I feel like I would be remiss not to note the passing this week of Merle Haggard, namesake of my most loyal reader. I was a latecomer to country music, and I would not claim Merle as one of my personal heroes, but I respect his style and his body of work.

Here’s my favorite Merle song, which shows off a sly, sardonic, and subversive sense of humor; the way he says the words “Bubble Up” is a joy in itself: