I’m back with more quick hits. This time I don’t really have writer’s block, but I’m also having trouble picking a topic to write about, so: more quick hits. If you didn’t catch the first volume of quick hits, find it here. You kind have to read them all in order or you’ll just get lost. I’m kidding. They have nothing to do with one another, but we could use the pageviews.
In case you missed the first round and don’t want to read them, quick hits are quick takes on a variety of topics. Some are as short as one sentence, some get a whole paragraph. That’s it. You’re all caught up. With that in mind, may I present:
“Angle Flying Too Close to the Ground” is the best song Willie Nelson had in the 1980s. I know that most folks would probably say it should be “Always On My Mind,” but a) Willie didn’t write that so he gets dinged on that; b) it has been covered into oblivion, with each version detracting a bit from the quality of all others; and c) it’s really not a very good song, lyrically. It’s basically a deadbeat saying, “yeah, I was a dick all the time, but I was thinking about you and therefore I shouldn’t be considered a dick.” Terrible. Just listen to “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” because it’s better.
“Kings” is a dumb sports mascot in the United States. Sacramento and Los Angeles, which admittedly are cities in a dumb state, need to reconsider this. “Royals” is also borderline dumb, so Kansas City should consider that change, too. But in this country we specifically disliked the idea of a king enough to revolt from one.
If a rock song is going to have a horn section, it better know what it’s doing. Bruce Springsteen’s band famously included saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who, gifted though he was, still overdid it on the horns sometimes. Slow blues tunes and fast funk songs are the best media for horns. Not generic rock and roll.
Etta James is an underappreciated icon of soul music. Aretha Franklin gets the pop/soul crown, Ella Fitzgerald gets the jazz/pop crown, and Gladys Knight gets the true Motown crown. Meanwhile, Etta James was out there killing it night in and night out and only gets remembered because “At Last” is played at approximately 56 trillion weddings every year. Seriously. Listen to this song and tell me she’s not an absolute master of vocals.
Birthdays should really be celebrated by mothers. They did all the work, not you.
Some foods are seasonal because they’re so awful to make. Tamales might be my favorite food item on the planet, but they are such a pain in the neck to make that folks generally only make them at Christmas. That’s when the masa goes up to like $5/bag in Texas. It’s normally like $1.10. Unreal.
Speaking of food, I think French toast is the most overrated food out there. Seriously. Dry brioche bread soaked in the milk leftover from a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, dipped in eggs, fried, then covered in powdered sugar? Just make cinnamon pancakes or something that’s not such a waste of milk.
The Devil’s fiddle solo was better than Johnny’s.
Most legal pads are letter sized, and the legal sized legal pads are wildly unpopular, even among lawyers.
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a bland meal would become next level with a pinch of salt. Salt helps accentuate other flavors. Taste as you cook, and if it seems like it’s missing a little je ne sais quoi, add some salt.
One of the all time best sandwiches you’ll ever eat is after being out in the sun and it’s normally ham, mayo, some chips, and maybe a slice of cheese on white bread.
I used to “pregame” grocery store runs in college by having a couple drinks at home before going to the grocery store late at night when it wasn’t as crowded. That’s somewhat acceptable in college, but if you do that as an adult it seems sad.
The Austin City Limits music festival was better when it was only one weekend and when it was September instead of October. I’ll take this opportunity to give a shout out to Big Sam’s Funky Nation, who I first saw at ACL in 2007 and saw a couple times after that around Austin at different bars. Great show every time.
Some of the best movies are the bad movies you watch on cable on a Sunday. Overboard. Point Break. The Sum of All Fears. Not tremendous movies otherwise, but just what you need on a Sunday afternoon.
Colonial Americans often used corncobs to clean themselves after bowel movements. And as there was no running water, I would imagine they didn’t wash their hands after doing so with any regularity.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably noticed there haven’t been any pictures in the body of this post. That’s because I’m lazy and didn’t want to find pictures of the stuff in here. However, it doesn’t seem fair to completely deny you a picture, so as a thank you for bearing with me this whole time, here’s a picture of me at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2007 with Robert Earl Keen. For a series of stories we did about Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas from the Family,” click here.