Saturday, March 7, 2009

This one goes all the way to Eleven

Thanks for tappin’ back into the crockpot loyal fishermen!
I start today with apologies that I’m in a bit of a time crunch. The L.A. traffic won the battle of time management today. As such, I fear that I won’t be able to write this later today, and accordingly, am kind of phoning this one in a bit. Not entirely, but this will be briefer than usual.
Meaning a novella rather than a novel. My apologies. If I am able to make it back to the crock later, I shall.

Every now and then I get stupidly optimistic about traffic and the space-time continuum, and delude myself with the notion that I can get to places that are in excess of 20 miles from my starting point in about 15 minutes. I don’t know why. The math never works, and especially never on weekends, when many Angelinos decide to take to the streets en masse. En cars. And so even the most optimistic, unrealistic, 2 .am. no one on the freeway estimate I start with on these days is about a half hour to an hour off of what reality will be on a Saturday or Sunday.

Another factor in my rush today is that I went for a run. Let’s say “jog” would be a kind word for it. Let’s say “put on shorts and was moving slowly enough that any casual observer could notice my more European tendencies for leg hair maintenance” would be an apt description of my activity. But the sunshine was there, so I enjoyed my saunter-trot immensely. It sent me back to high school.

I ran cross-country in high school, and was fairly terrible at doing so (turns out I have not just slowed down in my old age, I am just not built for speed). But I loved it though, as my time spent pursuing cross-country was home to a majority of very fun moments in that period of life.
Today I felt like I was on an LSD run. Sounds suspiciously trippy, eh? Well, our coach told us that LSD stood for "long slow distance," where you set a goal of going pretty far, but by doing so pretty slowly. This coach had been at Berkeley in the ‘60s, however, and could not remember ANY girl’s name on the team if his life depended on it, so profound were the effects of what I can only imagine was a daily smorgasbord of drug use. So we were never sure if LSD runs were just a good time to flash back to the old days for him, or a good time to take it easy.
He did have amazing stories to tell. And appreciated a good slow run in the sunshine, no matter what the distance.

Today, as I mastered the “S” in LSD run, and nothing else, I thought about the simple pleasure of taking your bones into the street to pound the pavement, even if it’s the pavement that’s winning.

Knowing how way leads on to way, that got me thinking about the many songs relating to running. Most that I could think of were actually pretty good:

I Ran So Far Away – Flock of Seagulls
A quality song, and one of my very strongly recommended additions to the set list of any 80s cover band worth its salt.

Running Down a Dream – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
A great use of “ooh WOO ooh” mixed with a guitar at the end. Any song that can be successfully used at ballparks across the nation when a new pitcher is warming up after being called in from the bullpen and keep a crowd lively must be doing something right.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen
Though not owner of a song featuring running, a notable “run”-related band for their successful use of “Toora loora loora” in a pop song, and for concealing the true message of a song whose lyrics amount to a close relative of “do me baby” by having a delightful catchy tune. Again, another must have for an 80s cover band.

by Del Shannon
Amazing song, and use of piano. A family favorite.

Running on Empty – Jackson Browne
Ask Forrest Gump. This is a motivating anthem for baby-boomers and those who enjoy radio pitched to their demographic (me) everywhere.

Born to Run – Springsteen
Eh…this has to be included, but it’s not my favorite Boss tune. It’s probably because, as mentioned above, I was not born to run. I think I was probably born to climb fruit trees, eat a lot of fruit, and then take naps on the tree limbs before picking nits from the fur of my companions in such pursuits. Not quite evolved to Springsteen’s scale of activity with my body design.

Runnin' with the Devil – Van Halen
Again, a must-mention, but not VH’s best work, in my opinion. Also, I would like to think that I could not keep up with the devil. Perhaps a bit of self-protection here.

Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
L.A. got a new radio station a few months back with a puzzling “we have no format” format, and they’ve reached back into the Soul Asylum vault on a few more occasions than other stations in the area. Each time I stumble on "Runaway Train" I find myself both singing along passionately, and actually feeling as though my soul is finding asylum for some tortured portion of my being that I was not even aware was in there. It’s a guilty pleasure, and the imagery used in that song is at once absurd and very memorable.
“You were there like a blowtorch burning. I was a key that could USE a little turnin!’”
Really. Treat yourself. It’s the weekend.

Honorable mentions of using “run” in a song:

Creep – Radiohead
Run Run Run RUuuuuuuuu—uuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Enough said.

Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World – U2
“I wanna run to you run to you run to you.” I like this song a lot. And think it's like, a non-crappy pop side of U2.

Also shout outs to songs that are songs about people on the run, including several Allman Brothers Band songs and countless country songs. "Smokey & The Bandit" theme anyone?

And now to the winner of the running song competition:

Band on the Run – Paul McCartney and Wings
If I could produce any single creative work in my lifetime that is as good as this song, I would die happy.

And yes, this song WILL be featured in an episode of the impending cartoon.

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