Modernism Monday: “Dig Dig Daisy,” Daler Mehndi


Gosh, it’s just swell to be back in the office.  Can you guess my favorite part of being back from a long vacation?  Digging out my inbox.  It’s the greatest ever.  I came back to an inexplicably large three-figure number of emails.  It took more than an hour to sort, and then another hour to figure out what actually mattered and what didn’t.  I had to create an Outlook folder called, “New messages to deal with.”  I’m really not an important person at all – no one has to keep me in any loop of any kind – and yet, so many people did.  It mentioned my dismay to my Dad.  “Go go gadget tragic computer failure that erases your inbox,” he replied.  Genius idea.

Termagant Tuesday: “Go Daddy-O,” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy



July 22nd.  Blessed day that the Lord hath made.  A day that will live in infamy.  (“Get to the point.”  Oh.  Right.  Sorry.)  Today is my last day in the office before I go on vacation.  I’m sure you’re all beside yourselves with happiness – not because you’re nice people, which you probably are, but because you’re thinking, “God almighty, when will she shut up about vacation already?”  Well, the time is now, Tune-Up fans.  The time.  Is.  Now.


There is another reason today should be marked in your daily planner.  Today is the anniversary of the birth the greatest sporter of Dockers, boat shoes, and t-shirts that say “WORDS on a SHIRT” (Snacks on a Plane jokes, anyone?) there ever was.  My esteemed father.  E.F. is currently swanning around abroad, sending risible emails filled with observations about the oddities of Renaissance Italian art and how beer significantly improves one’s experience at the opera.  So please, raise your glasses in salute of world traveler extraordinare, the Frenchman in shorts, and greatest father of all time – my Dad.  Go, Daddy-O!

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.


Funk Friday: “Don’t Sweat the Technique,” Eric B and Rakim



So, okay, England didn’t win yesterday.  Neither did my softball team last night (but we left it on the field, guys, we left it on the field – especially Kathleen, who bit it on the way to first and crawled the rest of the way to the bag and made it like the boss she is).  It was 97 degrees with 100% humidity and only one of the rooms of my house has air conditioning right now.  I have a chest cold that makes me sound like phlegmy Paul Robeson.  And I’ve got a best bud out west who’s wondering (completely rationally) what life’s deal is.

BUT.  In the plus column we have the following:

  • Today is Friday.
  • The mighty falling early in the World Cup makes room for awesome other countries to advance and we might have a very cool match on our hands with some first-tme winners.
  • We’re playing softball again next week (and against a truly odious team – like, literally the worst team ever) and have a good shot at kicking their ass.
  • The one room in my house with AC is my bedroom, so I’m sleeping very happily.
  • Mr. Yankette finds the sound of a phlegmy Paul Robeson alluring.
  • My best bud is also a cat-like badass.

So I’m take the long view.  Like the man says: “It’s cool when you freak to the beat – but don’t sweat the technique.”


SHAME WEEK! Worldly Wednesday: “Dragostea Din Tei,” O-Zone



Oh you totally knew this was coming.  Like there is any other song I could post on Wednesday during Shame Week.  (Happily I don’t own any Venga Boys.  This entry could have taken way longer to come up with.)  And don’t pretend like you don’t secretly love this song.  It’s a great song!  It’s also so terrible that I have never once wondered what it actually means.  It just doesn’t make that much of a difference to me.  It’s fun to yell “maaayaHEEE, maaayaHOOO” while bopping up and down at a house party, and that’s good enough for me.

Funk Friday: “No Parking on the Dance Floor,” Midnight Star



This song goes out to two dear friends of mine who are today beginning their cross-country moving trip to resettle on the west coast.  (Pro tip: if you want to speed past the odd and theatrical intro, the music starts at 0:57.)   Westward, ho, dudes!  Pedal to the metal – no parking on the dance floor.

Funk Friday: “Tukka Yoot’s Riddim,” Us3



So here’s something twisted: kids who were born in 1993, when this record came out, are old enough to drink now.  They’re gonna be hitting the bars tonight buying drinks with real IDs.  Curse you, relentless passage of time.

I remember buying my first legal drink.  I ordered a glass of red wine in a Legal Seafood restaurant in a mall.  I didn’t get carded, the wine was a bit blech, it felt very anti-climactic.  Ordering a drink at a bar, of course, was very different.  I really did feel like I was getting away with something.  I kept waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and give me a condescending “Okay, honey, let’s go.”  But no one did.  So, bars were no longer mythic – less Mists of Avalon, more Terminal B Airport Lounge.

So, a bar is a bar is a bar.  (You of course are a bar, but were always a bar.  (Robert Frost, up top!))  The best bar I have ever been to is basically an enormous living room, filled with squashy sofas and arm chairs.  The drinks are reasonably priced, the food is delicious, and the service just desultory enough to allow you ample time to wonder if you’ll die in the chair you selected, and then realize you won’t really mind because it’s so very comfortable.  In fact, the bar in “Tukka Yoot’s Riddim” slightly resembles this Elysium of bars.  So, while drinking tends to cram a half-hour of loose amusement into three hours of unpleasantness, you might as well do it sitting in a blue velveteen low-rider sofa listening to an upright bass player.  Word to the wise, newly-minted 21-year olds.

Oh and one more thing: shots are the Devil’s plaything.  Shots are how the Saxons fell.  Don’t do shots.  Promise me.  Ok?  Look me in the eye.  Ok.  Now be home by 11.  And would it kill you to wear pants that fit?

Sacred Sunday: “Surrexit Christus Hodie,” Samuel Scheidt, John Arnold



Surrexit Christus Hodie!  It’s Easter!  Hooray!  I apologize for being so late posting today’s Tune-Up, faithful readers; I’ve been singing Easter service and doing post Easter service activities.

Easter is, obviously, all about the resurrection of Jesus.  This being a joyous occasion, Easter music is just about the best of all liturgical music in the calendar, and all hinges on the central theme of rebirth.  We sang a few versions of this today.  First, my choir sang this glorious anthem by early 17th century German composer Samuel Scheidt. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been looking forward to it all year.  The version we sang was much longer than this (there are a total of six verses) but the tempo and tone are very similar.

Surrexit Christus hodie

Humano pro solamine

Mortem qui passus pridie

Miserrimo pro homine.

Laudetur sancta trinitas,

Deo dicamus gratias.

The words are from a 14th century Bohemian carol.  What do these latin lyrics mean?  This piece grew up to be that gem in the Easter crown, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today,” whose tune was written by John Arnold about a hundred years later in 1749.


Whatever religious tradition you follow, wherever in the world you are, I hope you have a joyous day today.