Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best Songs of the 2000s: #499

#499: "Throught the Fire and Flames" (2006) - Dragonforce

On Guitar Hero (vol. 1), this was the boss song, a record whose guitar pyrotechnics melted away all but the most nimble-fingered of glorified air guitarists. The drumming and the vocals shred, too, but it's the guitars that are important here, as Guitar Hero (and, subsequently, Rock Band) is one of the two most musically influential innovations of this past decade.

Sure, some musicians bemoan the fact that millions are picking up a video-game controller instead of a "real" guitar, but of those millions, thousands have subsequently picked up a "real" guitar and started learning how to play the "real" thing and even started their own bands. I know personally of at least five such cases. Plus, there's the fact that Toys 'R' Us and Wal-Mart sold (and in some stores sold out) more "real" guitars these past three years than they've ever sold in all the umpteen years combined. Anything that gets an instrument in the hands of someone wanting to learn how to play, no matter what they're learning how to play or what inspired them in the first place, is a good thing. Musical literacy can only lead to a greater nation, a greater world, as it develops the mind.

As far as the track itself (nevermind the influence): it's value doesn't only come from the band's virtuosity, but it also comes from the strong melody that emerges from the uber-tapping and double-kick barrage. It's not quite the equivalent of Van Halen's "Jump," but in this new musical world, it's close enough.

The Best Songs of the 2000s: #500

#500: "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" (2001) - Alan Jackson

Rush-recorded and rush-released after the 9/11 attacks, Jackson's song was criticized because, basically, it didn't seem too angry. It also didn't implicate the Powers That Were in any wrongdoing, nor did it ask many deep questions. It didn't question the nature of the events, and it sounded maudlin.

Well, most of those criticisms were accurate, but none of those should have denegrated the song. Jackson's song didn't criticize, but it didn't need to. What Jackson offered was a song of empathy. It's sentimental, but that sentiment seems appropriate to the mournful situation. One doesn't go to a funeral and start attacking and villifying any one person or the cause of death: one offers a sympathetic soldier--analysis can come later. Jackson had this song on the radio--not at his behest, either--in two months, and the nation was still in mourning. The deeper questions could--and did--come later.

The song grows complex towards the end, though. Jackson offers what seems to be a glaring contradiction, asking the audience if they turned off the violent television program and then asking them if they went and bought a gun. He doesn't seem to be hewing to the Republican/conservative party line here, though (as that contradiction might seem to denote), for his last question--and ultimate answer--"the greatest is love"--sure seems to be asking his audience to show kindness not only to each other, but to all others. That bit of philosophy is about as liberal and open-minded a thought as I've ever heard from a Nashville record, and that deserves mention.

The mandolin's sad and sweet, too. Just like the entire song.

The Best Songs of the 2000s

Here's a list of 189 artists whose records didn't  make my final cut, but who recorded music of quality this past decade, so their names are definitely worth dropping.

· AC/DC                            
· AM
· Alien Ant Farm
· The Almighty Defenders
· John Anderson
· Andrew W.K.
· The Answer
· The Asteroids Galaxy
· Baby Bash
· Backyard Babies
· Bat for Lashes
· Battles
· Be Your Own Pet
· Beausoleil
· Billy Boy on Poison
· Diane Birch
· Black Label Society
· Amanda Blank
· Mary J. Blige
· Blitzen Trapper
· Booker T.
· Brendan Benson
· Broadcast Radio
· The Brides of Destruction
· Bun B
· Buckethead
· The Cardigans
· Manu Chao
· Charm City Devils
· Choir of Non-Believers
· Guy Clark
· Cocktail Slippers
· Ry Cooder
· Elvis Costello
· Samantha Crain
· Rodney Crowell
· Current Swell
· Daddy Yankee
· Dan Auerbach
· Dark Meat
· The Dark Romantics
· The Dead 60s
· The Dead Weather
· The Decemberists
· Deer Tick
· The Deftones
· James Luther Dickinson
· Diddy
· The Dirty Sweet
· Dr. John
· Drums & Tuba
· Electric Owls
· Eliza Jane
· Eve
· The Films
· Liam Finn
· Five Horse Johnson
· The Flatlanders
· Flossy & the Unicorns
· Folk Uke
· The Fratellis
· Fred
· Ace Frehley
· Andy Friedman
· Fruit Bats
· Gentleman Jesse
· Jimmie Dale Gilmore
· Al Green
· Green Day
· Heaven & Hell
· Hakan Hellstrom
· Jolie Holland
· The Horror Pops
· The Horrors
· I’m from Barcelona
· In This Moment
· Iron Maiden
· Bon Iver
· Flaco Jaminez
· Sarah Jarosz
· Jimmy Eat World
· Johnny Boy
· Judas Priest
· Richard Julian
· Kasabian
· Killswitch Engaged
· Sean Kingston
· Kiss
· Solange Knowles
· Alison Krauss
· The Knux
· Aaron Lacrate
· Lady Gaga
· The Last Vegas
· Late of the Pier
· Cyndi Lauper
· The Laureates
· Ryan Levine
· Jeffrey Lewis
· The Liars
· Love as Laughter
· Nick Lowe
· Madlib
· Magnetic Fields
· Jesse Malin
· Richard McGraw
· Tim McGraw
· Megadeth
· John Mellencamp
· Metallica
· Charlie Miller
· Miss Li
· Monster Magnet
· Motorhead
· Movits!
· Mumford & Son
· MV & EE with the Bummer Road
· Nine Inch Nails
· Nobunny
· Noisettes
· Notorious Cherry Bombs
· Paolo Nutini
· Nora O’ Connor
· Shane O’ Dazier
· Colby O’ Donis
· Oh Darling
· James Otto
· Pantera
· The Parlor Mob
· Sean Paul
· Pearl Jam
· The Phenomenal Handclap Band
· Grant Lee Phillips
· Chris Pierce
· Robert Plant
· The Polyphonic Spree
· Portugal the Man
· Quasimoto
· Queensryche
· Radio Moscow
· Rancid
· Jay Reatard
· Robyn
· The Rosewood Thieves
· Rye Rye
· Saliva
· Santogold
· Sasquatch
· Ron Sexsmith
· Naomi Shelton
· The Silversun Pickups
· Slash’s Snakepit
· Slayer
· Todd Snider
· Spank Rock
· George Strait
· Ken Stringfellow
· Jazmine Sullivan
· Taylor Swift
· The Sword
· System of a Down
· Testament
· Thee American Revolution
· The Thermals
· Tool
· Two Door Cinema Club
· The Unicorns
· Unk
· Keith Urban
· The Vanity Plan
· Velvet Revolover
· Vetiver
· Rhonda Vincent
· Brooke Waggoner
· Butch Walker
· The Walkmen
· Webbie
· The Weepies
· Brooke White
· Wilco
· Charlie Wilson
· Winter Gloves
· Xiu Xiu
· Yacht
· Rachael Yamagata
· 16 Horsepower

The Best Songs of the 2000s

Alrighty... my one-week vacation from my blog turned into a one-week and seven-month vacation, but now I'm back/to let you know/I can really shake down the rest of these songs before the day/year/decade is over.

Okay, maybe I can't shake down all the rest of the songs on my list of the best songs of this past decade all in one day, but a man has to start somewhere.

I'll begin by listing almost two-hundred artists whose records didn't quite make my cut, but who recorded admirable music nonetheless.

I'll continue by then offering capsule reviews of 100 songs that either didn't quite make my original list (but I've since come to appreciate much more) or that I overlooked upon the way. These 100 songs were published sometime between January 2000 and June 2008.

I'll complete my list--hopefully, sometime within the next two weeks, possibly sooner--by offering full reviews of the top 100 songs on my list of the best records of the decade as well as analyzing (somewhat simultaneously) 67 songs that were released between July 2008 (my original cut-off date when I started this blog a year-and-a-half ago) and December 2009.

The sum of all these record reviews (333 + 100 +67) will then be 500! Yes, five-hundred fantastic pop songs of this past decade that have made my life more enjoyable. I could easily (though not quickly) lengthen the total to 750, and given a couple/three months to research, even 1000, but I think 500 will do quite nicely.

It's now December 31, less than one day away from a new year/new decade, so let's get rolling!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Tournament of Metal: Final Round

This week: the last battles. The last poll. Get your one-way ticket to midnight and vote now!

Last week's results:

2 ACDC’s “Hells Bells” v. Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” 1
1 ACDC’s “Back in Black” v. Metallica’s “One” 2
3 ACDC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” v. Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” 0
0 Aerosmith’s “Angel” v. Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” 3
1 Bon Jovi’s “Runaway” v. Van Halen’s “Jump” 2
1 Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” v. Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood” 2
1 Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” v. Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” 2
3 Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”
v. Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” 0
2 Cinderella’s “Shake Me” v. Ratt’s “Round and Round” 1
3 Cinderella’s “Heartbreak Station” v. Slaughter’s “Fly to the Angels” 0
1 The Cult’s “Firewoman” v. Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” 2
0 Damn Yankee’s “High Enough” v. Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” 3
1 Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” v. Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane” 2
0 Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” v. Motley Crue’s “Girls Girls Girls” 3
2 Dio’s “Holy Diver”
v. Van Halen’s “Panama” 1
1 Europe’s “The Final Countdown” v. Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” 2
3 Faster Pussycat’s “House of Pain”
v. Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” 0
3 Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” v. Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” 0
3 Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” v. Judas Priest’s “You Got Another Thing Coming” 0
2 Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” v. Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me” 1
2 Guns N’ Roses “Don’t Cry” v. Skid Row’s “I’ll Remember You” 1
3 Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” v. Tesla’s “Love Song” 0
0 Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal” v. Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” 3
3 Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” v. White Lion’s “Wait” 0
3 Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” v. Motley Crue’s “Too Fast for Love” 0
1 Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” v. Quite Riot’s “Cum On Feel the Noize” 2

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When the Hardys Go Marching In

One last bit to leave you with before I leave for my trip:

After writing Monday's review of "Cryin' in the Street," I felt nostalgiac and pulled out the photographs Foot Foot and I took during our three different stays in New Orleans. So, here are some of my own slides of New Orleans...and St. Francisville, Lousiana (from 2005).

In St. Francisville, Lousiana, stands the Myrtles Plantation. Foot Foot, Nicholas, and I stopped at the Myrtles plantation there for two reasons: it is one of the grandest plantation houses still in existance, and the Smithsonian lists the mansion there as the most haunted house in America. When we arrived, it was the middle of the day, and it was hot, but the land and landscaping were beautiful, and after wandering around for awhile, the three of us sat down to rest and adore the scenery.

After cooling down, Foot Foot and I decided to go explore the mansion, but Nicholas told us that he saw something stwange near the carriage house. We asked him what he saw, but he didn't respond. He was staring afar, and he remained transfixed.

Foot Foot raised her voice to get his attention, and she asked him again what he saw. He told her to come look, that he sees a monster. Penny walked around behind him and peered over his shoulder, and she saw...
...something so hideous, that she screamed. Other tourists there looked at us, and they walked away. She asked me if I saw it, and I came around and peered over Nicholas's shoulder, but when I got there they told me it was gone. She took a picture of it, and she tells me now that the monster is somewhere in the picture above, but I just don't see it.

Foot Foot was ready to leave right then, but I wanted to see the inside of the house. I wanted to see evidence of the ghost of the slave Chloe, who poisoned the children of the house so that they'd be sick (but not deathly sick), and then she could nurse them back to health, thus incurring favor with the owners, which would allow her to become house-slave/nanny again. Alas, Chloe used too much oleander in the mix, and the children died. When the truth came out, so did Chole. Executed.

Since, the house has been rumored to be haunted both by Chloe's ghost and by the ghosts of the children. The most prominent haunted spot in the mansion is at and nearby the foot of the stairwell, opposite of which hangs a stately mirror. Pictured below is the mirror. If you look closely enough (and maybe squint your eyes just so), you can see the outline (it's faint, but I tell you it's there) of a figure wearing a white dress, arms held out straight to the sides, perpendicular to the body. Chloe wore a white dress. Everyday.
You know what's creepier than that? Look again at that picture below. You see those two people in the mirror? I don't even know who they are! I don't even remember them being there!

After touring the rest of the house and all of the grounds, we headed to New Orleans. Much later that night, after driving around the French Quarter, lost, for an hour, we finally found our bed & breakfast (without the breakfast, we'd discover the next morning), but it was locked, the envelope with the keys NOT where the owner said they'd be. I used a lock of my hair and the tag from my underwear to break into the massive wrought-iron gate, and we went inside and crashed.

The next morning was beautiful. We woke early, walked out on the balcony, and admired the busy splendor of New Orleans.
We then hit the streets, hungry, aiming for Cafe du Monde and some Ben Yays.

Unfortunately, Cafe du Monde held a eighteen-hour wait, so we decided to cruise down Decatur to grub at less conspicuous establishment. Luckily, we found one quickly, and this time, the wait was only one hour. Cafe dude Mondey Mondey had no vacant tables inside, but they did have one empty chair and one rickety stool, so I let my family take those whilst I stood outside to sweat and admire Willie and Poor Boys who were playing out in the street. I had no nickels, though I did tap my feet. Soon, someone shouted, "Freebird!" Willie glared, grabbed his guitar and his bag o' tricks, and left.
Soon to take his place in what must have been a coveted spot was a sausage swallower. See the picture below? See what he's doing? He's already taken in half of it. He pushed the entire sausage down his throat, too, and pulled it back up. He asked if anyone then wanted a bite, but no one took him up on his offer.

I almost did, though. My stomach was rumbling, and I was about to walk over and grab that summer sausage, but at that time, Foot Foot told me that there was a spot open in the line. Some old geezer had seemingly fainted from heat exhaustion, and while the other people in line were tending to him, Foot Foot and I jumped at the opening, ordered our Ben Yays, and then we feigned concern. That's the way it's done in the Big Easy.

A half hour later, our Ben Yays arrived about the time the ambulance did outside. We hurried past the EMTs, and we ate as we walked the streets, headed to the famous aquarium (I forget its name). On our way there, we ah-spied a wedding procession with an authentic New Orleans jazz band leading the way, playing a tune somebody told me was called the Second Line (I guess the couple couldn't afford the First Line).
After the procession processed by, we continued on our way, and as we passed by the park, we get this...MICHAEL JACKSON! Yes, it was really him! He had smeared grease paint on his face in order to disguise himself from the crowd, but it was the King of Pop, alright. We looked at his wardrobe, and seeing the similarity between it and the outfits the cheap wedding band wore, Nicholas told him, "Your band left you up there. Why did they do that? That wasn't very nice!"
Mike told him, "Why do they do me that way? It's just human nature. I gotta get my back up off the wall, now. Bye bye, pretty young thing." He left. I was just a tad nonplussed by his comment, but, hey, it's Michael Jackson...I'm sure he meant nothing untoward.

We arrived at the aquarium, I was instantly attacked by the painful memory of when, three years prior, we lost a student to the waters of the aquarium. Mr. Daryll "D-Bo" Willis (pictured below, in the last photograph taken of him, in his last moments). May he rest in peace.

Foot Foot and Nicholas nearly lost their lives their, too. The world's largest Great White (and no, I'm not talking about Jack Russell's recent weight gain) was on exhibit, and it began to swallow whole my family.
Luckily, I was there with my authentic Peter Quint harpoon (w/spring-loaded floatation barrel), and my family is still with me to this day. The shark, however, swims with the fishes.

After that narrow escape, we happened upon an enchanted swamp there at the aquarium, and Nicholas rode one of the hoodoo hop toads. Later, Nicholas developed a severe case of wart on his lower extremities, but we contacted Marie LaVeau's great-great-grandson Remy LeBeau via v-mail, and she gave us a cure for only $17.99. It worked, too.

The last exhibit (one that has since been closed) we visited in the museum was called the Taste of New Orleans. Rather than sample of the aquatic delicasees, a sample was almost made of Nicholas! One of the three cooks gave Nicholas a bite of newt, and he spat it out. Well, the cook didn't like that poor display of manners, no sir. She reached out and grabbed his toungue, and put him in the pot, saying, "If you don't like eye of newt, then how about eye of Nick?" Foot Foot decided she prefered the newt, so she grabbed Nicholas, and we exited the aquarium.

As soon as we sat foot outside, we saw the late voodoo priestess herself, Marie LaVeau, helming a voodoo carriage down Canal street.

Nicholas deemed the queen too skinny for his personal proclivities, so we scooted over to St. Charles to take a streetcar all down the line and back.

Nicholas soon grew worried that he would be unable himself to cast a spell of redress against the chef that offended his person, so he asked for my assistance. Against an average person, one not so inclined to the ways of hoodoo and voodoo--some call them "muggles", but I've always termed 'em, "doo-doos"--I would have been able to merely scratch my nether regions in order to pester a pernicious person, but against those wise in the ways of vaudois, a needed some assistance myself.

I stopped by the Livre Imaginaire bookstore at 9 3/4 Bienville, and I consulted a consortium of texts legitimate, illegitimate, and not quite sure anymore 'cause my parents are both caucasian but I'm not. After burning the midnight oil and the beds that they burned, I remembered the spell that nearly took the life--and did take the arm--of one of my former students on our last senior trip to New Orleans.

The senior class had taken a bayou tour, and the tour guide--Prince Glenn Dio (and Prince was his given name, too) was somewhat short of height (as well as temper). Garrison Jim--the aformentioned student--normally very genial and gregarious, had some fun at the tour guide's lack of verticality, and the tour guide cursed both senses of the word! Soon, as we came upon an alligator, the tour guide asked Garrison if he'd like to volunteer to feed the sea creature, and Garrison accepted. As soon as Garrison leaned over and held the scum for the gator to get, the reptile lept past the scum and swallowed Garrison's right arm. And bit down. The gator took Garrison's arm down into the depths with him, and we had to rush back to the shore to get Garrison to the hospital on a speed boat that would take him down the bayou to a nearby medical clinic (after seeing it later, I hesitate to call it a hospital).

Since that particular incident was so nasty and unfortunate, I felt it would be appropriate to use that particular curse--locally called the "Gator Getter"--to take revenge upon that nasty and unfortunate woman (I shan't call her a "lady") who tried to make Irish stew out of me boy. When I arrived back at the bed minus breakfast, I told Nicholas not to worry, that I'd taken the liberty of cursing the hag myself (and I did). He smiled and asked for Cheetos, so I knew all was well in his world. I didn't want him to yet match wits with the strange and supernatual forces that lay within the Vieux Carre. I'd already lost enough children to the Quarter, and I didn't plan to lose anymore.

Not only did Garrison suffer the loss of his arm and D-Bo the loss of his life, but the first group of seniors Foot Foot and I took to New Orleans suffered their own loss. The loss of their own persons. Let me explain.

In May of 2003, I took my first group of seniors to New Orleans. One week after we left, I came home...with none of them. The last night of our trip, we came upon a group of what-looked-like tourists gathered in small groups outside of O'Flahety's Irish Pub. In each of these groups stood tour guides, sounding like carnival barkers as they rounded their individual groups together, telling them to stay with each other and make sure they had their stickers on. I looked at these people, and, indeed, each one had a sticker affixed to his or her chest depicting the name of the tour company (I think it was called Bourban Go Boo). My seniors asked if they could join one of these little groups, and I looked around, and one of the guides had just laid a packet of stickers on a cart behind him. I picked up the packet and distributed them to my group. We then joined along, and strolled throughout the streets with our tour guide---Sheleighly Shane--leading the way.
Oh, the stories he could tell...the Axeman, the Boogyeman, the Octoroon Mistress, Madame Minieurcanal, the Phantom of Jackson Square, the Flaming Tomb, the S.S. Watertown, the Seaman's Bethel, the St. Louis Cathedral, the Le Petit Theatre, Antoine's, the Royal Cafe, the Andrew Jackson, the Griffon House, the Beauregard-Keys House, the Gardette-LePrete Mansion, the Devil's Mansion, and, of course, the most famous haunted house in New Orleans: the LaLaurie Mansion (pictured below--my picture, too!):

Long story short ('cause to get the full, chilling effect of this story, one really needs to either be in front of the house to hear it or hear it told by an expert storyteller. Since this is the internet, and I'm obviously not the latter, I'm giving the thirty-second summary), Madame Delphine LaLaurie kept a house full of slaves, tortured them, experimented on them, deforming and defiling their bodies. One day, the house caught fire, and as firemen and other went through the house putting out the flames, they found a door they could not breach for it was locked. They broke it down and found dozens of slaves chained to walls and tables, and a couple of them in cages. They found a few dead. The slaves were led out of the house, and when the public discovered what Madame LaLaurie had done to them, they were outraged and began to storm the house. Madame LaLaurie escaped, though. She never returned. The house was sold, but from the moment the next owner spent his first night in the house, the haunting began.

Nearly one-hundred years later and several owners later, the house was sold (for the umpteenth time), and the new owners this time decided to almost completely remodel the house. When they started working on the second story, they noticed strange smells coming from the room where Madame LaLaurie tortured her slaves. The new owners began ripping up the floor planks, and they discovered nearly one-hundred dead bodies buried there, underneath the second story floorboards.

The complete details of the story are much more heinous and disgusting than what I've revealed here, and our entire crew was taken aback by it, horrified and disturbed. Some, however, were so fascinated with the story that they lingered there on 1140 Royal to wait and see if they could hear or see anything of a spectral nature. They were all well-mannered kids, and--hey--it was New Orleans, so what could possibly happen to them here, right? I allowed them to stay behind as the rest of us followed Sheleighly Steve. That group--five kids, total--we never saw again. They're still missing.

Our tour ended that night outside the oldest building in the Mississippi River Vally (and the only surviving French-colonial building in the United States), the Ursuline Convent. Back when Louisiana was still a colony, prostitution was legal in New Orleans, and the city's criminal element ran rampant, and Governor Bienville sent to France for help, help that arrived in the form of twleve nuns, who came to New Orleans to educate, set up orphanges, and help a few of the locals get religion. The nuns--and Governor Bienville--soon realized they needed respectable women (previously, only lower-class women were shipped, and they were generally full of disease, and thus they either couldn't reproduce or didn't live long enough afterwards to take care of the children) to make honest men of those who weren't, so in 1721 the first of several boatloads of girls arrived from France (a practice that would continue until 1758) in tow with their luggage...shaped in the form of a casket--and hence came known as the Casket Girls. These girls first took room in the third story of the convent.

Many of the Casket Girls didn't fare as well as hoped, and after numerous instances of abuse and rape, these girls were shipped back to France. However, their caskets were not sent back with them. After the last group of Casket Girls returned to France, all of the third-story windows were nailed shut, and for each window was used one-hundred nails--each one blessed by the Pope himself. Rumors abounded, of course, as to why these windows would need nailing shut, especially considering the heat during that time period (pre-air conditioning era), why so many, and why each needed to be blessed by the Pope himself.

In the late '70s, two reporters from The New York Times were in New Orleans, and they had heard the rumors of the Ursuline convent, so they decided to camp out in front of the convent for three nights in a row. According to their journals, the first two nights they noticed nothing, but on the third night, they looked up and noticed a window open on the third floor. This information was the last thing noted in their journals. The next day, they were found dead. Their bodies were completely empty of blood.

After hearing this story, our group made its way back to our hotel. The seniors were--naturally--straggling behind Foot Foot and me, talking amongst themselves, and one Cheyanna Dixon (seen below on the first row in the white tee-shirt), asked me if they could all return to the sidewalk in front of the convent to watch the windows. Foot Foot and I both said sure, for it was hours before curfew anyway. Foot Foot then asked us to pose for a picture before they left, as this was our last night in New Orleans. For that group seen in the picture below, it truly was their last night. We never saw them again after that moment. We still don't know where they are. We returned home alone (and, strangely enough, never went on a senior trip again, either).
Discussing these lost seniors with Foot Foot, we both grew forlorn, and we decided to cut our own family trip short. Nicholas, though, overheard some of our conversation, and he asked if he could help look for them. We told him no, but he was insistent, and he suggested we go to the harbor, that perhaps we could see them there. Well, we walked there, but we saw no sign of them.

Nicholas then told me to ask the riverboat captains if they'd be willing to give us any information. I told him I didn't think they'd know, and if they did, they might not be willing to share their knowledge, but Nicholas stated that the people on the river are happy to give. Since he was correct about the openness of shipyard skippers, I climbed aboard every ferry on that side of the Gulf of Mexico, and none had heard or seen any of our seniors. The captains did, though, agree to share with me a smoke of their pipes. They even let Nicholas steer their ships whilst they each emptied bottles of peppermint schnapps. on the river. I'm glad I listened to Nicholas, as the boat rides lifted my spirits, and I soon forgot about the lost seniors altogether. Thanks, buddy, I needed that. The Little River Band was right: it was time (at that time) for a cool change.

Refreshed, the three of us walked back to our bed minus breakfast, ate our supper of baloney and crackers, and hurried off to sleep, exhausted from all the searching and pondering. The next morning, we woke early as to get home as soon as possible. We enjoyed our stay in New Orleans, but we were homesick. We packed our luggage, and I carried all downstairs and out to the Jeep. I pulled our vehicle around front, and I waited for about fifteen minutes for Foot Foot and Nicholas. They didn't walk out with me because Foot Foot had some last minute intestinal difficulties which she had to tend to. I didn't mind the wait, though. It was nice just watching the people walk by.

They soon came to the Jeep, stepped in, and we drove away, arriving home a mere four hours later. The next day, we took the film to Wal-Mart to get developed (this was back in the day before we were able to use a digital camera). Three days later, we picked it up, and we laughed and smiled at the photographs...all except the last one. That last one is of Foot Foot and Nicholas leaving our bed minus breakfast to go home that last day. What was so disconcerting about that picture?

I didn't take it. I was in the Jeep. The camera...was with me.

The Countdown Capsule, Part V: 150-101

Now, with only one-hundred records left on my chart, I'm taking a mini-vacation as Foot Foot and I descend upon Biloxi to watch the Black Crowes and for me to freckle and get a red (as unfortunately, I can't get a tan). The chart will resume on Monday with #100.

For those of you just now catching up, here are the last fifty:
For those of you not just now catching up, here are the last fifty:

#150: "Can't Get You Out of My Head" - Kylie Minogue
#149: "Portions for Foxes" - Rilo Kiley
#148: "Mercy" - Duffy
#147: "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" - Jarvis Cocker
#146: "All of This" - Blink-182
#145: "Bullets" - Tunng
#144: "Put Your Records On" - Corinne Bailey Rae
#143: "Imitation of Life" - R.E.M.
#142: "Slow Jamz" - Jamie Foxx featuring Twista
#141: "Run to Me" - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
#140: "I Found Out" - Nathanial Mayer
#139: "Ya Ya Ya (Looking for My Baby) - Detroit Cobras
#138: "Dick in Dixie" - Hank Williams III
#137: "Gone and Went" - Bob Childers
#136: "On a Bus to St. Cloud" - Jimmy LaFave
#135: "Valerie" - Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse
#134: "Duplexes of the Dead" - Fiery Furnaces
#133: "Right Out of Your Hand" - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
#132: "Step in the Name of Love" - R. Kelly
#131: "Beloved Stranger" - Cindylee Berryhill
#130: "Hit the Ground" - Lizz Wright
#129: "Yeah" - Usher
#128: "Four Winds" - Bright Eyes
#127: "Saint Martha Blues" - Otis Taylor
#126: "Decoration Day" - Drive-By Truckers
#125: "State of Massachusetts" - Dropkick Murphys
#124: "American Skin (41 Shots)" - Bruce Springsteen
#123: "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.
#122: "A Border Tale" - Robert Earl Keen
#121: "Choctaw Bingo" - James McMurtry
#120: "Your Man" - Josh Turner
#119: "Old School" - Lyfe Jennings featuring Snoop Dogg
#118: "When the Crying Is Over" - Ian McLagan & the Bump Band
#117: "All I Wanna Do" - Jamie Lidell
#116: "Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
#115: "No One Knows" - Mark Ronson featuring Domino
#114: "No One Knows" - Queens of the Stone Age
#113: "The Sweet Escape" - Gwen Stefani
#112: "1234" - Feist
#111: "A Case of You" - Prince
#110: "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" - Mitch & Mickie
#109: "Penny & Me (Live)" - Hanson
#108: "Seven Nation Army" - White Stripes
#107: "Your Touch" - Black Keys
#106: "1, 2 Step" - Ciara featuring Missy Elliot
#105: "My Sweet Annette" - Drive-By Truckers
#104: "No Vacancy" - Subdudes
#103: "Cryin' in the Streets" - Buckwheat Zydeco
#102: "Belleville Rendez-Vous" - -M-
#101: "A Stroke of Genie-Us" - Freelance Hellraiser

The capsule list from 151-200 can be found here.
The capsule list from 201-249 can be found here.
The capsule list from 250-300 can be found here.
The capsule list from 301-333 can be found here.