free, only want to be free

PROLOGUE: Some trivia about the Neil Diamond classic that titles this post:

  • Pete not only references it on this week’s Overthinking It podcast, but he sang it at karaoke this past Wednesday. It was awesome. By contrast, I sang Billy Idol’s live cover of “Mony Mony” and got the entire bar to curse at me. That was also pretty cool.
  • This song came from the universally panned (though financially successful) 1980 Neil Diamond film The Jazz Singer.
  • It was one of 166 songs deemed inappropriate by Clear Channel following the September 11 attacks, sharing that black mark with the entire Rage Against The Machine catalog, AC/DC’s “Safe in New York City,” Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and the Chi-Lites’ “Have You Seen Her.” And who says corporate monopolies ruined the music industry!

I played about an hour of video games on Saturday before I realized I was sitting inside on a gorgeous day. So I got up and wandered Somerville, stopping to say hi to Lynne D. and her yard sale. “There were people here at eight this morning,” she said, shocked. “One guy sat out front in a van filled with newspapers for twenty minutes. Taking notes in a little notebook.”

After checking in on Marie C. and her carrot cake, I emptied my fridge of beer and headed to Mike M’s annual 4th of July barbecue. Attendance was low but intimate (because of Don S’s simultaneous barbecue, we theorized, to which all the people with baaaaaaaabies might have gone). Mike had constructed two ladder golf sets, which ate up several hours. He and Robert took turns grilling various meats – pork tenderloin, bacon-wrapped steak tips, teriyaki chicken – while the rest of us threw bolas.

Two hours wandering Somerville plus six hours playing ladder golf turned my arms crispy, sucking the life out of me by the time we retired indoors. We played about four straight hours of Mike’s racing variant of charades – two teams compete to mime their way through a list of items, racing to opposite ends of the apartment to pantomime to their fellow players. We started out strong, but energy and creativity started to flag after several sprints and beers. At one point, our team guessed every syllable of “Scooby-Doo” and still couldn’t guess the answer. “Boo bee poo? Poo pee boo?”


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