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Adventures in Cultural Anthropology


SEK is always to be having fun in a supermarkets. Today he is standing in the checkout line. In front of him is a very large, very genial black WOMAN unloading eighteen loaves of white bread and half a dozen cases of Coke onto the conveyor belt.

WOMAN: (singing under her breath) Breakdown, uh takedown, shakedown, everybody wants into uh crowded line

SEK looks at her perplexedly. She removes yet another case of Coke from her clown car of a shopping cart and places it on the conveyor belt.

WOMAN: (still singing under her breath) Breakdown, uh takedown

SEK looks at her. She looks at SEK.

WOMAN: (like she’s Praising The Lord) YOU BUSTED!

EVERYONE ELSE IN THE STORE turns to see who’s been busted and for doing what. SEK would say something but he’s trying too hard not to laugh.

WOMAN: Well, you is! (her hands become little pistols miming Bang Bang Bang as she belts out) YOU BUSTED!

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  • rea

    No matter what you think you’ve done
    You’ll find it’s not enough
    No matter what you think you know
    You won’t get through
    It’s a given,someone’s faster on the draw
    No matter where you hide
    I’m comin’ after you
    Now matter how the race is won
    It always ends the same
    Another room without a view
    Awaits downtown

    You can shake me for a while
    Live it up in style
    No matter what you do
    I’m comin’ after you

    Shakedown, breakdown, takedown
    Everybody wants into the crowded light
    Breakdown, takedown, you’re busted

    • SEK

      So the lyric isn’t “crowded line”? Very playful of this woman to adapt the song to her situation.

  • SEK

    I’m not sure who’s to blame for the fact that the African-American community maintains this untoward affection for Bob Seger, but someone is, and they must be made to pay.

    • rea

      Well, (1) for old commercial pop, Seger ain’t so bad, and (2) it’s all black music anyway, even if, since Elvis, whites are allowed to play it.

      • Richard

        Early and even mid Seger is great. Listen again to Get Out of Denver (“you look just like a commie and you might just be a member”) and the live at Cobo Hall record (which has some of the best recorded rock drums ever)

    • mark f

      It’s a huge fucking step up from Phil Collins, I’ll tell you what.

      • SEK

        I’ve had drummers tell me that “In the Air” is the most subtly brilliant song in the history of pop music. Something to do with time signatures in its memorable drum moments, I don’t really claim to understand. But I’ve had more than one drummer tell me this, and in vastly different contexts, so I’m inclined to believe it.

        • I’ve had drummers tell me that

          Mmm hmm, yes, go on…

        • rea

          Yeah, but everybody knows, drummers are crazy.

          • DrDick

            Almost as crazy as bassists.

            • sparks

              There’s this

              • sparks

                linkie didn’t work. Ah well.

          • Richard

            What do you call a guy who hangs around musicians?

            The drummer

            • PhoenixRising

              How can you tell the set is level?

              Drummer is drooling out of both sides of his mouth.

              • Holden Pattern

                What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?


                • Thlayli

                  How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?

                  None, there’s a machine that does that now.

        • rea

          and anyway, I have good evidence that Colins wasn’t the guy who did the drum solo

        • mark f

          But even if we assume that’s true, and I’ve got no qualifications to dispute it, I don’t buy pop or rock albums for the cool sheet music (sorry, Beck).

          I mean, Neil Young is about 100 guitarists above Joe Satriani on my fantasy band draft board.

          • Phil Collins may have played on Brian Eno records but he is still a drummer:

            And then there are the photographs. He’s got them stored on a laptop upstairs. He has a ton of them, taken by him and some of his Alamo buddies. They’re odd. They’ve got unworldly things in them. “Do you want to see them?” he says. And then adds with mock fright in his voice, “It’s some absolutely chilling stuff.” But then he goes upstairs, pets his Jack Russell terrier, Travis (named after William Barret Travis, the Alamo commander), and sits at a laptop, where he pulls up picture after picture of the modern-day Alamo and related battle sites, various angles and times, and in the majority of them, soft little glowing balls, whitish in color and semitransparent, sometimes a few, sometimes a great many, seem to be hovering in the air.

            “They’re orbs,” Collins says solemnly. “I’m not sure what the scientific term is, but it’s paranormal energy. See this one? Now this one is at Goliad, where, after the Alamo, 400 guys were executed. You’ve got to be careful. You can talk yourself into this stuff. See how many there are here? I get chills just talking about it. All of those orbs! They’re all over the place! If you believe this, then you have to rethink everything you’ve been taught. That’s what freaks me out.”

            • Anonymous

              And I thought I couldn’t stand his obsession Before

              • Colin

                Above was me. (Can I still use “DYJSK” for my own forgetfulness?)

          • John F

            You are either evil, insane or both, Neil Young maybe cooler than Satriani, have a better voice, write better music, be a better performer, be underrated as a guitarist, but as a guitarist he has absolutely nothing on Satriani. And G-Damn it I’m not just saying that because I live in Carle Place some 500 yards from where Satriani grew up either, or because I saw Satriani play 25 years ago in a rundown nightclub in Bayshore (Long Island).

            • but as a guitarist he has absolutely nothing on Satriani

              Neil Young is to Joe Satriani as Ella Fitzgerald is to Whitney Houston.

              • Malaclypse

                Now we just need to compare Janis Joplin with Amy Winehouse.

                • Bill Murray

                  Janis Joplin was 1 month younger when her demons caught her than Winehouse. Winehouse’s ex-husband is currently in a coma after a “drink binge”.

                  I say advantage Joplin

                • witless chum

                  Joplin was a better singer, Winehouse a better songwriter.

                • Joplin fucked anything that moved and even some graduate students. Winehouse?

                • rea

                  Joplin fucked anything that moved

                  Joplin dated Bill Bennett. All her good taste was musical . . .

              • Halloween Jack

                Look, son. I’ve owned and enjoyed several of Young’s records and none of Satriani’s, ditto Fitzgerald and Houston, but that’s just crazy talk. If there’s one thing that Satriani has, it’s technique, an area in which Houston failed badly.

            • djw

              as a guitarist he has absolutely nothing on Satriani.

              taste? restraint?

              • firefall

                I’m not sure ol’ Neil is exactly well known for either of those attributes either: but Satriani is definitely a better technician of the guitar, even if he does have all the soul and feeling of a doorknob.

                • rea

                  Technique isn’t everything. Neil Young can put more emotion into one note than Satriani puts into a dozen albums

                • Tyto

                  See also, Yngwie Malmsteen.

                • mark f

                  See also, Yngwie Malmsteen.

                  My friend was a booker for a local club and once drove Yngwie around town for a day. Surprisingly it involved more Dunkin Donuts than slaying dragons with killer guitar solos.

              • Malaclypse

                taste? restraint?

                Charlie Pierce as a fan.

                Advantage, Young.

            • mark f

              Neil Young maybe cooler than Satriani, have a better voice, write better music, be a better performer, be underrated as a guitarist, but as a guitarist he has absolutely nothing on Satriani

              Exactly my point.

              • Red_cted

                Yeah! Who the hell needs all those fuckn’ notes anyway??

                • There are plenty of GOOD people who can play a lotta notes out there…why stick with a bad one?

                • rea

                  All you really need is three chords and the truth.

                • red*cted

                  Yeah, Neil Young can put more emotion into one note…..and he does it all the time. And as a lyricist this is the guy who wrote “Stick around while the clown who is sick does the trick of disaster.” Need I say more?

        • Malaclypse

          Two women were walking down the road when they heard a voice. They looked down and saw an ugly frog. “Kiss me, and I’ll turn into a world famous drummer”, the frog said. One of the women immediately reached down, grabbed the frog and put him in her pocket. “Are you crazy?” her friend asked. “Of course not”, she replied. “Don’t you know that a talking frog is worth a lot more than a famous drummer!”

          • LOL! Ouch. Poor drummers.

            • Malaclypse

              What do you call a drummer who just broke up with his girlfriend?


              • Ha!

                Now, are there similar jokes about bassists?

                • How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?

                  None; the piano player can do that with his left hand.

                • Two police officers are in a room interrogating a suspect.

                  Police officer #1: I’ve tried everything with this perp, and he just won’t talk.

                  Police officer #2: I have an idea (he walks to the corner, plugs into an amp and takes a bass solo)

                • L2P

                  How do you get a bass player off your porch?

                  You pay him for the pizza.

                • L2P

                  What’s the difference between a bass player driving a BMW and a dog driving a BMW?

                  The dog might have paid for it.

                • Geez Louise, will nobody speak up for the drummers and bassists?!!!!

                • Fake Irishman

                  How do you define dissonance?

                  Two bassists playing in tune with each other.

                • I watched the Cream Reunion DVD again and it merely reconfirms that the greatest talent in that band was Jack Bruce: best composer, best musician and best vocalist. Listen to him on “We’re Going Wrong.”

                  I saw him in 1973 with West, Bruce and Laing and I can honestly say that I have never seen a musician so thoroughly out of his depth than Leslie West. I felt sorry for him.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I actually really like the new fusiony band Bruce and Vernon Reid have put together.

                • Verplanck

                  Reply to joe from lowell:

                  1, 4, 5? 1, 4, 5?

              • CJColucci

                What’s the best thing about being a drummer?

                You get to hang out with musicians.

              • How do you know a drummer is at the door?

                The knocking keeps speeding up and slowing down

              • BobS

                Only saw Jack Bruce once, with the Golden Palaminos over 25 years ago. Every incarnation of that band was terrific, and they weren’t out of their depth that night.
                I was extremely fortunate to see Vernon Reid with the Roots a few years back- it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.
                I picked up a Jack Bruce box set a few months ago called Spirit, a multi disc collection of BBC concerts from the 70s with several different bands that included Chris Spedding, Mick Taylor, Carla Bley, and John Surman, among others. It’s very affordable and very good.

        • I think most drummers (I am a drummer myself) appreciate ITA because it’s one of those rare drumbeat/fills that captured the imagination of all the non-drummers out there. And that’s kind of a rare thing. There aren’t too many drumbeats that are cultural touch-stones in the way that like that song became. So much so that a sushi place in Newport Beach features it:

          The bar area is also pretty chill esp since more than likely you’ll have to wait esp if you come on a weekend…oh just for fair warning, they play Phil Collin’s “In the air tonight” numerous times and if your one of the lucky/unlucky few to sit on the bar…youll be givin a wooden block to clap together along with the beat….and that cant be annoying or fun depending how u look at it.

          As to the drumming in the song, my guess is that your friends were commenting on the subtlety of the fact that there’s really very little drumming at all for the first 3/4 of the song, and then after the huge fill, it’s not nearly as busy as one might expect. The same can be said for the drum fill/outro of Jack & Diane (which Kenny Aronoff said at a clinic I attended, was partly inspired by In The Air.) Both are very interesting approaches to how to perform a big climax musically, with a bit more subtlety than many drummers would have shown (although I’d hardly say the fill itself is any degree of subtle.) I agree with the defense of ITA as more interesting/complex than most listeners probably realize, but I think statements like “most subtly brilliant in history” are just a tad heavy on hyperbole.

          • Just to add, a friend of mine went to that sushi place and said that the sound of a dozen+ people clapping 2×4’s together was deafeningly loud and awesome, given his highly drunken state. I think “that sounds fucking horrible” was my response.

            • I once saw a show by Shark Bait, who did their usual thing but distributed drumsticks and things to beat on throughout the audience. Most fun had at a show by a bad band in my memory…

              • Jim Lynch

                My favorite wisecrack about a drummer was Lennon’s crack that the 3 Fabs finally were able to teach Pete Best to raise his hands up and down while holding onto sticks.

                • wjts

                  My favorite Lennon drummer joke was his claim that not only was Ringo not the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.

              • Njorl

                Oooh ha ha!

        • Jon H

          Sounds like “a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care.”

    • Hey, it was Eddie Murphy’s last almost-good movie (unless you count Bowfinger).

      • John

        Coming to America surely qualifies as “almost good,” doesn’t it?

    • Matt T. in New Orleans

      I work with a predominately working-class African-American staff, most of whom are 30 and under. Big fans of more or less mainstream hip-hop and R&B, plus the very deep local scene. It helps when you knew Soulja Slim back when he was Magnolia Slim. It’s a kitchen and we’re all cooks. I’m a prep cook and, thus, have a little time to arrange what I want to listen to. So, I bring in my iPod and my little speakers, and my co-workers are awfully tolerant of the goofy, long-haired stoner white boy’s stuff. For the most part, they dig the mix of ’90s hip-hop, ’70s country and funk, ’60s soul and blues, baroque string quartets and the odd slice of norteno music.

      Often, they make requests and I try to bring satisfaction, which I usually do ’cause I have a truly awesome collection of music (130 gigs worth) on my little iPod. You’d be amazed the amount of requests for what I’d consider the lamest of lame-ass white people music, like Journey or the Eagles or Metallica, and they’re not actually fucking with me.

      Just goes to show you.

  • You may need this. Scroll down.

    • SEK

      I don’t see anything in this I even remotely need.

    • mark f

      I remember reading DMC (as in Run-) saying he was going to record an album of acoustic ’70s rock covers. Not sure if it ever came to fruition.

    • Kathleen

      Courtesy of Charles Pierce:
      For Discussion: Weenies

      Personally, I like some of the “Weenie” music including some of the songs on the link.

    • Only if you’re out of ipecac and you accidentally ingest poison.

      Reading this thread really makes me glad I listen to as much jazz as I do.

  • I would party with her.

  • Anderson

    It’s the “18 loaves of white bread” that’s really puzzling here.

    • She was expecting Elwood at her restaurant?

      • Bill Murray

        Dagwood Bumstead is her neighbor?

      • Holden Pattern

        To put under barbequeue, maybe.

        • burnt ends

          Owns/works at bbq shack explains the bread and the Coke.

    • mark f

      And all that Coke? She was probably selling it at a markup elsewhere.

    • filler

      middle + = family party w/ bbq this weekend

      lower = grandma has all the childrenz for the summer and they are having sandwiches three times a day

    • SEK

      I try not to judge. A few weeks back, I’d made a large trip to the store because I was hosting a dinner, and when I got home, I realized I’d forgotten beet juice and beef stock. As I was walking to the cooking aisle, I saw that Ketel One was on sale, so I grabbed a bottle, got my beet juice and beef stock and went to the checkout line. When I put my items on the conveyor, the guy behind me made a noise. I looked at him, and he says, “Sorry, dude, but that shit’s gonna taste nasty.”

      • That’s exactly what I heard when I bought Cap’n Crunch and lube.

        • Memo to self: do not eat cereal at Sub’s.

          • firefall

            or borrow lube

            • SEK

              I love writing at a place where “or borrow lube” is a perfectly relevant response to a comment.

              I don’t think we posters tell you how much we appreciate you sometimes.

              • SEK

                Re-reading that it sounds like I may have been being sarcastic. I wasn’t.

              • poco

                Don’t go all Althouse on us, now.

      • Malaclypse

        I saw that Ketel One was on sale

        Wait a minute. You bought vodka? And they let you post here?

        • SEK

          I prefer to get my drunk on without having to pay for it the next morning. Vodka lets me do that, so I drink vodka. I’ve a really discriminating palate when it comes to food, because I cook all the time, but I’m perfectly happy to drink watermelon snowball syrup if you put it in a frozen daiquiri.

        • Bill Murray

          it’s not like he made beet martinis. and The Beat Martinis is a good band name

      • herr doktor bimler

        Memo to self: Avoid SEK’s cocktails.

        • I buy Ketel one for the hot guys in the commercial. What? If I drink enough I can conjure them up.

          • herr doktor bimler

            But do you mix it with beet juice and beef stock?

            • herr doktor bimler

              Now I am imagining the advertisements for Absolut Beet.

              • redrob64

                Beeteaters’ Gin?

            • Borschtini?

              • Left_Wing_Fox

                The only martini garnished with sour cream.

                • rea

                  You know, that might even be good. For some values of “good.”

            • herr doktor bimler


  • Scott Lemieux

    When it comes to the election,I have to say that the heat is on. It’s on the street. Another month and I’ll be doing the Neutron Dance.

    • Tybalt

      If I didn’t know any better I’d say the Neutron Dance is how Mitt Romney’s positronic brain emits a thought.

      • Anderson

        Mitt Romney doesn’t have a positronic brain, obviously, because he doesn’t obey the First Law of Robotics.

    • Halloween Jack

      Then you’ll be completely automatic, and all your systems will be down.

  • Shell Goddamnit

    WTF were you trying so hard not to laugh?? You probably hurt her feelings. I mean, she gets off a good riff like that and you stand there like a fence post. Fer chrissake.

    • Yeah, I woulda let loose with the laugh…because frankly that lady sounds awesome.

      • SEK

        I spent too much time in the South, and have an aversion to laughing at people in public unless I’m absolutely certain they’re being intentionally funny. That said, I was clearly trying very hard not to laugh, which means that if she wanted to know whether I thought she was funny, the answer was written all over my face.

  • Peter Hovde
    • SEK

      I was just about my desert island albums, and couldn’t decide between that and Slanted and Enchanted, so I decided not to answer.

      • sharculese

        replace s&e with crooked rain, crooked rain, and i dont know how i would make that choice

        • Colin

          You misspelled Wowee Zowee.

  • @vacuumslayer- for all the jokes, the truth is that the rythym section is much more important to making a great band than a guitar player is. A band can have a crappy guitar player and a good rhythm section and still be a very good band, whereas the greatest guitar player in the world with a shitty drummer will end up being a shitty band. And I say that as someone who plays guitar and drums at a pretty high level, and has been in each of those scenarios (and every other combination.)

    It’s also been my experience that while people do love a good flashy guitar solo, they respond far more often to the rhythm section. Ain’t no booty shakin’ without a good drummer! That said the idiot-drummer stereotype does have a certain amount of truth to it.

    • firefall

      hush, or the ghost of Keith Moon will haunt you (if he can remember)

    • First they came for the drummers and I said nothing, because I was a bassist and it took the heat off me for awhile…

      No, but seriously, thanks for this, Uncle. I love the drummer/bassist jokes, but I really am fascinated by band/fan dynamics.

      • Richard

        This guy goes on vacation to a tropical island. As soon as he gets off the plane, he hears drums. He thinks “Wow, this is cool.” He goes to the beach, he hears the drums, he eats lunch, he hears drums, he goes to a luau, he hears drums. He TRIES to go to sleep, he hears drums. This goes on for several nights, and gets to the point where the guy can”t

        sleep at night because of the drums. Finally, he goes down to the front desk. When he gets there, he asks the manager, “Hey! What”s with these drums. Don”t they ever stop? I can”t get any sleep.”

        The manager says, “No! Drums must NEVER stop. Very bad if drums stop.”


        “When drums stop…bass solo begins.”

    • Scott Lemieux

      I agree 100%. Also, seems to me that good drummers are a lot harder to come by…

      • It’s a very lucky thing to be able to play with someone who can drive the song, let alone just tick-tock accurately.

    • Red_cted

      Sam Philips was once asked how a band might be successful and getting lots of gigs: good lyrics? Tight arrangements? Catchy tunes?

      No. A good bass player, a good drummer and some good looking pussy up there on stage.

  • homunq

    She spoke of the dichotomy
    ‘twixt nature and technology
    Her hainish stories began
    and ambitious chronology
    Some authors should teach a course
    On deviant psychology
    Her course would be
    Cultural anthropology
    The Dispossessed is a masterpiece
    of anarcho-syndacalism
    The Left Hand of Darkness held
    Gender analysis and assured feminism
    You were always coming home
    to all aspects of utopianism
    Will earth survive
    To justify your optimism?
    Ooh Ah Ursula!

    • jameson quinn

      what does DYJSK stand for? Because super-incognito as my handle is (and where google is concerned, should remain), I think it may apply here.

  • mark f

    I heard Obama’s college transcripts prove he was born in Katmandu.

    • El Guapo

      I wish the Teahadists would just Turn the Page on that meme…

      • rea

        I’m afraid you are Running Against the Wind with that wish.

      • Sherm

        I got polled yesterday. Immediately after I was asked for my opinion on whether Romney should release more tax returns, I was asked whether Obama should release his college transcript. Pathetic that people buy into this shit.

        And people who have never gone to law school refuse to believe me (who went to law school and was an associate editor) that you are not voted editor in chief of law review simply because you are black and personable. Affirmative action might help a person get into a law school, but it doesn’t get you on law review and it doesn’t get you the respect you must command from the top students in the school to be voted editor in chief.

      • They hold firmly, to what they feel is right…like a rock.

      • Sherm

        I had to get in on this now because my above comment looks so damn out of context.

        There is no need to release Obama’s transcripts, because his grades are Still the Same. And the Teahadists’ explanation for global warming? Sunspot Baby.

  • Halloween Jack

    I don’t dislike Seger songs, or Seger himself, but I’ve had a bit of a grudge against “Bob Seger” as an abstract concept for a while because:

    1) Someone in college once gave vent to the opinion that Seger was “the real Springsteen” because he still hadn’t hit it really big, unlike the Boss’ huge success with Born in the USA. My reply to that was that that was as stupid as saying that John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band was the real Springsteen.

    2) “Like a Rock.” My least favorite Seger song (complete with his characteristic passing-a-kidney-stone howl in the chorus), and the one I’ve probably heard the most, thanks to that fucking truck commercial.

    3) One of the things that iTunes is good for is for buying that one song of someone’s that you want, yet Seger hasn’t yet given permission for the Borg Collective of Cupertino to sell his songs yet, so I can’t buy “Main Street.” One of these days I’ll just have to see if the public library has his greatest hits collection and rip it.

    • Anonymous

      (This thread was a long time ago. Noted.)

      Van Morrison is the real Bob Seger.

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