Practice vs Process: Respect The Odds

I always believed it was possible: this strange yet wonderful creative life.

Many will enter and few will win.

(During Jordan’s era how many great NBA players played their heart and their guts out to repeatedly taste setbacks? Making it to the NBA is a good accomplishment: those are long odds. Yet that’s a goal; not the goal. There’s way more to do after you arrive. So much more. Making it is great but it’s not the end and only goal.)

I know the odds though I do not respect the odds. Which I suppose makes me odd.

Be odd and ignore the odds.


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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Welcome to Haddonfield, Illinois: Halloween

So yeah SiriusXM has this horror channel Scream Radio whose programming includes popular mainstream hits (Thriller!), beloved sound effects and of course scary score music like the iconic Halloween theme song.

I drop by the channel every so often because tis the season. Today though I caught the beginning of Carpenter’s Halloween theme song. At first I was like oh hell no and I reached out to the dial but I paused before switching away.

Then I pulled my hand away.

Partly to face my fears: tis the season right?

But really I was driving and I’ve never heard that song while driving. Driving defines a lot of popular music: there’s something about that action of getting in your car even if you’re just driving to the dentist that makes a song truly pop. Especially in the Summer…windows down system up.

Sometimes when I hear a brand new song I think it’s fun but I wanna hear it while I’m driving. Driving is like melted cheese. I dunno why but it just makes it taste better. And road trips are of course synonymous with playlists.

So feeling as dumb as the big breasted chick in a tight white tank top going down to investigate that strange sound from the basement I left the Halloween theme song on.

Only I was driving through suburban neighborhoods. Through 2 school zones which meant slowing down. This chilled wind sailed through the trees plucking Fall tinted leaves so they swirled in the air in large sweeping circles like a drunk Superman. A young lady was out for a walk with her dog…it was all normal and yet so eerie…cruising. Driving slowly through the hood.

It felt way too menacing.

Fun Fact? “John Carpenter showed Halloween to an executive before it was finished. He showed the movie without the music. The executive didn’t find it to be scary at all. After the film was released, and she saw it, she changed her mind, an indication of how much Carpenter’s score adds to the film’s atmosphere.”

Nah man that was unsettling like eating slightly spoiled Subway. I now understand why a tagline for the 78 original was: “everyone is entitled to one good scare.” Indeed. Never doing that again even if it’s tis the season.

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Kanye West Is Not A Lone Wolf

So according to Pitchfork Kanye West held another Donda livestream event last night; so smart. He’s making an album release an experience. It’s been too long since we had sonic fun like that.

Yet one of the songs Jail used to have a Jay-Z verse and now it was replaced with a verse from DaBaby (seems like a downgrade but whatever…).

Kanye has done this for 2 or 3 albums now he never releases finished songs. He’s often tinkering. (Granted Part 1: if it was anyone but Kanye this would be annoying. He’s got the skills and talents to justify tinkering.)

I wrestle with Kanye’s creative penchant for alternative versions. We talk about him like we do every other artist and that’s a lie we’re not all on the same page. A theatrical release is mainstream…we can have a conversation about that because we all consumed the exact same product. We like it, hate it, are indifferent to it etc.

(Granted Part 2: When bands perform a song live they can do whatever…acoustic, duets etc. and that’s dope too. I don’t mind those live versions because…they’re live versions.)

Like I heard 2 or maybe 3 versions of Wolves. I like the song…some version at least but I dunno which version you’ve heard. Or me…I dunno which version I’ve heard either.

Like this is Wolves

The original album version featured a rap from West and a moody outro from Frank Ocean, which replaced Vic Mensa and Sia’s verses. Ok great.

Then…an alternate version including Frank Ocean, Vic Mensa, and Sia. Unlike the album version, Frank Ocean’s outro is featured at the start of the song, and West’s rap is omitted. Ok sure.

Then…in March 2016, over a month after the album’s release (The Life of Pablo), West updated the album’s Tidal tracklist with a reworked version of Wolves, which includes the previously removed vocals from Vic Mensa and Sia. Ok I’m tired.

I like Wolves but I no longer know which version I’ve heard or like. Or how to recommend and share Wolves with you.

(Granted Part 3: I can accept songs are never finished; they’re “abandoned.” Maybe the revisiting makes the songs better? It’s certainly easier to do since it’s all digital. Band used to put out a physical record…it’s a literal record…it’s sealed. Like court documents. It’s…on the record.)

It certainly speaks to Kanye’s boundless creativity…dude is restless yet he successfully assembled a malleable passionate fan base that will follow him down these dark roads. It’s impressive. And slightly exhausting.

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

The Sonic Detective & The Case of The Great White Buffalo

We all have those sonic Great White Buffalos: unknown songs…sound fragments, misheard lyrics that we collect over decades of consuming pop culture. Like that utility drawer in every kitchen: cartoon bursting with…who knows what. Mostly likely dead batteries.

I finally resolved one of those Great White Buffalos today. So glad I got up and out of bed; well that was worth it.

This is Edith Piaf…it’s the classic French/Paris song that plays in every American movie to cue the audience the main characters will now be eating baguettes and watching lovely lithe Parisian girls on bicycles drift by…like wheeled gazelles.

The lyrics for Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien are in French. There was no way I was gonna sing this to google.

Well: I feel like a detective in an 80s TV show…case closed! Until next week…

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p.s. All due respect to Hot Tub Time Machine for the use of Great While Buffalo.

Rick Rubin Is So Not Stay Puft

Wow! Found Ghostbusters the good one…the original 84 on a movie channel (almost right at the start!!).

And I just noticed that the comedy/vibe of this movie mirrors the Beastie Boys Sabotage video with a dash of Intergalactic’s uniforms.

The vibe/style overlap:

Mike D is Bill Murray/Venkman

Ad-Rock is Dan Aykroyd/Stantz

Adam Yauch is Harold Ramis/Spengler.

Right?!

If you wanna toss in Kate Schellenbach you got Sigourney Weaver. (I am not in any way suggesting Rick Rubin is Stay Puft though he has been a giant in music.)

It’s the same humour; same sarcasm, same foolishness…Ghostbusters is a 2 hour Beastie Boys video. Yo! Think about this and get back to me.


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INXS VS U2

This is just fascinating. On January 7th I interviewed Richard Lowenstein who directed the recent Michael Hutchence doc on the INXS front man: Mystify: Michael Hutchence.

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My Birth: A Big Bang Story

Indeed today is my birth day.

I’ve spent over 4 decades soaked in popular culture across every single medium: as such I would like to thank some of the special creators and wonderful things that enriched my life and probably made me too quirky to sit with at lunch in high school.

My deep and endless thanks go to…

Forrest J Ackerman, Roger Corman, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Stephen King, Lon Chaney, Mad Magazine, Ian Fleming and James Bond, Zorro, The Shadow, quicksand, The Batman, Bugs Bunny, Frank Sinatra, The Invisible Man, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, Quantum Leap, The Muppet Show, The Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man, Thriller, Ray Harryhausen, Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter, Carol Burnett, Edgar Allan Poe, Harry Houdini, The A-Team, SETI, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Jerry Lewis, Back to The Future, arcades and pinball machines (especially Indiana Jones!), Carl Sagan, The Lone Ranger, Knight Rider, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Richard Matheson, Flash Gordon, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Doctor Who, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Scooby-Doo, The Outer Limits, Invaders from Mars, secret passages triggered by pulling a dummy book, The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, James Dean, Mork and Mindy, Jules Verne, freak shows at the circus, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dean Koontz, The Iron Giant, The Rolling Stones, Alfred Hitchcock, The Three Investigators, Elvis, Errol Flynn, Ray Bradbury, NASA, David Copperfield, X-Men, The Six Million Dollar Man, Sean “Bond” Connery, Darth Vader and R2-D2, funhouses and haunted houses, Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, (the Dukes of Hazzard & the Fall Guy), Sue Grafton, Batman 66, death traps, Chuck D and Public Enemy, Super Friends, Fonzi, Spider-Man 67, Souls of Mischief, C.S. Lewis, Freddy Krueger, The Hardy Boys, Michael Jackson, The Black Museum, Orson Welles, Transformers, G.I. Joe, The Amazing Kreskin, X-Files, Bruce Springsteen, Rocket Robin Hood, Aliens, Defenders of the Earth, The Simpsons, Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, Terminator, zombies and Halloween (the night…the movies less so.).

I have lived an astonishing life: I’ve travelled in time, saved the universe on numerous occasions, been to planets beyond our star system and encountered aliens: some friendly, many hostile…occasionally some are green and horny.

I’ve guarded secrets, foiled schemes, solved mysteries and seen more than my share of dead bodies. I’ve lost friends: good solid men and stoic women; not many of them have come back.

I don’t fear death and risks no longer intimidate me.

I know no matter how bad it gets; no matter how much darkness threatens me, no matter how big the monster is…no matter how outrageous the odds are…I know…I know…I know there is always a way and that’ll it work out. After I’ve been knocked down I don’t get up as quickly as I did in my youth but dammit I still get up. I have an obligation: I didn’t just hang out with these creators and these superheroes to just surrender the present and allow the triumph of catastrophe!

“I’ve watched my wild youth

Disappear in front of my eyes

Moments of magic and wonder

It seems so hard to find

Is it ever coming back again?

Is it ever coming back again?

Take me back to the feeling when

Everything was left to find…”

It has been and continues to be A Wonderful Life with so many Wonder Years. And as long as there are stars to maps and planets to catalog it’s irritating to live with gravity and all that keeps us down.

Now: where the cake at?

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Hidden Gem: More or Les feat Wordburglar “Hate Rap”

Recently featured More or Les as an In Session With Girth… guest; super stoked to get into his fantastic album Blow the Fuck Up But Stay Humble. And we do…eventually; after hobo ramblings about comics and the Doctor. I ah, sorta got all sidetracked; I got distracted by a bright blue police box. My bad.

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Hidden Gem: Shy Girls “Second Heartbeat”

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

Moody and raw…with a generous 80s sprinkle. (God, how I miss New Order…I know they’re “back” but it’s not the same; we can’t go back and recapture lost magic)


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Hidden Gem: Red Hot Chili Peppers “Dark Necessities”

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

I get the new music spotlight was on Radiohead. We’re all happy Radiohead is back. And yet I caught this dynamic and utterly fantastic track from the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

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