Monday Earworm — And A Reading Tomorrow Night!!

So apparently there was this show called Live From Daryl’s House, that was just Daryl Hall at his house jamming with a bunch of famous people or something? I didn’t see the show, didn’t even know about it, but I always enjoyed Hall and Oates’ music back in the day (and not gonna lie, still do), and then I came across this clip from that aforementioned series with Daryl Hall and Cee Lo Green and a band performing “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” and it’s pretty great. Very relaxed, very funky, very jammy. So here, now you can enjoy it, too!

OH, and also! Tomorrow night I’m going to be the featured poet at the Cobalt Café reading. The last time I was the featured reader at Cobalt was in the late 90s, when I was living in Los Angeles. Because that’s where Cobalt is. But I’m not in L.A. right now, and won’t be tomorrow, either, because their reading series is now online! Yay!

Wonderful poet, founder of PoetrySuperHighway, and all-around purveyor of and advocate for poetry Rick Lupert is still running the show. I’ll be reading, and there will also be an open mic. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Los Angeles time. If you’re on the west coast, great! Tune in with or after your dinner? But for those of you in the central time zone (like me), that will be 9:30 p.m. (And doing the math from there, mountain time is 8:30 pm. and eastern time is 10:30 p.m.) I hope you can tune in and enjoy the reading with us — and maybe read one of your own poems if you have some? (The reading will be over Zoom, so be sure to register with your actual name so Rick will let you in from the waiting room. Go to this event page to get the Zoom link.)

So now that the shameless promotion portion of this post is out of the way, here’s some music for you. Enjoy!

Monday Earworm: Thin Lizzy

School starts this week.

Well, classes start this week. We on the faculty and staff have been back since August 1st. In another post I’ll tell you about the non-sickness-related stuff I did over the summer, but for now I’m just going to share with you an earworm.

The boys are back. So are the girls and the non-binary kids. It’s going to be so good to see them all. And even though this song is about the start of the summer and I’m looking at the end of mine, I think it still works.

Enjoy this little dance break! I’m headed off to go work some more on my Canvas pages…


Monday Earworm: Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon

Perhaps some other time I will write an essay about my feelings around this song, which are complicated and bound up in cultural conditioning and social expectations and gender roles. The essay has been cartwheeling around in my head for a really long time, but I’ve yet to commit it to paper or screen. At some point I probably will.

But I’m going to share this earworm now anyway because last night I saw Bullet Train and am still reveling in its slow-burn humor. That movie is absurdist archetype theatre, and it’s worth watching for that reason alone. (But perhaps go in with that understanding to enjoy it more.)

Anyway, this video is absurd. It’s Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon recreating the official video for Extreme’s “More Than Words,” and they are really faithful in their commitment to the self-conscious and, dare I suggest from the perch of hindsight, pompous original. And they are also really adept at playing and singing the song. And I love both videos for different reasons.

So first up is the parody, and after that is the original. Do enjoy.


And for comparison and nostalgia’s sake…

Monday Earworm: Tori Amos

When I graduated from high school, I used some of the money people gifted me to buy my first CD player. It wasn’t brand-new technology anymore, but it wasn’t old enough yet for me to be significantly behind the curve. I’ve not often been an early adopter of tech, anyway. My parents had a CD player on their stereo system in our living room, and that was fine, but I was pretty excited about my little boom box. The first CDs I bought for myself that spring were Pearl Jam’s Ten, They Might Be Giants’ Flood, and Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes. Although TMBG’s album had come out in 1990, it was new to me, and the other two came out my senior year.

I was still a devoted MTV watcher, because MTV was still devoted to playing music videos. “Silent All These Years” was introduced as a breakout video, and the song, the video, and the artist all made a strong impression on me. I was preparing to graduate from high school and go off to college. I wouldn’t be quite the first in my family to attend college, but I would end up being only the second person in my extended family to graduate, after my father’s little sister. I was going to be moving out of my parents’ house and making use of the independence I’d been cultivating since middle school. I was headed off to one of the best schools in the country for Creative Writing, which was my chosen field. I was leaving a thick trail of academic accomplishments in my wake, and the world felt open to me in a way I didn’t even have the life experience to appreciate or recognize at the time. And Tori Amos’ ethereal image and style, her deeply rooted piano, struck chords in me that hadn’t been sounded before.

Little Earthquakes — which was not, incidentally, her first album, though it put her into our consciousness and it might still remain my favorite of hers — made up a significant portion of the soundtrack of that spring and of my first year of college. Even now when I listen to some of those tracks I’m submerged in the emotions those songs shepherded me through during that tumultuous time, even though I’ve long since taken leave of the things that generated them. And as a piano player myself, just listening to Amos’ work plucks at that artistic part of me I still regret not fostering enough when I needed it to. I can blame the fact that I no longer play as well as I did on several things: the death of my cousin, which spiraled me into an abiding and undiagnosed depression; the guy who lived in my dorm who followed me to the practice room at night to sexually harass me while I tried to learn my new sheet music; the multiple and constant demands on my time in my adulthood that made me push that time for myself by the wayside; the people who raised me not to have agency or to put my own needs first. And all of those things are true, but what is also true is that I didn’t make the time for myself, either, even once I had learned how to recognize the need for it.

But I haven’t given up on it quite yet. I do have the sheet music for this album, and every now and then I take it out and play a little from one of the songs. One day I’ll learn a whole one, perhaps. I need to get my piano tuned; I’ll just add that to my endless list.

The school year is about to start again. I went back into my classroom today and started rearranging the furniture that has come back from being in storage during the pandemic. My oldest kid is a senior in high school now — and embarking on the college process, which will ultimately take them away into a world of possibility that they are also not yet ready to appreciate or recognize. I hope I am better equipped to shepherd them through it. We are all in liminal spaces right now, for just a little bit longer.

Tori Amos’ music, and this profound album in particular, has been showing up a lot lately in our Pandora feeds. It’s nice.