Friday, October 14, 2016

Sour and Sweet Notes

Thank Ukko It's Friday

"And while you're at it, thank me for that excellent harvest, too!"

Blowin' It In the Wind

As if 2016 hadn't sucked enough already, the Swedish Academy decided to award a Nobel Prize
to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

I was never so big a Dylan fan as most of the kids I grew up with. His voice is incredibly grating, and I always thought he was the worst performer of his own music. That said, he has certainly written
a large number of outstanding songs, and is a significant cultural figure in America and the world.

Problem is, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Sorry, but that's just a grotesque insult to people who love books and the people who write them. The academy decided to pass over actual writers of some consequence in order to elevate the ultimate hipster. This is an even more execrable choice than Barack Obama's Peace Prize.

You can count me among the critics who view this selection as a Swedish Academy snub of far more deserving American writers, and a seriously flawed view of what literature even is. Just a completely preposterous notion.

To put the argument more bluntly: Why isn't Raymond Chandler in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as Dylan is? When can we expect Elmore Leonard to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, as Dylan has? When will the Songwriters Hall of Fame open its doors to Anne Tyler, as it has for Dylan?

The reason those things will never happen, of course, is that literature isn't music, and therefore is not eligible. Music isn't literature, either, and pretending that it is is all the way wrong, as my dad would say...

Uh Oh

As if I don't have enough willpower issues already, today is National Dessert Day, which means the internet will be abuzz with people talking about their favorite after-dinner treats. What are my favorite desserts, you may ask? Well...

Pie is always a good thing, especially when it is something so delicious as the Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme pie at Village Inn.

Then again, it is tough to beat a nice piece of cake, especially if it is the  
ne plus ultra of cake-dom, glorious coconut cake.

And have I mentioned ice cream, including the new "core" varieties from Ben & Jerry's?

"Perhaps you should stop kidding yourself and eat nothing but desserts today."

You're not helping...

Split Decision

Baseball and football were back on my TV viewing agenda last night, which I enjoyed greatly even though the results were mixed...

In the decisive Game Five of the NLDS series between the Dodgers and the Nationals, the Dodgers rallied to score four runs in the top of the 7th inning and held on for a come-from-behind 4-3 victory.

That wasn't the outcome I was hoping for, but now it will be even easier for me to root for the Cubs to win the NLCS.

On the other hand, the San Diego Chargers came through for me on Thursday Night Football, beating the hated Broncos 21-13 despite trying their usual best to lose a game late that they had dominated.

"I know you had a rooting interest, but how could you stand watching those uniforms?"

It wasn't easy, I assure you...

Flawed Strategy

From the delightfully off-kilter webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe, which you should read every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Until Next Time...

As I mentioned in this space yesterday, one of the reasons I'm such a fan of the TV series Supernatural is its frequent use of music from the "sweet spot" of my years of guitar- rock worship. It happened again this morning, as I watched the second episode from Season 4. "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester" opens with a song
I have played air guitar to countless times: "Lonely Is the Night," by Billy Squier.

The song was the third single released from Squier's 1981 album Don't Say No. Released in April just as my first year of teaching at Seaman High School in Topeka, Kansas was wrapping up, the album was by far the biggest success of Squier's career. It received three platinum certifications from RIAA and it spent 111 weeks on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, where it peaked at No. 5.

The album's sales were fueled by the monster hit single "The Stroke" and its three follow-ups, including "Lonely Is the Night." When the music video cable channel MTV launched in August of that year, Squier's videos were a staple of their programming.

Guitar-centric rock music was already drifting into dangerous waters by then, and Squier's album features more synthesizers than you'd like to hear, but that picture of Billy on the album cover holding his Telecaster told me his heart was in the right place. "Lonely Is the Night" is the best pure guitar track on the album, which is probably why that song and not the other, bigger hits was included in two separate releases of the popular video game Guitar Hero.

Today's send-off is the 2010 remastered version of the song from Billy's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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