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Sorting through radio ga ga

Deciphering tunes so you don't have to

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I think it's high time we stopped wringing our hands over cellphones and did something to deal with the biggest menace motorists face when they get behind the wheel.

As most of you have already guessed, I am talking about your car radio.

There you are, happily motoring along, windows down, obeying the rules of the road when, suddenly and without warning, a really cool song comes on the radio, so you crank up the volume to a decibel level that will shatter windows in nearby apartment buildings, start belting out the lyrics AND THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENS!

Just when things could not be going better, you reach a point in the song in which the performer asks some lame question WITHOUT EVER GIVING THE ANSWER!

I apologize for my frequent use of the caps-lock key, but this is a serious road-safety issue. Instead of focusing on important driving skills -- such as which turnoff you take to get to the Dairy Queen or whether, using only your toes, you can pick up a loonie you just dropped on the floor -- your brain expends all its energy trying to answer some stupid question raised in the lyrics of a mind-numbing song.

So today, in an effort to make our roads safer for you and your overworked brain, I am going to once again answer some of the toughest questions posed by popular songs, beginning with...

Q: Firework by Katy Perry -- "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?"

A: Well, now that you mention it, Katy, we do feel like that, especially when we go to the grocery store and they put all the heavy stuff in one flimsy plastic bag, and before we can get back to our car and put it in the trunk, the bag rips and two cartons of milk go SPLAT on the sidewalk and we have to go back inside and buy more milk even though it wasn't our fault, if you catch our drift, Katy, which apparently you do.

Q: All Around The World by Justin Bieber -- "Baby what you doin', where you at, where you at? Why you actin so shy? Holdin' back, holdin' back?"

A: Not that it's any of your "bidness," Justin, but right now I am "at" the kiddie pool in my backyard, because I am really (bad word) hot right now. And, yeah, I'm a bit shy because when I put on a bathing suit I look like 280 pounds of melting lard, so you're right, I'm holdin' back just little bit.

Q: The Beach Boys -- "Little surfer, little one, made my heart come all undone/Do you love me, do you surfer girl, surfer girl, my little surfer girl?"

A: Maybe it's just the heat, but even though you beached boys are currently older than dirt and have more wrinkles than the California raisins, sure, we love you and, yes, we will make your dreams come true. It'll be fun, fun, fun... at least until daddy takes the T-bird away.

Q: My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas -- "What you gon' do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk?"

A: My lawyer says that, unless you have a warrant, I'm not legally obligated to answer that question, so let's just move along because there's nothing to see here.

Q: Bobby Darin and/or Johnny Cash -- "If I were a carpenter, and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway, would you have my baby?"

A: No! Not that we are biased against carpenters, but if you were, say, an astronaut or a multimillionaire or, possibly, Sidney Crosby, then maybe we could talk.

Q: Marvin Gaye -- "Can I get a witness?"

A: In this neighborhood, Marvin? Are you kidding? We didn't see anything!

Q: Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison: "Do you remember when we used to sing, Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da?"

A: Not off the top of our head, but we CAN tell you who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp. Ditto who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong. Hope that helps.

Q: Payphone by Maroon 5 -- "I'm at a payphone trying to call home, all of my change I spent on you/Where have all the times gone, baby it's all wrong/Where are the plans we made for two?"

A: Seriously, Maroon 5, you're at a (very bad word) payphone? And you spent all your change? That is so sad! Aren't you guys, like, mega-millionaires or something? Have you ever heard of cellphones? Debit cards? Seriously? Tell you what, Maroon 5, don't call us, we'll call you.

Anyway, we seem to have run out of space for musical questions today, class, but hopefully these answers will make you feel a tiny bit safer behind the wheel.

And if you really need to know: Yes, when you have both hands on the wheel, it's possible to pick up a loonie from the floor of your car using only your toes.

But you probably shouldn't.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 20, 2012 A2

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