J Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)


Garfunkel, Art
Two things, Artie, if you’re reading this.
1) Find a good barber.

2) Lay off the weed.

From Chico Instrument Encyclopedia:

An important part of the Indonesian gamelan ensemble, the gender looks something like a xylophone. It usually has twelve or fourteen thin brass “keys” suspended over tube shaped resonators. Because these resonators have different lengths and therefore tunings, you hear different pitches sounding when the keys are stuck with padded mallets. These resonators used to be made from bamboo, which did not prove to be very long-lasting. Now they are exclusively made out of zinc which may be painted a bamboo color.

The two sizes of gender in the Venerable Lake of Honey Gamelan are called the gender barung (lower) and the gender panerus (higher). Performance techniques are similar. Both play melodies made up of short repeated patterns or cells. The gender barung more often plays the core melody, often with two mallets struck simultaneously. The gender panerus plays only one melodic line, but may play twice as fast as the gender barung. The challenge for both instruments is to strike a key and simultaneously “dampen” the key you’ve previously hit. Since you are holding two mallets, novice performers may find it difficult to find a free finger to damp the keys. Musicians often use their little fingers, thumbs, or the sides of their hands. So now you know about THAT!

Ghostface Killah
The coolest of the Wu-Tang Clan is Ghostface Killah, don’t you think? The guy can rap! And his contribution to Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While You’re Drinking Your Juice In the Hood cannot be denied! He’s also worked with Judakiss which many people cannot say they’ve done. I mean, I work with Jody, and Lenore, and Mike. In the cubicle next to me. Not Judakiss, Susan.

Green, by R.E.M.
This is the album that got me into R.E.M. and the album in which I learned what a hair shirt was (a garment of coarse haircloth, worn next to the skin as a penance by ascetics and penitents). Truth be told I didn’t know anything about R.E.M. or cared to know anything about them (I was happy with my Billy Joel tunes, dude!) but Lisa Reid, a girl I had the hots for, listened to them. I bought the cassette and listened to “World Leader Pretend” about 98,398 times in a row. That song was/is awesome. Then I watched the “Stand” video on MTV and, at the Tolo Dance, danced like Michael Stipe and the boys did on MTV. Lisa was, understandably, mortified. She refused to speak to me again, even when I serenaded her with “Orange Crush.” I did it because I had a crush on her, not because of Agent Orange, the herbicide that causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Green, Al
My wife loves Al Green’s song “Let’s Stay Together.” She gets a little frisky whenever she hears it. It is, of course, in my CD player at all times.

”Grey Street,” by Dave Matthews Band
Off their Busted Stuff album, “Grey Street” is a powerful song. There’s been a long debate at our house as to what the song actually means. My wife thinks it’s a song about the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m under the impression that it’s about a woman caught in an abusive relationship. She swears it’s about Alzheimer’s Disease. “What about that line though? About the crazy man outside her door?!” “Well, there’s lots of crazy men out there. Perhaps this particular one was outside an Alzheimer’s patient’s door.” “Perhaps the crazy man is a circus clown. Perhaps the song is about a woman who fell out of love with a circus clown!” “You’re a jerk,” my wife says. She doesn’t like sarcasm.

Guns N’ Roses
I don’t care what you say. Guns N’ Roses is awesome! “Paradise City!” HELLO?!?! “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” O’ my, seriously awesome. They’ve sold 90 million albums worldwide. They started in Los Angeles in 1985 and haven’t stopped rocking since (unless, of course, you count their enormous hiatus between 1994 and 2006). Whatever, they’ve got an appetite for destruction! I’ll always think fondly on them for the soundtrack they did for Clint Eastwood’s The Dead Pool. That kicked ass. I mean, Clint killed a bad guy with a harpoon gun! A FREAKIN’ HARPOON GUN!

—Jonathan Shipley

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