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wonders never cease

Category / a play list for your week

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

20 Songs for Turkey Day

Because we have a lot to be thankful for this year, we’re falling back on an old trite and true, er, tried and true theme for this Thanksgiving play list. We’re thankful every day for our loyal customers who encourage us to try to bring nice things to their worlds. We’re thankful for our terrific staff and for all they do to keep the cogs turning at the shop. This year, we’re thankful that the long and painful construction projects that turned our stretch of Connecticut Avenue into a hazardous hellscape for much of the last four months have finally concluded. We’re especially grateful to those of you who looked past the juvenile goofiness of and found it in your hearts to make a donation to Water.org. We’ve raised a nice sum and are almost halfway to our goal. Many thanks from the bottom of our hearts. If you read last week’s post, you probably expect a joke about something from the heart of our bottoms at this point, but alas, World Toilet Day comes but once a year.


Here are eighteen Thanksgiving songs to get you good and ready for dinner tomorrow. We’ve got songs about Pilgrims and songs about Indians. We chose songs about being grateful and songs about things to be grateful for. And, of course, we have songs about that Thanksgiving bird. If you dig into the extended Spotify list you may notice a song about a bird by a band with Grateful in their very name.  Kind of ties it all together there, don’t you think?

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all, and remember to compliment the chef!

1. Be Thankful For What You Got – William DeVaughn
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”
- Henry David Thoreau

2. Kind & Generous – Natalie Merchant
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

3. Young Pilgrims – The Shins
“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
- Jon Stewart

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

21 Songs for World Toilet Day

For those of you that haven’t noticed, we post a music play list on this blog every Wednesday. Before we begin this week’s list, we ask that you forgive us our juvenile indulgence just this once. We promise to return to our high-minded musings and excellent music collections next week. It’s just that we were flushed with excitement when we learned that World Toilet Day fell on a Wednesday this year. It’s as if our whole life has been leading up to this very moment. We truly believe that it’s a shame to let good toilet jokes go to waste, and now we have the opportunity to blow the lid off some global dirty laundry that could benefit from public exposure. Lincoln himself said “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” If you haven’t yet heard of World Toilet Day, this is absolutely a matter of life and death. Here’s the poop.

Nearly 2.5 billion people do not have access to a toilet or sustainable sanitation, with more than 1 billion forced to practice open defecation. The list of diseases directly linked to open defecation includes cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, diarrhea, worm infestation, reduced physical growth, impaired cognitive function and under nutrition. Diarrhea alone is the second biggest killer of children under five years old in the world. Around 1.5 million deaths each year - nearly one in five – are caused by diarrhea. It kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.

Lack of access to sanitation cost the world’s poorest countries $260 billion dollars a year. The World Health Organization and The United Nations have launched initiatives to publicize the problem to encourage struggling nations to address the issue. Nonprofit organizations like Water.org have worked to promote awareness and raise funds to provide sustainable sanitation to those without it. They have shown remarkable returns on modest investments. For a mere $25 donation, you can provide someone clean water for life.  On average, every US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides an economic return of eight US dollars for some of the poorest countries in the world. This is a problem that can be eradicated in our lifetime.

Proper Topper has created a campaign with Water.org, not just because it gives us an excuse to use the world’s best hashtag #toiletsWIN but also because they run a remarkably effective charity. We would be honored if you would join us in this worthwhile cause.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eleven Songs For Veterans Day

Some of us at the shop are proud kids of distinguished veterans and we appreciate the extra effort the Feds and HBO are making this year. It’s a nice warm Veterans Day in DC so we hope you locals brave the crowds and trek down to hear the talented people make their beautiful music to honor the heroes who fight to protect our country. As far as the music choices go, we are aware that some of these songs were written as protest songs. Also, we suspect the Village People may have just put a disco beat to a recruitment speech. Either way, as much as we need to thank them for the dangers they confront around the world today and every day, we think it’s equally important that we ask our leaders to keep our soldiers out of harm’s way if we can. The protest songs we’ve chosen protest war, not soldiers. Love the warrior, hate the war, that sort of thing. Above all, be good to each other and thank every brave soldier you see, today and every day. Happy Veterans Day to one and all.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Seventeen Songs For Serious Citizens

Whew! Election Day has come and gone and we’re all still here, it seems. The nationwide barrage of horrifying ads and negativity had us terrified that the country was going over a cliff last night. As a whole, the nation spent between 3.5 to 6.5 billion dollars to convince two thirds of eligible voters to stay home, keep their doors and windows locked and save their votes for safer times. It really gives new meaning to the term “dark money,” doesn’t it? Many of us in DC braved the mild weather and weaved through the masses of placard waving partisans to elect a new mayor and some other important people. While we’re sure that our blogged exhortation to go and vote had as much to do with good turnout as the balmy weather and strong candidates, we ask that you forgive us our delusions of grandeur, if you will. As promised in said exhortation, here is the weekly play list, dedicated to all of you wonderful citizens who exercised the rights that our forefathers fought and died for. Whether your candidate came in first or fifth, we want you to know that we think you’re a winner just for playing the game. Congratulations to the victors, better luck next time to the also-rans. For those of you who stayed home, there’s another election in two years. Make sure to vote then. It's nice, and they give you a sticker when you're finished, just like in pre-school. Enjoy the tunes, one and all.

1. V.O.T.E. – Chris Stamey with Yo La Tengo
“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some diehard's vote.”
- David Foster Wallace, Up, Simba!

2. Democracy – Leonard Cohen
“Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
- H. L. Mencken

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get Out and Vote Today!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sixteen Songs To Send Shivers Down Your Spine

People, heed our warning. We’re not joking around. These songs are creepy and freaky and not to be trifled with. If you’re at all faint of heart, just skip back and listen to last week’s fun Halloween play list. What’s that you say? You know some of these songs and don’t think they’re scary? That’s exactly what we said until we really listened to these songs. Now we can’t sleep at night…

To ease the grim dread a bit, we’ve paired each horrific song with a fun epitaph, because what could be more cheerful than funny final words chiseled on tombstones, right? As for the music, Tom Waits sets the stage with his first of two on this list but we could have added at least a dozen of his songs, to be honest with you. From there we ease you in with bizarre ramblings from The Lizard King and a haunting tune from our beloved Vandaveer. The list heads downhill once The Violent Femmes start murdering their offspring. After Warren Zevon cheerfully details the development of a psychopath, Aphex Twin gives voice and a beat to horrific inner demons. The Decemberists one up The Violent Femmes who seem like parents of the year as their protagonist snatches the lives of his children without remorse. Nick Cave is full of menace and Black Sabbath summons Satan. Lisa Germano gently presents a soundtrack for our nightmares before Sonic Youth revisits Charles Manson’s bloody rampage. Misfits are disturbing, and we’re not quite sure what Liars are putting down but we know we don’t want to be there. Bauhaus spends a lot of time building creepy tension for the entrance of Count Dracula, and Swans are just an unholy mess. We wrap the list with Tom Waits again, delving deep into our darkest fears. If you have the stomach for it, we’ve added even more depravity to the Spotify list below.

Good luck, brave souls. Happy All Hallows!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Easy Intro for a Wild Night

Lately we’ve been catching talk of costumes and candy on the blustery, leaf strewn streets and sidewalks of DC. It seems that Halloween anticipation starts earlier when trick or treating falls on the weekend. We’ve already become accustomed to seeing creepy figures on front stoops, noose-necked skeletons dangling from front doors, and bloody heads peering from dimly lit windows. We still have 9 more days until the official frightful Friday’s festivities but All Hallows is heavy on our minds. For starters, we’re worried about proper pumpkin prep. Will a pumpkin carved Sunday still be presentable when Friday rolls around? If we wait until Wednesday, will we have time to soak and roast the seeds? Oh, the humanity!
With these dilemnas to resolve, we'll post these 13 songs for Halloween fun. Next week, we’ll ramp up the creep quotient and put forth a scarier list for the bigger, braver kids. As always, there are bonus songs to be found in the Spotify list below. Gather ye spooky songs while ye may…

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Bushel of Songs For Fall’s Finest Fruit

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall In

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oh Fall, You Get Us Every Time…

Call us trite, but we’re joining the masses to sing the praises of the beautiful season that's upon us. Thanks for showing up, autumn.

Crisp morning air, trees seeming to burst into flames right before our eyes, it’s over before we have a chance to get sick of it… what’s not to love? Are we striving to scandalize with our unbridled exclamation? Of course not, but sometimes we’re willing to tip our cap to the obvious and talk up that which brings us pleasure: good food, cool tunes, and of course the many beautiful creations scattered about in our shop. These things are good in our fair city and, like fall, deserved to be lauded.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Baseball, Baby!

October is here, and on Friday, we Washingtonians climb on the roller coaster that is the MLB playoff season with a home team that gives us a reason to dream of big things. We’ve followed baseball long enough to know that the playoffs are impossibly unpredictable, but this has been a magical season thus far and, at least for today, there’s no reason to believe that it can’t continue for 11 more wins. Hey, we closed the season out with the first no-hitter in Washington National’s history. It’s destiny, right? So, to honor our Boys of Summer as they roll into fall full speed ahead, here are a dozen of the best songs about baseball, each with a quote from the legendary Yogi Berra. Check the Spotify player below for a full list of 27 songs.

Enjoy the music and Go Nats!

1. Take Me Out To The Ballgame – Dr. John
Written by Jack Norworth, this classic tune is played at almost every game in every ballpark. The Spotify play list has an interesting fuller version sung by Carly Simon.
"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too."

2. Centerfield – John Fogarty
The former CCR front man reemerged on the music scene with this classic song on the album of the same name.
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

3. Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? – Natalie Cole
Written by blues pianist Buddy Johnson and first made popular by The Count Basie Orchestra, this song paid tribute to the pioneering Robinson only two years after he integrated the major leagues.
"Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical."

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Uncensored: A Playlist for Banned Books Week

In celebration of Banned Books Week, we (HUGE book fans, all of us) are doing all sorts of bookish things. We all went to the Uncensored bash at MLK Library last Friday evening, a preview party for Banned Books Week, sponsored by the DC Public Library Foundation. It was the coolest spot in town (full disclosure, we helped host the event ...), featuring provocative art and music and literature and drink. You gotta love provocative drink.

And now, we are pleased and proud to present a guest playlist composed by DCPL's own Tony Ross. Enjoy.

Playlist: Uncensored

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BANNED AMERICAN MUSIC IN 10 SONGS

Selections and notes by Tony Ross, DCPL Librarian

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Peace in a Restless City.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

This One Goes Up to Eleven… (with added fun)

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

it’s a SCORCHER out there!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

eleven years and going strong…

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

pinatubo’s dust brightens the dusk

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

brazil!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

songs for hats and crafts.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

ten songs for the godfather of go-go

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wonders never cease