Friday, November 21, 2008

The "Life Is Full of Surprises" Friday Random Ten

Last week, I walked into my English 101 class to discover that the teacher had quit. Fortunately, the they were able to get another teacher to fill in for the rest of the semester. And of course-- Lulu, you'll appreciate this-- we had met before when we were both taking Teaching Certification courses at Northeastern Illinois University in the mid-nineties.

One of the big concerns my classmates and I have had was that there was a huge amount of work that we hadn't gotten back. The original teacher kept telling us that she'd graded the work, but kept forgetting to bring it with her. Finally, the assistant chairperson of the English department drove out to the teacher's house and got the papers-- a four hour round trip-- and gave them to the new teacher, who discovered, surprise, surprise, that NONE of the work was graded. So now there's a mad scramble to figure out how to assess and grade us. I'm all right-- I had an A at midterm, and should do well with the portfolio we turn in at the end of the class. Others are not so lucky; the ungraded work, which will go ungraded (there's not enough time to grade it at this point) might have raised their grades. The college has taken some drastic steps, even offering to let people retake the class at no charge.

I had one more "Johnny Yen" moment, as Lulu calls them, today. I had offered to help Jack, one of the younger guys in my class who was struggling. When we exchanged email addresses, I noticed that his middle name, which was part of his email address, was Merlo-- the same name as an early Chicago mobster, Al Capone's predecessor. Merlo's son took a more legal route and became an alderman (a library in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood is named after him). One of my and Kim's good friends dated the alderman Merlo's daughter years ago. This was, it turned out, Jack's mother.

1. Walk Away- The James Gang
2. I Am, I Said- Neil Diamond
3. Charlotte Street- Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
4. Rock and Roll Music- Chuck Berry
5. Blister In the Sun- The Violent Femmes
6. Hold Back the Tears- Neil Young
7. A Legal Matter- The Who
8. Funky Monks- The Red Hot Chili Peppers
9. Night Fever- The Bee Gees
10. Pipeline- The Chantays

1. Future Eagle Joe Walsh was in this band. The song has one of the great opening riffs ever in a rock song.
2. My favorite Neil Diamond song. The grungecore band Killdozer did a great version of this as well.
3. This was the first Lloyd Cole and the Commotions song I ever heard. It's still one of my favorites.
4. I saw Chuck Berry perform in Grant Park in downtown Chicago back in the mid ninties. I left the show early, and discovered the next day that minutes after I left, Keith Richards joined Chuck onstage.
5. This song was a staple at college in the mid '80's.
6. From "American Stars 'n Bars," an underappreciated Neil Young album from the late seventies.
7. From the Who's first album.
8. From "Bloodsugarsexmagic," one of my favorite albums of the nineties.
9. I hated the "Saturday Night Fever" music back in the seventies, but it's grown on me over the years.
10. A surf music instrumental classic.


dmarks said...

Ever hear Neil Young's "Hawks and Doves"?

JR's Thumbprints said...

It's a small world after all.

Johnny Yen said...

Yes, I have-- bought it in college. Another favorite.

dmarks said...

That is probably my favorite Neil Young album by far. It made me a fan of his.