Saturday 9: April Love

April Love (1957). Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Pat Boone sings that April love is a wonder reserved for the very young. Do you think the sensation of falling in love changes as we grow older? I mean, I fell in love with my husband at about 21 and I’m 29 now, so I couldn’t tell ya. But I’d say no. The things you fall in love with probably change, though.

2) “April Love” reached #1 on the charts. Between this song and “Love Letters in the Sand,” Pat Boone had a career year. Only one artist sold more records in 1957: Elvis Presley. When you think of Elvis, what’s the first song that comes to mind? “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I played it at my wedding.

3) Pat was extremely busy in high school. He wrote for the school paper, ran track, and acted in school plays. Share a memory of your extracurricular activities during high school. I was in our musical my junior and senior years, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

4) It was his track coach who introduced Pat to the new girl in school, Shirley Foley. Three years later Pat and Shirley married, and remained man and wife for 65 years, until her death earlier this year. Who is the longest married couple you know? My mom’s Aunt Shirley and Uncle Bill, who I believe hit the 60-year mark. I do know that at weddings where they do the thing where they have couples come on the dance floor and then gradually have them leave until the ones left have been married the longest, they win every time.

5) Pat has lived in the same house for more than 60 years. He once received an offer to sell it for $18,000,000 but turned it down because it’s the Boone family home and he simply doesn’t want to leave. Do you plan on moving in the foreseeable future? No, we’ve only been in this house a year. That said, my husband’s company is moving to Mexico and he’s back in the job hunt. I’m very strongly against moving, but there are a few areas where if he’d get hired there, I’d consider it.

6) Pat has a warm friendship with his neighbors, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Pat has mentioned in interviews that he has enjoyed bike rides around Beverly Hills with Sharon. Tell us about one of your neighbors. So we’re the babies of the neighborhood–most of our neighbors are closer in age to our parents. But the ones we see and talk tot he most are right next to us and, like, in their 80s. They’re really sweet and have a really cute dog.

7) Mr. Boone was very critical of Barack Obama, enthusiastically supports Donald Trump, and has appeared on Fox News to express his views. How do you feel about celebrities talking politics? Honestly, they have every right to–they live here, they work here, the pay taxes here, and the policies can affect them and their families, too, so I don’t care if they do it. Even if I disagree, that’s their right. I actually get frustrated when people say celebrities should stick to whatever it is they’re famous for. If you disagree with them, fine. If you choose to only support musicians and actors you agree with, fine. But don’t tell them to shut up.

8) In 1957, the year this song was popular, Dr. Ian Donald pioneered the use of ultrasound technology. Today ultrasounds are commonly used by doctors in diagnosing conditions affecting the eyes, blood vessels, kidneys, gall bladder and more. Have you ever had an ultrasound? I have not.

9) Random question: You’re sitting alone in a restaurant, waiting for a friend. The waiter brings you a drink and the compliments of a member of the opposite sex seated at the bar. What’s your reaction? Are you flattered, shocked, embarrassed, intrigued or annoyed? Probably a weird combination of flattered and annoyed. I’m married, so I’m obviously not interested and honestly probably don’t want to be bothered, and lately, I’ve been interested in the dynamics of buying alcohol for someone. But I’m also flattered that someone did it. Probably a little shocked, too.


Friday 5: More and More Clichés

  1. When you were packed in tighter than a can of sardines? My last general-admission concert, which would’ve been Jukebox the Ghost.
  2. When are you cool as a cucumber? Almost always.
  3. When were you most recently happy as a clam? This morning when I bought tickets to Anberlin’s first tour in five years!
  4. What’s as slippery as an eel? My bathtub after I’ve used Lush bath oils.
  5. When are you as tough as nails? I almost used this as my answer to #2, but when things are getting rough. I have my weaknesses, but I generally keep my shit together. Like now–my dad has cancer, but I’m not freaking out.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: If I Could Turn Back Time

Saturday 9: If I Could Turn Back Time (1989)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

Fun fact, I am going to see Cher in about two weeks!

1) The official video for this song was filmed on board the battleship USS Missouri. When is the last time you were on a boat or ship? It’s been a really, really long time. Probably in my pre-teen years, when my uncle had a boat and we’d spend the night out on the water sometimes when we visited him. That was really cool and a lot of fun.

2) This song was written by Diane Warren. Ms. Warren has written love songs recorded by Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, LeAnn Rimes and more, yet she’s never married and has really only had one serious romantic relationship. She acknowledges this makes her an unusual spokeswoman for the glory and pain of love. When you have a relationship problem, who do you go to for advice? I usually just vent to my best friend. I’ve never really felt like I needed advice–just someone to talk to. That said, she did give me wonderful words of wisdom once. “If you break up, you have to start all over with someone else.” It ends up putting the dumb disagreements in perspective. Sure, if it had been a major issue, that would’ve been different, but it made me go, “Yeah, I don’t want that.”

3) In this song, Cher wishes she could turn back time and have a different conversation with a former lover, changing what she said to him. Here at Saturday 9, we’re not so ambitious with our time travel. We’re only going back to yesterday. Is there anything you’d do differently? I’d try to be more productive, but honestly, in the time I had, I don’t know that there was much room to do more.

4) In 1966, Cher and her then-husband Sonny sang at a private birthday party for Jacqueline Kennedy. At first, Cher didn’t want to do it, thinking that performing to a small gathering would be awkward. But it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for her. That night, she met Diana Vreeland, the editor of Vogue. Vreeland liked Cher’s look so much she set up a photo shoot. Cher, who always loved experimenting with hair and makeup, enjoyed the shoot immensely. Tell us about a social gathering where you had an unexpectedly good time. Maybe not unexpected, but it is not rare for me to come out of hanging out with someone genuinely wanting to do it more often.

5) At that same party, Cher said she was surprised by how big Jackie’s hands were. Do you like your hands? I quite like them, actually. They’re small, but not, like, disproportionately so. Maybe just dainty and feminine enough.

6) One night, before a performance in Detroit, Cher saw a little furry something under one of her tour buses. It was a kitten that that she named Mr. Big, hoping he would grow into the name. He did, and the tomcat was her constant companion for four years until he died of a congenital heart ailment. She has said that she will “never not miss him.” Is there a furry companion who has a special place in your memories? All of the pets I’ve had, really, especially when they’re all associated with different times in my life. It’s like looking back at past friendships.

7) Cher recently appeared in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. It’s the second movie based on the music of ABBA. What’s your favorite ABBA song? I love ABBA so much. So much. Like, no one did catchy pop on their level, where it was so consistently catchy and good and they never fell short, and they have so many songs I absolutely adore. There’s a reason they got two musicals out of the band’s music. So I will give you two–“Waterloo” always sticks in my head after I hear it, but I’m also having a phase right now with “The Visitors,” which I think is a vastly underrated not just as an ABBA song but also as a glorious pop song in general, with all this great synth work. It’s a good example of how my husband says ABBA manages to squeeze multiple hooks into one song. I also really loved in the Mamma Mia sequel the whole sequence with “Why Did It Have to Be Me?” Speaking of that movie, their “Waterloo” is a work of campy art. I really wasn’t kidding when I said I really love ABBA. I could keep going.

8) In 1989 — the year this song was popular — Mattel released a series of special “Scarlett O’Hara” Barbie doll to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gone with the Wind. Did you enjoy the classic movie? Have you read the book? I’ve never seen it or watched it. I’ll get around to it eventually.

9) Random question — Check your spam folder and tell us one of the subject lines. “Zara has unlocked her private photos for you!”

Friday 5: On the Edge of Town

  1. If everything else about your life stayed the same, how well could you get by living homeless for a year? I’d have to deal with Pennsylvania winters, and granted, sometimes we get years that aren’t so bad, but the cold would be rough. I’d look into staying with friends and family if I had to.
  2. What song do you want played at your funeral? My mom always jokes she wants me to learn “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on guitar to play at her funeral, so I’m gonna have to steal her song choice there. “Ave Maria” is always beautiful, though, although I’ll forever associate it with my grandma’s funeral.
  3. If you could have anyone to do it, who would you like to be the pallbearers at your funeral? I don’t know! I’d want it to be people close to me, though.
  4. Who is someone you encounter occasionally in passing, with whom you think you could be good friends if you knew each other socially? There are a couple coworkers who I think I’d have a great time with. There are also a few people who I am friends with but think I’d be closer to if we saw each other more.
  5. Is there anything useful to be made of empty prescription pill bottles? I’m sure someone out there somewhere has some clever Pinterest-worthy up-cycling idea, but honestly, I think the most useful thing that could be done is recycling. I appreciate the goals of up-cycling, but I have my issues with it–at a certain point, I don’t want a bunch of shit in my house that’s essentially pretty garbage, so I’d much rather recycle the items in question. No, Internet, I don’t want to know how to make my recyclables into something I might not even need, I want to get rid of them.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill

Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill (1968)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

Chosen because Monday is April Fool’s Day.

1) As an April Fool’s prank, Taco Bell once announced they had purchased The Liberty Bell and renamed it The Taco Liberty Bell. Describe your perfect taco. Since I’m a vegetarian, tofu, with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and some kind of salsa or sauce.

2) Similarly, as an April Fool’s prank, the Ford Motor Co. was supposed to wipe out the national deficit by purchasing the naming rites to a beloved monument, renaming it the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. What model car do you drive? Honda Civic.

3) In 1998, Burger King got in on the April Fool’s Day fun by promoting a special “Left-Handed Whopper,” designed to be easier for a leftie to hold. Describe your perfect burger. A veggie burger, of course, but, like, a good, solid one–some veggie burgers are really crumbly and fall apart easily, making for a messy eating experience. As for topics, something fun. I really like an interesting, creative burger. I’ve been to places that have had toppings like goat cheese and apple, and I love stuff like that.

4) In 1962, when color TV was still new, a Swedish station pranked viewers by telling them they could convert their black/white sets to color by cutting up a nylon stocking and stretching it across the screen. Of course, in 1962, more women wore nylons and screens were smaller. How big is your TV? Are there any nylon stockings in your home? It’s a decent-sized one, considering. I don’t know the actual measurements, though. As for nylons, not really, but I have many a pair of lace tights.

5) In 1957, the BBC ran an April Fool’s story about how the Swiss were enjoying a “bumper spaghetti crop,” with spaghetti literally growing on trees. Viewers who called the station, asking how to grow a spaghetti tree of their own, were told to place a sprig of spaghetti in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best. Have you ever fallen for an April Fool’s prank? The only one that really stands out is one year in high school, when my mom came to wake me up, she told me school had been canceled because of a water-main break, and I’ll believe anything first thing in the morning. Some social-media posts sometimes get me, but I generally remember what day it is pretty quick.

6) When Crazy Sam was growing up, her mother would surprise her on April Fool’s Day by slipping a rubber worm or plastic spider in her lunch box. When you were in school, did you more frequently brown bag it or buy your lunch in the cafeteria line? When I was in elementary school, buying lunch wasn’t an option, so when I got to middle school, I was kind of looking forward to buying my lunch and did it almost every day. And then in high school, I didn’t really want to bother and went back to brown-bagging it. I ate in the cafeteria pretty much every day in college, though.

7) This week’s song was an international hit for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66. Because of the song’s bossa nova arrangement, everyone assumed the lead singer, Lani Hall, was Brazilian. She was a folk singer from Chicago. Sergio Mendes discovered her at a charity benefit. Can you think of a time when doing good really paid off for you? Not on that level! But it always makes me feel good.

8) In 1968, when this record was popular, Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada. Today his son holds that office. When did you most recently visit our neighbor to the north? Not since I was a kid at Niagara Falls.

9) Random question: Name three websites you visit every day. Not counting any social media, eBay, NPR, and my online banking.

Friday 5: Spanish Inquisition

  1. What’s a natural talent you’d like to be gifted with? I mean, I’ll take as much writing talent as I can get, but if I had to pick a totally different one, I’d say either singing or drawing. I’d love to sing if I felt more confident in it, and drawing is one of those things I could just never do. Like, I don’t even enjoy playing Pictionary because I just find it frustrating.
  2. What is your ONE desert island album? Can I just have my laptop with my entire iTunes library at my disposal? I honestly don’t think I could narrow it down to just one.
  3. If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be? There’s no one I’d really, truly want to trade with, partly because all the people who come to mind are people I’d kind of prefer to hang out with rather than trade places with, but I guess if I had to, some sort of musician. Stevie Nicks, maybe?
  4. What’s the most scared you’ve ever been? I don’t know. I can think of things that terrified me as a kid and then things that I’d say worried me as an adult, but not really scared me. When it comes to real life, I just don’t get easily rattled in that way.
  5. What do you consider your biggest failure? My failure to advocate for myself. I would never say that I’m to blame for, like, the way people have treated me–that’s entirely on them. But I do think my biggest failure is the things I’ve allowed, the length of time I’ve allowed them, and the fact that I was very much not prioritizing my well-being mentally and emotionally. I’d have gotten a lot farther a lot faster if I’d either stood up for myself or removed myself from certain situations or both sooner than I ultimately did. It took me way too long.
  6. What habit or quality do you think has contributed most to your success? My work ethic and borderline perfectionism. In my full-time work, I don’t half-ass things, and I’ll willingly work overtime and get shit done. I’ve managed to stand out as a reliable employee–I’ve been recognized in a few different ways by my superiors–and it’s absolutely because of the quality of my work. Outside of my full-time job, I’m always looking for a new side hustle to either make more money or open new doors as a writer or both, and like my day job, I churn out quality work every time. Having said all that, and even though I enjoy working, I don’t overdo it. I spend just as much time relaxing as I do working, which I think is just as important, if not more important, than the work ethic.
  7. What’s the thing about yourself you’d most like to improve? Kind of relating back to #5, I need to keep working on standing up for myself, but also knowing when to say no. And I’d like to remember things more–little things, mostly. And be a little tidier.
  8. What three words would you most hope people would use to describe you? Kind, funny, and fun.

From Friday 5.

Friday 5: Clicker Is Quicker

  1. What’s something you’d like to increase the volume of? My work computer. Even when the volume is turned up all the way, it’s sometimes not good enough and I have to resort to using my earbuds, which I hate.
  2. Who would you like to mute? Donald Trump.
  3. When was your body (or part of your body) most recently scanned? Does the eye doctor count?
  4. What part of the upcoming weekend would you like to skip? None of it, really. I get my hair dyed tomorrow and we’re probably going to a home show after that, and Sunday night, we have tickets to see Jukebox the Ghost.
  5. Whose input could you really use right now? No one’s. I don’t need it.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Molly Malone

Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

1) Are you of Irish descent? Not at all.

2) Legend has it that the heroine of this week’s Irish ballad was a real lass. 17th century birth and burial records confirm that a woman with that name lived in Dublin. Can you think of another song about a real historic figure? I’m gonna go with Abba’s “Waterloo.” It’s not about Napoleon, but it does reference him.

3) Molly sold fish from a cart that she wheeled through the streets. What’s the last seafood you ate? Probably shrimp. It’s the one non-vegetarian food I still struggle with.

4) The lyrics tell us that after her death, her ghost continues to wander the streets of Dublin with her wheel barrow. Do you believe in ghosts? Absolutely. I’ve heard too many weird stories, and I’ve had a few of my own, to believe that absolutely nothing happens after we die. I think there’s a ton we still don’t know.

5) This week’s featured band, The Dubliners, are obviously from Dublin. They were introduced to American audiences on The Ed Sullivan Show. Today, Stephen Colbert tapes his show in The Ed Sullivan Theater. Who hosted the last talk show you watched? I don’t have cable, so I don’t watch full late-night shows, but I recently watched clips of Fallon. And John Oliver, if he counts, but his show isn’t really a proper talk show.

6) Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. Is it a favorite of yours? Never had it.

7) According to Irish legend, leprechauns earned the gold in the pot they guard by repairing shoes. Crazy Sam can’t remember the last time she got a pair of shoes repaired. When the heels wear away, she discards the shoes and buys new ones. What about you? Do you get your shoes fixed (either by leprechauns or just by ordinary repairmen)? I don’t, but I also don’t usually need to. My shoes hold up pretty well.

8) Do you look good in green, the signature color of St. Patrick’s Day? I think I do, but it’s among my least favorite colors and I own very few green articles of clothing. That could also have to do with going to a Catholic high school that had green as its color, so that meant a lot of the items for our uniforms were green, and you kind of get tired of green after wearing it almost every day for four years.

9) Random question: Did you more recently sneeze or cough? Cough, but I woke up around 4 in the morning feeling pretty congested, so it’s been a fun day for my sinuses.

Saturday 9: Up on the Roof

Saturday 9: Up on the Roof (1979)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) JT sings that when the world gets him down, he goes up on the roof to find peace. When you’re “feeling tired and beat,” what do you do to cheer yourself up? I basically just do what I normally do–read, write, watch Netflix, whatever.

2) He sings that at night, the stars put on a show for free. Are you economizing, or sticking to a budget? Not a strict budget, but we are trying to curb unnecessary spending. My husband is on track to lose his job due to the company moving to Mexico. He’ll get 60 days’ notice and he is looking for something new in the meantime anyway, but we’re trying to get things to a point where if we had to rely on my income temporarily, things wouldn’t be too tight.

3) In addition to recording this song for his album Flag, James Taylor surprised the song’s composer, and his good friend. Carole King by performing it the night she received her Kennedy Center Honor. Tell us about a good turn a friend has done for you recently. My former college was spotlighting women alumni on their social media accounts for International Women’s Day, and my sister-in-law, who is a current student there, threw my name in the mix. So I got a nice tweet about what I’ve been up to. It was a nice little self-esteem boost after getting frustrated with writing-related things that she didn’t even know about.

4) James Taylor and Carole King have been good friends for decades, but they have never been romantically involved. Do you have platonic friends of the opposite sex? At the moment, not really, or at least not that I talk to a lot. But I have in the past.

5) James was born in the Boston hospital where his father worked as a resident physician. Are there any doctors or nurses in your family? We have some nurses in the extended family, plus a few pharmacists.

6) When James was young, his family moved to Chapel Hill, NC. James has vivid memories of how beautiful the area was in all four seasons. What’s your favorite time of year? Summer, always and forever.

7) In 1979, when this recording was popular, ESPN launched. Do you often watch that cable sports channel? Nope. I’d only watch it for hockey, and they don’t seem to talk about that much.

8)  Also in 1979, the Voyager spacecraft sent photos back to earth that revealed Jupiter’s rings. Without looking it up, can you name all the planets in our solar system? Not necessarily in order, at least the last few, but Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto(?).

9) Random question: Our Saturday 9 Wizards give you a choice — you can be 20 years old and gorgeous, 30 years old and brilliant, or 40 years old and rich. Which do you choose? 30 and brilliant, because you can turn that into 40 and rich.

Saturday 9: Come Saturday Moring

Saturday 9: Come Saturday Morning (1969)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) What are your plans for this Saturday morning? Well, at this point, it’s Sunday morning, but I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m going to my parents’ house later on, and it’s looking like if I want to beat the snow, I should leave around noon. But in the meantime, I’d like to go to my favorite coffee shop, hit the gym, maybe do some laundry, maybe hit some Netflix with my husband. I have a few hours yet. As for my actual Saturday morning, that was spent working.

2) In this song, a man sings of going away for the day with a friend. Where did you go on your last day trip? Do weddings count? Because I guess it would’ve been my cousin’s wedding in Bedford. Before that, my husband’s cousin’s wedding in Virginia, but that was a few days–we decided to make a long weekend of it to enjoy the beach. I did do a bus trip to DC in December, too, but that was a weekend. I can’t remember my last real day trip.

3) The lyrics say, “we will remember long after Saturday’s gone.” What’s something you’ve done recently that you predict you’ll remember for a long time to come? Man, I hope it’s all the concerts I go to. I’d love last weekend’s Andrew McMahon show seared in my memory.

4) This song was the Oscar-nominated theme from the movie The Sterile Cuckoo. What’s the first movie song that pops into your head? I just watched the clip of “Shallow” from the Oscars, so let’s go with that.

5) In the movie, Liza Minnelli played Mary Ann Adams, an eccentric girl everyone called “Pookie.” Have you ever been known by a memorable nickname? Who gave it to you? My high-school nickname was Shmee. One of the math teachers used to arbitrarily assign nicknames to everyone in class–like, he’d call on people at random, but within the first week or so, he’d call on you using a nickname you didn’t know you had until that moment. Not all of them stuck, but mine did, so throughout high school, I got called Shmee. Some of my old classmates still call me that when they see me.

6) Today’s group began their career as The Grads. Recording artist/producer Herb Alpert liked their sound but hated their name. Alpert picked “sandpiper” at random out of the dictionary. Do you still have and use a bound dictionary? Or do you rely on the internet for word searches and spelling? I probably have one lurking somewhere, but normally, I’d only use it if I’m reading and come across a word I’m not familiar with. And in that case, my phone’s usually right next to me, so I’ll just Google it.

7) The biggest news story of 1969, the year this song was popular, was one of the biggest news stories of all time. On July 20, Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. Other than the moon landing, what’s the most consequential event that you’ve seen in your lifetime. How do you feel it changed America, and the world? It’s got to be September 11. I think its impact is still pretty clear.

8) 1969 was a big year for music festivals, with Atlanta, Toronto and Woodstock all holding famous fests. Have you visited Georgia, Ontario or New York (state)? I’ve been to Georgia but only on a layover, and I’ve visited New York a couple of times, mostly New York City. I love it. I could live there if it wasn’t so damn expensive.

9) Random question — According to some plant enthusiasts, house plants do better when they’re spoken to. Do you talk to your plants? I don’t have any right now, but I probably would.