Just here for the music cues? Fixed now. After half an hour of poring over the code and scratching my head I found the solution: a lower-case letter where there should have been an uppercase letter. The internet forgives NOTHING. Anyway, they're here.

I googled “Tom the Tailor” and didn’t expect to find much. I found tomthetailor.com. Good for him. One of those friendly, easy-going guys with a touch of California Seventies about himTo. m moved out of his old shop above the drug store years ago, when - in a sign of Dinkytown to come, perhaps - they hollowed out the landmark and turned it into a restaurant . I used to go up to his shop now and then to get things mended. It was good to have a tailor in the neighborhood.

Another result had some quotes about old Dinkytown, the storied little village that has an outsized place in the memory of many around here.

“The funny thing is that part of me wants to go back to Dinkytown,” Dale said. “I dream that I found a spot that I could afford and go back there, but I still have the customers I had in Dinkytown.” 

“Being upstairs of the drug store was like being at the Vatican,” he said. “Everyone knew where it was. You could just say you were in Dinkytown above Gray’s Drug and you didn’t need to give directions. It was a landmark, an institution destination.” 

That was just last February. Got a note today that he died in his sleep. Just wanted to add this to the googleplex in case anyone’s googling around for old Dinkytown history. It is important to note that we all had a tailor, and his name was Tom Dale.


I am getting emails from a crazy man. I don’t know why I’m on his massive list of people he thinks cares, or can help; the UN Ambassador from Indonesia is also on the list. He has been moving from motel to rooming house to the occasional bivouac in the woods, trying to get out a story about his harassment. His computer is compromised. Hackers take the mp3s he uploads to his website, and remix them to remove the things he knows people said. When he has interactions with the police there’s usually someone in the station house who knows what THEY have done to him, and either laughs about it or advises the officers to let him go because he’s a symbol of what America has become.

People down the hall are talking about him.

Cars that drive past his motel window play songs that send messages about how THEY know where he is.

Lately he has taken to “broadcasting” his dispatches by putting a small speaker in a boot and playing MP3 files, using the boot as an amplifier. This attracted the police, I gather. I came in late to the story, but apparently this nationwide network is working on behalf of many individuals, first and foremost is . . . his ex-wife. He includes links to these Mp3 “broadcasts,” where a bored police-station receptionist hanging up on him is proof a collection of brazen malefactors seeks to grind him under their steel heel. These things are e-mailed to hundreds of people. I wonder if I’m the only one listening.

To argue with any piece of this edifice only proves you do not understand the depth and breadth of the conspiracy. In olden times these guys wrote on walls or 10-cent tablets; now he has a website and Facebook and the internet to tell the world. Of course the world knows he’s mad.

What do I do with this? Who do you tell?

I guarantee that every cop who comes in contact with him recognizes that he’s off his rocker - lucid, reasonable, normal guy until he informs the cop that everyone in America knows what happened to him, and strangers come up to him in the street and tell him it was wrong what THEY did. Maybe in the Bedlam Days he would have been filed away to fulminate in a dank room where the bed has chipped white paint and the hush of the ward is punctuated by the gibbering shrieks of the fellow down the hall. That’s no solution. He’s not full-blown insane. If you can embed a link to an MP3 file in an email you can function. But there’s no way to convince him that he’s making it up; that’s simply proof you’re in the league of THEY.

I think he’s getting worse.

It’s a gradual thing. Maybe I dip into these missives occasionally, and like all communiqués from the part of town where the buses don’t run, they’re dense and impenetrable as a manhole cover. Endless fixation on dates. Inflation to cosmic significance of coincidences. Belief that every casual aspect of the world is a mocking manifestation of the true world THEY have designed.

I knew a guy in college who developed schitzophrenia. He went to New York and stayed at the Y and sent his friends postcards that said “I’M CRAZY ABOUT THE BIG APPLE!” to insulate himself from our suspicions. See? See? I’m not crazy. If I was crazy I wouldn’t send you postcards that said I was crazy. He sent me letters asking me to stop sending him messages through the headlines of the New York Times. I never responded.

During this period I went to New York to visit a girlfriend, who was in the process of not becoming my girlfriend - well, no; that was probably concluded before I got there, although the formalities were down the road. We were at a place by NYU and I noted a bird hanging from a string on a traffic light. The bird was alive. It was struggling. I called animal control; they came quickly and saved the bird. I wrote a letter to the Times about this, and it was published.

So my friend in the Y picks up the New York Times and scans for messages and there’s something about a HUNG BIRD and this time there’s no subterfuge, man, I nailed my name to the end of it.

Never heard from him again. So: What do I do with this? Who do you tell?

He’s no threat to anyone. So far. I haven’t mentioned any of his key phrases or his name or places or the sobriquet for his ex, lest he google. I just see this long, long list of people who get his missives, and I know no one’s listening. It’s like watching a comet corkscrew towards the moon.




UPDATE: For some reason I cannot quite figure out this morning, the clips aren't showing up. I'm attempting to fix. (Yes, I uploaded them.)

Now, the Cues! Do I have to explain? Fine. As I say every week: if you're just joining the Listen project, it includes a selection of music cues gleaned from old radio shows In this case, "The Couple Next Door," the wonderful 1958-1960 radio show written by, and starring, Peg Lynch. It's library music the producers dropped in to get them in and out of scenes. It's the background soundtrack for mid-century life.

By the way, two things: 1) as I noted below, I’m trying to put these 1950s music cues together, reassemble them as best as I can, and weed out the duplicates. It’s not an entirely disagreeable way to spend idle time, and seems to be one of those peculiar little cultural artifacts no one has spent much time collecting. Possibly for good reason.

If you’ve become acquainted with Peg Lynch’s work through this site, or knew it before, and you’d like to send her a note, email to me, and I will print it off and send it to her. She’d love to hear from you. Her birthday is coming up and it would be grand if she got the idea that lots of people who weren’t even alive when she was banging it out `have discovered her work. I’m telling you, people, it’s a sin she’s not mentioned in the same league as the great radio comedians.

And it’s worse that she’s not regarded as one of the finest humorists of the 20th century. It’s because she did “domestic” playlets on the radio instead of arch New Yorker stories, and the humor arises from the performance, the tidy efficient arc of every episode. The way she boiled down the rambling random bank-shot conversations of everyday life into dialogue that looks worksmanlike on the page (I’ve seen the scripts. Hell, I’ve held them in my hands) but comes to life when she steps into character.

When her site launches, I hope you’ll see what I mean.




CND Cue #196. I’m attempting to sort these into buckets for the TCND site. It’s hard to find the right term. Chipper? No. Happy? Covers too much. “Waltzy” I used for things that sounded like a waltz, but then everything that seemed vaguely “classical” got dumped in there, too. Where would you put this? Merry Domestic Chore Music?


CND Cue #197. This one pops up a lot, but only when the husband is involved.


CND Cue #198. Well, it is a show about a married couple.


CND Cue #199. I know it's a repeat, but you won't know that unless you've been saving these and memorizing them. So I left in dialogue for that random touch.


CND Cue #200. I hear hints of that Ravel suite I love in those down-swooping chords; I'm probably alone.


CND Cue #201. Triumphant merry authoritative restorating of domestic equilibrium. What she stirred I will let you guess.


CND Cue #202. New: scurrying mouse-music nailed down by The Chord of Domestic Satisfaction.


CND Cue #203. I've never heard this anywhere else. It's possible producers thought "it certain gets across the idea that things have come to a concluson, but it's not as grand as it thinks it is, and somehow too grand for the story we just told."


CND Cue #204. This is much more 40s than 50s. Trust me on that one.


CND Cue #205. Go home, composer. You're drunk.


CND Cue #206. Okay, well, you sobered up towards the end.



How they sold Lysol in 1959: by classing up the joint.

That's it for this week! Column up here; scroll down to the COLUMNS pane.








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