Monday, November 28, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • November, 1972

Monster month. That was my first thought as I scanned November, 1972 in Music in Wikipedia. No wonder why I'm writing this blog, I just can't believe the riches in music during that period. Listening to this collection of albums these past couple of days is a flood of emotion, nothing specific but an overwhelming sense of pure joy and happiness. I continue to marvel at the wonderful collection of artists born right after WWII. 

At seventeen, this music touched my soul. Whether it be in a car on the radio or purchasing one of these albums for around $3 dollars and change and coming home to listen to these vinyl gems in my bedroom.

On this Sunday morning, I see 90 songs in my playlist with nothing organized yet as I plot my purposeful randomness of curating a playlist. I have a quick thought about playing all the artists songs/albums in chronological order, some are whole albums. Then I think, but that would not be a Monday Monday Music Playlist. 

Note- I did make an exception here, Side Two of James Taylor's One Man Dog was left in place and ends the playlist this week. It would be kind of blasphemous to break it up, same as with the original inspiration of Side Two of Abbey Road.

So here's my shuffle- like a librarian already late for a date walking quickly and holding a neat stack of organized historical papers. Suddenly the librarian trips over his own feet falling as the papers scatter in the air softly landing all mixed up together on the floor. The librarian, thankful that nobody has seen the fall scrambles on his hands and knees quickly picking up the papers now sorted in a new stack by fate and a deadline. The librarian puts the papers on a shelf called, 'Historical Public Records' and heads off with no one seeing the haphazard accident and being none the wiser. Later, an older gentleman strolls into the library, somehow attracted to the title, Historical Public Records, sees the stack of ruffled papers and takes them over to a sofa chair in the corner of the library for a nice afternoon read.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Thanksgiving Leftovers

As we approach the end of 2022, Thanksgiving is that perfectly situated holiday to begin the reflection period of looking back at the year, the ups and downs, but with our baked-in tradition as a nation for focusing on the positive. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year, but being true to my nature, feel uncomfortable to share them in a blog post. 

A couple of weeks ago, I remembered that I had created a 2018 blog and playlist for Thanksgiving and thought I'd pull that post and playlist out to take a listen. The blog talks about hearing the Don Henley song, My Thanksgiving. As I recall, I looked to find the song on YouTube for my Thanksgiving playlist and true to my anticipated misgivings of NOT finding Don Henley songs on YouTube, it wasn't there.

I've got great expectations
I've got family and friends
I've got satisfying work
I've got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving, Don Henley

Being a hopeful fan, I again searched for Mr. Henley's wonderful song this year, and same result, nada.
But, I did find a smartphone cover of the song as a silver lining by a guy named Tom G. Tom does a nice interpretation with just him and his acoustic guitar. He's got the same IKEA bookcase shelf as me in the background with several of the same rock 'n' roll biographies as me too, hey this guy's alright! 

It's Sunday morning with my Monday Monday morning deadline. Not a lot in the tank as work is taking over at the moment. I did wake up with WKRP's Les Nessman on my mind and the famous Turkeys Away 1978 episode. I found that funny clip (love YouTube) and a few other gems to make a leftover turkey-cranberry sandwich several days removed from Thursday. 

Mr. Carlson: (As he walks in at the end of the episode and announces to the WKRP staff)
"As God as my witness... I thought turkeys could fly."

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Monday, November 14, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 17

Oh, the hours we'd spent inside the Coliseum
Dodging lions and wasting time
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I could hardly stand to see 'em
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard drive

Train wheels are running through the back of my memory
When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese
Someday everything is gonna sound like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece

from When I Paint My Masterpiece, Bob Dylan

I'm currently working on something for work that might be something special, at least for me. I've worked in education as a teacher since 1979, and now in the education market since 2014 as a learning environment designer. There have been lots of ups and downs like with any job, but one can often sense when something big in their world is about to happen. 

It's a great feeling creating something new. It depends on you and the people around you. Like the song says, I've been in the lion's den, but I've also had wonderful periods working with people who love to collaborate and work together as a team. Right now, I'm with the latter group. 

Some people may wonder, why am I still doing this? Well, I keep on tryin'... to paint my masterpiece.

Monday, November 07, 2022

The Midterms Playlist


The above political cartoon was published on March 29, 2017 in The New Yorker when Donald Trump was President. But, and a BIG BUTT it is, he is still the center of the Republican universe and thus, the #1 topic in our political midterm season. 

I will now make a prediction. In fifty years from now and beyond, Donald Trump will still be a central subject theme in print, TV and movies that will only be matched by World War II in the sheer volume of material. If it's not hard to imagine a new movie coming out about WWII, just picture the same for The Man Who Would Be King that your grandchildren will ponder, why is Trump still a thing? After writing that last sentence, I'm sure hoping they are NOT pondering about Trump... because 50 years from now, if there's a confederate-like statue of him in every American city... America is...

So it's going to be close. Historically, most midterm elections favor the opposing party of the current President. Trump's influence in a divided nation works both for and against him. However, combine Trump's clown car with the ongoing brilliance for Republicans to mobilize their money and base to raise my anxiety level in races too close to call. With the proverbial 4 point margin of error in polling, I'm increasingly afraid for the authoritarian wave that continues to build. Meanwhile, will the sleeping giants of young people and suburban women bring it home for the Dems? Like I said, I'm afraid.

Remember, this blog is my personal opinion. I'm a liberal Democrat in my heart and a mindful centrist Democrat when it comes to voting. Fifty years ago (at 17), I witnessed the folly of Democrats putting up too liberal of a candidate in 1972, and then years and years of weak candidates running against equally weak Republicans, only to lose. If there's hope for Democrats it's putting up moderate candidates like Tim Ryan in Red State Ohio. If Tim Ryan wins, that's a working person's recipe for success against Trump Fascism.

So keep in mind, if a candidate EVER calls themselves a "Democratic Socialist," they're at best only going to win locally in a district, maybe regionally in a small left learning State. In a Presidential election, forget about it. To paraphrase a famous Beatle, But if you go carrying pictures of Bernie or AOC, you ain't going to make it with anybody anyhow.

Since 2020, I would never engage with a Trump follower, the cult of personality is just too far gone to discuss policy and issues with these folks. At this point, it's just a waiting game of attrition. However, I do follow former Republicans in the media. I listen to their point of view to try to find common ground in what makes us all Americans. What has emerged from all the talking points from both the left, center and right is that there is "potential" for one big issue to eventually bring us together. 

If there is ever to be a post-apocalyptic Trump politic, we as Americans need to look no further than our national infrastructure to bring us together. Infrastructure is literally connected to all the hot topic issues of the day including, but not limited to: the economy, energy, climate change, national security, transportation, and democracy itself.

As a nation, we are slowly structurally falling apart. It's a simple fact, we've needed a national plan and strategy for our local, state and national infrastructure for several decades now. 

How about as Americans, we take the sad song know as our electrical grid and make it better. Let's just start by doing that one thing together and make our national electrical grid work for the 21st century as we approach the quarter century mark.  Please, can we start and do one thing together as Americans like we used to? No wonder we keep making WWII movies. BTW have you seen the movie Greyhound with Tom Hanks on Apple TV+? Great movie.

Well here's a little midterm election playlist mix of everything- hope, despair and in the end, keeping your own sanity. Still.

Note- In the playlist, I've included the 1989 song, We Didn't Start The Fire by Billy Joel. I heard this song the other day and reflected about Joel's (who had turned 40 at the time) chorus - 

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning, since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it

As a boomer, Joel's looking back to his childhood in the 50's and then, counter-culture youth in the 60's. What has always got me about that song is what did "my generation" do in the 70's and 80's to carry that movement forward, to fight it... not much.

So here we are in the 2020's, and I got a revision chorus that speaks to my generation.

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning, since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
but, we fanned the flames, too selfish to stop it

Billy Joel is 73 to Donald Trump's 76. Two early boomers with very different career paths.

Boomers, we fanned the flames... Time to stop the Boomer Trump now.

Happy Midterms my friends.