Can I get a head count of all the bloggers out there reading this? Ten? Thirty-two? Forty-eight? … All of you? Well then, I suppose all of you will understand where this particular post is coming from. I’m always trying to dig up interesting things for the column, and now that I have a monthly Internet radio program here, I’m looking to supplement the materials cache. But as with any excuse a pack rat clings to, this incessant collecting catches hold of some rather bizarre detritus. So I’ve been looking into the files to give the hard drive a Web wiping, kick out the lascivious photos of Neko Case (rrrowr), and with any luck get the ol’ Compaq back into springtime fighting trim.
(Uh, what was I saying? Something about Red Vines? Focus! Focus!)
Like I said, I was digging around in the hard drive when what to my wandering ears should appear but this, a track entitled “When Banana Skins Are Falling (I’ll Come Sliding Back to You),” and gee, those voices are awfully familiar — and familiarly awful. Turns out I ended up with a track from the long-out-of-print The Odd Couple Sings album, recorded in the very early ’70s, when Unger-Madison Fever was sweeping the country. Now, it shouldn’t shock anyone that a cash-in was commissioned to capitalize on this sitcom’s huge success — such behavior is the cornerstone of our modern media, for cryin’ out loud. But The Odd Couple Sings? I mean, who was going to buy this thing? Who out there was jonesing for the dulcet tones of Jack Klugman? I was now intrigued and scared to death of what else I might find.
Remember just a few short weeks ago when America’s favorite pubescent Mensa pledge, Miley Cyrus, was caught doing yet another stupid thing in front of a camera, specifically her impression of Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Poor little Miley. A victim of the politically correct times. Had she been born a couple decades previous, she would’ve already posed for Playboy, would’ve already been married and divorced, would’ve already found a second career as an infomercial pitchwoman, would be on her way to rehab for the tenth time could’ve been as insulting as she wanted to Asians and nobody would’ve flinched. Hell, she could’ve lent her talents to a TV cartoon complete with gong chimes, exhortations of “ah, soooo,” bloken Engrish, and more Confucius than your tiny mind could wrap itself around. You could get Ron Dante, the cartoon rock star once known as Archie (of the Archies), to provide pop tunes with mystery-related titles like “Whodunit” and vaguely stereotypical themes like “I’m the Number One Son” and nobody would bat an eyelash, flip a fan or fold a crisp, starched shirt for you. Oh Hannah, you dunce. You sure missed out.
A little less insulting, but still strange, I found two garage-rock fall-betweens from the Royal Guardsmen. You know them from “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron,” but here they offer up their rendition of a song that … well, I can’t explain it. I’m a student of history and I have a decent grasp of the ’60s, but I don’t recall the great peanut butter phenomenon.
They don’t really help their case against being a bunch of filthy liars with the tune “Bears” — overpopulation is a problem and so is deforestation, but I suspect these silly, silly hipsters are just blowing things way out of proportion. Or, maybe more than that, they’ve been smoking some wacky alien cigarettes. You know, the kind Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson love so much. The kind that suddenly creep into Brownsville Station’s minor ’70s hit “The Martian Boogie.” After that comes Tom “T-Bone” Stankus’s ode to altered states of consciousness, munchkins on the yellow brick road, and poppies, poppies, poppies (“Existential Blues”)!!! And now I feel really, really old because it appears my father was right after all — they are all on drugs.
Pithy satirist Tom Lehrer may not have been on drugs, but he certainly was on the kids’ show The Electric Company. Here he extols the virtues of the “Silent E” and not the joys of poisoning pigeons in the park. Now, do try to process this bit of information: first he’s teaching your children the values of a letter they don’t actually have to include in the speaking process, then he’s offing sky rats across the street like some Buffalo Bill-styled maniac. That’s class-A parenting you’re flinging ’round there. While you’re at it, why don’t you just let junior watch Family Guy and then complain about how all he wants to do anymore is grope breasts, drink until he vomits, and talk to the dog. Crap! Back to drugs again.
I’m so glad to finally have this stuff out of the system. Now my computer smells as fresh as a salad topped with vinaigrette. But I know it won’t last long. If there’s one thing I love more than spring cleaning, it’s re-accumulation. If there’s a second thing, it’s having something to complain about.