Song of the Day: Working for a Nuclear Free City, “Rocket”

I’m in full on CD club mix making mode. It always seems to fall as I’m in mass grading mode as well. An odd confluence to be sure, but it seems to work for me. This song is definitely ending up on the mix. I love the last line of the lyrics–“if you wanna leave, better build a rocket.” It seems to fit a mix all about the nostalgic pull of space and the stars but it’s also about wanderlust, place, and homecomings. I’m currently editing the mix. Well adding and then subtracting; editing implies doing the kinds of aural tweaking Jordan does. I’m merely curating a collection of songs. I don’t think it’s going to be a two disc mix after all. I decided that two discs was not only indulgent but also me being lazy about editing/curating. Yet, I can’t seem to let one of the Frank Turner songs go. I really can’t put both on there. It sort of violates the unwritten rule of CD mix making–you can’t repeat artists.

Song of the Day: Cassettes Won’t Listen, “Freeze and Explode”

I admit, I discovered this band and song through the television show Chuck, which is not surprising given Josh Schwartz’s well documented use of music in his series–see The O.C. Cassettes Won’t Listen released a new cd this week, so I thought I’d post this song, and then I found the music video for it. I love the 1970s television news broadcast feel for the video for “Freeze and Explode.” Somehow the song fits a 1970s ethos or perhaps I just associate the 1970s with a certain style of white culture that the band so fully embodies for me. The facial expressions of the woman playing the co-anchor are fantastically pinched, especially when she moves from drinking the cup of coffee to the fake smile.

Authors Slam Each Other

I discovered when teaching the Austen class that other writers often have extreme reactions to her work. So, I’m not surprised by the slam that Mark Twain delivers in this list of the 30 Harshest Author on Author Insults in History:

Mark Twain on Jane Austen (1898)

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

I think my favorite is Faulkner’s critique of Hemingway and then Hemingway’s response:

William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

Most of these critiques are about differences in style not substance. The whole list is worth a read. Hat tip Andrew Sullivan.

The Great Race

I just learned that Peter Falk has died. While most people will remember him for Columbo, I will remember him as the narrator for The Princess Bride and as Max in The Great Race, Blake Edwards’s comedy classic. It’s the film I learned the word emancipated from. (And what was it with 1960s films comically using the early suffrage movement to such perfect effect. Mary Poppins did the same.) At any rate, here’s a clip of the infamous pie fight in The Great Race.

And one of the great scenes of Max and Jack Lemon’s insidious, loathsome, gleeful Professor Fate.

Wrong Trouser’s Day

I’ve adored Wallace & Gromit ever since my friend Walter introduced me to their genius one cold New Year’s Eve. They’re adorably perfect, zany, smart, and just plain wise. Courtesy of Tellyspotting, I’ve discovered that today, June 24th, is Wrong Trouser’s Day. Wear the wrong trouser’s to work (and follow the fundraising pack instructions, of course) to raise money for children’s hospitals and charities in the UK. The day is named for the Wallace & Gromit short, “The Wrong Trouser’s,” and it’s done through the Wallace and Gromit Children’s Foundation. The best kind of charity fundraising–make a slight fool of yourself and give a kid a good laugh.

The Outdoor Movie Night

I’ve always wanted to do an outdoor movie night. I love the idea of gathering people in the back yard to watch a film. It combines the best parts of the drive-in theater or a movie night on a rooftop space with the comfort of home. I don’t have the projector equipment (or the backyard in any sort of shape) for this to be a possibility right now. N0r do I have the necessary plethora of blankets, sheets, and floor pillows. But, I’m totally living vicariously through this post on Design*Sponge about someone else’s backyard movie night. Of course, this particular movie night was hosted by a company, Bash Please, that does vintage weddings, so it’s more than a little over planned. Yet, the ethos is still the same I think. Maybe next summer when I have a deck and flowers and stuff, not just piles of leaves and no plants whatsoever. The previous owners of my little abode were not gardeners. (Nor were they particularly handy or attention oriented, judging by the mistake of putting a 100 watt bulb in a 60 watt light socket, among other oddities.) So garden designing is on the agenda for the fall. I have to finish painting and curtain hanging first, but I can always dream.

Song of the Day: The Decemberists, “Don’t Carry it All”

I finally laid hands on a copy of the Decemberists’s new album, The King is Dead. It’s a breezy, rocky album, full of twanging guitars and rollicking beats. It’s a swinging album for late night bars and dance halls like the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. Unlike their last album, The Hazards of Love, this album is meant to incite movement. Colin Meloy’s clear baritone rolls the lyrics around as he projects to the back of the room. This is music meant for hand clapping and foot stomping or a clear, summer night at a music festival.

Sports of June

Sadly, my hopes of watching the Gold Cup have been dashed by not having the Fox Sports Network, which comes in some kind of crazy Sports package I don’t need or want. (Darn exclusive rights clauses.) Nevertheless, I’ve been following along via John Godfrey’s twitter feed and the New York Times Soccer blog. So far, the USMNT has been, um, lackluster. They beat Jamaica 2-0 on Saturday, but they lost to Panama earlier in the group. Lost to Panama. Seriously. And then looked less than stellar against Guadalupe. Yep, that’s right Guadalupe. It’s almost enough to make you wonder if that drubbing Spain gave the team in a friendly before the Gold Cup began did more than wound pride. It is nice to see that the fans are engaged in the all time best indicator of fan involvement–coach kvetching. Bob Bradley’s vision for the team–and no, I’m not sure he has one–is not exactly setting fans on fire.

On the flip side, Wimbledon starts today, which is almost more fun for the history than the tennis–though don’t let my friends Glinda or Jennifer know that. And 22 year old Rory McIlroy won the US Open in tennis yesterday. No, I don’t care that much about golf, but his story and the way he won is impressive.

Song of the Day: Frank Turner, “Wessex Boy”

I’m working on my June mix for the cd club, and I’ve discovered that themed albums are not easy. Part of the problem lies in the central tension that occurs whenever I make a mix–I don’t want it to always move from loud to quiet, which is what typically happens. The other issue lies in the fact that there just aren’t a large number of good, non-cheesy songs about the theme I was toying with. So, I’m having to play with the idea some more, expand it a bit. I think this song by Frank Turner will probably end up on the mix. Or some mix for someone. I’m at the point where I’m considering doing a double disk offering.