When I was writing my earlier post, I forgot the fact that I actually have some exciting news. I take the online Jeopardy! test every time they give it, mostly because it’s a ridiculously easy thing to do. (The action of taking the test, not the questions; those can be kind of tough sometimes.) Ten minutes, and then I move on with my life. They never contact me, I never worry about it.
Well it’s time to start worrying, because I got an email earlier this month saying I had been selected to audition for the show. There’s going to be another 50 question test and a mock game and who knows what all, but if I get through all that, then I’ll be in the contestant pool for something like eighteen months. I’m kind of stoked. I’ve never gotten this far before, not even the one time I actually went to the studio for the test (and saw Harrison Ford on the lot). I don’t know what’ll happen in about a month when I go in, but I’m officially in training. I’ll be playing along when I watch the show with a click pen to use as a buzzer, and I’ll be phrasing all my answers in the form of a question from now on. I figure I can bone up on trivia by rereading all my back issues of Mental Floss (I knew saving them would be a good idea). Who knows, maybe sometime in the next year, I’ll be just like Weird Al in this video.
Yes, I know I used this song the last time I posted about the Jeopardy! test, but hey, just how many songs about Jeopardy! are there, anyway? (No, really. If there are any more, I’d like to know. You never know what might come up during the audition.)
Sorry I’ve been so erratic about posting lately. There’s been a lot of stuff happening, and I tend to have less to say when I’ve got to worry about the real world. The things? Mom aggravated her back injury, but didn’t do any serious damage. And I’ve got registration coming up for my first semester back in school, so I’ve been fretting over things like financial aid and textbooks. I’ll be registering tomorrow, so hopefully that will all be cleared up soon.
It is, of course, graduation time, and this terrific speech John Waters made at the Rhode Island School of Design’s commencement reminded me of how much fun and how sensible some of these speeches are. (Robert DeNiro also made a great commencement speech recently, but I can’t remember what school it was for. Look it up.) It also reminded me of a previous post I made for the . . . er, song, I guess, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” It was based on a commencement speech made by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune. It’s still good advice (really, you should wear sunscreen). The video accompanying the Baz Luhrmann track is still silly. But it’s also still worth the time.
And watch the entire John Waters speech. That’s more than worth it. Go out and fuck up the world beautifully.
Name one song that is more perfect than “Lido Shuffle.” Just one. Can’t do it, can you? Neither can I.
There are plenty of songs that are just as good as this Boz Scaggs classic—most of them are very different in tone, mood, genre, and style—but there really aren’t any that are better. There’s just something compelling about this fun, funky, light, but somewhat mysterious tune. Scaggs’ delivery is spot on, and even the keyboard synthesizers work. “Lido Shuffle” is one of those songs I simply can’t get enough of. Whenever it comes up on the computer or iPod, I end up replaying it two or three times. It’s a Desert Island song.*
What’s going on? I’m not entirely sure. The lyrics are about as mysterious as any Steely Dan song, picking up the story in the middle somewhere and lacking clear context. (Come to think of it, this kind of story song was pretty popular in the mid to late 70s. I wonder what it was about that time that made literate, character driven story songs a thing.) Lido is clearly a small-time criminal of some sort, looking for that last big score. But who is this woman leaving him a note? And what kind of score is he looking for? We know he’s in Chicago at some point, but where did he come from and where is he planning on going? Does his “one last job” pay off? Does he make it up to his woman? Or does everything go to hell in a hand basket? The listener is left holding the bag at the end of the song, but that bag is pretty light. Maybe Lido made off with whatever answers there were.
As always, I like the ambiguity. And I especially like that it’s wrapped up in such a hooky, catchy fashion. Who cares what’s going on? Just keep playing this song, and I’ll keep smiling.
*Way back, when music was limited to physical formats, people would try to rank what they would take to a desert island if they were limited to, say, ten discs. These days, you’re only limited by what you can fit on your iPod or smart phone–provided you have a charger and electricity, of course.