July 7th, 2005


Karmic Identity

In a quirky bit of fate, semi-recently I found, in the middle of the woods, an ID belonging to some person at another University. I started to figure out how to return it to said University, but forgot about it. Then, about a week ago, I lost my own ID. I mentioned that I'm taking a shot at growing a beard, having stopped shaving about 5 days ago. Just today, tired of not being able to take the bus (and worried that I might not be able to get into work on weekends), I stopped by HR and got a new card. Unfortunately, they didn't have my old photo on file, so they took a new one... with me with a not-fully-ready beard. It looks really stupid, and at least a bit funny. As I took the card out of the HR room and looked at it, I had to increase my pace to keep my laughter to myself. It's kind of a shame, because my old CMU photo was actually pretty nice, but at least now I have something that, at least for the time being, is almost guaranteed to be able to make me laugh heartily.

Every so often, I get a bit obsessed with a song, and try to find as many versions of it as I can. Usually it's not a pop song, or if it is, it's an older song that's been covered a lot. I'm always looking for interesting mp3s/oggs of the Internationale, partly because I like what it stands for, and partly because I like the music. David Bowie's Starman is another song that I have several covers of. Right now, I'm trying to good versions of the Hebrew song commonly song for Pesach, Dayenu. I've found a few versions, but actually don't have any versions that I particularly like. The closest version I have is actually from the Miami Boys Choir, but is a version that I have a love-hate relationship with -- the arrangement is interesting, but I don't like the sound of boy choirs and they tack additional music I don't like into and after the main theme. Normally, I chop bits of songs I don't like out and reencode into OGG, but they blend into it in this recording in a way that removing it would sound odd. The next best version I have is a very good, straight, klezmerish version, but they alternate between Hebrew and English, where I'd prefer the whole thing in Hebrew. Almost without exception, when I have a foreign song that alternates its real words with English translations, the English doesn't ever really fit the song's feel (although somehow the Barry Sisters managed to pull it off with their bilingual rendition of Hava Nagilah). It almost never seems quite as strained as Weird Al's all-Japanese version of Jurassic Park, thankfully. Anyhow, if any of you have suggestions (or especially mp3/ogg files) for good recordings of Dayenu, please post a comment or drop me an email. Unless really musically interesting, I'd prefer no all-instrumental versions, and no slow swing versions please.

I also have recently been interested in punk covers of country music. NoFX's cover of Don McLean's Vincent got me interested in the idea, as I like both versions (although they're almost completely different, at least the way I listen to them). Anyone have any suggestions for other good such music? I would love, for instance, to hear a punk remake of Alan Jackson's Chattahoochie.