I’m reading Keith Richards’ fascinating autobiography, Life, and as a result I’ve dug back into the Stones catalog over the last few days. I know a lot of these songs are badly overplayed by classic rock radio stations, sports events, whatever, but from 69-72 or so, these guys were making some of the best rock and roll of all time. It stands up to critical listening today. And in their day, they took on real issues in ways which some of their megastar peers didn’t dare to. I love Zeppelin but they didn’t have the balls for this.
Like Vietnam. Listening to this on the El this morning, I got chills at the refrain after the guitar solo, sung so forcefully by Merry Clayton.
Rape, murder—It’s just a shot away.
Her performance is hair-raising. She screams at the top of her lungs with no apparent regard for her own safety. Listen carefully to the third time through, when her voice cracks on “murder.” An iconic moment; historical. Turn it up: in the background, you can hear Mick go “wooo!” just after it happened. (Why he was in the vocal booth with her, I don’t know.)
Clayton was pregnant when she sang this and miscarried not long after. She’s said repeatedly that this performance had nothing to do with that, and I’m sure that’s true, but it’s entered the folklore just the same. It fits, somehow. These guys were all kinds of trouble.
Maybe instead of taking to social media to take a giant crap on a thing that a bunch of your alleged friends care about, you could go take a walk outside? Read a book? Go do something that you love which many people probably loathe, but have the common decency to keep their mouths shut when streams get busy with it, knowing that like everything else, it will pass?
Why do people continually feel the need to shit in someone else’s pool?
Now, I will state up front that I’m an engineer and musician by training. I am not a biologist. But I believe myself to be well acquainted with matters of science, including evolutionary biology. Hell, any high school kid in this country, at least the ones in regions where we still use non-fiction textbooks, will know that features which give organisms a greater chance to survive long enough to reproduce will lead to that organism’s success as a population. It’s a beautiful, simple idea, as all the great ones are. It just makes sense.
We, of course, are products of this process, too. It’s been particularly successful in selecting for our brains, though very clearly not in every individual case. You can consider other features of our bodies and understand how they were selected for, either by the time we were clearly separated as homo sapiens, or long before. Opposable thumbs, upright locomotion, stereoscopic vision, mammary glands: these are all obviously winning concepts when you’re trying to eat, defend yourself, and raise the next generation until they’re old enough to make yet another generation.
Sensory perception is a particular wonder to me. The retina, the cochlea, and the dense webs of nerve endings in our fingertips and feet are astonishingly successful wet engineering projects. Critical for survival, sure, but also our gateways to so much beauty and pleasure for these giant brains we carry around.
But sweet, crispy jeebus crackers, I need someone to explain to me, right here and right now, what possible advantage to us as a species is manifested in wiring up our teeth with so gotdamn many ways to feel pain. They are stupid bones, vitally and obviously necessary chunks of calcium phosphate. How was their 400 ways to hurt (and hurt like a BITCH) helpful to us as we were advancing from whatever predecessor species that only slurped tiny sea critters or whatever? Why are they wired up with the same nerve density as, apparently, our sexual organs, although only in ways that cause excruciating pain? Why do they need any nerve endings at all? It’s not like early mammals or precursor homo went to the dentist. Seems like this is a pure failure of the process. There is no reason for this much pain. If a tooth dies or is damaged, shouldn’t it ought to just go away and let the host get along with the other 30-ish? Do we have to be tortured? Unable to enjoy cold beer or hot coffee or hard candy? God dammit, Charles.
ti;dr: I’m getting a crown this morning and I’m a giant baby and it’s gonna hurt and I hate teeth.
Remember racist Greg? The guy from the other company I hear bloviating all day over my cube wall? This morning, he’s talking politics—domestic and middle eastern—just as eloquently and deeply informed as you’d expect. Get here, new office. Guys like me do poorly in jail.
We had to do a near literal 180° on our vacation plan. Well, probably closer to 135°, from Oklahoma towards Florida. And we had to do it with only 10 days to departure. But it was deftly executed and we’re all looking forward to a week in a place where they still have summers.
I’m getting more into the World Cup as it goes along. I could even see myself becoming a casual soccer fan over time. But one thing I will never, ever do is refer to teams with plural verbs. Germany is, Belgium has, Uruguay was. Not are/have/were. Never ever, nfw. This is America, goddammit. Speak American.
Related: I really want one of those “Through The Perilous Fight” scarves. No idea what I’d do with it. Just want.
Secret seemed like such a cool concept, but in practice it looks like another version of grindr. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, etc. Maybe if more of my friends were actually there and sharing secrets, I’d see those instead of what it thinks is “interesting” locally.
Listening to Squeeze this morning, which is of course wonderful, except for the insane jealousy of “why can’t I write and sing as easily Glenn Tilbrook apparently does?” that happens every time I do this.
Speaking of, listen for the background vocals by Elvis Costello. He makes me mad, too.
Against all my better judgement, we’re giving Dad an iPad so he can participate in the internets. If he turns out to be a great follow, I’ll let you know.
One month in, the new job is great. A minor hitch: we are in temporary, shared office space, and there is a guy from some other company on the other side of my cube wall who needs to be hit in the face with a brick. He’s a racist, bullying blowhole, on the phone all day, and sounds like the less funny Jerky Boy. I can’t wait to get away.
Last night we went to an art show; tonight, a play. Look at all the culture and shit up in this piece.
Inspired by Abby, I’m going to try changing my workout regimen to the Stronglifts 5x5. Unlike her, though, I won’t blog about how I’m doing since that triggers the same feelings that working out in public does, strong feelings of Nope.
I’m enjoying watching the World Cup. I don’t know if I’m ready to say I’m a soccer fan, and I doubt I’ll watch much after the tournament ends, but this right here is top flight sportsball drama.
This is a thing I’ve been thinking about doing. I may only do it once. I may not do it on Friday. I may not do it at all.
I will give you five(or more…or less) hints on Friday morning. The answer is a song title, album title, or band name. First person to get it wins three nights in Vegas or nothing at all. Prizes are at my discretion.
These are the hints for FMQ #1:
1. Two Brothers 2. The Last Song On Side One 3.The Maze 4.Tried And Convicted 5.Born near Whitford, Alberta in 1927
I can’t decide if I made this too easy or too difficult. I guess we will find out. My money is on Michele or John.
Listening to this album this morning while I pay bills and correspond and such. It’s really pretty good.
I didn’t know that the name of a group of crows was a “murder” until sometime after this record came out, which now, upon revisiting, makes both the title of this song and its relation to the name of the band much more clever than I’d originally thought. I like how it works two different ways.
(Nothing like being 21 years late to the joke, John.)
Thank you all for kindly helping me through my emo yesterday. I don’t want to be too alarming, nor do I want to go into a lot of detail. Basically, my son’s dealing with anxiety. I know it’s fairly mild relative to some of the difficulties I see others going through with their kids. It’s just where we are. I’m clueless. I’m bad at clueless.
I learned today that there is a service that will, for a fee, make investment recommendations based on your astrological readings. With all due respect to those of you who engage in astrology, whether for fun or for reals: I hereby stand ready to take the other side of all those trades.
You can’t spell “hopeless bungling of another person’s life by failing them abjectly at every opportunity, always saying or doing exactly the wrong thing, and daily flailing at problems with no possible solutions” without “parenting.”