I appreciate the band Better Than Ezra because of AM radio, a Norm Macdonald joke, a 1976 Plymouth Valiant, tennis courts with lights at 2 a.m., and summers in high school. And Ernest Hemingway. And random and exciting connections while reading.

Recently I had weird nostalgic flashbacks listening through some Better Than Ezra songs. It’s been years. Probably more than a decade. Maybe two. Looking up songs online, I was introduced to a Norm MacDonald SNL Weekend Update joke retold in a Youtube comment. The joke was that Better Than Ezra was #1 on the charts, and that the #2 band was…Ezra. This was in 1995.

Songs “Good” and “Porcelain” and “Rosealia” were on the radio one summer throughout high school. My affinity for the band is for mostly historical and personal reasons. I heard it all summer on AM radio in my friend’s 1976 Plymouth Valiant.

A few years later I was reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and I ran across this sentence:

Anything was better than Ezra learning to play the bassoon.

Later I read a news article that confirmed that this sentence was the origin of the band’s name.

The reason I say any of this now is to reinforce the point that your job (speaking to high school students here) is to be a sponge. Start noticing and you can use it later. Fifteen years ago, I heard a song once. I wrote about it for the first time last week. See here.

Start noticing. Start collecting ideas, questions, images, sounds, smells. You never know what you’ll be able to use later.

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