Inspired by: Landed” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman

Unlike the last song, I actually like this song. It’s probably one of my favorites, honestly. At different points in my life, it’s meant different things, and it’s always been the thing I message to people when they are picking me up at the airport. At least, people in the know about Ben Folds. Others might be confused if they receive a link to the music video when they are expecting me to let them know my airplane has landed.

Once upon a time, that message was not well received by its recipient, and made a drive home from Providence particularly sad for me, on a night that would ultimately be a few weeks before my ex-wife filed for divorce on my birthday. But that misery has been replaced with its usage almost every time subsequently, as the person picking me up from the airport tends to be my most favorite person ever.

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The Bare Minimum

Inspired by: Prison Food” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman

This is one of the songs that was on the list of songs that I didn’t really care to write about. I’m not a huge fan of the song, and the title or lyrics don’t immediately trigger something like a lot of the other songs. The song itself appears to be about the end of one of Folds’ many marriages and the isolation felt when something like that happens. Of being alone again.

I’ve written enough about that for now, so let’s focus on the abstract metaphor of the title. “Prison Food” is not about the food itself, but instead about something that is required to be provided but not required to be great. We lock folks up in prison and give them the bare minimum needed to survive, at least when it comes to food.

There’s a lot of parallels to this even beyond prison. A lot of our “politics” can be described the same way: we pay taxes for lots of things, but then the powers that be decide what is “enough” for us to receive in return. Whether it’s school funding, healthcare, Congressional lines… the list is endless. And we are told from a young age that if we don’t like something, we just need to vote.

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Inspired by: Jesusland” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman

Two straight posts kinda centered on the dominant religion of Utah. Oh joy!

When I listen to “Jesusland,” I can picture the type of southern or rural area that Ben Folds is describing. He grew up in North Carolina, and I’ve seen those places with giant crosses, dollar stores, and other indications of religiosity undergirding everything. I also see the same thing here in Utah, never failing to pass an LDS meeting house when I venture out of the house, unless I am driving in one specific direction and not that far.

If you’ve ever been to Utah, it’s probably to come see all our amazing National Parks and Monuments. Or the mountains, for summer hikes or winter skiing. We have a “booming” tech industry with a dumb name (Silicon Slopes), trying to take advantage of our generally well-educated citizens and lower cost of living compared to the Bay Area or other tech hubs.

Otherwise, what’s the point of coming here? We have terrible air for half the year, from the winter inversions (January to March) and smoke from wildfires in the summer (June to August). We have funny laws related to alcohol, and despite being surrounded by states with versions of legalized gambling (either lotteries or actual gambling) resulting in funding for schools and whatnot, our Republican-led supermajority legislature will never allow those “vices” to come to Utah, letting the citizens of our state to fund our neighbors through their “illicit” border runs for PowerBall, weed, or fancy booze.

Continue reading “Brighamland”

Calling it Quits

Inspired by: Give Judy My Notice” (2005), from the Ben Folds album Songs for Silverman

The end of a relationship is often not by mutual consent. Sure, having the big blowout fight with slamming doors and cars peeling out of driveways feels mutual. But the end of most relationships is not typically that dramatic. Often, one person ends the relationship long before the other has realized it.

I’m guilty of this, at least on a subconscious level. Not really working on a relationship is the same as abandoning it, and that’s something I did once upon a time. Or multiple times. In both romantic relationships and platonic ones. If you stop putting in the effort for something to exist, of course it’s going end.

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