Monday, April 2, 2018

Darling Be Home Soon Acoustic Cover

Darling Be Home Soon by John Sebastian

Here's where I ruin that John Sebastian song everyone likes.

I think this song is usually sung much more upbeat than the words tell it to be. John Sebastian performed it on a lark at Woodstock, which I think is so cool. He just happened to be backstage and they needed an acoustic act, so he grabbed a guitar, took the scaffold, and happened to have Darling Be Home Soon in his head from his days with Lovin' Spoonful (they'd recently broken up).

He tells the whole story in this awesome book I love.

I enjoy the idea that all a person wants is to talk with his lover while she's away. I'm kind of going through this with someone right now. All I can really imagine is lying in bed and discussing and hatching adventures we can go on together.

I hope my interpretation conveys that feeling a little more than the original. 

Achy Breaky Heart

Achy Breaky Heart Acoustic Cover

Here's where I ruin that Billy-Ray Cyrus song everyone liked. I always thought it would be better as a sad song because the lyrics are really a downer. It reads like what you would write if you were making fun of an old-fashioned country break-up song.

I especially like all the poetic turns the song makes around body parts in general and fingers/lips in particular.

You can tell my lips to tell my fingertips they won't be reaching out for you no more.
And then
You can tell your brother Cliff whose fist can tell my lip he never liked me anyway.

That's pretty golden because it rhymes both halves of the song in a way that links them thematically and gives your brain a little flash of slanted recollection. It's a neat little song, and even though it does not stand up to the test of time, I can see why it was such a huge success.

Podcast Episode 5 recorded in Japan

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Snoopy Museum Tokyo


You're speaking Japanese Charlie Brown
The Peanuts are a part of the American experience. It has helped shaped almost everyone born in the last century, and maybe it will continue to, but who knows? When my friend who is really into Snoopy told me she wished she could go with me to Japan so she could go to the Snoopy Museum, I felt I had to go out of obligation. I doubted whether I would enjoy it since I didn't consider myself a huge fan who needed to make the trek to another museum about another comic, but I remember how much I loved seeing the Tin Tin museum in Europe years ago, and figured I'd give it a go. I'm glad I did.

A little surprise twist pulling the exhibit together
The Snoopy Museum is one of the most heart-string-pullingest exhibits I've ever seen. It's called Love is Wonderful, and it dives deep into the relationships between the characters of Charles Shulz's famous comic strip. It becomes aparent that it could also have been called Love is a Toturous Beast Forcing You to Die Alone. But it saves you from that with cute imagery and real hand-drawn comics and an incredible layout. There's a part when you turn a corner and realize there are cuts in the walls that frame a picture of Shulz and his sweetheart, an image you walk past in the beginning, so you're looking back on a love story in someone else's life much like you do in your own, and contemplate how his experiences colored his iconic work.

It gave me goosebumps.

Gift shop totally packed

They even have a kite-eating tree

Snoopy through the ages
You're a foodtruck Charlie Brown

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

Missing You (John Waite) Sky Jack Cover

In the 80's John Waite belted out this bad boy for one of the greatest songs of his era. It was his biggest hit, and he's still singing it. He even did a country version with Alison Krauss. Tina Turner did a version of it in the 90's that I always thought was kind of an Ike burn song. It's been covered a million times. Brooks and Dunne, Rod Stewart, and tons of others have done it. I hate pretty much all the covers, including even the Alison Krauss duet. It always sounds overly earnest or over-produced or just too loud.

I think it tracks better as a stripped down sad and quiet song. You could argue that a belting lament is always welcome on a record, but I'd say the song's too good for that.

I love how old-fashioned it is. It mentions long-distance lines, which is so funny because there's no such thing anymore. It reminds me of how hard (and expensive) it was to have a long-distance relationship back in the day when you could barely hear someone through the static of a long-distance phone call. You might as well send a telegraph to be clear. So he sends his lover's soul a telegraph! That's really funny and sappy and such a true feeling for a little pop song.

I love how he admits to lying to himself and how he confesses to his hyperbolic desperation. The confessional parts of the song are simply great because they're intimate and relate-able.

Anyway, here's my sad version of it. I'm noticing myself looking down a lot in these videos. I'm looking at the microphone. It looks like I'm reading or something, but the whole point of me doing these is to really live in the songs, so I memorize the lyrics and change them a little when I sing. I do actually care for you to know that I'm not reading these lines. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tea Time with Sky Jack: The Bro Episode

I've uploaded the latest installment of Tea Time with Sky Jack, the Bropisode. It's about bros, #MeToo, opium, tea, and how political movements succeed. There's also some talk about what I'm liking right now, like this book:

Friday, February 23, 2018

What's the Best Island Whisky


In my early twenties, I moved from Hannover to Karlsruhe. Hannover is notorioulsy Germany's grayest city, so I moved to Germany's sunniest city. Supposedly, Karlsruhe was inspired by the sun's rays shining through branches as the prince napped beneath them. He woke up and planned "Sonnenstadt" setting up the streets to emanate from the palace like sunbeams. He called it Karl's rest, but many called it sun city and still do. Some even say it has ties to sun worship and the occult.

Karlsruhe 1721

There's a grave in the middle of the city that looks like a pyramid. Inside is the prince. It's one of those cities city planners, transit designers, and architects know about. I taught English around town and spent most evenings at a pub called Flynn's Inn.

Dave Flynn was a guy who traveled around the world opening Irish pubs for other people until he got sick of that and opened his own pub in Karlsruhe. Flynn's Inn was where every English-speaker in town congregated. It was home base. Dave was a whisky nut and had a secret stash from Kildare and other parts of Ireland he'd share with regulars and friends.

I think it's safe to say I knew almost nothing about whisky before knowing Dave Flynn.

One of the bartenders, Simon, a kind Irish poet, rented a room from me for a while. And even though I never had any money, Dave took good care of me and even let me take advantage of some whisky tastings. At one of those tastings I had a glass of my all-time favorite Scotch: Scapa 12-year.

It tasted like a little bit of peat mixed with the sea and grass of Scottland. I couldn't get enough. It transported me to windswept cliffs. I got really romantic about this Scotch. The host of the tasting told me they let Scapa Flow flood the distillery every year and do nothing about it. I can't find any evidence of this online, but I like the legend, so I'm going to keep repeating it until the distillers write me and tell me to stop.

My last night in Germany was spent in Flynn's Inn surrounded by friends I'd mostly never see again.

Stateside, I almost never found Scapa, but when I did I flipped out (I found it at the Franklin in Vegas and nearly drank them out of it). And when I was in Europe I usually sniffed some out. Their 12-year tasted like an 18 and brought me back to unknown shores. Little did I know Scapa produced no new juice from 1994 to 2004.

Now there's the Orcadian, widely available at least in the western states.

The Orcadian is a smooth and super-quaffable 16-year. It's all honey and salt and citrus, and so delicious it's hard to compare it to anything the same age. That seems to be the magic of this distillery: everything tastes much older than its age statement claims. That means it's a bargain because something of similar quality with an older statement is usually MUCH more expensive. Also, they claim that their angel's share is far less in comparison to other distilleries because of their location. Scapa is on the bank of Scapa Flow, and they're the second-most northern distillery in Scotland (Highland Park has them beat by half a mile).

The new packaging screaming for Americans to love them makes me think I'll be able to get this for a while into the future. And it's pretty and blue and has a little boat on it, and I love it. 

I miss their 12-year. That might be just my nostalgia. I love the Orcadian and want to drink more of it and tell my stories of my expatriate days when the only place I could speak English was with the other foreigners at Flynn's.

I don't know what happened to his spot in Karlsuhe, but Dave Flynn has a Flynn's Inn in Bonn now, and I hope to visit him some day. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tea Time with Sky Jack: The Love Episode

The Love Episode explores entropy, inertia, shutting down suitors, standing up dates, and repeat victimization.
Also available on iTunes, Google Music, Stitcher, and Spotify.