Earworm Tunes

When Humming a Dopey Song
Throws You Into a Mad Loop

A song stuck in the head is akin to Tickle Torture: a lethal pleasure with a level of agony measured in riffs and laughter. Both are hard to take seriously until the feather strikes, or the loop starts. I don’t know about torture, but I could be easily killed by a lovely song.
It’s called Earworm for a reason, but again, its power is deceiving, compared to, say, a spider literally stuck in the canal. Even more so if the song is, well, lovely. But we all know that’s bull; once that beat gets pounding, it’s either dance to it, or jump off the roof.
No way around it, the clickable bunch below is mostly preposterous. Maybe not to you, who may’ve heard them on your friend’s wake playlist. But they’ve spoiled the weather, and drove me to that parapet many a day, right to the moment when, suddenly, they were gone.
And yet, they carved, wormed if you would, a deep, warm burrow inside me, that when I’m free from their spell, I may dwell into a brief appreciation of their power. That is, right before I feel what ax murderers must feel whenever someone wishes them a nice day.
Studies and the Internet suggest solutions, strategies, and some comfort for the affliction. King among them is to start humming another tune, but that not always works: since lyrics often falter me, the words-and-music combo of loopy songs always reign supreme.
Here they are, with as much unvarnished commentary as a bad parent can offer of his children. Some notable performances, or impressive chart climbing, explain nothing of their appeal, or nauseating side effects. No order, only hope it’s the last I hear of them but doubt it.
PINK LEMONADE – Peppermint Rainbow
It’s embarrassing to think that I was once captivated by this extinct New England group of white kids, but it may had to do with the string quartet. Or The Beatles. It was 1968, after all. Even worse is to admit of searching for years, trying to locate this tune. Once I did, I was doomed. But pink lemonades, I do like them.
LOVE IS ALL – Malcolm Roberts
Song festivals were all the rage in Brazil of the 1960s, and when this unknown Brit won one, all big voice and arms widespread, some must’ve thought about a flash in the pan. Years later, I interviewed the nice chap, who went back to play much smaller venues. But my fav that year was, brace yourself, the ‘great’ Romuald, of Andorra.

QUASE FUI LHE PROCURAR – Roberto Carlos
Still in Brazil, RC was considered the king of rock during that time, but this corny song was what he did best. I Almost Went Looking For You shined for a few months, and then crashed down fast. But not before hooking me up for life. I still hum it on my mind, and once I start it, something inside stops working. The chorus, oh, that chorus.
OBLADI OBLADA – Beatles
This song may have split up the band for good, and I always hated it with a vengeance. But while I can listen to all their other ones, without tiring and never having enough, this one has probably played on my mind more than any other. Which crushes my soul. Every time. And you know what? it’s not a bad reggae. Actually, it is.

OH ME OH MY – B.J.Thomas
Hard to believe that Elvis felt threatened by this guy, but he did score a number of hits in the king’s backyard. For some reason, this one stuck with me, and I can’t even listen to the end of it. Actually, I don’t need it: just writing about it gets me going, all the way to the ‘my crazy babe’ part. To use a tired bromide, Sad.
IF – Bread
Two words that should’ve given it away, but millions fell for the cliche-ridden verses and saw-sounding guitar. Not that David Gates lacked talent, or a voice to melt housewives and secretaries alike. But after Telly Savalas talk-sang it to death, only Sinatra to finally (more)
_______
Read Also:
* The Standards
* Newspaper Taxis

Continue reading

Red Blotches

Blame it On Ketchup

​I once went to a McDonald’s and stopped everyone’s conversation when I asked for a ‘medium rare’ burger, with no ketchup. There was almost consternation in the silent crowd of late night bums and fix-income elders. The only one laughing was my 5-year old son.
It became a symbol of my inadequacy as an American dad, an outsider amid outsiders. Not so much as a rebel, who dares not to fit, and chooses to courageously break the rules, but as a prick, whose insufferable pretentiousness only got me singled out as a bore.
Off course, it was their loss, I reasoned with myself. They mistook my ignorance about the assumed routines and conventions of a highway rest stop for a stupid pose. As if I was in need of making a statement of my ‘difference’ to oblivious strangers. After that, I never stepped into a McDonald’s again.
Then again, they did catch a poseur in the act, I later admitted. At that time of the night, in the middle of nowhere, with plenty of road still to go, why on earth would a dad be so foolish to take his hungry son to a fast food joint and promptly upstage the kid’s hunger with a piece of vintage asshole-ism?
That he managed to halt for a sec all the talk about the day’s scores, or the latest police shooting of a black youth, without so much as getting punched in the noise, may have taken some skill to accomplish. But while the stares and downright disgust were acutely obvious, his misplaced self importance was not.
The great American failure of a dad finally got a hold of himself and tried to sneak a glimpse around, but didn’t go too far: the first eye contact with the crusty, battered man sitting next (more)
________
Read Also:
* Ketchup With That?
* Not Food

* I Was Loving In
Continue reading

We’ve Kept You Posted

Yearly Recall Takes
a Blurry 2015 Picture

It was a year of record refugee waves, with boatloads of heartbreaking stories landing en masse on European shores. Greeting them, equal parts of compassion and vile political pettiness, and a stunned world reacting as it usually does: with violence.
As usual too, there were plenty of staggering deaths – massive, laser-focused, or undiscriminated – due to terrorism, war strikes, stampedes, and in the U.S., racism and too many guns. And, of course, a fair share of encouraging news about climate change, for instance.
This post hardly covers them all, though. For these Colltales stories we’ve picked are more of a counterpoint to what was going on then. Rather than rehashing what was on everyone’s devices in 2015, they run a parallel track of commentary, criticism, and even comic relief.
Just as global temperatures kept rising, our pulse on the year’s events was better reflected on the weekly editorial Newsletter/Curtain Raiser. So we were free to report another kind of news, neither Pollyanna nor downright depressing. You know, the Colltalers preferable way. Enjoy.

ELVIS, CATS & RIO IN WINTER
The terrorist attack that killed nine journalists at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo, on Jan. 7, was arguably the biggest news of the first three months of 2015. But the following day, we featured Elvis Presley‘s 80th birthday. And never looked back.
Stories about crows, unemployment, that old fave Voynich Manuscript, and a quirky take on Valentine Day followed. A personal darling was the 450th anniversary of Rio, our city of birth. Bandit Maria Bonita, cats, caturally, and life after death, online, completed the bunch.

A SPRING OF RACE & TIME
By then, the biggest refugee crisis of our era was already creeping in, but within the U.S., an old scourge was robbing the headlines: racism. Our own second quarter, though, was deep into Continue reading

A Century’s Voice

Frank Sinatra and His Many
Nights & Days Left Inside Us

Frankie was the singer baby boomers loved to hate. But then along came maturity, and the recognition of his maverick spirit, and they finally connected with the Chairman of the Board. By then, he’d already earned the nickname that the so-called Greatest Generation had given him: The Voice.​ Still, he never seemed to care much about that sort of stuff.
That’s part of the allure of Frank Sinatra, who’d be 100 this Saturday: first he grew on the very people who grew up with him. They were enthralled and disgusted, at times sympathetic and repulsed about every one of his ups and downs. And he had many, collected as sobriquets, each marking a distinct moment of his trajectory. And then, he got to you.
The great swinger was a reference point to the popular music that animated and chastised the many revolutions of the 20th century, with two world wars to boot. He also added a few deep sulks of his own to its history. Like sex, for instance, arguably his greatest contribution as an interpreter, and the differential between his art and that of other crooners of his time.
It permeated his whole carrier, from the screaming teenage girls, anticipating Beatlemania by decades, to the virile enunciation and graceful phrasing of his maturity, to the weariness of his final years of artistic brilliance, in the early thunders of the rock and roll explosion. He faced the decline of his vocal chords prowess with the stoicism of a fallen hero.
As Sinatra progressed towards irrelevance, a man who’d conquered one too many heartbreaks to count, he could no longer understand the primeval beat that had replaced the precise jazz syncopation he used to excel at. The urgency and straightforwardness of rock lyrics offended his American Standards-educated sensibility. Even his political sympathies were out of step with the times. (more)
_______
Read Also:
* The Standards
* 50 Summers
Continue reading

A Bow to Bowie

Rockstars May Die Young But
At Least One Chameleon Is 66

In case you’re desperate for another frivolous celebrity trivia, the British Medical Journal has the perfect antidote for you: a study about how famous rockers do indeed die young. They probably think that you never heard of such a rehashed leftover from the Romanticism.
David Bowie though, once a self-destructive and flamboyant performer, has beat all odds and is 66 years old today. Despite wearing as many faces and costumes as the number of his songs, he still produced a steady flow of high quality music, to pry open the stereotype.
That might make the John Moores University team of researchers at (of all places) Liverpool to at least blush a little bit, since mascara is something that even Bowie hasn’t applied on in ages. We don’t doubt the intentions or rigor of their scholarship, but come on, is that really necessary?
Talking about rock, which was once a favorite of millions of teenagers around the world, there’s yet another study, about teen rebellion, certainly the nth time anyone attempts to explain it. Guess what? risk-taking may not be a bad thing at that age, that is, if it doesn’t kill them. What do you know?
It’s hard for this kind of research into over-exposed subjects to produce new insights or even originality. Still, in this particular demographics, results often track the social mores of the day. It’s almost as if, at this age of corporate fun and sponsored concert arenas, there’s a new need for youth rebelliousness to be common currency again.
Or so we wish. The author of the study, University of Arizona researcher Continue reading

Finding Hopper

Artist Created Iconic Diner
for Nighthawks of New York

Many searched for the place in the winding streets of Greenwich Village. Some looked for years for signs of its faded glory. But in the end, as in many works of art, what they were all after existed only in Edward Hopper‘s imagination.
That’s what Jeremiah Moss, the blogger behind the “Vanishing Continue reading

January 8

Today Belongs
to Elvis & Bowie

Perhaps it’s a good thing that it’s been a while since we last heard about Elvis Presley filling up at some Midwest gas station. But if visitation to his grave at Graceland, in Memphis, hasn’t noticeably increased, he’s still one of the best selling artists of all time, even 33 years after his death.
Elvis would be 76 today and many New York City restaurants will be serving some of the junk food staples associated with his unhealthy appetite. But apart from the now classic Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, we’re not sure even him would dare to touch some of the fancy offerings. But you’re no Elvis, so you can go ahead and try them.
On the other hand, David Bowie, whose New York apartment Continue reading