Sunday, September 24, 2017

Perl blog post #56


This week I decided to pop over to my Other Blog to write about some interesting code I ran across at $work the other day.  It’s been a while and I didn’t want my Perl homies to feel neglected.  This one’s pretty code-heavy, so, if you’re not a fellow Perl geek, you’d probably want to give it a pass.  But, hey: there’s always next week.










Sunday, September 17, 2017

Multiclassing, Part 2: History of the Multiclasses (3rd edition)


Last time, I diverged briefly from my discussion of D&D multiclassing through the editions to mention that my group and I gave up on D&D for a while in between the Player’s Option series (which some called 2.5e) and 3e.  To be honest, I completely undersold that.  We had whole-heartedly abandoned D&D.  It was a moribund system, weighed down by the accumulation of mismatched, overly complex subsystems over the course of 20 years.  There was no consistency anywhere: sometimes you wanted to roll high, sometimes you wanted to roll low; sometimes a higher score on your sheet was good, sometimes it was bad; thief skills and non-weapon proficiencies did pretty much the same thing but had no relation to each other whatsoever; one ability score was clearly better than all the others (Strength) and one was clearly worse (Charisma); you were never sure which dice to use for weapons; and, if you were able to figure out whether anyone was surprised when your party, which contained both a ranger and an elf, met a drow, an elven cat, and a giant eagle, at night, then you were a certifiable genius.

So we tossed out all our old books (figuratively, of course) and brushed off our hands and said “well, that’s that!” and assumed we would never play “real” D&D again.  And then ... third edition.

D&D 3e fixed a lot of problems: it positively dripped consistency, and all the abilities were useful again, and you always wanted to roll high.  But, honestly, for me, what truly drew me back into the fold, what definitively made me put on my best Pacino and proclaim that just when I thought I was out, they had pulled me back in, was the multiclassing.  It was a thing of beauty.  It was simple to understand, simple to do, you didn’t have to plan out your entire adventuring career before you ever threw the first die and you never locked yourself into dead-end paths, and you could combine almost anything with almost anything else, in a great profusion of choices.1  Not only could I be a figher-wizard if I wanted to, I could be a fighter with just a little touch of wizard (or sorcerer, perhaps), or a wizard with just a little touch of fighter, or a mostly-wizard-rogue with 2 levels of ranger, because I was an outdoorsy sneaky magic-slinger.  That “nightblade” character my fevered imagination had been trying to put together for so long was now not only possible, it was trivial.

To be clear, we’re talking about multiclassing with base classes here, not prestige classes, which are entirely different and shouldn’t be considered at all in discussions of multiclassing, in my opinion.  Prestige classes used the multiclassing rules, but discussions of whether multiclassing worked in 3e or not that focus on the eventual mess that prestige classes led to are completely missing the point.  Take prestige classes out of it entirely: saying multiclassing in 3e didn’t work because prestige classes didn’t work—whether you agree with that statement or not—is pretty much the equivalent of saying that classes in D&D don’t work because the ranger is a hot mess.2  As a simple example, prestige classes have many of the problems that multiclassing in general doesn’t: you do have to plan out your entire career, and build traps and dead ends are common.  So let’s ignore prestige classes for purposes of this discussion.

The amazing thing about 3e multiclassing—and we may as well throw in 3.5e for that matter, because the multiclassing rules were just about the only thing that didn’t change from 3.0 to 3.5—was its flexibility.  You certainly could plan out your entire 20-level career if you wanted to (such templates are usually called “builds”), but you could also just keep taking fighter levels until you got bored and then take a random level of whatever.  You could take two classes, or three, or fifteen (if your GM allowed enough splat books), and you could take them in whatever proportions you liked.  If you wanted to be half cleric and half barbarian, you could take 10 levels of one and then 10 levels of the other, or you could alternate back and forth for your entire career, or you could take 3 levels of barbarian and then 8 levels of cleric and then 4 more levels of barbarian and then two more levels of cleric and so on.  For nearly every combination of classes you can imagine, a quick Internet search will almost always get you people railing about it being completely overpowered, and also people sneering about how useless it is.  The truth is, flexibility breeds complexity, and complexity can be a good thing ... for instance, complexity is what makes it not always clear whether a certain choice is good or bad.  And that makes it an interesting choice.  Because a choice where the answer is crystal clear—where it’s always A, or always B—is a boring choice.  In many ways, it’s a non-choice.  The only reason for picking the suboptimal choice is to be different, and being different only for the sake of being different is not the best strategy.3  So, in this way, the complexity is a positive.

But complexity has a negative side, of course.  Complexity often confuses people, and leads them to making poor choices.  Let me be clear that I consider this different from being a “trap,” as that term is often used when talking about character building.  To me, a trap is a feature that seems good on paper but in practice turns out to deliver way less than advertised.  That’s different—subtly different, perhaps, but distinctly different—from a case where the user has so many options that they just can’t process them all, and end up picking the wrong one, or overlooking the right one.  If it’s obvious from reading the feature that it was the right choice (or the wrong one), that’s not a trap.  It’s just that there’s so much to read that it’s easy to skim over something and not pay close enough attention to realize you’re heading down the wrong path.  Multiclassing in 3e was certainly guilty of that.  There were 11 classes in the PHB, and Wikipedia lists 42 others across 14 other books, not even counting NPC classes, core class variants, or setting-specific classes.  That’s a metric shit-ton of material, and if you were really faced with choosing one class among 50+ every level for 20 levels, that’s over 9½ million billion billion billion different possible character builds.4  Most of them are silly, sure, but the point is that it’s easy to miss things amongst that much material.

But really complexity wasn’t the problem, in the end.  Flexibility leads to complexity, sure, but the thornier issue is that flexibility leads to abuse.  I’m not going to get too deep into the actual issue of using multiclassing for powergaming—that’s a broader topic that deserves its own post (which it will get, later in the series)—but, regardless of the reality, the perception that multiclassing acquired at this stage of its history has dogged it forevermore.  The practice known as “single-dipping” (or, more rarely, “double-dipping”), which is taking one (or two) levels of a class just to get its early features, explicitly began after the release of 3.0.  It forced class designers to change the way they laid out their class features—if you put too many interesting or desireable features at low levels, people would “dip” your class, but nobody would play it straight up.  This came to be known as a “front-loaded” class, and please be sure to curl your lip in your best Billy Idol imitation when you say that, because it’s meant as a terrible insult.  3.5e fixed a lot of the worst examples of this, and Pathfinder fixed even more, but it continues to be a concern for class designers everywhere.  Now, overall I think this is a positive thing—forcing designers to spread out class features has lots of other benefits as well, such as keeping high-level play interesting—but there’s no denying that practices such as dipping gave multiclassing a bad name that it’s still trying to shake to this day.

Moving from the big picture to the smaller one, 3e multiclassing did have a number of minor problems.  Happily, Pathfinder fixed nearly all of them.  The biggest minor problem with 3e/3.5e multiclassing, in my opinion, was the XP penalty.  This was a little nose-tweak to discourage everyone from multiclassing all the time, and it could be offset somewhat via a race’s favored class, which restored a tiny bit of 2e’s racial multiclassing preferences by making an elven fighter mage progress normally, while a human one lagged behind (but only by a little).  The problem with this was that it didn’t really work.  XP penalties are always a giant pain in the ass to keep track of, so the vast majority of gaming groups just threw them out, and it was a multiclasing free-for-all.  Pathfinder wisely determined that this problem required a carrot, not a stick: in other words, don’t discourage multiclassing, but rather favor single-classing.  To that end, they added “capstones,” which are extremely cool features5 that you can only get by sticking with one class all the way to 20th level.  Of course, that only works if you actually play to 20th level, which no one ever does.  But Pathfinder foresaw that niggling problem as well, and retooled “favored classes” to be decoupled from races and just reward all characters for taking levels in their original class.

Pathfinder also removed the last few class-combination restrictions.  And the last thing they “fixed” was to make a lot more things depend on your class level as opposed to your character level.  I put “fixed” in quotes there, though, because while that curbs a lot of abuse, it also severely nerfs multiclassed characters in some situations.  The big thing that Patfhinder didn’t fix was the saving throw problem.  If you took 3 different classes that all had the same “good” save, you suddenly had a +6 at level 3, which was insane.  Contrariwise, if they all had the same “bad” save, you were stuck at +0 at 3rd level, which was just as silly, except in the other direction.  There were various schemes for fixing this,6 but really we just had to wait for 5e for it to be fixed properly.

Overall, the 3e rules for multiclassing, especially as refined by Pathfinder, continue to offer the best, most flexible roleplaying experience.  Unfortunately, “most flexible” is not always considered a compliment, and the reputation of multiclassing as “for munchkins only” is directly traceable to this version, so we can’t claim perfection.  Next time, we take a look at what went wrong in 4th edition.



__________

1 The only classes you couldn’t combine were those with conflicting alignment restrictions, such as monk and bard, or paladin and druid.

2 And nearly always has been: note how it was annoying in 2e, broken in 3e, barely tolerable in 3.5e, weirdly off-kilter in 4e, and downright wimpy in 5e.  But I digress.

3 As opposed to being unafraid to be different for other, more valid reasons, which is often a great way to go.

4 Or about 9.5 thousand decillion, in American mathspeak.  If you happen to be British, you would say 9,500 quintilion.  I believe.

5 Theoretically.  Obviously some classes hit that target more accurately than others.

6 E.g. the “fractional saves” rule in the 3.5e version of Unearthed Arcana.









Sunday, September 10, 2017

Of All My Monkey Memories ...


I don’t really have time for a full post this week, as we’re in the midst of another Virgo birthday season—my eldest is now 19, which is always a bit of a brainfuck.  Realizing you have a kid old enough to go to college when you were just in college yourself, like, yesterday, can feel surreal in a very fundamental way.  But, as Twain once said: “It is sad to go to pieces like this, but we all have to do it.”

But I feel like I need to leave you with something to read this week.1  So let me tell you a story, then I’ll drop you a link.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a technogeek, and you’ve probably been able to work out that I’m a bit, shall we say, older.  And while I haven’t had the most interesting technogeek career or anything, I’ve had my fair share of interesting jobs throughout the roughly three decades I’ve been at this.  And one of my favorites was working for ThnkGeek.

Now, I don’t want to get into whether ThinkGeek is still as cool these days as it used to be.2  But I don’t think there can be much argument that it was the height of cool back in the day.  And, just to be clear, I’m not trying to take any credit for that: it was already plenty cool when I got there, and that’s primarily thanks to the four founders,3 who put in the mental effort and sweat equity to make it so.  It was as a wonderful a place to work as it was a wonderful place to shop, and I loved almost all of my time there.  And, while I’m not making any claim that I made any major contributions to the great and storied history of ThinkGeek, there are a couple of things I could brag about.  You know, if I were so inclined.

You probably already know that the creature most in charge of ThinkGeek is a monkey named Timmy.  And you may know (or at least suspect) that a geek-centered company like TG gets all sorts of wacky emails from customers.  And I bet you can easily guess that wacky customer emails often get forwarded around so that all the employees can share in the wackiness.  At some point, I started “responding” to some of these emails (internally only, of course!) as Timmy.  This was strictly to entertain my fellow employees, and, at that time, there were few enough of those that I knew them all personally and knew what they would find amusing.4  After a few rounds of that, somebody came up with the bright idea to turn this into something we could put on the website.5  I always referred to it as “Ask Timmy”—still do, whenever I talk about it—but I guess it was technically called “Dear Timmy” on the site.6  It didn’t last long: I did 7 installments of the column over the course of perhaps a year.  Somebody else picked the questions, and I answered them, using the “voice” of Timmy.  Timmy was wise and knew just about everything, and he was always right, even when he was wrong.  Since it was pretty much a marketing tool, I did take a few opportunities in there to do some product placement, but mainly I was just having fun.  Let me give you a taste:

Dear Timmy,

I was watching Star Wars the other night, and began to wonder something. Stormtroopers are clones of Jango Fett. Boba Fett is also a clone of him. Given that, why is it that stormtroopers can’t manage to hit anything when they shoot, but Boba can?

Sincerely,
Mat
Woodend, Victoria, Australia, Earth


Dear Mat,

This is simply a case of good-guy-physics vs. bad-guy-physics. Good guys always hit what they aim at, often with a minimum number of shots, and bad guys can’t hit the broad side of a barn (particularly if the barn contains good guys). To demonstrate the truth of this, take a look at Attack of the Clones. In this movie, the stormtroopers are good guys, and they hit large quantities of Count Dooku’s allies. Once they have been co-opted by Sidious and Vader, however, they immediately begin to suck, and by the time they get around to chasing Luke and Han down the corridors of the Deathstar, they regularly have difficulty hitting the walls.

Now, Boba Fett is a different case, which requires the application of an entirely separate branch of bad-guy-physics. This branch is roughly equivalent to fluid dynamics in that chaos theory is a factor. Bad guys who have proper names can sometimes hit what they aim at, depending on complex laws governed by butterfly wings in China, which side of a paleobotanist’s hand a drop of water will roll down, and most importantly, the desired plot outcome. Just as apparently random events can be mapped to form beautiful patterns known as fractals, the hit ratio of bad guys with proper names will, when viewed from far enough away, form a pattern (in this case, George Lucas’ scripts, which may or may not be considered a beautiful thing, depending on your age at the time Episode IV was released and how you feel about Jar Jar Binks).

As an interesting side note, the Star Wars movies demonstrate several other principles of bad-guy-physics, including the Law of Conservation of Evil (which is why one Sith Lord always has to die before you can get another one), and temporal anomalies (cf. Han Shot First).

Hope that clears it up!

    — Timmy


So, it was a lot of fun, and I probably would have kept on doing it for a while if I hadn’t left the company.  Of all the geeky things I’ve done, this may be the one I’m proudest of.

The column archive is no longer on the ThinkGeek site, but, since the Internet is forever, you can find all the old Ask Timmy installments on the Wayback Machine.  So hop on over and read the rest of the columns ... hopefully you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.



__________

1 Honestly, I’m not sure why.  Normally I don’t care that much.  But I’m feeling generous today.  Or something.

2 Although I have a definite opinion about that.

3 That would be Willie, Jen, Scott, and Jon.

4 Which I suppose is my way of saying, don’t try this at home kids, especially if your company has more than a couple dozen employees.  Nobody likes that guy who hits reply-all on the company emails and spams a few hundred people, no matter how funny they think they are.

5 Probably Willie.  He was TG’s primary idea machine at the time.

6 Again, I blame Willie.  But then again I blame Willie like Matt Stone and Trey Parker blame Canada.









Sunday, September 3, 2017

Salsatic Vibrato VI

"Dinner at Seven, Martinis at Five"

[This is one post in a series about my music mixes.  The series list has links to all posts in the series and also definitions of many of the terms I use.  You may wish to read the introduction for more background.  You may also want to check out the first volume in this multi-volume mix for more info on its theme.

Like all my series, it is not necessarily contiguous—that is, I don’t guarantee that the next post in the series will be next week.  Just that I will eventually finish it, someday.  Unless I get hit by a bus.]



When I wrote about Salsatic Vibrato I, I wrote that it was my number two mix in terms of number of tracks, although it was only 4 songs shy of the leader (Smokelit Flashback).  Since that time, the two mixes have been neck-and-neck, one pulling slightly ahead for a while, only to fall slightly behind for a while after that.  But lately Salsatic Vibrato has surged into the lead, beating the original by 50-some-odd tracks, with 6 volumes more or less completed and a 7th perhaps 75% done, while Somkelit Flashback’s 6th is only around half done, and its “7th” is just a disconnected collection of randomly jumbled songs.  And so it is that Salsatic Vibrato is the first of my mixes to achieve a 6th blog post.  And here you are to read it.

This outing is a pretty solid offering, if I do say so myself, with no repeated artists at all,1 and, among the 22 tracks, 5 are from from old standards, 10 are returning artists that are slighly less heard-from, and 7 are brand new.  That’s a decent ratio for a volume VI.

Only one band has appeared on every preceding volume: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and of course they’re back now.  “I Like It” is a happy little tune, typical of BBVD.  There are also 3 bands who have shown up on 4 of the 5 previous volumes, and 2 of them are back after being missing in action last volume.  Squirrel Nut Zippers tell us that what was “Good Enough for Granddad” is good enough for us, and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies tell us about their “Uncle Ray,” a song with a honky-tonk vibe which skirts dangerously to country, but never quite crosses the line.2

The third artist to solidify a 5-out-of-6 score is our old friend Lou Bega.  Now, Bega is often accused of having all his songs sound alike, and I will freely admit that the selection here is awfully similar to his mega-hit “Mambo No. 5.”3  But there are a few things worth noting here.  Firstly, the man is a self-styled mambo king, and there’s only so much variation you can achieve and still be singing mambo.  Secondly, even given all that, the album does have more diversity than Bega is generally given credit for: sure, several of the songs sound alike, but many of them show a lot more variety (as previous volumes have shown, I think).  Thirdly, I find it odd to accuse a man of too much sameness when he’s one of the two artists I think of as a one-person diversity committee:4 he’s a half-Italian, half-Ugandan performer of Latin music who first achieved fame in Germany singing in English.  But, finally, the most important point of all is that, if your one song is as good as Lou Bega’s is, you can sing it as many different ways as you damned well please.  And, in the end, “1+1=2” is just as awesome as “Mambo No. 5” regardless of how similar they sound.

Our final track from an artist who’s been with us from the beginning is from the Brian Setzer Orchestra, who did miss two of the previous volumes,5 but they still should be considered standards here.  “Gimme Some Rhythm Daddy” is from the BSO’s 8th studio album, which is the first not to include any covers at all.  I wish I could say that was a good thing, but I’m not sure it is ... “Gimme Some Rhythm Daddy” is probably the least silly song on the album, and even it has a few cringe-worthy moments.  But it’s a lovely, upbeat duet between Setzer and his wife, Julie Reiten, so I forgive it its trespasses.

The Atomic Fireballs have only been on 2 previous volumes, starting with volume III, and providing two songs for volume IV, including the closer.  They’re doing that for us again, with lead singer John Bunkley advising that we wash our “Caviar & Chitlins” down with scotch in his appropriately whiskey-soaked voice, which seems like good advice, if one were so inclined to mix the two.6  Likewise our old pals Reel Big Fish were only on two earlier volumes, but they haven’t been seen since volume II.  They return here with “Beer,” which is about as downbeat as RBF ever get (which is to say: not very).  Although the lyrics are a bit moreso than the music, but still it’s a workable tune for this mix.

Making their third appearances are Royal Crown Revue—still not my favorite, but “Beware” is a pretty snappy tune—and Lisa Stansfield, once again off the Swing soundtrack.  This one—“Watch the Birdie”—is another cover,7 the original being sung by Martha Raye for the film version of Hellzapoppin’ in 1941, but probably more famously covered by Gene Krupa that same year.  Still a fairly obscure track, but Stansfield does it very well, giving it a sultriness that none of the earlier versions had.8  It sets the tone admirably as our volume opener.

In the “where have those guys been?” category, we get the long-awaited return of Seatbelts from volume I, with another instrumental off the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack; whereas in the “didn’t we just meet them?” category, both Brass Action and Mocean Worker are back from their debuts last volume.  The too-little-known ska greats from Vancouver give us “The Handyman,” who can fix anything, and the DJ-and-remixer spins us another instrumental track that tells us to “Do Like Ya Like.”  And, filling out the “hey, I remember those guys!” category, Caro Emerald and Kid Creole and the Coconuts are back from their single appearances on volume III.  The latter give us our primary jolt of salsa-inflected pop9 with a song that’s not quite as good as “The Lifeboat Party,” but is a fun little ride nonetheless.  (For instance, it surely must be the only song to feature “onomatopoeia” as a musical refrain.10)  Likewise, it’s tough to beat Emerald’s “That Man,” but “Riviera Life” gives it a damn good run for its money.  Seriously: if this track doesn’t have you bobbing your head and snapping your fingers along with it by the end of your second listen-through at the latest, then I would go get your joy-meter checked, because it’s probably malfunctioning.

Our centerpiece this time out is an electro-swing combo of returning artist Caravan Palace and fresh face F.M. Einheit, who give us the deliciously sublime “Princess Crocodile.”  Utilizing Danish vocalist (singing in English) Gry Bagøien, this former member of proto-industrial greats Einstürzende Neubauten has moved into various forms of electronica, including, apparently, electro-swing, where he’s doing quite well, at least judging from this track.  That segues neatly into the decidedly not-electro low baritone of Leon Redbone, which I remember fondly from my misspent youth watching Saturday Night Live.  Most of Redbone’s œuvre is too old-fashioned for my tastes, but I’ve always had a soft spot for “Te Na Na,” so I dug it out and threw it in here.  For some reason it seems to flow beautifully off of Einheit, although they couldn’t be more different musically speaking.

After Redbone we hit a couple of the more obscure retro-swing bands: the Mighty Blue Kings,11 and Indigo Swing.12  Neither are anything to write home about in my opinion, but nearly every band is going to have one or two great songs, and these two are no exception.  “In the Night” is a slinky tune that celebrates night life in a way that I particularly appreciate, and “Drinkin’ It Up” is a smooth glass of something shaken, not stirred, and it also provides our volume title this time around.


Salsatic Vibrato VI
    [Dinner at Seven, Martinis at Five]


        “Watch the Birdie” by Lisa Stansfield, off Swing [Soundtrack]
        “Too Good Too Bad” by The Seatbelts, off Cowboy Bebop [Soundtrack]
        “I Like It” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, off Save My Soul
        “Good Enough for Granddad” by Squirrel Nut Zippers, off The Inevitable
        “1+1=2” by Lou Bega, off A Little Bit of Mambo
        “Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy” by Kid Creole and the Coconuts [Single]
        “Riviera Life” by Caro Emerald, off Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor
        “The Handyman” by The Brass Action, off Making Waves
        “Dramophone” by Caravan Palace, off Panic
        “Princess Crocodile” by F.M. Einheit [Single]
        “(Mama's Got a Baby Named) Te Na Na” by Leon Redbone [Single]
        “In the Night” by Mighty Blue Kings, off Meet Me in Uptown
        “Drinkin' It Up” by Indigo Swing, off All Aboard!
        “Beware” by Royal Crown Revue, off Walk on Fire
        “Subway Hustler” by Smokey Bandits, off Debut
        “Eat You” by Caravan of Thieves, off The Funhouse
        “Beer” by Reel Big Fish, off Turn the Radio Off
        “Everything Went Numb” by Streetlight Manifesto, off Everything Goes Numb
        “Gimme Some Rhythm Daddy” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra, off Songs from Lonely Avenue
        “Uncle Ray” by Cherry Poppin' Daddies, off Soul Caddy
        “Do Like Ya Like” by Mocean Worker, off Candygram for Mowo!
        “Caviar & Chitlins” by The Atomic Fireballs, off Torch This Place
   
Total:  22 tracks,  73:43


Making their debut here are Smokey Bandits, whom we so far have seen only on Shadowfall Equinox.13  “Subway Hustler” showcases their more upbeat side: this instrumental starts out slow, but then settles into a groove with a complex drum rhythm underlying an interesting point-counterpoint between xylophone and trumpet.

And, finally, in the category of never-before-seen-here-or-anywhere-else (at least as far as my mixes go), we have two new bands.  The first is Streetlight Manifesto, which I discovered when I went looking to see if there were any really good ska bands that I’d missed.  I do this sometimes with various subgenres;14 it is in fact how I discovered the Might Blue Kings and Indigo Swing up above.  Like those bands for retro-swing, Streetlight Manifesto is not going to become my new favorite ska band or anything, but they’re quite well respected in hardcore ska circles, and they do have an occasional gem, such as “Everything Went Numb,” the almost-title-track off of their first album Everything Goes Numb.  The more interesting find, though, is Caravan of Thieves, the core of which is the husband-and-wife duo of Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni.  They describe their style as “gypsy-swing,” which, if it’s supposed to mean gypsy-jazz punched up with the slightly higher energy of swing, is a pretty apropos description.  I think this may well be the first song allowed on this mix without trumpet, saxopohne, trombone or clarinet (unless Caravan Palace snuck something in on me when I wasn’t looking), but listen to it and I think you’ll agree it fits right in here.


Next time around, it’s finally time to take a look at the first ever pre-modern mix.


Salsatic Vibrato VII




__________

1 Only the second time I’ve managed that for this mix—the last time was Salsatic Vibrato III.

2 At least for me.  Your mileage may vary, of course.

3 A co-worker remarked on hearing this track that he supposed it wasn’t really ripping it off if you were only copying yourself.

4 The other is Azam Ali, who we shall meet properly in the fullness of time.

5 Specifically, volumes II and V.

6 I think what I love most about this song is Bunkley’s absolute commitment to the scotch.  He first rhymes it with lunch, which is a bit of a stretch, but then even when he needs a rhyme for things that sound absolutely nothing like “scotch”—like, “all day”—he’s still washing it down with scotch.  That’s dedication for you.

7 Although we’ve seen a Stansfield original off that soundtrack as well, over on Slithy Toves.

8 Raye’s original was solidly comedic, and Anita O’Day, singing with Krupa, didn’t stray far from that template (likely because Raye was admittedly her primary vocal influence, at last according to Wikipedia).

9 See, I told you we’d bring that back.

10 Note that the “misheard lyrics” site swears this line is actually “I don’t want to be your.”  I’m afraid I must call shenanigans on that.

11 Whom I’m pretty sure I discovered via the same retro-swing fan whose page introduced me to Swingerhead, as discussed back on volume II.

12 Whom I have no clue whatsoever how I discovered.

13 Specifically, on volumes II and IV.

14 As we’ll see in our next installment with electro-swing.