Category Archives: Classic

The Old Man and the Sea


Pain, suffering, and loss are just vehicles personal triumph and dignity in Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella The Old Man and The Sea.  Take a nice and relaxing deepsea fishing adventure with a salty old sailor and his trusty boat.  Written in rich and complexly interwoven language. With lots of run on sentences. Good, strong run-on sentences. Sentences that were running on when I was a boy. Sentences that will run on forever.

84 days without catching a mix…today just may be your day.

“Man is not made for defeat…A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”: The Sea was Calling Me Home – Jonathan Richman

The Sea: The Ocean – Velvet Underground
Lou Reed is basically the rock n roll version of Hemingway: brooding, manly, no nonsense, uncomfortably obsessed with deformed cats and spearing things. I wonder if Hemingway ever dated a guy like Rachel.

The Old Man: Ole Man Trouble – Otis Redding
You gotta love how tough the old codger is. I don’t care if he is allegorical representation of common man’s strength against nature or religion or criticism or whatever…he still is pretty much a Cuban badass. Like Tony Montana with an oar and sardines instead of a M16 and mountains of coke.

The Boy: Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys
“Gee, mister. I’d love to fish with you, but my parents think you are cursed, miserable dead weight. But I can carry your tackle box to the boat trip that will most certainly kill you slowly.”

“Salao”: Bad Luck – Langhorn Slim / Troubled Waters – Cat Power
If it wasn’t for bad luck, my life wouldn’t blow.

The Baseball Box Scores: Joe DiMaggio Done It Again – Billy Bragg and Wilco
I imagine that if we got this guy a laptop and a league, he would rock at fantasy. His team name would probably be some horrible fishy pun though like the The Florida Marlin Killerz or the Kirby Buckets of Fishguts or the Blue Gil Meches

Sailing Away: Shiver Me Timbers – Tom Waits
I wish somebody would shiver my timbers. 😦

The Skiff: Mystery Ship – Mystic Tide
Row, row, row your boat should not be a funeral dirge. But it works in a pinch.

Drifting: On the Sea – Beach House
You know how the old saying goes: “Water, water, everywhere. Drink as much as you’d like.”

The Fish, My Brother: Strangers – The Kinks
“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.” Truth.

Cramped Hands: I’m Cramped – The Cramps
(This is a song about being cramped in case you hadn’t figured that out)
This dude held on to a slicing fish line with cramped, bloody hands for several days and I complain of thumb aches after playing a rigorous round of Angry Birds. Sigh.

“I Wish the Boy Were Here”: Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Yeah, yeah, I know. Sorry, but you know, it does have a line about a fish…so it totally fits.

The Night: The Sea and The Rhythm – Iron and Wine
Well, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear the relationship old man and the marlin is just slightly romantic.  I mean the moonlit evenings, the sweet nothings, the soft caresses. What happens at sea…stays in the waves.

The Catch: You Really Got a Hold on Me – Percy Sledge
I’m totally hooked on this song. It has a line to my heart. It just keeps reeling me in. It leaves me with bait-ed breath. (Next time I do that, please email me and remind me to slap myself in the face)

Shark Attack: Shark Attack!!! – Los Superavengers
“At least, I’ve got this little knife tied to tie to an oar. I chased them off. I should probably be good now, right….”

More Sharks Attack: Shark Attack – The Triptides
“Well, shit.”

Sailing Back: Long Way Home – Tom Waits
Always the best way to get back…And, you’re damn right, two Tom Waits songs.

Admiring The Bones: Sea Shanty – The Pogues
I don’t really know what the hell this song is about. But I figure it as likely to be about a bunch of nautically-inclined folks admiring the size of a marlin skeleton as it is to be about anything else. I am pretty sure Shane MacGowan neither knows nor cares.

Coughing Blood: Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan
When I read this in high school, I think I definitely identified more with the boy than the old man. During my re-reading, the opposite is very much true. And that kind of freaks me out.

Dreaming of Lions: Skokiann – Louis Armstrong
I know this song probably goes against the mood of the ending, but I just hope my feverish final deathbed dreams are soundtracked by soaring horns and a gleeful Satchmo. Oh, and my wife totally wouldn’t let me use Toto’s Africa.


A Christmas Carol

Christmas Carol Cover

In the spirit of the season, this Tape on Book covers Charles Dickens’ classic holiday novella about spirits of the season, A Christmas Carol. The tale of miserable miser’s forced redemption thanks to a ghostly grudge-holding partner and his haint buddies. Check your doorknobs and throw on your best night cap and shirt, tis the hour for Holiday time-traveling!

Tonight, when the bell tolls one, you will be haunted by a mix. Without it, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. (Well you actually probably can, but listen anyways.)

“Bah Humbug”: Scrooge – The Ventures
“Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” Dickens, you brilliant bastard. Okay, okay, just one more: “Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.”

Ebenezer Scrooge: It’s Money That I Love – Randy Newman
Well, now that Randy Newman is on board for this, you might as well make a some sort of crappy CG-animated version of it. Oh wait…Nevermind.

Bob Cratchit: Well Respected Man – The Kinks
By far this role was Kermit the Frog’s finest work. I am still silenced by the way he powerfully encapsulated the plight of the 19th century working poor in those deeply emotive ping-pong ball eyes.

Face in the Door Knocker: Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Antony and the Johnsons
Perhaps the ghost wouldn’t haunt you if you’d quit banging him in his freakin’ nose.

Jacob Marley: Ghosts – The Jam / Past, Present, Future – Shangri-La’s
Dead, vengeful, and rocking chains and a hanky wrapped round your jaw. Some fashions just never go out of style.

Ghost of Christmas Past: Yesterday – The Bar Kays
Androgynous, whiny, focused on past shortcomings, an affinity for self-torment, swept hair (set on fire, of course) – thusly, Dickens invents emo.

Young Scrooge: Old Man – Neil Young
I imagine there is nothing worse than seeing yourself in the past and realizing that you were just about as miserable as you are now. And considerably less handsome than you remember. Just as dumb though.

Belle, the Ex-Fiancée: Flying Pizza – Swearing at Motorists
There she is…the one that got away. Got away with my ten pound note that is. Boo yah! High Five? Anyone?

Ghost of Christmas Present: Time has Come Today – The Ramones
The Ghost of Xmas Past is definitely the spirit I’d most want to hang with out of the three. He looks like he can really party. A real “live in the now” dude. And you just know he’s not wearing anything under those robes (unlike that Future spook).

The Crachit Family: We’ll Get Ahead Someday – Dolly and Porter
We may be poor, but at least we have each other. Unless, of course, one of us starves to death.

Tiny Tim: Sick Kid – The Babies / Forever Young – Bob Dylan
Creepy invalid impoverished child or creepy gangly ukulele-strumming manchild. I wouldn’t really want to meet either of them in a dark alley. Or a field of tulips. Or in the Victorian ghetto.

Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come: Your Time is Gonna Come – Led Zeppelin
Apparently, the grim reaper was on vacation or something. So we get his less-intimidating and much more British cousin, Ronald Reaper. Come on, C.D.

Mrs. Dilber and Old Joe: Thieves – She & Him
When you are part of the 1840s 1%, you gotta watch your back. As Biggie famously quoth, “Mo Money, Mo Financial Difficulties due to Elaborate Fencing Schemes”.

Scrooge’s Grave: Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard – Tom Waits
I especially love the part where Scrooge’s business associates talk about how they only will go to his funeral for the free lunch. I feel the same way about having to attend my own funeral. By the way, my funeral will be serving bottomless nachos.

Christmas Morning: Welcome Christmas – Red Red Meat / Change of Heart – The Vaccines
Just once, I’d like to experience a miracle that prompts me to madly run through the streets screaming “Merry Christmas” or the like. The closest I’ve come was when I mixed Nyquil and a fifth of Old Crow and thought I was being chased by terrifying clowns. They turned out to be just terrifying juggalos.

The Prize Turkey Feast: Home Cookin’ – The Band
I killed the prize Turkey sandwich the other day. Seriously, won it out of a convenience store claw machine. I must say the mayo had an interesting taste profile.

“God Bless Us, Every One!”: Good Good Day – Nick Cave
Except for you, jerk. (You know who you are)

Lord of the Flies

Things get slightly out of hand this week with William Golding’s brutal reflection on the duality of man. Civility and savagery battle it out on a desert island, giving you second thoughts about those sweet innocent children playing tag at the park. An important reminder that humankind is built of good and evil and those waters can get muddy pretty quick.See what happens when people stop being polite, and start being murderous…here.

“The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon”: Pigs on the Wing, Part 1 – Pink Floyd

Plane Crash: I’m Stranded – The Saints
My! Aren’t we looking mighty spry for just surviving a plane crash?

Gathering: On the Beach – Neil Young / Boys Keep Swinging – David Bowie
Who wouldn’t love a little fun-time beach camping with the boys, am I right? What are the chords for Kumbaya?

Ralph: He’s a Mighty Good Leader – Beck
Like a young JFK. “Ask not what your island can do for you, ask what you can do to not kill each other.” “Ich bin ein Islander!”

The Conch: Let’s Work Together – Canned Heat
Cue the movie montage…building shelters, laughing around a fire, gathering berries and water, long walks on the beach, sharpening sticks, repeated inappropriately stabbing animals, painting each other with blood, ritual dance around fire, repeatedly stabbing each other inappropriately…end movie montage.

Piggy: Piggy in the Middle – The Rutles
Yeah, yeah. I know Nine Inch Nails has a song called “Piggy” that fits pretty well to describe the torturing the book’s husky voice of reason. But a fake Beatles band is just so much more British, flustered, and feminine…also perfect for poor Piggy.

Jack: Evil Urges – My Morning Jacket
The nefarious choir boy. No doubt, when he grows up, he’ll be the CEO of some evil company like Halliburton, Lehman Brothers, Monsanto, or, just maybe, Piggly Wiggly.

The Beast: Heart of Darkness – Pere Ubu
Come on, kiddos! There is almost never really any monsters on remote jungle islands. Well, except for King Kong’s island. And that smoke monster from Lost. That fat dude who kept hitting Gilligan in the face with his hat. Oh, and cannibals (watch out for them too).

The Glasses and The Fire: Smoke Signal – The Band
Thanks for the fire, four eyes. Now, its just a simple task of us kids being responsible enough to complete the menial task of tending the fire until we’re rescued. Can’t foresee any issues there.

“Kill the Pig, Spill the Blood”: Deathtripper – Pig Destroyer
Pig Destroyer might be the best grindcore band name ever, or at least, right behind The Bathtub Shitters. Chop the Pig and Save (okay, okay, sorry, last Piggly Wiggly reference for this one).

The Group Splits: Kids Don’t Follow – Replacements
Bloodlust, barbarism, and bad attitudes! The boys are starting to turn. Truth be told, in a similar situation, I would also probably join the group that wears loincloths and eats meat. Mostly because that’s how I’m living already.

Simon and the Lord of the Flies: Strange – Wire
If you can find a better song to describe the scene where the creepy Christ-like propheteering tween has a lengthy philosophical discussion with a severed Boar’s head on a stick, you just let me know.

Jack’s Savages: Children in Heat – The Misfits
I’ve been to a Misfits show…it is pretty close to a “LotF” situation. Lots of confused youth, painted faces, and idol worship. Oh, and devil locks! Side note: A Misfits concert is the only concert by any band where it’s perfectly acceptable to wear that band’s t-shirt. You do that at any other show, and you’re a dope.

The Fire Dance/Simon Murdered: Frenzy – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
I’d love to see a reality show that puts all of Screamin’ Jay’s 57 famously illegitimate kids on an island in a “Lord of the Flies” meets “Survivor” meets “American Idol” scenario. The winner would receive the love and approval of their late, great deadbeat dad. And survival, of course. And maybe a recording contract.

Piggy Crushed: Fall on Me – REM
And ask the Sky, And ask the Sky FAAAALLLL ON ME, Ohhh FAA (SPLAT!). This blurb brought to you by an actual semi-feral twelve year old.

Ralph’s Chased:  Run Boy Run – Sanford Clark
Dang, the Jack’s tribe is getting all “hot and bothered” for Ralph. Er, no, no, not what I meant. Um, I mean these kids got a serious case of “jungle fever”. Wait, no, that isn’t the right term either. Ah, whatever, just run!

Discovered: Clowntime is Over – Elvis Costello / Grown Up Wrong – Rolling Stones
What a great “punch in the gut” finale! I don’t know what is better….that the unsuspecting naval officer stops an attempted savage child-on-child murder and simply says that he expected a “better show” from the kids or the fact that he is about to hop on his warship and do the same thing. Bam, juxtaposition in the house…Golding style!

“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”: Pigs on the Wing, Part 2 – Pink Floyd

The Outsiders

This episode we take on S.E. Hinton’s rough and tumble teen gang drama, The Outsiders. Old fashioned class warfare and sensitive bad boys abound in this 7th grade required reading classic. So, grease up your hair, flick open your switchblade, and ponder on your copy of “Gone with the Wind”, here we go.

Stay gold here, Ponyboy.

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home.”: Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy

The Greasers: Bad Seeds – Beat Happening
When one is from the wrong side of the tracks, you better have a cool Elvis haircut and a broken bottle handy at all times.

The Socs: Maintaining My Cool – The Sonics
“Hey, bro! Nice seersucker! You wanna go beat up some poor kids (provided they’re small and/or physically handicapped) and then watch some Vince Vaughn movies?”. Alas, today’s preppie gangs just don’t have the same umphf.

Walking the Streets: Late Last Night – Paul Anka
Paul Anka was indubitably a soc dude, but I imagine he was a guilty pleasure of many greaser gals. And, well, probably Ponyboy too.

Ponyboy Curtis: A Shark in Jets Clothing – Blondie
I would have thought that being known as “Ponyboy” would give you a “A Boy Named Sue”-level toughness. Nope…Apparently just a propensity for reading Robert Frost poems.

Cherry Valence: Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
A rich, beautiful cheerleader named “Cherry”. Yup, that pretty much a textbook “out of your league” chick.

Darry Curtis: The Boss – James Brown
‘Cause I would just feel shameful for subjecting you to George Michael’s “Father Figure” even once more in your life.

Dallas Winston: Black Grease – The Black Angels
I’ve always pictured Dally has kind of an unholy mash-up of John Travolta characters. A little goofy like Vinnie Barbarino, a little violent like the hitman from Pulp Fiction, a little bit of smooth like Saturday Night Fever guy. Oh, a little straight up crazy like that weird scientology-alien from Battlefield Earth.

Fight at the Fountain: Somebody Got Murdered – The Clash
While it is not advisable to bring a knife to a gunfight, it is, in fact, very useful to bring said knife to a knife fight. Good for stabbing and stuff. And while I haven’t been in very many knife or gunfights, I also have never received any kind of message beforehand letting me know what kind of weapon should be used at the upcoming rumble. Who sends out this info?

Johnny Cade: Knife – Grizzly Bear
Poor, poor Johnny. S.E. Hinton’s loyal whipping boy throughout the book. Abused in the beginning. Riddled with guilt in the middle. Dead in the end. Yup, sorry ‘bout that Johnny.

On the Lam: Runaway – Del Shannon
Tangentially-Related Marginally-Interesting Fun Fact: Evil genius singer Tom Waits played the Hank Sr. loving cowboy/criminal Buck Merrill that helped the boys escape town in F.F. Coppola’s film adaptation. He opens the door for Ralph Macchio. Their chemistry is undeniable. Bonus Fun Fact (also involving Waits and Macchio): Tom Waits was all set to play Vinny, in My Cousin Vinny, but had to cancel at the last moment because of an incident involving a camel. Not something you should ever bring up to Mr. Waits, by the way.

The Abandoned Church: (Wish I Could) Hideaway – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Two things to say about this: 1) CCR is way underrated 2) Abandoned churches are kind of creepy places. Wait, even churches that haven’t yet been abandoned are kind of creepy places.

Saving the Kids: Heroes – David Bowie
Okay, I know this song is pretty much the most over-used “Hero” song ever, but dang if this song doesn’t soar! I feel if you get crushed by a flaming pillar whilst saving a school bus load of children from fiery death, you deserve a Bowie memorial song. Off topic – but who decided it was a good idea to take a field trip to the aforementioned weird abandoned church anyways? “Next year, let’s all go to an Indian burial ground!”

The Brawl: Rumble – Link Wray
Really is there any other option for a song to soundtrack a 50’s teen battle royale?

Johnny Dies/Ponyboy’s Case: Your Funeral My Trial – Nick Cave / These Boots are Made for Walking – Lee Hazlewood
Apparently juvenile judges were a bit more lax back in the day. “Well kid, even though you were involved in a fight that left a teen dead and ran from the law for weeks, you are a totally sad sack. Acquitted!”

Dally Gunned Down: I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive – Hank Williams Sr.
If you are going for a storybook dramatic ending, calling all your buddies to watch you commit blue suicide pretty much takes the cake.

The Family: We’re a Happy Family – The Ramones
This song works…you just have to replace “Me, Mom, and Daddy” with “Me, ‘Pop, and Darry”.

Pony’s Assignment/The End: That’s the Story of My Life – Velvet Underground
Is there a “coming of age” novel that doesn’t end with the narrator reminiscing on their life? Just wait around, son. It’ll get tougher.

The Great Gatsby

This episode of Tape on Book we take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s study of the hypocrisy, impossibility, and failure of the American Dream (fun stuff, right?). Booze, cars, bootlegging, dancing, parties, wealth, and heartache…what more could you ask for?

Like giant fading eyes on an ophthalmologist’s billboard, the mix watches over you here.

Nick Carraway: Yesterday is Here – Tom Waits
A moral-ish, vanilla country kid moves to New York and finds himself corruptingly surrounded empty miserable materialistic people…essentially every NYC story ever.

Tom Buchanan: High Society – Enon
FSF creates the blueprint for every 80s teen movie rich bully preppie villain. Where is Ralph Macchio when you need him?

Daisy Buchanan: If You Got The Money – Lefty Frizzell
Now I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger…well, yes, I suppose I am.

The Parties: Party Out of Bounds – B-52s
Just once I would like to go to a extravagant flapper mansion party where Fred Schneider bursts in whilst inquiring about the fridge situation. Now that is the real American Dream!

Owl Eyes: Blank Generation – Richard Hell and the Voidoids
I remember my English teacher saying this guy was FSF’s representation of the Lost Generation.  I mostly just think it was cool that he was trying to sober up by lounging around a library (that doesn’t work, by the way).

Jay Gatsby: You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
Okay, yeah, so I totally cribbed this from Mad Men. But it is really only fair since Don Draper is pretty much a rip off Gatsby. Basically, they’re the same dude. Well, except one can’t live without one woman and one can’t live with one woman.

Jordan Baker: Liar, Liar – The Castaways
…with your lady-golfing pants on fire.  Really Nick, I know you might prefer the masculine sort (wink), but is the best we can do?

Myrtle Wilson: Delilah – Tom Jones
This lady is several shades of crazy with just the right dash of mean as hell. You kind of get the feeling that FSF may have met a few ladies like this in his life who he wished he could run over with a car.

Daisy’s Child: I’m A Stranger Here – Lambchop
“Wait! I still have a child?”

The Green Light at the End of the Dock: I Want You – Elvis Costello
Hands down the best “I TOTALLY LOVE YOU/I TOTALLY HATE YOU” song ever. Unfortunately, it won’t likely be used in the upcoming Baz’s adaption which I fear is going to be one of those horrific singing movies again.

Daisy and Gatsby Together Again: Do You Remember the First Time? – Pulp
You ever hear that Woody Allen 60’s bit about how he was hanging out with Scott and Zelda in Paris? While discussing Gatsby, Woody told FSF that he didn’t need to write Great Expectations because Charles Dickens had already wrote it. So, Hemingway punches him in the face. Yeah, I guess that lost something in translation.

“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”: Summer Days – Bob Dylan

Meyer Wolfsheim: Gangsters -The Specials
“I am Mr. Wolfsheim. I solve problems. Nick, I thought I smelled some coffee back there would you make me a cup? Lots of cream. Lots of sugar.”

Daisy Decides: Best of Both Worlds – Scott Walker
Old money? New money? West Egg? East Egg? Who cares as long as there are money and eggs involved….am I right?

The Car Accident: Car Trouble – Adam & the Ants
Okay, “a little car trouble” might be an understatement when you are describing running over your husband’s lover and then letting your wannabe lover take the blame. But I am pretty sure that is precisely how Daisy really felt about all of it.

George Wilson: Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill – Johnny Paycheck
A sad redneck song for a sad redneck dude. Cuckolded, confused, and packing heat is almost always a recipe for disaster.

The Funeral: I Hope It Rains At My Funeral – Tom T. Hall
Truly could second as a bio-song from Gatsby…Born poor. Work hard. Fall in love. Get nowhere. Make money. Fall back in love. Get nowhere. Get killed. And then no one shows up at your funeral.

Nick Leaves/The Ending: Hit the Ground Running – Smog
In the end, I guess sometimes the best thing you can do is leave and remake yourself…again and again and again. You’d either eventually get it right or get so good at changing that you’d never need to.

The Catcher in the Rye


This week’s Tape on Book is Catcher in the Rye. Everyone’s favorite adolescent misanthrop reminisces about a pre-breakdown excursion to NYC filled with red hunting hats, cigarettes, broken records, nuns, and ducks.

Check out the mix here.

“If you really want to hear about it…”: I Had To Tell You – 13th Floor Elevators

Pencey Prep: David Watts – The Kinks
Losing the fencing equipment, preppies scoring with your favorite gal, and underachievement. You’re right, Holden. High School was horrible.

Dorm Room: I Just Want to Have Something to Do – The Ramones
Who doesn’t?

Phonies: I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Tom Waits
Every adult in CitR was a bit weird, unpredictable, and off-putting, even if they were (mostly) well meaning. I love that English teachers have continued to use Salinger for years to fuel their students’ cynicism.

New York City: City Sidewalks – Maffitt and Davies
NYC seems like a terrible place to go if you are lonely and depressed. But on the flip side, it seems like the perfect city in which to have a good freakout.

Girls: Stupid Girl – Rolling Stones / Brilliant Boy – The Rentals
Really, the Stones’ album Aftermath can act alone as a soundtrack for the book, but apparently there are still three people who don’t like the Rolling Stones. For you folks, The Rentals will have to do.

Sunny and Maurice: We Can Talk – The Band
Could have been another classic “let’s just talk, okay, prostitute with a heart of gold” scene, until she gets her pimp to clock you and steals your money.

Sally Hayes: Girlfren – Jonathan Richman / Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste – Galaxie 500
Innocence, longing, loss of innocence, then heartbreak…Jonathan provides the entire cycle of gut-wrenching teenage romance. Ugh.

Central Park: Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
Both this song and the book manage to capture the greyness, chill, and bitterness of the season. And please try and stop worrying about the ducks.

Natural History Museum: Museum – Donovan
I think we all would like to be frozen in time once in awhile.

Going Home: Misunderstood – Wilco
It’s tough when you realize that alienation and avoiding reality isn’t going to stop aging, pain, and death. Wilco, do you have any thoughts on this topic?

Carousel/Sister: Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel – Townes Van Zandt
When I first heard this song, I was sure TVZ wrote it about the carousel scene…He didn’t.

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything…”: Place to Be – Nick Drake
Much like this song, I can never decide whether the ending at the hospital is happy or sad. I suppose that is exactly as it should be.