KingMidget's Ramblings

Pull up a chair. Let's talk.

Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Answers

In my last post, I listed a dozen lyrics that I identified as snippets from some of my favorite songs that represented the artists, and invited people to identify the songs and the artists. If you haven’t seen that post and want to take a stab go back to that post and take a look, because here come the answers…

  1. Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime. -Rush, Red Barchetta
  2. As the train rolls down the track, I say goodbye. -Melissa Etheridge, Royal Station 4/16
  3. I see a little silhouette of a man, Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the fandango! – Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody. Duh!
  4. You’re the color of the sky reflected in each store-front window pane. You’re the whispering and the sighing of my tires in the rain. -Jackson Browne, Sky Blue and Black
  5. I wish I was a trapper. I would give a thousand pelts, to sleep with Pocahontas and find out how she felt. – Neil Young, Pocahontas
  6. There’s an old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin. – Billy Joel, Piano Man
  7. Beneath the city, two hearts beat, soul engine running through a night so tender. – Bruce Springsteen, Jungleland. If he doesn’t play this song when I see him in April, I’m gonna be mighty pissed.
  8. Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. – Beatles, A Day In The Life
  9. Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air. -Eagles, Hotel California
  10. Batter swings and the summer flies. -Five for Fighting, The Riddle
  11. Mao Tse Tung said change must come, change must come from the barrel of a gun. -Alabama 3, Mao Tse Tun Said
  12. If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world? -Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

The few who replied to the original post only got the very obvious ones — 3, 6, 9,, and 12. You all need to work on your lyric identification skills!!

It’s All About The Lyric

I was driving around a few days ago and a song came on. It’s by Dave Matthews, one of those artists who has a handful of songs I really, really like, but for the most part, I stay away from. The song that came on was one of the songs I like. And … it has a line in it that is the line I always think of when I think of Dave Matthews. It his my favorite Matthews lyric. It’s from Crash Into Me and the line is:

Hike your skirt up a little more and show the world to me.

That is my Dave Matthews lyric. It brings me back to a moment when I first heard the song and that line and it’s just the one.

It got me thinking of other artists and what their one lyric is. Herewith and forthwith a list of such lyrics. I won’t tell you the artist or the song. How many of them do you know (no fair looking at Google or any other technology to help you figure them out)? And … what are your “one lyrics”?

  1. Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime.
  2. As the train rolls down the track, I say goodbye.
  3. I see a little silhouette of a man, Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the fandango!
  4. You’re the color of the sky reflected in each store-front window pane. You’re the whispering and the sighing of my tires in the rain.
  5. I wish I was a trapper. I would give a thousand pelts, to sleep with Pocahontas and find out how she felt.
  6. There’s an old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin.
  7. Beneath the city, two hearts beat, soul engine running through a night so tender.
  8. Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head.
  9. Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air.
  10. Batter swings and the summer flies.
  11. Mao Tse Tung said change must come, change must come from the barrel of a gun.
  12. If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Okay, that’s enough for now. I could go on and on with this. Which ones do you recognize? Some should be easy, some are pretty obscure.

Chicken & Waffles

Last December, I visited my sister in Florida. While there, the Queen and I spent a day at Epcot.

At one point, while she went to the bathroom, I waited in line for some ice cream. As I tend to do in such situations, I started listening in on the conversation of the two young women in front of me.

One confessed that she had never tried pumpkin pie and questioned whether she should try it. She had sweet potato pie in the past, but never pumpkin. Her friend insisted she needed to try pumpkin pie.

Being the intrusive buttinsky that I am, I chimed in concurred with the friend and demanded the woman needed to try pumpkin pie at the first available opportunity.

What followed is the reason I occasionally do this. A wonderful conversation with two young African-American women about food and what we liked and didn’t like. A way to connect instead of to walk around oblivious to those around me.

By the time the Queen returned, we had reached an agreement. She would try pumpkin pie and I would try … chicken and waffles, a dish she liked that I had never tried.

When I returned from Florida, I was committed to getting g some chicken and waffles. A dish that never made sense to me. I was hoping to go to South, an iconic restaurant here in Sacramento that served popular southern food. But they closed, and I was adrift. I did t want to try just any ol’ chicken and waffles. I wanted it to be good.

Today, I had lunch at Bawk!, a chicken sandwich (and other things) restaurant recently opened by the owners of Urban Roots, a local brewery that also has a Smokehouse and BBQ.

And here you go …

Another thing about this dish … I’ve never been a huge fried chicken fan. It’s not very high on my list of favorite foods. It may actually not be anywhere on that list.

But … this wasn’t bad. The chicken was tasty, with just a hint of spice, and with a little drizzle of syrup scattered around for a little bit of sweet, it actually was a decent combination of flavors.

I may actually have this dish again.

Now … I just wonder if she tried pumpkin pie and what she thought of it.

Things I Learned This Weekend

There was a time when I enjoyed an occasional trip to a casino to play blackjack. Back when the tables still ran with a single deck and you could find tables with $5 minimum bets. I’ve never been a high roller, typically walking in with somewhere between $40 and $100. I viewed that money as spent. Anything I walked away with was a win. I had a few outings where I walked away with more money than I started with. And my favorite time was on an Alaskan cruise when I played blackjack every opportunity I had. I started with $100 and played for hours and hours during the week on that boat and I walked away with $100.

These days, I think I’m done with the whole thing. Part of is how casinos have become commonplace. 35 years ago, the only casinos were those in Nevada (and Atlantic City, of course) and I only played once every year or two when I’d be in Tahoe. Now, I think there are at least a half dozen Indian casinos within an hour of my home. In the last year, we’ve visited a casino in Lake Tahoe in June and a few months before that, one in Pahrump, Nevada.

Last night we went to the newest casino. It’s just 10 minutes from home. The Queen, who has developed something close to an addiction to slot machines (it’s not quite, but it’s close), wanted to go there. We had dinner and then she went to find “the right” slot machine. I proceeded to walk around the place, assaulted by the crowds and the noise and the bright lights of the slot machines. They are all bright and shiny and full of garish colors that fill the space.

Before I started walking around, I looked in my wallet. I had $50. I thought that if I could find a $5 or $10 table I might give it a try. For the heck of it. But no. Most of the tables had a minimum bet of $25, with a few that were a $15 minimum. That would give me three hands to try my luck. And all of the tables had multiple deck shoes and shufflers hidden under the table. It’s so not worth it. So, I just walked a few circuits of the casino while the Queen made her $80 contribution to the slot machines.

I hope I don’t go back. I don’t want to. It’s just not the thing I want to do these days. I’m done with casinos.

* * * * * *

The next two things come courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine. A few years I started subscribing to National Geographic and Smithsonian because I missed the days of getting magazines in the mail. NG lapsed but I have kept up with Smithsonian. Each issue gives me something to think about. The most recent issue offered two such things.

First, an article about the legend of King Arthur. I am not an expert in Arthurian history. Honestly, the only real connection or knowledge I have of King Arthur is primarily fueled by Monty Python and their movie The Holy Grail. So, I was somewhat surprised when I started reading the article and discovered that it was about the controversy over whether King Arthur ever even existed. Well, now I’m educated on the issue.

But here’s what struck me … according to the article, the legend of King Arthur began to develop somewhere around 400 – 600 A.D. There were multiple sources for the development of the legend and historians now believe that the legend was developed to serve political purposes. The different sources added different bits to the legend to create the image of King Arthur that exists today. For instance, they didn’t all mention the Lady in the Lake and the sword Excalibur, but some did, so that became a part of the legend.

Reading that I can’t help but to think of another timeless tale that was developing around the same time. Where multiple sources contributed different aspects of the mythology that was created around a central figure. With there being political reasons for the myth that was being created and where there were elements that defied human possibility. Maybe that other thing is just as much a false legend as King Arthur is?

* * * * * *

The second thing and what I “learned” from it is going to annoy some of you, so buckle up.

There was an article about a fossil field in Wyoming where some incredibly intact fossils of animals that lived there millions of years ago have been found. At one point in the article, they mention that around 50 million years ago Wyoming was a humid muggy swamp much like Florida today. Anybody who knows Wyoming today knows that it is the exact opposite. Wind swept prairies, plenty of snow in the winter. Just about the furthest thing from a muggy swamp.

Which leads me to climate change. I don’t quibble with the idea that we are experiencing something called “climate change” on Mother Earth. I might also agree that there are some human actions that have impacted that change. What I quibble with is whether there is anything we can actually do about it.

Climate change is actually a fundamental part of life on Earth. All one has to do is remember that there have been multiple ice ages over millions of years to recognize this. Earth goes through regular and never-ending cycles of heating and warming. One ice age resulted in an ice sheet covering North America. One ice age saw ice reach almost to the equator. In the last 2 million years, there have been 17 glacial cycles, with the most recent one starting 110,000 years ago and ending 25,000 years ago. Which means we have been in a warming cycle for 25,000 years — far longer than human activity could have had any impact on the climate.

I get the fear climate change causes. I feel it as well. How far will the seas rise before the cycle reverses? How many floods will there be? Or droughts? Monster storms? Will humanity go to war with itself as water dries up in some areas while rivers and seas run rampant in others? It’s a very real threat to all of us. But I’m gonna put my money on Mother Nature instead of the possibility of a fractured humanity coming together and using ingenuity and technology to change this cycle. Mother Nature will reverse this cycle when she is ready to do so and not a moment sooner.

I get it, we need to believe that we can stop this thing. It’s very possible we cannot.

You Can’t Make This Up

I’m working on publishing a couple of things. For the first time, in my 10+ years of indie publishing, I’m abandoning Amazon’s publishing platform — Kindle Direct Publishing. I’m not a fan of their near monopoly, how they treat indie writers, and how going with them limits my options to place my books with other retailers.

After a bit of research and trial and error, I published my novella The Basement via Draft2Digital last month. The ebook was published early in August and the paperback was finalized at the end of the month. The ebook is available on just about every ebook platform there is and the paperback will eventually be available on Amazon, B&N, and other on-line retailers. Going with D2D also makes it more possible for libraries and indie bookstores to stock the book.

Once I got that done, I moved on to a new short story collection — Killing Berthold Gambrel. I submitted the cover and content to D2D and got a message from D2D that Amazon would not carry the book. Why? Because I acknowledge in the front matter and in the blurb that many of the stories have appeared on my blog, and Amazon has a policy to not publish anything that is available for free or for a lower price elsewhere on the internet. I could quibble with this and point out that the book isn’t actually available on my blog, but … whatever. Fine.

Then, I noticed an interesting thing happening on the pricing for The Basement on Amazon. My list price for the novella is $9.99. If I had set it any lower, I would have had a negative royalty. What has Amazon done with that price? It has priced the book above my list price every day since it became available on Amazon. The last couple of days, the price for the paperback on Amazon has been $13.40. Which means … drum roll, please … while refusing to publish my short story collection because some of the stories are available for free on my blog, they are pricing my novella on their site so that it is more expensive there than anywhere else.

I can’t help but feel that they are doing this because I didn’t publish through them. They have never priced any of the books I published through KDP above my list price. Never. But, all of a sudden, with my first book through a different publishing platform … let’s price it more than $3.00 above that list price.

Meanwhile … California announced yesterday that they are suing Amazon for how it treats its third party sellers, including what I’ve just described above. I hope they succeed in shutting down this practice. Amazon is one of the worst corporations in America today — it is anti-competitive, monopolistic, and treats the people who use their platform as just another cog in the wheel.

%d bloggers like this: