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Recording vs. Note Taking

I spoke last night as the guest of the Charlotte Writers’ Club about my career as a nonfiction writer (and the strange places it’s taken me sometimes), and fielded some excellent questions about the craft of the job. (It was a lively crew of people–if you’re an aspiring writer in Charlotte, you should check it […]

posted 18 September 2019 in Tasty Bits. no comments yet

Brief Blunt Blows

The mix CD is a dying art, if not dead. (Not quite as buried as the classic 90-minute cassette tape mix, I suppose.) I was surprised to discover that it had been over a decade since I compiled Short Sharp Shocks, a collection of 42 songs on a single disc, all of them under two […]

posted 4 September 2019 in Tasty Bits. no comments yet

Album Initials Quiz

Can you identify famous albums just from the initials of their titles? For example, presented with H. O. T. H., can you puzzle out that we’re talking about Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy? (I leave it to you to decide whether the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back is a subtle Zep […]

posted 14 October 2015 in Tasty Bits. 4 comments

Parenthetical Rock Quiz

Can you recognize song titles just from the sections that are in parentheses? If I throw “(She’s So Heavy)” at you, do you know the artist is the Beatles and the complete title is “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”? Given “(Into the Black),” can you come back with Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My […]

posted 10 July 2015 in Tasty Bits. 3 comments

Top Five Third Songwriters

Some bands have one primary songwriter. Others hash out most of their songs collaboratively (or pretend to), so you can’t really tell who’s contributing what. But a relatively unusual situation is when a group has three distinct songwriters: often two of them will be working in partnership, either artistic (e.g. the Beatles) or romantic (e.g. […]

posted 8 October 2014 in Tasty Bits. 5 comments

Happiness is Obiter Dicta

I realized the other day that Antonin Scalia is a real-life Lucy Van Pelt: the funniest and meanest member of the gang, happy to make up facts as necessary, a fussbudget before all else. So what are the other parallels between the sitting members of the Supreme Court and the Peanuts kids? Anthony Kennedy is […]

posted 16 September 2014 in Tasty Bits. no comments yet

#1 Billboard Comedy Albums

Congratulations to “Weird Al” Yankovic, who just topped the Billboard charts with his latest album, Mandatory Fun. I’ve seen some sources claim it’s the first comedy album to top the chart since 1960, when Bob Newhart unleashed the monster hit that was The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (14 weeks at #1!). In fact, there […]

posted 23 July 2014 in Tasty Bits. 2 comments

Historic Billy Joel Update

It turns out that the historic Billy Joel announcement was actually that he’s going to be doing a monthly concert at Madison Square Garden for the foreseeable future: at least four months, very possibly thirty or more. And here I was hoping that he’d reveal that Sgt. O’Leary, who at night becomes a bartender, is […]

posted 5 December 2013 in Tasty Bits. no comments yet

Billy Joel Historic Announcement

Twitter can be fun. Billy Joel is set to make a "historic announcement" next week. We speculate wildly: http://t.co/DgMN3ykxkC — Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) November 26, 2013 Brenda & Eddie: back together RT @RollingStone Billy Joel is set to make a "historic announcement" next week. http://t.co/jBVYLZrCV1 — rob sheffield (@robsheff) November 26, 2013 Sgt O'Leary trading […]

posted 27 November 2013 in Tasty Bits. 1 comment

R.I.P. River Phoenix

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of River Phoenix’s death. I’ve known this day was coming for many months, ever since I started working on writing Last Night at the Viper Room last year, and yet today I find myself surprised and saddened all over again. I just wanted to take a quiet moment out of […]

posted 31 October 2013 in Tasty Bits. 1 comment