Good song covers and where they lead

Oh it's absurdly late and I will surely abuse the English language in what follows. I want to say in advance: Sorry about that.

I've kinda had a Johnny Cash theme week. On Monday I heard his version of "Solitary Man" (from his third Rick Rubin record) on my headphones walking over the bridge to work. Because the phrase "dating is a bitch" has moved from a generality to a specific truth around here lately, and because Cash's gravelly cover is fabulous, I stood there grinning toothily while I listened.

That night I picked up Walk the Line from the video store and watched it for the first time. (Wow I feel grateful that pills have never been among my problems --nor ill-thought-out early marriage). On my next afternoon off I gave a careful listen to the three hours of Johnny Cash on my harddrive. Some bits I listened to over and over and started to learn.

Tonight I decided to watch the movie again and see what I could catch a second time through. Er, lots. Like that the guy in glasses in Texarkana is Roy Orbison. And that in the first 1966 down-and-out scene, when Waylon/Shooter Jennings is sitting in a motel doorway playing guitar, it's my guitar that he is playing.

Or rather it's my guitar's long lost sister - maybe a year or two newer and with the sunburst finish - but still. My guitar. A sweet little early sixties Gibson. The one I have now was my mom's twelfth birthday present, and it's a fine thing to have for a whole lot of reasons. The second time through the movie, I didn't make it all the way through the movie before I hit pause to walk away and play the guitar.

Of course I worked on Cash's songs. I picked out a chord progression for "I Walk the Line" on my first try, then another song or two, building up a little speed before tackling Mister Neil Diamond's sad song. Here's what I came up with, after twenty minutes and a lot of counting on my fingers:

G Am G D
Don't know that I will but un- til I can find me
A girl who'll stay and won't play games behind me

D Em
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
A solitary man

Em C Em Am
Melinda was mine til the time that I found her
holding Jim
& loving him

Em C Em Am
Then Sue came along, loved me strong, that's what I thought
Me and Sue
but that died too

Next step: finding a voice to sing it in that sounds cool-as-Cash sound rather than sacchrine-as-Diamond. Hm. A couple of decades of whiskey and cigarettes would probably help, but listening to some Dietrich tomorrow might get me there faster.


Happy tangents and timewasters

I'm working tonight and at my leisure this afternoon. I was online just now doing nothing much, reading and following my nose around. I started thinking about snapping some photos on my way to work at five, and made my way toward some weather information. I went to one of those clearance-house-of-everything websites, one that knows my name and gives me the weather for my zip code without being asked . . . and immediately I forgot about the ambient temp because the headline was "Dems take Senate."

Being me, I took that tidbit and raced over to The Stranger to see what Mr Dan "ITMFA" Savage has to say about it. Nothing yet, but while I was there I followed an interesting picture to a lovely rant from Sherman Alexie. Here are some of the best bits:

I'm an insomniac, so it makes sense that I'd need a highly predictable cup of coffee at any and all hours. And Starbucks coffee tastes exactly the same whether I buy it at 3:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. And it also tastes the same in Seattle, Des Moines, Manhattan, Tucson, and Bismarck, North Dakota.

A few years ago, during a room-service breakfast in an Oklahoma City hotel, I drank Starbucks coffee and can assure you that it tasted absolutely familiar.

In fact, it tasted good.


[behind the counter] She laughed, relieved that I wasn't offended. I can't remember the last time I was offended. In fact, I prefer offensive human beings. They make for better stories.

Trust me. I am the great-great-great grandson of a man who was killed by a Ninth Cavalry soldier, so short of genocidal murder, it's very difficult to offend me.

I have a high tolerance for shit, in solid or liquid form.

I have swallowed gallons of truly horrible coffee at various powwows, bingo halls, casinos, and grange-hall meetings, so I know that, in comparison, Starbucks brew is liquid sex.

WooHoo! Sherman Alexie makes me laugh. - and sigh and relax about my unusual attitude toward Starbucks. [The article was kind of really about professional basketball, but I left that part out because it's not what made my day.]

I drive a truck full of books around the county for a living. I know about truly horrible coffee, I buy a lot of it in exchange for use of the facilities. It's not just gas stations tho. For the record, in the midwest, you can't walk up to a randomly chosen espresso counter, pay $2 for an americano, and depend on getting a decent cuppa - I've procured unbelievably bad coffee by that method. I really appreciate the standardness of Starbucks. I take my money elsewhere when I'm on home turf and know where to go, but they've got a good thing going and I don't mind 'em. Plus they have cushy velvet easy chairs, a sure way to win me over to anything.

I have been letting a lot of time slip by online lately and will probably be reforming myself soon, but I'm happy to document today's niiiiiiiice tangent.

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