Music

If You Were Stranded On a Desert Island, and You Could Only Have…

Workplace lunchrooms would be nothing without the ol’ desert island scenario. There you are, you poor bastard. You’re stranded on a very tiny desert island for what you can only assume is an indefinite amount of time. A few concessions are made by the universe toward your predicament: Apparently, you have at least a meager source of fresh water and food–enough to survive, even if you get the “coconut runs” daily. Sadly, though, it is presumed in most scenarios that you have no companionship.

Curiously enough, whatever crisis led to your surprise crash or abandonment on the little island, you are given some options–maybe by the grace of generous pirates? Well-connected mer-people? So, now is the time to choose. Your benevolent porpoise or pirate wench has given you but moments to decide the small comfort you may be afforded for your eternal, sandy sabbatical. I hope you have your answers ready to go. Wish-granting squids are notoriously impatient.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…

Two Books

This is the standard smartass conundrum. Are you one of those insufferables who believes you are terribly clever in declaring that you would bring a survivalist’s guide? Or a medical guide? Or a guide to building boats? Or the longest book possible so the pages may act as kindling?

Fuck you, if you are. That isn’t the exercise. The point is to decide what you read for your mind, spirit, and soul. And the merman will tell you so. Offend the merfolk and they’ll swim off and leave you with nothing, you jagoff.

And while major collected works and anthologies aren’t strictly against the rules, the dolphins will make sure the pages are loaded with bed bugs and fleas. And the pirates will vomit old rum and sea water on them. So select those at your own risk.

Trilogies or series are too broad. One could merely select the largest volume of books as a “series”, thus creating a little sandy coconut library. But, remember, the porpoises can only carry two books, and the pirates are far too drunk to retrieve more.

For my part, I’d be tempted to select some Poe short stories, a Stephen King novel, or Catcher in the Rye. But I have to be careful not to pick anything too damn depressing. The whole idea is to promote survival and sanity. I want to be removed to a happy place where I can remember the beauty of humanity and maintain my imagination.

Here are my picks:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Since my own game rules won’t permit me to have the whole series, I will limit myself to just the first book. And even on its own, this book is worthy of one of my choices. It’s light, enchanting, and whimsical. It’s absolutely the perfect bit of fantasy to forget how much sand is in uncomfortable places.

     2. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg

Perhaps you can tell by these selections that I have a fondness for young, doe-eyed characters who face adversity but still have heart and imagination. I think facing down the prospect of rancid water, raw crab meat (okay, yum) and pouring rain storms, I might need a reminder of innocence, optimism, and imagination. And this book is like chicken noodle soup. If you haven’t read it yet, you must.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…

Two Movies

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Oldies Music is Super Creepy, Yo

I grew up listening to 1950s and 1960s “oldies” music on the radio and records and cassette  tapes. It all seemed really normal since it was my mom’s favorite, until I realized that she was born in 1955, which means that she was still worshipping music from her preschool years–and worse yet, subjecting me to it throughout my impressionable youth. Thanks, Mom. It could been the Stones. Or The Doors. Or even ELO. Those were your contemporary groups! Instead, I spent the 80s listening to Buddy Holly and the Crickets tracks over and over on some enormous headphones that would’ve fit in at NASA.

Okay, I kind of like it. There were some beautiful tunes and amazing vocals that still hold up. And if that all fails, there’s always great kitsch (see “Sugar Shack” and “Sunshine, Lollipops”, etc.).

But as an adult , I’ve started to hear some of the oldies lyrics in a much different light. I’m rocking out to some of the classics in my kitchen, washing dishes and cooking dinner, and suddenly I catch what I’m singing in front of my daughter and I’m halted upright and make that lemon-sucking face.

What did I just sing out loud? Oh my god, did I just sing about sexually attacking a teenager?!

And I want to hit the “next track” symbol or start nervously laughing at Alexa as if it was her fault the song came on. “Oh, Alexa! What kind of crazy music do you think I like? Ha. Ha. Yeah. Next track! Next track!”. But the truth is, some of the creepiest songs are also the catchiest, so my finger hovers over the iPhone and then I just keep grooving, while making coughing noises and mumbling over the choicest lyrical bits.

Damnit, Baby Boomers, you guys are messed up. Your generation sang about some pretty sick relationships, and you weren’t trying to be shocking or emo. You were happy and bopping about it! Dudes. Messed up. Messed up like the featured image above, which seems to represent how fondly the 1950s and 60s thought of women.

Can’t recall what I’m talking about? I present as evidence, the top five worst offenders:

5. “Surf City” – Jan & Dean (or The Beach Boys) (1963)

I don’t buy for a moment that this tune isn’t all about a few twenty-something dudes getting some teenage fish tacos down at the beach. A lot of them, apparently.

“Two girls for every boy.” That is the main thrust (ziiiiing!) of the entire song.

Apparently that is what awaits them and their “woodie” which isn’t “very cherry, it’s an oldie but a goodie”. “Surf City here we come.” Now, by “Surf City”, they mean vaginas.

“You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun, You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, ’cause it’s two to one.”

“Yeah, and there’s two swinging’ honeys for every guy, and all you gotta do is just wink your eye”

If you think that’s the worst of it, it gets really crude near the end of the song. Are you ready for this?

“And if my woody breaks down on me somewhere on the surf route, I’ll strap my board to my back and hitch a ride in my wetsuit. And when I get to Surf City I’ll be shootin’ the curl.”

I understand that these are all legitimate surfing terms, but puh-lease. That last stanza could be a euphemism for several nasty things, including the guy losing his boner and giving her oral instead, or him getting rejected so he rubs one out behind his surfboard. Either way, yikes, Jan & Dean.

4. “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” – Neil Sedaka (1961)

This is the song that everybody wants to be able to play for their daughters, sisters, or friends on the day they turn 16. Until they listen to the lyrics. Sedaka, did you have to make it weird?

“Tonight’s the night I’ve waited for, because you’re not a baby anymore”

What the hell’s happening tonight, Sedaka? She’s still a minor, by the way. Keep those pants zipped, buddy.

“When you were only six I was your big brother…but since you’ve grown up, your future is sewn up. From now on you’re gonna be mine.”

So, how old are you?? Here’s a hint: Sedaka was singing this tune to girls in the audience starting when he was 22 (although, he does look about 40 in the video below, doesn’t he?). So a 22 year-old is planning to bag a girl who, just yesterday, was only 15. And she has no choice about it.

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