Perfect Songs #1: Thin Lizzy – The Cowboy Song

•July 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I will still continue to consider certain songs as “perfect” even though I should really just admit that I am biased and will only be able to offer reasons why I find certain music to be particularly interesting…

That being said, my first “perfect song” is Cowboy Song by Thin Lizzy. This song appears on the 1976 album Jailbreak. A song by Thin Lizzy should naturally be considered for perfection because the group is so very awesome, and certainly one of the best rock bands ever. Beyond Cowboy Song, so many of their songs are excellent. The whole Jailbreak record is great, especially Romeo and the Lonely Girl and probably one of my other most favorite Lizzy songs, Emerald. Other considerations: Phil Lynott’s voice, his bass lines, his romantic lyrics, and his ability to create stories by imagining himself as various characters. The clever drumming and the glorious guitar harmonies, of course. Those guys are just talented. There apparently were issues recording some of the Thin Lizzy records, with some of the band members being very dissatisfied with how some of the instrumentation sounded (for example Johnny the Fox), however Jailbreak was produced really well, which adds to the enjoyment of the album.

Cowboy Song is remarkable because of the lyrics and the story: a loner seeking the freedom and solitude of the trail and finding it in the excitement of the rodeo. This is a romantic cowboy who reflects upon lost love. It makes me think of my favorite lovelorn cowboy, Dusty Farlow, from the original Dallas. I always loved Dusty Farlow and his blue eyes and I wanted for Sue Ellen and Dusty to be together forever, but of course he could never match J.R. I always have a soft spot for a cowboy, and I love Westerns. I digress.

The melody, tempo, and other elements change with the mood of the cowboy – the repeated lyrics,

Roll me over and turn me around
Let me keep spinning till I hit the ground
Roll me over and let me go


Roll me over and I’ll turn around
And I’ll move my fingers up and down
Up and down

It’s ok amigos
Just let me go
Riding in the rodeo

Roll me over and turn me around
Let me keep spinning till I hit the ground
Roll me over and let me go
Riding in the rodeo
Roll me over and set me free
The cowboy’s life is the life for me

are accompanied by more subdued instrumentation, giving the heightened impression that the cowboy is floating through the air after being bucked off, in kind of a surreal spinning space that is endless. As his excitement builds during other parts of the song, so does the music, particularly the ecstatic guitar solos and uplifting harmonies.

The complete lyrics:

I am just a cowboy lonesome on the trail
A starry night,the campfire light
The coyote call, and the howling winds wail
So I’ll ride out to the old sundown

I am just a cowboy lonesome on the trail
Lord, I’m just thinking about a certain female
The nights we spent together riding on the range
Looking back it seems so strange

Roll me over and turn me around
Let me keep spinning till I hit the ground
Roll me over and let me go
Riding in the rodeo

I was took in Texas I did not know her name
Lord, all these southern girls seem the same
Down below the border in a town in Mexico
I got my job busting broncs for the rodeo

Roll me over and turn me around
Let me keep spinning till I hit the ground
Roll me over and let me go
Running free with the buffalo
Here I go

Roll me over and I’ll turn around
And I’ll move my fingers up and down
Up and down

It’s ok amigos
Just let me go
Riding in the rodeo

Roll me over and turn me around
Let me keep spinning till I hit the ground
Roll me over and let me go
Riding in the rodeo
Roll me over and set me free
The cowboy’s life is the life for me

Wildwood Crest, NJ

•July 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I just got back from a trip to Wildwood Crest. I’d never been to New Jersey before, and the southern part of the state is just lovely: lots of farms and green and quaint houses. Driving towards the shore it’s lush and beautiful, without all the development you see in parts of the coast here in NC. I’m sure that there are parts of the shore that aren’t as quaint, but near the cape it almost has a village feel to it. Lots of old houses owned by people who’ve been there forever. Some rentals of course but it doesn’t feel hectic and overdeveloped. The beach itself is absolutely huge, and there may be a lot if people out there but it’s never crowded. The inns on the beach all along the shore are probably my favorite part: retro style that has been preserved with love. They have been kept up beautifully, and it’s just fantastic to me that people appreciate that ’50s/’60s look and strive to maintain it. It’s like being on a movie set, what with the plastic palm trees by the pools and the pink walls and huge neon signs in great retro fonts. I think that in a lot of other places such structures would be demolished in favor of something new and shiny, but inherently boring and tacky. Here are some pictures! I was working so I couldn’t get as many as I’d have liked:







Rollerjam memories

•June 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I feel like it’s been so long that I’ve been able to sit in front of the computer that I actually forgot that I have a Flickr account.  I just perused it and realized that I had forgotten, or at least misplaced the memory for a while, that I’d been to Mexico. Or that I’d been to see Slick Rick perform. Some of the photos aren’t that great as far as quality, but it also reminds me that I was using for a while one of the first digital Canons out on the market and used it till it died a horrible death. I had also scanned a lot of my photos from Berlin that I had shot on film, and then the prints were damaged by some kind of ooze seeping out of a container of German “Im Nu” instant coffee that I’d mistakenly put into the same package to mail back to the states. “Im Nu” tasted terrible but I’d always called small and cute things “nu nu’s,” so I loved that I found a product that had “nu” somewhere on it. But I’m glad that I have them scanned even if they’re damaged because the film looks even worse. I also have these flyers I made for some WXYC rollerskating parties that were a LOT OF FUN. And the flyers were fun to make. Working at a library is the absolute best, I found the coolest books to use. 2006 was a good year for me.




This one was my favorite. Note the Scotch tape residue on the upper left hand corner.flyer_2007

Perfect Songs

•June 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There are certain songs that move us into a realm beyond mere (passive) listening. For me, certain songs consistently take me there, and I literally have to put everything down in order to experience the song because otherwise I’d be too distracted to fully enjoy it. There is something unusual about the lyrics, the melody, the sentiment – something totally unique and beautiful that makes it special even amongst some of the best songs. This is a project I have thought about carrying out for some time now, and I plan to describe some of these here.

I think that there are at least three realms of listening. One could certainly define more than three, but I think that these are general enough to start:

  1. Passive listening: In this realm, music is truly just in the background. We are not engaging with the sounds in any capacity because we are engaged in some other endeavor. For example, we could be at a bar and the music is just to fill space and could actually be a distraction to what are otherwise doing.
  2. Ambient listening: The music is surrounding us and we are more actively listening, although we may be doing other things, but these are things that are quiet enough for us to hear the music. We consider elements of the music and the sounds inspire new thoughts and contemplations. The music takes us to a certain intellectual plane and a inspires emotional states. We are nevertheless engaged in alternative tasks.
  3. Engaged listening: In this realm, we are engaged in nothing except actively listening to the music. There may, however, be a visual component as well, for example we are watching a band play or watching a video. We could also be engaged kinetically, for example we are dancing. But there is no other auditory stimulation other than the music. We are being challenged in a number of sensory experiences, and our thoughts and emotions are being actively influenced by the music.

The songs that I would put into the category of “perfect songs” are typically in the engaged listening realm, although some are also useful for ambient listening as well. I think that ambient listening is very important as a tool – I listen to certain music to help me carry out certain tasks. There are other kinds of listening that takes place in between passive, ambient, and engaged listening, but for me the important consideration for thinking about music is how that music effects you in ways (sensorial, intellectually, emotionally, etc.) that are beyond merely auditory.

I wanted to sort these thoughts out for myself before consulting other sources and their definition, professional or otherwise, for different modes of listening. I think that theories about human conversation and communication generally are useful to consider as well. Music is also communication, yes? They are listed here:

Jin Jons!

•April 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

New Jin Jon 1, originally uploaded by atommafia.

Jin Jons are creatures that originate from a planet far outside our galaxy, and their planet is dying! Jin Jons have made it as far as Earth, and need happy homes to go to – Earth is their new home, and final destination.

These happy ones can be found at Wootini in Carrboro, NC! Stay tuned for more as they arrive, as arranged by Sarah Carrier aka Sin Ltd. aka Atom Lattice (who designed these patterns, invented all this Jin Jon madness, and can be contacted about having your own Jin Jon!!).


all things pass into the night

•August 7, 2008 • 1 Comment

I have really, really been enjoying Goldstitch’s new mix for “A Brooklyn Life” ABL:Radio podcast which you can find here, and not only is the selection and pace and everything really fantastic (I would say that Rob and Zoopsie are also my favorites as far as putting together excellent relaxed but funky mixes…), but Goldstitch has also reacquainted me with what has to be one of my favorite songs: “Goodbye Horses” by Q. Lazzarus. And she (or whoever did the page) has 1552 friends on MySpace? A lot of people like this song, eh? And it has been discussed before, etc., etc. (seriously, is there anything left to write blog entries about?)

This song and its story are pretty interesting, and there is a short biography available, put together by some German fans. I am sure that I am not the only one that first heard the song by watching “Silence of the Lambs,” although this may not be what the writer had in mind for the song (for it to always be associated with that infamous scene). But Demme and crew do a really great job integrating music into the film. But more than anything that happens in the movie, what stuck with me was the song, I just said to myself, I have to know what it is! Because it’s not so much what is happening, which is obviously disturbing, but it is the song that makes it so unforgettable. And it fits so well, even though it is actually quite danceable, it is also so dark and melancholy, and the lyrics are mysterious.

And what I didn’t realize is that the singer is a woman, and all along I thought it was a man, which makes the selection of the song for that scene all that more meaningful and symbolic, particularly with the ideas of transformation, (extreme) sensory experiences, and fantasy. The song therefore has to be a theme song for the killer in the film. The writer of the song, William Garvey, writes that “the song is about transcendence over those who see the world as only earthy and finite. The horses represent the five senses from Hindu philosophy (The Bhagavad Gita) and the ability to lift one’s perception above these physical limitations and to see beyond this limited Earthly perspective.” I would say that this is the kind of freedom that the serial killer in the film wants to achieve and experience, but he is trapped in his own mind and physical form.

…and while on the subject of Silence of the Lambs, this is kind of random — there is this one moment that actually creeps me out more than anything else, and it was not intentional, I’m sure — the moment when Jodie Foster’s character goes into Crawford’s office the first time and the camera follows her into the room, and then we see her turn around…I just don’t know what it is about it, and I am sure that it was just two shots from different times put together, but she looks so *weird* at that moment. She all of a sudden has lost the color in her lips, and she looks really pale but also sweaty, and her eyes look somewhat elongated and kind of alien-like. And she has this really sad look on her face. And when the camera cuts back to her, all of a sudden she looks like Jodie Foster again. Okay, so that is probably just me, but I have tried to not notice it, and I do every single time I watch it. She doesn’t even look like the same person.

He told me, I see you rise
But, it always falls.
I see them come,
I see them go
He said, All things pass into the night
And I said, Oh no sir I must say you’re wrong
I must disagree Oh no sir I must say you’re wrong.
Won’t you listen to me
You told me, I’ve seen it all before
I’ve been there,
I’ve seen my hopes and dreams A lying on the ground
I’ve seen the sky, just begin to fall
He said, All things pass into the night
And I said, Oh no sir I must say you’re wrong
And I must disagree,
Oh no sir, I must say you’re wrong
Won’t you listen to me

Good-bye horses I’m flying over you

glamour chipmunk

•June 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circle of Spam

For quite a while, our university email inboxes were inundated with a remarkable amount of spam. Truly remarkable — almost a hundred spam emails a week at times. I personally really enjoyed those emails, because not only could the textual content be incredibly clever and funny, but almost Dadaist. The quality of the spam I am receiving now is really quite sorry, and I am honestly a little bit sad that our IT department was able to stem the tide of these emails. However I did compile some of my favorites. They read particularly well when presented as prose. I hope that you enjoy

Here’s a little sample:

Do it, daddy-o, do it. Ive got the gilt. He blinked and I worse than that- Universitato had sent an expedition to a reported archeological site dressed in white, ministered to him. I dropped into the nearest chair silencing the music with a swipe of his hand. Dropping into his chair It was quite a long walk and I was getting tired again. When all this terminated the test when we saw what was happening. He nodded over his coffee. Youre beginning to make sense. A pop Completely aware, thank you. Absolute silence on that topic, yes, gracing the summit. I swung the sword so no one came too close,

Howard asked if Kimberly’s boyfriend was there too. Bubba promised to provide. Howard interrupted and said he heard about that. Howard said it turns out that Robin forgot her check and didn’t give him anything yet so nothing was stolen. He said he realizes what a genius John Lennon was and he wishes that he had been able to meet him. Biggest Asshole Of The Weekend Discussions. He said he still watches old video tapes when he watches porn to get off. He should have given him some cash instead. Howard said they do have fantasies about that and the guys from the show may not be invited. Howard said that they had some great chemistry and she was probably feeling some chemistry there and would dump her husband. Why not a replay of a recent show. He said he really likes Sal but he was sitting alone with Beth when he came over and started bothering him.

gnaw rise, tiff nay gull, yawp nest ply ally
vanity leaf Dane row friz fit
tend hid clap yea
view im- Emmy
beam mine pipe spur bike Urdu
pour curd
Nebo piercog
bunt iffy
doge joy
pact hard just yowl tang fly grew foil mass
sink oily gaby almsbee
job nag kart yark rung mossread
flop sty vial
bar meltzeta
flat ishike rate feet
holm mug hold lime cant
smug out bob oft junk rear yarn gaze cosy
has amen damp eke gag
hind Adam holt luck
meg its pump mora zoom
two knot page blue popup poor
lay foe love mews bi- blur pan blab wolf
of us hi crap
wile were fish nose tap tap
bade box, lave vocal gird, gold de- jut whipup
pool popup joy barn hunt friz
back mega nick bail
cane mete ache
dung itch whip cant gift rig
pose ship
fit bill-o-
nun loot
copy sore
air he- fief swim warp fine snooty bed tint
coat zoom week rapttak
tee kern doss zal raid bedpile
hale emu dopout
tiff lynxvisa
stew faceyour Whit cite
rent kali hold rag awash
lama don rose dull owl why time line pod
lieu span dusk foul turn
beck you clip spat
back darn par fret loco
poem she- hew sod snooty lad
down grig or sack bean oil heal lawn desk
sand mix pace rip
cine bed banana deem lust haft
suck rile, maid top wet, crop axes fine silo
chaw lend . sofa mole shot
bet ? thro yawn
arch rain rag
atop zday bold lay rock dew
yoot pump
pip mulllest
kook yak
web rib
sway tit ford lest pleb olid rump beg should be
mote lode abbe rentquag
blew pile con- O` rock buffyare
pawn seed Jute
drop slapdrib
exit lumpyknap slew tote
bine mast pule agog keg
open limp phut name fuel kook bag bib bowl
wilt dun rend went nief
ewe iris dusk gawk
weak sold gild crag clip
raft zona aqua vast gain sham
aura food yelp tea Fin com- lent bard mute
Jute velt cope I`m
hulk pore spit Bull blob sup


I hurled myself at him and grabbed him by the throat. Lack of the booze taste is lack of virility and they cannotsurvive. The party had quietened down considerably. Subnormal freaks, or misguided in their early youth. There werea dozen hands to help him rise. As for her littlebag, might he not carry that? I regard it as my duty and as the duty of all of you, to stopthis man, in his own interests. As I watched, the back wall of the house crashed inwards and theroof subsided a foot. Then suddenly theassembly burst into a roar of delighted applause. Little bright specks danced beforemy eyes when I closed them. I noticed the youngman from the DAILY HERALD taking shorthand notes. Bung Thomas rose unsteadily to his feet and rolled towards Temple. I felt like some great tragedian walkingon before a hushed and crowded house. I remember I locked the front door and put the key under the mat. He dodged away and stood by Slatter and I called out to them. She could not help laughing herself sometimes. Did you square the fireman to squirt my roof! There was a general movement of uneasiness. Just when I realized mynecessity, she came back. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. I remember I locked the front door and put the key under the mat. Bung Thomas rose unsteadily to his feet and rolled towards Temple.

Look for the signs, the symbols.