Posts Tagged ‘John Updike’

John Updike once wrote an essay about unread books and their migration route inside his house. They began with great expectations on the table by the front door, levitated to the top of the television, summited a bookcase, fluttered into the kitchen, made a break up the stairs, loitered on a bedside table, avalanched onto the floor, and ended up compressed like a seam of coal in an unused back room, “the Afterworld of unread books.”

You might assume that books go unread but music is always listened to, but I’ve met record collectors who hated music. And then there’s that Shins album you downloaded in 2007 and forgot about. You’re part of the problem. Why are you being so mean?

In our house, a book might wait 20 years for me to read it, but music always gets a listen. Some CDs, however, spend the bulk of their time in the bullpen (a drawer beneath our TV), chewing sunflower seeds, tapping their gloves, and waiting for a call from the manager. I’m not sure how they got there. Here are three examples.

Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love

I was married in 1987, so everything about that year sort of glows, even the Twins winning the World Series and The Cult’s Electric.

But not this record.

Springsteen followed the breakthroughs of Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town with Nebraska, an album about people on the wrong side of the law. He followed the breakthrough of Born in the USA with Tunnel of Love, an album about people on the wrong side of love. Nebraska didn’t sell. Tunnel of Love did. As Danny Glover’s character reminded the audience repeatedly in Silverado, “That ain’t right.”

Tunnel of Love might’ve been Bruce’s audition for the Woody Guthrie tribute album, Folkways. Maybe he was thinking ahead to The Ghost of Tom Joad. Maybe he was thinking back to that time he crossed the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone. Whatever he was this thinking, this album is too rooted to rock.

Chief among the transgressions, for me, is the ballad of Bill Horton, a cautious man of the road, who for the right woman throws caution to the winds and finds happiness. It’s the one song on this platter where everything turns out well, but from the music and the vocal delivery I’d guess Springsteen was trying to transform himself into Gordon Lightfoot and not succeeding. Too bad – the writing is superb. Springsteen knocks out entire short stories in a couple dozen words:

On his right hand Billy tattooed the word ‘love’ and on his left hand was the word ‘fear’/and in which hand he held his fate was never clear.

Tunnel of Love is not redeemed but it is interesting for two songs, which don’t fit on this or any other Springsteen record.

The title track has the excessive use of prepositions (“…if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love”) and the video with the sword-swallower, the snake-seducer, and the self-conscious Springsteen. It’s also the one song in Springsteen’s catalog where he goes head-to-head with the New Wave of the ’80s – and wins. He unleashes the synthesizers and an emo sad-face guitar solo and even curbs his use of “yer” for “you” and “sir” for “bro.” It’s better than “Tunnel of Love” by Dire Straits or “Tunnel of Love” by Doris Day, plus it features the wordless wailing of the woman who became his second wife.

On “Valentine’s Day,” the narrator is driving a big lazy car, which is fun, but he has one hand on the wheel and the other over his heart, which is unsafe, and he’s dreaming of the timberwolves in the pine forests, which hasn’t happened since Daniel Boone crossed the Cumberland Gap. The song ends with a dream that’s so scary, the narrator’s eyes roll back in his head, just like me whenever I have to work through lunch.

The words don’t speak to me, but the music is beautiful. The synthesizers are back, and they carry us safely down Springsteen’s cold river bottom. The song practically shimmers. And Bruce Springsteen is not a shimmery guy.

Rolling Stone’s critics picked Tunnel of Love as their top record of 1987. Of fucking course. The readers voted for U2’s The Joshua Tree.

Annie Lennox, Medusa

In 1995, I was one of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free and make more money than we were making in journalism. I ended up on the teeming shore of software, where I had a boss who liked to say that his first million disappeared up his nose.

He said this fondly, chuckling over his Boofin’ Brett Kavanaugh younger self, although the period he was referring to had only ended a couple of years before. His recreational-drug workouts might have caused his verbal dyslexia. One example was the line he deployed to rally the troops when we faced an impossible deadline: “We’re going to turn chicken salad into chicken shit!”

However, it’s because of this gentleman that I discovered Medusa. It was in heavy rotation on the office sound system (“office” being the supply closet we were vacuum-packed into).

Medusa is easy to write about, because there’s no there there. It exists solely to be admired. Annie Lennox and her team (17 musicians and programmers, whom she probably did not confine to a closet) covered 10 of her favorite songs, creating the musical equivalent of the Star Trek creature who was so beautiful that to look at it would drive you mad or maybe the ethereal Star Trek weirdos who lived in the sky city and wore natural cotton bed sheets.

While listening to Medusa, you’ll observe that your pulse never changes, not even when she’s covering Talking Heads’ “Take Me to the River” or The Clash’s “Train in Vain,” but it’s all so gorgeous that you won’t care. Medusa is the triumph of form over content. It shimmers. Mike, Rik, Vyvyan, and Neil would throw a petrol bomb at it.

I don’t play this album often, but when I hear Annie Lennox’s voice I always know it’s a wonderful world.

Various artists, Whip It

Nothing happened to me in 2009. I was working in insurance. That’s the whole point of insurance – to say that nothing happened.

Whip It is a film about teenagers and very young adults who learn about life and love by fighting on roller skates. Director Drew Barrymore’s soundtrack has more female voices than anything short of a Supremes biopic, and although nothing on Whip It will punch you in the head or chase your dog up a tree, it’s an eclectic lineup for sure. My favorites are “Dead Sound” by boy-girl Danish duo The Raveonettes, the instrumental “Black Gloves” by Belgian boy band Goose, and “Crown of Age” by girl-girl-boy New York-to-Los Angeles trio The Ettes.

“Never My Love” was a hit for The Association in 1967. Where did they dig up that old fossil? It’s covered by Har Mar Superstar. The cover is restrained, even though Har Mar (real name Sean Tillman) is an unrestrained chubby white guy with a Michael Jackson soul inside a relaxed-fit body. He doesn’t do much with “Never My Love.” If only Drew had made him record it while roller-skating.

Charlie Brown said that a hot dog never tastes the same without a ballgame in front of it; most of these songs only work if you’re watching the movie. That’s why Whip It spends most of the year chilling with Tunnel of Love, Medusa, and their friends, packed tightly and trying not to decompose into coal. At least they go for the occasional spin.

In our last, very exciting episode, I began the saga of Run-DMSteve’s Big Fat 2014 Reading Theme. I told you about the four biographies I read that had their moments but never reached escape velocity. Today we’re going to leave Earth orbit with the five best biographies of the year.

I should note that I like to read about the lives of people I could imagine myself being; for example, famous writers and editors or the occasional magician or Arctic explorer. I’ve never imagined myself to be the queen of Egypt, but I was mesmerized by Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (2010).

Cleopatra may have been one of the most influential leaders in the formation of the Western world, but her story has never been her own to tell. We’ve been suckered by 2,000 years of anti-Cleopatra propaganda. We’re not even sure what she looks like.

Schiff sweeps aside centuries of lies and does a brilliant job of revealing the smart, daring woman who led her kingdom in an era as dangerous as Europe before World War I. Sadly, she backed the wrong man in the war that created the Roman Empire. Mark Antony wasn’t good boyfriend material after all. Octavian took “Emperor” as his new job title, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, and Egypt became a Roman province.

Cleopatra: A Life (which won Schiff her second Pulitzer) reminds me of another superlative book, Evan S. Connell’s Son of the Morning Star (1984). Connell pulls off the same trick, wading through the myths to find the truth about George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Cleopatra Fun Fact: Cleopatra had about as much Egyptian DNA as Elizabeth Taylor.

Bonus Cleopatra Fun Fact: Egypt is so old that when the action in this book begins, the Sphinx had just had a face-lift…1,000 years before.

Extra Innings Cleopatra Fun Fact: When Cleopatra needed some muscle, she hired Jewish mercenaries from Judea.

Back to the dead white guys. (My people!) Next up is A. Scott Berg’s Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius (1978). Max Perkins was the first to publish F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe. By the standards of his time, Perkins took a risk with all three. All three were fascinating characters, though I found Wolfe’s behavior intolerable. I couldn’t wait for him to die and get the hell out of the book, but I have to admit, he stole the show.

This seems appropriate for a man who never stopped writing. If you asked him to cut 10,000 words, he’d come back a week later with an extra 20,000. Actually, he wouldn’t come back, you’d have to go get him. The day that Perkins went to Wolfe’s apartment and informed him that Of Time and the River was done, just put the pages in order and surrender it, is one of the classic moments in U.S. literature.

Berg demonstrates the gifts Perkins brought to his work and shows why everyone loved him, where his sense of duty came from, and why he was always so damn unhappy (see sense of duty). I enjoyed reading about all the writers who were Perkins’ boys and girls (to the Big Three you can add James Jones and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings). Afterwards I felt as if I had lived all the decades I’d just read about.

Max Perkins Fun Fact: Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe were father and son, teacher and student, guardian and rebel, and finally adversaries (Wolfe’s choice). Wolfe died in 1938. The last thing he wrote was a letter to Perkins. Perkins died in 1947. The last thing he edited was an introduction to a collection of Wolfe’s papers at Harvard.

Now let’s ride the elephant in the room: the 6’6” Thomas Wolfe. (He was the same height as Michael Jordan and one inch taller than Chuck Connors.) David Herbert Donald, who won a Pulitzer for Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (1989), favors the idea that Wolfe was a genius. He believes that Wolfe’s editors put a strait-jacket on his prose to make it fit into conventional books.

But he also makes it clear that Wolfe had all the stability of the San Andreas Fault. John Dos Passos called Wolfe a “gigantic baby.” A psychologist who met Wolfe on a train and had dinner with him said that he “ate somewhat the way he talked [continuously], except that things were going the other way.” Inviting this guy over to your house was asking for trouble.

Wolfe never held a job, never learned to type or drive, never had a successful relationship. He couldn’t manage any device more complicated than a zipper – which was handy, because after he became famous, he was thrilled to find that he no longer had to pay for sex.

Somehow, Wolfe attracted many devoted friends, male and female. Fitzgerald said that of all the writers of their generation, Wolfe had the “deepest culture.” Maxwell Perkins tried to teach him how to write novels, his agent Elizabeth Nowell tried to teach him how to write short stories, and his women friends tried to teach him how to be a man. None of them got very far. And yet as gross as Wolfe was, this book is engrossing.

Thomas Wolfe Fun Fact: It was Wolfe who figured out why most protagonists in fiction are young: no one lives long enough to know how to write old characters.

Julie Phillips did a noteworthy job in James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon (2006). Tiptree was an acclaimed science-fiction writer of the 1970s and ’80s. I knew nothing about him, except that he was actually a woman and that she and her husband committed suicide when they were old and her husband was sick.

Now I am stunned by her life. Alice Sheldon, who was born in 1915, started out as a spoiled rich kid. She was headed for a debutante’s ball and an early marriage into wealth. Instead, she became a bohemian painter, a WWII photo interpreter for the Air Force, a CIA bureaucrat, a psychologist, and finally a trail-blazing, feminist writer. This doesn’t count her youthful sideline as a sexual hellcat.

She was probably bisexual, but she had no knowledge or even a vocabulary for what she wanted from women. She came to believe she was an “alien artifact” in a woman’s body; she was a woman who could only write about women by becoming a man. She was so isolated socially that she once claimed she had never held a baby.

Even if Tiptree’s fiction is not the sort of fiction you like to read, this is the kind of life you should read about. Of all the biographies I read last year, her life was the most strange, and yet her soul was the most…human.

James Tiptree Fun Fact: I’ve met some of the writers who corresponded with Tiptree. This gave me the chance to be nosy and read their correspondence.

Finally, my favorite book of the year: Updike, by Adam Begley (2014). John Updike was my writer hero, and after his death in 2009 I was eager to read the first biography. I was not disappointed. This is not just a book, this is an event.

I used to think that the gap between me and John Updike was about the size of the Grand Canyon. I was wrong. It’s from here to the Moon.

I can’t write objectively about Updike or this awesome biography. Instead I’ll just quote from Orhan Pamuk’s review in The New York Times: “This book’s overall effect on me is a desire to sit down at my desk and work harder and write more.”

John Updike Fun Fact: Lots of children have imaginary friends, but how many adults write 179-page books about their imaginary friend? That’s what Nicholson Baker did in U and I: A True Story. Almost nothing in this true story is true, and yet everything is true, and it was all inspired by Baker’s love for Updike, “a man so naturally verbal that he could write his fucking memoirs on a ladder!” Possibly the weirdest book on my lifetime reading list, not counting Baker’s other books.

Thanks for reading along, even those of you who clicked away in the first sentence and the rest of you who never scroll down. I am caught up with 2014. Back to the music!


We’ve just returned from a week in Utah, where Special D and I visited Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and various roadside attractions.

The hiking in Capitol Reef is beyond belief. In this hot, arid, wind-sculpted, high-altitude wonderland I felt that I had invaded an ancient Egyptian city. The silent domes and cliffs and hieroglyphs suggest unimaginable chasms of time.

CR 3

Bryce Canyon, which was new to me, is filled with spooky stone towers called hoodoos. (This makes me think of comic-relief characters in old novels who were constantly fending off the heebie-jeebies, the jim-jams, and the dipsy-doodles.) Some of the hoodoos look like the terra cotta soldiers buried with Chinese emperors; some look like Hindu gods. If I were a little less awed, I’d say they all look like candle drippings on a Chianti bottle.

Bryce 3a

The canyonlands were well-stocked with Brits and Germans in rented RVs, followed by the French, the Japanese, and the Australians. Are Australians always happy, or are they just happy to be anywhere but Australia? Are all Germans over 30 depressed, or do their faces just naturally do that?

Kudos to the state of Utah. Of all the states I’ve traveled in, Utah has the most highway signs that haven’t been aerated by gun slobs.

Chow time
We found something good to eat almost everywhere we went. The last time I hiked in Capitol Reef was about 25 years ago, and back then the best you could hope for for dinner was barbecued iguana. Plus you had to run it down yourself.

Capitol Reef Inn & Café was just up the road from our cabin in Torrey. Ooh-la-la! If this restaurant were in downtown Portland, it would be so popular that no one would go there anymore.

At the Burr Trail Grill, the tattooed staff not only serves up a first-class burger, they also produce the best apple pie I have ever eaten, and that includes my wife’s, and it’s safe for me to say this because she said it first. We took some pie back to our cabin for breakfast. Later that morning I did a solo hike with no more fuel than that pie. Sure, on this hike I was lost for about an hour, but was I hungry and lacking in energy? Heck no!

On our way into Utah, we stopped at a town called Payson, and not because Footloose was filmed there. We didn’t know that. All we knew was that we wanted lunch. We found a terrific Mexican place: Mi Rancherito. Good town to walk around in, but it was Sunday and we couldn’t get into the Peteetneet Museum and Cultural Arts Center, a Victorian extravaganza named for a Ute Indian chief.

On our way out of Utah, we stopped in tiny Snowville. At Mollie’s Café, where the staff is friendly even though the building looks as if it wants to fall down and take a rest already, we split a superb cinnamon roll.

In Idaho we stopped for a late dinner in the desolation of downtown Mountain Home. Frankie’s Burgers was empty on a Saturday night and I can’t understand why, because I don’t know where in Idaho you’re going to get a better burger.

In Baker City, Oregon, we breakfasted in the 19th-century splendor of the Geiser Grand Hotel, and then, in the only non-food shout-out in this section, we spent a pleasant hour at Betty’s Books. I have never seen an independent book store with so many new books from traditional publishers and so many small-press regional histories and indie press fiction and memoir. They even had used books:

Betty's Books b

I’m home. Next week we return to Prince and my usual hailstorm of unlikely opinions.

Song of the Day and Bonus Song of the Day
“Bring It to Jerome,” on Bo Diddley (1957)
We stayed one night in a hotel in Jerome, Idaho, which whacked this song into my head. Bo Diddley didn’t write “Bring It to Jerome” because he stayed in the Comfort Inn and he liked the scented soap. He wrote it for his maracas player, Jerome Green.

In 1959, Bo and Jerome collaborated on “Say Man,” which is three minutes of them trash-talking each other and slinging bad jokes while the guitar and piano play. (“Where you from?” “South America.” “What part?” “South Texas.”) “Say Man” was Bo Diddley’s only trip to the Top 20. That ain’t right.

Bo Diddley is an important step forward for rock ’n’ roll. But like most stuff from the ’50s, it sounds dated, and a lot of it sounds the same. Chuck Berry has the same problem. But “I’m a Man,” “Before You Accuse Me,” and “Who Do You Love?” are all on Bo Diddley. Give it a listen.

Book of the Day and Bonus Books of the Day
Nicholson Baker, U and I: A True Story (1991)
This is the story of Nick Baker’s friendship with John Updike…which he made up. Lots of children have imaginary friends, but how many adults write 179-page books about one? Baker’s impossibly convuluted sentences gallop on for days, including one startling specimen about Updike being “so naturally verbal that he could write his fucking memoirs on a ladder” which began on page 43 and collapsed, all passion spent, on page 45. Possibly the weirdest book on my lifetime reading list, not counting Baker’s other books that I’ve read, musings by various French existentialists and Irish nihilists that I was forced to march through in college, and the Bible.

The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw, and Never Will See, in The New Yorker (2006), and
The Rejection Collection: The Cream of the Crap (2007)
Cartoons rejected by The New Yorker. Any questions? Vol. 1 is funnier than vol. 2. Each chapter begins with an artist responding to the editor’s ridiculous questionnaire. Paul Noth, who led off vol. 2, has two of the best answers. Where do his ideas come from: “From a magical place called Boredom.” What would be a terrible pizza topping: “Mike Wallace.”


When I was visiting my parents in July, I spent some hours tunneling through decades of debris in the old family mansion. My assistant was my 12-year-old nephew, Jared. We had hard hats, headlamps, rope, pickaxes, specimen bottles – everything you need when dealing with your parents’ lifetime store of stuff. My main goal was to not lose Jared back in the 1950s.

Jared wasn’t impressed by most of what we found that afternoon. I think he was hoping for something that had fallen off a passing comet and that Dad had trapped in the back yard and boxed up in the basement. About the only thing that interested him was an electric, plug-in calculator that only printed on one side of a roll of paper tape. Jared, who lives in a wholly digital world, thought it was cool that a machine could leave a printed record of its work. Either that or he just thought it was cool that I let him take it apart.

But I found something I thought was cool: Pencils.

Toward the end of our expedition we uncovered Dad’s buried office-supply ammunition dump. Among the billions of staples and petrified erasers and rubber bands that no longer band and gummed labels to label things that no longer exist, were unopened boxes of pencils he’s been accumulating since World War II:

Bygone pencils
In case you’re wondering, an old pencil’s value on eBay is approximately one dollar in U.S. money.

I was thrilled to find these, though I couldn’t say for sure why. When I don’t have a computer in front of me, I have a pen in my hand. But there’s something about pencils, and their fragrance, that makes you happy. Like skipping. You can’t skip and not be happy. You can’t open a box of pencils and not feel happy looking at all that unsharpened potential.

I’ll use these extra-thick crayons when I write to emphasize my characters’ emotional traumas.

I brought some boxes home in my luggage and vowed to try writing with pencils. Why not? Two writers who have meant a lot to me, Thomas Wolfe and John Updike, used pencils.

Thomas Wolfe holds two important records in American letters:

  1. Most posthumous novels: 2 (The Web and the Rock and You Can’t Go Home Again)
  2. Most bad writing from a great writer: I figure it’s about 50-50.

Wolfe, who was six and a half feet tall, used the top of a refrigerator as his desk. He wrote with a pencil almost as thick as a crayon to scrawl 20 or 25 words on a page. He then swept the page off the fridge and started on the next. Then there’s Updike, who wrote Couples and three of the four Rabbit books with a pencil. So who am I to argue?

“Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.” (G.K. Chesterton)
The first thing I noticed about writing with a pencil is that the physical process is exhilarating. The feel of the pencil in your grip, the paper under the point, the lead wearing down, your words spooling out from under your hand. Some of these pencils were of a diameter that no longer fits inside modern electric pencil sharpeners, and I don’t have one of those crank models with the different aperture sizes. I had to whip out my pocketknife and whittle these guys to a point.

The second thing I noticed about writing with a pencil is that it’s goddamned slow. We are not accustomed anymore to slow. We live in a world where our computers occasionally ask us if we want to “disable add-ons and speed up browsing.” Some of those add-ons are adding an extra 0.2 seconds to our browser load times. Accursed add-on! From Hell’s dark heart I stab at thee!

However, I do love revising, and writing with a pencil reminded me of writing with a pen and, when I got the story off the ground, moving to my typewriter. Later I wrote with a pen and moved to my computer, and for years now the computer is where I’ve started.

But this pencil thing was interesting, and not just from nostalgia. A couple of pencils and a pad of paper work better for me on a plane because the airlines have taken away all the space I once had to write with my laptop. Pencil and paper works better for me at my favorite coffee spot. And if you love to revise, you’ll love pencils, because what you just wrote with a pencil is in no way ready for public viewing.

You can also doodle with a pencil. Try that in Word.

I’m not going to replace my computer with pencils, but they’re a welcome change-up. As for my nephew, a retired gentleman in his hometown has been teaching Jared how to whittle. Cool is not reserved for what’s online.

Random Pick of the Day
Fitz and The Tantrums, More Than Just a Dream (2013)
1960s soul meets alternative rock, assuming anyone can define “alternative.” If you love whistling (and I know you do), you’ll love “The Walker.” The album’s closer, “MerryGoRound,” is a throwback to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

Random Pan of the Day
Prince, Controversy (1981)
Coming off the success of Dirty Mind, I would’ve expected better. The title track is a towering inferno, offering an inescapable dance groove and a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. C’mon, isn’t that what you want to hear at a club? But musically, the rest of this album lies down and stays put.

These songs are about sex or social protest, or sex and social protest. When Prince sticks to sex he’s on surer ground, particularly on “Jack U Off,” in which he volunteers to help sexually frustrated females: “I only do it for a worthy cause/virginity or menopause.” After side trips to “the movie show,” a restaurant, and “your momma’s car,” he demonstrates his egalitarian nature:

If you ain’t chicken baby, come here
If you’re good, I’ll even let you steer
As a matter of fact, you can jack me off

Unlike Springsteen, who hit his stride with his third album and didn’t falter until he released Lucky Town and Human Touch in 1992, Prince’s fourth album doesn’t sound good after Dirty Mind. But on his next album he parties like it’s 1999. Until then.

Random Wife of the Day
This weekend, Special D is touring the gritty, industrial, culturally backward wasteland that is Seattle. Hope she can find a decent cup of coffee. In case you’re reading this: I have conquered the wisteria.

Random Video of the Day
If you haven’t visited my video yet, please do! True, it’s one minute and 11 seconds of your life that you’ll never get back, but what were you going to do with that time except watch cute animal videos? (Many thanks to Loyal Reader and Southern Industrialist Corncobb for the link.)






Snoopy 2 rejections at once

There are 11 days left to go in the Write-a-thon and though I wrote again today I have to admit that my original goal of hitting 50,000 words by August 2 was just a wee bit optimistic. I’ll be lucky if I get to 30,000. I do wish I wrote fiction faster, but I don’t. Marketing writing – that I can do fast. Advertising, editorials, web copy – I’m a speed merchant. These blog posts? Warp factor 6! But when I have to invent characters and situations and see how they play out, I move one. step. at. a. time. Sort of like the way the first primitive Mariners played baseball.

My hero, John Updike, wrote that “There’s a kind of tautness that you should feel within yourself no matter how slow or fast you’re spinning out the reel,” and though I gave up fishing in 1967 when my brother took three bass and all I hooked was a lousy starfish, I take heart from these words.

Right now there’s a kind of tautness in the back of my brain, or a bubbling. All day long, and often just before I wake, something back there is working on this book. Objects and actions bubble to the surface, things I can use on a page I’ve already written or one I have yet to write, like a bird finding the right-shaped stick for its nest. (We saw an osprey nest on Cape Cod that looked as if the occupants had built it out of firewood.) I’m mixing my metaphors here but I’ll trust that you get what I’m driving at. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Esteban esta caliente, but I do feel kinda warm.

Random Pick of the Day
Paul Van Dyk, In Between (2007)
In my house we have this divide over anything that isn’t rock ’n’ roll. Trance (or techno), for example, is not only not Special D’s thing, she classes it with The Thing, The Thing From Another World, The Thing with Two Heads, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Thing. Despite the constant scorn I live with, I like this stuff. The dance-floor anthem on this disc is “Far Away.”

Random Pan of the Day
One Direction, Up All Night (2011)
Boy bands sure have deteriorated since The Beatles. Today they’re all strip-mined from the same barren earth. Bruce Springsteen could use One Direction for dental floss.

I’m going to start Randoming bands with numbers in their names. We’ll see which one becomes the first to move from Pan to Pick.