Depressing Songs QUESTION

E-mail from a friend:

So there is this book called “I hate myself and want to die, the 52 most depressing songs you’ve ever heard” by Tom Reynolds

it is divided into chapters

1. I was a teenage car crash
2. I hate myself and want to die
3. I’m trying to be profound and touching but really suck at it
4. If I sing about drugs, people will take me seriously
5. She hates me, I hate her
6. Horrifying remakes of already depressing songs
7. I’m telling a story nobody wants to hear
8. I had no idea that song was so morbid
9. I mope, therefore I am
10.Perfect storms
Honourable Mentions

So I sat around in the Saratoga Last Vestige which is as close to High Fidelity as one is apt to get and 4 of us threw around songs and managed to guess over 20 of these songs and propose many others.

SOOO for the first thing I am making a set of CDs with the 52 most depressing songs of the book in order (from most depressing to the 52nd most depressing)

AND we are creating our own lists of 52 most depressing songs and combining them to make a second set of cds. And you are obviously the best qualified person I know to contribute to this endeavor. [Oh, the PRESSURE!] so please make a list. If you include any songs from the book I will let you know and you can submit another or submit 75 songs in order and i will just take the first 52 that qualify.

The book starts in the late 50s and goes to the present. My list is only going to go to the end of the 20th century unless i decide to include “White Flag” by Dido (I know I did horrible unforgivable things to you and that you can’t possibly ever want to think of me again that is why I have decided to stalk you for the rest of your life and make you miserable all in the name of this perverted love I think I have for you).

OH and including a pithy explanation as to why you are including the song such as I just gave you above on white flag is appreciated but not required.

With an invitation like THAT how could I refuse?

So, off the top of my head I provided:

My Baby’s the Star of a Driver’s Ed Movie-Blotto (1) – “her underwear was clean”
Leader of the Pack-Melissa Ethridge (1, 6) – this one you certainly know, if not by this artist
The Needle and the damage done-Neil Young (4) -a paean to his dead friend
Abraham, Martin and John/What The world needs Now-Tom Clay (6,7)
Timothy-the Buoys (7,8) – cannibalism
1941 Mining Disaster-Bee Gees (3,7) – self-explanatory
Ebony Eyes-Everly Brothers (plane crash – yet hokey) – why is the plane late? maybe it left late. Can everyone waiting for the flight please report to the chapel?
People Who Died-Jim Carroll Band (3)- “they were all my friends and they died”; a Q104 staple
Tears in Heaven-Eric Clapton (7) death of his son
Strange Fruit-Cassandra Wilson (7) lynchings of black people; a Billie holiday song
I Am Rock, Richard Cory, Sound of Silence-Simon & Garfunkel; “I have my books and my poetry to protect me”; suicide; “hello darkness, my old friend”
The Mercy Seat-Johnny Cash death row
– indeed several songs from Folsom Prison – “shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”
to Sting’s I Hung My Head – another shooting, followed by regret
Biko–Peter Gabriel (7) – death of anti-apartheid leader in South Africa

But I know there’s a lot more, so I’ll make you a deal. Send at least one song, preferably with a brief description, and I’ll make you copies (if you want) of whatever uplifting music I receive from this project.
And speaking of free music, but not nearly so depressing, I still have a couple copies of my award-winning, Lefty Brown’s Mixed Bag V disc exchange entry, Flick Tunes. Send me an address and I’ll send you some tunes.


Roger (Finally) Answers Your Question, Greg


I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I have a question about black people. As a foolish white person, I have noticed a certain comraderie that black people share even when they don’t know each other. This is something I have rarely seen among us whiteys. I wonder if you notice this too, and if you have any explanation why it’s a phenomenon. It’s very interesting.

You can ignore me if I’m just stereotyping and need to get my head out of my butt.


Sir? SIR? Really! We’ve exchanged music. I know I’m about two decades your senior, but still…

You my have heard of a term called “white skin privilege”. (I’d look up a reference but I don’t have Internet access – see below). Whether you do or don’t, and I’ll contend that there is something to it, the greeting you see, I suspect, is an acknowledgement of a people looking after their own. Beyond that, there was the fact that there was the common experience. When Nat Cole had his short-lived TV show in the mid-1950s, I will practically will guarantee that 90% of the black people were watching (and obviously, not enough of the white people); ditto with I Spy or other shows with black stars, when that was extremely rare.

You don’t see that many white people doing the head nod with unfamiliars because the white male system is still the dominant culture, even as it becomes less so, statistically, in this country. But it’s interesting that you ask about it these days, because I see it far less often than I used to, when I was in my teens and twenties. There was a sense of solidarity in the common struggle, not just for justice, but occasionally for survival. Maybe it’s because the racial dynamic has changed in the country. So I’m going to assume the correctness of the premise of your question, as far as it goes, Greg. But I don’t think it’s just a “black” thing. I think it’s an “other” thing.

I have seen the nod with south Asians who don’t know each other, but feel – I surmise, since I didn’t ask them – that shared experience of feeling somewhat like the outsider.

When I was going to college in the 1970s, all the long-haired hippie freaks gave the head nod. They surmised, probably correctly, early on, that the values and experiences of those other people were not dissimilar to their own. (Later, though, when hair was not such a sign of rebellion, that assumption went right out the window.)

I find that I get it with bicycle riders, an “us against the motorists” salute.

Find a room of one businesswoman and a dozen or more businessmen. Another businesswoman enters the room, and more often than not I’ve seen it. The look. The “I’m not alone here” look, the “you may have some idea what I’ve experienced” look.

I got on a bus this year with a bunch of teenage, mostly black kids getting out of school, who were, to be generous, rather boisterous. Immediately, a middle-aged white woman and I caught each other’s eye, and in fact, ended up sitting together in our little cocoon from youth. We were surely The Others in this case.
I didn’t plan to stretch the question-answering for three days, but I’ve been having technical difficulties with my computer at home. I try to get on the Internet; it doesn’t work; I call Time Warner Cable and a technician puts me through all sorts of exercises with the computer, the end result of which being Internet connectivity. For about ten minutes. I did this exercise thrice on Tuesday night, and once on Wednesday night. A techie is coming to my house today. Between 12:30 and 2:30, smack dab in the middle of the day.


Roger (Finally) Answers Your Questions, Tosy

1. What is your biggest fear for your daughter?
That she’ll become moody and cynical like her father.

2. What about your daughter are you most proud of?
Funny, I don’t think of Lydia in terms of pride. Joy, yes.
I mean I’m happy that she’s pleasant, often polite, often helpful, often using the potty. I know I’m thrilled that when we read this Barney story about being polite and Barney and Baby Bop are having peanut butter sandwiches, she says, “I can’t eat that, I’m allergic.” I’m pleased that she knows her parents’ names, but doesn’t refer to us by them anymore. (And if she does when she’s 15, I’ll take a page from the comic strip Zits and start calling her by one of the cutesy names I call her now.)
I think I’m unreasonably influenced by some recent report that suggests that a parent oughtn’t to praise the child for the things that she is naturally (e.g., beautiful), but for the effort she makes, such as setting the table (quite accurately, and often without being asked), or remembering that a particular item that Carol bought from the store goes into a particular place in the medicine cabinet without prompting, even when the packaging is different. She’s extremely observant, which of course cuts both ways.

3. What work of art (book, movie, whatever) are you the most invested in? Must read any article about it, have thought about it far too much, love to discuss it whenever an opportunity arises, etc.
I don’t think I’m that invested these days in any one thing. Certainly, I’ll read about the Beatles oeuvre, but not a particular album. Book? The Bible, I suppose, but that’s so broad, and hardly exhaustive, since there are so many (sometimes contradictory) pieces about it. Or It. Movie? Maybe Annie Hall, but I wouldn’t describe it as obsessive. My feeling about the movie may be, but not the need to read everything about it.
There was a time, though, I probably read everything about Sgt. Pepper. And I would get into heated debates at the time over Hearts and Bones with people who though that Paul Simon was a @#$%^&*! for removing Artie from the recording and me defending his artistic choice.

4. Name the saddest and most joyful pieces of music you can think of.
Sad depends on the mood. “Gone Away” by Roberta Flack for broken romance, e.g.
The In Memoriam music on ABC News This week, which is just a slower variation of the regular theme, where they scroll the Iraq and Afghanistan war dead US soldiers and Marines, always makes me a bit melancholy.
The Barber Adagio, especially at approximately 6 minutes into an 8-minute rendition; my late friend Donna George gave me a whole album of Barber adagios, so I’m always reminded of her.
But I guess I’ll pick the adagio by Albinoni. There was this performance of it by Leo Mahigian on the violin and his son Peter on the organ. It was in the same program during which my church choir performed the Mozart Requiem. Leo’s wife Arlene was a member of the choir. She became a very good friend to me, sort of a surrogate mother. However, she was too sick from cancer to sing, though she was at the performance in a wheelchair. Three weeks later, she died; I saw her the day before, and she squeezed my hand to let me know she still recognized me. There was an audiotape of the service that was available afterwards, and for about 10 years, every time I heard the Albinoni, whether or not it was that performance, I wept.
Joyful: tough. Lots of stuff. Sometimes, it the combination. I was putting together a mixed tape and it included Communications Breakdown by Led Zeppelin, followed by Barabajagal by Donovan. Not only was I pleased at how well the two pieces went together, but I was juiced to have the two former Yardbirds guitarists, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, back to back.
Anything with a good bass line (Keep On Running by the Spencer Davis Group, Hey Ya by OutKast). Anything where the folks performing seemed to be having fun (Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young comes to mind).
One of the first thing that came to mind – this will be different next time someone asks – was “Soul Sacrifice by Santana on Woodstock, especially seeing the movie in my mind’s eye.
Just this past Sunday, the postlude our wonderful organist Nancy played was the famous Bach Toccata. Somewhere about 6 minutes into an 8-minute rendition (again), a most unexpected chord pops up. It always floors me. Then the last three chords send me into spasms of joy. This is much more true in person than listening to a recording.
But, separate from the a/v or in-person experience, I’m going today with a song I heard in May of 1971. I went to New Paltz to visit my girlfriend and we ended up breaking up – not my idea. Wounded, I hitched over to Poughkeepsie to see my old friend Steve. He was turning me on to different music, including the first album by some young singer named Bonnie Raitt, who he had seen. But THE song that caught my attention was the first cut on an album “That’s The way God Planned It” by Billy Preston, an album produced by one George Harrison, BTW. The cut is “Do What You Want To”. It starts off relatively slowly, but really moves by the end. I know this for sure because I had to listen to it again and again. (Neil Young’s “When You Dance, I Can Really Love” speeds up that way, too.) Anyway, I was (mostly) out of my funk by the time I got back home in Binghamton.

5. If you HAD to act in a remake of a film, what film would it be and who would you want to play?

Young Frankenstein. I’d be the Monster. Always wanted to be a song-and-dance man. BTW, I’ve read that there are plans to bring that classic Mel Brooks film parody to Broadway. Could be interesting, though Broadway, at least on the musical side, has become as cautious as network TV (CSI: Albany?) in trying to replicate the tried and true (Hairspray, Mamma Mia, etc.)

“Pardon me, boy, is this the Transylvania station?”
“Yah, Yah.”


Roger (Finally) Answers Your Questions, Scott

On the top of your web site, under the title, there reads: “B1 d- t- k+ s– u– f+ i o x- e- l c–” What does that mean?

Why thanks for pointing it out! It now reads B6 d- t k+ s+ u- f+ i o+ x- e+ l c– Good catch!

What is your favorite baseball memory?

I had a hard time with this. Certainly, the 1962, 1977, or 1995 Yankees, or the 1969 or 1986 Mets winning the Series, or the 10-inning Jack Morris win in 1991 or the game I saw on 6/14/91 between the Red Sox and Angels. But the first thing that actually came to mind was Sid Bream sliding into home in the 1992 NLCS. Maybe it was because I hadn’t gotten sick of the Braves yet, since they’d been so bad for so long. But I think it was just such a terrible slide against his old team, and how Barry Bonds’ throw beat him to the plate but was just a little off line. The unlikely hero.

What is the last good book of fiction that you read?

Seldom read fiction at all at this point. Probably A Handmaid’s Tale.

Do you think that finding an alternative fuel will become a government priority in the next ten years?

Yes, if some palpable disaster strikes. Don’t know what that is yet.

Name something that you like that others think is uncharacteristic of you.

I don’t think it’s true across the board, but there are lots of people who think of me as a sweet, laid back, easy-going kind of guy. These people have never played cards with me. Or racquetball. Or softball. Or volleyball.
To that end, I seem to be in the minority of people who thought that the guy on JEOPARDY who had the lead, then initially bet to finish in a historic three-way tie bugged me. To use a sports example, it’d be like someone coming up in the 9th inning of a baseball game, already having hit a double, triple and home run, therefore needing only a single for the cycle, hitting the ball into the gap so that he’d surely get a stand-up double, but instead stopping at first.

What former (dead or alive) US President would you like to sit down and talk with?

Well, I’ve answered this before, and picked Jefferson and/or Lincoln. I think this time, I’ll pick Teddy Roosevelt. He was an environmentalist. Maybe he has some ideas about how to create the political will in this country to actually fight global warming. I’m not sure Al “He’s A Movie Star” Gore’s recent visit to Capitol Hill will do the trick.

If Lydia had been a boy, what name did you and your wife have picked out?

Well, we had a bear of a time with boy’s names. I think the only one that one of us hadn’t yet vetoed was Micah. Not so incidentally, the snowperson is one she and Carol did after the Valentine’s Day that resided in our front lawn. It was gone, though, by the time of the St. Patrick Day’s storm.

I’ll bite, but am interested since you brought it up) What is your favorite verse from the Bible?

We sang last week in church Stainer’s God So Loved the World, which is based on John 3:16, what one former pastor described as “the Bible in a nutshell”. I’ve been more partial to the next verse, also in the Stainer piece: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” It speaks to me about those finger-pointing “gotcha” people.

Since you’re a sports guy, I’ll note it here:
All four of my teams are in the Final Four. Can’t remember that happening, ever. I’m in first place in my pool, and only the commissioner (who picked Florida) or I (who picked Georgetown) can win. If Florida wins the championship, I lose. If Florida wins and Georgetown loses on Saturday, I can still win if Ohio State beats Florida on Monday, because we both picked Florida to beat UCLA. If both Florida and Georgetown lose on Saturday, I win. So, I’m still in it.

Oh, you wanted to know the MEANING of the code. You don’t remember that I described it in July 2005? I don’t either. Anyway, here’s the translation.


The Lydster, Part 36a: Happy Birthday plus one

Friend Dan wrote:
“What! How did she get so old??”
Darned if I know.
My friend Deb wrote:

Great pictures of Lydia. Have you tried monster spray? is my question–I think it needs some research. There are lots of web sites and suggestions that a new label on air freshener will also do the trick.) I believe you can get it at CVS. We also had a doll named Baby who now lives on top of the desk in
my daughter’s room (now 22 and about to go off [out of the country again]. Providence).
My friend Shirley wrote:

[My granddaughter] is four now, as you probably recall, and a look at your
blogspot reminds me that [she and] Lydia have some things in common, like being adored little girls and first and (to date) only children, with verbal and demonstrative parents. L’s pictures suggest that she is a tremendously happy and well-balanced kid. The same is true of our granddaughter. We’re realizing that first and “only,” and therefore highly verbal kids, carry a heavier cognitive burden–lots to deal with in their little brains. I love it that you chase the monsters from L’s room. But they sure do come back. It doesn’t seem to us at all unusual for this stuff to go on longer than you’d like. Our little girl has been interacting with her nocturnal monsters for a couple of years now. Our daughter, a little tired of being wakened at 2:00 AM and trying to “do the right thing” and “explore the causes,” now has a bed in her daughter’s room and sleeps there some of every night.
That probably would get her a black mark by child-raising gurus, and we’re not recommending it, but it’s also not a permanent arrangement; she will grow out of this stage. Meanwhile it eliminates a lot of stress on all sides. My granddaughter sleeps better and so does my daughter. It also honors her concerns, which means she’ll go on telling them about whatever is on her mind and not shutting up like a clam, and it deals with the “symptom” until the super structure of reality adjusts
to–well, reality. (Part of reality could be getting big enough physically so your parents bedroom doesn’t seem like a thousand miles away.) No doubt Lydia, like our grannddaughter, knows perfectly well that it’s “all in her head,” but that it’s none the less scary.”

Well, it’s not every night, but sometimes, Lydia does end up in our bed, or she and I or Carol and I in the guest room, not so much from monsters while she’s awake, but from nightmares.
This from intrepid reporter Mark:

Here is my theory: Respond as to whether you agree or not.

The worst years for all parents come in intervals of 3:

Newbown: Yeah, cute is one word. Another is … well, that’s three words.
3: Tantrums, with vocabulary.
6: Over that whole kindergarten phase where they are proud they can follow rules.
9: Think they’re 12.
12: Think they’re 15.
15: They are 15.
18. They are off on their own, and they’re not ready.
21. They are really off on their own, and you’re not ready.

That is off the top of my head. Discuss amongst yourself.

Yes, newborn WAS tough. Someone told me recently that boys tend to be more terrible at two, while girls are more terrible at three. Anyone want to comment on that theory?

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