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The Ballad of Jye Stids

mp3 [3.31 MB] | Appears on Live Inside an Active Volcano

once there lived an athlete called Jye Stids
Jye Stids was very good with kids
he played their favorite sports with them and wrote their book reports
but that was back before he went to jail

Jye Stids has been known to break the law
he’s got the fastest punch you ever saw
when you’re lyin’ in the hospital bed with a pounding in your head
he’ll tuck you in and say the check is in the mail

[Jye Stids Jye Stids]
his body is a finely tuned machine
[Jye Stids Jye Stids]
he’s in the dictionary under mean

I hope you never meet the likes of him
they say that he can fly and also swim
he’s worse than Stagger Lee
why’d that prison guard set Jye free?
the fuzz are Captain Ahab and he’s their whale

they ought to name a mountain Mount Jye Stids
Jye Stids should be the subject of more ballads
he made the front page news
he’ll give you a painful bruise
it behooves you not to hold a grudge

[Jye Stids Jye Stids]
his body is a finely tuned machine
[Jye Stids Jye Stids]
he’s the evilest son of a gun the world has ever seen


Ballad of the Crooked Cop

mp3 [2.97 MB] | Appears on The Great Communicator

Your Honor, I plead the Fifth
the D.A. wants me gone
I’m too poor to be innocent so silence is the only chance I have
anything I say, they’ll convict me
no matter what I do, I’m to blame
listen sir
I can’t afford to bribe you

Your Honor, your court’s a joke
the second hand’s too long
anything I do, you’ll convince me
the dirty money I don’t have goes to waste
listen, sir
please crucify yourself


Battle of Wits with the Underbridge Troll

mp3 [4.25 MB] | Appears on Bookbinding and Other Songs

a Chilean sea bass in a man-made lake was hired on as Underbridge Troll
to get past his keep you must first ask permission
on the very same lake lived a fisherman and a wife
by the lookout perch he caught the fish
that bass sang show tunes oh so loud
"release me and I’ll shut my mouth"
so the fisherman did

the same thing happened two more times
just like a fairy tale should
first mate chuckled when he heard
the fisherman checked his finances
found he could safely retire
crosswords, nightcaps, sleeping late
no more hunts for hooks and bait
pickins were slim

Chilean Sea Bass really draw on your nerves
without the high moral standing of a honey bear
such beasts are not to be trusted
slippery fins and half-truths
rhyming dialogue before the singing would start
talk about a headache on wheels

one day amidst the rocking chair
his old lady broke into song
while reading gazette it’s hard to keep focused
and when smoking a pipe he can’t even hear himself think
so he changed back into overalls
earplugs might have done the trick
but Broadway show tunes make him sick
he forgot about the Underbridge Troll


Bed and Breakfast in the Forest of Resurrection

mp3 [5.01 MB] | Appears on The Great Communicator

it’s 2078
nothing has changed
there’s still greed and hunger and hatred and phonebills
and nuclear warheads and billboards and crackpipes

bury me with my eyes closed in case the dirt gets in
I left you a note on the refrigerator door and it says
"eat, sleep, die"

"marry me to my guitar"
said the minstrel with a smile but he meant it
the Mayor retorted
"a guitar’s made of wood
if you want I can get you a room"
eat, sleep, die


Bend, Crawl and Pivot at the Waist

mp3 [5.12 MB] | Appears on Recording Artist

when the economy’s bad even imbeciles know it
they talk about it in the lunch line
inflation this, pink slips that
it’s a joke without a punchline
let’s all go down to Employment Central
see what’s cooking in the classifieds
take a number, try and settle up
these vacancies got me licking my lips

being a teacher is hard
you can’t use words like gonna
you gotta dress nice, smell good, not swear
and tell lies about Christopher Columbus

half I apply for most I’m denied for
the other half gets lost in the mail
I’m changing the font on my resume
who’s gonna check my GPA?
I never end a sentence with a preposition
my vocabulary is beyond compare
I can carry out tasks without excessive supervision
and I can bend, crawl and pivot

look at me waiting tables in a bistro
crawling on the tables
disturbing customers
dessert tray demos won’t pay my bills
so put your money where your mouth is, compadre

being homeless is hard
you don’t know when your next meal is
you smell bad
can’t sleep, it’s so cold
and in shelters they verbally abuse you

a brand new dance is tomorrow’s old news
but for now let’s act all like morons
they’re having a sock hop at Employment Cental
bring your CV but don’t bother with shoes
oh look, an internship at a butcher shop
with a stipend of leftover cow bones
are you quick on your feet?
do you work well with others?
can you bend crawl and pivot at the
at the

why are job titles full of verbs?
is it ’cause we do things?

bend, crawl and pivot at the waist
bend, crawl and pivot at the waist
bend, crawl and pivot at the waist
bend, crawl and pivot at the waist


Benefit Show

mp3 [5.19 MB] | Appears on Summer Jams of re-Itori Jones

I don’t wanna come to your benefit show
here’s a good cause: me staying at home
if I had the choice I’d rather not go
your guilt tactics are rotten and low

so how much of the proceeds come out of the door?
is this to boost your reputation with good PR or
do you genuinely care about Rarediseasistan?
I’ve never heard of that country before, man

generosity as a public display
maybe it inspires others to act in a similar way
give the audience hugs with your Amazon rainforest arms
lest the Amazon rainforest face any harm

political prisoners won’t free themselves
political prisoners get fed by their keepers
political prisoners can’t free each other
political prisoners wouldn’t even free their own mother

it’s like you’re pointing a gun at my head
except it’s a gun that shoots unicorns, birdseed and bread
dreams at the infirm, food at the hungry
strutting onstage with your undershirt and dungarees

fine, I guess I’ll come to your benefit show
but if you act like a hooligan next time I’ll say no
your own little version of fire and brimstone
a nice charade, I don’t believe in Hell though


Best Friend Ever in the World

mp3 [3.43 MB] | Appears on Tedium of Life on a Space Colony

I thought you might have been my best friend ever in the world but I was mistaken
each moment was a game of hot and cold and I stepped too close
now my heart is breaking
in the arms race who’s winning?
does surrender mean the end of the war?

not only will I never try to pull that stunt again
I’ve given up on trying anything
I won’t invade a person’s inner circle again
I’ve had enough of living
my half of this equation doesn’t add up
levitating under the weight it’s more than I can endure

you wished me luck on my next adventure
I went home and cried the whole night through
on the mean streets of life there’s always a curfew
I wish I’d had an adventure with you

some people hoard experiences to lord over others
I refuse to be one of them
and if I emerge from the worst of this with even an ounce of wisdom
it wasn’t on purpose, I promise

I thought you might have been my best friend ever in the world
you showed me new constellations
each moment was a game of Simon Says and we both lost
Simon went on vacation
I pretended not to hate myself in a bid for your love
I can’t sustain that charade for so long

I did a jigsaw puzzle at gunpoint and saw your face in the picture
in a flash the scene vanished
imagination’s all I have
or was I predicting the future?
I’m as fond of you as jam, honey and cheese
I wonder if I could one day be your main squeeze
I ought to not make stabs at getting in your good graces
I’m not the sort you’d choose to be with

to be cast in relief by the light of another person
floods my eyes and I ache
pain too great to ignore
a tightrope walk across the whole ocean
fell in at first sight of the shore


Bigger Fish

mp3 [3.43 MB] | Appears on Las Vegas or Bust

sing about girls with three syllable names
you run your mouth about the way you wish things were
compare things to flowers and don’t comb your hair
you got bigger fish
bigger fish to fry

you wanna get ripped but won’t go to the gym
you only smoke if the cigarettes are rolled by hand
if you’re ugly or broke it’s an easy solution
get some thrift shop threads
and kiss your problems goodbye

old friend set you up with some nice girl
it’s only fair that he’s best man
she’s your muse but has a secret she won’t tell
she slept with him

don’t beat yourself up ’cause that’s how it goes
bet you couldn’t pick that girl out of a crowd
you painted a picture and wrote her a song
somethin’ ’bout bigger fish
bigger fish to fry


Biopic Hitman

mp3 [4.09 MB] | Appears on Some People Don’t Know What to Do with 20 Dollars

I spent all my paychecks on bullets and gin
I never thought my list of targets would end
I murdered rockstars and my clients made films
now no one’s left and I’m out of money again

there’s an art to this
not everyone is worth more dead than alive
the nation won’t mourn up-and-comers or has-beens
it’s a thin line

I wish rock-and-rollers grew on trees
lambs to the slaughter
brilliant and disturbed
they don’t have vices
they have character flaws
a screenplay will write itself

another young talent cut down in his prime
the next motion picture deal dotted and signed
he was very important
ahead of his time
the soundtrack outsells all of his albums combined

there’s an art to this
arranging the body so it seems like the accident’s real
faking a plane crash or an overdose
it’s a hideous practical joke

the studios won’t return my calls
my industry pals must have all retired
I make reservations for a party of one
a business lunch by myself


Birthday Party

mp3 [4.46 MB] | Appears on Summer Jams of re-Itori Jones

I had a birthday party
everybody came
it was so much fun
we played a lot of games
like pin the tail on the birthday boy with me dressed up as a donkey
why oh why was I born in a leap year?
I only celebrate every four years
by my calculations, what can I say?
I must have been conceived on Memorial Day

in the three-legged race I was partnered with Pop-Pop
that’s how he got his new nickname Windsock
limp as all getup but we finished in time
then we stumbled to the make your own sundae line
I bet you’re in the mood for refried beans
I said "I am if the beans to refry are jelly beans"
I put the refried beans in my banana split
and bread around it
thanks for the refried banana split sandwich kit

I gathered all my gifts together in a pile
smashed ’em with a hammer
I did it with style
divided the heaps of rubble so there was one for each guest
put the heaps into goody bags and I kept the rest

pin the tail on the birthday boy
pin the tail on the donkey suit
pin the tail on the drunk boy
pin the tail on my birthday suit


Black Hole of Misery

mp3 [10.89 MB] | Appears on re-Itori Pleads the 18th Dimension

music is the cause of all of my problems
music is why I want to jump off a bridge
what once gave me joy is now pure aggravation
I used to not get so discouraged

music is a poor man’s ivory tower
a crutch or a prop I’ve relied on too long
pardon me for being so self-referential as to put these complaints in a song

music is a black hole of misery
you’re never as good as you wish you were
it’s a walk through the woods leading back where you started
too dark to see your footsteps so you can’t ever be sure

music is just a graceful form of avoidance
a substitute for anything that might make me feel pain
with every card wild, all hands are equal
it doesn’t make for much of a game

music is the reason I live with my parents
music is why I can’t hold down a job
I’m not independent financially ’cause every dollar and cent I get
I spend on yet another musical instrument

music is a black hole of misery
it’s digging your car out from under 10 feet of snow
the upward slope to a peak that won’t ever be conquered
an hallucination on a endless plateau


Blind Man’s Bluff

mp3 [3.17 MB] | Appears on The Great Communicator

no one ’round these parts seems to care that we’ve been shooting every Red we see
I can hear the battle cry ringing in my ears

beware the Midnight Sun
you’re as cruel and crooked as they come
it’s just you ain’t never touched a gun, you diplomat, you hide behind the facts

all the townsfolk you send out spend their blood to hunt down your old friend
and when all is said and done
the other side has won

you think that you’re above the law
you’ll be awful sorry if you run away
you can’t escape the Midnight Sun


Blog Pilot

mp3 [9.04 MB] | Appears on Spring Cleaning

blog pilot blogs while he flies
spillin his guts amongst foggy skies
intoxicated on web analytics
he gets his fix refreshing every 5 minutes
moderates comments while checking the barometer
faster than rush hour traffic he’s a roller coaster
using joystick and thrust to even out the plane’s posture
much to the relief of every passenger
links and kudos are the currency he deals in
neglecting the finer points of the turbo jet engine
badmouthing the pilot’s employer
that’s the reason for your layover sucker
pound of bricks
pounds of a feather
announcing the destination time zone and weather
previewing drafts in the cockpit
if you haven’t tried it don’t knock it

he’s not a blogger
he’s a foodie film critic blog dude
telling the whole plane the altitude
writing reviews of airport food
he uses bold and italics depending on his mood

black box
black box


Blonde Joke

mp3 [22.43 MB] | Eighth track on Winning Is Rhyming (continuous mix)

I went to the clip joint got myself a crew cut
put on nice clothes and sucked in my gut
ganked somebody’s glasses from the lost and found
tucked in my shirt and headed downtown
found a dive of some sort where nobody would know me
sat in the corner drinking a pint slowly
kept telling myself "stay calm, stay calm"
well just my luck that night the playoffs were on
they sang the National Anthem in the pre-game show
taking off my hat must have made me look like a psycho
this blonde number next to me was clearly impressed
I smiled and said "I’m just old-fashioned, I guess"
she introduced herself and I did the same
private first class and then a made-up name
"I’m shipping out in two days and there’s a lot I gotta do
so if I don’t make it back, well it was real nice to meet you"
I paid for my beer and I put on my coat
before I could leave she stuck her tongue down my throat

next morning I woke her up
told her not to get pissed
told her my real name and got down to business
"I’m shooting a film called loose women during wartime
the footage I got last night is a goldmine
now if you’ll be so kind as to sign this release here
if not I’ll blur your face and make your voice sound weird"
she’s all "people like you make me sick"
"yeah? well that’s what you get for being dumb and patriotic"


Bloodless Coup at a Bulletin Board

mp3 [5.5 MB] | Appears on Summer Jams of re-Itori Jones

at my office there’s a bulletin board on the wall
on it is an organizational chart
what’s stopping me from changing it?
nothing, that’s what

my boss six month ago is now my boss’s boss’s boss
long as the check clears I don’t even notice the chaos
it’s not really chaos
the rules of entropy do not apply
the hierarchy weighs heavy on me like it fall from the sky
my great grandboss got into it with the staff of equal rank
I have no sympathy for either of them
they’re cryin’ all the way to the bank

I took a permanent marker and made myself the CEO
my great work-aunt saw me do it
bloodless coup at a bulletin board

so I’m struttin’ around like a peacock like I own the place
when I make a mistake I don’t even have to save face
revenge is sweet but I’ve lost my sense of taste
eating all those crabcakes
what a waste
I got in a fight with the mailman

’cause I can I come to the office wearing warmup suits
I made my brother Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
he telecommutes
no one accuses me of nepotism
they haven’t even heard of him
in the middle of meetings I make fresh squeezed orange juice
grapefruit juice
oh, that eccentric boss of ours
long as the check clears

bloodless coup at a bulletin board
no Great Wall keeping away the Mongol horde
a silent decapitation with no sword


Bluesman Impostor Blues

mp3 [4.15 MB] | Appears on Bookbinding and Other Songs

I paid 30 dollars for this front row seat
he’s my biggest musical influence
people write songs about songs about him
can’t refer to him directly
I thought he would be older than dirt
whoever this was was 35 tops

he did the popular favorites
same stale joke after each
complaining onstage about the dressing room
he was show biz personified
bet he kept a clown wig in his car just in case
anything for a buck
living legends gotta pay the bills

despite his sunglasses and stumbling around he wasn’t blind
not by a long shot
and here’s how I knew
describe the color green to someone blind since birth
they won’t understand you
but this one, he had tasted the fruit of knowing what green was
he glowed recognition

you could tell where the blackface started and stopped
what with his Hawaiian shirt
Mason-Dixon at his wrists
he should have played a ratty beat-up old instrument
not that hunk of laminate plywood
granted, he played a mean harmonica
must be all that practice at bar mitzvahs and weddings with balloon animals

more concerned with booking next month’s gigs
than how many guitar strings
going on and on about a mailing list
even in between verses
for this I wasted my hard-earned?
I came to be moved


Book of Enlightenment

mp3 [8.41 MB] | Appears on Wintry Mix

I’m 30 years old and i never been in love
my bedroom walls are covered with rocket ships and sailboats
my biggest vice is narcissism
in all my time on Earth I’ve never made a good decision
I’ve never taken a risk

if I’m smart it’s despite my education, not because of it
I’d like to sail into the sun in my rocket ship
it’s a nonstop battle to quit being me
I’ll win the war eventually

even with my sail down the sea serpent saw me
she chased me around
now I’m shipwrecked
a bug in a jar
I’m an insect

I checked out a book from the library
it was life-changingly bad
and when I finished reading and checked it back in
I was the same sad person I’d ever been

I checked the book out and read it again to make sure I didn’t like it
despite what the advance praise on the back cover says
I’m no wiser or braver
it was the Book of Enlightenment


Book Report

mp3 [10.51 MB] | Appears on Wintry Mix

I read a quote once by Ralph Waldo Emerson that said in a world that wants to turn you into something you’re not being
yourself is the greatest accomplishment
but I don’t know
the truth is I’m not really sure who I am
am I just a series of attributes, decisions and characteristics
habits and hangups, prejudices
what’s so heroic about being yourself when who you are is an asshole?
I mean some of the worst people in history fit that description, right?

in sixth grade I read Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
it struck a chord with me
and in my book report I said so
he was a man who stood up for what he believed in
then I learned he was so self-sufficient he did his laundry at his childhood home
maybe his mother did it for him
he was like me
I do my laundry at home
but unlike Thoreau, you know, I never leave

my mom says I’m like Abraham Lincoln cause I’m self-educated
I go to the library and get stacks of books 11 or 12 high and just plow through ’em like nobody’s business
but the joke’s on her and me and you ’cause I don’t remember any of it
it’s just garbage in garbage out
or let’s put it this way
I smoked myself stupid with books
reading, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be



mp3 [3.99 MB] | Appears on Bookbinding and Other Songs

had I the cards to play I’d play them
if there were souls to save I’d save them
but there aren’t so I shall not pretend

couples hold hands and come up with pet names
students take drugs and make paper airplanes
how nice to be so entertained

movies and restaurants bum me out
each a hollow exercise in free will
the one thing I do like you wouldn’t believe
eating bookbinding

the older I get the clearer it is
that what once seemed like the distant past
is not really so distant
and the things that I know have not always existed
and I’m not the first person to think this
or put it in words
I strive to be antiquer than the rest

museum exhibits bore me to tears
still-lifes by dead guys who sliced off their ears
the gift shop sells replicas

I forget which arm I used to have privacy with
pornography has lost its appeal
I’d like taking naps but my dreams are arthouse cinema
I much prefer snacking on glue


Brain Research Significant Other

mp3 [2.56 MB] | Appears on Yodeler Mark One + 3

my significant other is smarter than me
working on her dozenth PhD
always staying late at the laboratory
I’m not half as dumb as I appear
she got a job at the university
working on that terminal degree
somewhere she forgot about me
so I dressed up as a janitor

with a clipboard in her hand she seduced another man
as I made like I was scrubbing down the floor
when off came her labcoat
I felt bile in my throat and muttered to myself
"well this is war"

I got locked up in the loony bin acting more off my rocker than I really am
straightjacket leather couldn’t keep me from nothin’
I made short work of the female inmates’ paper gowns
in the asylum you could’ve heard the drop of a pin
the night doctor didn’t know where to begin
he said "brain research is the only solution"
and guess which brain researcher they called in

fingers crossed behind my back I presented her a plaque
that said "you’re the best significant other I ever had"
she crossed her fingers too
said "yes, and I love you"
and it’s been smooth sailing ever since


Brain Waking Up, 6 AM

mp3 [6.99 MB] | Appears on re-Itori Pleads the 18th Dimension

electrons and neurons firing
berserker varmints on a shopping spree
electrons and neurons just bouncing around
keeping each other company

waiting in line for the theme park log flume
juvenile delinquents smoking reefers in the bathroom
elderly tourists in young King Tut’s tomb
distracting themselves from certain doom
the conscious and the subconscious in a wrestling match with the collective unconscious

variegated and nonvariegated lariope
commuters sneaking on to the trolley for free
city-dwellers jog as snipers take aim
artificial intelligence in a video game

recent college grads making peanuts per hour
coeds in bunkbeds reading Schopenhauer
narcotics agents working for the feds
masked bandits disguised as newlyweds
day laborers getting paid under the table
Aesop’s disciples misremembering a fable
the winningest horses trotting out of the stable
sales reps for an independent record label
neon green and electric blue
hot pink and orange creamsicle

make sure you reserve a ticket for the double feature slideshow
yo yo
toughs in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro
scouts pushing mulch in a wheelbarrow
and then an offsides call by the blind referee
now the sweeper’s on the ground faking an injury
yellow card red card three strikes you’re out
it’s closing time buddy
you best fly south

this is what happens in a human brain
I read it in a textbook
the human brain is like a old-school gymnasium-sized mainframe swapping input for output
punch cards transistors integrated circuits
hitchhikers prefer hitching rides on magic carpets
meanwhile kindergarteners walk to the bus stop with notes in their lunch
we love you very much, honey
have a good lunch
can you read yet?
wait, you can’t read yet?
why’d I write a note?
I push my politics on you but you can’t even vote
it never rains in a brain but I dressed you in a raincoat
so wet behind the ears I nicknamed you Fresh Off Boat
when a brain wakes up it goes "who what where when"
brain waking up, 6 am


Buttwish’s Not-So-Secret Wish

mp3 [7.68 MB] | Appears on Autumnal Jams

my school just died
my school just died
Mom and I come into the lobby at the same time

Dear Mom and Dad
I’m so glad you were able to have a baby
my question is though why were you so bad at naming me?
of all the possible boy’s names you could have picked you called me buttwish
what gives?

Buttwish had a not-so secret wish
he wished his first name was more stylish
he told his folks that his name was rubbish
they said "your name is Buttwish if you want any licorice"

Dear Santa Claus, save your toys for kids that need ’em
if you see any homeless kids please feed ’em
I’ve been a good boy but I’m sick of having this name
I’ll even swear off candy canes

Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish
Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish
Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish
Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish

Buttwish’s sister’s name is Trish
Buttwish’s sister’s name was Trish
Buttwish’s sister’s name is Trish
Buttwish’s sister’s name is Trish

all anyone does is talk about my butt
I hardly ever even think about my butt
I’ve started wearing glasses so my friends might call me Four Eyes
but all they see is my butt

Hello again, Santa Claus
ho ho ho hold up
I heard you were just my parents dressed up
if so could you please tell them I don’t appreciate having the word butt in my name?
please tell them
for you I’d do the same

Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish
Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish
Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish
Buttwish’s not-so-secret wish

Buttwish’s sister’s name is Trish
Buttwish’s sister’s name is Trish
no fair


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