Saturday, March 28, 2009

Five favorite song lyrics

This is another fun idea from Elisabeth, who got it going on Facebook. I posted a pared-down, lyrics-only version there, but thought I'd add a few explanations on this post.

I did this more or less off the top of my head, because anything definitive would take me, say, the rest of my life? So these are just lyrics that I think are particularly well done and that mean a lot to me.

I noticed that three ended up being about the theme of youth and age; none were love-angst lyrics: appropriate enough for where I'm at in my life.

1. Now that you've found your paradise
Is this your kingdom to command
You can go outside and polish your car
Or sit by the fire in your Shangri-la.

(Shangri-la, The Kinks)

The opening to one of The Kinks' most beautiful songs; I could have chosen other extracts from the same song, because there are so many touching passages. Also, it's not directly a "lyrics" issue, but Ray's pronunciation/accent on "command" makes me go to pieces.

2. Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night
People so busy, make me feel dizzy
Taxi lights shine so bright

(Waterloo Sunset, The Kinks)

This one is more or less here by definition: it's the opening lines to my favorite song in the world. Maybe it is kind of a love song for me, because I thought I would never fall in love again, but then I went back to London a few years back and became enamored of the city.

3. Good and bad, I defined these terms
So clear, no doubt somehow
But I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now.

(My Back Pages, Bob Dylan)

It always amazes me how young Dylan was when he wrote this sort of thing.

4. And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their world
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware what they're going through.

(Changes, David Bowie)

In other words, the reason why most younger people, including myself "back then," won't really get the lyrics of "My Back Pages" until later down the road.

5. Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn,
return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning,
blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle,
light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh,
this means no fear - cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament,
a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
and I decline.

(It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I feel fine) R.E.M.

When I was coaching high school debate in the USA, the rumor got around that this song was about cross-examination debate. At that time, REM lyrics were pretty much unavailable, so I remember my team transcribing the lyrics and being very excited to think that they were, indeed, about debate. I have read about this interpretation on the Internet, and it is "debatable," but this song and particularly this passage, will always remind me of my four wonderful years coaching and the crazy, caffeine-pumped atmosphere at the tournaments...of lies.

Feel free to give this a try, and tell me if you do...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Album Cover, or another bloggy thing from Facebook

One nice thing about Facebook is that it is giving me some ideas for this momentarily purposeless blog.

The last Facebook fun I got tagged for was called "Album Cover."

Ok, so mine turned out looking like a cassette -- possibly even an 8-track cartridge, the shame, the shame! And I also had to get my daughter to help me put the text on the photo, so the whole thing was amusing, but left me feeling a little older.

So here are the rules:

1. Go to Wikipedia's random article function, on the upper left sidebar: the title of your article is your band's name. Were I playing this game today, this would be my band's name. I much prefer Ausa Family.

2. Go to Wikiquote, a place I had never gone. Once again, there is a "random page" function. Take the last four or five words of the random page -- there's a little liberty here -- and create your album name.

I don't know about you, but Unprejudiced Minds of Sufficient Grasp is just an awesome album name in my book. I've been feeling proud of it all week, as if I had actually come up with it and the music to go with it to boot!

3. Now for the album cover. I must admit I don't really care for my glam-gal image, but this is what I got and I didn't cheat. Go to Flickr, Interesting photos from the last 7 days. The third photo is your cover, whether you like it or not.

Put it all together with something like Photoshop, or just ask your kids to do it....

I won't tag anyone, but this is kind of a kick if you want to give it a try.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bye, Bye Miss American Newspaper?

Dear Olympian,

Please don't go away -- just get a business model, and fast!

I just wrote a lengthy comment to a post by Marjorie at Interior Designs and decided to turn it into a post of my own, since it's a subject that is near and dear to my heart and one that I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I used to proudly point out that Americans read three times as many newspapers as the French. I'm not sure this statistic is up to date, and even rather doubt it considering the number of newspapers that are on the verge of extinction in the USA.

And apparently, as Marjorie points out, many Americans don't really care.

Well, I care deeply about the local paper that I grew up with, but also feel that the US newspaper industry has been ridiculously dinosaur-like and, well, out and out stupid (dinosaurs did have small brains, right?) in their harnessing of the Internet.

For example, The Olympian, which is a long-standing and high-quality daily, moved years ago -- like so many other papers -- from a "key news" Internet approach to an "all the news" site.

I remember thinking at the time that this was not a good idea. Sure, I was happy to be able to read everything from local sports news to obituaries from my European home, but somehow it didn't feel right. And it doesn't seem to be working out, either.

So, now, I've been reading The Olympian's content online for free for years and all that time I would have been perfectly willing to pay to do so. I'm sure many Olympians living outside of the area would have happily done the same, and those online subscriptions would have added up to a tidy sum by now.

What were they thinking? Who is going to pay for something that they can get for free?

And what a financial boon it would have been to tap into all of the potential Olympian readers all over the world -- from the get-go.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Unconscious Mutterings 319

  1. Mourning :: Funeral

  2. Approval :: Rating

  3. Lotion :: Motion

  4. Perspire :: Sweat

  5. Language :: Learning

  6. Defection :: Artists

  7. Play :: or go

  8. Graphic :: Design

  9. Spicy :: Tabasco

  10. In love :: with a wonderful guy
I've decided to use the number system that corresponds to the Unconscious Mutterings site; thus the jump from Number 11 to Number 319.