Musing and Spewing

Your favorite band name (goes here) 

I feel like I'm pretty decent at bestowing song titles and album names. But I've never been very good at coming up with band names.

The best ones seem to have sprung up organically, or as inside jokes, or as "so obvious you missed it" gerunds or plural nouns.

Like, how did NO ONE ever think of "The Killers" before 2001?

Regardless, the good ones already seem taken, and that includes (in my opinion) the single best band name in rock, off the market since 1976:

The Cure.

I mean, that's effing brilliant. Impossibly…

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60 of my favorite songs about L.A./California 

Let me say first that this was a vexing, taxing enterprise -- not because there aren't enough songs about Southern California; God knows there are a gracious plenty, and L.A. may own the record. There just aren't, in my opinion, enough GREAT songs about Southern California, with the exception of some standout classics. I wanted a 100-song playlist; I'm settling for 60. 

Why? Many reasons, I suppose. Songwriters seem to move here and get jaded or downright pejorative about the subject matter, and I wasn't…

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My 100-song 'Welcome to the Planet' playlist 

When my son was born two-and-a-half years ago, I created a playlist of songs/artists that I thought he should be familiar with. And since the birth of our daughter two weeks ago, I've recently been re-exploring that list, just to see whether it's still valid. 

My main criterion: If an alien were to land on Earth tomorrow, would my list give E.T. an overall favorable impression of our species?

I divided the list up into four sections, 25 songs apiece. The only rule? No repeat artists. Otherwise, the Beatles…Read more

Golden Smog: Los Angeles at a glance 

I preface this with the wise words of Sam Elliott’s character in “The Big Lebowski”:

“They call Los Angeles the city of angels. I didn’t find it to be that exactly. Although I’ll allow there are some nice folks there.”

That is, I’m enjoying my new city, and I’m just poking fun here. It’s not like I haven’t rhapsodized on the same kinds of idiosyncrasies you’ll find in the South.

With that said:

1) Everything you’ve heard about L.A. traffic is true. But the parking situation is far worse.

I avoid the…Read more

Looking California, Feeling Soda City 

Big news from the Young household, friends!

No, I'm not pregnant. But Shelley and I are taking a big step nonetheless.

Last week, I accepted a job in Los Angeles, as a copy chief at Very soon, the Left Coast will be our new home! And yes ... we'll be near the In-N-Out Burger.

My first day on the job is less than a month away. I'll be flying out of Columbia on Dec. 16.

We are by turns excited, overwhelmed and a little scared, just like after a viewing of "The Deathly Hallows." We can't…

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Marriage for all Americans 

As a newly minted husband, I accept that I’ve got a lot to learn. In fact, my wife keeps a list.

She keeps several, actually, but I don’t mind. And I’ll even let you in on a little secret--I love being married.

As you’d expect, this has a lot to do with the fact that Shelley and I love each other very much.

But for me, it's not just about love. It's not just about partnership, either, though I’m positively thrilled to have found such an exceptional one.

It’s also about structure.

I'm someone who requires…Read more

Alvin and the Chumpmunks 

Yes, Alvin Greene's victory in the S.C. Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is embarrassing. But if you ask me, it's much ado about nothing. It doesn't really matter in the end.

Does anyone think Vic Rawl, his opponent in the primary, could have beaten Republican incumbent Jim DeMint in November anyway? Not in this state.

From that standpoint, the media's lapse in coverage (of both Greene and Rawl) was understandable and maybe even forgivable.

As for how a candidate with no fundraising apparatus, name…Read more

The Island Isn't Through With Us Yet 

Even in death, "Lost" may still manage to confound fans, frustrate critics, obfuscate truths, and just generally flip us all the bird.

The Associated Press reports that a satellite known as Galaxy 15, recently damaged in a solar storm, is careening toward another satellite called AMC 11, which delivers programs for U.S. cable channels. If they get too close to each other, television signals could become scrambled.

If they hit each other, the fallout could be much more dramatic. Wreckage will rain down on…Read more

I Miss My Cat 

Beatles or Stones? Ford or Chevy? Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair?

They say you have to pick a side, and when it comes to the dog-vs.-cat debate, I've always found myself squarely in the canine corner.

Dogs have more personality, you can attach a leash to them without getting mauled, and unlike felines, they aren't picky about when they'll accept affection. A pooch will never turn down a good belly rub (neither will I).

But when I moved in with my wife--who has always had at least two cats living in her home--I…Read more

Hope Floats ... Like Our Turd of a Season 

Words do no justice in describing what it's like being a Gamecocks sports fan.

There's just no succinct term that encompasses our full gamut of experience--heart-wrenching dejection; colossal and congenital disappointment; intractable futility; fortunes that are so ridiculously star-crossed as to be comedic.

When it comes to college football, I struggle with deciding whether it's better to own a lifetime .500 mark--pretty much Webster's definition of “mediocrity”--or whether I'd rather lose every game in…

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