leavin’ on a jet plane and other musical themes

Here’s how it started. No, strike that. I don’t remember how it started anymore, exactly. Somehow in the midst of getting ready for conference presentations, papers, travel, and the like, three of us from various spots in the country started exchanging a few song lyrics, which turned into an exchange of songs. Since then, I create a soundtrack (the playlist is here) for the preparations and anticipation of the meeting itself. It goes like this:

  1. Round and Round (Bob Schneider)* — suggested by me as a song about general angst, including my favorite line, “you wring your hands but the blood pours out …”
  2. Grandpa Was a Carpenter (John Prine) — My friend “Trouble” suggested this, not for any particular reason but a favorite in his home, and an amusing contrast…
  3. Totally F****d (Brian Johnson et al.) — The above reminded our friend H.C. to really sum up the situation, efforts towards getting ready for big events like this, which in turn made me think of the rest of this list.
  4. Heartless (Kanye West) — reminding me of a friend who talks about having to “put on [her] armor” in getting ready for a conference, anticipating the heartless critique that we face.
  5. Conversation With Myself (Jason Mraz) — Sometimes the act of presenting not only feels one sided, but downright lonely. It’s a little painful when someone launches into a critique of your work (and sometimes it’s actually really fun that way), but it’s especially disheartening when people have nothing to say. Which leads to the image of the next track.
  6. Where’s the Orchestra? (Billy Joel)  — This is an image I’ve proposed before. The song itself is about being in a culture that doesn’t mesh with one’s general schematic; the video portrays Joel sitting there on a hotel bed with a lit “Applause” sign on his lap. This seems to be the potential result, after months of work going into a presentation and paper, you are often moved aside for the next 12 minute set of slides.
  7. Your Mind Is On Vacation (Mose Allison) — I started listening to Mose Allison because of the jazz piano tracks he lays down. His lyrics are fun because they match exactly a stereotype of some 50’s hipster be-bop jazz. Everything rhymes, to a fault. “If silence were golden you couldn’t raise a dime, because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is running overtime.” Mose is no doubt talking about the individual who raises a hand during a question period and starts in with, “This isn’t so much a question as it is a comment . . .” Then they themselves begin singing song #5.
  8. Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ (Bob Dylan) — This is a new song of Dylan, and I like the accordion especially. The title simply reminded me of the future of most of the work presented. It’s all finished, and this stop is often the end of the line for research questions.
  9. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Indigo Girls) — General disenchantment with others generally leads me to this song, covered by the Indigo Girls, who then remind me (together with their representative H.C.) of
  10. Hammer and a Nail (Indigo Girls) — The reminder that there’s more to all of this than any and all of the above. If I really believed in the total uselessness I’ve described then I wouldn’t be leaving my family for 4 days to participate. The truth is, I get to meet with extraordinary people and advocate new lines of work; I get to have others push my own scholarly identity and my efforts; and in turn I get the chance to push on others. Papers on how we even think about working with others, how we work with teachers in new and exciting ways, and (jump up and down exciting!) an invited talk with Trouble to really question and push scholarship in the community. That will really be fun, and “fun” is actually part of the theme of the talk. Speaking of which, I need to finish the slides for that joyful event — here at 30,000 feet and with 73% battery life remaining.

____

*

Round & Round
music & lyrics by Bob Schneider

When your head falls off your neck
And hits the ground with a smack
And you’re back on the wrong track
Where’ your at when you lost you’re head
Get out of bed that’s what I said
And you’re feeling like the dead seeing red
Reborn where’s my porn
My pants are torn up damnit where’s the wine
Put my body in a pine box baby
Bustin’ clocks changin’ my locks
I know the time it’s time to get up
And get out and get over this
But I don’t know how and I don’t know why

And the world goes round
And the world goes around
And the world goes round & round

When your bets been beat and they turn up the heat
And you feel a little weak and you can hardly speak
And the coconuts come to your house with a bomb
And blow up the cake you got from your mom
And your diapers aren’t dry and the neighbors all die
And you feel a little high a little higher than the big blue sky
And you wring your hands and the blood pours out
And the blood pours out

And the world goes round
And the world goes around
And the world goes round & round

When your friends evaporate and you can’t catch a break
And you’re tied to the stake and everything you hate
Comes crashing down on your big round
Golen greazy crown and you can’t make a sound
And you feel like your drowning and you stumble through the dark
And the dogs start to bark and you’re fired on a lark
And your skin starts to spark and you’re burning up inside
And your dentures start to slide

And the world goes round
And the world goes around
And the world goes round & round

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