Two Days After Someone Blew Up the Marathon

I’m nearly as guilty of this as anyone, I suppose. But amidst all the panic and sadness and worry on Monday, I couldn’t help but notice that people were actually speaking for themselves on the Internet. Now, of course, it’s back to sharing something George Takei said or Stephen Colbert or whoever this Patton Oswalt is, or reposting a picture that came out of some grief labaratory somewhere. I won’t say it was a good thing, because it was born out of sorrow and fear. But…it doesn’t have to be.

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I Keep My Visions To Myself (#492)

When I was in high school, every year the senior class had to trudge out to the football bleachers and pose for a class picture. You were allowed, encouraged even, to bring signs (yes, mine was an index card that said “If you can read this you’re standing too close”, ho ho ho). For years, for some reason, some seniors brought a sign that said, in its entirety, “STEVIE NICKS”. I wonder if anyone still does that. I wonder if any current high school kids know who Stevie Nicks is. I wonder if high school kids are even allowed to make their own signs anymore.

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No Joke, It’s Doing Me Harm (#493)

Hey, I’m tired a lot!

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It Couldn’t Come At a Worse Time (#494)

I don’t know anything about Hugh Maclennan, the Canadian academic and novelist this song is dedicated to. I didn’t even know that much about him until I Wikipediaed him just now. But I kind of want to read the book that Wikipedia says this song is loosely based on. But mostly I just want to marvel at remembering that Gord Downie once had hair.

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I’m a Riddle So Strong (#495)

If I were writing this next Monday, when it’s (going to) pour all day, this would be more appropriate. It’s a great song for a rainy day: bitter, reflective, morbid. But I’m totally writing these one day at a time. Really. Yeah.

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I’m Not Looking For a Clearer Conscience (#496)

Sometimes a song doesn’t have a story to go with it. Sometimes it’s just a song I really like.

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Sleight of My Hand is Now a Quick-Pull Trigger (#497)

This is one of the newest additions to my Top 500. And it comes today because it’s my mom’s birthday. See, I first heard this at a Starbucks a few months ago; I was waiting for my double tall white chocolate mocha (in case you’re ever buying for me) and the whole staff was bopping to “Pumped Up Kicks”, which I Shazamed (God, I’m so modern with the Starbucks and the smartphone) and acquired that day. Then a few days later, I was out for dinner with the folks – this song came on, I remarked, oh yeah, this is a new song I really like, and Mom hipstered me and said, “I’ve known about this song for a while.” It was kind of like a passing of a torch, except that I knew I was out of touch with what the kids were listening to….but Mom wasn’t. Happy birthday.

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He’s a Complicated Man (#498)

Yesterday I mentioned I know someone from Kansas. That would be my friend Adam, who moved into my high school for my senior year, established himself as one of the funniest people I ever met, then disappeared off the face of the earth shortly after I drove out to visit him in the fall of ’95. His name is too common to have any luck Internetting him, and he’s presumably in Kansas or worse anyway, so hiring a private detective would be a longshot. Anyway, speaking of private detectives, he and my friend Greg and I went through a phase that year where we got obsessed with the movie “Shaft”. We even wrote a dynamite Shaft-based skit for the TV show we never produced. So this is for you, Adam, wherever you are.

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Somewhere In Middle America (#499)

Here’s a weird thing: East Coaster that I am, I’ve never met anyone from Oklahoma. I’ve only known a couple people from Kansas and Missouri, none from the Dakotas, and I don’t think I know anybody who’s actually a native Iowan. But I’ve come across a bunch of people from Nebraska, and some Nebraskans have been some of the great people in my life.

And I’ve been to Omaha. I’ve been to their world-class zoo on a cold March day, I’ve been to two of the best used bookstores I’ve ever seen there, eaten a French brunch there, and saw the biggest hailstones fall I’ve ever seen.

So to my Cornhusker Contingent – this one’s for you. With random pictures and everything.

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Don’t Need No Credit Card To Ride This Train

So I turn 40 in 500 days. (As of December 7, which, let’s pretend that is exactly when I’m posting this.) So here begins my countdown of my 500 favorite songs of all time. Not going to explain methodology, scientific number-cruching, any of that. Not going to promise I won’t punk out halfway through. Just going to try to publish 500 songs, counting down to my favorite ever, which I don’t even know what it’s going to be yet. I have a list of 500, and every day I’m going to pluck one off the bottom and watch them get better and better. NOT SCIENTIFIC.

And I’ll make the first song on the list the first song I ever saw live in concert, at the Worcester Centrum in 1985 (not counting the Neville Brothers, who opened for them). And yes, I still have the ’85 Tour T-shirt. It no longer fits.

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