Worldly Wednesday: “Hang ‘Em High,” Jackie Mittoo

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Jackie Mittoo was a baller keyboardist from Jamaica.  This is my favorite song of his, and has been on heavy rotation today, seeing how I need continuous energy injections for this last leg and the last leg of this trip.

Sort of apropos of this song, I want to call your attention to an interesting story going on this week.  In a suburb of Denver, Colorado, this week, a group of high school students staged a walkout to protest changes to how American history is taught.  The local school board had voted to turn the dial down on certain portions of American history that, according to the school board, “encourage or condone civil disorder.”  I think these students are gutsy heroes.  Civil (emphasis on civil) disobedience is one of the highest forms of patriotism because it shows you are actively engaging with your country.  To read more, go see the good people at the Christian Science Monitor.

 

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Modernism Monday: “Money Made,” AC/DC

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This is your intrepid Yankette, coming to you from lovely Los Angeles.  I managed to get a wicked cold in Hawaii so I’m more or less running on fumes, caffeine, and Tylenol this week.  But with the help of my buddies AC/DC, I’ll get it done.

Termagant Tuesday: “Rockhouse,” Ray Charles

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Making it happen.  That’s what we do here at the Tune-Up.  We make things happen.  We also use our powers of analysis, persuasion, and charm to convince others that no only do we know what’s up, but that others should follow our lead.  And, we drink cocktails on city rooftops.  Thought leaders, thing-happen-makers, cocktail-drinkers.  How very soignée.

WALK-UP WEEK! Funk Friday: “Goliath,” Monophonics

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Before Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Kirby Puckett, center-fielder for the Twins and my childhood idol, gathered his teammates around for a quick talk before they took the field.  “You guys should jump on my back tonight. I’m going to carry us.”  Puckett made good on his promise.  The Twins had been behind 3-2 to the Atlanta Braves before Game 6, during which Puckett hit the game-winning home run and made the best outfield catch, against the center-field wall, possibly ever seen in baseball.  (Puckett, who was a very stocky 5’8″, had incredible and surprising athleticism.  What was so jaw-dropping about that catch wasn’t just the air he got, but how powerful his arm was.  Look how far he throws that baseball!  He totally windmills his arm around to get that distance.  Just amazing.)  That game propelled the Twins to a World Series win.

I miss you, Kirby.  Whenever I hear “Goliath,” I think of you.

Number 34 on his jersey, number 1 in your heart.

Number 34 on his jersey, number 1 in your heart.

WALK-UP WEEK! Throwback Thursday: “The Great Gate at Kiev,” Modest Mussorgsky

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You’ve been playing baseball since you were 20.  This is your last season before you retire; your knees and shoulder can’t take any more punishment.  Your team has finally made it into the World Series.  Tonight is the deciding game.  The bases are loaded.  You’re up.  You put on your helmet and walk to the plate.  This is your song.

WALK-UP WEEK! Worldly Wednesday: “Dougou Badia (feat. Santigold),” Amadou and Mariam

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Of all the songs on Walk-Up Week, this would be my own personal song.  I’ve used this song to push me through long runs and long rows.  I see no reason why it wouldn’t pump me up enough to clock one out of the park.

WALK-UP WEEK! Termagant Tuesday: “Blues Walk,” Lou Donaldson

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There are a lot of different kinds of ballplayers.  There are the players who are just so amazed to be getting paid to follow their passion that they come across as happy all the time.  Then there are the ones who come across as spoiled little brats, who are more concerned with preserving their badass self-image than they are creating such an image through making consistent contact with the ball.  Bryce Harper, outfielder for the Washington Nationals, is such a player. Harper is good, don’t get me wrong.  But the man can throw a tantrum better than a four-year-old.  If he strikes out, he’s been known to throw his helmet on the ground and jump up and down.  Bless his little $900,000-a-year cotton socks.  “Blues Walk” is a raised-chin, eyes-narrowed, stare-you-down, “see if I care because I’m just that good” kind of a jazz song.  You do you, Harper.

WALK-UP WEEK! Modernism Monday: “Seventeen Years,” Ratatat

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Baseball is my favorite professional sport.  “Why,” I hear you reluctantly mutter?  Because it’s easy to understand and doesn’t have the homicidal undertones that football and hockey have.  I’m also the most familiar with it, having played Little League and collected baseball cards as a kid.

The other major reason I love baseball is the awesome modern addition of the walk-up song – aka, the song that plays when a batter steps up to the plate.  I’ve had the same conversation for years with friends and family about what the perfect walk-up song would be, but I hate having to pick one.

WAIT OMG I HAVE A BLOG NOW.  HAH.  Welcome to Walk-Up Week, Part 1: The Non-Ironic Version.  (Part 2 will take place in a few months after my Minnesota Twins have once again blown their chances at the Series, probably after losing, again, to the Tigers or the White Sox, and I think baseball is a hateful and idiotic sport with which I wish to have no association.)  We begin the week with “Seventeen Years,” by Ratatat.  This is a song for that batter with a consistent record of pasting the ball high over the left field wall, but, being a little older than most, is only brought out when his* skills are absolutely imperative.

*His.  It’s always his.  Oh well.