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Tuesday, October 02, 2007
(11:52 PM) | Stephen:

-Bruce Springsteen's latest album, Magic, came out today. It is, of course, a great album. Everything Springsteen does is incredible, even the stuff you don't like. Here's what I really appreciate about Bruce: his songs have strong messages, but he doesn't beat you over the head with them. It's a rare talent, one I don't share of course, which may be why I admire it so much. For example, take a look at Your Own Worst Enemy:
You can't sleep at night
You can't dream your dream
Your fingerprints on file
Left clumsily at the scene

Your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come to town

Yesterday the people were at ease
Baby slept in peace
You closed your eyes and saw her
You knew who you were

Now your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come
Your world keeps turnin' 'round and 'round
But everything is upside down
Your own worst enemy has come to town

There's a face you know
Staring back from the shop window
The condition you're in
Now you just can't get out of this skin

The times they got too clear
So you removed all the mirrors
Once the family felt secure
Now no one's very sure

Your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come
Everything is falling down
Your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come
Everything is falling down
Your own worst enemy has come to town

Your flag it flew so high
It drifted into the sky
My song dealing with the same subject would go thusly:


That's why Bruce Springsteen is Bruce Springsteen, and I'm not.

-In other music news, Radiohead has a new album coming out on the 10th. The only way to get it is to go to their website and either order a CD - which won't come until December - or download it. Here's the thing, though: you decide how much to pay. It's a badly needed shot of whimsy in an industry that is, well, very industrial right now.

-In still more music news, I adore Kelly Clarkson. I don't generally go in for her type of music, but my daughter does, and Clarkson's songs are certainly better than pretty much anything else you can listen to in that genre. Plus, she refuses to lose weight to silence all the critics who continually call her fat. She's not fat, of course, she's beautiful. But that doesn't matter, because she wears clothes that actually come in a size. Also, she stood up to her label to release the album she wanted, not the one they wanted. Good stuff all around.

-Moving on to other things, let me be the latest person to say that when I ask a clerk, "How are you," I don't really care. Normally I'm the most empathetic person in the world. Anyone tears up in front of me, I start to cry. Normally, I really do care. But while I understand how work can be a pain, you are at least getting paid to deal with me. I'm asking how you are because our culture doesn't have very many greetings. So when you're scanning my groceries and we exchange pleasantries, you need to recognize that I'm not telling you how I didn't sleep last night because my son woke up a bunch, or that I accidentally missed a dose of my antidepressants, which means I just lost about 3 years of progress in that area, or that I have a raging sinus infection. No, I just say that I'm doing fine, and I expect the same from you. I don't care if you're tired. We're all tired. When I worked in retail, I didn't let on to my customers what was going on in my life.

-Yesterday at the end of dinner I wet my finger and started tracing it around the edge of my wine glass. It took me a while to get it right - I always forget to press hard enough - but after a few minutes I was able to produce a very clear, very loud tone. My son thought it was great and kept trying to find out where the sound was coming from. My daughter looked at me as if I were a wizard. It was cool.

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