Amoeblog

SOUNDTRACK SERIES #1

Posted by Job O Brother, April 29, 2008 11:13am | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.


For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:



So, I was at Target the other day, looking to see if Method had launched any new cleaning products (which they had – a new toilet bowl cleanser, so I was happy), when I found myself looking at the pet toy section with fresh interest.

I decided to purchase a cat laser. That is, a little plastic mouse which shoots a red laser point; the idea being that the cat will think the red spot is some kind of living, flying, glowing thing and chase it around. Not every cat registers the laser, however, so spending the four dollars was a real risk on my part. You know me, though – I live on the edge. Cat laser? Purchased!

Before I left Target, I put my courage to the sticking place and ventured into the men’s restroom. The men’s restroom at the West Hollywood Target reminds me of jail, somehow. And yes, I’ve been to jail, thank you for asking.



Everything was going well – if not for my olfactory sense. I was washing my paws. A few sinks over from me was an old man in a porkpie hat. I watched, transfixed, as he removed both his upper and lower teeth and set them on the very public, men’s restroom sink.
I quickly left. I didn’t want the janitor to have to clean up any regurgitated Vitamin Water on my account.



I walked home and fantasized about the different kinds of bold and delicious sandwiches I could make using doughnuts for bread. I’ve never actually done this, but I think about it. A lot. No matter what I contrive, however, I always come back to this fantasy of a simple glazed doughnut, cut in half, holding a few slices of warm ham and Swiss cheese. This obsession of mine is made all the more odd when you consider I don’t like doughnuts and actually hate sliced ham. For this reason, when I dream this recipe, I imagine feeding it to someone else, and watching them love it. Why do I want this to happen? I don’t understand. Sometimes I even imagine I own a restaurant, and the doughnut/ham/Swiss sandwich is an entrée. This is a long paragraph. Way too long for a blog. Unless, of course, it’s a blog entry about Guantanamo Bay, in which case, lengthy paragraphs are justified, if not because the subject matter is complex, then simply because the name of the place is so long. Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay… See how much room that took up? And I only mentioned it four times!

I’m drinking coffee right now, obviously. Corey and I stopped by his favorite café, Stir Crazy, on Melrose.



It is rad, I must say. It reminds me of the coffeehouses that dominate the northern half of the West Coast. The barista was this charismatic lass with curly locks who gushed over how soy milk bleeds into the coffee, leaving Corey envious that she could so lose herself in a moment. Meanwhile, I was studying the covers of the magazines they had displayed and doing what I always do – looking into the eyes of the cover models and trying to discern how they were “really feeling” when the photo was taken, as opposed (if opposed) to how the photographer wanted to portray them.


"Hmm... A taco would sure hit the spot..."

I just got an email from our new blog editor. You didn’t know we had an editor, did you? (This rhetorical question is meant for those of you who didn’t know. I want those of you few readers who did know to know I knew you knew, because I care about you and never want you to feel alienated. Now kiss me!)

Through her email I learned that she loves Pinkberry, which reminds me of the time I went to Pinkberry with Corey…



See, I had tried Pinkberry but Corey had not. So we went to the new location at the Farmer’s Market at The Grove. That’s pretty much the story. He got some and I didn’t, ‘cause I’m not that into it. But he liked it. I didn’t say it was a good story – only that her email reminded me of the story. Not every single thing I do is fat-with-a-ph.

Oh! I almost forgot - the cat laser? Fangs LOVES IT. Thank you for asking.

Here’s what’s playing as I’m about to save, edit and post this entry:

Whiskers on roses & raindrops on kittens: I. Overture

Posted by Job O Brother, August 5, 2007 11:29pm | Post a Comment

It was on this day in 1962 that Marilyn Monroe took her own life. Or, if conspiracy theories are to be believed, it marks the day that the Kennedy Family hired Reticulians to invade the actress’ home, kill her, make it look like a suicide, and then use snippets of her DNA to… I dunno… revive Adolf Hitler’s dehydrating brain. (I’m not as well-read when it comes to American history as I should be.)

It’s also the day that the Manson Family first killed, fulfilling the only thing possible that Charles Manson could do that would actually be worse than his music.


Ladies of the Canyon: "Gypsy", Ruth Anne & "Squeaky"

It’s also the anniversary of the day that Paul Tibbets flew his airplane, named after his mom, Enola Gay, over to Hiroshima, where he performed an act that would later be re-enacted by every Thai food delivery service that gets inside my apartment building.


"Look Ma, no mercy!" Paul Tibbets in the cockpit

I could go on. In short, it’s a particularly dark day in history. So I’m sitting with my beloved in his favorite café, Stir Crazy (at La Brea & Melrose), asking myself to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative; I’m calling upon myself to remember things – music, movies, flavors of Method cleaning products – that remind me that it is a beautiful world after all, and that Norma Jean didn't have the right idea, forty-five years ago.

The café’s stereo is playing Steely Dan, which I really like, but I can’t blog about how great Steely Dan is because my dear, sweet, wonderful boss, Karen, will fire my ass*.

And anyhow, at this point, it’s switched to Johnny Cash.

Okay… So, what makes me happy?

Lots of things make me happy, but what I want to pinpoint are those things that make me happy entirely – not distractions from modern anxiety and classical angst, rather, persons or art that overrides any temporal concern or self-consciousness and overwhelms my id with hella phat radness.

Let’s make a list. (By “let’s” I of course mean me, not you and I, as is implied by my choice of verbs, which wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but used to create a sense that you and I are of one purpose, which, because one of the fundamental needs of humans is intimacy, would ideally cause you to feel safe in the presence of my blog… you sweet thing, you.)

What follows then, is an incomplete list of proper nouns that rock my world:

1.) The Boswell Sisters.


You... shook me all night long - The Boswell Sisters

I once thought the Andrews Sisters were the bee’s knees, until I discovered the Boswell Sisters, the cat’s meow. The Andrews Sisters modeled themselves after the Boswells, and while I still enjoy a tune as warbled by LaVerne, Maxene and Patty, they do not come close to slaying me like their predecessors, Martha, Vet and Connee.

Their close harmonies are lulling yet spooky; intriguing like a walk in the woods at night, knowing that ghosts don’t really exist, but feeling as though they do. The sisters were raised in New Orleans, and you can hear the influence of early, Black American music in their vocal styling. Listening to such tunes as “Trav’lin” and “An Evening in Caroline”, it’s easy to imagine an alternate reality where Vivian Girls were used as slaves, singing work songs sounding like dirges sprinkled with fairy dust.

Connee, the middle sister, was mastermind of the group and arranged their distinctive tunes, often alternating traditionally major keys with minor ones, and vice versa.


Connee Boswell

Due to childhood health issues (which vary depending on sources) she performed and recorded either sitting, or in a wheelchair. This fact was never secret, but wasn’t an image that was promoted (kind of like that gap in Madonna’s teeth – we know it’s there but it’s not really a part of our collective focus).

Because of her “condition”, Connee wasn’t allowed to perform for the troops overseas. It was thought her being wheel-chair bound would demoralize the soldiers. (Funny, I would think it would be far more demoralizing to hand the soldiers weapons and tell them to kill people, but that’s why I’m not a commanding officer, I guess.)

After the sisters retired the act, Connee went on to enjoy a successful solo career, and while I own and enjoy the results of it, it is the work with her sisters that is the “Object of My Affection” (the title of the group’s biggest hit).

Ella Fitzgerald cited Connee as a major influence. I wish sesame bagels weren’t so fattening. Especially when slathered with an inch-thick layer of cream cheese. And Connee performed with Eddie Cantor! He’s another act that makes me happy. And she performed with Bing Crosby, whom I loathe – not only because his idea of teaching his kids not to sneak a cookie from the jar was to knock the bee-jesus out of them, but because that drunken jerk produced the daughter who would one day grow up to shoot JR Ewing.


"My Dad beat me which led me to shoot fictional Texans and wear obscene amounts of lip gloss."
Mary Crosby as Kristin Shepard on "Dallas"

Please accept my apologies for the above paragraph.

Of all the music that the Boswell Sisters recorded, no other record kills me so quick as their rendition of the Duke Ellington standard “Mood Indigo”. Upon hearing it, I literally go weak in the knees. The pace, the subtle swelling of the voices, and the labored but impetuous crooning of a lone clarinet conspire to make me woozy with delight. I recommend its use for trying to take advantage of me.

*This is a ridiculous exaggeration, written for humor, and should not be taken as a reflection of my employer’s personality, temperament, or work ethic, all of which are impeccable. But see, saying that isn’t very funny, is it?