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I started a new school in the 5th grade. Not the best time of my life. Looking to fit in and stand out, I became obsessed with music. That was 1979. I'm still obsessed. Not all of these albums came out in that school year, but it's when I discovered them.
  1. Blondie, "Parallel Lines"
    "Parallel Lines" was the first album I bought with my own money. I first heard "Heart of Glass" on Kasey Kasim's American Top 40; I loved it immediately. Sounded disco but also rock, featured some excellent high-hat work, and contained the word "ass"--an important detail to a 10 year. It also seeded my completist personality, and I soon bought "Blondie" and "Plastic Letters," neither of which were that good. Debbie Harry became my first celebrity crush, even though she was 33 st the time.
  2. The Cars, "The Cars"
    "The Cars" was my sister's album, and I was I was drawn in by the woman on the cover biting a clear steering wheel. But the songs--sweet Jebus, it's a great album. The songs are quirky but accessible and crisply produced. And what other rock band gave vocabulary lessons? Rhapsody, illustrious, psyllium--I needed a dictionary just to understand the lyrics.
  3. AC/DC, "Let There Be Rock"
    When pressed to name their favorite Bon Scott–era AC/DC album,* most say High Voltage or Highway to Hell. For my money, it's Let There Be Rock. It has the title song and Whole Lotta Rosie AND the album opener is about how great Bon's lady is at giving head. Every song on this album kicks ass, and there are no bagpipes to be found. *No one ever asks what your favorite Brian Johnson–era AC/DC album is because it's Back in Black.
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AKA screw off, Dan Pashman
  1. Cupcakes
  2. Bananas
  3. Chicken wings
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  1. WNYC moat flag
  2. A year's subscription to Guns & Ammo
  3. Will Shortz' "More Fucking Number Puzzles, Vol. 7"
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I work at one of the ad agencies currently engaged in The Post-it War. While this war will come to an end on May 31st, it doesn't mean hostilities will stop or that won't ever be peace. Here's what's coming next.
  1. Thumbtack Skirmish
  2. Hand Sanitizer Melee
  3. Shitty Coffee Police Action
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  1. Band Aid Adhesive
    Band Aids used to hang on for so long my skin would get all pruney and smell necrotic. Now I can go through three a day. A day!
  2. 70s TV Shows
    CHiPS, The Love Boat, Emergency, Fantasy Island, BJ and the Bear, Charlie's Angels: these shows suuuuck. And I used to watch them. All the time. On purpose.
  3. Saran Wrap
    Saran Wrap used to cling so well that you had to wrestle it on to your leftovers. Wrapping it on something now is like trying to push oppositely charged magnets together.
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Cars and I do get along.
  1. The Mav
    My parents gave me their 1974 Ford Maverick when they bought a new used car. It had manual brakes and steering, a broken heater--in the winter I had to scrape ice from the windows on the INSIDE--and an abusively loud engine noise timed to every piston stroke. One day, as I was pulling into my high school's parking lot, the muffler fell off, caught on the low curb, and lifted The Mav into the air. I think I bruised my coccyx when the car hit the ground. Also, I could floor it and never hit 50.
  2. The Stick Shift
    I had my next car for a month, so I don't recall the make or model. The previous owner, a huge metal head, had painted an amazing rendition of Dio's "Holy Diver" across the backseat. Badass. I came home from school one day to find my dad removing it with nail polish remover. He said a cop would give me a ticket for simply having something so stupid. I never got the hang of the stick, and later I stalled out in the middle of the road after pulling out from a side street and was T boned.
  3. The Chrysler Cordoba
    My 1979 Cordoba was 17 feet long but had only 2 doors. It was toilet bowl blue inside and out. Its V8 averaged 9 mpg. When I gunned the engine I could see the gas gauge needle move. It burned through a quart of oil every 2 weeks. It was a cranky start, but nothing that a screwdriver in the butterfly valve and a squirt of starter fluid couldn't fix. It was a behemoth and I loved it. But one winter day as I was making a K turn, the engine coughed out its transmission fluid. It never moved again.
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  1. Comp a night in the Lincoln Bedroom to any voter who used a Trump One card while gambling on America's future
  2. Read "How to be President: 12 Steps (With Pictures)" on WikiHow
  3. Nominate a Magic 8 Ball to the Supreme Court
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  1. Pure White
    Probably racist
  2. White
    Making a comeback
  3. Off White
    Something not quite right about it
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Many guitar solos are pure wankery. Not these, at least not to me.
  1. Kurt Cobain, "Sappy"
    "Sappy" is also known as "Verse Chorus Verse," which shouldn't be confused with another Nirvana song called "Verse Chorus Verse." This solo has a full, rich tone coated in metallic silver and sounds at times like it's being projected through a tube. You can find it on the "With the Lights Out" collection. Listen here: https://youtu.be/5BE1KRj5iiM
  2. Doug Martsch, "Carry the Zero"
    The solo in this Built to Spill song soars. Martsch glides from note to note, sustaining sounds until they feel like they'll shatter. It falls in an unusual place for a solo: immediately following the first verse. No matter, though; it just means you can enjoy it as soon as possible. Listen here: https://youtu.be/3-f7zsW7EV4
  3. Emily Sailers, "Welcome Me"
    It's 1990. Metal is on its way out, grunge's popularity is a couple of years away. Musically, I'm out to sea. I confide in a co-worker, who hands me a cassette the Indigo Girls' "Nomads, Indians, Saints." On the first listen I realize that there is more to music than leather and masturbatory guitar solos and screaming. There's real passion, deep meaning, authenticity. And it was Emily's solo on "Welcome Me" that hooked me. Listen here: https://youtu.be/50l1t0QlHTw
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