Semi-stupid Tuesday questions, “Little Bird” edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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79 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    Do you ever linger in your car listening to songs you like?


    Also: if I’m flipping around on the radio dial and a song I really, really, really like (as opposed to just “like”) comes on, I’ll skip it because I don’t like listening to songs I really, really, really like only halfway through.

    If so, what was the last song you listened to?

    The last song I did this for was Rush’s La Villa Strangiato, which you never, ever hear on the radio.


    • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

      Unlike Annie Lennox making the Doc a scant minute or two late for work, lingering for a Rush song has the potential to make one miss an entire meeting.

      I don’t linger anymore. No time for love Dr. Jones, and it’s too easy to access the song again when I have more time.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick says:

      Oh yeah, I’d let that play…Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    I don’t drive that much but my mom used to this when I was a kid and we got home. I remember her doing it with Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues, Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order, and I’ll Melt with You by Modern English.

    Sometimes I did it but not anymore.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    I was 17. I had been driving for only a couple of months. I had just dropped of my then girlfriend and was on my way home sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer” was on the radio. That was LP’s debut single and was unlike most other music on the radio at the time. It appealed to an angsty, 17-year-old Kazzy. As I passed the road where I should have turned to get to my house, I thought, “I really like this song. I’ll go the long way around,” and continued on down the road. I didn’t get more than a block before I saw the blue lights come on behind me. Busted. 40 in a 25.

    Thankfully, the cop let me off. He got halfway back to the squad car with my identification before he returned and told me to drive safe*. I was quite fortunate. However, I would have avoided the whole ordeal had I just turned down the proper street. Lesson learned: you can linger in the car, but don’t drive needlessly around. Especially if you’re speeding.

    In general, there is something special about catching a song on the radio or a show or movie on TV, even if you own a copy of the work. I can listen or watch them at any time. But if they’re on the radio/TV, that means someone else chose them and some other group of people are listening/watching. It’s affirming. So, yes, I linger.

    * My hunch is that he saw either my last name on my license or my stepfather’s name on the registration My dad was a firefighter in the town and he and I share an uncommon last name. My stepfather was the former mayor. Though I never would have pulled a “Do you know who my dad/stepdad is?” card, I imagine I enjoyed certain benefits because of those connections.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

      don’t drive needlessly around.

      In HS and even somewhat into college, we did that like we were training for a Driving Needlessly Around Olympic competition.

      I have been occasionally running a particular weekend-work errand for my wife recently; partly to give her a break, but partly because it involves 60-90 minutes of mostly-highway driving, with a leg across a longish bridge, and for all of which I am ALONE AND CAN LISTEN TO MUSIC AS LOUD AS I WANT.

      And speed!

      A little, anyway, on the bridge.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        Wait… you leave your wife home alone with the children for 60-90 minutes and call that a break?

        Good god, man. Even I know not to do that. And I’m terrible.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Dude, I work from home. That’s sometimes the only 60 minutes I have seen sunlight or fresh air that week. They treat prisoners better than that.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        I won’t begrudge you needing to get away, but don’t call it a break for your wife. Rookie move!Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        She drives, a lot. It’s a break for her from having to traverse the bridge, yet again. And she sometimes leaves me with the kids to run this or similar work errands.


      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        My wife wonders why I get up at 5am to run some days.

        “You’d rather run alone than lay in bed with me?”
        “No comment.”Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:


        Damn extroverted wives just can’t understand their introverted husbands!Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


        You are probably the only person ever to classify me as an introvert and my wife as an extrovert. I need about an hour a day to myself. Any more can drive me batty.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

        You speed on a bridge? Don’t you have a good sensible fear of crashing, falling to the water below, and drowning as your car slowly fills with water?

        I got a cold chill just reading that comment. To me, bridges are meant to be driven on at 10 mph below the speed limit, in the center lane if possible, or at least in some lane that is not next to a deadly fall through the atmosphere. I’d even turn off the music to avoid the distraction, if I dared to relax my two-handed death grip on the steering wheel.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


        Are you my dad?Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:


        But if you don’t get that hour…Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        @james-hanley Good god man, I’m driving in dry, daylight, light traffic conditions, at peak alertness, on a modern, wide, concrete and steel span; not carpooling with Ted Kennedy across the rope bridge from Temple of Doom.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

        Well, of course. Who would drive across a bridge under any other circumstances? That doesn’t mean you should be so careless as to drive across at the speed limit while being distracted by quiet music on the radio!Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        You would love the new Bay Bridge. It’s like an extra-wide boulevard, and while you can tell you’re elevated, there’s no sense of over what. (Towards Oakland, anyway. I haven’t gone over it the other way yet.)Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

        I saw it when we were out there this summer, but it wasn’t open yet. It’s a beautiful design, and I love the technology of it. But I prefer to think of it as a work of art, a sculpture. I’m sure it’s not really meant to be driven on.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

        Are you my dad?

        If you were listening to Linkin’ Park at age 17, I just might be, you young pup. (I probably can’t really imagine how old I must be sounding to you right now.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        My dad is/was never one to really express much emotion, let alone fear. But he never liked heights (despite being a firefighter) and had an intense fear of bridges. Given what you’ve written here, @james-hanley , I have a sneaking suspicion you may in fact be him. And while I’m not sure I ever listened to LP in the car with him, I remember once turning the station to a modern rock one and catching some Pearl Jam. I was probably about 12. “They’re just whining!” he snapped before switching back to ‘Free Bird’ or whatever.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

        Hmm, no, not your dad then. Why listen to what shows up on the radio when you can listen to good music?

        I’m overplaying my fear of bridges a bit, but I do white knuckle the high ones. Once, on a long road trip, my friend and I realized we had a common fear of going off a bridge and drowning in our car (I’d still like to have a car with a handle to roll down the window, instead of electric windows that are going to short out–seriously, why isn’t that a federal safety law?). Late at night, in a heavy rain, I was sleeping while he drove, when a semi went passed and threw a wave of water over the windshield. I woke up to the appearance of being under water, and freaked out.Report

  4. Chris says:

    I don’t drive very often, I don’t even own a car anymore, but when I rent one occasionally to head out of bus range or pick up something too big to carry on a bus, I almost always end up lingering in the car. And I do it for pretty much any song I like. I’m promiscuous like that. Though I am probably all the more likely to linger for a song from the 90s with a lot of memories attached to it. So basically anything from The Bends.Report

    • Chris in reply to Chris says:

      More frequently I do something much, much worse, which is actually click (really slide) ignore on a phone call because there’s a song I want to hear playing and I’m listening through my phone. This is probably pretty rude, but damn it, don’t call when I’m listening to “Skin of the Night”!Report

  5. dhex says:

    not often. but the last time was last month after an hour and a half in my tiny, hateful car; i’d had my phone on random and a set fire to flames song was on (basically a gybe side project from a long time back) and it was so weird and so wonderfully matched to a kind of lousy morning with a necessary but lousy conversation that i didn’t really feel as i had a choice.Report

  6. Glyph says:

    Where is the line between “Stupid”, and “Semi-Stupid” Tuesday questions?

    I ask because it’s a fine line which I have not yet been able to locate, and I’ll never get to “clever” if I keep going in the wrong direction.Report

  7. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    American Pie – Can’t help but sing along…Report

  8. dexter says:

    I don’t sit in my truck and listen to songs anymore, but I will sit there for a while for Car Talk or Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.Report

  9. Damon says:

    Actually I have quite a few. Not in any order of preference:

    “The Old Ways” by Lorenna McKennit
    “Nine by Nine” by Sisters of Mercy
    “Ashes” by Ocean Lab
    “Possession” by Sarah Mclaughlin
    “Knocking for Forbidden Doors” by EnigmaReport

  10. dragonfrog says:

    I don’t have a car, so that particular opportunity for lingering over music doesn’t present itself much. I used to use a radio alarm clock, which often resulted in my being lying in bed late – sometimes by much more than the length of a song.

    The thing that does sometimes have me lingering by the radio – in a car, at home, in a store, wherever – is good interviews. Around here that usually happens on CBC radio – they often get quite interesting people, and have some excellent interviewers.Report

  11. Tod Kelly says:

    The last time was this morning, and the song was Grouplove’s latest single, Ways to Go. How can you just walk away from the peppy, double-time refrain?

    Even when I sleep all day,
    Even when I sleep all day…


  12. Pinky says:

    Talk radio, sometimes. The vast majority of talk radio is endless repetition of the same political points, but if the host is going somewhere interesting and I’m not sure where, I’ll stay and listen.Report

  13. bluefoot says:

    I just did this the other day for “I Feel Fine” which is kind of ridiculous since I have the song in multiple formats (including vinyl) and have probably listened to it hundreds of times in my life.

    Pieces of music I just *can’t* walk away from: SRV’s “Lenny.” Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” Queen and Bowie “Under Pressure.”Report

  14. zic says:

    I frequently linger for the end of a segment of All Things Considered, Radio Lab, or This American Life.

    Don’t get much be-bop on the radio in Maine, but I’d linger for anything by Monk or Mingus.

    Led Zeppelin might get me to linger (particularly if it’s off Houses of the Holy.Report

  15. James Hanley says:

    I got “Diva” (the album containing that song) for Christmas (on cassette tape!)

    Unless you once had music on an 8 track, you’re not impressing me.

    To answer your question, pretty much any song I’ve always liked that I haven’t heard in a long time. So the older and less frequently played the song, the more likely I’ll stay to listen.Report

    • zic in reply to James Hanley says:

      I had Johnny Cash’s greatest hits, The Beach Boys Endless Summer, Glen Campbell Lineman, and Bread all on 8 track. These were not purchases, but acquired, discards from my older siblings. I never actually purchased 8-track, they’d been replaced by cassette tape by the time I was of that age and actually had real money.

      My first vinyl purchases were Santana (Abraxas), Miles Davis (Water Babies), John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra (Birds of Fire) and Led Zeppelin II.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        Bread on 8 track, yes! Acquired from Columbia House. “If a picture paints a thousand words….”

        Thank god that didn’t permanently shape my musical tastes.Report

      • zic in reply to zic says:

        You can tell it didn’t shape mine.

        That said, there were some really beautiful vocal harmonies, even if the music did lack a certain edge.Report

    • My first piano teacher used to drive me home after lessons from time to time, and sometimes I could wheedle her into playing Olivia Newton-John’s cover of “Ring of Fire” on 8 track in her car.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Russell Saunders says:


        I’m trying to find something — anything — about this comment that I can connect with.

        Piano teacher? First piano teacher, implying there were others? Nope!
        I don’t even know what the word “wheedle” means.
        Olivia Newton-John… I want to say she was in “Grease” but maybe that was Meryl Streep.
        “Ring of Fire”? The Johnny Cash song? She covered that?
        What’s an 8 track?
        Car? CAR! I’ve been in a car before.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        Close enough, doc.

        Kazzy, it was the greatest technological innovation of the week, way back when.Report

  16. Burt Likko says:

    I do this all the time. The list of music I’ve lingered in my car for ranges from the sublime (Mozart Piano Concerto 20, second movement) to the ridiculous (Hysteria by Def Leppard) to the long-gone pop (Bridge of Spies by T’Pau, by which I mean the title track not the more famous Heart and Soul from the same album) to the obscure (Walk the Dust by Texas) to the historically significant (Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones) to the virtuosic (Rambling On My Mind/Have You Ever Loved A Woman? covered by Eric Clapton live at the Budokan Theatre) to the anthemic (People Get Ready, by Jeff Beck with vocals by Joss Stone) to the brand-new (Royals by Lorde, and yes, I know so you don’t have to tell me) to the perfect cover (Christina Aguilera and friends covering Lady Marmalade) to the gauchely hackneyed (Slip Away, on The Committments soundtrack).

    I think that’s enough for now.Report

  17. Mike Schilling says:

    That last time I did this was for the final movement of Beethoven’s Sixth. I don’t recall which orchestra was playing it, but the performance was just breathtaking.Report

  18. Mike Dwyer says:

    I have posted on my love of country music before but other than just enjoying the genre I have all sorts of childhood memories tied up in country music that mostly take me back to riding in my dad’s old Chevy truck and listening to whatever song was on the radio. Three stand out and are probably cheesy in some ways but they make me so happy when I hear them. I can literally smell the inside of my dad’s truck when they come on.

    The first is ‘Queen of Hearts’ by Juice Newton. It is one of the first popular songs I ever remember loving. The chucka-chucka of the guitar is vintage 80’s pop-country and the opening verse kills me every time,

    And I’m a-waitin’
    On the twelve-0-five
    Hopin’ it’ll take me
    Just a little farther down the line

    You’re just a heartache in disguise
    Won’t you keep my heart from breakin’
    If it’s only for a very short time”

    The next song that I will always listen to is Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night”. The chorus is great:

    “Showers washed
    All my cares away
    I wake up to a sunny day
    ‘Cos I love a rainy night
    Yeah, I love a rainy night
    Well, I love a rainy night
    Well, I love a rainy night”

    And my favorite, Conway Twitty’s “Tight Fittin’ Jeans”. I still adore Conway Twitty and remember the sign that used to be posted just on the outskirts of Nashville which read, “Welcome to Twitty City”.

    “She said I married money, I’m use to wearin’ pearls
    But I’ve always dreamed of bein’ just a good ol’ boys girl
    So tonight I left those crystal candle lights to live a dream
    And partner, there’s a tiger in these tight fittin’ jeans”

    • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      The closest I get to ever knowing someone famous was being friends with Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter in high school. Later she was a member of a country music trio with John Wayne’s granddaughter. This stuff cannot be made up.

      • NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        I went to college with Victoria LeGrand from Beach House. We were both drama majors. Victoria used to check out books from the library as her on-campus job. She was also Adelaide from a production of Guys and Dolls.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        I will admit that I used to have fantasies of going to a Beach House concert and starting to sing “Sue Me” or “I Love You, a Bushel and a Peck” when they called out for requests. If Beach House is the kind of band to do that.Report

  19. Maribou says:

    I do this so much I couldn’t even tell you what the song was. Or what song I would wait for, because, well, pretty much any.

    Jay and I will even linger in the car listening to Car Talk.

    I’m a lingerer.Report

  20. Slade the Leveller says:

    I’ll sit in the garage singing along to “Wish You Were Here” any day of the week.

    This thread also reminded me of a driving on U.S. Rte. 14 in South Dakota around dusk one evening in 1989. I was the only one on the road, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” was on the radio, and the sun was setting in a most beautiful way, as it can only on the Plains. I pulled the car over to the shoulder, turned the radio up, and just watched the sun go down. I’ll never forget those few minutes as long as I live.Report

  21. ScarletNumbers says:

    Elton John “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”
    Lynyrd Skynyrd “Free Bird”
    Derek and the Dominos “Layla”Report

  22. Darwy says:

    There’s so many songs I love to sing along to, it’s a miracle I get out of the car at all.

    I’ve a particular fondness for Leonard Cohen, however.Report

  23. Caleb says:

    I was driving home one evening and the local classical station was playing Dvorak’s 9th “New World Symphony.” It had just started when I got in the car, and was 2-3 minutes from ending when I got home. It seemed wrong to leave until it was finished.Report