PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

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The Best Song In The World

 

My current favorite song in the world is the Toyota of Nashua jingle. Sorry to burst your bubble, you Kars for Kids jingle fans. I'll admit that Kars for Kids is unforgettable, but Toyota of Nashua's dramatic final crescendo harkens back to the 1980s, when God reached down from above and bestowed upon us humans Anthem Rock.  Just listen to the gut-wrenching homage to those heady days at the end of the jingle:

Now that I've proved that the TON jingle would smoke any competitor in a head-to-head jingle smackdown, I'm planning to take my case on the road to see if I can get some purchase around the idea of a Grammy nomination.  

Wish me luck as I break the news to my wife and kids that I've started a new unpaid career in jingle-promotions.

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Heathers

 

A friend of mine, having drunk (unassisted) a 22-oz bottle of my high-gravity Belgian Trippel, which required him to rest his brain for the ensuing hour or so, asked me recently (or rather challenged me) to brew something a wee bit less powerful. “Like a heather ale,” he suggested, having enjoyed several of these at a Scottish pub called The Haven.

Sure, I’ll just get online and find myself a good extract recipe for a heather ale, my friend. Of course, all the recipes I come across require an ingredient called "heather."

 

Heather GrahamBrewin' With HeatherThis makes me wonder: what, exactly, is heather? Google, which currently controls every atom on this earth, can help with that! A quick search for “heather” results in a few pictures of flowering evergreen shrubs, and several thousand images of women, one of which reminds me that that I once had a thing for Heather Graham (after Boogie Nights, who didn’t?).

I modify my search to “fields of heather,” and soon find myself at a Yelp page where people are posting their opinions of a bakery in Chester, Maryland called Fields of Heather. No, what I want to know is “where to find heather in the northeast,” imagining that I might cut flowers from a wild shrub to dry-hop my brew. Instead, I discover that someone named “Heather Northeast” is on Facebook, and based on a photo she has (perhaps ironically) posted, seems to have traveled to Southeast Asia. I try once more with the search term “wild heather.” The Internet Movie Database tells me this was a film made in 1921, whose storyline is “A dying senator weds a girl reporter to make her guardian of his three sons.” (A rather curious selection for a guardian, though I imagine the senator's boys didn't argue with him about it.)

Perhaps I’ll just brew an IPA.

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Whom Do You Love?

 

Like the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, I’ve had a little bit of free time recently, so I thought I’d hang around the house and listen to old Led Zeppelin records while drinking scotch. After some deep thinking, it occurs to me that I might pay back my debt to society (don’t ask) by rewriting some of the badly mangled grammar in the western world’s popular songbook. I’m talking about some real hatchet jobs that many of our finest musicians have performed on the English language. For example, this inexplicably uncorrected nugget from Bob Dylan’s recording “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”:           

Well, it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
That light I never knowed
An' it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road

You'd think the song's publishers might have paid a few extra bucks to hire a copy editor, or at the very least a proofreader, who might have suggested the following improved version:

Well there’s no reason to be turnin' on your light, babe
That light I never knew
An' there’s no reason to be turnin’ on your light, babe
'Cause you haven't got a clue.

Amy Winehouse was another musician who an awful time with grammar. Did you ever hear the lyrics to “Rehab”?: My God!

I can't got the time
And if my Daddy thinks I'm fine

"I can’t got the time" is such a badly constructed phrase that one doesn't even know where to begin correcting it.  My team of lyrics improvers  has suggested we throw out the lyrics in their entirety so we can start all over again.  (And, by the way, this isn't Amy’s second language!)

I plan on turning my rewriting of popular lyrics into a book, and when I do please don’t ask me for my autograph. Because I really can't got the time time. Thanks.

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Coming Soon: New Guide To Plumbing

 

It recently occurred to me that I’ve been limiting myself and depriving my readership of new material by not extending my writing into fields I know little about. What am I, afraid to challenge myself? Why not jumpstart my career by writing about surgery and see what comes of it? Who knows, people may enjoy my surgical textbook! As someone who’s undergone several surgical procedures, I think I can provide the patient’s perspective on how to remove tonsils, or have a lobotomy.

OK, there, I said it. I have no tonsils. Sorry to ruin your image of me as Mr. Perfect. Now that you know the truth, maybe you’ll feel a little differently about buying my specially-priced hardcover diatribe about how to perform just about any surgical operation, including several new maneuvers that I developed myself (just now). Like how to perform a tandem thumb replacement.

(Hint: it’s not how you think it’s done!)   

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