Tag Archives: The Streak

Lame that tune

I’m back from the beach, where my husband and I enjoyed a few days with some long-time friends. We came home with sand in our shoes, color on our cheeks, some soft ice cream stains and a terrific new game.

Our friends made up this game, which was great fun. I encourage you to play it, but one of the creators is a prominent intellectual property lawyer, so you’d best not steal the idea.

The homespun dinner table game offers the best in musical entertainment, laughter and profound humiliation.

Each person staying in the house was asked to bring his or her MP3 player to the table and hand it over to the leader. We had 10 players. One by one, each person’s song list was set on Shuffle and three songs were played—at random; for the benefit of the Podless, that’s what “shuffle” means.

I believe, anthropologically speaking, that our iPods are telling relics, revealing much about our true selves. And admit it, don’t we all have one or two songs in our libraries that we’d rather not have anyone discover?

Well, that’s the point of the game, and somehow the Shuffle function can bore right through to that one song that reveals to your loved ones—and the fellow dinner guests you’ve just met—your inner pathetic dweeb.

So here’s how it works. The first player, who happened to be I the other night, surrenders her iPod to the leader, who pops it into the speaker system. When a song comes on, the rest of the group gives it a thumbs up, thumbs down or some sort of gesture that in essence means, make it stop—now. It’s a little like Pandora Radio. We all decided that the make-it-stop option should be limited to three per voter, as some people are natural-born critics.

My first song was a little lame. It was Chris Isaak’s version of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” As uncoolness goes, I’d hoped Chris Isaak and Neil Diamond would cancel each other out. Turns out, in a group where half the members were over 50 and the other half under 27, I wasn’t so lucky. Thumbs down. Shuffle stopped at my second song, Heart’s “Crazy on You,” which nearly everyone agreed is one of the best songs ever. Saved. Number three killed me. It was Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.”*  ‘Nuf said. (Don’t look, Ethel!)

A few other players were almost as exposed and embarrassed. The hostess blushed as her device found “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The group agreed that my husband took the prize with Claudine Longet’s “Lazy Summer Night.” Who remembers Claudine Longet? The elder half of our group remembered Ms. Longet–her having been married to Andy Williams and having been convicted of fatally shooting her Olympic skier boyfriend and having been with the family at Robert Kennedy’s assassination and funeral.

The younger half of the table was busy banging out a drum chorus of “Make it stop.”

Try the game at your next dinner party and let me know how it goes.

*In the meantime, who’s old enough remember “The Streak?” Who’d like to hear a real life story about 1973’s fleeting pastime?

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Sing me a story

Attention MP3 users: Do you have a unique, themed playlist in your music library that you think is really nifty?

Recently a friend and I were comparing notes on how we collect and organize music. In so doing, we discovered a shared fondness for songs that tell stories.

Some might call these ballads but the pop music scene of decades ago really expanded the definition. I was a product of the 1960s and 1970s and, as such, I am only slightly ashamed to lay claim to some of the corniest and most obnoxious “music,” as well as time-honored and clever classics, as the soundtrack of my formative years.

My iPod library houses more than 50 themed playlists, but one I especially enjoy is called, simply, “Stories.” As someone who enjoys words put together artfully, along with good narration, my love of stories should come as no surprise.

“Stories” begins with one of the most famous, “Alice’s Restaurant.” I know people who listen to it once a year as part of their Thanksgiving traditions. Personally, I need it more often. If you’re having a rough day and have 18 minutes and 37 seconds to spare, perhaps on your commute home, give it a listen. It’ll take you way back and give you a chuckle at the same time. And I suspect you have at least parts of it memorized.

Here are a few others, old and new, and at least one added at my friend’s suggestion. I am betting there are some you haven’t thought about in 30 or 40 years, or maybe haven’t heard altogether.

“A Boy Named Sue,” Johnny Cash

“Big John,” Jimmy Dean

“Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road,” Loudoun Wainwright III

“Henry,” New Riders of the Purple Sage

“Junk Food Junkie,” Larry Groce

“King Tut,” Steve Martin

“Sic ‘Em on a Chicken,” Zac Brown

“Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

“The Streak,” Ray Stevens

“Uneasy Rider,” The Charlie Daniels Band (one of my favorites)

“When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” Jerry Reed

“30,000 Pounds of Bananas,” Harry Chapin

I am still building the playlist.  Have any suggestions?

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