Oh, the laughs we had today

I’ve been working on cleaning up the ol’ email. I use my inboxes as To Do lists, so the email count there never gets too high. Right now there are 20 emails in my inbox and that, to me, is too high.

The other side of the coin is that there are folders aplenty. And sometimes those need to be cleaned out, too. Anyway, today I was able to wipe out the last of the old communiques from a no-longer important folder. This was the graphic Google rewarded me with.

I’ve deleted the label name to protect the innocent, but seeing that … that was a good feeling.

And it was worth a giggle. But not the biggest giggle of the day. But you’d need several anecdotes worth of backstory and 71 words to be able to properly appreciate that one.

After all of that email fun, and other paperwork fun, I got out for a nice little bike ride this evening. It was an easy hour, just 17 miles and change before the dark clouds threatened.

More urgent was the absence of any legs. This, I told myself, was just one more ride to try to feel better in the hardest gears. It was the regular roads, but the third ride in the last six days, after a week or so being off the bike. Just — huff– getting — wheeze — my legs back.

It was an almost perfect ride, though. There are presently four criteria in this category of bike rides. First, it has to either feel super easy or incredibly hard. Second, no matter which of the first, I have to be able to exit the bike at the end with grace and ease. Third, my shoes stay in the clips for the entire ride, meaning I never have to put my foot on the ground. And, fourth, no close passes.

The first did not happen, because the sensations were mediocre throughout. I almost got the second one — but since the first criteria wasn’t satisfied, it doesn’t count, not really. The third one did happen. My feet stayed in the pedals the entire ride. And the fourth criteria was almost met, but for a truck just near the end of the route. Thanks, black pickup truck.

So, really, about one-and-a-half of the criteria were met.

We were trying to recruit, via text message, a colleague and friend to a particular cause this evening. It’s a poli sci, comm theory guy, but he might be professionally miscast. He’s an outdoors man, a keen student of nature. And now he is very much interested in, among other ecological things, the health of the insect world.

Like most serendipitously random conversations that can tolerate puns, I drove the initial joke of insect biodiversity in the media straight into the ground.

My lovely bride? She knows who she married.

We’re still trying to make up ground on the Re-Listening project. I’m listening to all of my old CDs in order, of course. That’s not the part where I’m behind. I’m behind in needlessly writing about it here for content filler — and embedded videos. So let’s get to it.

We’re in early 1999, contextually, listening to Duncan Sheik’s second record, the 1998 release, “Humming.” He’d gotten accidentally famous on his debut record, which “Barely Breathing” helped drive to gold record status, earned a Grammy nomination and stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a year. I vaguely recall an interview once where he talked about playing small clubs this week, and then giant theaters the next. I’ve always thought, on the basis of nothing more than that interview, I’ve always thought that this release was a deliberate choice to go the other way. Less obvious pop, more introspective art.

That’s the first track. The album title, I’m pretty sure comes out of these lyrics after the bridge. You’re also listening to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which makes several appearances throughout the record.

Atlantic Records released this one as a single.

Didn’t really register on the charts, but it got him a guest slot on Beverly Hills, 90210.

This was the second single, and part of why I think choices were made on this record. Also, why couldn’t they get John Cusack in for this video?

Probably I’ve mentioned this before, but two lifetimes ago when I was a reporter and on the air everyday, I decided to replace vocal exercises with a few musicians. Duncan Sheik was one of those. And, for a time, this record was one of those things I played in my car a lot at 3:30 a.m. on my way to work.

I just rubbed my face, hard, at that memory. Evening typing “3:30 a.m.” made me tired. The point, though, memories of being ultra-sleep deprived aside, the vocal work Duncan Sheik does always impresses me. The man’s still got it, too. I ran across this cover a year or two ago.

These days, he’s not working as a touring musician, but he’s produced a lot of others’ work. There’s a lot of theater credits under his name — he won a Tony in 2007 — and you can find his music is all over movies and TV, as well. He won a Grammy the very next year.

He’ll appear in the Re-Listening project once or twice more, too. And he’s got about five more albums I don’t own, besides. And so I’ll add those to the list, too.

Up next on the list, musically speaking, another staple of the 1990s alt rock scene. But, first, the weekend!

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