Monthly Archives: February 2010

x-ray yankee zulu

Sometimes, when it’s late at night and there’s nothing on television except reruns of Two and a Half Men and I’m too hopped up to sleep just yet, a young lady named Shannon speaks to me through the TV.

Shannon wants me to call a 1-800 number and request more information on career training. Shannon promises that it’s my future and that I have nothing to lose. Well you know what, Shannon? You’re a liar with really bad teeth and Kate Gosselin hair.

About a year-or-so ago, as I neared the end of my last job, I started realizing that the job market into which I would soon be entering wasn’t exactly the greatest. So, during my near-constant online research into other job opportunities, I came across some Internet ads about a local college with some two-year tech programs. The Lie of Shannon lulled me into a sense of carefree abandon: I‘ve got nothing to lose! I thought. So I naively, innocently and downright stupidly filled out an online form Requesting More Information.

And that’s when the phone calls started. They started calling at work, where I was contractually obligated (or something) to answer the phone at my desk. While I fumbled through excuses as to why I couldn’t talk about it now, I was conned (okay, verbally manipulated) into giving my home number.

Luckily, I rarely used my land line, and no one of any importance even had the number. So I learned to ignore that particular phone.


The mature, adult thing to do would be to explain that my plans had changed, that I was no longer interested in Medical Technology or Pharmacy Technician-ing or Pet Grooming or whatever other boxes I checked willy-nilly on the online form. But I was irritated, and close to my breaking point. I only wanted them to send me something on paper; I asked for the free brochure, damn it, and it turns out they wouldn’t just give it to me without some sort of proper phone introduction. Had I taken the time to talk to the Representative On The Other End, it would have likely ended in a horribly rude exchange.

The moral of the tale is pretty obvious. Ain’t nothin’ free, honey, so don’t even think about picking up that dang telephone unless you really be wantin More Information.

And, for the record, don’t even get me started on inquiring into Online Degree Programs. Oy.

After about two months (and no, that is NOT an exaggeration) of thrice-weekly phone calls, they did actually stop calling.

sotd, eh? 02.27.10

Presenting the 2009 inductees into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame:

“Working for the Weekend” / Loverboy (1981)

sotd, eh? 02.26.10

How could I forget these guys?
Also, I realize the juxtaposition of this entry to my previous one is… a coincidence, honest!
Though, really, these guys are Canadian. The meaning’s different…right?

“Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” / The Band (1969)

buy the world a Coke

It was one of those parties: folks in the basement, folks in the living room, maybe some folks upstairs. Discrete groups scattered through the house. Talking. Laughing. Game-playing. Debating.

That’s all I remember. I don’t know the occasion, or the time, or even how old we were (high school? college?). Stories from other gatherings that took place at that house sort of all blend together (was that the night that So-and-So got lost on the way there and ended up in Illinois? Was that the night when nobody believed that So-and-So could put her toes in her mouth? Oh, the pictures from that one…). But I just read a little snippet of a story in the paper this morning, and I remembered pieces of an argument from one of those gatherings, at one of those times…

The article discusses the Sprite Step Off, a stepping competition sponsored by Coca-Cola. Apparently, this year’s winners were a traditionally white sorority out of Arkansas. But due to a “scoring discrepancy,” Coca-Cola named a historically black sorority at Indiana University as co-champions. The company provided no further explanation as to the nature of the discrepancy, leading others to wonder what was really going on here.

Did Coke feel bad? Apparently mucho dinero was poured into marketing this competition to traditionally black fraternities and sororities, and look what happened: whitey wins again.

It made me wonder what the bestowal of a shared crown would feel like. Patronizing? Justified? Silly? The manifestation of white man’s guilt? I don’t really know.

Back to that party. The topic at hand was racism, more specifically racism directed toward white people. What (I think) began as an offhand comment about there not being all-white student groups (as opposed to black student unions, asian student associations, etc;) caught fire and exploded. Very quickly.

No one at that gathering was black. I don’t have to remember specifically what day it was, because that’s how it was, all the time, with this group of people. I’m not bragging or lamenting, just stating facts. And I don’t really know the progression of events; this began as a Basement Conversation, and I was not involved. All I could see was the aftermath, and feel how hot the entire house became once Indignant Basement People stomped upstairs followed by Surprised Basement People explaining what they exactly meant by what they said.

It’s been a really long time since I thought about that night.

sotd, eh? 02.25.10

Whoa, k.d. lang singing Roy Orbison? Talk about an aural orgy (an aurgy, if you will)*
And for the record, this gives me goosebumps. Say what you will about k.d. lang, but I love her. And Roy Orbison.

“Crying” / k.d. lang

*Dibs! Dibs! My word! My word!

sotd, eh? 02.24.10

What a treat! A Toofer!*

“Diana” / Paul Anka (1957)

And holy *&^%$#@!$^&%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:
Paul Anka singing NIRVANA!

*You should really watch 30 Rock if you don’t already.

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sotd, eh? 02.23.10

I look at the video and can’t help but wonder if Kevin Hearn is actually playing the bass in the first few scenes of the band. Like, is he even touching it? I don’t know. This is why I’m not a musician.

“The Old Apartment” / Barenaked Ladies (1996)

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sotd, eh? 02.22.10

Pronounced CO-burn, fwiw.

“Lovers in a Dangerous Time” / Bruce Cockburn (1982)

Also fwiw: the Barenaked Ladies (also see a subsequent entry, I’m sure) do an absolutely lovely cover of this song (the strings! the piano! Ed Robertson’s voice!). I almost can’t decide which I like better. Guess it depends how 80s I’m feeling that day.