As much as I'm impressed by the expensive Olan Mills photo used by the Crawford family, it's the concept of being aboard "Heaven's Choo-Choo" that really grabbed me.
I'd like to think that this was the inspiration for Reverend Lovejoy's train trek through Baboon County U.S.A. on The Simpsons: "Baboons to the left of me, baboons to the right, the speeding locomotive tore through a sea of inhuman fangs. A pair of great apes rose up at me, but biff! Bam! I sent them flying like two hairy footballs. A third came screaming at me, and that's when I got mad...." Now that's a sermon.
Speaking of spreading the good word, it's time again for the Friday Random Ten. You know the drill by now, so let's do this thing.
1. Cut Chemist, "The Garden" -- This is a track off The Audience's Listening, the new solo effort by Jurassic 5's more prominent DJ. Pretty light and airy, with some nice bossanova samples thrown in. I've only listened to this once before, but I'm pretty sure it's a keeper. 8/10
2. Rosco P. Coldchain with Pusha-T and Boo-Bonic, "Hot" -- I'll give you a chance to rest after reading that Bataan Death March of an artist listing. Ready? OK, this is a pretty uninspired bit of Neptunes-produced hiphop. I guess they put all their energy into thinking up cute names. 2/10
3. Dinah Washington, "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby? (Rae and Christian Remix)" -- Another tune from the Verve Remixed series. They've given this a little too formulaic a beat, but the original is strong enough to withstand the tinkering. Not too bad. 6/10
4. Stereolab, "The Noise of Carpet" -- Excellent. I recently saw Stereolab on tour, and this was one of the few uptempo songs they did. But it just wasn't the same without former guitarist/vocalist Mary Hansen, who died in a bicycle accident in 2002. I'm not sure if they'll ever recover from her loss, but here's hoping. 9/10
5. Elvis Presley, "That's Alright Mama" -- An early classic by the King. I think I like the original version by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup a little better, but this one still works. But is it cool? Doubt it. 5/10
6. TV on the Radio, "Dry Drunk Emperor" -- A nice tribute to the unmitigated awfulness of the Decider. "All eyes upon dry drunk emperor / gold cross jock skull and bones / mocking smile / he's been naked for a while. / Get him gone, get him gone, get him gone!!! / and bring all his thieves to trial." It's available at the Touch & Go website for free download, if you're interested. 8/10
7. Jerry Reed, "When You're Hot You're Hot" -- Part of me appreciates the weird sensabilities of the man who played the Snowman in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy. And part of me sees him as a musical version of Larry the Cable Guy. 4/10
8. LL Cool J, "I'm the Type of Guy" -- Never has cuckoldery sounded so damn smooth. There are a lot of reasons why the Ladies Love Cool James, and if you doubt them, he's got a four-knuckle ring coming to your grill right away. 7/10
9. Magnetic Fields, "Strange Powers" -- In recent months, frontman Stephin Merritt has been the target of a ridiculous and pathetic smear campaign asserting, among other things, that because he doesn't think much of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, he is a "cracker racist." This may be the stupidest complaint in the history of music criticism, and that's saying a whole hell of a lot. 8/10
10. Radiohead, "There There (The Boney King of Nowhere)" -- Probably my favorite song off Hail to the Thief. With a tour and the release of Thom Yorke's solo album, this summer is shaping up to feature a Radiohead revival. God bless 'em. 9/10
Alright, that gives me a whopping 6.8 average in the Coolness Self-Audit. I seem to get that score no matter what songs pop up on the iTunes. To paraphrase George McFly, mediocrity just must be my density.
Well, let's see what you've got this week. Drop your own random ten in the comments below, with or without a heaping side serving of coolness ratings.