NOW: It's hot here, mid-90s, damn hot for western Washington -- 95 here is like 105 in Idaho. The nights especially remind me of Idaho -- warm but dry, not hideous. It could be worse -- it could be way muggier. But the days are like an oven. There's at least one more 90-degree day coming before summer gives up here. And all the people who were whining that it rained too much in June and July are screaming for relief now.
COMING UP: My 57th birthday is tomorrow, and to celebrate I'll be spending my weekend in Portland, Ore., location of what I'm assured is the World's Biggest Used Bookstore. If I survive that, I'm told there's at least one decent record store in town, too. And I'll be spending all weekend with the woman I love, the best birthday present of all. Can't wait.
NEXT: After Birthday Weekend, I'm scheduled to work the next 12 nights in a row leading up to Labor Day. A couple of those will be longer work-nights than normal. Can't wait. Have been stocking up on new music in preparation for this upcoming stretch. I ain't no spring chicken however, and with the heat most customers at work seem even more pushy than usual. I'm a little pushy these days myself, but I'm trying to watch it.
If things should get too crazy or exhausting at work, you may see an Interruption In Service here at the Back-Up Plan, but I will be doing my best to carry on....
LISTENING: To keep myself sane, have been listening to lots of Aretha Franklin and Steely Dan. Have especially gotten into the choruses of the Dan's "Dirty Work": "I don't want to do your dirty work no more/I'm a fool to do your dirty work, oh yeah." I probably should have been fired years ago. That and the silly non-sequitur comedy of "Pretzel Logic." The angry guitar and lyrics in "Don't Take Me Alive." And of course nobody can top Aretha.
Speaking of non-sequiturs, right now am listening to the Firesign Theatre's SHOES FOR INDUSTRY! best-of. Sometimes unaccountably hilarious. I laugh for reasons I can't explain. The Theatre's DON'T CRUSH THAT DWARF HAND ME THE PLIERS is an old high-school favorite of mine, the greatest comedy album of all time, even if you're not stoned. And this best-of features a big slug of it, thank Ghod, or Columbia/Legacy, or whoever. But I can't stand "Nick Danger."
READING: Trying to read Clive Davis's THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE (2012). I really enjoyed his much-earlier CLIVE: INSIDE THE RECORD BUSINESS, especially the parts where he tried to take credit for EVERYONE'S success while he was running Columbia Records in the '60s and '70s.
Hey, maybe Clive DID edit and splice-together all those great early Chicago hits. SOMEBODY had to. I can just hear him telling the band, "Guys, if you take out all the dead horn parts and useless solos, you might just have something GOOD here." Too bad he couldn't save stuff like "Just You 'n' Me" or "Saturday in the Park." But at least he let them get away with stuff like "In Terms of Two" and "Critic's Choice."
Clive seems much more modest and much less self-serving in SOUNDTRACKS. But I'm only 10 chapters in, so there's plenty of time for that to change....