If you have to shazam “Bette Davis Eyes,” this Algoma sign may stump you.

That is the strangest thing I’ve written all week, but I think I’m right. Let’s back up a bit.

Dan Koeppel is right, right, right, and also 100% right about this:

 . . . this 20-inch placard, with a pair of glowing blue swooshes that wrap around four letters in bright red — O-P-E-N — is everywhere. I’ve noticed that not just in my home town of Los Angeles, where it is a mainstay of mini-malls, massage parlors, and marijuana dispensaries, but all across the United States; on a 10,000-mile automotive journey this past summer, we saw thousands of them, many replacing aged, flickering neon on the classic two-lane highways — Route 66, Highway 50 — that define the idea of the American road. And in a small way, these newer, ugly signs represent the end of that idea.

A Wisconsin company makes them. The article quotes store owners who prefer the LEDs because Neon looks old-fashioned and out of date.

Please insert the I don’t want to live on this world anymore meme right here. As long as we’re on the subject of signage, here’s something from the Wisconsin town of Algoma. How long did it take you to figure out what this used to be?

Don’t worry. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. There’s no in-between on this one. But there’s a nice little zing! when you get it. 

MUSIC The author tells us about, and shares, the saddest playlist of his life: songs he Shazammed.

I want this stupid Shazam playlist to tell me something. Music is the emotional medium that so much of my life is tied to: what got me through long walks across Manhattan in my sophomore year of college, what passed my first plane trip out of the country, what played on my wedding day. At one point in the last few years, I wanted to know the name of each of these songs — enough that I'd fish the phone from my pocket and hold it as close as possible to a nearby speaker — but seeing this playlist is like reading that brilliant idea I jotted down in the middle of the night, only to find it indecipherable. I know this means something, but what?

Not much. Except that it might be easy to fix someone’s age by the songs they shazam. Here are some of the songs the author didn’t recognize, and required the all-knowing computer in the sky to identify:

- “Bette Davis Eyes”

- “Goodbye Stranger”, Supertramp

- ”Sultans of Swing”, Dire Straits

I expected the comments to note the lacunae in the author’s music knowledge (It’s not that “Bette Davis Eyes” is a great song, but that clapping / slapping sound was the first time anyone sat up and paid attention to a sample. This was where pop music was headed) but the discussion devolves using Siri vs. Cortana to open Shazam.