spent the week in a strange sonic pressure cooker.  It certainly feels like it.


Do you know what we do when things get hard?  Like really, really, in-your-bones, buy-a-plane-ticket-to-anywhere, screw-this-and-all-y’all hard?

You know what we do.


One other thing: THIS IS MY 200TH BLOG POST!  Cue balloon-drop!  Thank you to everyone around the world for making this blog so successful and so much fun to write.  It’s hard to write a post every single day but it’s such a blast to see new pings from all kinds of countries.  I am going to try and create a comment box to make this more interactive but for now – thank you, one and all.


Throwback Thursday: “The Four Seasons: Winter,” Antonio Vivaldi



I am not yet calling this a victory.  My wounds are still too raw.  BUT.  I can confirm that, as of right now, I have a working air conditioner in my living room window.  If you’re just joining us on the Tune-Up and have no idea why this is such a big deal, I refer you to a post from a few weeks back.

Hello, little air conditioner.

Hello, little air conditioner.

But let me fill you in on what’s happened since.  If you remember, the solution that Sears presented was that UPS would come and pick up the box from my apartment and deliver it back to Sears.  Did this happen?  Yes and no.  “Wait, what the hell,” I hear you cry, “isn’t that a binary event?  It either did or did not happen.”  Indeed you are correct!  So let me break it down for you.

UPS issued a tracking number for the pick-up.  The tracking number’s pick-up location was the same wrong address to which they delivered the bad AC.  I called them back.  They said to call Sears.  I called Sears.  They fixed it.  (Sort of.  It is Sears.)  I got a new tracking number with the right pick-up address but no information on when they would pick it up.  They tried on a Thursday but the box wasn’t there because I didn’t know they were coming.  I got notified they were going to try again so I raced home, put it in a box, dragged it to the elevator, then dragged it to the lobby, where I gave it to the front desk clerk.  There it sat.   I checked the UPS website the next day.  A second attempt had not been made.  I checked the website again the following day.  A second attempt had still not been made.  I called UPS and said, “hey, dudes, the package is ready.”  “Oh!” said UPS.  “Okay cool, thanks, I’ll send the driver over by 5pm.”   I called the front desk and said, “hey, thanks for holding my stupidly large 80lb box.  UPS is coming over in a few hours to get it.”

Now this is where it gets squirrelly.

Front desk woman said that UPS had already picked up the box.  UPS had no record of picking up the box.  I called them and they swore up and down that they had absolutely not gotten the box and even got a little defensive that I would suggest they would have misplaced it.  “Maybe someone just took it,” UPS Facility Man suggested.  “You mean stole it?”  “Yeah – maybe someone stole it.”  I thought this was one of the dumber things I’d heard in a long time, since my building is access-controlled with a front desk that is manned around the clock with a very small number of people of good character who wouldn’t just let some random person walk off with a big box.  Not to mention one can’t really walk off with an 80lb box.

UPS maintained they were innocent.  They said to call the shipping company and complain.  “Sorry…I don’t mean to be dense but, aren’t you the shipping company?”  UPS Facility Man said that he meant the company that I bought the thing from.  I remarked I wasn’t quite sure what this would accomplish, seeing as how Sears doesn’t have any control over anything once it leaves their warehouse.  “Yeah, but see, Sears will have a lot more information on this than we will have,” Facility Man swore.  “Again,” I said, “I still don’t see how that makes sense, but okay.”

So I called Sears customer solutions.  Customer solutions transferred me to online customer solutions.  I told them the whole story.  I allowed myself to sound hysterical because, well, I was, and by this point, it would have been more productive and less time-consuming to have gotten $350 out of the bank, bought a lighter, and set the money on fire.  So anyway.  I told Sears Online Customer Solutions man the whole thing and he said he would issue a trace on the box.  Now, how one traces a box with no label on it (oh yeah I forgot to mention that part – UPS was going to create the label and affix it to the box for me.  Foolproof plan.), I have no idea.  But that was the plan.  I am to wait until mid next week to get an email with what they’ve found.  If I don’t hear anything, I’m to call them.  …Okey dokey.

So that was yesterday and today is today, and today I got a working AC put in my window.  It seems to be chugging along just fine.  After it was put in, I got a call from the front desk to say that one of the people working the desk had remembered that UPS had come on Tuesday at 11am to pick up the box and not only that but it was “the new guy” who picked it up.  “The new guy” is “a little weird.”  So I called Sears back to tell them about all of this and Sears called UPS and left me on hold for 20 minutes and now, as I type this, I am waiting for a call from UPS to tell me what they found in their “investigation.”

A friend of mine suggested I put all of this into a short story and sell it to the New Yorker.  I’m considering it.

Worldly Wednesday: “Tyrkjaránid,” Icelandic Folk Song



This is an instrumental version of a song from Iceland that documents a series of Ottoman raids of Icelandic towns during June and July, 1627.  Annoyingly, I haven’t been able to find one with lyrics, but according to various historical accounts, Dutch pirate Murat Reis commanded ships of Barbary corsairs from Morocco and Algeria that captured around 400 people.  Only about two dozen escaped and made it back to Iceland.

Termagant Tuesday: “The Ritz Roll and Rock,” Fred Astaire



These days it’s just about all I can do to keep pace.  Everything is moving just a little bit too fast.  But I’m still tap-dancing as best as I know how.  No one else mastered the art of this better than Fred Astaire.

Sacred Sunday: “Call to Prayer,” Baaba Maal


Islam is a beautiful religion.  One of its most wonderful aspects, for me, is the Call to Prayer.  I’ve heard it in in Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, and the West Bank.  Even for a Christian, it has a calming, centering effect.

I am completely remiss in not posting this last Sunday, when the holy month of Ramadan officially began.  In the Islamic tradition, the month of Ramadan marks the month the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhamed.  Ramadan is also the time when the doors of Paradise are open and the doors of Hell are closed, with the devils within chained up.

To all of my Muslim readers: Ramadan Mubarak.  Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair.

Salubrious Saturday: “Haul Boys Haul,” The Bilge Pumps



Sorry this is late, Tune-Up fans – I’ve been on the water all day doing the most pirate-y thing ever: kayaking.  I am a yuppie pirate (AAARH!).  But we did see snapping turtles on logs (AHOY!), and paddle boaters (LANDLUBBERS!) and a Pirate Cruise (…WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!  AAARH!).  And then we drank beer and ate barbecue.  So, basically: Pirate Day.

Funk Friday: “Everyday People,” Sly and the Family Stone



“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

238 years ago today, 56 men signed their names to this document.  Seven years after it was signed, Great Britain formally acknowledged American independence.  And then we were a country.  We just…created one.  We became Americans.

There is so much we have achieved and may yet achieve in the future all because of a lucky stroke of fate that assembled the right people, with the right temperament, the right intellect, and of the same mind, in the same place, where they met and shared ideas and argued with each other and, ultimately, built the forge in which our union has been and will continue to be perpetually perfected.  It is our right – it is our duty – to recognize the immensity of what that means: that our fellow American citizens, all of these “every day people” with different opinions and religions and creeds, are living monuments to that beautiful circumstance.  What an extraordinary thing.  What an extraordinary country.

Happy Independence Day.

Throwback Thursday: “Cantata BWV 211 (Coffee Cantata,” J.S. Bach



Onemoredaytilthelongweekend.  AndwhileI’mreallyexcited, ohGodthereissomuchtodo.  Imightbetotallyscrewed.  Theofficecoffeepotisbeingdrainedfastertodaythannormal.  Mighthavetogetmyownpot.  Ohcrap.

Coffee I must have…
Sweeter than a thousand kisses,
milder than Muscatel wine.
Coffee! Coffee! must have it
and when someone wants to give me a treat.
Ah! pour me a Coffee.