Monday, May 4, 2009

Life, The Universe And Everything

Today is my birthday so I’m feeling a bit contemplative and in the mood to post something here but I don’t have a lot of time to write something so I’ll use one of the tricks that musicians use to remain visible without producing new material: A greatest hits album. Take stuff you did before, spruce it up a little then offer it to people as a new product. Back when I was working at Waxie Maxie’s- a music chain in the DC area- there were times when the staff and I had nothing to do. Literally, every possible task was completed, the displays were organized and neat and there were no customers in the store. During those times, we would talk or do goofy things to pass the time. One thing we occasionally did was come up with top ten lists. One person would suggest a topic and the rest of us would come up with entries for the list. Sometimes a person would come up with their own list sort of like a challenge- “Can you make a cooler list than this?” A few years back, I came across these lists in their original form- written on paper bags and scraps of paper- and transcribed them into an electronic medium. I “published” them in my “Thirty Years On” booklet, which came out around my 33rd birthday. I only made 5 of the booklets which means most of you have never seen the lists before so just for fun I’m dragging them out now, 18 years after they were originally written, and seeing how relevant or outdated they may be. The ones included here were done completely by me and are my “Can you top this list?” lists.

Here’s the first list, which I came up with because I was tired of how the staff in store always mocked me for liking the Bee Gees. This list is still relevant because I still adore the Bee Gees and think they are great but I admit some of the entries I put on the list are a bit sarcastic. I’m not oblivious- I can see how people might disparage them, because they haven’t yet learned to love them, but how can you not appreciate the Bee Gees?

10 Reasons The Bee Gees Are Gods

1) The movie “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”
2) Excellent taste in clothing and gold jewelry
3) Family loyalty is an admirable quality
4) Barry Gibb wrote the songs Grease, Emotion, Guilty, Islands In The Stream
5) They have more number one hits than Madonna, the Rolling Stones, or Puff Daddy
6) Everyone is jealous of them- why else would they mock them?
7) They played Woodstock II, Live Aid, Farm Aid, and the Prince’s Trust
8) How else do you explain guys named Robin and Maurice becoming superstars?
9) They created the disco era, which beget house, dance, techno, jungle, industrial & new wave
10) No human voice sounds like that

The tardy-for-work excuses did not all come from my mouth. Some were what people gave me as semi-serious excuses for being late. I will cop to offering up #s 1, 3, 6, 10 at some point though. My most frequent excuse was # 1, which stopped being an issue now that I no longer drive the 30 miles it takes to get from Centreville to Bailey’s Cross Roads and then down Route 7 to Skyline Mall in Seven Corners. Now I just mutter something about how bad the traffic was along the Beltway or that construction closed some lanes. I’m normally one of the first to arrive at work so I don’t make that many excuses.

10 Reasons I Was Late For Work

1) The lights were against me. Really- they were all red.
2) There was an injured bird/squirrel/dog/baby on the side of the road.
3) Oh, was I late?
4) Well, um, you see, uh, um, because you know, um......I love you guys!
5) I had a counseling session with this policeman
6) I stayed late yesterday, so I’m using the extra time for today.
7) I forgot where I parked.
8) I have a really bad, bad hangover.
9) So do I.
10) I died so it was tough waking up when the alarm went off.

I love dance music, including disco, so it was fun to imagine how a contemporary pop artist would handle a classic disco song. Some of the modern artists have faded away but you can probably imagine how the remade songs would sound. I can hear Will Smith singing/rapping “Sunday, yeah Bloody Sunday, uh huh!”

10 Songs Begging To Be Disco-fied

1) Stairway to Heaven (as redone by Ace Of Base)
2) Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (by Backstreet Boys)
3) With A Little Help From My Friends (by Beck)
4) Bittersweet Sympathy (by Enigma)
5) Nothing Compares To You (by the Pet Shop Boys)
6) Head Like A Hole (by, naturally, Hole)
7) Born In The USA (by Chemical Brothers)
8) One Headlight (By Donna Lewis)
9) Sunday Bloody Sunday (By Will Smith)
10) My Heart Will Go On (By Garbage)

I love Prince’s music and as a person he also fascinates me. He’s a bit bizarre, from his business methods to his personal style (Butt-less pants? Really?) When you see a song title by Prince, you know it’s his. You won’t confuse it with someone like Bruce Springsteen, especially since Prince also uses abbreviations, symbols and sexual innuendo on a regular basis. That’s the basis for this list- what odd song titles would actually be too strange or overt for Prince. Also, this list has one and a half vulgarities. I briefly considered removing them or altering them but then I remembered how offended I was when Looney Tunes bowed to political correctness and changed some classic cartoons so the characters didn’t smoke cigarettes anymore. Also, I really hated it when Steven Spielberg altered E.T. so all the guns were digitally altered into walkie-talkies and many of you remember the fan outrage when George Lucas “improved” the original Star Wars trilogy. So on the principle of the thing, the vulgarities remain on this list and you’ve been given fair warning. (Although most of my friends aren’t exactly known for their delicate sensibilities.)

10 Song Titles Rejected By Prince

1) I’ll Do U Cause Eye Luv U
2) Sodomy Is No Good For Me
3) (M Not 4 U) R 2 4 Me (M Not)
4) Sex Is Religion, Logic Is Slavery
5) R Dreams R Where We Can B Happy
6) This Song Is About Pussy, Metaphorically
7) Bunny Kills 4 U
8) My Name Is Unpronounceable And I’m Still Funky
9) Bounce On Me Baby
10) Can I Fuck 4 Ever?

Nine Inch Nails isn’t that popular anymore, nor are half the artists on this list, but at the time this list was spot-on and amusing to alternative types who worked in a music store.

10 People Who Should Cover Nine Inch Nails Songs

1) Tom Jones (“I want to whoa a whoa you like an animal”)
2) Brian Setzer Orchestra
3) Art Of Noise featuring Trent Reznor & Max Headroom
4) David Bowie (He should remake the Downward Spiral and Trent should re-do Earthling.)
5) Will Smith
6) Tiffany
7) MTV Unplugged with NIN
8) James Brown using NIN samples
9) “Head Like A Ho” by Puff Daddy featuring Lil’ Kim, Biggie, & Trent Reznor
10) Nike or Pepsi or Chevy

Don’t recall the impetus behind the next two lists- the only two times I recall having suicidal thoughts was in 2nd grade after I heard the songs “Windows Of The World” and kept thinking about the lyrics and then sometime in high school when I was with my parents at an evening presentation on Sweden. That second time is when I seriously contemplated suicide and decided there were a lot more reasons to live than there were to die. After that, my desire to live has grown ever stronger. If I ever go into a coma and become a vegetable, I do NOT want anyone to pull the plug on me. There is always a chance of pulling through. I think these lists were just a replay of that mental conversation I had in high school and an affirmation of how I have no plans to ever die, if at all possible.

10 Best Reasons To Die

1) You won’t notice if it’s boring
2) People have to say nice things about you
3) To make people feel guilty that they were mean to you
4) To make your beneficiaries rich
5) So you can take some assholes with you
6) To go to Heaven
7) In Heaven, they don’t expect you to dance
8) To become a legend (or at least get on a postage stamp)
9) To die in a really cool way
10) So you can come back as an angel and make that losing baseball team suddenly win the championship.

10 Best Reasons To Live

1) It’s easier than thinking up a cool death
2) To see if a comet really will crash into the earth at some point
3) To get back your social security money
4) Maybe no one will notice if you are gone
5) To make your mark on the world (or at least to pee in the snow)
6) So you don’t miss any Must-See TV (like the O.J. trial, Clinton’s deposition, & the video of the Rodney King beating)
7) There might not be a Heaven
8) So you can pay back everyone who was ever mean to you
9) Claudia Schiffer might drop David Copperfield and go for me
10) Just in case something exciting happens

I don’t think a single thing on this list has changed since it was written 18 years ago. Maybe exchange the button-fly jeans for my North Face convertible hiking pants? Other than that, still the same. Baby baby, still the same.

My 10 Favorite Pieces Of Clothing

1) Indiana Jones Hat
2) Biker Gloves
3) Button Fly Blue Jeans
4) Brown Leather Jacket
5) Running Shoes
6) Neon Pink Socks
7) Purple Socks
8) Camouflage Pants
9) Combat Boots
10) Yellow Terrycloth Bathrobe

Most of this list remains the same. Switch Michelob with the local brew of whatever bar or restaurant I’m in and exchange Yuengling for Coors and the list is ready for 2009. I’m still more likely to go for a fruity or frozen drink then for a beer but that’s a different list.

10 Favorite Beers

1) Corona
2) Heineken
3) Killian’s Red
4) Fosters
5) Michelob
6) Coors
7) Bud-Weis-Er
8) Sol / Tecate
9) Whatever is cheapest or free
10) Rolling Rock

Not a single change here.

10 Coolest Inventions Ever

1) Tape recording (audio & video)
2) The CD player
3) The Slurpee
4) PCs & word processors (& spell checkers)
5) Film (photographs & movies)
6) Automobiles
7) Pop-Rocks
8) Indoor plumbing
9) The telephone
10) Eyeglasses

So this is my stop-gap measure to fill space until I write something new to post. It was fun to look at the past for a few minutes and forget the fact that my current birthday means my age is the not-so-cryptic-anymore answer to life, the universe and everything as revealed in the book The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. Anyone have any lists of their own to share? Or to tell me I’m not that old? Please?