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Barking Carnival 2013 Mixtape: Heart Matters

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Turning my attention from JFK's brain matter to more personal affairs.

Tom Pennington

A peculiar intermingling of travel, friends visiting, disinterest, and a familial heart emergency have resulted in an extended period of musiclessnness here at the site, in our season, and in your hearts. I hope you can find it in those hearts to forgive me.

And that settles it: HEART will be the theme of this post. I didn't know that when I started typing, but I do now.

Because it feels like we are now in the HEART of this season: the beating, essential core of what will matter now and what will matter later.

One could argue that the last couple of weeks have represented the heart of this 2013 season. From the hiring of Steve Patterson to the crucial loss to Oklahoma State [ironic that a loss to Little Brother would ultimately do Mack in] to the rumors of Mack Brown's nail-in-the-coffin demise...

I could argue--and I guess I am--that these last several weeks, while not being the most entertaining or enjoyable, have formed the most critical hours of 2013 relative to this program and what this patient's health and long-term prognosis will be moving forward.

So it's fitting that I would have brought you exactly no articles with exactly no songs to mark these important weeks' occasion. No?

My excuse is that I've been camping out at St. Luke's in Houston, spending uncomfortable hours sitting alongside my dad who is recovering from some serious shit. Come on, have a heart.

In any event, what have I/you missed? Well, I missed the West Virginia article/song. And I missed the Oklahoma State article/song.

So I owe you two songs.

West Virginia...Hard-fought win over a terrible team. It took a HEARTless Bastard to write the script that featured John Wilkes Gray assassinating his Achilles.

(Did you know: I couldn't find Gray's real middle name on the Internet. Not even using Google! Privacy says, "Take that, bitches!")

Sometimes, I feel a little bit gray in the autumn...

Oklahoma State...Viewed this game in a hospital room with my Pops, whiling away weekend hours waiting for his open heart surgery, like dead men watching.

We finally played a team with a legit QB, and the results were as many expected them to be. Given their churlish dismissal of Bible aggy, Mobile Home aggy is starting to look pretty furrilll. How they lost to a terrible West Virginia squad is beyond me. I guess none of their guys ruptured their Achilles. That's the key, apparently.

Back during the weekend of the West Virginia game, I had a friend in town visiting. He's a fellow music nerd, and we watched the documentary Sound City.

Produced by Nirvana drummer/Foo Fighters front man/Overall Rock Music savior Dave Grohl, Sound City is the story of something that once was great but that, over time, wore down, matriculated though the inevitable peaks and valleys of success and failure, and ultimately had to transition from what it once was to what it will no longer be. Mack Brown, Inc., imo.

One of the crown-jewel studios in all of musicdom, classic albums from Fleetwood Mac (Brown) to Neil (Vince) Young to (Chris Jessie's girl) Rick Springfield to Tom Petty (and the HEARTbreakers) to Nirvana to Rage Against the (Bellmont Spin) Machine were recorded there. But all good things come to an end.

Dave Grohl, for whom the venerable old Neve soundboard and the studio hold a special place in his heart, decided to pay tribute to the now-defunct studio by purchasing the historic soundboard, moving it to his home studio, and recording an album with some of the stars who'd had success there at Sound City.

He even got Sir Paul McCartney to fill in for Kurt, joining with the surviving members of Nirvana to thereby create Sirvana. That's like replacing Mack Brown with Nick Saban. Someone should totally write something on the Internet about that. But I digress.

Instead, here you have Stevie Nicks who--like Mack Brown--has her best days decidedly in the rearview mirror, singing an old-school, Fleetwood Mac-reminiscent track about things going too far astray, beyond the point of reconcile.

Seems fitting for the Ok State game.

You can't fix this
You lost a friend
Hearts breaking
Right and left
Friendships break like glass


The prevailing winds of Longhorn Internet wisdom whisper that the OSU loss was it for the Mackroach. His 9th cat-life, as it were.

I'm not here to pile on. Been enough of that. Just here to keep up with the music for the 2013 Mixtape and find some songs to help us remember (should we desire to) what this season was all about.

Because that's important. Having/creating memories with the ones important to you and the things important to you.

I got to eat the best cookies I've ever had in my life, sitting next to my Pop watching the Longhorns, waiting for his heartstopping moment under the knife. That's a memory I will never forget.

Long after the current coach of the Longhorns, and the next coach of the Longhorns--and hopefully the Longhorn coach after that--are all gone, I will remember what mattered and what didn't. I will not remember the details of the losses we suffered this year, but I will remember eating cookies with my Pop, watching the team we love to watch.

And the truth is that we will all remember quite a few good memories of the Mack Brown, Texas football coach, years.

So if this Thursday is in fact his final game clapping up and down the sidelines of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, I urge you to make the moment count. Enjoy it, whatever it means to you. Whatever the good things are in our lives, they're here and gone far too soon.

I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to keep this from being that overly sentimental, bleeding heart article that writers write every now and then about the things that really matter and fill in the blank emotional ephiphany thus and such.

The things that sucked about Mack Brown authentically sucked. It's true, and it's been said. But the things we loved were worth loving. Make shit count. The good and the bad.

Embracing the full and sappy irony of the sentence I'm about to type and leaning into it... The things we hold dear are truly one heartbeat away from being gone forever.

Here's hoping you and yours have a wonderful holiday week full of Tryptophan and football. Hold the ones you love close to your heart and watch the Longhorns.

Because--don't get me wrong--the Longhorns are important. But not always for winning and glory-bringing. Share your love for the 'Horns with those close to you who also have the good sense to root for the University of Texas. Make some memories this week, and eat well.


For previous tracks on the Barking Carnival Mixtape 2013, please see:

Game/Track 1. I'm Set -- Goodie Mob
Game/Track 2. Pompeii -- Bastille
Game/Track 3. Don't Know Why -- Ben Kweller
Game/Track 4. Wake Me Up -- Avicii
Game/Track 5. Hugs -- The Lonely Island
Game/Track 6. On the Chin -- Kings of Leon
Game/Track 7. Lightning Bolt -- Jake Bugg
Game/Track 8. That Lucky Old Sun -- Ray Charles
Game/Track 9. Gray -- Heartless Bastards
Game/Track 10. You Can't Fix This -- Stevie Nicks & Dave Grohl