Listening to music has become so much easier in these early days of the 21st century, in ways that are rarely commented upon. The other day, I was listening to the radio in the car and heard a hilarious little song performed by someone who sounded like John Prine and a woman whose voice I did not recognize, although I reached my destination before the DJ got around to saying who the singers were and what the song was. If I had arrived somewhere with a computer boasting Internet access, I could have checked the radio station's Web site, where all of its recent songs are listed, but that wasn't an option either. So I made a mental note of one of the song's more distinctive lines -- "Swears like a sailor when she shaves her legs" -- and filed it away for later use.
When I did finally get access to the Internet, I typed that line into Google along with the word "lyrics," and lickety-split found out that the song was called "In Spite of Ourselves," from an album of the same name, and about two more clicks ascertained that it was indeed John Prine alongside Iris DeMent.
But the story doesn't end there. While at the computer, I called up the Web site for our local library system, spanning about ten branches throughout south suburban Denver, and found that In Spite of Ourselves was on a shelf somewhere and available for my use. I quickly put in a request for it, and the very next day, I got an email indicating that the record was on hold for me at a branch library five minutes from my house. Within hours, the song was on my iTunes. The whole transaction took about two days, was absolutely free, and didn't require me to actually ask anyone if they knew what this song might be. It's a wonderful world we live in.