Trust the Gene Genie

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hoodoo Voodoo 7-21-2

Halloween's tomorrow. The holiday's just fun on so many levels. Free candy, happy kids and free candy. What's not to love? The morning after, you say? Yes, the morning after. That's not to love. It's always ugly.

I remember the hardest thing about Halloween when I was a kid was that no matter what day of the week Halloween fell on, the following Sunday would always be fast Sunday. Which of course meant you couldn't take your candy to church. I don't know about other folks, but I love taking candy to church. I've always loved it. You know, it feels a little contraband, keeps you awake during those dry elders quorum lessons and gives a certain air of priviledge.

So having a sack full of candy and having to keep it home was always hard that first Sunday in November. And, of course, after a week of school, you never had anything left for the following Sunday. Maybe a package of Smarties, a few jawbreakers and a handful of those awful orange and black peanut butter taffy things with the real peanut butter in the middle. But, obvioulsy, there's a reason those are the last pieces of candy left in the trick-or-treat bag. So, you're a kid and probably the only time during the year you're going to have mass amounts of candy in your possession, you're effectively barred from taking it to church. I call it the Halloween Tragedy.

Other than that, it's good to have things up and rolling. We'll have another installment in the Perfect Pop Song Vol. 2 list. (Jens, the qualifiers are few. It really just has to be -- in probably the broadest sense -- a pop song. Tracks from Sting's new 16th century lute-fest album probably won't reach the qualifying bar. But then again, they might. We like to play things fast and loose over here. And it's so nice to hear some love for "Velvet Dress." The song is so underrated.)

As for tomorrow, Claire is going out as an "Egyptian Princess" -- we'll call her Nefertiti to avoid all those unwanted Liz Taylor comparrisons. Leigh will be a witch. Should be fun. And, because I know people are screaming for them, I'll post photos of the grand night out later this week.

If you're curious, I'll probably go out as a reporter. Becky will go as a recovering post-op emergency c-section patient with accompanying baby. I've seen the costume and it's impressively life-like.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We want pop!

So, I've been meaning to do this for two weeks. Better late than never, as the cliche goes. So without any further ado, Perfect Pop Songs, Vol. 2. Allow myself to quote ... myself. Here's how it works:

I make a list of perfect pop songs, the idea being that for the listener there are a handful of songs that don't have a wasted lyric, a missed note, nothing. They are perfect. I'll post two or three at a time, updating this thread frequently. Because I know every last one of you is eager, eager, eager to know what songs out there I consider perfect.

Now, once the list of songs is (what I deem to be) complete, I throw 'em all on a CD and mail it out to a handful of lucky, lucky winners. So, onto the list.

The Push Stars' "Back to the Party" -- The Push Stars do two things very, very well. They write pop songs that sound at once familiar yet new and different. And they effortlessly blend melancholy sentiments with bright, happy-sounding songs -- melancholy without which the band's music would be unlistenable, syrupy messes. "Back to the Party," of course, is the perfect example. I love the song's opening line: "Boy and girl, you're not the same any more." It's like some throwback to those cheesy intro-to-puberty film strips you watched in elementary school. The tune itself is a love song, in a sense, that's upbeat, fun and dark around the edges, very cleverly making the point that the fear of following your heart just leads to regret.

INXS' "Disappear" -- INXS was a band I was never that into. I never heard a song from the band that was just OK. I either loved them or hated them. There was never any middle ground. "Disappear" obviously is one of those song that I just loved. The unjustly maligned Ethan Hawke vehicle "Mystery Date" put the song to great use. Anyway, the song, at its heart, is a fun tune about how the right girl can make all your insecurities, fears and doubt go the way of the dodo. Plus it's got a killer groove.

Tom Petty's "Saving Grace" -- It's the first track from his latest album "Highway Companion" and it absolutely rocks. Petty is just an amazing songwriter and "Saving Grace" showcases the talent in spades. "I'm passing sleeping cities/Fading by degrees/Not believing all I see to be so." The song is puncuated by this relentless, driving guitar that almost sounds like a semi cruising down the freeway. The song builds and builds until by the end you've got this wall of sound and a tune that's rocking at full bore. It's great for the road. "There's a guard on every door/And a drink on every floor/Overflowing with a thousand amens."

Alright, the first installment of volume two is sealed in blood. So keep on keepin' on.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Regime change starts at home

Whoever is running this blog needs to get on top of the posting. Two a month is unacceptable!

But seriously, it's time to get this place rocking again. First an update on the baby. Elsa came home from the hosptial two weeks ago and is doing great. She's putting on the pounds like a pig, she's awake longer during the day and is happiest when she's eating. We've even taken her out. In public. Crazy, you say? Not as crazy as this: When Elsa was discharged from the NICU (that's neonatal intensive care unit for the uninitiated) last month, we asked the doctor at what point we could take her outside the protective walls of our home. You have to remember, just to get into the NICU you had scrub up to your elbows for two minutes and wear a hospital gown. We were scared to death that if we breathed on her too much, she'd end up with consumption and loose the use of her legs or something. The doctor replies, in that nonchalant voice doctors muster up for the most important of news, that we can take her out in public whenever we want. Just don't let the crazies touch her.

Claire and Leigh, meanwhile, have adjusted. At first, Elsa was like the new toy, a little dolly for them to cuddle and love. Now Leigh, after living a potty-trained life the past two years, is wetting her pants again. Someone explain that to me.

Mom and Dad came and visited last weekend. They took off yesterday and it was a really good visit. It's fun to connect with your parents as adults and as parents yourselves. And they spoil us when they visit. And that's always fun.

In other news, it's time to start up a second round of Rob's perfect pop songslist. Winners of the last volume applauded the selection simply fueling my ego and driving my desire to come up with a companion list. 'Cause really, when you think about it, the world is filled with pretty pop songs.

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