- One gasmask from World War I, crumbling
- One child-sized modern gasmask
- Five American Civil Defense manuals from before 1970 relating to surviving nukes and/or fallout
- One Soviet equivalent
- Signed copy of The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel addressed “To Suzy”
- Copy of The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge by Randy and Sara Weaver, signed “Mark Laursen, Freedom at any Cost! Randy Weaver”
- Black and white photograph of people in a market with their backs to the camera, captioned “Empty shelves, Moscow”
- Three World War I soldier postcards, one of which has a cartoon of a Tommy in oversized uniform and the words “Wanted: five minutes with the guy who said it’s clothes make the man.”
- Two ’78s: “When They Found The Atomic Power” and “When the Atom Bomb Fell”
- A painfully racist postcard from 1907, with a cartoon of a black man being stung by bees
- A fascinatingly racist bumper sticker with the confederate flag over the White House, and the words “I have a dream.”
- A confederate flag bumper sticker with the words “Dead Yankees don’t lie!” written on it.
- A Chairman Mao magnet from China
- Four or five Soviet pins from the 1980s
- A button that says “Nixon: now more than ever”
- A black and white picture of Jesus from about the ’50s, and Jesus waves his arm if you shake it
- An entire photo album of a family of strangers from the teens into the ’20s
- Numerous SWAT Playmobils
- Two WWII ration books from my Grandmother
- A 10,000 Reichsmark bill from 1923
- An Outline of Abnormal Psychology, 1929
- A blue and an orange wind-up, plastic chattery teeth with feet
- Sixty-year-old face powder in a pink box
In honor of Charlie Jane Anders’ every Doctor Who episode ever list at io9, I am going to humbly approach a smaller task — ranking the new episodes. Because though technically the wise friend and her wise father who introduced me to the show did start with Three (Jon Pertwee), I have never yet had the attention span for Classic Who. Anders’ list may help me decide which arcs to tackle, however for now, I know only new.
Here we go, the top ten episodes of shiny new Who because I am way too lazy to do a count-down in reverse order. For additional laziness, multi-parters are filed under one average ranking.
We start with the best ten, and if I ever feel ambitious, I will keep on with the list.
1) “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances” (2005): This was my second NuWho, and the episode that hooked me for life. A sciencey plot that is not resolved with reversing the polarity of the neuron flow, a touching exchange about WWII that I constantly cite, Captain Jack at his most roguish, and GAS-MASK ZOMBIE CHILDREN. Also the London Blitz. I love everything about this. And it’s a key one to cite when mourning the brief tenure of Christopher Eccleston as Nine.
2) “Blink” (2007): Yep, I am ranking it in the same spot as Anders, but at least I don’t have 250 episodes to compare it to. It’s just so clever — before then-writer, now showrunner Steven Moffat became too clever by half. It is the first look at a very Moffat-y beast, the Weeping Angels, before he overused them. It has a fantastic companion (as it were) played by Carey Mulligan before she hopped across the pond. It is scary, funny, and satisfying. It is overrated, except it really isn’t.
3) “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit” (2006): I never disliked this episode, but it has been slowly crawling up my favorites list over the years. Rose and Ten have great moments together, but not sappy ones. They go off and do their own thing and take their own risks, but their bond is vital. The Ood are creepy and endearing, the secondary cast are awkwardly believable, and oh yeah, space Satan? Before I read Childhood’s End, this was even more epic a concept. But it’s still epic.
4) “The Doctor’s Wife” (2011): Neil Gaiman, you beauty. This was one of the handful of episodes during Eleven’s tenure that made me keep the faith. Nothing against Matt Smith, who has some really great qualities as the Doctor, but something about the tone of the whole show was usually off to me. And Amy does nothing for me as a companion, even if she is a stunning redhead with a gorgeous accent. This episode, on the other hand, has a terrifying villain to menace Amy and Rory, and a brilliantly bizarre way to give the Doctor a chance to speak to his oldest companion — his true love (no, it ain’t River Song, damn it).
5: “The Girl in the Fireplace” (2006): In some ways I might have burned out on this episode from too many rewatches, but it really is wonderful, no matter if the characterization of our main peeps is sort of…elusive. Finally getting Mickey in the TARDIS and having him adventure with Rose gives them a chance to have some good bonding. In the meantime, there’s a fabulous French woman who might be a Mary Sue, but valiantly rises above that; there are also clockwork monsters, another wild premise that holds together until the end (more or less), and a horse in space. More timey-wimey stuff that doesn’t just feel like someone shouting at you until you are distracted.
6:”Dalek”(2005): Weak extraneous characters with hilarious John Wayne American accents. However, Nine is on fire here. One Dalek becomes more menacing than millions of them. They are the ultimate in diminishing returns. Why couldn’t the show repeat the fury and terror in the Doctor’s reaction to Daleks with any success in ANY subsequent episodes? Rose is here being important to the plot, but this is Nine’s episode.
7:”Father’s Day”(2005): Anders is right that the monsters that appear do not show up in any other paradoxical instances before or after this episode. And considering what show this is (hint: timey wimey), that’s a bit awkward. But everything else here is so damned wonderful, and it all makes so much sense as a one-shot, that I don’t care. This is a fantastic episode about idealizing people who are gone, and missing them, and things like that. Billie Piper is really wonderful, and I think a former teen pop star deserved more credit for how good she was at being Rose.
8:”Midnight”(2008): This is another one that has slowly crept up in my ranking over the years. It’s almost Donna-free, because the Doctor needs to be separated from having an ally. Multiple people over the years have suggested this is Doctor Who does The Twilight Zone. It’s a strange, eerie, mysterious plot — and the strangest, eeriest, most mysterious part (besides how Russell T. Davies could sometimes write such good episodes, when he would go nuts in every finale) is that all of the alien confidence of the Doctor fails in this case. People are not impressed by him, and they don’t magically assume he knows best.
9:”Utopia/”The Sound of Drums”/”Last of the Time Lords” (2007): But-but the ending, you cry. Yes, I know. It is not…ideal. Still, before that final twist, you have two whole episodes that are strangely disturbing. Not in the way that Moffat’s best monsters are disturbing, but in a more subtle way that lingers for longer, like everyone’s eventual demise (sorry). “Utopia” takes place at the end of the universe. It’s dying, but people are trying to take a rocket to get somewhere…else. (Something about a slapdash rocket full of refugees trying to escape the end of the universe makes me sick in an awesome way — the way really killer sci-fi is supposed to, until you put it down and watch Gilmore Girls instead.) John Simm’s turn as the maser is not as hamfisted as it becomes later. It is still plenty broad, but it balances on a perfect, genuine line between madness and evil. His wife is unsettling with her twist. His domination of the world is scary. Everything except that final bit is fantastic. And yes, that final bit is bad. But it still makes more damn sense than whatever the fuck happened at the end of “The Stolen Earth” or even “Journey’s End.” Seriously, when Davros tries to destroy “reality itself” it feels like nothing. John Simm and the taclafane are an oddly sickening nightmare that demands repeat viewings.
10:”Flatline”(2014): There is a very good chance that this episodes will be seriously downgraded in the years to come. But I feel so grateful towards it right now, that I want to celebrate it. It’s as if someone was finally listening to my mother’s complaints that aliens are too humanoid. The alienness of aliens is fully acknowledged and worked with in this episode. There’s menace and pathos, but actual slapstick that didn’t make me want to stick my head through a wall. Clara is tolerable, and almost endearing. Secondary characters are good. The Doctor is not prominent, but he’s there, and Peter Capaldi is amazing and needs more episodes worthy of his amazingness. This is the first episode since “The Doctor’s Wife” that made me go “fuck yeah, this show, I love this show!” I keep forgetting this is possible.
Before I watched this thing, I knew “Pancho and Lefty” and Justin Townes Earle’s namesake, and that was about it. But this sad, sad, documentary that is a country song in itself went so well with my last Nashville adventure. S.T. and I perched in R.B.’s disaster of a music nerd bachelor apartment and sunk into the life of Townes.
The most memorable part, besides the quiet, woeful songs? Van Zandt’s son talking about how he learned his dad was dead. Switching across the stations one night, the son heard one of his dad’s song, which was rare. Then he heard another one and thought, oh, a two-fer, great. A third song followed and he knew something awful had happened.
Before S.T. and I watched this, and before we saw Old Crow Medicine Show that night for a WSM radio show, we had paid tribute to Townes by having a beer at The Gold Rush. There is a picture of the man himself above one of the bars. When S.T. and I went to take a photo, the middle-afged bartender began telling us perfect, tragic stories about how shit-faced Townes used to stagger home from the place. Sometimes he would leave his lyrics-covered napkins behind, and the bartenders would keep them for him. By telling us these raw, real tales of sorrow, the bartender managed to simultaneously puncture the unserious fun time impression of the country-drunk and enhance it one hundred-fold. All in all, it was a very Nashville moment.
Favorite Townes Van Zandt song (besides the one I put in Friday Afternoon links below):
Oh, and here’s the whole documentary on Youtube!
5) Tommy Jarrell, Sprout Wings and Fly
A group of us has rented a little house in Nashville — by us, I mean the collection of oddballs I met from internet Old Crow Medicine Show fandom, all of whom are at least 15 years older than I am — to see the group at the Ryman for the switch from 2010 to 2011. There was moonshine, black-eyed peas, collard greens, Prince’s Hot Chicken, and S.T. and J.K. busking their hearts out on the corners and side-streets off of Broadway. And when S.T. and J.K. practice their fiddle and guitar, it gets serious — even religious. During their practice at our (for the moment) little house, the DVD of Les Blank’s Sprout Wings and Fly was brought out. “Tommy” they called Jarrell. In their reverence, he needs no other name. I didn’t display my ignorance, but watched and tried to learn the appropriate lessons and display my old time piety.
Jarrell was an old school Appalachian fiddler, absolutely from another universe, even while Blank filmed him at the end of his life in the 1980s. It’s just one of those perfect folk moments in amber that makes one wish to be named Lomax. S.T. told me later that the story goes that Jarrell’s musician father learned “Poor Ellen Smith” from Peter Degraf himself as he sat in jail for the poor woman’s murder. That story is so America, that I hope never to confirm whether it is true or not.
Favorite Tommy Jarrell song:
Here’s the trailer for the documentary:
4) The Clash, Westway to the World
I don’t remember the first time I watched Westway to the World, but my 15th and 16th years saw the DVD nearly worn to splinters. It’s just the Clash talking, with archival footage. Headon is withered and still on heroin, Jones is all teeth and a bit of smarm, Simonon is still handsome and cheeky, and Strummer seems sweet, and sad, and regretful about his key part in fucking up the completely magical foursome had had going.
Favorite Clash song:
And the documentary:
3) Joe Strummer, Let’s Rock Again!
Oh, Let’s Rock Again! I waited breathlessly to watch, sobbed my eyes out when Strummer is passing out flyers to his own gig, or sitting on the sidewalk chatting with teens, or being hugged by hysterically joyful Japanese fans, and then I could never watch it again. The Clash I missed by miles, but if congenital heart defects and my lack of prodigious coolness hadn’t gotten in the way, I could have seen the Mescaleros, dammit. I missed it. I fucked up. I was late. But the whole documentary just makes you love Strummer’s humanity and his earnest, human optimism. (Which, knowing how he turned out, makes asshole, must be a punker, 1976 Strummer even more adorable.)
Favorite Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros song:
And the clip where Joe passes out flyers to his own show — contrived or not, I want to hug him real bad. Strummer was the most huggable of all the old punk rockers.
2) Simon and Garfunkel, Songs of America and The Concert in Central Park
The latter, a 1981 concert that made 12-year-old me infuriated that I had even missed that pale imitation of a folk reunion by six years of life — making the ’60s I yearned to visit seem farther away still. The former, though officially packaged with a shiny new version of Bridge Over Troubled Water a few years back, came to my eager hands as a grainy VHS from an internet friend (I “met” her in an MSN Paul Simon fans group. She also sent me a burned CD of a bootleg of the once-rare The Paul Simon Songbook). That tape was painfully wonderful — finally a glimpse of the duo at their peak, the thing I missed. The thing itself is pretty low-key, sometimes it lags, but there are some good concert scenes, and a particularly wonderful Simon and Garfunkel warming up bit.
Favorite Simon and Garfunkel song:
And Songs of America! (You God damned kids have no idea what it was like pre-Youtube. The dial-up days were dark indeed.)
And the Central Park one as well!
(I finally saw Simon and Garfunkel in 2004, though for most of my childhood I assumed it was impossible. I heard “The Only Living Boy in New York” and “Suspect Device” that year. Seventeen was a good musical year.)
1) Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense
This, for the distinctive memory of my father rushing home from work one day, piece of mail in hand, and how he popped in his brand new VHS of the flawless Talking Heads doing their thing. He and mom were actually there for one of the nights the concert was made from. Though they were a very New York City band, my parents in LA in 1984 watching David Byrne in his great big suit, dancing with a lamp, makes them seem very California, and very familiar in a way — as if they helped raise me. And the concert is as wonderful as everyone says — its slow build from David Byrne playing “Psycho Killer” all alone to the full, wild stage and incomprehensible energy. It’s perfect, and it’s strange, and it’s my parents being cool and before my time.
Favorite Talking Heads song:
— David Byrne and that lamp.
The rule about Esquire is the issues with men on the cover are better. Esquire on masculinity is pretentious, but strangely earnest, but also sort of vulnerable at the end of it all. They’re over-thinking manliness, but it’s better than when they get into sonnets on the symmetry of Megan Fox’s face. Esquire on women is dressed-up lad magazine atittude. It’s all about looks, but Esquire swears it’s because these B-list actresses are just so captivating, man. The way they eat their salad in the cafe in which the interview takes place is totally art. Like, sexiness is art. This actress who played minor parts on several network TV shows is like a canvas.
And men are well-dressed, well-fed, well-read; tough, but real, human beings.
The April issue of the magazine — starring Jimmy Kimmel with a sharpie mustache drawn on his face — has an intriguing list, “84 Things a Man Should Do Before He Dies: The Life List.” I figured as a well-dressed, well-fed, well-read, not super tough, but working on it real human lady being, I would see how many manly things I have done so far.
1. Apologize. Should work on my skills there. But boring.
2. Construction related man stuff, nope. Never ripped down a wall.
3. Lost 15 pounds without talking about it — literally everyone losing 15 pounds should stop talking about it.
4. Take one stunning train trip. The more nights, the better. Done! And awesome.
5. Say “I’m sorry, too” in the middle of a “vicious argument”: Uh, not sure off hand. Boring.
6. Spend an uncomfortable amount of money on a really good suit. I haven’t. But I would.
7. Leave a tip big enough to upset you. I am poor and nice, so yes.
8. No, I have never been to Bonneville Salt Flats, but it sounds great. Possibly even greater than this Charlie Parr song called “Bonneville.”
9. I haven’t taken a little girl to see The Nutcracker, but I have been a little girl who saw it. Hell, I was a little girl who listened to a tape of the songs and made my stuffed animals dance. This was when I was six and thought “rock and roll” was loud and grating.
10. Nearly die, then don’t. I almost died from asthma and pneumonia as a six-month-old, so sure.
11. See a band’s last show ever. Not yet, hopefully. I did see the very last Old Crow Medicine Show concert that Willie Watson played with them, however. Tears. Unmanly tears.
12-13. I lose major man points for not being able to drive.
14. Volunteer. Obligatory entry, and not as much as I should. I should do some Food, Not Bombs. I did pass out Christmas toys in Zagreb once, on the other hand.
15. No, I haven’t taken a tiny sea plane in Vancouver. That sounds like something I would be terrified and delighted to do.
16. Love something other than yourself (with picture of dog). Well, of course.
17. Shoot a Glock. No! But I have shot a Colt .45 and a dang semi-automatic SKS. I think I have more man points than John H. Richardson, who wrote the brief.
18. Write a poem. Fuck yeah, man. I once earned $50 from a poem, which probably puts me in the top three most successful poets of our time.
19-21. Drug and casual sex suggestions. Boring.
22. No, I do not make incredibly important decisions quickly. Nor do I make inane ones. It is not in my genes.
23. Coach kids what? Sports? God help them.
24. Vacations with friends are good, annual ones would be great.
25. I have better than a personal uniform. I have style.
26. I cannot tell a joke. But I will keep telling the one I made up. What do you call a frat boy who enjoys making up new words by putting two together?
27. I haven’t met a lot of newborns, and I haven’t yet held their hands.
28. I have been lost, both on purpose and by accident.
29. No, I cannot change a tire. Have definitely never done it without telling someone.
30. I haven’t toasted my father.
31. Write a country song? Ah, fuck you, Esquire. Stop trying to win my heart. Joke ones, sure.
32. Build an irresponsible fire. I was with some disreputable 25-year-old punks, and I was 17, but we did have a trespassing bonfire on a muddy night in God Knows Where Woods.
33. Shovel soil onto a casket. Oh, Jesus, Esquire. It will happen, do we need to put on the official list?
34. Take a month off? Not really on purpose.
35. Face your own mortality by taking a physical risk. I have climbed some Montana boulders and hills that were not so safe, and I was not so skillful.
36. Drive cross country the other way — from Great Falls, Montana to Austin, Texas. Great one! I have been across country by bus, train, car, and plane, AND my mom is from Great Falls, but I have not yet done the sideways venture. It’s going on the list.
37. Walk somewhere at least 50 miles away. This has long been on my list. It has to be if you grew up on a diet of children’s books filled with runaway orphans and stranded Alaskan travelers.
38. No, I haven’t been to or climbed Angels Landing in Zion National Park. Sounds Biblical.
39. Drive a Glacier National Park road! Shit, who in Esquire loves Montana this much? Tragically, I haven’t been to Glacier yet.
40. Hondle. A word I have never heard in my life. It means haggle, basically. I am so bad at haggling that when I saw a $100,000 Reichmark bill for sale at a flea market, I said “I WANT THAT NOW, NO HAGGLING, NOW. TAKE MY MONEY.”
41. Quit your job. I haven’t had a lot of them.
42. Kill your dinner. Not even been fishing. Feel like I should, though.
43. Put your phone down. People always call when you do that. But I love to ignore my phone as much as possible.
44. Be obsessed. Have you met me?
45. Make enemies. Working on it, darling. And all the right ones.
46. Sleep outside, next to a fire. Done. You tend to wake up cold.
47. Sleep outside, in a public park. Not yet. Not even after reading Evasion.
48. Try really fucking hard to be great at one thing. I should try a lot harder.
49. Help to bring life into the world. No thanks. But I would like a puppy. Or to make one in a lab.
50. More driving.
51. I can’t do much while drunk, no.
52. Live your nightmare. Non-specific, but the piece is about dying at a comedy club. No, thank you.
53. I can’t make an old-fashioned, but the last one I had was made by a Southerner who is a foreign correspondent in Haiti. I cam eto his party clutching my Christmas Rye, and he made me one old-fashioned out of the last dregs of it. It was delicious.
54. Never rode a horse. Mom says I rode an elephant in LA once. It was probably well-tethered.
55. I really am not handy.
56. Make a sandwich at three in the morning. This is just an excuse to show Jessica Pare in her underwear. On the other hand, she has a friendly pin-up girl smile and is not posing in an impossible way, and for a man magazine, that is true enlightenment.
57. Swim naked. More Jessica Pare juxtaposition excuses, but again, she looks friendly, not deadly-sexy. Fair enough. And yes I have gone skinny-dipping. Love those cold Montana creeks.
58. I have never busked! Which is part of my sneaking suspicion that I will never be great. Wait, once I was sitting on the sidewalk for my mom and I began fiddling with my viola, because this was after junior orchestra. One of the directors throw a quarter into my case, so there you go.
59-60. Meet your hero/have a hero. I have met several of mine, musical, ideological, journalistic, and otherwise.
61. No, I have never been to that specific place either.
62. Walk away from a conversation you’re not enjoying, without explanation. Yes. It’s hard for the shy, but it’s good practice for the woman getting creeped on at a Justin Townes Earle show.
63. Get fired, with cause. I was much better at that work study in the ELS office at Chatham than the one girl. But dammit, last hired, first fired. She slept at her desk, man!
64. Talk to your father about back in the day. Not for a while, but I was THE child for this sort of story of back in the day.
65. Sail continuously for three days and night on the open ocean. Oh, come now.
66. No, my left hand is rubbish. I am way far from ambidextrous.
67. Never been married, don’t really want the state to endorse my relationship. We’ll see.
68-69. Never hired or fired someone.
70. I still laugh at Cookie Monster, and the lesson from Sesame Street I learn is that eating inanimate objects with glee is hilarious. Enthusiasm. Let’s say I learned enthusiasm.
71. I would be glad to attend the launch of a rocket.
72. Be a true believer, then believe in the opposite side of the thing. Unless I become a fundamentalist or a fascist, seems unlikely to happen.
73. I like LA, and I have always wondered about chicken and waffles, so okay, maybe that one. I will visit that restaurant.
74. Walk around New York City all night. I thought not, but actually Pamela Stubbart, Todd Seavey and I just made it to dawn in January, 2013. Bam!
75. Commit a petty crime. Sneaking into a Pittsburgh city park swimming pool at night. Twice. Very rewarding crime.
76. Reread highschool novels you skimmed. Plan to.
77. Read Huckleberry Finn. I was literally just thinking today I should do this.
78. Read 50 Shades of Grey. Oh stop it, hipster-contrarians.
79. Do something awesome and not get paid for it. Sorry, “refuse to monetize it.” This blog post counts.
80. Have a pair of shoes made. I should, because my leg is all fucked up. Do $700 orthopedic insoles count?
81. No, I will never win an office.
82. I could definitely lose at running for office, but it seems unlikely I will ever bother.
83. I would like to go to Detroit for journalistic reasons, but, uh, it’s a little weird that Esquire thinks you can do most of the things on this list with impunity there.
84. Don’t have a life list. Edgy. Manly and edgy twist there.
Sadly, there is no way to tally your man score at the end. The magazine that published “The Falling Man” and “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” would never be so quantitatively lowbrow, so unliterary, man.
Let’s just say I am relatively manly.
I haven’t ever seen a Cosmo, etc. version of this list, but I suspect it would be 1) have a sweet boyfriend/have kids or don’t, but decide!!! 2) buy clothing that makes you feel good (hint: this thing from our advertisers), 3) A wild stab at topical feminism with “uh, ask for a raise, I guess.”
Esquire‘s life list is both a demonstration of its conventions, and better than it might be, all things considered, and much better than any general interest magazine for ladies. In short, Esquire-y.
6.5) The Montana firefighter I heard of once who was named Charley Stillsmoking…
6) …who could ideally be combined with the story of another Montana firefighter — the poor fellow was chased by a grizzly, he hid under a pile of logs, and the bear grabbed him and pulled him out by the legs. Mr. or Ms. Grizzly gave one slash with his mighty paw across the firefighter’s chest, then went on his way. This happened, by the way, right in the middle of his fighting a forest fire that endangered my family’s cabin. So thanks for braving those beasts, anyway. I’d like to reward you with a song if I knew how.
Actually, has anyone musically covered the tragedy of that Arizona hotshot crew yet? That could break some damn hearts. We may need to bring Johnny Cash back from the dead for this.
5) The story of the only pair of high heels I ever owned (less than two inches) — I bought them to go on Alyona’s Happy Hour. I wore them on RT probably three times and also to the White House Press Correspondent’s Dinner, then I accidentally left them the backseat of a 22-year-old jazz drummer’s car, a stranger who gave my friend and I a ride back to my home after we had drank whiskey sours with him, playing at being interesting older women who had done things like go to Russia (her) and develop opinions about Gene Krupa (me, those opinions being he was awesome and attractive).
4) Songs that namedrop other songs are usually terrible earnest, but — front row center at the Ryman Auditorium on New Year’s Eve, Matt Welch playing “Fourth of July” drunk (I’m sorry, it was a strange and memorable night, in spite of the bottle of wine), Bob and I singing Against Me! songs while driving through the backwoods of New Mexico on my first road trip, cousin T. and in our first moshpit together (La Plebe and Jello Biafra!), etc. Lots of possibilities in a life full of the perfect moments with songs.
Music on music can work with the proper amount of overly direct, earnest This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Defiance Ohio, or Endless Mike and the Beagle Club spirit. (These songs need to be written by a scrappy, local level folk punk/rock band is what I am saying.)
@LucyStag I’m waiting for songs like “The Rancho Siesta Methhouse Fire of ‘09 Blues.”
— Seth Wilson (@TheJackalopeTX) September 18, 2013
Ballad of Cory Maye, anyway? Ryan Frederick? All too many cases choose from.
2) The woeful tale of my ancestor Anders Olson who was scalped by hungry, uprising Sioux in Minnesota in 1862. Poor Anders had taken the family to hide in a fort, so the story goes, but he went back to check on the livestock and that’s when they got him. I’m feeling an “El Paso” vibe from this one, at least lyrically. Going back when you shouldn’t and all that sort of thing.
1) But most of all, give me a moving country tale of Pastor Randy Wolford — this guy — who died from a rattlesnake bite in West Virginia last year. Wolford was a snake handler, which is strange and stupid and fascinating enough without any deaths, but the detail that just kills in this case is that Wolford’s father had already died the same way — in front of him when the boy was just 15. Could be straight, sincere country, but something a little more subversive — that would include the foolishness, and the doomed quality of it all — would be better still. I’m looking at you, Critter Fuqua, Justin Townes Earle, Cary Ann Hearst, someone get on this.
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