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Sunday Samples 270 (one day late)

April 2, 2012

All the talk of the Mega Millions lottery last weekend — including my own G+ post about risk — got me thinking about who is most likely to play the lottery. Ironically, it’s a more sensible move (from a risk standpoint) to play if you already have a lot of money, and yet most of the tickets go to those somewhat further down the income scale.

And this, then, reminded me of 10,000 Maniacs’ song, “Dust Bowl”, here from their appearance on MTV’s Unplugged. Like most of the tracks on Blind Man’s Zoo, it’s heartbreakingly infused with their social consciousness, which Natalie Merchant’s voice renders like few others could.

I should know to leave them home
They follow me through the store with these toys I can’t afford
“Kids, take them back; you know better than that”
Dolls that talk, astronauts, T.V. games, airplanes
They don’t understand, and how can I explain?

I try and try but I can’t save
Pennies, nickels, dollars slip away
I’ve tried and tried but I can’t save

My youngest girl has bad fever, sure
All night with alcohol to cool and rub her down
“Ruby, I’m tired; try and get some sleep”
I’m adding doctor’s fees to remedies
With the cost of three day’s work lost

I try and try but I can’t save
Pennies, nickels, dollars slip away
I’ve tried and tried but I can’t save
The hole in my pocketbook is growing

There’s a new wind blowing, they say
It’s gonna be a cold, cold one
So brace yourselves, my darlings
It won’t bring anything much our way
But more dust bowl days

I played a card in this week’s game
Took the first and the last letters in three of their names
This lottery’s been building up for weeks
I could be, lucky me, with the five million prize
Tears of disbelief spilling out of my eyes

I try and try but I can’t save
Pennies, nickels, dollars slip away
I’ve tried and tried but I can’t save
The hole in my pocketbook is growing

There’s a new wind blowing they say
It’s gonna be a cold, cold one
So brace yourselves, my darlings
It won’t bring anything much our way
But more dust bowl days

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