Showing posts with label Paul Hobbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Hobbs. Show all posts

Monday, January 03, 2022

1/6/21: Insurrection, The 1 Year Anniversary

by Doug McIntosh and Paul Hobbs

Moment the West Front of the Capitol is flanked and breached by Trump supporters.
insurrection, an organized and usually violent act of revolt or rebellion against an established government or governing authority of a nation-state or other political entity by a group of its citizens or subjects; also, any act of engaging in such a revolt. An insurrection may facilitate or bring about a revolution, which is a radical change in the form of government or political system of a state, and it may be initiated or provoked by an act of sedition, which is an incitement to revolt or rebellion. Brittanica.com

It's now one year later, and at least a simple majority of Americans still can't believe what we saw. Something that was so unthinkable, unbelievable, something that could never happen to OUR democracy, in our lifetime.

The January 6th act of insurrection is the culminating event in the cascade of troubling events of Donald Trump's presidency. 

Since 2015, beginning with the Trump Tower golden escalator ride that announced his candidacy (accompanied by the unauthorized use of Neil Young’s, Rockin’ in the Free World), Trump started his run at the Whitehouse with, race-baiting. 

In that kickoff speech, Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The wannabe king used textbook fear mongering to create a divide and conquer game plan. Trump got instant credibility with a substantial core of racist citizens who have been lying in wait for a leader like Trump, to bring them back into the light of day. In Trump they got the born liar they needed to create a movement of hate as he proved amazingly effective starting with his 2011"birther" campaign against Barack Obama. Back then, we thought that was a pretty 'big lie' with the charge that President Obama had been born in Kenya, not Hawaii. Trump was just getting warmed up.

He cleverly used old political 'dirty tricks' that people of color=trouble. This strategy was used to re-energize a working class/middle class base of right-wing Americans who in their hearts of hearts, wanted to 'Make America White Again.' This is lock-step (or goose-step) with their narrow vision of what America serves to be for them, still at the front of the line.

January 6, 2021 was built on a mountain of lies that galvanized his followers into a mobilized mob. As Trump patriots, they traveled in organized groups to our nation's Capitol to fulfill Trump's biggest lie, that the 2020 Presidential Election had been stolen from him, and them. 

At the incitement speech pep rally preceding their march to the Capitol, Trump said,

"And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.

Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country.

And I say this despite all that's happened. The best is yet to come.

So we're going to, we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol, and we're going to try and give.

The Democrats are hopeless — they never vote for anything. Not even one vote. But we're going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.

So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.

I want to thank you all. God bless you and God Bless America.

Thank you all for being here. This is incredible. Thank you very much. Thank you."

Last week, Paul sent me an audio track of a song he had written about the insurrection titled, Can't Believe What I saw. Paul says, "In this song I reflected on the images of these angry people, many dressed in costumes, firing each other up and violently smashing their way into the Capitol building through policemen, glass and wood. I reflected on the effect it had on those of us watching it unfold. Innocent bystanders who can only watch the horror of the day shown over and over, so we can never forget. And we should never forget."

Then, we worked together on making this YouTube video of Paul's song that we would like to share with you now.

 

In the year following the attack on the Capitol (to stop the certification process of President Biden's election victory), many lies and blatant denials of the attack continue to shape Trump's subservient Republican Party. My father's Republican Party is in fact dead. It's now solely Trump's party with a host of sycophant Republicans destroying all remnants of the 'compassionate conservative' GOP (Grand Old Party). My new name for the GOP is, Trump’s OFF (Old Fart Fascists).
 
Trump's OFF Republicans have abandoned any bipartisan efforts to investigate the events of January 6th, much less focus on our nation's critical issues such as: Covid-19, infrastructure, climate change, health care, abortion, immigration, and voting rights, just to name a few. 

Trump has done his unbalanced best to divide us as a nation of diverse free thinking Americans. He has successfully unbalanced the Supreme Court to support conservative-christian causes and manipulated many faith-based Americans. Being raised in a conservative Baptist household, it is particularly interesting to me to see how the Christian right so easily admires Trump's (and Putin's) 'one way' authoritarian brand of government to further their own ideological causes. The far right has long mastered the political art of converging issues such as anti-abortion with second amendment gun culture, and now, vaccinations and masks with their perceived loss of liberty. It's actually crazy... smart, as a means to an end, but I don't remember an anti-polio-vaxxed Jesus packing a Thompson machine gun in my Sunday school classes in the 1960's.

Turning back the clock to the 1950's – before progressive civil rights, social, and environmental movements – is Trump's long game. He gives the conservative and Christian right-wing their pet project issues in exchange for their complete support as to when and how he can form a totalitarian government to consolidate his power. It's still truly amazing that millions of Christians support this well-documented amoral creature who are so complicit in their complete admiration of this malignant narcissist. It's just another red flag in a sea of red flags that our democracy is much more fragile and in serious peril than anyone would have imagined before the 2016 election. 

Mussolini and Trump
Trump's demonstration of that power is his famous 2016 statement, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters." If you don't recognize that Mussolini-like puff of the chest and turn of the head metaphor, you haven't been paying attention to his out in the open fascist movement, cloaked in the American flag. Paul says, "Trump is the architect of the whole demoralizing journey our democracy has embarked upon. We can’t forget him. We owe it all to him. He has opened the Pandora’s box that now haunts our dreams."

Peter Stager, is accused of beating a
Capitol police officer with an American flag.
Just one year ago, thousands of Trump supporters tried to overthrow our democracy, in the name of democracy. In the irony of all ironies, a Trump supporter is captured on video beating a police officer with an American flag attached to a flagpole.

The events of January 6, 2021 will not be swept under the carpet by Trump's political cronies, or his enraged Americans thinking their liberty is being taken from them by people of color, liberals, atheists, vaccinations, whoever or whatever.

As we start this new year and move to the 2022 mid-term elections, the next iteration of the insurrection is already happening leading to the 2024 general election. However, this next phase is going to be non-violent in what election experts are calling, a 'slow-motion insurrection.' Trump's GOP is evolving, its fascist focus now turns towards controlling local, county, and state election boards starting in the battleground States that Biden won in 2020. But make no mistake, the long game to dismantle our democracy will be a national effort to control elections in all fifty States. If you are reading this and saying, "that will never happen in America," please be mindful and alert no matter your political stripes. 

The very people who attacked the Capitol last year are represented and backed by millions of people in this country who are fed up with our democracy because they feel it no longer works for them. The large  social/political chip on their shoulder has progressed for many into rage. Trump's supporters separate themselves from our Union, calling only his followers, "patriots" and claim the American flag as their own. With Trump's presidency they are emboldened. They feel they have an 'us vs them' large window of opportunity to smash through – to create a new nationalist government that looks after America's traditional Christian majority interests and beliefs as their nation, under their God. 

All this comes as the Republican Party has become more aligned behind Trump, who has made denial of the 2020 results a litmus test for his support. Trump has praised the Jan. 6 rioters and backed primaries aimed at purging lawmakers who have crossed him. Sixteen GOP governors have signed laws making it more difficult to vote. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll showed that two-thirds of Republicans do not believe Democrat Joe Biden was legitimately elected as president.

The result, experts say, is that another baseless challenge to an election has become more likely, not less.

“It’s not clear that the Republican Party is willing to accept defeat anymore,” said Steven Levitsky, a Harvard political scientist and co-author of the book “How Democracies Die.” “The party itself has become an anti-democratic force.”

American democracy has been flawed and manipulated by both parties since its inception. Millions of Americans — Black people, women, Native Americans and others — have been excluded from the process. Both Republicans and Democrats have written laws rigging the rules in their favor.

This time, experts argue, is different: Never in the country’s modern history has a a major party sought to turn the administration of elections into an explicitly partisan act.
Nicholas Riccardi, AP News

Now, when you have time this week, Paul and I would encourage you to watch the following 40 minute video below, Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol. This video was written and edited by a group of New York Times reporters who spent six months putting together the chronological order of the events of January 6th. It is important to note that most of the video taken on 1/6/21 was shot by Trump supporters themselves. This footage is all real. There are no Antifa actors borrowed from the fake moon landing Hollywood movie set. We can never forget what happened on that day, or be suckered by Trump's political hacks that this was just a normal "tourist" day at the Capitol. We believe what we saw.

Also, heed a Trump supporter's comment at the end of this video to a group of police officers on the line on January 6th, "The patriots are coming back y'all. Hopefully y'all be on our side when that happens."

Note - For some reason, the NY Times starts their video somewhere in the
8:00 mark (in the Chrome Browser).
 Just slide the play bar back left to 0:00 to start.


References

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Senate A Silent Majority, and the #WrongSideOfHistory


 Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog titled, Save The Country, 50 Years Later and the #WrongSideOfHistory based on Laura Nyro's 1969 song, Save The Country. I made the graphic above, and then updated it for the 2020 election. The song, Save The Country spoke to me historically as I got to comparing the times of the Nixon and Trump administrations. In retrospect, Nixon was a peashooter compared to Trump's cannon of lies and corruption as Tricky Dick's got nothing on the Swamp Creature.

Senators Howard Baker (R) and Sam Ervin (D) 
during the 1973 Watergate Hearings

So like many of you, I grew up during the Vietnam War, the Nixon administration, and Watergate. In high school, Nixon and the threat of our democracy were being played out live on television and talked about in my history classes including, the Senate hearings headed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina. I remember being told, "We are living in historic times."

So here, almost a half century later from a teenager living during the shady Nixon years to now, a retired teacher living in the Trump years of chaos. From my perspective, historically Trump is our biggest threat to democracy since World War II. I tell people, "We are living in historic times." Years from now, people like my grandchildren will ask older Americans, "Did you vote for Donald Trump?"

I have no doubt that my grandchildren will learn in school and life that Trump threatened our democratic practices and policies domestically as well as with our trusted foreign allies. My grandchildren will also learn about the current Republication senators who abandoned their conservative principles and character for what? These senators have stood in lock step with Trump and have sacrificed their political party for one man, who wants to be an autocrat

The dictator and the wanna-be, Mussolini and Trump. | CC

In 1973, bipartisan Republication and Democrat senators came together to cause Nixon's resignation before he was going to be impeached in the Senate. That group of senators during the Nixon years are remembered to this day for doing the right thing. 

The present Senate majority (fifty-three) Republican senators have simply been, SILENT. 

Silent to act as Trump almost provoked a war with North Korea. Silent to act on any meaningful legislation like rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. Silent to act by watching immigrant children locked in cages at the southern border. Silent to act on the President's attempt to use a foreign power to influence our election. Silent to act on a world-wide pandemic with over 8 million U.S. cases and over 220,000 American deaths (so far). I could go on...

These majority senators have been silent in their duty and are utterly complicit in allowing Donald Trump's lies, high crimes and misdemeanors to go unchecked day after day, for four years. Oh, they did one thing, pass a huge tax cut to the top 1% of rich Americans!

There's a great hashtag for these people and it's called, #WrongSideOfHistory. Back in January, after the Senate turned back the House's impeachment vote against Trump, Jimmy Kimmel tweeted, "This is what the wrong side of history looks like," and used the collage of the fifty-one senator majority at the time below.

Ben Sasse
Now fast-forward to Nebraska's Senator Ben Sasse (R) this past week. He participates in an 11th hour confessional town hall phone call with his constitutes trying to play both ends of the game to keep his Senate seat in his re-election bid. Sasse seems to have suddenly found a conscience (maybe thinking of his grandchildren in the future) by looking to slam Trump and possibly save his reputation and seat of power. Here's a short read in the NY Times about his Town Hall titled, Slamming Trump, G.O.P. Senator Warns of a ‘Republican Blood Bath.’ Sorry Ben, you can't be silent for four years and now start talking truth about Trump. You're always going to be stuck with the #WrongSideOfHistory senator gang and here's hoping you go down with the rest of this sinking ship. Even your buddies Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and even ol' Moscow Mitch made statements this past week distancing themselves from the President before his potential loss (Fearing a ‘Blood Bath,’ Republican Senators Begin to Edge Away From Trump).

Last week, my good friend Paul Hobbs sent me an audio file of a song that he had just completed, The Senate A Silent Majority. I loved it! He asked me to make a video of the song that he could post on his YouTube Channel. I made it by largely using Kimmel's graphic above, I don't think Jimmy will mind. 

So now enjoy Paul's wonderful new song, and then share it with a friend.


Okay America, time to VOTE and 'fire' the game show host President along with his boot-licking senators that do nothing to help our country and its hard working people. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer for ten years is correct, to paraphrase he says, more than anything Trump is a 'con man' just out to enrich himself. Come on people, save democracy, save the country, and let's all get back to the future and leave Trump's sorry ass 'make America white again' shit show behind.

Stay well and stay strong friends. The next couple of weeks and possibly through November are going to be a Dumpty ride with this notorious foul-mouthed fat-shamin' old man and the irony of the things he says, he is.



Note- Here's a good site to track both the Senate Republication (23) and Democrat (12) seats up for re-election, 2020 Senate Race Ratings

Monday, July 27, 2020

50 Years of Music • July, 1970




See resent crash lower right corner
Source - Noozhawk.com
July 1970, at 15 I'm still too young to drive, but I've got friend Gary Hill a few years older who could borrow the family station wagon and we are off to the beach or getting our kicks on Route 166. I remember going out to the towering bridge on 166 east of Santa Maria, CA where we used to walk directly underneath the bridge girders on a narrow wood  plank and single steel cable rail walkway (most likely used for maintenance work). One time, Paul Hobbs and I started on one end of the bridge and Jeff McCarthy and Gary started on the other. We raced towards the middle, gracefully passing each other on the single plank using the cable rail and then sped to the other end. The first group back up on the road were the winners. Jeff and Gary beat us handily. Just a few years later, I drove out to that same bridge to do the walk under the bridge, and I was terrified. Yes, good ol' terror can actually keep you alive!

In my research this week for albums released in July, 1970 three strong albums perked up my memory listening to these albums fifty years ago.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) made five albums from 1968-1970 and were one of my wife's favorite bands during that period. When Cosmo's Factory was released in July of 1970, it could have been called, John Fogerty's Hit Factory for the sheer number of hits from that album alone. CCR is often called, swamp rock even though the band was from the San Francisco Bay Area and not the south. CCR never got the 'cool' brand like other Bay area bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, or Quicksilver Messenger Service, and some rock 'n' roll critics dismissed them. But for me, CCR was pure 'three cords and the truth' that differed from the live jam groups of that era. My personal taste today reverts back to the CCR sound and think they actually hold up better fifty years later than many bands from the 60's and 70's. I often think of CCR and Booker T. and the MG's in the same breathe, simple tunes that just hook you for life. I will also say, that John Fogerty didn't write pop drivel lyrics, he covered social injustice topics and the Vietnam War like few other hit making bands of that era. A couple years ago, I got tickets to see John Fogerty in Las Vegas a day after seeing (and being a bit disappointed with) a very famous act the night before. John Fogerty made my trip and I will say, "he blew that room away."

The James Gang rides again is the second album by the band James Gang as everybody gets introduced to Joe Walsh and his mastery of electric guitar through the hit Funk #49. Listening to this album after so many years, I was thinking maybe there are a couple more good songs here besides Funk #49. Well this album also holds up very well after fifty years, and I found several more to make the playlist this week.

1970 found the band Traffic together again after Steve Winwood had left the band in 1969 to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton. When Clapton left Blind Faith after their first album and tour, Winwood then planned to make a solo album in 1970. After bringing in Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood to work on the solo project, he decided to scrub that and get Traffic back together again with the boys and thus, John Barleycorn Must Die was born and released in July. Listening to the entire album again was a treat, and as I have said many times in this blog, just another quality album purchased by my friend Ron Zieman and consumed by our young ears from his portable record player in his bedroom.

This week's playlist is formed by the three albums with a song from each album and then interjected with a July 1970 song by The Doors, Yes, Humble Pie, The Stooges, and Fairport Convention. Then, I finish it off with the rest of Cosmo's Factory, because I'm just diggin' CCR today!

Enjoy, and stay well my friends.



The Santa Maria Riverbed, just before you reach Route 166 heading north on the 101.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Performing@Home In The Time of Coronavirus: Volume I

Sara Bareilles trouble-shooting
her Instagram Live broadcast
Professional performers such as actors, dancers, comedians and musicians spend a great deal of their life in auditoriums, bars, cafes, studios, theaters, and various venues on the road away from their home, family, and friends. As a fan, I miss seeing them all perform live on stage!

As you watch artists video themselves during this pandemic, they work hard to keep a brave face and carry on, but those faces are challenged, missing the audience's oxygen combined with their talent to spark magic and illuminate an amplified space.

So in our current world-wide pandemic that has us all @home more than we could have ever imagined; artists working before a large sitting audience will in fact be one of the last groups of professionals to get back to work in the world.

However, digital technology's ease of use has been a shining light during these times @home. In the past couple of years, the combination of consumer: smartphones, laptops, digital audio and video compression, conferencing apps and 5G Internet speed make this pandemic a bit more bearable... than just a bear.

Late Night with Seth Meyers, my favorite pandemic TV show shot from Seth's attic
with his 8G Band performing from their homes.
Here's a great article about Late Night with Seth Myers in Verge by Andrew Marino that shows all of us average bears how to create our very own homegrown production studio.

THE GADGETS LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS USES TO KEEP THE SHOW RUNNING FROM HOME: Consumer electronics have replaced studios during the pandemic

This past week, I searched across YouTube and found live performances of self-made videos by a wide group of performers all shot from home starting in the lockdown madness of March to now.

I start with a Sara Bareilles phone video on Instagram that was the spark for this blog (p.s. I love Sara Bareilles).

I also want to thank my friend Paul Hobbs for sending me a a video from his garage this week, a song, California written in high school (back in the Pleistocene Era) with our dear friend Paul Tognazzini.

On a side note- you'll also notice some of our famous artists have a little bit more home technology than the average bear.

Enjoy and stay well my friends!


Monday, May 18, 2020

#NewMusicMonday • April-May • 2020

A YEAR of #NewMusicMondays  

In March, I started a new and reoccurring blog series that I call #NewMusicMonday. I plan to highlight new music releases hopefully during a current one, two, or thee month stretch throughout the year. This installment is for April-May, but it's really impossible for me to find and capture on a playlist every song released at a particular month. 

So this month, you will see some of my new favs I found dating back to January that I missed in my January-March installment. I may also throw in an old song that's been recently recorded. For example, I have several #StayAtHome videos of Jimmy Fallon and James Taylor songs that I think you will enjoy. I may also throw in a song or two I haven't heard before. Paul Hobbs sent me a 2019 Keb' Mo'/Taj Mahal song plus several new releases, and I added a 2019 video from Rosie Flores who played the San Diego club circuit in the 1970's with Rosie and the Screamers, and rekindled some fond memories. 

Purchase or Stream on Amazon
For this week's playlist I have 69 songs. For me, one album stands out above the rest, James Elkington's 
Ever-Roving Eye

An epiphany… a cryptic storyteller and dazzling acoustic guitarist. – Rolling Stone 

Elkington stands apart among the wave of 21st century guitar soloists. Beautiful, complex, and assured.
– Pitchfork

Stay well my friends, music always helps.



References

Monday, April 27, 2020

A 'What if' Album: Apple Scruffs • The Beatles 1970

By Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs
(two fans and a fanciful rewrite of 1970)

A 'What if' Album Series:
Apple Scruffs • The Beatles 1970 | All In • CSNY 1970

The Apple Scruffs were a loosely-knit group of hardcore Beatles fans who were known for congregating outside the Apple Corps building and at the gates of Abbey Road Studios in London during the waning days of Beatlemania, in the hope of seeing or interacting with one of the band members. The name was first coined by George Harrison, who also recorded the song "Apple Scruffs" as a tribute to them for his 1970 triple album All Things Must PassWikipedia 

I actually co-opted the idea for this What If blog series from my good friend Paul Hobbs. In high school, Paul started a fun tradition of putting together imaginary new Beatle albums after their breakup in April of 1970. Paul's process would be to create a cassette tape mix from the solo albums of the post-fab-four from that year or thereabouts. I would often go over to Paul's house and we would sit in his bedroom and listen to albums on his portable record player. Sometime in 1970, Paul invited me over and shared his new Beatle album mix tape with me and together we escaped into a Beatles-forever alternate universe.

Recently in our 2020 #stayathome phone conversations, we decided to go back fifty years and put our heads together to create what that followup album might have been from our perspective today. Without too much rancor (just kidding), we both came together with a side one of seven songs, and a side two of six songs for our 42 minute mythical vinyl album. 

First we needed some basic rules to follow.

A 'What If' Album - 1970 Fantasy-Band-Land Rules
  • Our album had to be a 12" vinyl LP (Long Playing) analog record with 23 minutes maximum play time per side. So back in the day, a typical album had 12 songs or 6 songs per side.
  • Songs picked for this 'What If' album would be from John, Paul, George, and Ringo's solo recordings, no later than 1970. 
  • Think of these solo album songs as 'demo tracks' recorded without all four Beatles participating to make a final definitive Beatle track.
    1969-1970 Beatle Discography
    Abbey Road was released September, 1969 and even though Let It Be was recorded earlier in January of 1969, it was released in May of 1970.

    1970 Solo Albums -
    Paul McCartney                         George Harrison                      John Lennon                              Ringo Starr - Single
    McCartney                                 All Things Must Pass               Lennon/Plastic Ono Band         It Don't Come Easy 
    April 17, 1970                           November 27, 1970                 December 11, 1970                   March & Oct. 1970
    ••••••••••
    and now for a little fantasy... Starting with our made up press release


    Hey ‘Scruffs’ Cheer Up Good News For Beatles Fans
    Actual 1970 Circus Magazine Cover
    Dan Lingman • August 14, 1970 • Circus Magazine

    In the aftermath of courtroom battles and breakup rumors, the Beatles have resurfaced at Abbey Road Studios where they’re putting the finishing touches on Apple Scruffs a new collection of Beatle songs tentatively slated for a fall release.

    “Apple Scruffs” comes from George’s affectionate term for the fans who gather outside the Apple offices day after day, hoping for some sort of connection with their heroes,” explains Neil Aspinall, head of Apple Corps. “With all the turmoil caused by the rumors of the Beatles imminent demise the fans have been very much on the Beatles’ minds. They seem genuinely reinvigorated and refocused. I was able to pop in on a session earlier in the week and the energy in the room was extraordinary! Everyone seems very excited.”

    With the prospect of a new Beatles album when it seemed like all was lost? That’s cause for excitement, not to mention a Beatles Christmas for all of us.

    ••••••••••
    and.... A 'What If' Album Fictional Narrative


    Apple Scruffs • Release Date: October 9, 1970
    It is spring 1970, Let It Be is topping the charts and the lads after a few rough patches on a winding road have gotten back to full-form with the critically acclaimed, Abbey Road. George continues to press John and Paul in getting more of his songs on Beatle albums as he now has a war chest of songs ready to go. In a recent interview George was asked about being a songwriter and he said, "the only reason I started to write songs was because I thought, well, if they can write them, I can write them."

    Ringo is now a movie star with the release of The Magic Christian and thinks his song, It Don't Come Easy will be a single at some point.

    A 'What If' Album Cover










    The band has all agreed that the Phil Spector experiment of producing Let It Be is behind them as he has returned to America, and his gun collection. George Martin is back to steer the magical ship as Producer and 5th Beatle, full speed ahead Mr. Parker, full speed ahead.

    Also, in a stunning reversal, The Beatles have fired manager, Allen Klein and he has been replaced by The Bee Gees, Cream, and Eric Clapton's manager, Robert Stigwood.

    John and Paul are becoming more open to the new dynamics in the band as they begin a new decade together. The Lennon/McCartney team continues to balance their collaborative and solo songwriting craft as both seek greater autonomy in their professional and personal lives. John likes to call himself, "a happily married fellow" these days, and Paul has traded in his London highlife for a sheep farm in Scotland. Can these two find peace and happiness at home? Enough so, that keeps them both coming back to work together, and with George and Ringo? Time will tell, but for now they have a miraculous follow up and journey past Abbey Road's The End.

    A "What If" Back Album Cover





    Ladies and Gentlemen
    The Beatles • Apple Scruffs (1970)


    --------------
    References

    Monday, May 07, 2018

    Team Tortoise Part II: Getting in Tune

    Team Tortoise -  Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

    Image Source
    I'm singing this song
    Cos it fits in well with the way I'm feeling
    There's a symphony that I hear in your heart
    Sets my head a reeling
    I'm in tune
    Right in tune
    I'm in tune

    This is the second article in a mini-blog series about running, diet and music. If you haven't read the first piece, Team Tortoise Part I: Born to Run start there and then return here.

    The Who is one of my favorite bands of all time and their Getting in Tune was a perfect title that fits in well with the blog I'm writing. This week I want to continue my jogging journey by providing some tips and tricks that got me right in tune with an exercise routine that is currently changing my life in such a positive way.

    For me, "Getting in Tune" is eating smart and running with a positive mindset coupled with a strategy to meet or exceed my goals over a period of time. (I'll write about eating smart as opposed to "dieting" in my third installment, Team Tortoise Part III: Carry That Weight, next week.)

    Last week, I presented "The Chart" continuum from walking to running.

    The Chart - moving in either direction (no judgement, just get out there and get moving)

    Slow Walking | Walking | Walking Faster | Slogging | Jogging | Slunning | Running

    Pick where you're currently at on the chart and make your first aerobic exercise goal - to move to the right at least one step. For me, sometime in November, 2017 - I said I'm going from slogging (slow jogging) to jogging to slunning (slow running).

    Now for some suggestions on running.

    Suggestion #1 - Where to run?
    1. Ideally, pick a place that you can walk (warm up) from your front door. Why? Because who has the time in this busy world? Convenience and Routine in exercise is your 1-2 punch for NO EXCUSES not to exercise.

      If the following suggestions don't work for your home location, then get in you car and go to that place or places that meet some of the criteria below.

    2. If you are are 40 years +, find places to run with either dirt and/or grass as the majority surfaces for your runs. Your feet, ankles, knees, hip, back and neck need as much natural shock absorption as possible. Take it from a guy with meniscus knee surgery, plantar fasciitis surgery and torn tendons from his left ankle to knee (from a wedding dancing accident). Running only on concrete and asphalt will eventually end your running life before you want to it to end. Here's my 2016 blog on the subject, Running Surfaces and the Road Less Traveled.

    3. If possible, find a running location that includes hill work. Better yet, a steady progressive incline for at least a quarter mile to half mile. I don't recommend a long steep hill especially on the downside because of the pounding to your joints. From my experience, almost all of my muscle pulls have occurred while running down a steep hill or decline.

      A variety of up and down provides the spice of life to your running routine. Your body and mind need to be challenged- to use your body's gears to go up, down and flat out.
    Suggestion #2 - How long and far to run?
    1. Run no more than 60 minutes every other day. There is a body of research to back this up, but more than anything, it's just common sense in diminishing returns with age, muscle tissue micro tears, tears, and recovery time. Personally, I'm not an IronMan, nor want to be. I almost killed my body and spirit running a marathon and then discovered half-marathons were causing me injury and setback. Less is more grasshopper.

    2. Run no more than 5 miles. If you are training for a 10K (6.2 miles) then bump it up to 6 miles at the most for a short period of time. for the average person, less running = running for the long run of life. Remember, you're a tortoise that typically lives a long life. Also, refer back to the Running Speed and Pace Chart Conversion in Part I (I cut the original off at 5 miles). And in the wisdom of Dirty Harry, "A man's got to know his limitations." –Harry Callahan
    3. Injury Prevention with Compression Socks/Pants and Stretching. As mentioned above, I have a body disposition for muscle strain and tear. Someone in my travels suggested compression socks for running. I first started with the leg sleeves from the knee down to the ankle and then purchased compression shorts for hotter days and long compression pants for colder days. Compression pants combined with good hydration and eating a banana (for potassium) a half-hour or hour before I run, has helped me tremendously from my calf and thigh muscle pulls.

      Speaking of gear, I wear my compression pants as underwear and a pair of running shorts on top of that. Make sure you buy some running shorts with at least one zipper pocket for your car license and/or car key or house key. I'm a freak worrying if my house key is going to fall out of my pocket while running, so the zipper is a little piece of mind. And speaking of staying calm, I read in Runner Magazine many years ago, that peppermint, calms the body while running. I always bring 3-4 Altoids® in one of my pockets on a run and find more than anything that an Altoid keeps my mouth moist and I don't get a dry mouth while running.

      STRETCH no matter what your age, before you walk and/or run for at least 10 minutes - DO IT and make it a top priority. In my stretching routine, I also use two pair of 10 pound bar bells and incorporate that in my daily morning stretching in the house. I do the free weights everyday probably for a total of 2 minutes but it's amazing how this helps with your upper body and strengthens the lower back.
    Suggestion #3 - Walk everyday as an exercise activity
    1. Even if you are on a running day, try to walk at least a quarter mile to help stretch and warm your legs, but more importantly, get your mind primed to begin to free itself. Mary Kit and I walk everyday together for at least 30 minutes. It moves our conversations outdoors and we appreciate each other and the world around us a little more. For walking, mixing up your locations is a wonderful thing, discover your city and region.

    2. Counting steps at work or around the house with a counter strapped to you is just gathering artificial data that doesn't change your life. Get OUTSIDE and walk as an activity unto itself. Life is better outside. Okay with that said, I live in San Diego and someone in a colder wetter climate might be saying FU (forget you) right now. Okay for bad weather days, get a treadmill, with a view. 
    Suggestion #4 - Run outside with your smartphone
    1.  Rule one is always safety. A smartphone either on the street or the trail may save your life or someone you encounter out there. Stuff happens. I once saw a runner get hit by a car in a cross walk on a busy street and ten people instantly were on their cell phones calling 911. (Yes, several others were also attending to the individual on the ground.)

    2. Experiment and find out if you want to carry your phone in a running hip pack or side armband. I like a side armband and it opened up my world for using my phone as an active part of my running.
    3. I'm going to talk about music, but before I do, I would highly suggest you NOT wear earbuds while running either on a trail, backroad or the streets. On the streets, you need to HEAR THE CARS at all times. On the trail or off road, you need to hear other people or dogs coming from behind. Be smart, be safe. Now if you are running at a park with lots of people around you, I could understand the use of earbuds, but even still, I would use only one side. I've been hit by a car in a crosswalk on my bike at 12, and bitten by a dog at a park while running (a couple of years ago).

    4. For audio while running, I put my phone upside down in the armband sleeve so that the phone's speaker is pointing up and about 12 inches from my right ear. I can hear the music perfectly, and I can also pause my music app if others are approaching me to give them their space. More importantly, I can hear and be in tune to all the other activity happening in my surroundings.

    5.  I also started using a walking/running tracker app to monitor my pace and distance. I use an app called Run Tracker. Here it is for Android and iPhone. Run Tracker is free (with a pro version available). I use it to monitor my time, distance and average pace per mile. It has a number of simple and easy to use settings. I get audio feedback that I set a every quarter mile and get my split times for every mile. It will save your run history and you can look back to see you're progress. This app has simply been a game changer for me, it gently kicks my ass or rewards me every quarter mile and it has made a difference in helping me reach one of my big goals - 5 miles at a 12 minute pace for one hour. Hope to drop the mic on that goal by summer!
    Image Source
    If you read the first blog in this series, I started it by talking about my experience in signing up for a jogging class in Community College with my friend, Paul Hobbs. This past Saturday, I was in Santa Maria, met Paul and we drove up a little north for a run on the beach at Oceano, CA. After Forty-five years, we're still pickin' them up and putting them down together-
    "slow and steady for the long run." Life is good with friends like Paul.

    Okay, next week in Team Tortoise Part III: Carry That Weight, I'll cover the most important area, one's (my) eating habits and a plan (lifestyle) to NEVER DIET AGAIN.

    In the meantime, this is a music blog after all, so here is my Born to Run playlist to inspire you while...running of course. Yes, download the YouTube app (iPhone or Android) on your phone and subscribe to my playlists starting with this one. Send me any suggestions for running or eating-themed songs and I will add to this list for next week. Happy walking or running my friends!

    Monday, December 07, 2015

    Paul Hobbs and the carousel of time

    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We're captive on the carousel of time
    We can't return we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game
    Joni Mitchell, The Circle Game

    I grew up with Paul Hobbs in Santa Maria, California in the 1960's and 70's. We both lived on the west side of town and although we were only 5 blocks from each other (Alvin Ave. to Sunset), we didn't know each other until several years later. Back in the early 60's, each block had enough baby-booming children so that kids needn't venture too far to have a flock of friends.

    Our neighborhood school was Robert Bruce Elementary. Paul was one year older than me and that may have been the chasm great enough to prevent an early meeting. That would change with the city Junior Olympics and a first face to face at the standing broad jump. We both remember that first encounter as our starting point, but it would be a few more years until we circled back.

    By the mid-sixties, both of our families moved from the west side to the east side of town. My family moved to Tunnell St. and my next door neighbor and new friend was Ron Zieman. Ron and Paul's families went to the Methodist church and being in the same 8th grade class, they were close. When I entered junior high, the actual beginning of The Wonder Years, 1968-73, I was reintroduced to Paul, through Ron. We all became fast friends with the common bond of rock 'n' roll and riding our bikes everywhere. Paul's move, put him close to the Santa Maria Riverbed where we did things like act out our own imaginary movie scenes. We also explored much of the central coast with all our buddies through high school- Ron, Gary Hill, Steve Spencer, Jeff McCarthy and Ken Forman). Now, as life brings Paul and I together again on a more frequent basis, a lifetime of friendship is still played out in walks in that same riverbed, the conversation always engaging.

    Paul is amazing on many levels. For me, he has always been a musician and I mean a real musician at a time when most of us were trying not to stab ourselves with the sharp metal protractor tool in geometry class. Sure he was learning his craft but man, listening to him play acoustic guitar in a small room was the biggest musical influence in my life. These were the wonder years of music, with many hours spent in Paul's or Ron's bedrooms listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield, Cream, James Taylor, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell and on and on. But Paul really listened. He practiced and played and sang many of these artists' songs, with his sound. I thought it was wonderful and felt lucky to be around him.

    Paul, like many of his musical heroes evolved into a singer-songwriter himself. He is a very social person with many dear friends. He was raised in a loving family and ran with that to also become a great husband, father and now grandpa too. All ride the carousel of time with him. In his music, I hear themes of love and sometimes the separation of that love that goes out into the world or, from this world. These songs can also express the universal hope that love does come back around at some space in time.

    I was in Santa Maria for Thanksgiving this year and had a chance to talk with one of Paul's life-long friends starting from the west side days, Paul Tognazzini. We all met as Paul and Jane Hobbs usually invite a large herd of family and friends (party of 10 this time) to Sunday breakfast. Paul Tog has gone through quite a battle with leukemia and I'm happy to say is still seizing the day and getting stronger every day. Anyway, I had a great breakfast conversation with Paul Tog and we talked about mutual childhood friends from the old blocks - Freddie Board, Philip and Gary Cooper, Albert Lopez to name just a few, and Paul Tog's little sister, Susie, who I had a crush on in the first grade.

    I would be remiss not to mention the great friends that Paul H. has integrated with my circle that continues to this day with Ken and Vicki Forman. And even though I haven't seen these guys in a while but see them through Facebook or in talks with Paul- Jeff McCarty and Steve Spencer will always be friends, thanks to Paul. Paul loves his friends and his friends love him back. Oh, and that nefarious character Ron Zieman is still around too! (I'll probably get double pay-backs on that last comment.)

    Recently, I've had the pleasure of helping Paul create a YouTube Channel for his music. He hasn't uploaded all his recordings, but has a good start that I hope will continue. Here, I've put together a YouTube playlist for your listening pleasure from his channel and hope you will share this with your friends, old and new.



    and, Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year from John, Paul, George and Ringo




    Monday, August 24, 2015

    Steve Martin a wild and creative guy

    My friends, Jane and Paul Hobbs lent me their book, Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (2007). Last Wednesday night, I sat down to start reading this book and didn't put it down until I finished it. Like many, I've always liked Steve's comedy as he emerged to be the most successful stand-up comedian in the late 70's and then walked away from that part of his career in 1981. I highly recommend this book as he takes his personal circumstances and local environment to build a career born out of his pure motivation and creativity.

    If you've followed my Monday blogs since I started this writing exercise in January, you'll recognize my central theme to date- musicians who gained fame in the 60's and 70's, but continually strive for a level of creativity throughout their lives. I just have an affinity for people like Steve Martin who build and build, have a huge hit cycle and then keep building and moving forward. Steve Martin is a study of creativity whether he is writing and/or performing in television, movies, plays, music, books, etc. In the book, Martin as a college student puzzles about his favorite poet, E. E. Cummings' quote, “Like the burlesque comedian, I am abnormally fond of that precision which creates movement.” As his stand-up act is honed into a finely tuned machine, he comes to understand Cummings and reflects, "Precision was moving the plot forward, was filling every moment with content, was keeping the audience engaged."

    Earlier this year, Paul had given me the 2013 CD of
    Steve Martin's and Edie Brickell's, Love Has Come For You. This is a fantastic collaboration as Steve is a first class banjo player working alongside the wonderful voice of Edie Brickell. This is a musical match and they know it as they are about to release their second album together this October 30th, So Familiar. Hey Paul, please, I got this one covered for you when it comes out, I'll get us both copies.


    Now, I'm going to stop writing and start working on a Steve Martin YouTube Playlist. Hope you enjoy the creative and wildly diverse Steve Martin.