Posts from January 2004.

This, That, and the Other

  • As a follow-up to my Silvergirl Research Day entry below, I ask you, the dy reading public: what albums were you raised on? For me it was Bridge Over Troubled Water by S&G and — lord help me — Anne Murray’s Greatest Hits. (The latter was a 45. Ha! (except the laugh is probably on me since I bet a fourth of my readers don’t even know what a “45” is (or maybe this site doesn’t skew nearly as young as I like to imagine (and maybe I have no fucking clue how to use parentheses correctly.).).).).

    If there is a record you remember fondly — or if you have kids and have found a CD that both you and the twerps enjoy — lemmie know in the comments.

  • Freaks & Geeks on DVD. Awww yeah.
  • I don’t think of it as wearing a hand-free headset despite not owning a cell phone, I think of it as free license to talk to myself on the bus.
  • * * *

    Bad Review Revue: The Perfect Bore

    Critics weigh in on the new teen / S.A.T. / heist film The Perfect Score:

    “Scholastic craptitude.” — Desson Thomas, WASHINGTON POST

    “Everyone involved should go straight to detention and think about what they’ve done.” — E! ONLINE

    “Apparently edited with a roulette wheel. ” — Lou Lumenick, NEW YORK POST

    “A dull film with unsympathetic characters brought together by a gimmicky premise that’s handled with no imagination and a pristine fraudulence of emotion. Aside from that, it’s great.” — Mick LaSalle, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

    Ocean’s Eleven for people who can’t count past six.” — Marc Mohan, PORTLAND OREGONIAN

    “X is to Y as this shit is to boring.” — Ed Park, VILLAGE VOICE

    Judging by RottenTomatoes.com, the perfect score works out to be around 19%.

    * * *

    Trippi

    Checkout line at the grocery store, conversation between my cashier and my bagboy, neither of whom looked to be over twenty:

    Bagboy: I like Dean.

    Cashier: Dude, Dean blew it.

    BB: Yeah, I guess.

    C: Dean reminds me of one of those guys … y’know, those guys? From Hawaii?

    <pause>

    BB: Hawaiians?

    C: No. You know, the, um. The hippies.

    BB: Dean reminds you of Hawaiian hippies?

    C: Exactly.

    * * *

    Research Day: Who The Hell Is Silvergirl?

    I have been listening to (and learning the lyrics from) a lot of Simon & Garfunkle songs in preparation for The Squirrelly. After all, that’s what I was raised on, and look at what a wunderkind I turned out to be. Besides, there’s nothing like singing The Sound Of Silence to your child to provide him the existential angst of overwhelming emptiness that most childhoods sorely lack these days.

    In particular I’ve been focusing on “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” because it’s 66.66% Daily Affirmation. The first two verses describe how the singer is “on your side / when times get rough / and friends just can’t be found,”, etc. etc. It’s all very Stand By Me-esque. But then, in the third and final verse, we get this:

    Sail on silvergirl
    Sail on by.
    Your time has come to shine.
    All your dreams are on their way.
    See how they shine.

    Yo, Silvergirl! What are you doing sailing through my nurturing and supportive lullaby?!

    In Googling this, I gathered more supporting evidence for a hypothesis I coined while researching Hotel California: “Any ambiguous lyric in a song released between 1964 and 1982 will be interpreted as encouragement of drug use or Satanism.” Specifically, the first few websites I checked out regarding Silvergirl all claimed that the entire ballad was a tribute to smack:

    Last Trumpet Ministries: “Paul Simon referred to heroin as being the “Bridge over troubled waters.” In that infamous song he referred to the bridge as a ‘silver girl’, which is the street name for a heroin needle.”

    In The 70’s: Meaning of Lyrics From Songs of the 70s: “My dad told me that this song was about ‘shooting up’ or IV drug use. He said the part where they say ‘Sail on Silver Girl, sail on by, you’re time has come to shine….’ is about the needle. I don’t know how true this is but when you listen to the rest of the lyrics you could see how they might be singing about using drugs to escape the pain of the world.”

    And so on.

    Fortunately — and unlike Hotel California — it didn’t take me long to get the skinny on this myth. Here’s Paul Simon himself refuting the rumor in an Song Talk interview:

    SongTalk: [Do] people come up with perverse ways to read your songs?

    Simon: Well, yeah … but to sustain those interpretations, you’ll find that people just have to twist themselves into a pretzel to do it. I mean, there was a whole period of time where Bridge Over Troubled Water was supposed to be about heroin.

    SongTalk: Yeah. ‘Silvergirl’ was supposed to be a syringe.

    Simon: That’s a tough one. It’s a tough one to prove cause, of course, it’s absolutely not so.

    So who was this elusive Silvergirl? In another interview, this one with Playboy (work safe link), Simon spilled the beans:

    Playboy: When you wrote Bridge Over Troubled Water, did you know immediately that you had written a hit?

    Simon: No, I did say, “This is very special.” I didn’t think it was a hit, because I didn’t think they’d play a five-minute song on the radio. Actually, I just wrote it to be two verses done on the piano. But when we got into the studio, Artie and Roy Halee, who coproduced our records, wanted to add a third verse and drums to make it huge …

    The last verse, it was about Peggy [Simon’s girlfriend, later to become his wife], whom I was living with at the time: ‘Sail on, silver girl … / Your time has come to shine’ was half a joke, because she was upset one day when she had found two or three gray hairs on her head.

    Bah. These things always wind up so mundane.

    Moral: if you want to be remembered as a songwriter who routinely encourages drug use and Satanism, it’s better to write lyrics like:

    And so the flaming argyle hid
    Behind a copper flute

    Than:

    I really enjoy smoking crack
    O Beelzebub my master.

    Bonus Research Day Fact #1 : I found zero corroboration for the claim that “‘silver girl’ .. is the street name for a heroin needle”. See: Google: (“silver girl” OR silvergirl) heroin needle -bridge. Oh those Last Trumpet Ministries — I’ll never trust them on matters of street slang again!

    Bonus Research Day Fact #2 : Paul Simon was married to Carrie Fisher??! I had no idea.

    * * *

    Instructions For NH Voters

    Welcome to the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Please select one of the following candidates:

    Clark, Wesley
    Dean, Howard
    Edwards, John
    Kerry, John
    Kucinich, Dennis
    Lieberman, Joseph
    Sharpton, Al
    INSTRUCTIONS

    Democrats: Please vote for the candidate that you think will receive the most votes. Remember: the key to this election is electability, so do NOT vote for the person you would prefer to see as President. Instead, choose the person that you predict the most other people will prefer to see as President in the general election. Also remember that the Democrats will only win if they can attract conservatives “Crossover” voters, so imagine a right-wing Republican — preferably someone who holds political views antithetical to your own — and vote as you think he would.

    Republicans: If you are a Republican trying to “spoil” the primary, your goal will be to vote for the LEAST electable candidate. Try to figure out which candidate the Democratic caucusgoers would vote for if they were voting their conscience instead of voting for who they think will get the most votes, and vote for that person.

    Thank you for your participation! Democracy works because of voters like you!
    * * *

    Footnote

    I wept because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.

    And Christ, all that guy could talk about was having no feet. He’d be, like, “Return of the King? No, I haven’t seen that movie … because I have no feet!” Or “thanks for the pie but I didn’t really enjoy it, what with the having no feet and all.”

    So I reminded him that there were men with no legs. That shut him up.

    Plus, then I found my shoes under the bed, so everything worked out great.

    * * *

    IKEA Strategy Guide

    Today I am The Morning News Non-Expert.

    * * *

    How Time Flies

    Hey, whoa. The second anniversary of defective yeti skulked right on by me. I started this whatever on January 10 of 2002, and have somehow managed to keep at for 24 straight months, which is pretty much longer than I have engaged in any activity not regulated by my brain stem.

    I attribute my dedication to two things: (a) idiot drug junkies on my bus who keep saying hilariously stupid things that I feel compelled to put down in hypertext, and (b) you guys, who, for reasons I find largely unfathomable, keep reading this ridiculous thing and leaving awesome comments.

    Last year, upon hitting the one-year mark, I hemmed and hawed about continuing; this year I know for a fact that I’ll be posting for another 52 weeks at least. (Although I expect output to drop for a while after The Squirrelly arrives. My output, I mean: I’m sure The Squirrelly’s output will be voluminous.) I’ve gone from the stage where I was crazy-excited about the yeti to the stage where I kind of viewed it to a chore to the point where I can’t imagine not writing here every few days. So I guess quitting is no longer an option, really.

    That said, I’m taking this week off, both to celebrate the anniversary and because I’m having my first honest-to-goodness freak-out about the prospect of a small human being joining the Baldwin Clan. I will therefore be devoting the rest of the week to obsessively researching the Consumer Reports rankings of onesies and having the radiator fluid in my car changed for no obvious reason.

    I’ll be back on the 26th, and should have a piece in The Morning News later this week.

    Thanks everybody!
    Matthew Baldwin

    * * *

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    The defective yeti How To Drink Without Becoming An Alcoholic Program

    My coworker told me his new year’s resolution: he had decided to only drink once a week.

    No, I replied. No, no, no. I tried this, and it’s a bad idea, here’s why: one, you’ll fall off the wagon by February 13; and two, you’ll probably fall off the wagon by January 27.

    Besides: you’re supposed to drink every day — Science says so. That why I thunk up The defective yeti How To Drink Without Becoming An Alcoholic Program, and have more-or-less adhered to it for a couple of years. It has worked so well for me I’d be remiss not to share it with the world.

    So here it is. Are you ready? Okay, write this down:

    No more than one drink a day except for one time a week.

    That’s it! You get your Science-prescribed daily-glass-o-red-wine and you get your weekly three-beers-with-the-buddies outing.

    The trick is to remember the caveat: “No carryovers!!” If you forego your nightly drink, you don’t get two the following day (unless it’s your designated “one than one” binge). Likewise, you only get a single “more than one” day per calendar week — no carryovers!!

    Works for me.
     
     
    True Fact

    Speaking of drinking, I recently walked from the Rendezvous to my bus stop at around 11:00 at night, following one of my aforementioned three-beers-with-the-buddies outings. As the Rendezvous is on 2nd and Bell and my bus stop was on 4th and Stewart, this necessitated travel through some Seattle’s Sketchy Neighborhoods, so I reflexively adopted my Badass Motherfucker gait, a mode of walking that involves long strides, a puffed-up chest, and lots of scowling.

    (Note: I was raised in the suburbs, so my perception of a Sketchy Neighborhood is probably way skewed. I consider any block that doesn’t contain a Dairy Queen, a Blockbuster or an antique store to be a “Sketchy Neighborhood”. But work with me, here.)

    At some point I got the munchies and dug some food left over from my lunch out of my backpack. I began snacking on that as I walked.

    But then I saw my reflection in a store window, and realized that my choice of foodstuff pretty much negated any advantage gained by my strutting. Because here is a 100% true fact, folks: nobody looks like a Badass Motherfucker while eating baby carrots.
     
     
    Links

    In recent weeks I have been sneaking links onto my sidebar. I was being all stealthy ‘n’ shit because, in most cases, I was embarrassed they weren’t there already. But I’ll fess up:

    Sites that really should have been in the sidebar since the inception of this site: Dooce, Que Sera Sera and I, Asshole. I have no excuse.

    Update: Holy crow, I just realized that I never put Choire Sicha on my sidebar. Whatta idiot. Me, I mean, not Choire. Anyway, he’s there now. Dumb dumb dumb. Uh: again, that means me.

    Sites that have been around for a while but, for some reason or another, I only recently discovered: Public Defender Dude, Coudal, Dong Resin’s Joint.

    Newish sites by cool people: WULAD , Danger Blog.

    Back from the dead: Mr. Pants. Year Of The Smore, yo.
     
     
    Spoiler Candidates

    Says Wesley Clark’s campaign: “Lieberman is like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense: He’s dead and doesn’t know it yet.”

    Jeeze — just blurt out the ending, why don’t you?! What if everyone followed your example?

    • Clark: “The Republicans’ feckless approach to foreign policy has so radically changed the world that, like the Planet of the Apes, it’s no longer even recognizable as Earth.”
    • Dean: “When it came to authorizing the war in Iraq, the other candidates were like the characters in Murder In The Orient Express: they all did it.”
    • Gephardt: “Kucinich’s worldview is so idealist that he reminds me of Charles Foster Kane, pining for the halcyon days when the most important thing in the world was a sled named Rosebud.”
    • Kerry: “George Bush is like Luke Skywalker: powerful because his father is a influential figure in a evil organization.”
    • Mosley-Braun: “If you don’t vote for me you will wind up with a candidate who, like the main character in The Crying Game, is a man.”

     
     
    For The record

    Go Edwards.

    * * *

    Kerry Enjoys Surge

    Speaking at the Sanford Center earlier today, Senator John Kerry reveled in recent polls showing growing support for his presidential aspiration. "Do you like the surge?" Kerry asked the crowd of more than 200 people. "Are you ready to add more surge? Are you ready to make more surge, more surge? And are you ready to make more and more surge?"

    Kerry's elation was also evident as spoke with reporters following the speech. "The American people have a thirst for crisp, clean, refreshing solutions," he told ABC's Cokie Roberts, whom he affectionately referred to as "The Coke" several dozen times. "And I'm pleased that the press is no longer giving Howard Dean a free pass on his various reversals. Whenever you see the doctor, pepper him with questions about his controversial statements on Iraq. I want that doctor peppered."

    The rising poll numbers are good news for a candidate that has been dogged by allegations of impropriety. Rivals for the Democratic nomination claim that an unnamed corporation recent gave Kerry's campaign enormous contributions in return for product endorsement. While Kerry acknowledges a recent influx of funds, he dismisses claims that he is providing anything in return as "sheer fantasy." "No amount of money," said Kerry, "is going to prevent me from doing what sprite for America."

    Footnote 1: I totally not making up that surge quotation.

    Foornote 2: In doing “research” for this post, I came across the best legal boilerplate ever: “We love your dedication, we love your passion … but also want to remind you that, no matter what you do to promote SURGE and SaveSURGE.org, make sure it’s legal! SaveSURGE.org cannot be held responsible for your actions. Thank you all, you’re the best!”

    * * *