What The Fuss Is All About Patrick Rothfuss


          About once a decade I "discover" a "new" fantasy/speculative fiction author with sufficient imagination, drive, and wordsmith-ability to hold me rapt for thousands of pages.  Normally, I come upon them—whether stumbling by lucky happenstance or navigating by direction—after their trilogy is complete.  Not the case with The Kingkiller Chronicle, written by Patrick Rothfuss.

          The first 750 pages (The Name of the Wind) were very good.  The next nearly-1000 pages (The Wise Man's Fear) were great-to-excellent and better than the first.  The third is still being carefully crafted.  I hope it's published early in 2012; with sufficient time for me to read it before the end of the world.

          Patrick Rothfuss is on the same shelf as:  Orson Scott Card, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Gene Wolfe.

☆☆☆ Ratings—The Forgettable 3+/- Defined

          Dear anonymous (14-year-old-male) commenter who recommended Sucker Punch and questioned my 3+ rating on Source Code here.

          I've previously detailed my unorthodox rating schema.

          Simply put:  The vast majority of everything is forgettable (the mediocre ☆☆☆).

          Over time, we forget things that don't stand-out.  ☆☆☆☆☆ are reserved for the few fantastically-great things we witness, and although we try to avoid ☆, occasionally, we step in something terribly-horrible anyway.

          Normal rating systems fail to address that the majority of things (over 65%) are forgettable.  My system—best visualized as a hyperbolic curve—addresses these bland, middle-range, ☆☆☆, forgettable things by sub-dividing it.  3+ are forgettable with some memorable accomplishments and 3- are forgettable with a few memorable errors.

pogo ∼ snapperhead ∴ pogos ∼ digi-rends

          Today is my thirtieth-consecutive day of my song list month, which I've grown fond of referring to as MySoLiMo.  This eight-letter-run-on is a parody of National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo).  I pronounce it like an American butchering the Italian song 'O Sole Mio, but I begin with 'My' instead of 'Oh'.  Today's title is a reference to my day-14 title: toothbrush ∼ condom ∴ dental caries ∼ ?.

          The original meme author's final title was your favorite song at this time last year; my similar but less-restrictive category is:
The Newest Song You Enjoy 

          On March 24th I began MySoLiMo mistakenly thinking the titles were coming from the incisive mind of Ginny, a writer whom I respect.  I also thought it was going to be a video month (that's how she described it at first).  Although I began coloring outside the lines on day 3 (when I selected a sad video, instead of a song) the obvious cracks didn't begin to stand out—for me—until after a week (when I began to suspect Ginny wasn't the author and started choosing my own categories).  Because I especially enjoy films, and I wanted to steer the meme back toward videos, my day 8 selection was from a film.

          Day ten I briefly touched on the difficulty of creating MySoLiMo categories from whole cloth, while cherry-picking from the more interesting original author's titles.  The fourteenth-day Ginny confessed to also disliking the titles.  Now that I realized I wouldn't be stepping on her toes, I abandoned the original author's titles (albeit I did ridicule and scorn them more than thrice).

          I retained the song-theme while continuing to hint at—as well as insert—movie, film, and video (maybe I'll craft a MoFiVoLiMo someday) references whenever the opportunity arose.


          Recently I've been listening to Pogo (Australian artist Nick Bertke, not the possum cartoon character who's most memorable caption—quoted in 2009 here—is:  We have met the enemy and he is us).

          I love everything he pogos.  Yes, as a verb.  It's not mere remixing; no more than my digital renderings from poached images are just photo-shopping.  The pogos (versatile, yup, now it's a pronoun) I enjoy most are those distilled from animated films.  However, the pogo from his mother's garden is fantastic (makes me tear-up a little); as is the one I saw excerpted on television last month, about a local place I've hiked (Beaver Creek State Park).

          My newest favorite is Pogo's Wishery.  It plays to an entire menagerie of affinations:  instrumental, talk-song, film, elec-trance, as well as it chimes both my happy and laugh bells.  

AFFINATION

          A Favorite Talk Song.

          Subtitle: (if you're not into the ol' brevity thing) a music composition incorporating instruments and vocals in such a manner that some, or all, vocals are spoken rather than sung (e.g. the rap genre; the song Tubthumper—a safe example because it's nobody's favorite; or everything by Lou Reed).


          There are quite a few talk-songs I like.  I'm not exactly sure why, but, since I am the most qualified to posit a theory, here goes.

          Poetry sounds like a song which has taken a cappella to the extreme.  When lyrics are sung the words become part of, and meld with, the song.  Speak with instrumental accompaniment, however, and the prose stands out.  Tells a story.  I have an affination for this type of song-stylin'.

          Here's a thing (more of a tangential aside-thing) affination is a word I've used my entire adult life, but it doesn't mean what I want it to mean.  And never has.  But.  I still use it.  Affination (from the—obviously—abridged snapperhead dictionary):  A proclamation of strong affinity used in much the same manner as the (real) words:  abomination, fascination, consignation, and (especially) affectation.**

          But where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Talk-songs.  Affinity.

          The story takes center stage when a singer downshifts the lyrics and speaks some of the song's words.  If he or she has an interesting voice—with a story-teller's ear-catching character and inflection—the story of the song is more-easily sculpted into memory.   

          Even if you haven't heard Lullabye by Shawn Mullins in over a decade, you probably still remember which celebrities her parents hung out with, at big parties?  And, if you (like most) were only confused by the off-putting Mmm(x4) song by The Crash Test Dummies...I still wouldn't be surprised if you, none-the-less, remember why the boy's hair turned from black to bright white?
** If you work in the sugar-processing or metallurgical industries, you may feel affronted by my repurposing your word.  Good.  I would ask that this not become the one turd in a sea of shit that pisses you off and hope you don't decide to do somethin' about this turd—but I won't.  I hope it pisses your federally subsidized asses right-the-fuck off. 
Dennis Hopper, Bob Seger, Sonny and Cher.
from when the cars crashed sooo hard.

Free My Mind...Just Free My Mind

          A Song Which Reflects Your Opinion On The Weather.


          The weather, in today's category, is a metaphor.  It could have been anything beyond our control; chicken little's non-upcoming apocalypse, solidly proven quantum factoids, the flowering myth of world-wide social equality—anything at all—I just chose weather because it's global (omnipresent), powerful (omnipotent), and everyone has an opinion about it (omnipinint).  (Not to be confused with omnipaninint...the burgeoning trend of selling every sandwich on earth with grill lines.)

          Feels Like Heaven by Urban Cookie Collective is my metaphorical answer.

          But wait.

          Why then, does my answer seem meteorological in nature?

          I thought that would be obvious from the tone, young grasshopper.

          Whether you're too vain to understand metaphors or your brain can only interpret all the information your senses send to it in such an extremely straightforward manner that you're unable to (free your mind) stop fixating on the weathervane, the answer is still the same.

          There is no spoon.

          It's never just a foot massage.

          When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle.

The Prodigal Song

    Today's category:  A Song That Reminds You of a Favorite Film.


          Quotes from two favorite films are within my favorite Chi-AD song Monsters.

          The first quote, from Aliens (1986), is a conversation between Newt and Ripley:  "Mommy said there weren't bad monsters—not real ones—but there are."  "Yes there are aren't there?"  "Why do they tell little kids that?"  "Most of the time it's true."

          The second is from The Usual Suspects (1995).  Kobayashi, the lawyer, saying, "One cannot be betrayed if one has no people."

           I jogged to this song my last three years of military service; its tempo was perfect to set a strong initial pace.  Upon retirement, I left the running, bathroom scale, uniforms, alarm clock, barber, and uncountable miscellaneous items and routines behind; this song became forgotten on my jogging playlist.  I'm quite pleased this has reminded me of it.  Enough to kill a fatted clef.

Sunday's on the phone to Monday



          A Quirky Song You Admire, But Can't Put Your Finger On Why; everybody has at least one rollin' around back there like a three-legg'd puppy in a truck-bed bouncin' along a washboard road.  When you think about it, faster than you can say Bob's yer uncle, you'll give-n-get a smirk with that inside-to-your-ownself smile.
       
                    but, even if you seriously try
                    to concentrate on all the why
                    n' all the way t' Kokomo pry
                    'til unwrapped-present sighs
                    Go figure 

          I'm not cheating.  Mine is The Sun King et al. by The Beatles.  Technically four songs, but not in reality (no more than side-one of Dark Side of the Moon is five).  Those who say otherwise ...well... they're as wrong as blue soy turducken and should spin that-there dial back to their fav pop station lickedy-split.*
       
          I admire The Sun King et al. because...
  • whimsical non-words and alliterative phrases abound
  • my bona fide fy-ants is named Pam
  • I'm a retired police officer 
  • my favorite condiment is mustard
  • Tuesday's on the phone to me (oh yeah)                  
      *Where else can you find this concise of a sentence containing one hyphenated Americanism, three correctly used homophones, two abbreviated popular slang terms, one three-word malapropism (using a real 3-bird American meal to supplant a politically incorrect adage about homosexuals)?

From a Distance This Ain't No Meme

          My category for this 25th day of MySoLiMo is A Song You Enjoy From Your Least-Listened-To Genre.

          In all fairness, this is slightly similar to day 14's title from the original meme (which I abandoned a few weeks back because most of those titles were befuddlingly redundant and immature).  The little girl's title was A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love.  I criticized it a little already, so I'll just explain why mine is superior.  Her verbiage is too restrictive.  Readers who ponder it are discouraged when they try-on different songs (in their mental dressing room) and discover none of them fit; either they don't love it, someone on the planet knows them well-enough, or the concept of song expectations is off-putting.  My category relies on the simple assumption that everyone has at least one music genre they rarely listen to, but, can still identify an enjoyable song from.


          I'm not proud of my prejudices.  They aren't a characteristic I routinely discuss (with fingers or voice).  My strongest prejudice comes in the form of a sincere disdain for those who proudly enjoy and embrace their own ignorance.  It's easier to describe the behavior of these people from a distance.  They live in America's rural south—in Texas and Georgia and all the sad states in-between.  They enjoy watching cars race around in a circle, wearing impractical costumes, driving impractical vehicles and being hypocrites (reveling in the inherited-hatred of those who differ from them in thought, appearance, or deed...which they blithely rationalize as the will of their creator).

          Oh sky cake, why are you so delicious?

          This music, the music of those who enjoy flaunting their ignorance—American Country, Bluegrass, and Folk—are the genres I have, and will, listen to the least.

          However, I enjoy Nanci Griffith (very much a down-home Texan folk singer).  Her voice always contains a wink and a smile.  Her lyrics rarely cater to the NASCAR lovin' cowboy, drivin' his HMMWV to church with stars n bars flyin' from his antenna.  Her version of From A Distance (written by Julie Gold) is the one I prefer.
  • The 1st stanza describes, literally, our planet from high above.
  • The refrain, 3rd and 5th stanzas sketch humans—from a distance—as harmonious, peaceful, and well-fed.   
  • The middle stanza declares:  God is watching us from a distance.  (Irony?)
          Maybe yesterday's song has me still thinking about irony too much.  I get the idealized, hope-for-a-better-mankind-tomorrow message.  But, within the song's context, isn't it saying:  God doesn't exist.  If she did, he can't see all the terrible feckin shite we keep doing to ourselves from its distant vantage point.  Maybe it's just me and I'm not taking 'distance' metaphorically enough?

A Favorite From Your First Compilation Album

          My first compilation album came from a drug store bargain bin.  The full set (two 8-tracks) cost me five dollars, was called Superstars of the 70's, and contained about fifty songs...'only a dime a song!'...was how I rationalized this expenditure to myself.

          To put this in some perspective:  it was 1976; I earned $2.30/hr; but, because my parents required me to save half of my pay for college, after taxes I received no more than $1.00/hr in pocket-money.


          My Favorite Song From My First Compilation Album was—and still is—Lucky Man by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  There were songs from that double-album I rarely listened to (pushing 'next track' every time they came on) and then there were those I re-listened over-n-over, so often, they're indelibly stamped in long-term memory.  This was one of the latter.

          My fy-ants (mentioned here) says this song is too sad and depressing for her.  For me, it's a perfectly wonderful example of irony...the 'lucky' knight-soldier immortalized by Moog synthesizer.

          For those still counting, this is day 24 of My Song List Month (MySoLiMo).

It's Just Me, Carrying My Weight

          Today is Your Favorite Spiritual-or-Secular Song.


          The Weight by The Band and The Staples Singers (from the film The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorsese) is mine.  At first glance, key lyrics (Nazareth, Moses, Judgement Day) hint that this is a religious song.  But, each of the stanzas end with all-too human results...the listener eventually realizes that the song's protagonist (as it were) is just a normal human trying, failing, helping, and—ultimately—only succeeding in carrying his own load.

          I've been a fan of this film, and especially this version of The Weight, since 1979 when I saw it in the Oriental Theater on Milwaukee's East Side.   It was fantastic on the huge single screen.  (The Oriental was, unfortunately, sliced into four small screens decades ago).  32 years ago, ten dollars got you a punch-card good for five admissions, which covered all the films showing that day except for the weekend midnight show (Rocky Horror).  Normally there were two alternating films, unless a film was longer than three hours (e.g. The Seven Samurai, Lawrence of Arabia).  When I saw The Last Waltz it was paired with The Concert for Bangladesh.

          I also recall these double features:
          I love, enjoy (criticize too)...but most of all, I attend and I tithe.  Films are my religion.  Theaters are churches.   They help me carry my load. 

    And She Was Random Colors

               A Song Which the Color (Random) Reminds You Of is today's title.


              Appropriately, And She Was Random Colors is the title of this—my newest digital rendering.

              Clicking on the 'randomize' button of the color generator gave me:  grass-green.

              Al Green wrote the song Take Me to the River; although I'm only familiar with the Talking Heads version.

              One of my favorite Talking Heads songs is And She Was, which begins with the lyric: "And she was lying in the grass..."



    ...but then, where is life?

              Today's category is Favorite Foreign Language Song


              In the early-to-mid 1990s I lived in Belgium (mentioned here) but traveled continuously as a protective service agent (fancy name for bodyguard).  I tried to find something I liked in the countries I visited (detailed here).  In a few—where I wasn't in control of the radio—all I seemed to hear was English or American music.  In many more I was able to listen to local music but failed to discover a song-style or musician I liked enough to buy their CD.  Not to shock anyone...but fifteen years ago, that really was the only way to re-hear a song you liked from the radio or television.

              I spent more than four months in Italy during those three years.  (In the protection business, cultivating security relationships can be helpful, therefore, team-members usually returned to countries where they'd made useful contacts.  Mine were in France, The Netherlands, and Italy.)  It was in Italy where I heard and bought the CD containing Cose della Vita by Eros Ramazzotti.  I prefer this original to the 1997 duet-version with Tina Turner.

              Just like listening to an Opera in English ruins it (makes me laugh) the translation of these Italian lyrics are unimportant.  If I knew them they'd probably lose their je ne sais qua.

    Instrumental

              Today's category is Your Favorite Instrumental.

              Since electronica and trance (and many of their sub-genres) are my preferred genres, it's simple to understand why Orbital's full version of The Box is my favorite instrumental (The Box Part 1 and The Box Part 2 are almost 13 minutes in length and unavailable on video; this, however, is a good 4 minute sample).

              For those unfamiliar with elec-trance—claiming a preference for Orbital is the equivalent of declaring that one's favorite male vocalist of the 50s is Elvis or saying Pink Floyd is your favorite psychedelic rock band of the 70s.  I know I'm picking low-hanging fruit.  It's the best.

    The Paragon of Protest Songs


              My personal Paragon of Protest Songs (today's category) is Timmy Thomas' 1972 song, "Why Can't We Live Together".  The Hammond organ.  That punctuation note.  Hammering home the message.  Demanding your attention with subtle simplicity.

              I was a child during Vietnam (that's how everyone referred to it.  One word.  One noun.  Heavily laden with invisible but not silent verbs.)  When I joined the "teenager ranks" my requirement to register for the draft in a short five-years didn't seem very distant.  I thought my choices were clearly defined by Walter Cronkite on the nightly news:  become a scorned soldier who napalmed innocent villagers or join the ranks of protesters beaten by police.
               At thirteen, I didn't want to do either.

              The draft was eliminated when I was fourteen.

              Vietnam ended when I was sixteen.

              When I entered Purdue University (go Boilermakers) at seventeen, all the protests had faded like my jeans.

              Papa (mentioned here and here) passed away from a heart attack in his sleep when I was nineteen years old.  At Nana's house, after his funeral, my sister and I sat at the organ (mentioned here) while family members milled, cried, and whispered around us.  We both tried to play Timmy's melody and punctuation note; demanding attention with subtle simplicity.

    When Two Heads Are Better

              My song-category for this eighteenth day of thirty is:  Your Favorite Duet.

              There are almost as many forgettably-forgotten songs sung by two people in tandem as there are played by groups and sung by soloists.  To identify this favorite I ran my mind, ears, and eyes across many such songs, tunes, and titles.

              I recall not hating the film Duets directed by Bruce Paltrow and starring Paul Giamatti.  The one duet which has always stuck with me from the film—Giamatti singing Try a Little Tenderness with Andre Braugher.  Although it's not my favorite duet, by deconstructing it I was able to identify my favorite.

              Try a Little Tenderness is a fantastic song.  I've heard it sung by several artists.  I enjoy the version by Otis Redding and the covers by Three Dog Night as well as The Commitments.   So, first and foremost, a favorite duet must be a great song all by itself, no matter who sings it.

              I was a bit surprised to learn that Giamatti and Braugher are capable-to-good vocalists, but there's a reason they both earn their livings acting and not singing.  So, the second factor in identifying a favorite duet, is that both singers must be great solo-vocalists in their own right.

              The third and final determinate is the gestalt or the mise-en-scène (if you'll allow a visual metaphor to describe the realm of song).  Combine the tunes meter, rhythm, instrument's sounds, vocals, echos, vibrations, silences, etc...with the lyric's words, phrasing, inflections, structure, intended meanings and emotions.  Now mix in all the unintended meanings and associated emotions introduced by each listener.  The result is a favorite song.

              My favorite duet is one which both of the vocalists as well as the band of musicians contributed equally to the creation of, and overall everything of:  Under Pressure by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie.  They never recorded it together live.  None-the-less, this wonderful video adds an additional layer of emotion to the recording.

    Seventeen—You're Ready

              "Ok, folks!  We're back.  And we're here with the Insipid family.  Talking with their adorably cute young daughter, Brandi.  Hello there my dear."
              "Hi."
              "Your family already has two strikes.  Are you nervous?"
              "Maybe kinda.  But, not really.  This is, like, pretty simple."
              "Well, the topic is interesting song-meme titles.  Two weeks of answers still on the board.  Get this one wrong and the Snapperhead's get a chance to steal.  What do you say?"
              "A Song You Often Hear On The Radio?"
              "Show us A Song You Often Hear On the Radio!"
              *braaaaaaazzzzzz*
              "To steal, Snapperhead, what do you say?"
              "A Fucking Song."
              "Are you sure?  That can be interpreted as an intensifier, adjective, adverb, verb, emphatic particle..."
              "That versatility makes it a brilliant title."
              "Show us "A Fucking Song!"
              *bing*
              17th day, seventeen people surveyed said A FUCKING SONG .   I'm going with the verb.  Mia Culpa by Enigma happens to be the only song I've intentionally programmed to play while fucking.
     

              Sticking with today's dual theme (fucking and 17) and trying to end on a humorous note:

    Celebr·ageing Evolu·ddites Not So Fast!

              If you're counting, this is my 16th consecutive day of song-O-rama.   A few of the insipid titles I'm disregarding and replacing with my own: a song that no one would expect you to love (a shadow of yesterday's title) a song that you used to love but now hate, and a song from a band you hate (that you used to?..terrible grammar.  Both titles are foolish—only a child hates bands and songs).

              My title for today is The Oldest Song You Enjoy.


             
              The reason mine is Boléro by Ravel (1928) is that it is in a portion of the wonderful 1976 Italian film Allegro Non Troppo, by Bruno Bozzetto.  I first watched that humorous homage to Disney's Fantasia in 1979.

    Workin at a P'ro Sho'p (pronounced pussy)

              Yesterday, Ginny's post clarified (for me) that she's not the author of this month-long-song-o-rama.  For days, I've colored outside the lines as well as fabricated a few more interesting (for me) titles.  When I, naïvely, thought they were her titles, I bit my tongue; I like Ginny.  Now that it's just a stupid meme, I have no compunction expressing scorn for unimaginative titles written by an early-adolescent girl.

              I committed to a month.  I still want to prove—to myself—I can do it, and I enjoy not only the memory mining but where my creative juices lead (like, an artwork's back-story, a new poem, or a parenting theory) so for the final two weeks, if I decide to fabricate my own title I'll include the insipid child's title (appropriately struck) only if it begs comment; as it does today, a song that is a guilty pleasure.

              If an immature stranger were to criticize my playlist (and I can't imagine a situation, but, going with the premise) I would be unaffected.  No friends would do it.  A new acquaintance would become a stranger.  The concept that someone experiences an emotion they label "guilty pleasure" is foreign to me.  I don't do things on purpose that make me feel guilty.  There are things which make me feel sated, angry, content, tired, excited, sad, scared, and—occasionally even—bored.  Never guilty.  That title was written by a twelve year old who still gets her hand caught in the cookie jar and slapped by her mommy.

              My title today:  A Song Which Reminds You of a Sport or Job.


              My first full-time employment was a 1974 summer job at Mississinewa Country Club.  I worked in the Pro Shop collecting greens fees, renting carts, selling golf equipment and listening to the radio.  I rode to and from work on my ten-speed (which had a radio mounted on its handlebars).  Late that summer they hired the recently-graduated highschool senior class president.  Mister Charisma.  Mister Popular.  Mister Charm.  I was asked to train him.  Me.  The dorky boyscout who liked to squeeze in a free 9-holes after shift when there was enough daylight.

              One day our shifts overlapped.  He joked around.  I got the impression he might not look down on me any more than any graduate disdained anyone who just had a learner's permit.  Led Zeppelin's new song D'yer Mak'er came on.  (LEARNED TODAY:  the title is pronounced like saying the country Jamaica with an accent...Dje-May-ka.)

              He began to gyrate.  He humped the door jam.  He replaced some lyrics with other, funnier, ones.  It was hilarious.  Then he said, "My friend's coming to pick me up.  Wanna ride?  It looks like it might rain.  You could put yer bike in the trunk."

              I accepted.  And then tried to politely decline when his friend arrived driving an MG.

              "No biggy.  Sit in my lap."  He said.

              I sheepishly accepted.  Once on his lap, head crammed into the roof, zipping down the county road, he put the 8-track on, turned it to D'yer Mak'er, and began to grind again.  His hands on my hips.  "Oh Veach, you're so tight.  Just relax into it."  And the jokes went on and on for half the trip.

              "Ok.  Very funny.  I'm used to being picked on."  I said.

              Although he giggle-apologized and claimed it was "all innocent fun" I realized he and his friend got much more of a kick out of the comments and actions than would be normal, and it dawned on naïve little highschool-sophomore me:  Mister Popular was gay.

              Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    toothbrush ∼ condom dental caries  ?  *

              Brushing my teeth this morning I thought:  with Ginny on sabbatical, what's the best way to select a title without any of the (already discussed) mental entanglements and involuntary pre-approval requirementsTeethbrushing.  A song about teeth brushing!

              My mind then did what I can't prevent it from doing, and ran a search.  About 1 result (.038 seconds).  Upon examination, I realized that the one result was an advertising jingle.  I discarded it.   Began shaving.

              My internal stream-of-consciousness dialogue continued.  Toothbrushing reminds me...I don't have any cavities.  Which is a lie.  I have one.  When I was thirteen the dentist discovered a crack in the enamel of my top-right-rear molar.  He said it would become a cavity and so I got a filling.  But, since it wasn't yet a cavity I'm not really telling a lie when I say I've never had a cavity...only if I were to ever say 'I don't have any fillings'.

              I wonder.  Why do I have only one?  My blood relatives all have much worse dentition, so it's not genetics.  Is my oral hygiene routine better?  I brush twice a day, but I never floss, and I haven't seen a dentist in so long I can't remember.  So, that can't be it.  Maybe I brush better than others; could once when I wake up and once before bed be sufficient?

              At this point my brain forces itself to do calcuations.  Struggles.  It can't be that hard.  Math.  But it is.  Finally, I come up with: 830 times a year; 832 on leap years.  Then... Fuck I'm terrible even at multiplying 365 times two!  And, again finally, I arrive at: 730, 732 on leap years.

              Others may say they brush regularly.   But, like my no cavities but one filling shite, people lie.  Even to themselves.  How about others I've lived with?  I've witnessed their routines.  All my sig-o's possess relatively bad teeth.  So maybe I've kept the evil bacteria at bay for a lifetime because I've never skipped a 1/2 day.  Others fudge.  They may say they brush but I know they forget because I witnessed it, smelled their breath, and paid their dentist bills.

              Just like they also said they were on the pill.  Or they couldn't get pregnant. 

              I've paid those bills too.

              My first abortionfour years after my one and only filling (to date)cost me $300.

              Six years later my on-the-pill wife got pregnant, which cost me more than a little bit of freedom of choice (I joined the military to have both an income and attain free natal care).

              And we mustn't forget the child support payments which began three years after that.

              Another three years...let's see...didn't use a condom because she said she couldn't get pregnant, which resulted in another abortion.  And another several years after that. (Totally on me.  Because the adage "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I'm a moron who deserves to be force-fed off the idiot's menu" very much applied to me in that instance there).  I got into the shower and began washing my hair.

              Many say they're against abortion but their regimen to prevent tooth decay is not really strict habit but, in fact, more sketchy practice.  Like the practice of birth control.  If I skip a day or three of brusha-brusha-brusha what's the worse case scenario?  Several hundred dollars poorer and a few hours, maybe a day, of discomfort after the offending tooth is extracted.

              Wait...where was I going with this?  My brain confused itself.  Like it does.  How did mulling over dental hygiene successes become discombobulatentwined with birth control failures? 

              Steering blindly back onto the perfect smile highway, I wonder, what about that tooth experiment, in third grade, at Meadowbrook Elementary in New Haven, Indiana?  The school where I had to run around the outside edge of the gymnasium, while listening to...

              Ahh HA!  The title for today is:  A Song That Reminds You of Elementary School.


              The gym teacher played the same song every day.  We were permitted to stop running when the music stopped.  He would, randomly, lift the arm of the record player mid-song and... finally!...we could walk a while.  Catch our wind.  Then he'd start it over near the beginning.  With the whistling.  Winchester Cathedral (which I always called "wind" chester) by The New Vaudeville Band will always remind me of that elementary school. 
              About the dental experiment (don't worry, I never forget the punch line).  A week after we returned our permission slips, the whole school filed into the cafeteria.  We were patiently instructed by doctor-like people wearing white coats.  They told us what they expected us to do.  In front of each of us was a small paper container and a new toothbrush in cellophane.  In each paper cup was a brown gritty-looking goop like substance.  We were to unwrap the toothbrushes, scoop the paste onto the bristles, and—all at the exact same time—brush our teeth, all-over, for two full minutes.  We were warned it would not taste good.  But, they said, it would only be effective if we kept brushing the entire two minutes.  It was going to help fight cavities, they said.

              They had us all hold our toothbrushes over our heads while assistants and teachers walked around and inspected.  The head white-coat did on your mark, get set, go!   And we all began to brush.

              It wasn't as terrible as some of my classmates made out.  Some quit immediately, stood, and began spitting on the floor.  Others made it longer and got to the trash cans near the front table with the water cups.  All this time the teacher's assistants, teachers, and the "doctors" talked over the din...keep going and sit down and one more minute!  I felt like I was brushing my teeth with a salty soap mixture made of mostly beach sand.  The idea I have a mouthful of dirt was the hardest.  As the countdown made it to ...ten, nine, eight... I stood up, kept brushing, moved to the front table and took a cup of water.  At the ok, you can stop now point, I began swishing and spitting into a trash barrel.

    *Abortions (for those stumped by the titular riddle-equation, who don't want to read this whole long article).

    This is the SOUND of my SOUL

              I've had so many preferred songs, bands, and even genres in the five-feckin-hundred months which have elapsed since I started formulating favorites (described here) that it seems unfair/impossible/cheating to pick one.  I could never only eat just one.


              It's not that Led Zeppelin would get jealous if I said I like Pink Floyd better.  Nor would Chicago Transit Authority get a bruised ego if I chose Fleetwood Mac over them, either.  But as the last dozen days have shown, it is better—for me—to tie either an emotional balloon or a temporal anchor to my selection switch.

              Ginny's title—a song from your favorite band—seems like it's missing that connection with my past or my soul or my sumthinerother.  I prefer:  A Favorite Song From (Random Year).

              I used a random number generator to choose the year.  With the parameter years between when I was 12 years old and today (52).  The generator selected one integer for me.  It chose 24.

              I turned twenty-four years old in 1983.

              Sticking with Squire as the font of all knowledge, I used Squire's favorite chalkboard to remind me what songs were released in 1983; then what songs were hits in 1983.  (Unsurprisingly, it lists all years.)

              From that quick scan of albums, artists, and songs I remembered many...but one was my favorite that year:  Spandau Ballet, True.  (My bona fide fy-ants will karaoke it, sometimes.  She sings it fantastically.)

    Sleepus Interruptus

              My brain often reminds—I was once much more free of cares.
              In the pajama years, my heart thrummed light all thru the night.
              Until my supposedly-asleep adolescent ears heard Johnny Carson.
              On Tonight, in black & white, he jested about statistics.  Sleep attire.
              How much we wore; at what age. My brain no longer retains the funny.
              It probably wasn't (even though Ed, Doc & the audience had to chuckle).
              That night, my mind decided to completely remove myself from childhood.
              I tossed it, rumpled, on the rug—the next morning I dropped it in the hamper.
              The next thirteen and a half thousand nights weren't carefree—my brain recalls.
              There were the bunks of clothed nights in open-bay barracks hounded by snores.
              The months singing the sleepingbag blues, just catchin a snooze in all but my shoes.
              And the occasional fright; foxhole without light; desperate night forced to nap upright.
              Or even those rare unkissed but unmissed, pulling the full-moon into the next's sun-rays.        
              Sleep is now a skittish kitten, creeping in after all sounds (internal and external) extinguish.
              White noise from a nearby brook does help damp down the unexpected, nearby coyote's yip.
              Earplugs help transcontinental flights or when an inconsiderate bucking fastard is playing music.
              From books on the nightstand to Bogie downstairs on-demand, the sandman has many assistants.
              Warm mint tea in the evening, a bedtime valerian/melatonin dose and then a nice refractory period.


              Ginny's title today:  A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep caused me to sketch this prose-ish poem.  There are no songs that make me fall asleep, lull me toward rest, nor do anything besides wake me...except white noise or—like the two-hour nap inducing video above—waves (and I might even be woken around the 17 and 42 minute marks of this, when some rude seagull shouts 'wake up!').

    BackwidanodrwunadozBlokRoknBEATS


              Today's title:  A Song You Can Dance To reminds me of my current reality.  I don't "hit the dance floor" with enthusiasm anymore.  I don't have the energy I once had.  I'll join my partner on occasion, but I don't enjoy it (unless I'm not driving, have imbibed sufficiently to no longer care that I look like a goofy gyrating grampa, and the right music is playing).  The Chemical Brothers, Block Rockin Beats is still the right music.

    Crisis? What Crisis?

    ...when half of what they got, you know, they never will use.  Enough to get by suits me fine; I don't care if you think I'm funny...

              I've got the baton.  I enjoyed following Ginny, but yesterday she forwarded all her planned titles, which—I think—means she's relayed the song-a-day baton.  Hopefully she'll resume.  Until then, I'll cherry pick from her list and make up my own until...questionmark.

              Choosing a title is much more complex than the linear exercise of identifying a song to fit someone else's title.  This conundrum (similar to mentally wrestling with a kōan) stems from my mind instantaneously "discarding" titles which don't immediately pair-up with a tune from my frontal and parietal lobes.  Even when I remind myself the challenge is to force yourself to dredge deep; you can't do that if you're putting the song before the title, my conscious brain still cheats when it competes with itself.  I never could finish a paint-by-numbers, because I already knew what it would look like.    

              Today's title:  A Song That Describes You.

              The Supertramp song, Poor Boy, succinctly describes my personal politics, character, as well as a portion of my attitude (lassitude?) towards others and life in general.  The "mouth-trumpet" which bookends the song is a key ingredient to my enjoyment of it.  For me, it imbues an attitude of:  too destitute to own an instrument but not too proud to fake it.

              The one lyric which captures me best:  Although I'll rant an I'll rave about one thing an' another...the beauty of it is (hope you'll agree)...tho' I'm a poor boy, I can still be happy, as long as I can feel free. 

    No Children

              In the spirit of being a good military wingman (Ginny's probably currently engaging the enemy with Gatling guns a-blazin) and a desire to—mixed metaphor ahead—pick up the fumbled ball and serve it with scallions and cheese...I'll keep her video-for-a-month thing going with an abstruse tip o' the dunce cap to April 1st (All Fools Day).  My title for today is A Song That Makes You Laugh.

              The Mountain Goats, No Children fits perfectly by causing giggle fits.  
     

              I was never mentally supercharged enough to orchestrate an April Fools Day Joke.  Days like today were the bane of my youth.  In pre-cellphone years not only would I arrive an hour late each year on the day after Spring-forward's daylight savings but six months later I'd arrive an hour early after failing to Fall-back; I'd always get pinched for failing to wear green on March 17th; and I seemed to be a prank-magnet every April's Fools Day morning (after falling for the first one, I'd then engage my remain-vigilant and overly-suspicious filter).