My Top Ten Johnny Cash Songs

I was asked at my last TweetUp on Thursday what my favorite 10 Johnny Cash songs are.

I had to think about it.

Many of them are my most played songs.

10. “Hurt” (played with 2 versions 24 and 17 times (rank in iTunes for my Johnny Cash playlist #10 and #17)

This is the song that really got me into Johnny Cash. Like many times when Johnny Cash covers a song, he just owns it. I also love the slower sound of his American series with Rick Rubin so the list is dominated with that period. These are hard to rank.

9. God’s Gonna Cut You Down (#5. 30)

We are a all mortal. Johnny Cash with his music is immortal. Amazing video too.

8. I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound (#1, 53)

I have wondered this question a lot. But I think Johnny Cash was talking about heaven in American VI. I personally have a big idea I am working on the may be where I am bound jobwise. Excited.

7. Bridge Over Troubled Water (#3, 42)
A song I thought wouldn’t be improved over Simon and Garfunkel. Beautiful and heartwrenching. Emotionally rich. Sounds so much wearier than the original too.

6. Rock Island Line (#9, 24)

This song just sounds like a train. Wish I could sing fast enough to sing this is karaoke. Fun song. This one goes back to the Sun Records days.

5. Delia’s Gone (#6, 28)

The first old school Johnny Cash song. Really want to do this in karoeke. Which I think would be both wrong and awesome. (video starts at 0:20)

4. “In My Life” (#4, 37)

This is a very maudlin list. Amazing cover of the Beatles classic.

3. “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” (#11, 22)

Love is a beautiful and rare things. As is Johnny Cash’s voice and emotion. Tugs at my heart. So many of these songs are about June Carter Cash.

2. “For the Good Times” (#41, 11)

These are emotionally rich songs. This one thinks of my mom losing dad last year on April 1, 2013. Stunningly beautiful. Crying right now a little. Amazed how much grieving is happy memories. That is a very good thing.

1. “Satisfied Mind” (#2, 51)

I had to do try it from the top. The top 9 are incredibly close to me. This is the song that makes me most think of my amazing father in law Walter Maheux who passed less than 2 years ago in March, 2012. May will all try to have satisfied minds.

And of course there are so many others I love. Johnny Cash is easily my favorite recording artist of all time.

A Winter’s Day

Deep, cold February.
Harsh winter
Feeling the cold on my face
Seeing my breath.

Snow coming,
Clouds ready to dump moisture.

SD Warren’s Sappi stacks
Blowing their smoke.

My lungs blowing
Out their smoke.

Contemplative, walking,
Waiting for the bus.
Cold, frozen butt on metal.
Single digits.
Feeling it in my nostrils.
Clean winter air.

Boys kicking icy snowballs.
Fun.
A winter’s day.

Blurry

The keys blur
Unfocusing
Letting vision cloud.

Not trying to see the world
Perfectly.
Letting it all drift.

Often hearing better,
Smelling better
touching better.
Vision tends to dominate.

Letting the spirit world come in.
Make it’s magic.
Hearing, sensing
Spirit, meditation
Closed eyes
Drifting.

There is magic
In the world.
Everywhere.

But you need to unfocus
Unsee
Feel
Believe
Be present.

Aware
Sensing
The mind and heart can see
Even when eyes are closed.

Meditate
Unfocus
Turn off the world.

American Carny: True Tales from the Circus Sideshow ***1/2

Excellent documentary. Free on Amazon Prime right now.

I have been to the Coney Island sideshow. It was a heck of a lot of fun. I think I went a couple times, once with Lanna and once without. One of those things I can’t resist and it still is there for $10. It’s fun.

I have heard the name Todd Robbins before. I think I must have seen flyers for his off-broadway show “Carnival Knowledge” when I lived in New York City. I wish I went to see it now. He has a huge love for the sideshow, a desire to show everyone his art, and that rare and beautiful skill of humility.

I hope the sideshow continues whether at a rock show, as a precursor to Burlesque or even with some traveling parade of freaks. Tattoo art is completely mainstream now, and there are wonderful oddballs among us. I would love there to be more of a chance to see them do the performances they love.

Incredibly fun documentary, highly recommended.

The Myth of College at 18

Our society is obsessed with college.

NextGen programs at 1 college. Guidance counselors college. You want to succeed college.

But what is you are just not ready? It’s a lot of money.

Spending tens of thousands of dollars to go to school to “find yourself”? Why not actually see a different place in the world besides your hometown. Do something crazy like the gap year many young people take. In the Mormon Church this time is literally part of their missionary work, and I bet a lot of them learn more in those 2 years away in a white tie, black shirt, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints pen, than college.

If you go to say Venezuela for 2 years. You probably know Spanish really well. You have seen how different people live in other countries, and maybe you aren’t pressed into the disease of more. You realize that by having a house, a partner, a job and friends that’s enough.

Not many people do. They are obsessed with salary. Obsessed with prestige.

You have been under your parents roof for probably eighteen years. Been dreaming of leaving for probably five years. Find some friends, find some roommates, get a job. A McJob. Retail, dishwasher, office, call center, it doesn’t matter. Especially if you really want to drink beer, get stoned and play Halo or Skyrim. You don’t need to pay tuition for that.

I found I did much better in college when it was my own money being spent. I felt like I had ownership. I wasn’t ready for the challenges of the University of Chicago at 18. I was smart but emotionally very young. Wasn’t really even dating, although that was mostly shyness. The Internet is a great thing for that.

I liked living at home and going to Rutgers. Making some money in the summer to pay tuition. Avoiding loans. Sad how much tuition and especially student loans have gone up since the mid 90s. Was paying like 2000 a semester then. I think it’s closer to 5000 or more now. Madness.

Do now wish I didn’t go for my MBA. Have hardly touched the debt 12 years later. If I could have would have erased it when I declared bankruptcy around 9 years ago now. Think “Fight Club” may have been right to blow up the credit reporting. The government owns Sallie Mae now. If you want a really quick economic stimulus just end Sallie Mae and admit virtually unlimited student loans for “aid” is a terrible failure.

I wish looking back to 1992 that I took a gap year and traveled. The United States is seperated from much of the world. 1000 miles from Des Moines, Iowa is mostly the United States maybe a little of Northern Mexico and the prairie provinces of Canada. 1000 miles from Geneva, Switzerland is almost all of Europe, North Africa and the Arab world. Many languages spoken, many cultures, easily the most cosmopolitan place I have ever been including New York and London.

Everyone seems to push almost all high school kids to college these days. Many are unprepared or disinclined to go. And they end up paying a lot to drop out within a year or two with often thousands in debt.

Maybe giving students a small mortgage and tens of thousands in debt shows strange priorities.

Why is tea so yummy?

I wrote this for an Improv Slam at Rhythmic Cypher in the fall.

_______

Tea is amazing
Tea is ancient
Tea loves honey
Tea loves sugar

Tea loves hot water
Tea loves to be iced.
Tea warms you up
Tea cools you down.

Tea is of a place
Tea.has terrior.
Tea wants to be steeped,
Tea dries in bags.

Tea helps you create
Tea allows conversation
Tea leaves are different all over the world.
Tea houses in England,
Different than the Arab world,
Different in China.

Sent all over the world.

British East India company.
Colonists of the world
Tea party
Revolution.

Doilies, scones
Honey, sugar, milk.

Warm, delicious
Cold, refreshing
Tea.

Qwerty

Typing
Quick responses

Texting
Need to respond
Can’t make them wait
It’s too important
Can’t let them wait

Hey
What’s up
Nothing
Watcha doing
Driving
Where?
The interstate.
How’s the road?
Busy.
How fast you going?
75.

Seriously stop texting.
Don’t feed the beast.

Drivers if you can’t avoid the beep,
Have to respond
Turn the phone off
Use airplane mode
Your friends can annoy
Someone else.

Hey I hit a semi.
Bummer.
Feels like I broke my leg.
Ouch. How’s the car?
Totaled.

Stop it.
Driving is hard.
Driving takes attention.
Phones don’t make you smart.
People can wait.
Patience is a virtue.
And there is an off button.
Use it.

Surviving Reality

The Learning Channel
A Discovery
That History
Is a pawned
Ice Road Trucker.

The Real World
Full of Survivors
American Idols
With a Voice.

American Pickers
Duck Dynasties
Hoarders
Intervention.

Turn of the Reality TV.
And live a real life.

Overrated Places

Felt like a ranty post this morning.

Starbucks: overroasted, overpriced. Especially when you can go into Portland, Maine and go to get excellent coffee at places like Coffee By Design, Bard, Arabica, Others …. If you are having coffee at Starbucks when Bard is across the street, Arabica a block away and Others 3-4 blocks away, you are doing it wrong. Also pretty terrible pastries. Although I do enjoy a frappucino but that’s almost closer to a milkshake, it’s certainly dessert.

Dunkin’ Donuts: I haven’t figured out Mainers insane love of Dunkin’s. There is almost always a line for the drive thru on Main St. in Westbrook, and the coffee is fine. Although I do like cream and sugar in my coffee which is the regular at Dunkin’s. I honestly think the Cumby’s (Cumberland Farms, i.e. a gas station/convience store) has better coffee. As does Big Apple down the street with Green Mountain. And the donuts are terrible, not longer made fresh, but in a big facility where they are frozen. Most of the food is really bad too, although I do like the hash browns and the bagels are okay. I do love Tony’s Donuts, but the Holy Donut didn’t speak to me at all.

Applebee’s: How is there so many of these across the country? No food is more likely to feel sick after. Ewww.

Olive Garden: I grew up in New Jersey with real Italian food. The unlimited breadsticks and salad is nice and having 2 waitresses in a section is a good idea. But the food, meh. Of course, Maine isn’t exactly an Italian food capital? Does anyone have a favorite place? Really need to go to the North End of Boston at some point.

Macy’s: Federated Department Stores is bad at running retail stores. They can have all the celebrity lines they want but the quality is just mediocre to fine usually. Some good stuff but a lot of crap.

Johnny Rockets: Johnny Rockets makes a good shake and ok burger for a pretty high price. But, could be so, so much better. Always disappointed. It’s a good concept but can’t compare to a good local California burger place or In-N-Out Burger. If they actually spent the time to have employees learn to make a great burger and paid better this could be much better.

Panda Express/ Sbarro’s: Basically very similar, mediocre food that often feels old for a relatively high price. I think school lunch pizza is better than Sbarro’s.

Abercrombie and Fitch: Ick. Overprice, crappy clothes with overloud, terrible music and obnoxious employees. And the CEO of Abercrombie seems like a hard core douchebag

The Apple Store: Sure it’s shiny. Sure it has Apple stuff. But at full price. I found the service “genius” annoying. When I did need to get an iPod fixed I got the same model at a cheaper price, should have just upgraded to the new model but wasn’t even given a choice. Apple is great at getting high margins. They do have good products but at an incredibly high pricepoint. And with their price they could easily afford to manufacture in the US. I know Appleheads may hate this one.

Neiman Marcus: Been inside one a few times. Saw high prices, and not great service. Don’t get the brand equity.

Barnes and Noble: There is a reason big box bookstores like Borders closed and Barnes and Noble isn’t doing well. All I saw at the Barnes and Noble in Allentown area of PA was full prices and boring books. No real service just some people at registers. It seemed like a ghost town. I love books but would rather get them at the library, Longfellow Books, Goodwill, Amazon, etc. Barnes and Noble dying wouldn’t be a huge loss, hopefully it would be a chance for a town to gain a better bookstore. Portland is lucky to have Longfellow books.

There is some for now. Any others you would want to add.

Eddie Davis and the Eddie Davis Experience

So when I was at the University of Chicago 20 years ago (which seems crazy to be that long) one of the guys who I think may have had a crush on me and my oddness said I should have a band called “Ed Davis and the Ed Davis Experience.”

I also think this would be a great name for a radio show, changing it to Eddie Davis, because that’s more fun, and was the WPST 97.5 morning DJ when I was in high school (pop station).

Here would be a sample 1 hour show. Just has a few genres. Curious what Pandora would make of this.

Would start with the insane and fun B.O.B. by OutKast. (4:24)

Good morning/afternoon/evening from Portland, Maine wherever it is you are listening to. It’s always after midnight somewhere. Including the cold state of Maine where its 30 degrees at 12:05am. Let’s have some fun, that was of course OutKast with “B.O.B.” (ie Bombs over Baghdad). And here is some more fast dance music. “James Brown is Dead: Original Mix” by L.A. Style. (1:20 for talking, 5:42 for song)

(and yes that is posts I wrote 24 hours after each other (also the Get Up there and Dance, Dance I Say).

So that was James Brown is Dead, which just makes me need to get up or at least move. And I was lucky enough to see James Brown at a free show in Battery Park. Was about half the way back and kept getting pushed into. When we got up I realized if we moved 50 feet back no one would bother us. New York is weird. But here is some James Brown with “Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine (Part 1)”. (5:16 song, 1:45 talking)

James Brown is awesome and was one of the hardest working men in show business with all those shows he did putting all of his energy out there. One of the great recent discoveries I made was from watching a documentary on Amazon Prime “Charles Bradley: Soul of America” which was just fantastic. He played little clubs in New York City for years as Little James Brown. Here is his amazing “Why is it So Hard”. talk 2:00 (song 4:31)

As someone who has struggled all his life you can hear it right in his voice. We need more amazing music like this on the radio. Now hear is a quick station break … WMPG wants your car, no like really, we seriously do, just make sure you have the title and want to get rid of the thing, we will take it, seriously we will (1:00) …

And hear is my mom’s favorite band Simon and Garfunkel with “America”. talk 1:00, song 3:38

Just beautiful. Paul Simon is an underrated singer.

After that hitchhike from Saginaw, here is Johnny Cash “I Can’t Help But Wonder.” (0:45, song 3:21).

This one ALWAYS gets to me. Johnny Cash gets right to my emotional core. Now here is a song that tells the truth we are special. The “Creep” cover from Scala and the Kolacny brothers that was in the Social Network previews but not the movie. (1:10, song 5:00) (up to 41 mins).

Funny that two of the anthems of Generation X are “Creep” and “Loser”. But here is a different song by Beck “Devil’s Haircut.” (talking 0:40, song 3:16) (up to 45 mins)

Just a great beat. Should have caught Beck at the State Theater but loved the Beck and Flaming Lips preview show I saw in Claremont, CA for like 4 hours in 2001. Had a full set by the Flaming Lips, then Beck, and then together. Here is some Flaming Lips with “She Don’t Use Jelly.” (talking 1:20, song 3:49) (up to 50 mins)

Vasoline toast sounds really, really terrible. As a Jersey boy, feeling like getting into a song that gets what I think it shows what it’s like to be in your 20s. Fountains of Wayne with “Hackensack”. (Talking 1:10, song 3:01) (54 mins)

So we are coming full circle, let’s close with a great jazz song in honor of my dad “Blue in Green” by Miles Davis. Have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow, or today.