Friday, September 08, 2006

Good word

"I've been a little concerned about the WWIII but not as much as I thought I would be."

-- Adam Benedetto
What's old is new

Private to the Madison Symphony Orchestra: When you perform Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra this weekend, consider doing not the tired old symphonic version but the deliriously funky remake by Brazilian jazz artist Eumir Deodato.
Good word

On Elvis Costello: "Like his predecessor, Bob Dylan, this ambitious tunesmith offers more as a phrasemaker than as an analyst or a poet, more as a public image than as a thinking, feeling person."

Robert Christgau

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Space oddity

I notice the Madison Symphony Orchestra begins its season this weekend with Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra.

Do you suppose Elvis will make an appearance?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Water-colored memories?

A few weeks ago, I became convinced I was in the throes of some disastrous brain malady. The symptom: I couldn't remember words. I kept having tip-of-the-tongue moments -- eight, ten, twelve times a day. The problem grew alarming, and embarrassing. Anyone who witnessed the World's Greatest Lovers' set at Atwood Summerfest saw me blank on the opening line of my magnum opus "Too Drunk For Church." Not good.

I had all but resigned myself to bringing my brief career as a singer to a close. If I can't remember lyrics, I'm sunk, not least because TelePrompTers are expensive, and I'm not yet ready to simply clip lyrics to the microphone stand, as I saw 82-year-old Hank Snow do at the "Grand Ole Opry" shortly before he passed away.

As Maximilian Schell memorably said in The Black Hole, something caused this, but what caused that cause? At about the same time that my affliction took hold, Isthmus ran an article about high manganese levels in Madison's drinking water. Excess manganese can cause neurological problems, I read, and fear began to grip me. Was the city water robbing me of my ability to sing "El Paso"? I started drinking only bottled water.

Time passed, I took a vacation, I stopped worrying, and lo and behold: The memory difficulties have largely subsided. I now can conjure up the opening line of "Too Drunk For Church," though I don't think I'm quite ready to tackle "El Paso" just yet.

But we're out of bottled water here at the house, and I just drank a glass of tap water. I hope that...what was I saying?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


For a look at another Corvair, check out this public service announcement that anyone who was a Tennessean in the 1970s can never forget. What I want to know is, why did they have to bring class into it? Gramsci scholars answer first.

Good word

I cried when I wrote this song
Sue me if I play too long

-- Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, "Deacon Blues"

Monday, September 04, 2006

At any speed

Apropos of nothing, here's a picture of my first car, a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair, outside my favorite high school eatery, ca. 1987.