The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Tuesday May 26, 2015
To celebrate my 100th Weekday Ramble I’m spending a few blogs highlighting 100 facts about me. Fact #1 should have been how humble I am, right? Check out #1-25, #26-50, and #51-75.
Topics for this last installment include my biggest addiction, taste in women, biggest rap influences, earliest songs, biggest intellectual influence, biggest songwriting influence, favorite Atari game, and a lot more.
76. I’ll always have a soft spot for the Digital Underground and House of Pain, two rap bands that first got me into the genre. They’re mostly known for “The Humpty Dance” and “Jump Around” respectively. The thick funk beats and sense of humor of the Underground is just cool. Everlast and the House of Pain were often funny, regardless of whether they were trying to be.
77. If I could be a part of anything in history it would be Bob Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes. I could have been, like, a recording engineer or something. Or the guy who ran to the liquor store to buy Richard Manuel’s bottles of Grand Marnier.
78. Dub step is a bad direction for music to be going in. If abrasive electronic music is the wave of the future, count me out.
79. I like Beatles for Sale. It’s the most underrated Beatles album. "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"? "I'm a Loser"? "No Reply"? "Baby's in Black"? "What You're Doing"? Not to mention hot shit versions of Carl Perkins "Honey Don't" and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby." Sure, it isn't Rubber Soul, but few things are.
80. Jobs I possibly had in a past life: ditch digger and lamplighter.
81. I don’t watch a lot of TV. Other than wrestling and Adventure Time of course. Other shows I’ve liked: the first few seasons of the Simpsons, Seinfeld, Arrested Development, the first few seasons of The Office. That’s about it…
82. I like Led Zeppelin but I’ve never had a huge Zeppelin phase. I love how dirty and blues-y they are, and that they grew as they went along, there just isn't a lot of subtle stuff there to keep my attention.
83. I recorded a lot of terrible songs on a cassette four track in high school. One was a protest song called “Society’s Song.” All I’ll say about it is that it was incredibly condescending and pretentious. Really bad keyboard drums on that one, too. I also had a 7 minute song called “Giving In” that was about as un-commercial as anything I’d ever written but I was completely convinced that it would have been a hit if people only heard it. I'm glad they didn't.
84. The first song I ever wrote was called “The Real Good News.” I think. It’s a simple thing with nondescript wordplay. Not as terrible as a lot of stuff I’d write after it but not much to brag about. The chorus: “and the real good news is no news at all/I hope it doesn’t disappoint you/and when the answers finally found/it won’t take long to lose.” Chipper as always.
85. I’m sad that the type of music I like, write, and play is dying. Rock and folk music don’t have a huge following. Even Beatle-y rock music isn’t much there. It makes me sad because music is the one thing I think I can do well. If there was an audience for it I could maybe do what I feel like I was born to do. Not that I’ve actually tried hard enough to find out if there actually is an audience for me. Gah. This goes back to #54 on this list
86. Sure, I drink, smoke sometimes, and have done drugs, but my biggest struggle addiction-wise is with food. I’m a fat kid at heart.
87. My philosophy about life being better if you enjoy a variety of things is also the foundation of my taste in women. Beautiful women come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, body types, and the like. It’s a myth that men want all women to look a certain way. There are a lot of different ways for women to be beautiful.
88. If I could get rid of any movie it would be Despicable Me so I wouldn’t have to deal with all those obnoxious minion memes. If I could get rid of one band it’d be the Black Eyed Peas. Or maybe whatever band paved the way for the rise of dub step.
89. My biggest intellectual influence is English author/poet/Christian apologist/political thinker G.K. Chesterton. He wrote about everything and was almost always right. His visions of what culture would become are vivid and prophetic. He predicted our current perils over 100 years ago.
90. Argentinian poet laureate Jorge Louis Borges and contemporary fiction writer Jonathan Lethem are the only two post-Chesterton authors that do much for me. Check out Borges' Ficciones and Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude for some of the best fiction writing of our time. The late ‘70s New York that Lethem creates is vivid and startling.
91. Bob Dylan is by far my biggest songwriting influence. He knows that what he creates goes beyond himself. Steeped in the folk tradition, he isn’t afraid to emulate his influences and subsequently surpass them. His music is part of something bigger than himself. He gets it.
92. I wish I could have hung out with Muddy Waters and Holwin’ Wolf in the ‘50s. Two of the coolest cats of all time.
93. I’m unhappy that music from before the rock n’ roll era is so neglected. Especially folk, country, and blues of the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. There’s lots of life there. Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, the Weavers, Woody Guthrie, Charley Patton. Reality.
94. My favorite Atari game is Frostbite. I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of it. I only played it when I had a mod-ed Xbox for a short time. All you do is cross a river on pieces of ice. It’s like a slightly more involved Frogger.
95. Pitchers are my favorite position in baseball. There’s a lot involved psychologically with pitching. You have to know the strengths and weaknesses of each batter and how to adapt quickly to different situations.
96. “96 Quite Bitter Beings” by Camp Kill Yourself was one of my favorite songs when it came out. I still love that riff.
97. My favorite game as a kid was Oregon Trail. They just don’t make them like that anymore. Nice, simple, and filled with character. Video games have gotten too involved for my tastes.
98. My favorite Pink Floyd album is The Final Cut. It’s often seen as their worst album because it was mostly a solo Roger Waters thing (and contained mostly songs left off The Wall). It has a dark, emotional edge that the overly dramatic Wall sometimes lacked. It was somehow more emotional but less dramatic. Though people say it’s like Waters first solo album the drumming of Nick Mason and explosive guitar work of David Gilmour are an indispensable part of what makes it work so well.
99. I feel like youth is overrated. Age has nothing to do with worth.
100. I like basketball better than hockey. Though I may just be saying that because I’m surrounded by hockey rubes in Minnesota.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.