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The 14th of September has been my birthday as long as I can remember. Now, I rarely recall receiving anything I really wanted. The closest I think I came was for my 10th birthday, when my parents threw a scavenger hunt for me, and my big gift was a boom box and a copy of the Top Gun soundtrack. I remember my mom walking out of the garage in front of my friends, holding it to her ear like Gene Wilder in Silver Streak. My mom is always something else.

So in recent years, and most people who know me can attest to this, rather than getting lots of gifts (and who the hell said it was o.k. for a 30-year-old man (and what a handsome Mongoloid he is, to look at him) to get gifts [cuz, frankly, that's fucking creepy, and what kind of true ubermensch would I be, hitting my peeps up for schwag]), I give something back, throwing some sort of party. Last year, we had a big ol' barbeque here at the house. I think I ended up sticking overcooked hot dogs in my mouth, blackening my teeth. Do we have a clip? No, no clip? Oh, well. Please note the shot of the man-beast devouring yet another rib. Sorry, ladies, he's taken.

I've thrown shows in the past, tossed a humdinger* of a bar crawl, visited the ballpark (and been thrown out)...yep, birthdays are always a good reason to do nothing more than go to pieces. The plan this year? Saturday is for the friends: maybe a little cookout**, certainly more than a little booze, share some good times. For the birthday proper? The wife has planned a 16-person family soiree to some breakfast place on the Eastern Shore. She says the chipped beef is to die for...and, who knows? Maybe I WILL die, after ingesting 4000+ calories in waffles, sausage, Screwdrivers*** and syrup. But what a way to go.

So, for you, faithless reader, a 31st birthday mix. No podcast here...just one .zip file, 10 songs, about 35 minutes o' fun. Let's get to the tracks.

Whoa...BIRTHDAY! (to be said in the fashion of Married with Children's "Whoa...BUNDY!")
  1. Pageninetynine, "Punk Rock in the Wrong Hands". A little screamy HC to kick off the mix. More on these guys to come. This is one of those songs that pops up in the beginning stages of any shuffle, no matter how I stack my iPod.
  2. The Oblivians, "N&%@er Rich". Hate the title, but the beat is totally trashy...a sweaty, sleazy stripclub jam. And the lyrics...well, they speak to a man who just went broke paying the mortgage on his birthday.****
  3. The Nerves, "Hanging on the Telephone". Downloaded the s/t EP from Killed by Death a few weeks ago and, like Pageninetynine, this power pop gem pops up all the time on my iPod. Peter Case howling is awesome. I turn it at work and lock into whatever I happen to be doing.
  4. Leatherface, "Springtime". I love when it gets cold, but I miss those first couple of weeks when the sun gets a little closer to Maryland, you break out that old pair of cargo shorts for the first time in months and get to sip whiskey on the front porch with a couple of old friends in a zip-up hoodie. "Springtime" always captured how magical that time is for me.
  5. Mates of State, "Get Better". Can You See the Sunset just did a great review of the new record from Mates of State. Eric is right: this is the pop album of the year. "Everything's gonna get lighter/Even if it never gets better." There's nothing better than hearing a song for the first time and hearing something in it that sums up where you are, right then.
  6. Johnny Cash, "Cocaine Blues (live)". I woke up out of a dead sleep two days after quitting smoking singing the first lines of this song. I hadn't listened to it in a few months. I can't stop listening to it now.
  7. Justin Townes Earle, "Can't Hardly Wait". I love the Mats. Rhino's reissuing all the Sire records in about 2 weeks. I'm totally stoked, especially in light of the job they did on reissuing all the Twin/Tone product. Daytrotter writes a lot more eloquently (as normal) than I ever could about Justin Townes Earle. All I know is his daddy is Steve Earle, he writes a mean song and this cover kept my wife from housework for 3 minutes. That's talent.
  8. Tom Waits, "Martha". I've been sick with bronchitis and kinda withdrawn for the past week, so while writing I've had my door closed and been rocking the shuffle on iTunes. This came up and, having not listened to "Martha" since I ripped the CD a couple of years ago, I sang along to every word. It's a good one for winding down the evening, or missing your girl, or just watching the rain streak down the window in the wall.
  9. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), "IDK, My BFF Jill". Yeah, I totally gave up on maintaining any sort of flow on this mix at this point. But I'm a total sucker for this early 90's emo comeback. So sue me. Then tap your chest while you grab your backpack straps to this one.
  10. DJ Million Dollar Snake Babies, "All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem v. John Cale v. Franz Ferdinand)". Part the Culture Bully year end mix from 2007. I'll end up listening to this a few times this weekend.


*=Yep, I used the word "humdinger". I wrote it right after checking this dame's gams, then I went down to the shine boy for a tip on the ninth at Saratoga.
**=Not a chance of a BBQ tomorrow night. Why? Because it's currently pissing down rain here in Baltimore. Will it stop in time? Probably not. This is why you build contingency plans, people.
**=Because nothing says "I'm proud to be your son/husband/brother/pal," like drinking vodka and orange juice until you shittalk the Republican Party and your dad tells you you can pay for your own goddamn birthday breakfast.
***=I'm totally a pussy for not spelling out the N-word in my blog, but what kind of element do you want me to draw over here? And it's funny, because it totally bugs me when people don't spell out Fucked Up, choosing instead F'ed Up, or F#cked Up. Seriously, who are we fooling here? Yet, here I am, taking the PC way out. But screw it: you want to drop N-bombs, start your own goddamn blog.


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