I am a huge Pearl Jam fan. They are my favorite band in the history of me. Periodically, I put together 12-song setlists culled from the entirety of their majestically awesome song catalog, either on my iPod or in my brain. Here is a brain one I just came up with NOW:
1. Leash – from their second album, Vs. This is my favorite PJ song, and it will make a great first track on this mental songlist, since it starts out with a sliding buildup of guitar energy and then explodes in your ears like a million grapefruits in a million microwaves. This song also has my favorite PJ lyrics – “I’m lost. I’m no guide. But I am by your side. I am riiiiight by yoooour siiiiide, yeah!” Blam, this imaginary album is off to a great start.
2. Lukin – this is from their album No Code, which was their first “please don’t like us anymore” album. Ironically, it’s a great fucking album. Just not as catchy as their previous three. This is when they started falling off the public map (when in reality they would continue to grind out awesome music for the next ten years). This particular track makes an excellent second song, since it’s extremely fast, extremely rocking, and extremely short. Like, a minute I think. In my book, 2nd tracks need to be fast and short. Like speedy little jet-pack midgets.
3. Grievance – from Binaural, an album most people don’t even know exists, but which has some of my favorite PJ tunes. I love this track because of it’s odd, stuttering yet incredibly propulsive drums. Matt Cameron (former Soundgarden drummer, and the drummer for PJ’s last three studio albums and all the touring they’ve been doing since 1998) is truly awesome. This song is pretty political, but I just like it because Vedder sounds pissed.
4. Severed Hand – from their most recent self-titled album. The one with the avocado on the cover. This song is ballsout awesome. They opened the concert I saw a few weeks ago with it, and guess what? The live version is better than the studio version. It’s faster. Harder. Nastier. The balls are more out. Actually, they played this on SNL a couple of months ago, and it was blisteringly slammin’. “You’ll see dragons after three or four, I said Yeah!”
5. Oceans – let’s take it down a notch. This song is dreamy and wrapped in gauze – from their debut album, Ten. They don’t play it in concert as far as I can tell, and it was never a hit, but I love it. It really feels like the ocean. The battering of the waves upon the drums and the rise and heave and sway of the…yeah. And for some reason the bassline reminds me of the band Genesis, which I used to love in high school.
6. Man Of The Hour – let’s take it down another three notches. This song is mellooow. Warm and quiet and sad. About a father who has just passed away, as far as I can tell. This was a single, written for the Tim Burton movie ‘Big Fish’.
7. Hard To Imagine – now we have to start bringing it back up, but this song takes it one notch at a time. It starts very quietly, with a serpentine guitar riff winding like a vine around a very spare arrangement and Eddie barely audible. But by the time the song is over, Eddie is howling “Things were different then. All is different now.
I tried to explain. I hope this works. Somehow…” and the notches have been re-climbed. This track is off of Lost Dogs, their double album of B-sides.
8. Given To Fly – from Yield. The beginning sort of sounds like a rip-off of Led Zep’s ‘Going to California’, but the rest of the song is so good and grand and soaring that I ignore that minor quibble. “Could’ve tuned in, tuned in, but he tuned out.”
9. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town – oops, we’ve gone back down a notch with this acoustic-sounding porch ramble from Vs.. “I just want to scream…hello! My God, it’s been so long, never dreamed you’d return…” Hearts and thoughts they fade away indeed. This song is not just a good song, but it makes me feel both good and sad. I dunno. That poor old woman. Behind the counter. C’mon, no one’s ever taken her anywhere??? Where are her kids? Goddammit.
10. Last Exit – let’s abandon the notch process and get a burst of fury here. This song is from Vitalogy, and is not really catchy. In fact, it sort of has a dissonance to it. But I love it. It’s raw and rough. “Let my spirit pass. This is, this is. This is, this is. This is, this is. MY…last exit.” I love how he screams that last line all the way through but then just mutters “last exit.”
11. Soon Forget – let’s follow up a song about dying from the dying’s POV with a song about dying from the POV of someone mocking he who is going to die as someone we will all “soon forget.” This is just Vedder singing and playing mandolin. It’s jangly and almost catchy and makes me feel good about not being a businessman.
12. Long Road – from their Merkin Ball EP. “The sun will rise another day.” This song just sounds like a long journey. “I will walk the long road”. A nice sunset for this tracklist.
Get out there and listen to more Pearl Jam.
(why 12 songs? for some reason, 12 is the magic # of songs that an album should have – I don’t know how I arrived at this conclusion, but there ya go)
I went to a wedding last Friday. Sara’s friend’s. Sara was a bridesmaid, but I was a mere guest, allowing me the freedom to mentally and socially dwell on the outskirts of the occasion and jot down some notes. Some things I noticed:
Has the phrase CAKE DEBACLE ever been uttered in a non-wedding scenario? Heck, has it ever been uttered before? As in “Did you hear about their cake debacle?” Someone said it, I swear. CAKE DEBACLE has such a great ring to it.
“Pittsburgh, are you ready to rock? Give it up for CAKE DEBACLE!”
Yes, the band would insist on all caps whenever their name was in print.
“This summer, J.P. Grappleton takes you to the limit of the edge of the brink of the rim of fear in the latest Drip Whitlock mystery…’Cake Debacle’…Terror has three tiers! One of which has not been correctly decorated according to the bride’s specifications! But they were charged for it anyway! It’s nothing to sneeze at, wedding cakes are more expensive than you’d guess! THIS SUMMER!”
I was in the men’s room, adjusting my tie, when a young boy, maybe 9, 10 or 12 years old (I don’t know, kids are like motorcycles – they make way too much noise and I can’t tell them apart*), saunters in doing some text messaging on his little Motorola Slackercaddy or whatever they are, and he sort of lingers in the middle of the restroom, sort of in front of the urinals but not really, kind of off to one side a little, sort of blocking the whole area between the urinals and the stalls, and I’m standing their adjusting my tie in the mirror and I’m thinking “How rude! He’s text messaging in the men’s room!” I guess what I’m trying to figure out is WHY I thought it was rude. He wasn’t interfering with me and my tie. He wasn’t making any noise or anything. Someone who wanted to use the urinal or stall could have easily walked past him and done so. But. I dunno. It just seemed inappropriate! I wanted to slap the Thumbbuddy out of his hand and say “Young man, here in the Men’s Room you will stare awkwardly at a pre-selected spot on the wall like God intended!” I don’t care if you’re not even peeing, pick a spot on the wall and start staring! Good! Now clear your throat and then whistle a couple of notes before letting it trail off feebly.
DID YOU KNOW:
If a wedding guest clinks their glass, the newlyweds must kiss?
If a guest snaps their fingers, the newlyweds have to thumbwrestle?
If a guest blows across the top of a beer bottle, making a “hoo” sound, the newlyweds have to dry-hump doggystyle in an exaggerated “hey now look what we’re doin’ uh-oh ha ha” manner?
If a guest holds their hand just an inch over a lit candle for more than 10 seconds, the newyleds have to do 69 right there on the dance floor?
“Do 69.” That sounds rather old-fashioned, doesn’t it? Even better: “Hey Sara, let’s do the 69 tonight!”
I prefer being the 6, personally. As the 9, I’m always worried that I’ll smother her. Or is it vice versa?
On nights when we’ve argued, we like to do the 11. Yep. Just laying there side by side, not touching. Staring at the ceiling until one of us talks.
*And whenever I push one over a big bearded dude wearing all denim kicks my ass.
A very small man just called me fat ass on the subway platform! I’m…I’m aghast! He couldn’t have been more than 90 pounds. Seriously. And he called me fat ass!!! First of all, yeah, so what? I’m a big guy. My ass is big. Second of all, the reason he decided to call me fat ass is because he kept trying to shove past me on the subway platform (I was moseying along at my own fat pace). After three or four gnat-like plinks against me as he unsuccessfully tried to pass me on my left without any success (I honestly thought someone was accidentally brushing against me and I didn’t think twice about it), he finally SHOVED my manbag out of the way and darted past me – and he LOUDLY muttered “Come on, Fat Ass!” I…I was totally at a loss for what to say or do. So I blurted “Fuck you asshole!” as he scampered down the stairs ahead of me. What could I do? The guy was so tiny!!! Any physical retaliation on my part automatically makes me the asshole. I could’ve seriously hurt this guy. And I’m no good with snappy comebacks – the easiest, quickest things that sprang into my mind would have been too terrible to utter, since they would’ve played on my instant reaction to HIS appearance and demeanor (Asian and most likely gay). And I’m too fat to give chase and lecture him about manners. Ah. Too fat. To. Give chase. I’m tired. I need a breather. Whew. Fuckin’ asshole. ARGH! You know how frustrating it can be when you’re literally just minding your own damn business, moseying along with your manbag, and then someone insults you out of the blue and then is gone too quickly for you to say anything other than “Fuck you asshole”??? It’s frustrating. I can’t fit into most of my pants. I CAN’T FIT INTO MOST OF MY PANTS. Still, that doesn’t mean that guy wasn’t a snippy little twat-hole bastard.
(this bit was in my Hilarilogues solo show a couple of weeks ago)
Okey doke there folks put a stake in it, settle down! Let’s cut to the chase. You’ve got two puncture wounds on your neck, you’re feeling kinda woozy, and you staggered here as if under the power of some internal compass you can’t bear to comprehend. Oh, and holy shit did you eat a rat on the way here? Yeah. Yeah, you probably did. Well, fear not, I’m here to guide you through what can be a scary process! Welcome to orientation.
SO YOU’VE BEEN TURNED!
New Vampire Orientation
Murray Peterson, Turnee Counselor
Alright calm down. It’s true – you are now vampires. I’m gonna get you through this. My name is Murray Peterson, and I am indeed your Turnee Counselor. It’s my job to get you acclimated to your new undead life. A little bit about me. I’ve been a vampire since 1998 when my current wife jumped me behind a dumpster in the parking lot of a 7 eleven. I am the Lord of the Vampires! For the Central Minnesota Chapter of the Vampires of North America. I own and operate my own successful chain of after hours tire realignment centers in Regan, Minnesota and the surrounding tri-county area. So you see, being a vampire doesn’t mean you can’t have a career. It just means your career has to be compatible with nighttime hours and yes, that inconvenient unholy craving for blood.
You’re going to go through an initial period of adjustment. Some vampires call it “No More Mornings Sickness”. Heh. Eh? No? Okay whatever, a lot crowds laugh at that. Ahem. Now, this sudden change produces several reactions in the new vampire, what I call the Five Stages of Turning.
THE FIVE STAGES OF ‘TURNING’
1. Ow. Hey! OW!
2. Ahhh. Jesus fuckinnnnnnghugh. Glugh.
3. No, no, no.
4. OhGODno. NO!
5. Hey I’m thirsty but in a weird way.
Most of you are here at stage 5.
So right now, you should all be thirsty, but in a weird way. Okay, you’re a vampire – what are some of the perks and drawbacks of being a vampire? Some of the pluses and minuses? The yings and yangs? The ups and downs? well…
Stronger & Faster
Control rodents and insects
Turn into a fine mist
Know if a movie will be any good based solely on its trailer
Anticipate when someone is going to give you the finger so you can give them the finger first
lots of shelf space
3 great stains
Need to be invited everywhere
Silver and garlic do nothing! (Have fun with that)
Stake through heart
Poems about babies, puppies and cookies will trap you in a mirror
Until wolf pees on mirror
Can’t time revolving doors
Don’t get sarcasm
Eternal War vs. Leprechauns
So, let’s see here. We’re stronger and faster than humans, but daylight will disintegrate us. We can control rodents and insects, but crucifixes give us terrible jalapeno-scented gas. We’re more tech savvy than humans but holy water burns our skin. We can turn into a fine mist. More of a spritz, really. Can be very refreshing and a fun way to ambush humans (wait ’til you get a load of their face when they think they’re spraying some Obsession on their neck and BOOM! instant vampire). But we need to be invited everywhere – thankfully there’s eVites nowadays. Okay, we can tell if a movie is any good based solely on the movie’s trailer – more useful than it sounds folks! You’ll save a lot of money with this skill. Hey, I didn’t see ‘Poseidon’, did you? On the flip side, a stake through the heart will destroy. Heh. I mean, it would’ve killed you when you were human too. I don’t know why we’re so fixated on the whole stake through the heart thing. Huh. Anyway…silver and garlic do nothing so have fun with that. “Aaaah garlic noooo!” and then you give a little smile and jump ‘em. REARGH! Again, the looks on their faces. Priceless. Standing there with a big garland of garlic. Silly. Okay…huh. I’m not sure why this is here. Oh, I see. I used to work for IKEA, this must be left over from a previous presentation. Well, as long as it’s here, Aspelund is indeed a great shelving system. It gives you lots of shelf space, it’s easily modifiable, and it comes in three great stains. Uh, let’s see here we don’t get sarcasm, we have trouble timing revolving doors (always get stuck), there’s the eternal war vs. the Leprechauns and here’s a couple of doozies – we MUST be polite to telemarketers and buy whatever it is they’re selling. Don’t believe me? I’ve got an entire cupboard full of ‘All In The Family’ commemorative “Hey Meathead!” plates that say otherwise. Also, poems about babies, puppies and cookies will trap us in a mirror. If the poem is about babies and puppies? We’re fine. Puppies and cookies? No prob. Babies and cookies? No sweat. But if the poem is about all three things – babies, puppies, AND cookies, we will be trapped in a mirror until such time as a wolf urinates on that mirror. Hey, I don’t make the rules folks. I put ‘Poop Nutella’ on both lists, since I guess it all depends on how you feel about Nutella. It’s like a Scandinavian hazelnut spread. Anyway, you’ll see.
Alright let’s talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room. So you need to suck on blood to survive. Fine. Remember these three basic steps of subduing a human:
Boo. Woo. Chew. Or BWiC. Easy to remember because BWiC is the sound a neck makes when you break it. BWiC!
1. Boo! The element of surprise.
2. Woo. Woo the victim. Get them under your spell.
3. Chew. Sink those teeth in and stark sucking.
Alright, let’s do a quick demonstration. Who wants to volunteer to help me out here? Okay good. What is your name. And how long have you been a vampire? Probably just a few hours. That’s okay. Alright, we’re going to do some roleplaying here. I will play myself. Murray Peterson. Vampire. And you’re going to play an unsuspecting human. Okay. Let’s pretend we’re at a bar and you’ve just gone off the ladies room. Boo! I surprise her! How odd to find a man in the ladies room? Woo! Hey I like your homemade jewelry and the particular outfit you’re wearing highlights your best physical attributes and covers up the physical imperfections you are most self-conscious about in the exact manner you had hoped. Boom. She’s under my spell. Okay. And then lastly – chew. I won’t do that here because when a vampire tastes another vampire’s blood it feels like chewing aluminum foil. Bleah.
So you’re thinking to yourself “Oh no I’m a vampire, I’m a freak, I’m so unique and alone in this world oh no blah blah blah put a stake in it. Look at all these famous vampires. You’re in good company:
Cyrano de Bergeracula
Historical / Political Figures
- Jacques Chiracula
- Hosni Mubarakula
Bands / Musicians
- Johan Sebastian Bachula
- Burt Bacharachula
- Massive Attackula
- The Knackula
- Roberta Flackula
- Fleetwood Macula
David Bowie (lord of all vampires)
Basically, any name you can add – ula to, chances are they’re a vampire. And yes, David Bowie is our overlord. All hail David Bowie.
Any more questions, you can find a list of frequently asked questions, or as I like to call it the FAQula. Little pun I put in there for fun. At normalwebsite.com.
Okay folks that’s all the time I have. I got another orientation coming up at another theater down the block. Remember, stay out of the sun and BWiC! Ooh and if you’re ever in Minnesota and need your tires realigned, come to Peterson’s! My unholy craving for blood is matched only by my unholy craving for savings! Good luck new vampires!
My weekly comedy show, Giant Tuesday Night of Amazing Inventions and also There is a Game, will no longer have to compete for crowds with Tuesday Night Book Club, the hit show that CBS is inexplicably cancelling. I mean, what’s more exciting than watching a show about a small group of people who meet on a weekly basis to discuss a book? Maybe if that small group of people met on a weekly basis to FIGHT a book. But still, people discussing books on tv has always been a huge draw, so I am relieved that GTN no longer has to go head-to-head with Tuesday Night Book Club. Now only if Fox would cancel their show, Tuesday Extreme Knitting Cabal. And does anyone know if NBC has renewed Tuesday Night One Move Of Chess Per Week Digest? And I’m extremely wary of HBO’s new series: Weekly One Hour Static Closeup Of A Kiwi Fruit While Someone Hums The Hornbreak From Sir Duke Offkey And Are They Also Chewing Something Yeah It Sounds Like They’re Also Chewing Like Some Granola Or Something Gross.