Thursday, October 25, 2007

Car Dance

We drove out for lunch at work today, as well as running some errands for Halloween. Earlier in the day Sarah and I had chatted about the show Pushing Daisies. The show is... unlike most anything else on tv. It is saccharine-sweet.... you could become diabetic watching it. But it is also visually stunning, the writing has layers and layers and layers of clever asides and references, and it tackles issues of morality and mortality with subtlety. Well, subtle for network tv. It's been called a "forensic fairy tale," since it has murder mystery, romantic, comic, and fabulist elements.

One particular element of the most recent episode caught my attention, and was the reason it came up at work. One line of dialog ran "You don't need a birdhouse. You can build a birdhouse in your soul" (trust me, it made sense in the context of the show). Fans of the band They Might Be Giants will immediately recognize this from the second song on the 1990 album Flood. So over the commercials, I can't help but hum the song. And when the show comes back, two of the characters (both played by talented Broadway songstresses) are singing that very song in the backseat of a car on the way to visit a windmill. Students of literature will find two more layers here: The name They Might Be Giants comes from a George C. Scott movie of the same name, about a man who thinks he's Sherlock Holmes and solves murders. But the term originally refers to Don Quixote, who tilted at windmills because "they might be giants."

The point, beyond the cleverness of the writing, is I've been a fan of They Might Be Giants for many years now. And as Sarah, Zina, and I drove to lunch, and the conversation continued, I mentioned I had all of their albums on my iPod there in the car. Naturally, the song was quickly queued up. And we ended up singing along with it. I never sing when other people are in the car... but I always sing when I drive alone (and with some songs, I do the car dance). So that was something interesting and new.

And speaking of music, I want to recommend, again, the Avett Brothers album Four Thieves Gone. I especially like "Talk on Indolence," "Distraction #74" and "Matrimony." It's like a punk band that grew up in Appalachia. And if you like punk, can I interest you in some choir music? The Blue Ribbon Glee Club is a group in Chicago that does a Capella covers of Fugazi and The Clash. Check out the live version of the Pixies' "Where is My Mind."

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