From the Desk of Ms. Katharine Hepburn



(Originally published on the launch of The Reject Pile, a now-defunct humor website, June 1, 2015.)

Dear Readers,

I’m as pleased as punch to welcome you to my new lifestyle blog, HEP. Each month, I’ll deliver my tips for healthy living right to your in-box. Why anybody would need instruction in living is beyond me, but this is all the rage I’m told. You have to dispense advice whether you’re qualified to or not. I’m an actress, not a bloody pharmacist!

Our theme for this month is “Gratitude.” Oh, I’m grateful for many things. I’m grateful that I never had to make a movie with Sylvester Stallone, I’ll tell you that. He called me up once, he and the other lunk, Arnold What’s-His-Name, and they said, “Please Miss Hepburn, please be in our movie, The Expendables 3,” and I said, “Go sit on a tack!” I don’t know what the hell Hollywood is thinking with all the filth and the spaceships.

I’m supposed to tell you to follow us on Twitter. Hell of a waste of time, if you ask me. “Dear Twitter, I’m making a sandwich.” Well, sound the trumpets! If you see a Tweet from @KatetheGreat, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s written by Lance from the marketing department. I wash my hands of the whole foolish business. You’re on your own, Lance. Do you hear me?

Our fitness section is called BURN. Why BURN? Oh, for heaven’s sake, do I have to spell it out? Hep-BURN. Well, don’t blame me — I told Lance it was too subtle! Oh, I’ve been athletic my whole life. Nowadays it’s just a fad, you see, thanks to Jane Fonda. She irritated the hell out of me when we were making On Golden Pond. Always lugging that big pink step stool around, doing scissor kicks at the drop of a hat. And those preposterous shin warmers! I don’t believe in getting all gussied up like a circus trapeze artist just to do some calisthenics. All I’ve ever needed is a gray sweat suit from the army surplus store and a hobo bandanna to mop up the sweat. (Editor’s Note: She doesn’t mean that! Buy our exclusive HEP THE BURN yoga pants and running gear at Lululemon! — X0X, Lance)

I have a strict exercise regimen, and believe you me, I stick to it! That’s a quality sorely lacking in people nowadays, stick-to-it-iveness. I jump into the ice pool and swim 150 laps before dawn every morning, come out as invigorated as could be. Go to BURN to learn how to make your own ice pool. It’s common sense, for heaven’s sake! Blocks of ice, swimming pool, done! Then it’s time for the medicine ball. Young women today have never even seen a medicine ball, and it’s a goddamned shame. We’re selling them in the HEP shop for $299. The marketing people claim they’re handmade by women in a village in the Andes. The Andes! Snort! I made my own medicine ball out of a sack of rice and an old oilskin and it cost me forty-two cents! That’s Yankee ingenuity.

Lance wanted to include a parenting section called “Bringing Up Baby,” but I said, “Absolutely not!” I never felt the need to reproduce. I had my career and that was enough. Nowadays, there’s so much guilt. Women freezing their eggs, parents letting children make all the decisions. Have you seen the bicycle path in Central Park? It’s all gummed up with tricycles! Move to the right if you can’t pedal any faster! When I was a child, Mother taught me to be self-sufficient, and that was the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I birthed myself, not many people know that. Decided I’d had enough, slipped right out, chewed through the umbilical cord with my teeth and made myself a cup of hot cocoa. Self-reliance is a wonderful thing.

Now, I never gave a fig about fashion. A good pair of khakis, a black turtleneck, a starched white shirt — what the hell else do you need? You can buy all of those things at our advertising sponsor, The Gap. I personally haven’t shopped there since the time I got into a tug-of-war with Woody Allen over a half-priced bucket hat. Persistent little man. But that’s neither here nor there. A good sturdy clip to hold my top-knot in place and a splash of lipstick and I’m out the door. I have one tube of Max Factor Tru-Color that’s lasted me for sixty-three years. Does anyone know the meaning of thrift anymore?

I suppose you’ll want recipes. Well, I’m not a cook, you see. I don’t get the point of this hoopla over gluten and pampered chickens. And the Mason jars! Every time I see lemonade served in a Mason jar I think of Howard Hughes and it puts me off my meal. Plain food is the key. I’ve had the same cook for forty years, a dear man. He was once employed at the prison in Ossining. Lance thinks that readers want to be told what to eat. Well, that’s bunk! If you’re smart enough to operate a computer, then you’re damned well smart enough to feed yourself! Breakfast — a bowl of muesli and prune compote. What’s so hard about that? Lunch — same thing every day: a hard roll and a wedge of good sharp cheddar. Dinner — steamed cod, a potato and a parsnip.

Oh, I’m not without my vices, mind you. I enjoy a shot of Jameson’s in the evening. But all the trends that people go crazy for — the In-N-Out Burger and the Fiddle Faddle — well it’s a national disgrace! Food should be sustenance, not a hobby! Good riddance to all of that junk, I say. Except for Popeyes Fried Chicken. They do an exceptional Louisiana coating and the Combo Meal is good value for money.

I’ve had enough of this. Come back next time, or don’t, it’s all the same to me.

Kate

Year-end Clearance, Day 3! Humor from My Reject File

rejected

I’m celebrating the end of a crap year by posting selections from my impressive file of rejected humor submissions. Sure, I had trouble focussing on writing this year;  it’s hard to be creative when you’re checking Twitter every two minutes to see if the world is ending. But could my diminished publishing output have less to do with perpetual anxiety than with the fact that these pieces just weren’t funny?

Nah. I stand by my work. Even this probably-too-obscure list from the end of 2016 that I submitted in a blaze of fear-induced insomnia.

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Lists: Delicious Holiday Foods from Around the World, or Professional Hockey Players?

  1. Getzlaf
  2. Tourtiere
  3. Hamhuis
  4. Salomaki
  5. Abdelkader
  6. Lussekatter
  7. Golabki
  8. Goligoski
  9. Wingels
  10. Springerle
  11. Andestag
  12. Landeskog
  13. Phaneuf
  14. Jokipakka
  15. Joululimppu
  16. Struffoli
  17. Toffoli
  18. Kourabiedes
  19. Krejci
  20. Pekka Rinne

Christmas foods: 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16, 18

Hockey players: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2017

Year-end Clearance, Day 2! Rejected Humor Submissions, All Sales Final

rejectedI’m kicking 2017 to the curb with a Toyotathon of humor pieces that never found homes this year.

Today’s offering illustrates how hard it is to keep up with the brutal churn of the news cycle. Remember “Bodega”?  Sure you do. Back in September, a couple of former Google employees announced plans for a startup that would place “Bodega boxes” in lobbies of apartment buildings, office buildings and dorms. These machines, called Bodega, would offer things found in a mom-and-pop corner store, minus Mom and Pop or any pesky human interaction. Essentially, they were proposing hyped-up vending machines. But wait — here’s the best part!  In their funding plan, the founders talked up Bodega boxes as an eventual replacement for “centralized shopping locations” — in other words, they would be replacing those majority-immigrant-owned stores that are always there for you, on holidays, at night, through blizzards and hurricanes. It was tone-deaf tech culture at its worst.

I was a couple hours late out of the gate with my piece, and then a submission-software glitch lost it in the shuffle, making it even later. Bodega’s moment in the outrage cycle was gone within a week. So here’s my satirical take on a terrible tech idea, preserved for posterity.

***

Say “Hola” to ABUELA!

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Like many of our friends in Silicon Valley, we, the founders of JoshWorx, sympathize with the hard-working undocumented immigrants being persecuted in the name of nationalism. But sympathizing is one thing; experiencing the cruel upheaval of deportation first-hand is another. That’s what we — Josh and Josh and Josh — learned when we went out to get lunch one day and found that the tamale lady on the corner was gone. We asked around, and when we heard that she got snagged in an ICE dragnet at her kids’ elementary school, we bowed our heads in silent reflection and mourned the loss of that lady’s amazing tamales. Well, Josh and I did — Josh was never that keen on them, but her cart was really close to the office.

Our traumatic experience taught us that Illegal immigrants can’t be removed from society without repercussions. You might ask yourself, If all the undocumented Mexican workers are sent back, who will make my tamales? Who will pull my hair out of the shower drain? Who will do something about that family of raccoons living under Josh’s deck? As you can see, this is a national emergency. Which is why JoshWorx is proud to introduce our game-changing autonomous technology to help the innocent victims of harsh anti-immigration policies — victims like you and me and Josh and Josh. Say “Hola” to ABUELA, your personal immigrant replacement unit!

ABUELA — Autonomous Bot Undertaking Established Latino Assignments — does all the jobs the (sadly) departed undocumented Mexican immigrants in your life used to do, only faster and with no need for awkward conversations in eighth-grade Spanish nouns!

Does your apartment need vacuuming? ABUELA’s Roomba-partnered technology will leave your floors spotless (unlike Marta, who could never quite manage to get to those last few dust bunnies under the bed). Are you hungry? No need to interrupt a binge-watch of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” to visit your neighborhood taqueria — ABUELA’s onboard freezer is stocked with tamales, enchiladas and all the other Mexican comfort foods you crave, while her microwave unit delivers them piping hot to your table! Garden looking scraggly since Luis was sent back to Jalisco against his will? Check out ABUELA’s retractable hedge clippers! You’ll never feel guilty about standing inside your air conditioned home watching ABUELA dig out a dead stump in 101 degree heat — unlike Luis, ABUELA is equipped with an advanced core-temperature-cooling system!

We understand the tragedy of families pulled apart by the anti-immigrant agenda of a probably illegitimate president. We’ve been there. Josh and Josh’s wives, Amanda and Amanda, had to lean out of their respective Director of Marketing jobs after our nannies vanished overnight. And believe us, nobody is happy about it. Which is why we’re working on ABUELITA, a fully automated child-minder/self-driving-car hybrid. But, honestly, it’s not going great at the moment, because Unmarried Josh is always preoccupied with his stupid idea for a bodega-in-a-box. Bro, it’s just a vending machine! Let it go!

Anyway, ABUELA is here to help working parents, hungry programmers and people who aren’t into touching the toilet brush maintain the same quality of life they enjoyed when the immigrants were still around. We at JoshWorx even foresee a day when farmers who’ve lost their undocumented workers can employ whole fleets of ABUELAS to harvest the tomato, squash and blueberry crops rotting in the fields. We just need a little time to figure out a work-around so that ABUELA’s cold mechanical fingers stop crushing the delicate fruit to a pulp. (Hey Siri, take a note: Juicer bot? JUICITA? EL JUICADOR? JUICERO?)

JoshWorx is committed to diversity. ABUELA is the product of a talented engineering team that brings a wide cultural perspective to the table. Although, it’s basically just Josh and Josh at the moment; Masoud went home to Tehran for his sister’s wedding ages ago and seems to have run into some visa trouble. And we hardly ever see Josh anymore, now that he’s found investors for the bodega-in-a-box. But we’re confident that we’ll be able to put an ABUELA in every “casa,” “manana!” Or, more likely, whatever the day after “manana” is — we’ve had our hands full ever since Amanda walked out on Josh, and Amanda was named Director of Marketing for bodega-in-a-box. Every day is “Take Your Children to Work Day” around here, LOL. It’s been really great getting quality time with our kids. We’re so blessed! Seriously, if anyone knows a couple of nannies who’d work for $10 an hour and no benefits, could you shoot their info our way? Ethan! Isabella! Other Ethan!Stop that! ABUELA IS NOT A TOY!

(More rejects tomorrow!)

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2017

Year-End Clearance! Everything Must Go!

rejected

Rather than dwell on the black hole of despair that was 2017, I’ve decided to end the year with some slightly irregular, re-gifted, hit-or-miss laughs. Yes, it’s my first ever year-end comedy clearance sale! Think of it as the Happy Honda Days of Rejected Humor Submissions. Hum “Holiday Road” as you read, if that helps! For the next three days, this blog will feature humor pieces that never should have seen the light of publication, according to the editors who were not as amused by them as I was. Surely you, my readers, can find some room in your hearts for the misfit toys, the day-old fruitcakes, the office grab-bag Yankee Candles, that comprised more than half of my humor writing output this magical year!

First up, we have a rejected letter to Steve Bannon, from early in his reign as the “presidential” “brain.”

*****

Dear President Bannon,

Many years ago, you made a fortuitous investment in a struggling television show called “The Seinfeld Chronicles.” As a result, you earned a handy sum in rerun residuals. Due to an accident of time and place (I lived in the same apartment building), I was a reluctant player in that sorry glorification of Jerry Seinfeld‘s little comedy act. I write to you today to offer my support as a brother-in-arms against the greatest threat our Republic has ever known: Funny Jews.

Oh, they think they’re so clever, quipping and wisecracking as if they, not Aleksandr Dugin, invented comedy! It pains me, Herr Bannon, to see them trying to break you now with their feeble quips and Internet memes about your (I paraphrase) big-boned physique and devilish nature. For I too have been the target of like barbs from one Jewish “funnyman” in particular. Hello, Jerry. 

For nine years, my dietary habits (which are perfectly in moderation — just ask my good friend the Soup Nazi), the cleanliness of my apartment and my work ethic were reduced to mere punchlines, while Seinfeld and his cohort reaped media acclaim. Well, the joke is on them, thanks to your brilliant foresight investing in this incomprehensibly popular series. Lo, these many years later, what an irritant you must be to the liberal coastal elites who find Seinfeld’s inane observations about airplane peanuts so irresistible! What a moral quandary they now face when they tune into their precious reruns. Their nightly escape from reality only adds another penny to your coffers. Bwa-ha-ha! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

President Bannon, let me be frank. You and I are kindred spirits. I too am a man who knows how to nurse a grudge and who savors the piquant nectar of revenge against a sworn enemy.  For you, it’s Jews, and women, and liberals, and African Americans, and gays, and Muslims, and Mexicans, and small refugee children with life-threatening heart conditions. For me, it’s … Jerry. Allow me to propose an allegiance.

I have many skills that could be useful in your crusade to bring about a new world order. I have been a loyal employee of the U.S. Postal Service for well over 30 years. I know how to tamper with the mails and get away scot-free. I follow orders. I am stealthy, nimble and unburdened by conscience. I will rat out anyone, anytime, anyplace, and I’ll do it with a smile on my face.

To wit: Jerry has been consorting with a Pakistani restaurateur, one “Babu Bhatt.” A cursory interception of Mr. Bhatt’s mail reveals that he is an illegal. Do with this information what you will, My Leader. There’s plenty more where that came from. I stand ready to serve you — for a not unreasonable price. Think of what you could accomplish with a sympathetic Postmaster General by your side! 

Yours in solidarity,

Newman

129 W. 81st St., Apt. 5F

New York, NY 10024

uMCZFBr

(Coming tomorrow: Another reject wrapped up in a big red bow!)

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2017

Other Speakers Who Were Considered for the Opening Night of the Women’s Convention, but Had Previous Commitments

(Oct. 12 – The Women’s March announced today that Bernie Sanders will be the opening night speaker at their “Women’s Convention,” being held in Detroit on Oct. 27-29.)

Other Speakers Who Were Considered for the Opening Night of the Women’s Convention, but Had Previous Commitments

The boy who sat behind you in fifth grade and copied off all of your tests, and when you told him to stop, threatened to destroy your bike.

The male co-worker who brainstormed a new social media campaign with you, took all the credit, and got a promotion.

The guy in your fem studies class who mansplains Kate Millett.

That record store guy who told you Beyonce would be nothing without Jay Z.

The random dude in your mentions who “well, actually’s” your opinion that “The River” is Springsteen’s best album.

The bro who argued with you on the street last year when you were wearing a Planned Parenthood T-shirt and a Hillary button, because, according to him, Hillary and Planned Parenthood were part of “the establishment” and you need to get over your identity politics. Oh, wait — that was Bernie.

The guy in the comments section of ESPN.com who complains about the tone of Jessica Mendoza’s voice.

The New York Times writers still bravely clinging to the idea that Hillary was unlikeable and didn’t connect with “people.”

The progressive bro who would vote for a woman, just not “this” woman. Or that one. Or that other one.

Mike Pence.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2017

 

Tales from the bargain bin: An embarrassing obsession

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The Folk Years: Blowin’ in the Wind and Yesterday’s Gone (Time-Life). CD set found for $2.99 at Goodwill.

The first time I saw The Folksmen (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap fame in their guise as a 1960s folk trio), I laughed so hard I had an asthma attack. But I also had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. The Folksmen were a deeply sourced spoof of the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters, seminal, earnest folk groups of the pre-Beatles era. This was some of the earliest music I remember hearing on my parents’ radio and hi-fi, along with Peter, Paul and Mary and the Brothers Four. How dead-on an imitation was The Folksmen? Take a look.

Kingston Trio:

The Folksmen, from A Mighty Wind:

And here are the Limeliters, circa 1981, singing the obvious model for “Old Joe’s Place,” “There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight.”

For the full Limeliters/Folksmen comparison, this nine-minute European TV performance is pretty much a condensed version of A Mighty Wind. Enjoy, ye of stout heart!

Born on Saturday Night Live, the Folksmen were later resurrected in Guest’s underrated 2003 mockumentary A Mighty Wind, which chronicles the making of a public-televison reunion concert of the group and their ’60s folk scene compadres the New Main Street Singers (read: New Christy Minstrels/the Rooftop Singers) and Mitch and Mickey (Ian and Sylvia).

I should explain at this point that I’m obsessed with A Mighty Wind. I will watch that movie anytime, anyplace. This Is Spinal Tap is considered the masterpiece of the Guest/McKean/Shearer oeuvre. But I rate A Mighty Wind almost as highly because it nails the specifics of a less popular genre just as flawlessly. If you’ve ever seen the strangely watchable PBS Pledge Break special Folk Rewind starring John Sebastian (please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t look away), then you’ve seen just how right A Mighty Wind got everything about the music, the personalities, the gentle, well-meaning mindset of the people who performed and consumed this godawfully polite aural Cream of Wheat.

And I speak as one of them. Like many white kids in metropolitan and suburban areas on both coasts in the late ’50s-early ’60s, I grew up with folk music, or rather, a steam-cleaned, relentlessly smiley version of folk music, as part of daily life. I listened to Pete Seeger’s children’s albums (but not his overtly radical stuff), sang black spirituals like “Kumbaya” and “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” with no context at Jewish summer camp and endured the dreaded group-singing of “Erie Canal” and “Goober Peas” in elementary school. Hellishly cheery easy-listening folk tunes like “Walk Right In” by the Rooftop Singers and white-washed folk exotica like the Calypso-ish “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down” by the Serendipity Singers were Top Ten radio hits. (Where did the Lumineers come from? Here’s your answer.) In one universe, Bob Dylan was kicking folk music’s slumbering ass, energizing it with a protopunk’s spirit. In another, there was … this crap. I bet the killjoys who shouted down electric Dylan at Newport really dug this stuff. They deserved it.

Given all of this, you can probably imagine my fiendish delight when I came across Blowin’ in the Wind and Yesterday’s Gone, two discs from the eight-disc 2002 Time-Life CD set The Folk Years in a Goodwill crawl. Sixty songs in all, encompassing some of my most beloved/hated folk-mush ever, including “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down,” “Walk Right In,” the Sandpipers’ supremely dorky version of Pete Seeger’s “Guantanamera” and — YES! — the Limeliters’ “There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight.” Now I can guffaw through my very own A Mighty Wind/Folk Rewind in the privacy of my home, whenever the spirit moves me!

I know, I’m being harsh. Even the blandest of this music had its purpose. Without it to learn from and, ultimately, rebel against, we might not have had Dylan, or the skiffle-bred Beatles, or the trailblazing British electric folkies Fairport Convention.

This Time-Life set (the half I own, anyway) does a good job of charting the evolution of folk B.D. (before Dylan) and after. Dylan’s influence is all over the Blowin’ in the Wind disc, even if he isn’t (the lone Dylan track, “Boots of Spanish Leather” is on disc 7, which someone must have grabbed before me). After the mostly quiet acoustic tracks on disc one of Blowin’ in the Wind, the crystalline opening electric guitar chords of the Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn!” kick off disc two like a wake-up jolt of caffeine right to the bloodstream. Whoever segued the Byrds into the Kingston Trio’s smugly snoozy version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” has a wicked sense of humor. Two songs later, there’s the peerless Dylan interpretor Johnny Cash making “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” into a Johnny Cash song, and, you know, I think this was $2.99 very well spent.

The Folk Years also excels at conveying how the folk movement brought world music, part of that Mad Men-era tentative dip into suburban multiculturalism, to white middle-class American homes for the first time. If you’re of my vintage, I bet there was a Harry Belafonte album or two in your parents’ hi-fi cabinet. Belafonte’s beautiful “Jamaica Farewell” is included here on Blowin’ in the Wind, and his indestructible “Banana Boat Song (Day-o)” is on Yesterday’s Gone.

Blowin’ in the Wind also contains a live recording of Pete Seeger doing “Guantanamera,” complete with his educational spoken interludes explaining the song’s origin as a poem by Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti. It’s an important piece of political folk music. But, forgive me: besides making it impossible to watch PBS pledge programming or old Limeliters videos without falling into shrieking laughter, A Mighty Wind has also ruined educational spoken interludes about Hispanic history for me — see Christopher Guests’s epic downer of a Spanish Civil War ballad “Skeletons of Quinto” in A Mighty Wind.

I bought The Folk Years only partly as a snort. There are folk-pop songs here that I loved on AM radio as a kid, and continue to love now, even in their unfashionableness: “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine,” written and sung by the exquisite Gale Garnett, the winsome pop-ified cover of Ian and Sylvia’s “You Were on My Mind” by We Five, “Someday Soon” by Judy Collins. And there are some crucial ’70s folk/pop/country hybrids — Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” and Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind” are two — that take your breath away with their emotional depths.

But while I’m happy to finally have many of these songs on CD, my chief motivation in pouncing on this Goodwill treasure wasn’t to complete my collection. It was pure, gooey nostalgia — for these songs that create sense memories of early childhood,  for how my dad used to think the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie on the MTA” was the cleverest song ever to hit WBZ-Boston’s airwaves. But mine is a nostalgia combined with an unsentimentalist’s horror of nostalgia. And maybe that’s the snarky quirk in my character that compels me to see the humor in the unabashed sincerity and unconscious elitism of the palest of these performances, and in tributes like PBS’s Pledge Break folk specials. In all of the above, I think, the creators of A Mighty Wind are my kin.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2016

 

 

Pop quiz

lana

Lyrics to “The Oogum Boogum Song”* or fashions at a summer music festival?

1. Your high-heeled boots with your hip-hugger suit

2. That cute miniskirt with your brother’s sloppy shirt

3. Nose ring, dreads, British barrister wig on your head

4. Your pink cowboy hat, mini-romper, fanny pack

5. Your bell-bottom pants (I just stand there in a trance)

6. Those big earrings, long hair and things

7. Your cute tank top, sideboob about to pop

8. Your gladiator shoes with your Batgirl Underoos

9. That macrame dress (girl, you’re such a hot mess)

10. That cute trench coat and you’re standin’ and posin’ (you got soul, you got too much soul)

11. Floaty scarves all around —that’s it, just a bunch of scarves?

12. That Fedora from Kohl’s (girl, you’re so rock and roll)

13. Your red union suit with your KISS army boots

14. Your hair like Haim, stripey cardigan like Mayim

15. Your cute flower crown and your see-through hippie gown (get out the way, for Miss del Ray)

16. Not Your Daughter’s Jeans and an E Street Band tee —Mom???

*A 1967 Billboard Top 40 hit single written and recorded by R&B/soul singer Brenton Wood (real name: Alfred Smith). It was resurrected in 2014 for a Kia K900 commercial featuring LeBron James.

(Answer key: 1,2,5,6,10 – lyrics)

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2015

(Not) Record Store Day 2015

 

Desi and Marnie in happier days (Photo © HBO)
Desi and Marnie in happier times (Photo © HBO)

 

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — APRIL 1) Record Store Day is April 18, 2015, and this year’s celebration of independent music sellers promises to be the best ever. Why? Because Record Store Day 2015 Ambassador Dave Grohl is included FREE with every purchase!  At last, you won’t have to endure the wait for Dave’s TV appearances, which can sometimes occur hours apart!  The inexhaustible Foo Fighters frontman will come to your house, wherever you are, and do whatever you want! He’ll organize your vinyl collection so the rare stuff is placed in just the right spot for your friends to notice your awesome taste –not too near to the top, where it looks like you’re trying too hard, but not buried in the back of the crate, either. He’ll clean out your garage. He’ll drive Grandma to the foot doctor. He’ll even DJ at your daughter’s bat mitzvah. And he’ll do it all with a big toothy smile, because that’s the way he rolls! And best of all, he won’t leave!  You can hint, you can plead, you can even call the cops, but how much do you wanna bet the cops end up jamming with him? His energy is THAT infectious!

Here are some late additions not really to the totally fake list of Record Store Day 2015 special releases, as of April 1 get it?:

Various Artists, Saturday Afternoon at the Guitar Center. An exclusive compilation of live performances by the best unsigned musicians around!  Tracks include some of the guitar solo from “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” by the retired firefighter down the street; the opening notes of “Stairway to Heaven” by the guy who gives guitar lessons at the Senior Center; something that might be “Master of Puppets,” it’s hard to tell, by the scary Peterson kid; a three-year-old having a tantrum on the floor while her brother pounds on a djembe;  the intro to “Crazy Train” by that weird guy over there in the Slayer T-shirt; and the chords to “Heart of Gold” by your mom. Each album comes with a commemorative extended warranty and a ukulele.

U2, Songs of Innocence (Deluxe Version with 10 Bonus Tracks). FREE to anyone who visits a local independent music seller on Record Store Day! You don’t even have to buy anything to receive this exclusive gift from the legendary Irish rockers;  just cross the threshold of a record store and it’s yours! Seriously, you will not be allowed to leave the premises until you’ve accepted your copy. Too busy to stop by? No worries! We’ll find you! We have your Apple accounts! We know where you live! Slainte!

Various Artists, Lost in Greenpoint: The Songs of Desi and Marnie.  Producer T Bone Burnett and a host of roots-ish superstars celebrate the short-lived but influential Brooklyn duo whose sound defined modern American folk music with an indie edge. Or were they more, like, “She & Him” with actual romance? You decide! Guided by newly discovered demos recorded during the duo’s heyday in the early-2015’s, Lost in Greenpoint is a vision of what might have been if Desi hadn’t disappeared right before the couple’s big record company showcase. Features Desi and Marnie’s timeless words and music performed by Mumford and Sons (“Song for Marcus Garvey”), Bon Iver (“Oaxaca Blues”),  the Decemberists (“Rattlesnake Cowgirl”), Of Monsters and Men (“Kokopelli Shelly”) and First Aid Kit (“Whoa, Wow, Wonderful”), among others, as well as a bonus track (“Close Up”) by 12-time Grammy-winning solo artist Marnie herself. (Desi, who now fronts a Lumineers cover band, refused to participate in the project, citing “negative energy”. Plus, he’s just a big douche.) This exclusive Record Store Day release features passionate liner notes by the mayor of New York City, Ray Ploshansky.

The Estate of Marvin Gaye, You’ve Been Served: The Lawsuit Album. Includes remixes, greatest hits and unreleased cease and desist orders against Prince, Usher, Justin Timberlake and the estate of Michael Jackson.

Bruce Springsteen, The First Seven Albums: The Remastered Remasters of the Remasters. Are you a Springsteen fan in your 40s who wishes you were born 10 years earlier? Are you an older fan who dreams of going back to your youth, when life still sucked, but not as much as it sucks now? Well, this Record Store Day, you can finally purchase Greetings from Asbury Park (1973) through Born in the USA (1984) in a vinyl format that faithfully reproduces the experience of listening to the Boss’s seminal albums of the ’70s and ’80s — just as if it were the ’70s and ’80s! All seven albums are re-released on crap-quality floppy vinyl distressed with pops and skips. Authentic smudges of Clearasil, burger grease and human tears adorn the covers, poignant reminders of that time Bruce helped get you through some really heavy shit. Super-collectible random copies feature the name of an older sibling scrawled in ballpoint pen on the top left back corner.

Record Store Day wouldn’t be complete without these exclusive singles and reissues!

  •  50 Cent featuring Ringo Starr (“Hey Kanye, I Have a Beatle Too!” b/w “Octopus’s Garden”)
  • George Ezra featuring Dave Matthews and a screaming goat (the folk classic “Wimoweh” b/w a cover of Focus’s “Hocus Pocus”)
  • The 20th anniversary reissue of Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?,” the Oscar nominated theme song to the Johnny Depp-Marlon Brando classic Don Juan DeMarco. The limited edition single features Adams’ original track on one side and a newly discovered version by Depp (with Brando on bongos) on the other.
  • The 20th anniversary reissue of “Peaches” by The Presidents of the United States of America, b/w the dub step remix. Pressed on cannabis-resin vinyl.

Do you miss those classic all-star charity releases of the ’80s? Well, this year’s Record Store Day includes TWO exciting new supergroup projects for a good cause! Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Madonna, Jack White and many others join forces under the banner of Artists United Against Spotify for an exclusive single! “Do They Know It’s Christmas (and There Ain’t No Santa Claus)?” b/w “I’m Just a Water Bill” aims to raise money for impoverished millionaire music-makers while also teaching them basic life skills. Available in two limited-edition vinyl formats: 200 gram pressing ($20) and paper plate with grooves drawn on it in Magic Marker ($10).  Meanwhile, Dick Aid features Eminem, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown, Adam Levine and more in an all-star benefit for victims of feminism. This special four-and-a-half-inch single features the Dick Aid anthem “We Own the World” b/w a Diplo remix of “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” All proceeds will be donated to the Bill Cosby Defense Fund.

(Record Store Day is April 18, 2015 — for real. You can find the complete list of actual RSD 2015 releases here.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2015

Flashback (April 1, 2014): Record Store Day, the updated list of releases

The Boss has two exclusive new releases for Record Store Day!
The Boss is represented by TWO exclusive new releases for Record Store Day!

In no particular order:

CHRIS MARTIN, GOOP ON THE TRACKS. The Coldplay frontman’s heart-wrenching first solo release, inspired by his uncoupling from Gwyneth Paltrow. Includes the epic “Tangled Up in Goop.” Pressed on compostable vinyl.

KANYE WEST AND KIM KARDASHIAN, WEDDING ALBUMA Record Store Day exclusive! Kim and Kanye prove that they’re more than just “Kimye” with an album of stunningly avant-garde experimental music. Side one consists of the couple calling each other’s name for 22 minutes. Side two is a 30-minute extended remix of Kim’s dance classic “Jam (Turn It Up).” Comes packaged as a souvenir wedding album containing a photocopy of the couple’s gift registry, a temporary tattoo of the Vogue cover and a coupon good for 20% off the Kardashian Collection at Sears. The deluxe picture disc version (first 500 pressings) illustrates the scene from the “Bound 2” video where they have sex on a motorcycle.

VARIOUS ARTISTS, WORKING ON A DREAM:  SOME OTHER SONGS OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. A star-studded lineup interprets the songs that were left off of all the previous Bruce Springsteen tribute albums. Artists include Arcade Fire (“Queen of the Supermarket”), Mumford and Sons (“Outlaw Pete”), Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I. (“Reno”) and the Kidz Bop Kids (“Waitin’ on a Sunny Day”).

ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE KLEZMATICS, ALMOST JEW. He’s made a country record, written a classical ballet score and, most recently, recorded a hip-hop album with the Roots. Now, just in time for Passover, Elvis Costello breaks another musical boundary in a bold collaboration with Grammy-winning Yiddish music masters, the Klezmatics. You don’t have to be Jewish to dig these Klezmerized reworkings of some of Costello’s greatest songs — but it helps if you like clarinets!  The Seder table will be rocking to tracks like “Hebrew National Ransom,” “This Year’s Mohel” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Unleavened Bread.” Produced by T Bone Burnett’s cousin, Shank Bone.

VARIOUS ARTISTS, YOUR MOTHER AND I ARE SEPARATING. If you want to hear the hottest bands around, as curated by New York club legend Stefon, I know just the record for you. This album has everything:  Diarrhea Planet, Bear Hands, Bosnian Rainbows, Quilt, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Leprechauns with Hep C, Furtlenecks, Hoomba, Yeti-Cab, A Shaved Lion that Looks like Mario Batali, Human Fanny Pack, DJ Baby Bok Choy, Teddy Graham People, Donald Duck Having a Vietnam Nightmare. Pressed on Ecstasy-flavored vinyl.

DESITIN’S CHILD, BOOBYLICIOUS. The long-awaited debut 12″ from second-generation superstars Blue Ivy Carter and North West! The baby-ladies bring it with their sassy dance hit about needing mommy’s breast milk — RIGHT NOW! Backed with the DJ Baby Bok Choy remix featuring British rapper Li’l Prince George.

THE LUMINEERS, YOU ARE GETTING VERY SLEEPY. Seventy minutes of “Ho Hey” on one limited edition CD. Rolling Stone calls it “hypnotic white noise.” Pitchfork hails it as “sonic Propofol.” The Better Sleep Council says, “Guaranteed to cure even the toughest case of insomnia.” Comes with exclusive Record Store Day eye mask.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, STUFF I FOUND ON A FLASH DRIVE IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT. The Boss continues to delve into his vast cache of unreleased material for this Record Store Day exclusive. According to the Springsteen-penned liner notes, the four-song EP came about when “I was eating a Doritos Locos Taco Supreme in the car (don’t tell Patti!) and I needed a napkin, so I opened up the glove box and – whoa! There it was! Half of a Subway foot-long Meatball Marinara! And this flash drive.” The four tracks are: “Love at the 7-Eleven,” “Outlaw Pete Comes Back,” the “Laverne and Shirley” theme song (recorded live at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI in 2003) and a cover of “Shaddap You Face,” the 1980 chart-topper by Australia’s Joe Dolce, recorded in Springsteen’s dressing room at the Melbourne arena on the E Street Band’s recent Australian tour. “I would have opened the show with it,” writes Springsteen, “if the band hadn’t locked me in my dressing room.”

DAFT PUNK, IT’S THE MOTHERSHIP, CHARLIE BROWN. The long-awaited reissue of the robotic duo’s soundtrack album for a Peanuts special that never aired. The storyline for the special was no great departure from the successful formula of previous hits like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown — the Peanuts gang doesn’t believe Charlie when he says that the end of the world is nigh and they must all prepare for the arrival of the aliens. So why was it never shown? Well, as any schoolchild could tell you, CBS was forced to cancel the show just two days before the scheduled broadcast, when the human race was attacked by extraterrestrial destroyer ships. Network bosses deemed the timing of the special “too soon.” The soundtrack album, however, went on to achieve modest success in France, while Daft Punk continues to enjoy a long reign as Our Supreme Robotic Overlords, long may they prosper, die humans die.

(Record Store Day is Saturday, April 19 — for real. Head to your local indie record store and check out this year’s  special vinyl releases and celebrate the joy of buying music in a form that you can hold in your hands.)

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014