Monday, July 25, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • July, 2022

This past week I began the rather easy and fun task of listening, shifting, and sorting new music that was released this month, or songs I have missed in the past couple of months.

The Mosaic browser
Recently on CNN, I watched the decades series, "The Nineties: The Information Age." I watched it in real time, and ironically was just so annoyed at having to watch the commercials. 

Most of my teaching career was spent as a educational technology resource teacher and so the time beginning in September of 1993 when the Internet began with the Mosaic browser, then Netscape, then Microsoft Explorer, were exciting times. The pioneer days.

The evolution of Internet music with music piracy servers like Napster in 1999, then legit online music stores like Apple iTunes, and now online subscription music streaming services, actually rekindled my interest in music. After years of being a working stiff in the 80's and 90's, I rediscovered my passion for rock 'n' roll and folk through the shear ease of access, online. 

A Monday Monday Music™ blog post now averages between 150-200 hits during its first week of publication. During that first week, the playlist that accompanies the post gets about 1/3 of the hits than the post itself. I realized early on in the world of blog writing that the author has about 3 minutes tops to convey their message. So, when it comes to listening to a playlist of 25+ songs, most just ignore it altogether. 

I say this as I'm just so thankful that you're actually here reading this at this moment. If you never listen to my playlists, I would just suggest, pick one song to listen to as most songs are also typically no more than 3 minutes too. (Although, most of the songs I usually pick for the playlist are 4+ minutes. This week there are several songs in the 7-10 minute category like the old days of rock 'n' roll.)

In any event, do like most of my playlist listeners do, and just do the famous 'digital skip' until you land on something that catches your ear. I will guarantee there's at least one song here worth listening to that you've never heard before, and most likely will never ever hear on the radio.

Enjoy my friends. Skip, skip, skip to my Paul McCartney.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • July, 1972

  • July 1 - 
    • U.S. actress Jane Fonda tours North Vietnam, during which she is photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
    • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms becomes independent from the IRS. 
  • July 8 – The U.S. sells grain to the Soviet Union for $750 million.
  • July 11
    • The long anticipated chess match between world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union, and United States champion Bobby Fischer, began in Iceland at Reykjavík.
  • July 10–14 – The Democratic National Convention meets in Miami Beach. Senator George McGovern, who backs the immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam, is nominated for president. He names fellow Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate.
  • July 18 – Anwar Sadat expels 20,000 Soviet advisors from Egypt.
  • July 21
    • Bloody Friday: 22 bombs planted by the Provisional IRA explode in Belfast, Northern Ireland; nine people are killed and 130 seriously injured.
    • Comedian George Carlin is arrested by Milwaukee police for public obscenity, for reciting his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" at Summerfest.
  • July 25 – U.S. health officials admit that African-Americans were used as guinea pigs in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.
  • July 31 – The Troubles, Northern Ireland:
    • Claudy bombing ("Bloody Monday"), 10:00 AM: Three car bombs in Claudy, County Londonderry, kill nine. It becomes public knowledge only in 2010 that a local Catholic priest was an IRA officer believed to be involved in the bombings but his role was covered up by the authorities.
  • August 1 – U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdraws from the race after revealing he had been treated for mental illness.
From Wikipedia, 1972

In looking back to the events of July, 1972 as a 17 year-old, it's the first Presidential race where I had an introductory grasp of our nation's domestic and international politics. I had just completed my junior year in high school where I had taken a class titled, "International Relations" taught by History teacher and my freshmen football coach, Randy Enberg.

Up until that spring semester, I had only known the rather tall Mr. Enberg by his hunched over cranky demeanor on the practice field in the summer of '69, getting us ready for the fall season. Jeff Muro, who would later play linebacker for UCLA was our fullback. During practice one day he was carrying the ball through the line and hit me square in my chest with his helmet and drove me straight down on my back into the turf. Now that left an impression. Mr. Enberg just looked at me and said, "Well McIntosh, are you going to get up?"

A couple of years later, I meet a completely different man in the classroom as Mr. Enberg would start a discussion on a world topic and then let us freely discuss as students. He would essentially moderate and keep the conversation going. I loved it! For the second part of the semester, we did a research project where he guided us to independent study and we had to submit a paper with all our references to him a couple of weeks before school got out. 

I had handwritten my report, put it in a folder and for the life of me forgot where I put it! I had worked in the library like two weeks straight on this thing. I went to Mr. Enberg to tell him (like... my dog ate it) but decided to tell him the truth of how I just screwed up and lost it. He looked down at me like he had on that practice field a few years prior, and said, "Meet me after school in my class." Oh shit!

So I go to his classroom and he's sitting at his desk. He tells me to pull up a chair and looks at his notebook and says, "Your report was on Israel and Arab relations, correct?" I said, "Yes." Then he says, "Tell me what you learned." We spent the next 20 minutes or so talking about Israel becoming a nation after World War II and the hot button issues of religion and politics including American and the Soviet influence in the region. Mr. Enberg gave me a B for the class. 


Summer of 1972 has me buying Son of Schmilsson by Harry Nilsson and Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. 

In listening to Son of Schmilsson after many years and a lot more knowledge of Harry Nilsson's life, I realize this is the beginning of the end. I loved this album as a kid, but you can kind of hear between the record grooves that all is not well, and the extremely talented Mr. Nilsson is kind of doing it here half-ass. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good songs on this album, especially, Remember (Christmas) but you know he could have worked it a bit harder.

Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer is an album that I listened to a lot the year it came out. They really were at the forefront of progressive rock and got a lot of kids to listen to their reworks of the classics. 

I have never really been a Rod Stewart fan, but all these years later I can appreciate his band, Faces as the second-string to The Rolling Stones. I say that as a high compliment as Rod after he blew up the band a few years prior. He used all the guys from Faces to back him up on his albums in the early 70's when he became a huge star. Never a Dull Moment has me listening carefully to the very tight rock and roll of Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, and Kenny Jones. In three years, Ronnie Wood would join the Rolling Stones and is still a band member today, and Kenny Jones would be the Who's drummer for a few years after Keith Moon died in 1978.

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Songs That Piss People Off • No. 1

Songs That Piss People Off: No. 1 is a satirical album I dreamed up one day back in 2020 during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. My state of mind at the time was to put together 12 song titles with the ability to piss off or even get a laugh from my readers depending on their personal or political perspectives. My goal was to be an equal opportunity offender where I would be successful with at least one title pushing one of your buttons. Hell, several of these titles pushed my own buttons when they came into my head.

This blog has just been sitting in my drafts folder and for some reason I decided to pull the publish trigger and just let this one fly. Actually, I know why I picked this week is because this shit just doesn't seem to go away. Many of these titles are simply ongoing themes of life in America that I could have coined yesterday. 

Anyway, I had fun designing the album jacket and you can only imagine what my "Number 2" album cover is going to look like.

Here's the titles with no explanations or apologies. 
  1. People And Their F***ing Dogs
  2. Defund Stupid Liberal Slogans
  3. Old Lady Shopping Cart Blocking Aisle 2 Blues
  4. Fascist Patriot Games (beat you with my American flag)
  5. Your Precious Coffee
  6. A Million Inconveniences
  7. The Ballad of Joe Manchin (feat. Kyrsten Sinema)
  8. So You Want To Be A Smelly Cat Indie Star
  9. "I'm not a racist, but" (feat. Pika Krackr)
  10. Semi-automatic Thoughts & Prayers
  11. The Hunchbacks of iPhone Fame
  12. The Baptists Converted Me... to an Atheist
Note- If I didn't piss you off this round, I hope to do better next time.

Bonus Track - 1,000,000 Inconveniences
At some point, I shared these titles with my buddy and guest writer for Monday Monday Music™, Paul Hobbs. Paul and I got to talking about actually writing some songs from these titles and then we settled on, A Million Inconveniences.

That whole collaboration resulted in Paul writing the lyrics and music for the song that he recorded and was featured in the Monday Monday Music blog,  A Million Inconveniences on May 9th, 2022

What was so great about working with Paul is that he encouraged me to write some lyrics of my own. I did that and he then went to work again and recorded a whole new song with the same title with my lyrics (this one with the number in the title, 1,000,000 Inconveniences).  He also wrote new music for this second perspective on the theme of a million people dying of Covid-19 during the past two years. Paul is a very special person, and anyone would be honored to be his friend and now for me, an ongoing collaborator.

I thought this might also be a good time to release this second version as Covid cases (+11%) and hospitalizations (+18) are both up again.  As this latest strain, Omicron subvariant BA.5 becomes dominant, everybody now has family and friends, all vaccinated testing positive for Covid. I'm just so thankful for the Covid-19 vaccination for all ages NOW as my youngest two grandchildren under 5 were recently able to get their first shots. 

Covid-19 is NOT going away, and probably never will. All of us will eventually get it, but again I'm so thankful we have the medical technology through vaccinations, boosters and medications like Paxlovid to greatly reduce the symptoms and not put larger numbers in the hospital as in 2020-21.

Since the May 9th blog, 17,000 more people have died from Covid-19. Deaths are down to about 300 a day in the U.S. but as in all tragedies like this, the simply phrase, "We can never forget" is still appropriate and ongoing. 

So here's our reflection after two years of the pandemic in a song. It's a sarcastic response to the naysayers, deniers, liars, selfish, and pussies who simply can't tolerate a little mask, all wrapped in the American flag with the misconception that their personal behavior trumps the collective safety and liberty of the many. Grow up and face adversity like the generations of Americans before us. Piss off.

And, what a feeling to say, "I co-wrote a song" for the first time in my life. Thank you Paul!

Monday, July 04, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 13

The Scream by Edvard Munch
A little more than two months ago, I tripped (yet again) while running as I was transitioning from concrete to grass. This is becoming a recurring nightmare as I clipped the edge of the grass with my left shoe, stumbled badly and not wanting to fall on the concrete somehow tore my left hamstring in some awkward fashion trying to right myself. 

I instantly knew I was toast. In my swirling head a six-week recovery awaited with 'waiting' being the operative word. The walk back home was depressing... Edvard Munch in Adidas. 

You may be screaming to yourself upon reading that the old man is writing yet again about another running injury. But it beats listening to Michael Flynn plead the 5th when asked if he believes in a peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America. My God it's fascists pleading the 5th on parade- Roger Stone, Jeffery Clark, John Eastman... Hey I even found a perfect song to describe these guys this week in the playlist. Do not even get me started on the five Supreme Kangaroo Court Justices driving their Keystone Cop car over the cliff over and over and over.   

Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett

Anyway, it's happy trails again as I'm back running with a new group of songs collected while picking them up and putting them back down, at 4.3 mph. Let's hope I can stay upright for awhile. My close friends probably have a running bet on the matter.  

Happy July 4th! Enjoy the tunes my friends!