Archive for the ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE BANANA SPLITS-“The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)” (1968).

traOf all the bubblegum pop songs, this is probably the one I know the best.

I was surprised to discover that the song and TV show were from 1968, because I used to watch it all the time.

But I see that the series originally ran from September 7, 1968 to September 5, 1970, but then it was in syndication from 1971 to 1982, which is when I watched it.  Amazingly, it was in syndication for 11 years and there were only 31 episodes made.

Is there anything catchier than a bunch of people singing tra la la, la la la la?

And then the lyrics couldn’t be simpler:

One banana, two banana, three banana, four
Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go
Coming on to bring you the Banana Splits show
Making up a mess of fun
Making up a mess of fun
Lots of fun for everyone
Four banana, three banana, two banana, one
All bananas playing in the bright warm sun
Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork
Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork

This was the theme song for the TV show.  It was a minute and a half and is insanely catchy.

The Dickies did a punk cover in the 1970s, which doesn’t sound very different from the original, expect that instead of bright keyboards, the music is all guitars and drums.  It is faster-paced and yet longer because of a guitar solo and some extra sing along parts.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the Banana Splits were:

  • Fleegle — A greenish-brown dog wearing a large red bow tie, black buttons, brownish-orange chucks, with his tongue is always sticking out. He plays a guitar and sings.
  • Bingo — A nasal-voiced orange gorilla wearing white glasses and a yellow vest, featuring a toothy grin. He plays drums and sings.
  • Drooper — A lion with a very long tail wearing yellowish-orange glasses, spats on his feet, and speaks with a Southern drawl. He plays a bass guitar and sings.
  • Snorky — A mute furry elephant wearing pink glasses. He becomes a regular elephant in season 2, wearing a green vest with yellow stripes. He communicates through honking sounds akin to a clown horn, and one of the other Splits would translate what he is saying. He plays a keyboard.

What a great time to be a kid.

[READ: June 8, 2020] Bubblegum Week 5

Over at the Infinite Zombies site, there was talk of doing a Quarantine book read.  After debating a few books, we decided to write about a new book, not a book that everyone (or some people) had read already.  This new book would be Bubblegum by Adam Levin.  Many of us had read Levin’s massive The Instructions which was not especially challenging, although it was a complex meta-fictional story of books within books.  It was kind of disturbing, but also rather funny and very entertaining.

So I’ll be posting weekly ideas on this schedule

Date Through Page
May 11 81
May 18 176
May 25 282
June 1 377
June 8 476
June 15 583
June 22 660
June 29 767

A Fistful of Fists is a Handful

After the academia and “high brow” thoughts of Triple J’s essays, this week’s transcription of Triple J’s film A Fistful of Fists: A Documentary Collage is rather tough reading.  It reminded me of reading something like David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men or Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (The Part About the Crimes) in that there’s some really horrible things to witness but their inclusion serves to prove a point and even to further the plot and fill in some gaps.

A Fistful of Fists is a collage of twenty-seven short films all about the joy of killing cures.  The transcription is a print version of what is seen on the videos, sometimes in graphic detail.  Scenes of it reminded me of some of the “torture porn” stories that were trendy a while back. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: JOHN PRINE-Tiny Desk Concert #717 (March 12, 2018).

For all of the legendary status of John Prine, I don’t really know that much about him.  I also think I don’t really know much of his music.  I didn’t know any of the four songs he played here.

I enjoyed all four songs.  The melodies were great, the lyrics were thoughtful and his voice, although wizened, convey the sentiments perfectly.

The blurb sums up things really well

An American treasure came to the Tiny Desk and even premiered a new song. John Prine is a truly legendary songwriter. For more than 45 years the 71-year-old artist has written some of the most powerful lyrics in the American music canon, including “Sam Stone,” “Angel From Montgomery,” “Hello In There” and countless others.

John Prine’s new songs are equally powerful and he opens this Tiny Desk concert with “Caravan of Fools,” a track he wrote with Pat McLaughlin and Dan Auerbach. Prine adds a disclaimer to the song saying, “any likeness to the current administration is purely accidental.”

I thought the song was great (albeit short) with these pointed lyrics:

The dark and distant drumming
The pounding of the hooves
The silence of everything that moves
Late in night you see them
Decked out in shiny jewels
The coming of the caravan of fools

That song, and his second tune, the sweet tearjerker “Summer’s End,” are from John Prine’s first album of new songs in 13 years, The Tree of Forgiveness.

He introduces this song by saying that.  This one is a pretty song.  It might drive you to tears.  He wrote this with Pat McLaughlin.  We usually write on Tuesdays in Nashville because that’s the day they serve meatloaf.  I love meatloaf.  We try to write a song before they serve the meatloaf.  And then eat it and record it.

For this Tiny Desk Concert John Prine also reaches back to his great “kiss-off” song from 1991 [“an old song from the 90s (whoo)…  a song from the school of kiss off 101”] called “All the Best,” and then plays “Souvenirs,” a song intended for his debut full-length but released the following year on his 1972 album Diamonds in the Rough. It’s just one of the many sentimental ballads Prine has gifted us.

He says he wrote it in 1968…when he was about 3.

Over the years, his voice has become gruffer and deeper, due in part to his battle with squamous cell cancer on the right side of his neck, all of which makes this song about memories slipping by feel all the more powerful and sad.

“Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see
That’s why last night and this mornin’
Always look the same to me
I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears
I can’t forgive the way they rob me
Of my sweetheart’s souvenirs”

The musicians include John Prine, Jason Wilber, David Jacques and Kenneth Blevins.


[READ: December 11, 2017] X

I really enjoyed Klosterman’s last essay book, although I found pretty much every section was a little too long.  So this book, which is a collection of essays is perfect because the pieces have already been edited for length.

I wasn’t even aware of this book when my brother-in-law Ben sent it to me with a comment about how much he enjoyed the Nickelback essay.

Because I had been reading Grantland and a few other sources, I have actually read a number of these pieces already, but most of them were far off enough that I enjoyed reading them again.

This book is primarily a look at popular culture.  But narrowly defined by sports and music (and some movies).  I have never read any of Klosterman’s fiction, but I love his entertainment essays. (more…)

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I’m continuing to move all of the old TV Posts from my TV Tab to individual posts. So here’s some thoughts from the 2008 TV season.  There were some updates midway through on this one, but I’ll add some updated thoughts as necessary.

With the Fall 2008 Lineup mostly underway, I’m listing the shows that we are giving a chance this year.  There are some new ones, but mostly its a continuation of last year: (more…)

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trout–Fast and Bulbous.
–Bulbous yes, but also tapered.

This is an infamous disc in the history of music.  Which surprises me, as I can’t imagine many people have ever listened to it in its entirety.  I learned about it though my Frank Zappa fascination (he produced the record).

This disc also holds some kind of fascination for fiction writers.  I recall an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 (yes, of course I watched it) in which a new character was introduced.  He was a cool hip indie guy and I thought he was finally a cool character on a show I was getting rather sick of.  But because he was different, he was of course mocked.

He is first mocked for keeping his records in alphabetical order (and come on, anyone with more than 50 discs has to, it’s not a sign of weirdness, just common sense).  And second he was mocked for owning this album (picture a 90210er say Captain Beefheart?).  Of course, later on, he goes on to commit murder or arson or some other thing, thereby proving that alternative music is only for psychopaths, but heck, when has TV ever lied to us?

And now, this disc is a favorite of the hero of this book (which is what prompted me to bust out the disc and give it a listen).

And so wow, what a weird album.  Even 41 years later this record is still waaay out there.   The disc opens with “Frownland.”  And how to describe it?  The left speaker is playing sort of free jazz guitar chords.  The right speaker is playing a wild atonal guitar solo with a thumping bass.  In both speakers you get all over the place (but rather quiet) drums and the good Captain himself singing in a voice that could have inspired Tom Waits.  And the Captain’s song would be a very catchy melody if it had anything to do with what everyone else was playing (which it doesn’t).  And the whole things lasts for under 2 minutes.  There’s 28 songs not unlike this one, for a total of about 75 minutes.

Some other treats: a wild skronking horn solo on one song.  There’s also a song about the Holocaust.  And there’s even several music-free spoken word “poetry” readings.  And of course, the aforementioned bulbous quote.

Amidst this chaos are three songs that are more or less songs in the conventional sense, “Moonlight on Vermont,” “Veteran’s Day Poppy” and “Sugar ‘n Spikes,” meaning they have verses and choruses and whatnot.  But even those are still pretty far out and won’t be (and haven’t been) on the radio anytime soon.

Word is that this is a hugely influential disc and it lands on all kinds of Best Album Of All Time lists.  I can see that it has influenced a few people over the years (Devandra Banhart comes to mind), but still.  This is the kind of music you put on at a party when you want everyone to go home.

[READ: November 6, 2009] I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President

I heard about this book when Jon Stewart gave it a big plug on The Daily Show (the author is one of the writers for the show).  After many of the “heavy” titles that I’d been reading, it was a delight to read something that was purely comic.

And it was very funny indeed.

The book reminded me in many ways of Artemis Fowl (if Aretmis hadn’t turned over a new leaf–and without the fairies, of course).  In fact, I’m not entirely sure what the age group for the book is.  The main character is in seventh grade (and the language is very mild, certainly suitable for kids).  But when I found it in the book store, it was in the adult section.  So, I’m not entirely sure where to place it.

Anyhow, the premise here is that Oliver Watson is an evil genius.  Evil here doesn’t mean psychotic or sociopathic, he doesn’t want to kill people.  He just wants things to go the way he wants.  All the time.  And he is usually quite successful.  He is, after all, one of the top 5 wealthiest people in the world.  And he’s only in 7th Grade. (more…)

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