Tuesday, July 22, 2014

this is my jam

I can’t believe this song came out in 2003 and I just found out about it in 2014. Also, I don’t particularly like the other songs on the record, just this one. But I really like this one.

The bent rhyme in the chorus is what caught me:

Why’d you have to break all my heart?
Couldn’t you have saved a little bit of it?
Why’d you have to break all my heart?
Couldn’t you have saved a minor part
(I could have clipped and saved and planted in the garden)

He makes you wait for the “heart/part” rhyme but you get “bit/of it” to hold you over.
He delivers that “bit/of it” rhyme like he knows he’s making you wait, he makes it obvious.
And then, “little bit” and “minor part” make a nice echo.

I like that the bridge (or the break, whatever you call it, I’ll learn the terminology someday) has a bridge of it’s own! (The bit about rainbows.)

I don’t know if the recording we are hearing matches the video we are seeing on this (I think it’s been sweetened up, there’s that prominent plaintive banjo at the end, and where’s the banjo player on stage?) but this is not the the exact same recording as the record.
At first I was put off when he let the background singers take the whole vocal at the end, but then I liked it. The record’s backing vocals sound a bit too much like a children’s chorus.

Her’s the second half of the first verse:

You walked me down 14th Street
With a doctor to meet
after thoughts of the grave
In the home of the brave
and of the weak.

...and then he holds off rhyming “weak” until the next verse! (It rhymes with “vaguely missing link.”) He didn’t have to do that!

Anyway, it’s an impressive lyric; I wish I could write words like this. This is like, Johnny Mercer/Frank Loesser/Bob Dorough caliber stuff.
That might be overstating things, but I’m impressed.

Posted by David Rhoden on 07/22 at 01:25 PM

Monday, July 21, 2014

a bad memory (for you to laugh at)

When I was in college I wasn’t always in college. I would sometimes take a semester off, or move a thousand miles across the country. It took me forever to finish.

One semester (I still thought of life in semesters a little bit) I was out of school but living in Knoxville. I can’t remember what I was doing for a living. I think I was a professional writer. I had a lot of free time. I had no air conditioning so I liked to get out of the house. There was a little park with a playground that was a good place to go. It had a slide that was made of rollers (like this one, but only about twelve feet long). You could surf down it standing, or just sit on it, or ride down it headfirst on your back and fall off the end into the dirt. We used to do this with forties, at night. I was about 24 or 25 years old. I felt very old compared to my cohort.

Besides the excellent roller slide, the park had some benches where you could sit and write, and I did that a lot. The playground also had a merry-go-round. A little one, for kids to push. But one day I was sitting in the park, and there were a bunch of kids messing around. It was overcast but it must have been summer, and they must have been neighborhood kids, because they were all there with no supervision. I guess there were seven. And they all got on the merry-go-round, and one of the kids, the biggest one (and he wasn’t very big) came over and asked, “Mister, will you push us?”

When I was a kid I could never get the merry-go-round to spin fast enough. I guess that was the point, to make the kids push, to wear them out, to get them in shape: military preparedness. It’s a toy for kids to push. But I was absolutely thrilled to be asked. I said sure. So the kids all distributed themselves around the merry-go-round, and there was a bit of a hush of anticipation, and I pushed.

It was an excellent merry-go-round. Very well balanced, not squeaky at all. It spun nicely. It was fun to push. I got into a rhythm. It was spinning like crazy. And then the ringleader, the one who asked me to push, seemed to be saying something. He was going so fast he could only get out about one word per spin.





I realized all the kids were about to be centrifuged off of this wicked spinning thing. I immediately started trying to grab hold of the bars, to slow the thing down. It was smacking my hands but I was slowing it. I finally got a grip and was able to slow it like a brake, but of course the sudden brake, after so much speed, meant that the kids were just whipping around like eccentric weights, hanging on, trying to keep their faces from smacking into the merry-go-round bars. But I knew they wanted to stop, and I got the thing to stop.

“I’m sorry!” I said, to a half-dozen little kids I didn’t know. They all fell off the merry-go-round, into that sandy trough of grassless dirt around all merry-go-rounds. It’s bad enough when you do something that winds up with one kid crying. Nobody was crying, thank god, they were all in shock, but there were a half-dozen kids laying in the dirt and they were terrified of me. They looked at me like they would never trust an adult again. Or like I was not an adult, I was something else, and I had disappointed them. And in unison they jumped up without a word and ran away to the opposite corner of the playground.

Perhaps you know that feeling, when you can’t easily explain, or sensibly apologize, for something you did with the best intentions. I know I do.



Posted by David Rhoden on 07/21 at 04:31 PM

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sally can’t even.

image by David Rhoden

How she looks is kind of how I felt about this weekend. She’s actually super happy here.

Posted by David Rhoden on 07/20 at 02:20 PM

Friday, July 18, 2014

I went to a depressing bike protest

Bicyclists briefly shut down traffic at scene of fatal accident

I wound up at this. There was a group ride to memorialize Geric Geck, the cyclist who was killed yesterday in a completely avoidable, completely likely-to-happen collision. After the group ride, there was a gathering in the neutral ground of Elysian Fields. It was a display of solidarity and support, and it was probably important to some of the participants who may have known the rider, that he be remembered. I have no idea why people decided to block the road. Do cyclists have enough moral high ground to do that? I thought we just wanted to be treated equally with cars and pedestrians. What if there had been a car protest blocking the bike lanes demanding we be kept off St. Claude Avenue, would that be all right?

This was a tantrum. It didn’t “raise awareness.” Maybe it did, but not in a good way. These bikers picked on people who weren’t involved. These drivers didn’t stripe the road. They weren’t driving eighteen-wheelers. They were driving down the road and some bikers said, you can’t go this way. No reason given. Just bikers being self-righteous.

I’d be okay with a protest, even a road-blocking protest, if it were brought to the attention of the city, the people who striped this road in such a way that there have been two bicycle fatalities in that spot since Hurricane Katrina. But blocking a bus? A bus is mass transit. Blocking cars from turning right because…why? Right turns are inherently bad? Cars are inherently bad?

It was an incoherent and silly protest that did little honor to the man who died. Maybe it could have done more. Maybe that wasn’t the point.

Posted by David Rhoden on 07/18 at 10:40 PM

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A truck killed a cyclist at St. Claude and Elysian Fields

This is a dangerous intersection. You can see from the Google Street View that it is clearly marked where the trucks go and where the bikes go but its not so clear, especially when the road is busy, who has the right of way.

A driver killed a cyclist here today because he didn’t follow the rules correctly, but the design of the intersection made those rules hard to follow. I was riding by there today, I saw the police cars and the stopped truck, and then, last, the cyclist, dead in the road. I did not see the wreck, but I could picture how it might have happened because, riding through this intersection, I had pictured it so many times before.

Bike going straight on St. Claude, truck turning right onto Elysian Fields. The vehicles are supposed to yield to cyclists. The truck driver did not.

The biker could have done things differently, I know, but when I think about it like that, that is when this feels the saddest; he died because two people made very understandable mistakes at the same time. But one of those people was on a bike and the other was in charge of thousands for pounds of steel.

We have to slow the cars AND bikes down at this intersection. This really did not have to happen.

Google Maps Street View Of St. Claude and Elysian Fields

image by David Rhoden

Posted by David Rhoden on 07/17 at 08:10 PM
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