Random Musings: Songs About Texas Edition

Various random thoughts and theories that have occurred to me of late that I may or may not be prepared to defend, but seem like they’d be fun to discuss.

1.  A thought that occurred to me while watching “Texas Singer/Songwriter” Pat Green perform an unreal version of Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” in Philly the other night: New Jersey is to the Northeast what Texas is to the Southwest.

2.  Speaking of Texas – what are the odds that the epicenter of American football worship, anti-soccer hatred, and decent country music would produce the single most successful American soccer player of all time: Clint Dempsey, currently in the top 7 highest goal scorers in this season’s EPL, possessor of multiple hat tricks in different competitions this year, and the scorer of the game-winning goal for the USMNT against Italy.  Moreover, what are the odds that this soccer player would not only be from Texas, but would be a white rapper from Nacogdoches?

3.  Why is it that whenever someone escapes punishment because of a procedural mistake by the prosecution, the first response is so often to say that the person got off on a technicality who got off just because of a [shady defense lawyer/activist judge/idiotic jury]?  Why do we so rarely question the prosecution’s errors?  And how is it a technicality if a good chunk of the purpose for the procedural requirement is to set a standard for what constitutes reliable and unreliable evidence?  It seems to me that the latest example of this is the Ryan Braun brouhaha.

4.  How is it that in our discussion of conservative art and the purported lack thereof, no one seems to have mentioned bluegrass?

5.  Gaslight Anthem is the best thing to come out of Jersey since the Boss himself.

6.  I honestly don’t understand how anyone can think that the Colts had any choice but to release Peyton Manning, nor how Peyton staying with the Colts would have been good for anyone involved.

7.  Brandy is an underrated liquor, especially when partaken from a snifter.  It’s cheap, 80 proof, smooth, and delicious.  Not as delicious as bourbon, but cheaper.  While all else being equal, I’d prefer a glass of wine, it’s often tough to justify opening an entire bottle of wine for just one glass.  It’s easy to have just one glass of brandy.

I reserve the right to add additional musings to this list at my leisure.

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58 thoughts on “Random Musings: Songs About Texas Edition

  1. It’s easy to have just one glass of brandy because the stuff is so sweet.

    You need a picture on your post or Erik will get annoyed at you. I suggest, however, you avoid an image search using the terms “Texas brandy football” unless you want a whole lot of cheerleaders.

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  2. In Oregon, there’s a distillery – Clear Creek – where they infuse the brandy with a whole pear, that is grown in the bottle.  It’s kind of over-priced, but it’s a cool visual effect.  They also make a Doug Fir brandy, which tastes like a pine tree, and is surprisingly good.

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    • I don’t much care for brandy, since it’s too sweet for my taste.  But a couple of years ago I was canoeing in the Boundary Waters with a friend, and we got caught in camp by a big storm. We watched it sweeping in from the west, coming across the lake until it reached us and pelted the hell out of us.  So we sat down under a huge boulder and waited it out with cigars and cheap blackberry brandy.  Damn was that some good brandy.

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    • My father and I once bought something similar in a little gasthaus outside of Saarbrucken, several years ago. The Germans called it “Williams,” pronounced “VEEL-yums.”

      This was so long ago, we bought it with Deutschemarks.

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  3. Gaslight Anthem is indeed great.
    Atlantic City is one of the best Boss songs….absolutely haunting. Not what people think about when they think Springsteen.
    NJ has White Castle and great diners. Texas is lacking.
    Texans think the world revolves around them, NJ peeps self-deprecate. But at least NJ isn’t Staten Island.
    How is bluegrass conservative? Is jazz liberal?

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  4. Could you elaborate on #1? I’d always tagged Louisiana as NJ’s off-south counterpart.

    Has anyone ever heard Adam Duritz’s rendition of  “Atlantic City”?

     

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      • I know both states reasonably well and see little to compare.  There’s no equivalent to Princeton or the hoity-toity Morristown area in Louisiana.

        There are three Louisianas, Bible thumpers north of I-10, Cajuns south of I-10 and New Orleans, a gruesome amalgam of iniquity and poverty beyond my poor powers to describe.

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        • Blaise, my comparison was based on the following:

          1) Both have distinct northern and southern regions, yet are primarily identified by one of them (northern New Jersey, southern Louisiana).

          2) Both tend to view the public nature of their governmental corruption as a sign of their authenticity. “We’re no more corrupt than other states, it’s just that it’s more above-board with us” is something I have heard from a New Jerseyan and many Louisianians.

          3) Both tend to be overshadowed by a neighboring state.

          4) Both are states unto themselves in their region. Not exactly fitting in with the others around it.

          5) Ethnicity, even within race, seems to matter more in these two than in many other states.

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    • That would be the assertion I was mostly referencing when I said “may not be prepared to defend.”. It was more of a gut reaction that I’ve been trying to justify the last five days or so. It’s not just about the tendency to have a more geographically conscious musical culture than other states in the region, though that’s a part of it. It also has to do with a sort of unapologetic “I’m from Texas!” or “I’m from Jersey!” attitude when interacting with outsiders, a tendency to stick out like sore thumbs. I’ve gotten the impression (could be very wrong here) that folks from neighboring states almost feel embarrassed being associated with. If someone from another part of the country or even another country wants to discuss how horrible the cultures in the respective regions are, there’s a good chance they’ll start talking about a caricature of obnoxious Texas cowboys or Jersey guidos.

      But this is all just post hoc rationalization of a momentary gut feeling. Which is to say that I’m basically full of it on this one.

      Of course, with Jersey, it orobably stems from an inferiority complex, so this only goes so far.

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  5. To your #4 Mark I’d submit that Bluegrass is very distinctly art that happens to contain conservative themes. It is not conservative art. Conservative art would be more like Christian Rock or to a much much lesser degree Country (arguably). That’s one of the things that always strikes me about the concept of conservative art; by fencing off this little corner of all art and declaring it conservative Conservatives are essentially ceding the rest of the field of art to liberals.  I mean I can’t recall the last time liberals talked very seriously about Liberal art. They occasionally foray into it, I brought up the Hollywood movies about Iraq, but when they set out to make art that’s Liberal first and art second it usually sucks.

    I think the difference is that conservatives more often set out to make art that’s Conservative and then art. Liberals more often don’t. Perhaps it’s an anxiety thing; Liberals are convinced that art and beauty are naturally on their side so they don’t feel a need to press art into a Liberal mold? I’m just conjecturing out loud here. There’s such a prevalent strain in conservatives, this underlying dread that if they present what they believe baldly and on its merits it’ll be rejected so it needs to be packaged and branded and sort of hidden under something else and smuggled in like a midget under a party guests petticoats? I don’t think Liberals come off that great by comparison, most of their radical ideas and ideals are so defunct they don’t even believe in it very strongly themselves; post-capitalism? post-nationalism? mass-solidarity? Global Socialism?

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    • Oh, I completely agree. I’m also of the opinion that art which is political first and art second is almost always horrible. Still, to the extent we want to talk about art forms in which conservatives are probably dominant and in which the output is high quality art, bluegrass would seem to be a good example.

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