The Misnomer

by The Mispronouncer

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credits

released July 27, 2012

Jans Pasma did the art.
Dutch Schuttz helped with proofreading, editing, and did all of the sequencing.
Thanks to everyone who contributed something to this album. You're all credited by name in the individual track credits.
Thanks to everyone who listens. Thanks to everyone who gets other people to listen.
Listen to my stories at www.hugepop.com.

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The Mispronouncer Redlands, California

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Track Name: Uncommon Error
1. Hello again, I’m The Mispronouncer.
This is my third record. It’s called The Misnomer.
This song is called “Uncommon Error.”
It’s the very first track, but I wrote it last.

I want to make mistakes you’ve never seen before.
It’s better than being right.
I want to blaze a trail in the wrong direction.
It’s better than being right.
I want to miss the mark and land somewhere new.
I want to botch this beautifully and stick the landing.
I want to screw up, up, and away.
I want to commit an uncommon error.

2. Fortune favors the blessed.
I’m playing my cards well away from the vest.
Moss gathers on these stationary stones,
But show me the stone that can roll on its own.
It’s harder to forgive another boring mistake,
But fresh missteps are riveting the more that you make.
And even if you’re cold, arrogant, and spiteful
You can win me right back if your typo’s delightful.
Only write what you know if you know something worth writing.
I find over-sharing even worse than prying.
This record came together as a loose amalgam.
You should it treat as a choose-your-own-concept album.
Mark the passage of minutes by the number of suckers born.
Old habits don’t die, they just adopt other forms.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to be wrong.
When you’re gone, all your very rarest errors live on.

3. I want to make mistakes you’ve never seen before.
It’s better than being right.
I want to blaze a trail in the wrong direction.
It’s better than being right.
I want to miss the mark and land somewhere new.
I want to botch this beautifully and stick the landing.
I want to screw up, up, and away.
I want to commit an uncommon error.

4. Don’t call one twin by the other twin’s name.
Don’t forget where you last saw your keys.
Don’t assume a baby’s gonna fix your marriage.
Don’t spell “weird” with the “i” before the “e.”
Don’t miss the humor in Moby Dick.
Don’t try to douse a grease fire with water.
Do not choose a melodious alarm.
If whatever you’re creating’s no good, don’t bother.
Don’t keep putting off backing up your files.
Don’t forget to cancel service when the free trial ends.
Don’t go to sleep with your contacts in.
Do not fall in love with a close friend.
Don’t base your position on dubious statistics.
Don’t get too attached to a pet fish.
Don’t unwittingly click “reply to all.”
Don’t plan on getting your wish.

5. No one’s perfect, and most of us are imperfect in the same ways.
No one’s perfect, and most of us are imperfect in the same ways.
No one’s perfect, and most of us are imperfect in the same ways.
Lost in the numbers of identical blunders.
Everybody makes mistakes, how will you get seen in such a crowded field?
Everybody makes mistakes, how will you get seen in such a crowded field?
Everybody makes mistakes, how will you get seen in such a crowded field?
Yours have gotta count, yours have got to stand out. (x2)

6. We hold these truths to be debatable.
Raise your hand if you’re replaceable.
Keep it up, let ‘em make a note.
They’re gonna push this ouster straight to a vote.
And they’ll never notice your maturation
In the face of over-saturation.
Where the blooms are brightest, thorns abound.
I wanna draw your good eye out of the foreground.
Whether you’re defiant or compliant,
If there’s gonna be a free sample, you’ll try it.
The bell tolls less for than about you.
I’m dedicated to whatever I get around to.
Dead canaries on the floor of the cave.
Go no further seeking more to save.
Cast the Devil out of the details.
Either I succeed or we fail.
Enthusiasm is a double-edged sword.
How much blood and sweat can you afford?
It’s all inertia, all momentum.
Can’t kiss your hands if you won’t extend ‘em.
Can’t bite them either. It makes no sense,
Why would you ever choose to take offense?
Started writing songs, aiming for twenty.
Now I got thirty, more than plenty.
When the fever’s up, I just keep producing
‘Til I’m half-buried in a deep profusion
Of songs that beget more songs that beget more songs.
That’s why this album’s so long.
Now let me bring you all to up to date:
Your attention is bound to fluctuate.
You wanna make your own cut? Be my guest.
Only keep the 28 or 29 best.
Track Name: Beyond Reprimand
1. I cannot recall the last time I was bored.
Got a file of lines I’m too kind to record.
Snatch enough crumbs, some day you’ll have a loaf.
More rhyme than reason, but I dabble in both.
I’m underzealous, I’m milding out.
Prefer a pithy witticism to a primal shout.
The hot sun’s setting but I’m not done sweating.
Never wear a target to a shotgun wedding.
I’ve got one ticket to paradise.
Isolation’s easier to bear when you compare the price.
There’s always a reason if you want to complain.
The beast with two backs only has one brain.
By now I am pretty certain I am not a prodigy.
I owe you no apologies, I am not an anomaly.
You might be horrified at how easily I adapt,
But to tell the truth, I don’t even feel like I’m trapped.

Chorus: Lost cause and effect, too wrong to correct.
On a different plane, too fluid to restrain.
Through intent or through fluke, too cool to rebuke.
Quicker than truth, too slick for reproof.
Too late to chasten, for castigation.
Too late to chide, too late to chastise.
Faster than wits, too amiss for a slap on the wrist.
Beyond reprimand.

2. I took so long picking my poison, I died
Of old age before I could ever decide.
I appreciate the wink, but you got the wrong idea.
Click, crack, clang, crash: onomatopoeia.
Revolutions are great if you’ve got time to plan some.
I’d rather be ugly than the wrong kind of handsome.
We all just want to be worthy of a stalker.
You want my trust? Come make me an offer.
Nobody ever loved us for the reasons we intended.
Just let me know if you need any wheels reinvented.
It’s getting hot in here, so what’s the next logical step?
I don’t expect overexposure is a probable threat.
At the moment I removed my first disguise,
Nobody blinked because they weren’t surprised.
When a majestic bird’s crawling ’cause it hurts to fly,
The only decent thing is to avert your eyes.

Chorus: Lost cause and effect, too wrong to correct.
On a different plane, too fluid to restrain.
Through intent or through fluke, too cool to rebuke.
Quicker than truth, too slick for reproof.
It’s too late to chasten, for castigation.
Too late to chide, too late to chastise.
Faster than wits, too amiss for a slap on the wrist.
Beyond reprimand.

3. When you consider all the friendly fire I’m blamed for
These days, I’m thinking maybe I should aim more.
My respect for free refills was lost
When I learned they’re factored into the original cost.
And at the real risk of all this getting too bleak,
The best I can hope is my errors are unique.
How long after the song begins
Before you’re shaking your head like, “Wrong again”?
And my artillery is only made of papier-mâché.
And I don’t have the energy to fake it today.
Logical fallacies and defense mechanisms:
If I notice ’em developing, I guess I’ll reckon with ’em.
I’m a fervent Neo-Terminist, hindsight myopic.
Head held high, but I’d like to drop it.
Increasing supply despite less demand.
So far gone, I’m beyond reprimand.

Chorus: Lost cause and effect, too wrong to correct.
On a different plane, too fluid to restrain.
Through intent or through fluke, too cool to rebuke.
Quicker than truth, too slick for reproof.
It’s too late to chasten, for castigation.
Too late to chide, too late to chastise.
Faster than wits, too amiss for a slap on the wrist.
Beyond reprimand. (x2)
Track Name: Hand in Stew
Intro: Sometimes all you can do is admire
The extent to which what you do backfires.
Good friends cringe and loyal fans boo
So you know it’s going over like a hand in stew.
Whether one’s plunged in or your own’s soaking
Or you dip your spoon and you find one floating.
However you interpret, whatever your view,
Nobody reacts well to a hand in stew.

Chorus: I smell like the flowers that I trampled through.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
I assume you assume I’m the man for you.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
I attempt stunts I know I can’t do.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
One false move and you all act like
A hand in stew just ruined your whole night.

1. Bad news, neat freaks: the world’s not sterile.
Red hourglass tramp stamps: Girls Gone Feral.
Ducking out before the lesson but after refreshments.
Nothing hurts worse than an accurate assessment.
Scene follows scene full of extras and no star.
I am not an actor but I play one in the O.R.
Big talk suffocates stuffed in a small voice.
Snake oil’s my cure-all of choice.
Even through a cloud of cologne, I smell rat.
I had 99 solutions and they all fell flat.
You want a lover with a slow hand? Don’t be a fool.
The lover with the slowest hand loses the duel.
My adult content’s primarily disappointment.
My life raft’s stocked with pop but isn’t buoyant.
This whole endeavor’s gonna be dead soon
If I can’t start moving these lead balloons.

Chorus: I smell like the flowers that I trampled through.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
I assume you assume I’m the man for you.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
I attempt stunts I know I can’t do.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
One false move and you all act like
A hand in stew just ruined your whole night.

2. Am I late to the party or early to the clean-up?
I go the extra mile to avoid a speed bump.
You’re getting agitated when it’s time for your feeding.
Pearls before swine and swine before vegans.
“Love makes fools of us all,” it’s said.
I say, “Fools would make lovers of us all” instead.
After all these years and all that we’ve heard,
What if “the bird” isn’t really the word?
Do “The Back and to the Left,” it’s the hot new move.
If your parents catch wind, beg ’em not to approve.
You’ve gotten too loose, let me teach you how to Douglas.
Holier than thou ’cause a few people dug this.
Or at least they would’ve if they knew how to find this.
Live by the sword, die by the tendonitis.
My battleship sunk ’cause of nothing that you did.
Poorly-received. Here’s looking at you, kid.

Chorus: I smell like the flowers that I trampled through.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
I assume you assume I’m the man for you.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
I attempt stunts I know I can’t do.
How does that go over? Like a hand in stew.
One false move and you all act like
A hand in stew just ruined your whole night.
Track Name: Mispronouncements
1. It’s a fluid language, don’t doubt the changing.
I’ll miscorrect your pronounciation.
But this comes with an asterik.
I can’t yet claim to have mastered it.
Saw the prints of a woof down by the crick.
Speak like a man: sound like a hick.
Caucaphonous voices I can’t interpretate.
Just let that mess perculate.
A man the strong fear but the cute exploit.
I’ll go to my grave defending a mute point.
Here comes the calvary, sabers flashing.
Fall prostate before the main attraction.
Ritzy jewlery, penthouse suit.
On a whole nother level ’til you slip down chutes.
Mistrial by fire, mistake no prisoners.
Also known as The Malapropismer.

Chorus: I don’t care if it’s worse or better
When I take a word and I drop a letter.
I can put a letter where it doesn’t belong,
And you can wonder if maybe you just heard wrong.
I can take the letters and mix ’em all around.
Top it all off with an alternate vowel sound.
I can take a word you revere and revise it
And say it to your face and you won’t recognize it.

2. Let your commitment to diction wobble:
Put that stress on the wrong syl-LA-ble.
Do it of-ten and you’ll get in-famous.
Known as an outlaw or an ignoramus.
Supposably all the spooks concur:
This world’s full of kooks going nucular.
I snuck through the foilage, struggled through the rubble.
I made my excape, the epi-tome of sub-tle.
Not uncommon for the thinker in the room
To do double-duty as a harbinger of doom.
Most people just take it for granite
That if it’s going well someone planned it.
You thought I was being mischievious when you sawl
The sarcastic tone of the writing on the wall.
Not a brainwarsh, I’m trying to immerse ya.
I don’t trust words and vicea versa.

Chorus: I don’t care if it’s worse or better
When I take a word and I drop a letter.
I can put a letter where it doesn’t belong,
And you can wonder if maybe you just heard wrong.
I can take the letters and mix ’em all around.
Top it all off with an alternate vowel sound.
I can take a word you revere and revise it
And say it to your face and you won’t recognize it.

Bridge: I’ll translate for you if you don’t get this:
The Saint wants to a eat bigeer for bwiftiss.
If Dutch finds dinder cooked to a cinder,
It’s gonna get pitched straight out of the winder.
Bang the drums, strum the goodtar.
Don’t wait for the day when the Could, Would, Should: Are.
Sundy, Mondy, Tuesdy and so on.
You want to go by the book? Sing your own song.

3. So, yeah, maybe meaning gets sacrificed,
But if that’s the price, I guess that’s the price.
I’ve learned to accept the bad with the good,
And it’s not so bad being misunderstood.
Let me tell you ’bout the so-called “need to communicate:”
Total comprehension isn’t necessary to relate.
Here’s the bottom line: it’s lame to cling
To the idea that mere communication’s the main thing.
Some don’t know better, and that’s got its place,
But I recommend a conscious embrace.
So what if you seem dumb? So what if it happens
That your educated friends look at you like you’re madm’n?
Are you gonna lay your tongue on the altar of phonetics?
Or are you gonna revel in the squalor of aesthetics?
Still can’t grasp what it is I’m all about?
How many times do I have to spell it out?

Chorus: I don’t care if it’s worse or better
When I take a word and I drop a letter.
I can put a letter where it doesn’t belong,
And you can wonder if maybe you just heard wrong.
I can take the letters and mix ’em all around.
Top it all off with an alternate vowel sound.
I can take a word you revere and revise it
And say it to your face and you won’t recognize it.
Track Name: Countermyth
1. Nothing gets my blood pumping like a pulse.
Let’s try to handle disillusion like adults.
When a myth unravels, there’s always a replacement.
Every hour of the day looks the same in the basement.
Fighting fire with firewood.
Preach your sermon to the empty spot where the choir stood.
A good liar could take us all on a great ride,
But most of them are too weak and afraid to try.
Outwitted, outdone, outgunned, yet outspoken.
If you walk around here eyes closed and mouth open,
You’re gonna get more than you can chew without choking.
If you won’t be tamed, at least be housebroken.
I wanna give birth to an urban legend.
I wanna blurt the question that diverts the lesson.
It’s depressing what these people think is worth repressing.
Nobody’s gonna track any dirt into heaven.

2. Holding the fort with smoke and mirrors
And a handmade dummy soaked in tears.
You alternate between hope and fear.
You haven’t told a good joke in years.
I don’t know where I got the drawl.
Stand for nothing, can’t fall at all.
Out of left field and off the wall.
You’ve gotta want to move before you crawl.
Then comes walking, then comes running,
Then exhausted huffing and puffing,
Then expectation-adjusting.
Ne’er-do-superbly, great-for-nothing.
Turnabout’s fair play, haunting the haunter.
Cursing the mummy, taunting the monster.
I can’t pay what it costs to prosper.
I know myself: a self-taught impostor.

3. That that doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger
Or leaves me enfeebled while I linger longer.
We prefer the setbacks we’ve already dealt with.
The best lovers take pleasure in appearing unselfish.
What do I have to do to be considered a catch?
I keep overreaching after forgetting to stretch.
It doesn’t take long to figure out what my range is.
All I do is string together idioms with minor changes.
Last time I rode a roller-coaster,
My thoughts wandered off until I noticed it was over.
Turn “tragedy” to “triumph” by switching five letters.
There are more complicated methods, but mine’s better.
Even when you’re dry, they keep trying to shape you.
There’s always someone trying to escape wherever you escape to.
Lines in the sand have a tendency to wash away.
What do we say to Decay? “Not today.”

4. Sniffing around that bait you found.
You just can’t seem to break new ground.
Or focus on the task at hand.
We ask, “Who was that unmasked man?”
Nothing to lose, you start in a hole.
Jump from the moving car and roll.
Heart and soul and mind and body.
It’s easy to let it slip and get sloppy.
Bad artists die for their art too.
Not odd for two wrong people to argue.
Are you or are you not present?
State your preference or I’ll guess it.
Not going down without a flight.
There are plenty of dark things out tonight
Just like every night, no sweat.
Until there’s a new threat, I won’t fret.

5. From saving face to a change of heart.
It’s never too late to play a stranger part.
Resist the insister, spurn the urger.
Twist and whisper, turn and murmur. (x4)
Track Name: &?
Chorus: &? &?
What else you got? What else you got?
&? &?
You’ll never make a splash in the melting pot.
&? &?
What else you got? What else you got?
&? &?
You’ll never make a splash in the melting pot.

1. The song’s called “&?” written “[ampersand], [question mark].”
I feel more at ease with the fans kept in the dark.
Give me any forum and I’ll wax eloquent.
It helps, I’ve found, to not find facts relevant.
The honeymoon is over and the bitter moon is rising.
When the latter’s probable, the former isn’t too enticing.
Love at first sight’s real simple ’cause at first
You don’t see that all of these beautiful people are the worst.
Not enough room to slip a whimper in edgewise.
Forget honey—use dead flesh to catch flies.
I bear the radio no ill will.
I need neither deep breathing nor chill pills.
What are all of you shy kids saving your breath for?
Frantic hyperventilating at death’s door?
Tattoos’ll turn tacky, youth and beauty blur.
Cannon fodder reporting for duty, sir!

Chorus: &? &?
What else you got? What else you got?
&? &?
You’ll never make a splash in the melting pot.
&? &?
What else you got? What else you got?
&? &?
You’ll never make a splash in the melting pot.

2. The song’s called “&?” [Question mark] follows [ampersand].
I’ve got a sculptor’s feet and I’ve got a dancer’s hands.
Born to be a star, but then you were bred to fail.
Blow your top on the bottom rung, cooler heads prevail.
Everybody hates hipsters. Nobody is one.
The common man rises up to tickle-fight the system.
No better way to get a fat cat purring.
Of all the nerve, calling all you sad rats “vermin.”
Are you a passerby, a symbol, or another mascot
Who’s gonna don a suit and tie if you can hit the jackpot?
Mauled by a paper tiger, covered in paper cuts.
Not a good time to consider chasing greater hunts.
Celebrate your birth like it just occurred.
While you wait with bated breath for my first recorded cuss word.
I am not changing, take that gamble.
Same bat time, same bat ch-ch-channel.

Chorus: &? &?
What else you got? What else you got?
&? &?
You’ll never make a splash in the melting pot.
&? &?
What else you got? What else you got?
&? &?
You’ll never make a splash in the melting pot.

Outro: They’ll keep saying “&?” ’til you’re spent and empty.
They’ll keep saying “&?” ’til you’re spent and empty.
They’ll keep saying “&?” ’til you’re spent and empty.
They’ll keep saying, keep saying, keep saying, “&?”
They’ll keep saying “&?” ’til you’re spent and empty.
They’ll keep saying “&?” ’til you’re spent and empty.
They’ll keep saying “&?” ’til you’re spent and empty.
They’ll keep saying, keep saying, keep saying, “&?”
Track Name: Get Laughs
1. Like anything worth getting, there’s a price to pay.
And that’s a shame; I was feeling kind of nice today.
But let’s do this right, let’s handle this properly.
Sometimes someone’s gotta hurt for comedy.
Not the most sought commodity, it’s true,
But if you know how to use it look what it can get you:
You can weaken will-power, unclench tight fists,
Undermine authority with a few light quips.
Getting laughs is the best medicine I know.
Everybody I meet is a part of my show.
Everybody is an audience, targets, straight men.
I yearn for their laughter even if I hate them.
I’ve got a million of ’em, I’m always on.
I’m in the middle of a bit, just play along.
I already know this warm glow won’t last.
Spare me the lecture and gimme those laughs.

Chorus: If I never get more than a laugh from you,
Well, that’s just perfect, it was all worth it.
If I ever need more than a laugh from you,
I’m not sure what I’ll do, wish I knew. (x2)

2. In the pursuit of laughs, I never balk at cost.
If I encounter a line, I just waltz across,
And gather up any laughs that are there for the taking.
If they sound authentic, I don’t care if you’re faking.
You take what you can get when you feel like you need some.
Lowering the bar, sure I’ll go for the cheap ones.
I’ve been condemning this crutch for too long.
So now I’m gonna get my wit substitute on.
Anything for a laugh, they sustain me.
The only way I really know to stay pain-free.
Whether you’re an easy or a tough nut to crack,
If you give me one laugh, I’ll keep coming back.
I’m a hack, I’m a clown, and I’m cracking wise.
I feel like I’m naked when the laughter dies.
A never-ending flood is the right amount.
Now give me all your laughs or I’ll pry ’em out.

Chorus: If I never get more than a laugh from you,
Well, that’s just perfect, it was all worth it.
If I ever need more than a laugh from you,
I’m not sure what I’ll do, wish I knew. (x2)

Outro: Forget getting rich, getting power, getting fame.
Just get laughs. J-j-just get laughs.
Forget getting girls, getting high, getting by.
Just get laughs. J-j-just get laughs.
Forget getting down, getting along, getting it on.
Just get laughs. J-j-just get laughs.
Forget getting a clue, getting real, getting over it.
Just get laughs, J-j-just get laughs.

Chorus: If I never get more than a laugh from you,
Well, that’s just perfect, it was all worth it.
If I ever need more than a laugh from you,
I’m not sure what I’ll do, wish I knew.
Track Name: Hound
1. Hounds lounge on the porch, scrounge in the garbage.
Long tongues lolling, slouching through carnage.
Every dog gets his day, but a hound doesn’t.
Bitterly begrudging his fortunate cousin.
He’s not rabid, just a little excited.
Well, he might be rabid, opinion’s divided.
Fur bur-covered, breath hot and rank.
Got the teeth of a lesser hound lodged in his flank.
Do not explore what the howling’s for.
Never let an unknown hound indoors.
Never play around or try to get physical
With hollow-eyed hounds whose ribs are visible.
Turn a hound loose on a thief or a prowler,
He returns to the house with a mouth full of trouser.
Call him a good boy, but know that he’s not.
He just knows who gave him the last meal he got.

Chorus: Chosen or found, broken and bound,
Nose to the ground, so goes the hound.
It’s gonna take more to make him faithful
Than occasional scraps from the master’s table.
A few wounds to lick, no new tricks,
Used to kicks, chewed through by ticks.
Hackles rising, feels a storm coming.
He can’t forget that he was born running.

2. He’s a shade-tree-and-soup-bone ascetic while the sun shines.
Amorous at night, he ends purebred bloodlines.
Knows no boundaries, roaming the county.
From the subdivisions to the abandoned foundry.
Rolls in the road kill, eats the meat raw.
Never met a hound who could follow a leash law.
He knows he’ll never get his fair share of the glory,
But that isn’t why he’s marking his territory.
He’s flea-bitten, itching to hear, “Sic ’em!”
Lock him in the kennel, the hound begins digging.
Bays at the moon like it still may listen.
Crossing coyotes and killing all the neighbors’ chickens.
Ducking the cops, buckshot, and flung rocks.
Why chase the cat when you can hunt fox?
Driven wild by the scent of the bleeding black wound
Of a terrified, near-death, treed raccoon.

Chorus: Chosen or found, broken and bound,
Nose to the ground, so goes the hound.
It’s gonna take more to make him faithful
Than occasional scraps from the master’s table.
A few wounds to lick, no new tricks,
Used to kicks, chewed through by ticks.
Hackles rising, feels a storm coming.
He can’t forget that he was born running.

3. Stuffed in a sack with the rest of his litter.
Tossed in the lake with a splash and a whimper.
He clawed his way out of the bag as it sank.
As the other puppies drowned he paddled to the bank.
Scrambled through the underbrush, brambles and thorns.
He followed his nose to the place he was born.
Scratched at the door, you opened and looked around.
He took a chunk out of your leg. Well, welcome home, Hound.
The hound’s short life is fraught with dark turns.
Choke chains, fences, hearts full of worms.
Forgotten outside, unmanageable cold.
Old bones bolting from Animal Control.
And no true hound lasts long in a pound.
He dies in his cage or he gets put down.
Or he snarls and he bites and fights his way free.
And as the other hounds howl their approval, he flees.

Chorus: Chosen or found, broken and bound,
Nose to the ground, so goes the hound.
It’s gonna take more to make him faithful
Than occasional scraps from the master’s table.
A few wounds to lick, no new tricks,
Used to kicks, chewed through by ticks.
Hackles rising, feels a storm coming.
He can’t forget that he was born running.
Track Name: Mermaid Festival
1. Come one, come all to our small town’s big to-do.
We’ve got something for the kids and for the kid in you.
A week-long festival to celebrate the local color,
To rise up and officially open the summer.
Sure, the crime rate’ll rise but we aren’t bitter,
’Cause that laker money’s gotta get us through another winter.
And I, for one, have never seen a mermaid in Webster Lake,
But the name isn’t open to debate.
The carnival arrives under cover of darkness.
Do not fear the carnies, they’re relatively harmless,
Setting up the midway out at the fairgrounds,
By the little league diamonds just west of town.
The parade route’s one straight shot down Main Street.
Get there early if you want shade or a seat.
Heckle any float not throwing out candy
Or spraying water out of Super Soakers if they’re fancy.
And the Shriners zip around on their stupid little scooters,
And the pageant contestants smile without humor,
Their eyes taking on that Queen-of-the-Lakes glaze,
As they ride in the backs of convertibles and wave.
And the kids in the marching bands are dripping sweat.
On the verge of fainting but the music isn’t slipping yet.
And the mothers try to get their families out on that note
Before they catch sight of the Stimmelators float.

Chorus 1: Let’s go…
To the Mermaid Festival.
And if you’ve got a brain and even half a soul,
Then I know I’m gonna see you at the tractor pull.
Let’s go…
To the Mermaid Festival.
If three bucks for a drink seems like a lot,
We can go to the church booth for a free freez- pop.

2. Wooden cut-outs of mermaids hang on the streetlights,
Painted to look like ladies of the night.
Old folks hate ’em and the college kids steal ’em
So the town takes ’em down and the people start healing.
Every night of the week on the midway stage,
A different classic rock cover band revels in middle age,
Or an audience behaves like there’s nothing bizarre about
A local troop of cloggers clogging their hearts out.
And the Cutie Parade is an annual favorite.
Adults dress kids as jokes only they get.
They gotta take advantage of their offspring early
Before they grow up withdrawn and surly.
And if the prices of the rides weren’t so prohibitive,
Their limited durations would be easier to forgive.
But as it is the wise spenders stay away
Until the warm sun dawns on bracelet day.
And then it’s try to ride everything at least once,
Even if it’s unsafe or other kids say it sucks.
Himalaya, Tilt-a-Whirl, double Ferris wheel,
And a couple more with even less apparent appeal.
And I’m warning you to watch out if you haven’t gone
’Cause it sticks to the wall if you puke in the Gravitron,
And someone’s gotta yell to the carnie to make it stop
So he can shut it down, evacuate the kids, and get the mop.

Chorus 2: Let’s go…
To the Mermaid Festival.
Other kids gather handfuls of coins from the sand
While I get to learn disappointment again.
Let’s go…
To the Mermaid Festival.
I’ve got a craving for an elephant ear.
I’m states away and I can smell it from here.
Let’s go…
To the Mermaid Festival.
If you don’t like it, don’t blame the Lions.
It’s not the best, but at least they’re trying.
Let’s go…
To the Mermaid Festival.
You wake one morning to discover it’s gone,
But a year flies past, it’s back before long.
Track Name: Straw Man Massacre
1. Straw men on the march, but they can hardly stand.
I’ve already got the victory party planned.
I use my delusion: Righteous, defiant.
I roll up my sleeves and the straw starts flying.
Imaginary critics spitting dissension.
Just look how much they resent my ascension.
Overcoming enemies of my own invention:
The latest symptom of my growing pretension.
Haters gonna hate, but they don’t know I exist.
I pretend they do so my songs can persist.
Without opposition I’d have nothing to say.
My self-image is dependent on what’s in my way.
I get a couple hay bales, gather up spare clothes,
And I build myself a crowd of doubting scarecrows.
They jeer me and tell me I’ll never be a star,
And then I tear ‘em all apart like the cowards they are.

Chorus: When you’re easily knocked out, you’ve got a glass jaw,
But it’s simpler still when the jaw’s made of straw.
I’m the undefeated champion, my technique is dominant.
You’ve heard of haymakers? Well, I hit ‘em with the opposite.
Illustrated eyes don’t blink. Pucker up.
One, two, left, right, hook, jab, uppercut.
Never break a sweat, untouched, no mercy.
If they can’t fight back, they cannot hurt me.

2nd Chorus: Hey there, naysayer, sometimes it seems
That you only come around to denounce my dreams
When there’s no one else present to see me defy you
Or to see that there’s naught but straw inside you. (x2)

2. And I’ve never met a straw man I couldn’t lick.
My story’s no good without a good conflict.
And since there’s none, I had to fabricate one.
Fake hostility, real affirmation.
You gotta give your listeners something to relate to.
A sense that you wage the same war that they do:
Against a great host of perceived slights.
I climbed a pile of straw bodies to achieve these heights.
Bane of the Straw Man, Straw Man Nemesis.
Don’t really care if they’re fair representatives
Of real points of view that my foes might express
If I had a real foe or two. I digress.
My actual problems are trivial or self-inflicted.
Everyone I know’s either supportive or uninterested.
But I yearn for credibility, I really want respect.
Straw Man Massacre. Not one left.

Chorus: When you’re easily knocked out, you’ve got a glass jaw.
But it’s simpler still when the jaw’s made of straw.
I’m the undefeated champion, my technique is dominant.
You’ve heard of haymakers? Well, I hit ‘em with the opposite.
Illustrated eyes don’t blink. Pucker up.
One, two, left, right, hook, jab, uppercut.
Never break a sweat, untouched, no mercy.
If they can’t fight back, they cannot hurt me.

2nd Chorus: Hey there, naysayer, sometimes it seems
That you only come around to denounce my dreams
When there’s no one else present to see me defy you
Or to see that there’s naught but straw inside you. (x2)

Outro: Straw on the floor? (Check!)
Straw on the walls? (Check!)
Straw on my hands? (Check!)
Straw Man Massacre? Burn the remains? (Check! Check!) (x2)
Track Name: El Pulgarcito
Intro: Among El Salvador’s delightful features:
The bottles of pop are two point five liters.
And the restaurants all have the same game plan:
To attract kids with a huge indoor playland.
The back bus window decals are cryptic
Enough to confound the savviest art critic.
And the graveyards have more colors and hues
Than our fireworks displays and parades do.

1. In spite of the Department of State’s advice
I went ahead and visited El Salvador twice.
Want the travelogue version or the true report?
We spent a lot of time at the mall food court…
Where I proved that I still remember enough Spanish
To order myself French fries and a sandwich.
But at a little corner shop, the fact is,
We ordered two Cokes and got two books of matches.
The line between in and outside’s often blurry.
It’s better for your sanity if you’re not in a hurry.
They all laugh in the face of what we call an emergency,
And I’ll bet you didn’t know they use American currency.
The one Salvadorian I didn’t like was a boy
Throwing a public fit over a Happy Meal toy.
Everybody else was either just fine or great.
Never judge a country by its violent crime rate.

Chorus: Era un chele cuca macarrón
Que no aguantaba ni un trompon.
Verguiado es rapear, poner comida en estantes.
“El Pulgarcito” le cayó bien (¡no manches!)
Mi primo, él no era desmarado.
El Salvador le trajo un fan y no es paja.
A éste maje gringo le gustó
y éste chele casi guanaco salió.

2. And usually the beach doesn’t do much for me,
But in El Salvador it’s a different story.
No fighting for parking, no trouble with crowds.
Just a few mangy dogs and a couple of cows.
Water warm as a bath, skies clear, sand black.
A drowsy guard with a gun strapped to his back.
If you’re going to that beach, yeah, count me in.
Just make sure the fish market’s downwind.
I tried to write “Spooky Gulch” from a hammock by the ocean,
But I was too relaxed to keep the pen in motion.
I tried surfing thinking it’d be fun learn.
It wasn’t, but somehow I never got sunburned.
As we played in the waves and the salty spray,
My favorite pearl-snap shirt got swept away,
And my grandmother blames herself, but I believe
It was the worthiest death that shirt could achieve.

Chorus: Era un chele cuca macarrón
Que no aguantaba ni un trompon.
Verguiado es rapear, poner comida en estantes.
“El Pulgarcito” le cayó bien (¡no manches!)
Mi primo, él no era desmarado.
El Salvador le trajo un fan y no es paja.
A éste maje gringo le gustó
y éste chele casi guanaco salió.

3. Apparently turistas are rarely seen
Out walking in the streets of San Martin.
Either we were too adventurous or naïve,
’Cause a cop with a machine gun told us to leave.
On a hot afternoon, the town of Paisnal
Was still sleeping off the previous night’s Carnival.
And our hosts served us fruit juice and schooled us
On the fine art of making homemade pupusas.
The road to La Montañona was too rough.
Halfway up the hatchback had had enough.
But we tried not to let the setback deter us,
So we climbed something else and took a look at Honduras.
And at Los Planes, we were awed by the sight
Of San Salvador from the mountain’s height:
Sprawling through the valleys, thousands of lights.
Then we bought a bootleg movie and called it a night.

Chorus: Era un chele cuca macarrón
Que no aguantaba ni un trompon
Verguiado es rapear, poner comida en estantes.
“El Pulgarcito” le cayó bien (¡no manches!)
Mi primo, él no era desmarado.
El Salvador le trajo un fan y no es paja.
A éste maje gringo le gustó
y éste chele casi guanaco salió.
Track Name: Wild Boor
1. I’ve had a couple of rough weeks.
It’s probably evident by the state of my cufflinks.
I chip a chunk for my drink from the ice sculpture.
If nobody’s vulgar, you can’t perceive culture.
The taste of back-of-lady-hand lingers on my lips
While I wait for alcohol to make ’em keener on my quips.
Never seen so much good skin, teeth, and hair
In one place, it’s not beneath me to stare.
Some are born to rule, some are born to serve,
Some are born to gorge on a host’s hors d‘oeuvres.
There’s no law against a faux pas.
I’m taking more than my share of the goose foie gras.
I’m the grotesque parody of life of the party.
Asking everyone if we should form an oligarchy.
Suckers salt cinders and butter their dust.
I’m gonna sink my teeth deep into the upper crust.

Chorus: Too, too late
To consider saving face.
Too late to consider saving face.
I, don’t, don’t
Even feel the distaste.
I don’t even feel the distaste.
Don’t know why
I feel the need to make a scene.
Don’t know why I need to make a scene.
I am gauche
But I don’t know what it means.
I’m gauche but I don’t know what it means.

2. The details of my last-minute date hit a snag
’Cause she knew my reputation, thus I came stag.
I’m dealing with the clear-cut blunt truth
That I may well be downright uncouth.
I am not Miss Manners, I am The Mismannered.
Never more grateful for slipping standards.
I could fill a book with the etiquette I don’t know.
Disarm ’em all with the charm I won’t show.
Don’t care about the whereabouts of my invitation.
I’m used to the scowls and the indignation.
I’m falling in the fountain, brawling in the garden.
I couldn’t sound more false begging for your pardon.
How can you expect me to make an impression
If I linger in the wings out of simple discretion?
I will be the chief focus of your scorn ’til morning.
I will never not prefer being boorish to boring.

Chorus: Too, too late
To consider saving face.
Too late to consider saving face.
I, don’t, don’t
Even feel the distaste.
I don’t even feel the distaste.
Don’t know why
I feel the need to make a scene.
Don’t know why I need to make a scene.
I am gauche
But I don’t know what it means.
I’m gauche but I don’t know what it means.

3. I would need a boost to become lowbrow.
Tapped on the shoulder like, “Maybe you should go now.”
Upwardly stagnant, the opposite of proper.
Every misstep is even more potential gossip fodder.
Posture of a brute, the speech of a crude lout.
Feel like I might faint if I don’t let the rude out.
Ladies and gents, I haven’t got tact.
If you don’t wanna converse, then avoid eye contact.
I’m the spectator running wild on the field.
I’m the beaten man too oblivious to yield.
Every event, I’m carried home on my shield.
Rented tux in shreds, base pedigree revealed.
But for now, the string quartet keeps on playing.
Other guests clinging to the hope that I’m not staying.
I am though: a social burden we all bear.
Wild Boor: I’ve got gall to spare.

Chorus: Too, too late
To consider saving face.
Too late to consider saving face.
I, don’t, don’t
Even feel the distaste.
I don’t even feel the distaste.
Don’t know why
I feel the need to make a scene.
Don’t know why I need to make a scene.
I am gauche
But I don’t know what it means.
I’m gauche but I don’t know what it means.
Track Name: Pit Stop
1. Covered in a layer of venture-borne dust.
Someone wrote a message in it: “Dead end or bust.”
View the world through a windshield spattered with bug guts.
Worried saboteurs might’ve loosened your lug nuts.
You’re not steering nearly as steady as you think.
Give me a signal when you’re ready to blink.
All of these roads lead to the same place,
If you’re not there yet, I’d blame your pace.
Out of the darkness, ahead on your left:
A spot where you stop if you feel bereft.
A place where the dirty lights buzz so brightly.
Where the people regard mud and rust politely.
Motorists of the Night will stop to pump gas,
While stiff-legged passengers’ll slump past
On their way inside, too tired for pretense.
Seek and ye shall find convenience.

Chorus: Your road is never-ending.
Sunrise is out there somewhere.
Without the occasional pit stop
You’ll never make it there.
Stuck on the shoulder, tank on “E.”
Racked with pain in your back and knees.
With a parched throat and a ruptured bladder.
Then you’ll know why a pit stop matters.

2. The lone outpost in a stretch of blankness.
It was born worn out, changeless, an oasis
For the forlorn before-dawn traveler.
Drawn to the wanderer, fond of stragglers.
A red-eyed, elsewhere-bound variety.
A true cross-section of our society.
Regardless of culture, creed, or class,
Everybody eats snacks, everybody needs gas.
Moths need neither, but they’re abundant.
The cement’s all stained and the air is pungent.
The numbers on the pump spin higher and higher
You discard garbage and kick the tires.
The pump clicks off, you return the nozzle.
One more tank of the last gift of a fossil.
It’s not gonna get you to your destination,
But it’s always enough to get you to the next station.

Chorus: Your road is never-ending.
Sunrise is out there somewhere.
Without the occasional pit stop
You’ll never make it there.
Stuck on the shoulder, tank on “E.”
Racked with pain in your back and knees.
With a parched throat and a ruptured bladder.
Then you’ll know why a pit stop matters.

Bridge: Everybody wake up, which of you could use a pit stop?
I could, I could, I could use a pit stop.
Everybody wake up, which of you could use a pit stop?
I could use a pit stop.
Everybody wake up, which of you could use a pit stop?
I could, I could, I could use a pit stop.
Everybody wake up, which of you could use a pit stop?
I could use a pit stop.

3. All fueled up, so you head inside,
To give a treat a chance to catch your eye.
The lights blare down, crude, too severe.
They make ghouls out of you and the rude cashier.
Junk food laid out in its garish packaging.
You’re eating it before you’re aware it’s happening.
There in the back is the soft-drink fountain
Singing siren songs while your heart beat’s pounding.
You see unique charm in neglected restrooms.
You appreciate the beauty and detect the doom
In the general decay and the walls’ décor,
Veiled pleas for relief on the back of the stall door.
Back in line, held up ‘cause the guy at the front,
Can’t decide which lottery ticket he might want.
But it’s fine, you’re cool, you understand it.
You’re all between points A and B, in transit.

Chorus: Your road is never-ending.
Sunrise is out there somewhere.
Without the occasional pit stop
You’ll never make it there.
Stuck on the shoulder, tank on “E.”
Racked with pain in your back and knees.
With a parched throat and a ruptured bladder.
Then you’ll know why a pit stop matters. (x2)
Track Name: Old Gold
1a. There’s a Moon Out Tonight, let’s go strolling.
Stand by Me in This Magic Moment.
I’m gonna be in trouble ‘cause your Boyfriend’s Back.
Soon I might be deader than the Leader of the Pack.
Each night I ask the stars up above
“Why do I still feel like a Teenager In Love?”
Do you, do you, do you, Do You Wanna Dance?
Why Do Fools Fall In Love when they’ve got no chance?
I know, Maybelline, why you can’t be true.
You run around too much with Runaround Sue.
I bark at Blue Moons, chewing Blue Suede Shoes.
‘Cause I ain’t nothing but a Hound Dog too.
And I’m sure You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.
But baby, I prefer how you’ve been looking lately.
Be-bop-a-lula, Wake Up Little Susie.
Bar-barbara Ann, Sh-boom, Ooby Dooby.

1b. I never learned to play guitar so well,
But I can read and write just like a-ringin’ a bell.
The Brown-Eyed Handsome Man can do no wrong.
Da-doo-ron-ron-ron Da-doo-ron-ron.

2a. Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news:
That there ain’t no cure for the Summertime Blues.
If Only the Lonely could stand each other,
They wouldn’t need to settle for Dream Lovers.
I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder why
She ran away, now Hushabye.
I’m gonna Rip it Up all across this land.
The Poor Little Fool is a Travelin’ Man.
I bought Artificial Flowers from Mack the Knife.
You’ve got the Magic Touch, bring me back to life.
Tonight, Tonight before your heart can harden,
Let’s Go, let’s go, let’s go, little darling.
How do I dance? Close, very, very close.
An “Earth Angel” isn’t the same thing as a ghost.
They call me The Wanderer, I roam around-around-around,
I Can’t Sit Down, I can’t sit down.

2b. The Duke of Earl’s crushing on the Queen of the Hop.
The Handyman’s got my broken heart in the shop
Since I Don’t Have You or anyone finer.
Goodness, gracious, Great Balls of Fire.

Bridge: Little Bitty Pretty One, I wonder, wonder, wonder
Who wrote the Book of Love and put a sucker on the cover.
We’re going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, but less scary.
Your daddy’s rich and your mom’s good lookin.’
Sweet-Talkin’ Girls know how to put the hooks in.
Can’t We Be Sweethearts? Don’t say “no.”
B-I-Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go.

3. It’s your party, you can cry if you want to.
But re-mem-m-mem-ber to have some fun too.
I’ve got No Particular Place to Go,
So Cupid, go ahead and draw back your bow.
Slipping and a-sliding, creeping and a-hiding.
That’s the Jailhouse Rock or the prisoners are rioting.
La-la-la-la-la-la late at night.
We’re gonna Rock Around the Clock until the broad daylight.
Under the Boardwalk, Up on the Roof.
16 Candles and eternal youth.
All my love, all my kissin’, you don’t know what you been missin’, Oh Boy.
Oh, Donna, what makes you so coy?
In the Still of the Night, I hear the Downbound Train
And the sound of the men working on the Chain Gang.
Walk Like a Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry.
Maybe this’ll be the day-ay-ay that I die.

3b. Whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream.
And it looks to me like this could be The Real Thing.
I haven’t felt this good since I don’t know when
And I might not feel this good again.
Track Name: The Unturned Page (ft. Dutch Schuttz)
Chorus: (I have got…
Some words I wanna lay on you)
(I have got…
Some words I wanna lay on you)

1. Dutch Schuttz
I’m the new golden calf boy wonder
Immortalized by each glaring blunder.
I’ll send you my whole body of work.
I’m sure you’re gonna love every quirk.
If you don’t like it, then you don’t get it.
I love my work, I’m my own best critic.
Poured all my heart and my soul into this.
Voilà!—it only took five minutes.
No typo can hide my genius.
Rise like demolition, fall like a phoenix.
Wanna hear about all the ways smoke wafts?
’Cause that’s all I’ve got—that’s…all I’ve got.
Namedrop some politics, make it topical.
When I say “prodigy,” y’all say “prodigal.”
Café to bistro to winery,
The only thing missing from each is me.

Chorus: (I have got…
Some words I wanna lay on you)
I wrote ‘em. Now you gotta read ‘em.
(I have got…
Some words I wanna lay on you)
I can’t make you want ‘em, but I know you need ‘em.

2. The Mispronouncer
Listen up, I stayed up late engaged
In the sacred art of putting words to page.
And now to complete this solemn practice,
I’ll need your honest, awed reactions.
This is my vision, I will not revise it.
One proofread could compromise it.
Titled either Me: Seeker or The Silent Rose.
It’s more like a poem comprised of prose
Stretched so thin you can see right through it.
Time-saver, you don’t even have to read it to review it.
And I’ll jump at any chance to compare jazz to it
Even though I don’t know anything about that music.
I’m a Famous-Writer-X times-Famous-Writer-Y-
Minus-anything-that-might’ve-made-them-famous type of guy.
I just link one allusion to another allusion
Until we fizzle to a limp conclusion.

Chorus: (I have got…
Some words I wanna lay on you)
I wrote ‘em. Now you gotta read ‘em.
(I have got…
Some words I wanna lay on you)
I can’t make you want ‘em, but I know you need ‘em.

3. (I have got…)
A list of proper nouns so you know what I like,
The heaviest hands but the plot feather-light,
Everything wrong but I’ve got to…write?
(I have got…)
A plot twist you’ve seen coming for days,
Clichés that I use in the most clichéd ways,
The world’s most clunkiest turns of phrase.
(I have got…)
A description of a super-weird drug trip,
A concept of an idea for a script,
And a brilliance logic can’t contradict.
(I have got…)
Truly skewed views of the value of shock,
No antagonist who isn’t also a jock,
Dialogue precisely like no one talks.
Track Name: Do Look Down
1. When you get high enough up off the ground,
Somebody might tell you to not look down.
It’s only natural to be a bit scared of heights.
Don’t let that detract from their delights.
Let the fear flow, a little bit’s essential.
Let your head spin, let it make you tremble.
Take it all in ’til you lose perspective.
The Don’t Look Down school’s too protective.
Dizzy and in awe you stand on the precipice.
It’s too easy to call it recklessness.
Inches from the cliff, it sets the mind reeling
In the best way, don’t fight the feeling.
It’s a long way down, all that empty space
Staring at you right in your pretty face.
If you were to fall, that’d just be it.
We wouldn’t even hear you hit.

Chorus: Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
This could be the last sight you ever see.

2. And maybe one night you follow the call
Out to the Gorge and the waterfall.
You duck under the fence, creep through the trees.
The roar of the falls makes you weak in the knees.
In the middle, white water rushing past your feet,
Tumbling down to the pool, it’s dark but not deep.
Beyond what you can or you can’t accept.
Look down, switch your brain off, and step.
On a day so hot that even your soul sweats,
You head to the local swimming hole to refresh.
It’s under the highway, you stand on the bridge,
Looking thirty feet down at the redneck kids,
Calling up for you to jump, they laugh and splash.
You hop the guard rail, cars pass in a flash.
Gripped with the tension, you envision the plunge.
Look down, look down, look down, now lunge.

Chorus: Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
This could be the last sight you ever see.

Bridge: Whether a canyon’s rim or a mountain ledge,
You’ll know what to do when you’ve found the edge.
Whether a tall tree, bridge, rooftop, or tower,
Reluctant cowards never touch the power
Of a long look down from a frightening height,
Knowing it’s unlikely that you’ll die but you might.
And you can’t really think, you can barely blink,
You just stand there alive, looking down, on the brink.

Chorus: Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
Do look down! Do look down! Do look down!
All the way down!
This could be the last sight you ever see. (x2)
Track Name: Twenty Questions
The Mispronouncer: Let’s play 20 questions.
Baby: OK
The Mispronouncer: Quick recap of the rules: You pick a thing and don’t tell me what it is. I ask you 20 yes-or-no questions to try to narrow down what the thing could be. After I ask the 20 questions, I have to guess. If I’m right, I win. If I’m wrong, you win. Ready?
Baby: Ready. Let’s go.

1. Is it bigger than a miniature bread box? (Yes)
Would it look grotesque with dreadlocks? (Yes)
Is it kind of “blah,” lacking a better word? (Uh…)
Is it a thing of which I’ve never heard? (No)
Is it willing to accept half the blame? (No)
Is it a concept too abstract to name? (No)
Does somebody somewhere agree it’s useful? (Yes)
Does it bear any visible seals of approval? (Uh, no)
Do you like this thing? (Sure) Do you love this thing? (Not really)
Wouldst thou marry it with this ring? (No)
Assuming that it can’t read minds, does it want to? (No)
Does it do anything as well as some do? (Yes?)
Does it taste like olives? (No) Taste like pumpkin? (No)
Taste like dog? (No) Does it taste like something? (Yes)
Does it have twenty-five bucks I can borrow? (No)
What about ten? (No) What about tomorrow? (No)

Chorus: Baby: That was 20 questions, now you gotta guess it.
The Mispronouncer: This one’s easy, the answer is “me.”
Baby: No, the answer’s “fence post.” I guess I win.
The Mispronouncer: “Fence post?” That’s ridiculous. Let’s try again.

Baby: “Fence post” isn’t ridiculous. A fence post is a thing.
The Mispronouncer: Yeah, OK, technically you’re right, but it’s not the kind of thing you should be picking for this game.
Baby: You said it could be anything!
The Mispronouncer: Round two. Ready?
Baby: Sure.

2. Is it something I am sure to guess right? (No)
Does it look a little better in a little less light? (Not really)
Is it hard to explain to infant child? (No?)
Must it be burned if it’s been defiled? (No)
Is it sort of boring but sort of not? (I guess)
Is it past attractive but short of hot? (No)
Does it show up right when it’s least convenient? (No)
Do you have to see it to believe it? (No)
Is it all right? (Yes) Is it OK? (Yes) Is it fine? (Yes)
Does it take up space? (Yes) Does it move through time? (Yes)
Based on this face that I’m making right here,
Am I thinking of it now? (I don’t know!) Am I anywhere near? (I don’t know!)
Do you know how to spell it? (Yes) Know how to say it? (Yes)
Know how to do all that without spraying it? (Yes!)
Am I on the verge of the correct guess? (No)
Do I have any questions left? (Not now)

Chorus: Baby: That was 20 questions, now you gotta guess it.
The Mispronouncer: It’s easy, this time the answer really is “me.”
Baby: No, the answer’s “cashew.” I win again.
The Mispronouncer: “Cashew”? Are you an idiot or just a bad friend?

Baby: I’m an idiot? You’re the one who guessed yourself as the answer two rounds in a row. And that’s not even mentioning the quality of questions you’re asking.
The Mispronouncer: Round 3! Speed round!
Baby: All right, then.

3. Was it first discovered in 1980? (No)
94? (No) 06? (No) Or more lately? (No)
Can it be held? (Yes) Felt? (Yes) Weighed? (Yes) Measured? (Yes)
Is it one man’s trash? (Yes) Another man’s treasure? (Yes)
All good? (No) All bad? (No) Both? (No) Neither? (Yes)
Was it born of dust? (No) Was it born of ether? (No)
Is it too common? (No) Is it too exotic? (No)
Is it a part of a whole? (Yes) Ha! I got it!

Chorus: Baby: You’ve got another question, are you sure want to guess it?
The Mispronouncer: This time I’m sure, there’s only one possible word.
Baby: You were confident before and both times you were wrong.
The Mispronouncer: But this time I know the answer’s “me.” End of song!

Baby: No! The answer is “feather!” The answer is not, never has been, and never will be “you!” Why would you guess yourself every time?
The Mispronouncer: This is a song appearing on a double album that’s basically all me, me, me from beginning to end! Why wouldn’t the answer be “me?” It should always be “me.”
Baby: Then why didn’t you tell me that? Why do you ask me to guest on these things and not tell me what you want me to do?
The Mispronouncer: Because I wanted it to sound authentic, OK?
Baby: No one’s going to believe it’s authentic.
The Mispronouncer: Well, not with you trotting out your cashews and your feathers, they’re not!
Track Name: Dream Journal
1. Everyone dreams, only a few feel the need
To go out of their way to keep me up to speed.
I try not to sigh as you struggle to recount them.
I can’t be the only one who doesn’t care about them.
I find your assumption that I must obnoxious.
Why can’t you keep ’em just between you and your subconscious?
Look, I understand, you find them endlessly compelling,
But they must be losing something in your stammering retelling.
And it strikes me as ridiculous that you could take offense
When I am not amazed that none of ’em make sense.
No dreams ever do, that’s the typical experience.
You’re blinking at me like this is your first time hearing this.
Details fade in the bright light of day.
They escape from your clutches and fly right away.
But somehow, you don’t take that as a sign
That relating me your dream’s a complete waste of time.

Chorus: I’m not your dream journal, no matter how you spin it.
Unless you’re that cute and I made an appearance in it,
Then I don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had,
Don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had.
I’m not your dream journal, when night becomes morning.
Unless it was prophetic or in any way a warning,
Then I don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had,
Don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had.

2. And then you say, “And then I woke up” and I try to leave.
Just as I’m about to get away you grab me by the sleeve.
You tell me that you think I’ve got a gift for discernment,
So now that I’ve heard it, how would I interpret?
But I am not Joseph and I am not Freud.
I am just a guy both bored and annoyed,
Who could not care less if the dream was significant.
Falling or flying? I’m at best indifferent.
Already irritated that you got me on the hook
For what amounted to foul mound of gobbledygook.
So at this point, I wouldn’t say I feel too inclined
To help you find the meaning in the debris inside of your mind.
Whether wish-fulfillment or a frightening nightmare,
I avoid the subject out of a fear that you might share.
And that sharing will remind you of more and more.
Give me a break, that’s what a dream journal is for.

Chorus: I’m not your dream journal, no matter how you spin it.
Unless you’re that cute and I made an appearance in it,
Then I don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had,
Don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had.
I’m not your dream journal, when night becomes morning.
Unless it was prophetic or in any way a warning,
Then I don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had,
Don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had.

(I don’t wanna hear about the weird dream you had (x4))
Track Name: Other People
1. Other people stay young, other people grow old.
Other people know exactly when to hold and when to fold.
Other people know how to repair their own cars,
How to have fun at bars, how to navigate by the stars.
Other people know how to smile for pictures,
How to take a punch, and interact with strippers.
Other people daydream about a smart chick’s quirks.
Other people know how the card trick works.
Other people never crack smiles, hiding overbites.
Other people have epiphanies and change overnight.
Other people take advantage of a beautiful morning,
Break bones, grow wisdom teeth, and heed warnings.
They strike oil, strike gold, win the lottery.
They take a novelty and turn it into monotony.
Other people gain the upper hand and lord it over me.
Other people have a uterus and ovaries.

Chorus: Other name (Other name).
Other face (Other face).
What these other people really want is anybody’s guess.
Other time (Other time).
Other place (Other place).
Are we really so different, you and I? Yes.
I can’t fathom being “other,” no offense.
No one is familiar, nobody else makes sense.
I can’t fathom being “other,” no offense.
No one is familiar, nobody else makes sense.

2. Other people have wives, other people have husbands.
Some other people make it work, some even love them.
Other people have families, houses, careers.
Other people soldier on when their spouse disappears.
Other people do the disappearing never to resurface.
Other people are competing to determine who the worst is.
Other people bend backwards trying to earn love.
Other people die of a disease I’ve never heard of.
Other people die in a fiery plane crash,
But other people somehow survive that same crash.
Other people live girlfriend to girlfriend.
Other people wake daily anticipating the world’s end.
Other people circle petitions and run for office,
And gather followers and get stoned as false prophets.
Other people never sleep well until jail.
Other people stay on the t-t-trail.

Chorus: Other name (Other name).
Other face (Other face).
What these other people really want is anybody’s guess.
Other time (Other time).
Other place (Other place).
Are we really so different, you and I? Yes.
I can’t fathom being “other,” no offense.
No one is familiar, nobody else makes sense.
I can’t fathom being “other,” no offense.
No one is familiar, nobody else makes sense.

3. Other people form crowds and lines and take parking spots.
They still think an “X” will mark the spot.
Other people riot and panic and stampede.
Other people burn with desires they can’t feed.
Other people talk with people who are not there.
Other people won’t understand if you’d rather not share.
Other people crack up, break down, fall apart.
“Hell is other people.” –Jean-Paul Sartre.
Other people are the enemy and the support group.
Other people just repeat advice on a short loop.
Other people are the only other people I see.
It’s hard to believe that there’s other people like me.
Other people walk around and never realize
That they’re all just other people in these other people’s eyes.
Other people look at me and only see another version
Of another one of them, just another other person.

Chorus: Other name (Other name).
Other face (Other face).
What these other people really want is anybody’s guess.
Other time (Other time).
Other place (Other place).
Are we really so different, you and I? Yes.
I can’t fathom being “other,” no offense.
No one is familiar, nobody else makes sense.
I can’t fathom being “other,” no offense.
No one is familiar, nobody else makes sense.
Track Name: Push-Mow
1. There are five or six push-mowers stuck in the shed.
I arrive at the job with one in the truck bed,
A shirt with no sleeves, and my worst pair of shorts.
Neighbors watching from their porch, they’re preparing their reports.
I do a circuit of the yard, removing rocks and sticks.
Not good: this grass is wet, long, and thick.
When you factor in my lack of sleep, the heat, and humidity,
You begin to see why I might feel a bit of antipathy.
Roll the mower down the ramp and I fill it with gas.
Never overfill it or you’re gonna spill it in the grass.
Start priming the engine, I yank the cord.
Three pulls, it coughs to life, thank the Lord.
It vibrates through my hands, blue puffs of smoke.
The rpms rise while I’m adjusting the choke.
I’m already sweating and I haven’t strayed from the shade.
I pull up on the handle and engage the blade.

Chorus: You snakes in the grass better keep your heads down.
The push-lawnmower’s coming back around.
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
There is no getting over getting hit with the mower.
You snakes in the grass better keep your heads down.
The push-lawnmower’s coming back around.
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
It’s the end of the road when you’ve been push-mowed.

2. I note the borders of the yard, mow around the outer edge.
Trying to avoid lawn ornaments and flower beds,
Bird baths, bird feeders, and a few ceramic geese,
And a handful of territorial and frantic bees.
Up along the driveway kicking up pebbles.
Down in the thorns, poison ivy and the nettles.
Welts, scratches, and cuts, cut grass stuck to my shins.
Bare legs bear the marks of everywhere I’ve been.
The grass so damp that it cuts unevenly.
Clumps under the deck, bogs down the machinery.
Down by the lake, up against that seawall.
Hit the dead fish while dodging the flat beach ball.
Side to side across the face of the steep hill.
If the mower doesn’t slide, I’m worried my feet will.
If they indeed do and the mower rolls on top of me,
I hope that I survive to appreciate the comedy.

Chorus: You snakes in the grass better keep your heads down.
The push-lawnmower’s coming back around.
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
There is no getting over getting hit with the mower.
You snakes in the grass better keep your heads down.
The push-lawnmower’s coming back around.
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
It’s the end of the road when you’ve been push-mowed.

Bridge: And a chill wind comes blowing in off the lake,
And I pause for a moment as I estimate
How much more time ‘til the job is through.
I’ve still got a fair amount of weed-eating to do.
And now I’m in a race with a first rate storm.
Overhead, the swollen black clouds take form.
I abandon good technique and pick up the pace
As the first fat raindrop hits my face.

Chorus: You snakes in the grass better keep your heads down.
The push-lawnmower’s coming back around.
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
There is no getting over getting hit with the mower.
You snakes in the grass better keep your heads down.
The push-lawnmower’s coming back around.
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
It’s the end of the road when you’ve been push-mowed.
Track Name: The Courts
1. Some call ‘em “The Mats,” we call ‘em “The Courts.”
The perfect place for street ball and bad sports.
At the old grade-school, right by the highway.
Just before sunset, it’s the right time of day.
Locals and lakers, punk kids and grown men.
Launching half-court shots, trying to goal tend.
One kid crowing ‘cause he grabbed rim for the first time,
Yelling what sound like carefully rehearsed lines.
When we get enough guys, we’re gonna run fives.
‘Til then a half-hearted game of twenty-one’s fine.
Just to warm up with, break a little sweat to.
Size each other up to see if anyone can check you.
A couple girls are sitting on the bleachers, talking.
We’re never quite sure how closely they’re watching.
It won’t be long until the lights come on.
At 10:30 they’ll go off again, we’ll all be gone.

Chorus: Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
Shout-outs and honks from the cars that drive by.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
If you ask what we paid for the shoes, we might lie.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
With air so thick that it can feel like you’re swimming.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
Townie kids riding by on bikes want to know who’s winning.

2. More guys straggle over ‘til we finally got numbers.
Four or five chuckers, maybe one dunker.
One guy wanna run one in sandals.
Can’t shoot worth a lick but he’s got sick handles.
An old guy, doesn’t need speed or grace
To drill two-hand set-shots, wearing a knee-brace.
A high-school drop-out can’t keep his trap closed.
I’ll bet you anything he’s gonna catch an elbow.
Play to fifteen, ones and twos, win by two.
If you’re new, don’t call fouls if you want us to like you.
Shooting for teams, you can’t believe some of the strokes.
Like a form that terrible’s got to be a hoax.
Shooting for the ball, a guy airs a deep three.
Guard who guards you, we’ll switch if need be.
Tightening your laces, stretching, quit stalling.
Everybody ready? Check ball. Ball in.

Chorus: Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
No off-hands and none of ‘em are really dominant.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
Keep making the bank-shot, you better start callin’ it.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
Nobody’s gonna call three in the key.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
Next time, I’ll be camped in the post, just feed me.

3. The guy in the replica jersey comes out gunning.
Early first game, everybody’s still running,
And making hard cuts, and setting hard picks,
And cleaning up the glass, bombarded with bricks.
Arguing over the score just a few minutes in.
The game stops dead to accommodate the bickering,
The finger-pointing, the blame-shifting, the cheap shots
From the kind of guys who won’t concede clean blocks.
By game three, nobody’s moving too fast.
We’re the true kings of the no-chance alley-oop pass,
Of the unnecessary fade in the jumper.
Of that three-on-one fast-break blunder.
Last game, no legs, weary and winded.
It’s been a while since anybody’s defended.
Cherry-picking game-winner, we could call it the end,
Or with the last minutes of the lights, run ‘em again.

Chorus: Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
You can’t name a better way to spend a summer night
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
Than full-court outdoor basketball under the lights.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
The lights switch off with the ball in mid-arc.
Ooooooh, Run ‘em back.
I think I heard a soft swish in the dark.
Track Name: Heart of the Lakes
1. When the days get long and the weather gets hotter,
Landlocked people flock to the water.
Out-of-town cars with boats on trailers.
Doctors and lawyers are weekend sailors.
Down from the city for a stay in the lake home.
Trying to forget about the weight of the bank loan.
High of ninety, let me guess what the plans are:
Sleep late, quick lunch, head for the sand bar.
Speed-boats buzzing around at full throttle
While their captains take pulls from bottles.
Given the crowded, chaotic conditions,
It’s a miracle there aren’t more collisions.
Drop the anchor, let the day drip past.
Life tastes better when sipped from a glass.
Doze off to the sputtering roar of Jet Skis
Drowning out the sound of your unmet needs.

Chorus: Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
Everybody under twelve’s gotta wear a life vest.
Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
Adrift, if you wanna swim home, be my guest.
Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
Sunbathing beauties: unattainable dates.
Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
This time I’m gonna jump the wake.

Bridge 1: If Backwater Lake doesn’t suit your mood,
Just head to Webster right through the tubes
Or go a few miles up on State Road 13:
Syracuse Lake, Papakeechie, Wawasee.

2. If you don’t own a boat or have any lake access,
You’ve got to make friends based on their address.
Play your cards right and by summer you might
Be killing time on the lake whenever you like.
And I bet your parents know somebody with a pontoon.
No style or sex appeal but it’s got room
For the whole family, the hosts, and a cooler
To go on a slow-dusk lake-homes tour.
Could be a park beach is just your speed:
A little strip of sand and ducks to feed.
But go out too far and you’re into the seaweed,
And zebra mussels are gonna make your feet bleed.
I don’t like fishing, but on a nice night
I see on the lake the dots of white lights,
And even I know that it must be exciting
When the crappie and muskie are biting.

Chorus: Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
Everybody under twelve’s gotta wear a life vest.
Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
Adrift, if you wanna swim home, be my guest.
Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
Sunbathing beauties: unattainable dates.
Welcome to the Heart of the Lakes.
This time I’m gonna jump the wake.

Long Bridge: Do you ever wonder what’s under the surface?
In the muck at the bottom, lost and forgotten?
Do you ever want to see beneath the waves?
Fish of legendary sizes, they’re no one’s prizes.
Have you ever seen a storm moving over the water?
Rain like a curtain, white caps surging.
Have you ever the seen the lake so still and calm?
Geese fly right past, don’t want to break the glass.

Bridge 2: Both Barbees, Sechrist, Irish, and Kuhn.
Banning and Sawmill and Tippecanoe.
The whole Chain of Lakes and Grassy Creek too.
Ethan used to cry if he didn’t see Shoe.

3. On some of these lakes at the break of dawn
You can bear witness to a plague of swans.
Shirtless kids’ll go fishing off piers
Even if nothing’s been caught there for years.
Never learned to wakeboard, barely water-skied.
I thought a wild tube-ride’d be all I’d need.
A white-knuckled grip is a minimal skill.
The imminent spill is the principle thrill.
Come hell or high water, man recreates.
And a certain kind of man just gets the lakes.
A certain kind of man wants nothing more
Than to leave his troubles stuck on the shore.
One night, Dutch, his German girl, and I
Took his parents’ boat out for a look at the sky.
Found a good spot, cut the engine, laid back.
I saw twenty shooting stars, fade to black.
Track Name: Inside Joke
1. There are no good witches.
There are no hookers with hearts of gold.
Keep staring at the ashes waiting for the phoenix.
You’ve been conditioned to expect a remix.
Out of my element and into the elements.
I will erode before I petrify.
At times I think I’m not repeating myself
Only to later learn I was in fact repeating myself.
Nothing rhymes with “art.”
Go ahead and try if you’re so intelligent.
You bring two things to the table:
A lesser table and a fatal flaw.
On the outside looking in to the wrong room.
You know what happens when you choose not to assume, right?
You make a sucker out of you and me.
You make you and me sit around waiting for certainty.

Chorus: Of course you don’t get it. I can’t explain it.
You really had to be there.
Pretend to laugh along and we’ll know you’re an impostor.
You’re never getting in on this inside joke.

2. Anyone who wants to is welcome to judge me,
But it doesn’t guarantee I’m gonna show repentance.
It doesn’t guarantee I will accept the sentence.
It doesn’t guarantee that I’ll agree to pay penance.
I know exactly how to keep my hands to myself:
It’s a one-step process.
One day you wake to the patter of little feet
Coming to trample you and it’s bittersweet.
Forced introduction: “End, meet End.”
While you’re getting acquainted, I’m gonna pay rent.
I can either smile for the picture
Or I can keep my eyes open, you choose.
I can take time to smell the roses,
But I can’t take time to learn to identify them.
You know you’re being followed by a spy when
You turn around slowly and nobody’s there.

Chorus: Of course you don’t get it. I can’t explain it.
You really had to be there.
Pretend to laugh along and we’ll know you’re an impostor.
You’re never getting in on this inside joke.

Bridge: a) I’ve only seen trouble from a safe distance.
I’ve been in dozens of fire drills and not one fire.
I’ve never been to war, I’ve never been in a fistfight.
Most days courage just isn’t required.
b) If you can’t shut up, it’s best not to offer.
I’m more modeler than problem-solver.
That’s all I retained from my high school chemistry.
Even that’s enough to be accused of pedantry.
Fold your hands, bow your head:
You want to look composed if you’re ever found dead.
Before we get the plank out of your eye,
Let’s obsess for years over the speck in mine.

3. I walk around worried hoping no one offends me.
If I told you I don’t know you, would you hold it against me?
Why look into the future? It’ll be here any second.
In the present waiting for its arrival so we can wreck it.
You call it overreaching, you call it greed,
Another half-dozen miracles are all I need,
And I’ll be right back in this thing, a contender,
Looking for the first chance to surrender.
I never knew I lost an appendage
’Til the phantom pains brought back the image
Of me with a third arm, whole and blissful.
Now with just two, I feel old and crippled.
The real real joke is nobody knows
How the punchline of the inside joke goes.
Nobody’s ever been inside or been shown.
The joke is inside by itself, all alone.
Track Name: What Did I Miss?
Chorus: What did I miss?
Under a rock and minding my own business.
I’ve got my head out of the sand, now I want to get my hands
On a reliable eyewitness.
What did I miss?
No matter what I’ve seen I can’t shake the sense
That I’ve been involved in all of the wrong events.
What did I miss?

1. I was a few steps back and around the corner.
I was in the bathroom when the waiter took orders.
I wasn’t listening until I heard everyone laughing.
Giving’s better than receiving’s better than having.
I’ve been busy shelf-stocking, exalting pop,
And waiting for the other shoe to stop stalling and drop.
Keep your eyes on the road and you miss the sights,
Eyes on the scenery, you miss oncoming lights.
The grass on the other side’s greener because
It got envious of how amazing this grass was.
The root of the problem is not perception,
I just keep facing the wrong direction.
Gone for a while in a miniature exile.
Back with another entry for the Regret File.
I guess the depth of my loss will depend
On how completely you all fill me in.

Chorus: What did I miss?
Under a rock and minding my own business.
I’ve got my head out of the sand, now I want to get my hands
On a reliable eyewitness.
What did I miss?
No matter what I’ve seen I can’t shake the sense
That I’ve been involved on all of the wrong events.
What did I miss?

2. And I fell for the “What’s that behind you?” trick.
While my back was turned, something happened too quick
For me to see at all, I only heard the sound.
Whatever it was was done by the time I turned around.
They said, “It happens so fast, blink and you might miss it.”
My eyes got dry and I decided to risk it.
When the blink ended, everyone else was in awe,
And no one could describe whatever they just saw.
I had my nose in a book, eyes glued to a monitor.
Looking through the wrong end of the binoculars.
Shot the whole the scene with the lens cap on.
Didn’t notice ‘til the actors were packed up and gone.
I know for sure incredible things must occur,
‘Cause I’m always scrutinizing where they just were,
And it’s always in some place I just wasn’t.
If I don’t see it happen, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t.

Bridge: The last thing I want to do is upset you,
But could you please summarize everything I slept through?
I’ve got to run to the kitchen to fix a quick snack,
Keep track of all that happens until I get back.
I’ve been living this limited lifestyle for years.
Make one choice and a billion more disappear.
You never know what you’ll miss once you veer away.
Primary, secondary, tertiary: give me hearsay.

Chorus: What did I miss?
Under a rock and minding my own business.
I’ve got my head out of the sand, now I want to get my hands
On a reliable eyewitness.
What did I miss?
No matter what I’ve seen I can’t shake the sense
That I’ve been involved in all of the wrong events.
What did I miss? (x2)
Track Name: Bad Boyfriend
1. You say, “The spark’s gone” like that’s bizarre.
I guess you never understood how fleeting sparks are.
I’ve got no clue what you’re fixing to do.
I’m not afraid of committing, I’m afraid of committing to you.
Look at me playing impossible-to-get.
What I like about you is that you can’t take a compliment.
Don’t tell me you call this flirting.
I call this “Prelude to Desertion.”
I hope your daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring,
’Cause I’m not gonna buy you any such thing.
And if that diamond ring don’t shine,
I can name at least one of us who won’t cry.
You and I met cute and we’ve got a bit of chemistry.
You plug it in your formula and figure that we’re meant to be.
I say this at the risk of dying lonely,
But why don’t you go ahead and massage your own feet?

Chorus: I’ve been thinking in the long run
You’d be wiser to ignore me.
You should never settle for me.
I would be a bad boyfriend for you.
I might be selfish,
But at least I thought to warn you.
Find a better guy to court you.
I would be a bad boyfriend for you.

2. If I’m not back in one second, don’t wait.
Our souls might be compatible, but souls don’t mate.
Wasn’t love at first sight, just a fast attraction.
But I can’t give no satisfaction.
And neither can you, but what would you expect
When we’re just a couple humans last time I checked?
If you’re gonna tango, you’re gonna need two,
But I don’t need to tango so I don’t need you.
There’s nothing I can say to defend the weak kiss
But this: “Some connections are meant to be missed.”
Obligations are trying my patience.
A couple of requests and I’m crying “high maintenance.”
I show my true colors and you show me a panic attack.
Home is where the heart drops the phony romantic act.
Hope it wasn’t me that you were getting skinny for
’Cause Wild Thing, I don’t think I love you anymore.

Chorus: I’ve been thinking in the long run
You’d be wiser to ignore me.
You should never settle for me.
I would be a bad boyfriend for you.
I might be selfish,
But at least I thought to warn you.
Find a better guy to court you.
I would be a bad boyfriend for you.

3. a) I can be a bit coarse so I hope I’m not offending
But my silly little baby dolly hates it when I’m condescending.
If you keep asking, I might tell you what I’m thinking.
Even rats know to flee the ship when it’s sinking.
You wanna know if I’m the one so you look for a sign.
Here’s one: I’m not. There’s a weight off your mind.
I’m not quiet ’cause I’m mad, I’m just plotting escape routes.
Forget making out, girl, let’s make doubt.
b) I’m the dead weight in your perfect story.
You and I are a match made in Purgatory.
If I’m the man of your dreams, I’d hate to see
How rotten the men in your real life must be.
You tell me now your dad didn’t like my handshake?
Well, I didn’t care for your mother’s special pancakes.
Just remember all the aggravation I caused.
I’m not the one that got away, I’m the bullet that you dodged.

Chorus: I’ve been thinking in the long run
You’d be wiser to ignore me.
You should never settle for me.
I would be a bad boyfriend for you.
I might be selfish,
But at least I thought to warn you.
Find a better guy to court you.
I would be a bad boyfriend for you.

Out: And this feels like it should be the last time.
And I feel like we should feel like that’s fine. (x4)
Track Name: Tornado Alley
1. A hazy hot day with a cold front blowing in.
Old joints starting to swell, here we go again.
Windy all day with a faint hint of menace.
We see the gavel rising and we wait for it to hit us.
The temperature is plummeting, sudden and swift.
Look at the clouds for any indication of a twist.
Early on you learn it pays to learn the differences between
What a watch and a warning and a siren mean.
This calm’s too calm to be natural.
You don’t want to see what comes after the lull.
Gather up your loved ones and take shelter.
Bunker down in the basement or cellar.
You’ve got a little radio, a handful of candles.
You keep your composure, a tranquil example.
The power blinks out and you’re plunged into blackness,
Listen for the rumble as you fumble for the matches.

Chorus: It’s gonna uproot these tulip poplars.
It’s gonna hunt down and topple the Doppler.
Stay away from the windows, flying glass
Will cut you to ribbons when the twisters pass.
Exit the car and lie flat in the ditch,
With your hands on the back of your neck like this.
With your face in the mud, trying to get lower,
Praying and pleading the funnel cloud jumps over.

2. It becomes much more than another loud storm
At the exact moment that a funnel cloud forms.
“Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind,”
And not the kind you wanna take a quick, free twirl in.
Mouth hanging open, feet stuck, mind blown,
Entranced, struck, sucked up by the cyclone.
You can never know if you’re safe or you’re next
To be plucked and drawn up into the vortex.
One home’s spared and another one’s crushed.
One man’s undone and another’s untouched.
Mansions and meth labs reduced to timbers.
The timbers chewed and reduced to splinters.
The long crooked finger of the tempest reaches down.
It cuts a wide swath through fields and towns.
It’s a procession down the heart of tornado alley.
Get underground before the grand finale.

Chorus: It’s gonna uproot these tulip poplars.
It’s gonna hunt down and topple the Doppler.
Stay away from the windows, flying glass
Will cut you to ribbons when the twisters pass.
Exit the car and lie flat in the ditch,
With your hands on the back of your neck like this.
With your face in the mud, trying to get lower,
Praying and pleading the funnel cloud jumps over.
Track Name: Wetlands
1. (Pisgah Marsh)
‘Til the water dries up or it starts to rise,
It exists with the land in a compromise.
Shallow and murky and teeming with creatures,
Smells like life and death, sounds like spring peepers.
Only a deer path a few years back.
Overnight, a boardwalk appeared intact,
Complete with handrails, educational plaques
Relaying plant, insect, and waterfowl facts.
The dirt road ends where the marsh consumes it.
Cat- tails, dead trees, swirling, rippling, moonlit.
Car parked in the weeds, it’s getting kind of late,
And the lot’s closed off, so we climb the gate.
The night-time marsh denizens in full voice:
From their burrows, from their nests, from their holes, they rejoice.
Strange birds call out and the bullfrogs croak.
And a pale mist hangs on the water like a cloak.
Fireflies so thick if they all blinked as one,
You might for a second almost think it’s the sun.
We can walk to the pond where the Saint and I saw
An otter gutting fish on the ice with his paws.
I talk in hushed tones, clamming up abruptly
When a noise that I can’t identify interrupts me.
Spooky and soothing, elegant decay.
I’m in Pisgah Marsh with goose flesh in a good way.

2. (Game Preserve)
If you climb this hill and stand on this ridge,
You’ll see the path down to the first land-bridge.
Small lakes on either side, cross between.
Most of the real action occurs off-screen.
And the trails are unmaintained and unclear.
They wind here and there, fade to nothing, reappear.
We get so engrossed in following the scenery,
We tramp off-track, getting swallowed by the greenery.
Crossing muddy trickles on logs slick with moss.
Wet from the knees down, burs stick to my socks.
Climb a tall, thin tree and lean to one side,
Bend the trunk to the forest floor for a fun ride.
I throw a rock near a swimming beaver, it gets nervous.
It slaps its tail and vanishes beneath the surface.
And I can’t begrudge the mosquitoes their taste,
When we are the invaders meddling in their space.
And we come around for a wander so often,
You’d think getting lost wouldn’t be so common.
In terms of wrong turns, we made at least one.
Not bad navigation, it’s more like none.
Daylight fades and the greens get deeper.
The forest starts losing distinguishing features.
We choose a direction, walk in a straight line.
Game preserve, hours lost, making great time.
Track Name: Buck Up
1. Apart from it all falling apart, why the long face?
Either you’re a rat or you’re running the wrong race.
You’re calling maintenance whenever the dawn breaks.
You’re drawn to the throb of songs your mom hates.
And I’m sucking down malts, turning somersaults.
While you’re composing dopey odes to your faults.
Watch my lips, get a profound eyeful.
That’s me being me, that’s how I…uhh…
Not gonna make that mistake twice.
Not gonna find out if this snake bites.
That’s your cross that you bear nowhere.
I’ve got a stiff upper lip that barely grows hair.
Don’t need the deceit of sweet apologies.
Don’t wanna read wannabe philosophies.
All of these people are almost alingual.
Not that they care as long as they’re not single.

Chorus: Get it together, you’re bringing everybody down.
Pull yourself together, you’re a drag to have around.
I derive no pleasure from applying this pressure,
But just suck it up and you’ll feel better.

2. The human heart is the heart of darkness.
We follow it around in crowds regardless.
Eat your words or you won’t see dessert.
Just another sourpuss in a joke T-shirt.
Last known survivor of a one-man shipwreck.
Flashback, waking up damp with a stiff neck.
Maybe that’s why you’re in such a bad mood.
Quick to argue, let’s call it fast feud.
The light at the end of the tunnel’s too bright
So you turn around not wanting to lose your eyesight.
Full-grown man on a hot tin roof.
The highest that you’ve been on the hog is mid-hoof.
Your future’s so dim that you gotta wear a headlamp.
Bunking down with your parasites and a dead tramp.
Waking in the morning mourning sunrise.
You, fleas, dead tramp: what a bunch of fun guys.

Chorus: We all understand that you’re dealing with some heartache
But after a while it’s hard to take.
I derive no pleasure from applying this pressure,
But just suck it up and you’ll feel better.

3. a) Are you melancholy? Well, I’ve got two words:
Buck up.
I’ll say it again so I know you heard:
Buck up, buck up.
Easier said than done, but what isn’t?
Buck up, buck up, buck up.
Don’t be a bad sport, quit trying to resist it.
Buck up, buck up, buck up, buck up.
b) A touch of bum luck and your light goes out.
I try to be sympathetic in the right amount.
But either you’re so dumb that you wanna stay glum
Or you’re too stuck up: buck up.
A touch of bum luck and your light goes out.
I try to be sympathetic in the right amount.
But either you’re so dumb that you wanna stay glum
Or you’re too stuck up: buck up.

Chorus: We know that you’re sad, but it’s hard to swallow
When it seems like all you really want to do is wallow.
I derive no pleasure from applying this pressure,
But just suck it up and you’ll feel better.
Your pain would probably dissipate if you would let it,
But your ongoing drama show is just pathetic.
I derive no pleasure from applying this pressure,
But just suck it up and you’ll feel better.
Track Name: Forelock
1. My whole head shaved except for a chunk
Of radiant bangs hanging down in the front.
In the first few weeks, I blamed my sister,
Like she started cutting and I couldn’t resist her.
After months of self-maintenance I was forced
To admit I was the concept’s original source.
Nothing before or since has captured the essence
Of my protracted adolescence.

Chorus: I see the gears turning behind the smile.
I can tell you’ve got designs on my lifestyle.
Don’t feel sly like I’m not aware what
You’ve got planned for me and my haircut. (x2)

2. Fueled by junk. Driven by debt.
I’m gonna sort it all out but it isn’t quite time yet.
Wear my loan millstone just like a necklace.
Walk-on cameo: The Young-ish and the Restless.
Some wanna grow, some just wanna play house.
Show just a glimpse of indecision and they pounce.
It’s still a point pride that I’m not too hasty.
Maybe ’cause I let the forelock inoculate me.
I know it looks bad, I know it seems shabby.
Frozen pizzas and frozen beef patties.
I guess I never learned not to cringe at direction.
This is not rebellion, it’s conscientious objection.
With some luck if I get left to my devices,
I can segue straight into a mid-life crisis.
Tired of the diatribe and bored of your squawking.
You’d drive a guy to some more forelocking.

Chorus: I see the gears turning behind the smile.
I can tell you’ve got designs on my lifestyle.
Don’t feel sly like I’m not aware what
You’ve got planned for me and my haircut. (x2)

3. With a decision like this, there will always be some toll.
Forelocks make you appear to be a numbskull.
Moron camouflage, not intended
For those who know better to struggle to compliment it.
Some’ll think you gotta be a child to choose it,
To wear it everywhere out of mild amusement.
Wrote a song about kissing, haven’t done any kissing since.
Ladies know I’m never gonna turn into the missing prince.
I let it grow out for a year and a half.
People quit caring, I stopped hearing the laughs.
I finally decided that the joke had landed.
And even if it hadn’t, it was time it was abandoned.
So I clipped it off and the last time I saw it
It was sitting in a Ziploc bag in my closet.
But you never know, I might grow it again.
You’ll see me walk past, forelock blowing in the wind.

Chorus: I see the gears turning behind the smile.
I can tell you’ve got designs on my lifestyle.
Don’t feel sly like I’m not aware what
You’ve got planned for me and my haircut. (x2)
Track Name: Is/Could Be (a medley)
Life is but a dream
And we can live it.
We can make our love
None to compare with.

Will you take part in
My life? My love?
That is my...

Life is but a dream.
It’s what you make it.
Always try to give.
Don’t ever take it.
Life has its music.
Life has its songs of love.

Life is but a dream,
And I dream of you.
Strange as it may seem,
All night I see you.
I’m trying to tell you
Just what you mean to me.

I love you with all of my heart.
I adore you and all your charms.
I want you to do your part.
Come here to my open arms.

Life could be a dream
If I could take you up to paradise up above,
And tell you darling you’re the only one that I love.
Life could be a dream, sweetheart.

Life could be a dream
If only all my precious plans would come true,
If you would let me spend my whole life loving you.
Life could be a dream, sweetheart.

Life is but a dream
And we can live it.
We can make our love
None to compare with.

Will you take part in
My life? My love?
That is my dream.

Life is but a dream…