In which this must be my destination

A few years ago, our friend Curt gave us a copy of a songbook he'd collected--hundreds of pages of chords and lyrics to popular songs. It's a good reference, and we keep it on our boat.

I was looking through it last night, and noticed for the first time the song "Pink Houses" by John Mellencamp. I'd never paid it any attention, but I started reading the lyrics, out of curiosity.

"There's a black man with a black cat living in a black neighborhood," it starts out, then goes on to describe the man's wife, who's in the kitchen "cleaning up the evening slop." Maybe you're already aware of the lyrics, but I wasn't, and they struck me as absurd.

"How did this song get to be popular?" I asked the Keelhauler, who was on his second rum and Coke.

He stopped me, and said, "You know what's in a hot dog?"

"Yes, generally," I said.

"And in theory, you would never eat one, right?"

"In theory, sure. Pig lips and ears, that kind of thing."

"And yet the hotdog is one of America's most popular foods. It's the same with this song," he said. "People don't care about the specifics of what's in it, they just like the way it sounds."

Mellencamp, in a nutshell.

Star of the day. . .Bob Dylan
posted @ 1:23 p.m. on November 21, 2008 before | after


She lay awake all night,