Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s song came out in 1994. IBM had just purchased the company who employed me; that company had purchased the start-up that I’d been working for. So my employment record was like Russian dolls (which originated in Japan, BTW).

We were living in Half Moon Bay, CA, and had a comfortable life. But I had an uncomfortable feeling it was going in the wrong direction. We started making plans about where we could move. Texas? North Carolina? Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Washington…we roamed the net, searching for answers.

I’d just sold a few short stories, so I as feeling good about that. This song came out. Catching me by surprise on the radio, the repeated chorus, “What you waiting for”, seemed expressed directly at me. I listened to see who it was, but the radio didn’t say.

I hunted it down on the net, learning it was Gwen Stefani, “What You Waiting For?” Later, I read that she’d written the song in response to having writer’s block. That resonated with me.

All of that is background. Today, it was about the cats. Our air is at 52. Don’t even smell smoke any more (which reminds me, check on the fires up north and down south). The cats had been released when we hit moderate on the AQI scale, much to their joy. Today, I had the door open to let in Tucker.

He paused to sniff the air before entering, then sat down. Looking up, he intently regarded me. To which I said (yeah, you know), “What you waiting for?”

It’s a good song for today. What are you waiting for? November? Clean skies and better weather? An end to the pandemic? A sign of God.

Get busy.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Ah, today began with a groggy morning. Some nocturnal critter was busy under the house. So we were up addressing it by stomping on the floor to chase them out. (What else do you do at four AM in that situation?) Dominos fell, and the cats got busy (yeah, not humping, not busy in that way).

Out of the flotsam left behind were some lyrics from Blur’s “Song 2” (1997).

I got my head done
When I was young
It’s not my problem
It’s not my problem

Woo-hoo.

Yeah.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Some rhyming lyrics popped into my head this morning.

She’s been a bad girl, she’s like a chemical
Though you try to stop it, she’s like a narcotic
You wanna torture her, you wanna talk to her
All the things you bought for her, could not get a temperature

h/t to Genius.com

The rest of the song swam in, leaving me dancing around the kitchen as coffee was brewed. I thought, that’s a faux peppy song suitable for these days. I think that because so many want to pretend that everything is normal, especially the telly people setting up broadcast schedules, the sports people who want to pursue their championships, and the POTUS. “Everything is fine, look at the stock market.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. west coast is on fire and Hurricane Sally is beating down Alabama and other southern states. Unemployment is at an ugly number, food prices are rising, and food insecurity is spreading. On top of these disasters, we have the cherry on top that is the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s the death number in the U.S.? Two hundred thousand? Whatever, time for some football! Woo-hoo.

So, here is “Pump It Up” by Elvis Costello, another 1978 memory.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

I found myself remembering some Bob Dylan lines this morning.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
“Rip down all hate,” I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull, I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow

[Refrain]
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

h/t to Genius.com

This song, “My Back Pages”, is by Bob Dylan. I was more familiar with the Byrds’ version which came out in 1967. It struck me as I was moving toward my teens and getting my footing in the music that moved me. I’ve always thought it was about learning and changing, which fit my evolving philosophy.

So I sought the song today, thinking it fit these times, and found this version. Featuring Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn, Neil Young, George Harrison, people I think are pretty good musicians, it’s the 1992 Bob Dylan tribute concert from 1992.

A Year of Change

That smell of wet, burnt wood from a large fire bristles in my memories.

1971. I was fourteen. Dad had just returned from an overseas military assignment and took me in, a refugee from an unhappy time with Mom and her husband then. We lived in Dayton, Ohio, first in an apartment, and then in Wright-Patterson AFB base housing, in a place called Page Manor. We lived there from the beginning of July to the end of August. Then, an opportunity came up. He retired from the military to start a new chapter to his life.

He and I moved to West Virginia and he began his new job. Housing was limited so Dad bought a mobile home. A space was found for it in a trailer park. School started. A month later, the trailer burned up. Days were spent trying to recover what we could from the trailer. I carried a smoky odor around my clothes for months.

Dad’s co-worker let us crash at their place, but it was crowded, and the co-worker had a young wife and a new baby. Goaded by her disenchantment to be rid of us — nothing personal, and I understand it — we found a new place to live within a month.

Coincidentally, that was the same time that I met the girl who would become the woman who would become my wife. We married in 1975, less than four years after meeting. We’ve been together since then, although we’ve had separations and struggles. Amazing to think that I’ve known her since 1971 and have been married to her since 1975. It seems like a lot longer… Bet it seems even longer to her.

It’s all sharp in the head, strong in the memories, that period, a time of destruction, change, and beginning. I can’t say that I don’t look back; I’m always looking back, then turning around and looking forward, re-establishing where I’m at, and moving on.

Or trying to.

Monday’s Theme Music

Remembering 2001 and thinking about the current crises — yeah, there’s a lot going on in parallel — brought 2001 Train song, “Drops of Jupiter”, to mind. The words appeal to my maudlin side and lift me.

But tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance
To dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way?
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find?
And did you miss me while you were
Looking for yourself out there?

h/t to Genius.com

Saturday’s Theme Music

Oh, the cats.

Well, first, oh, the smoke.

Yesterday’s sun was a pale red imitation of its usual glory, keeping temperatures down, but, man, that smoke. Health experts are saying that Oregon’s smoke has gone off the chart and is the worse in the world in some places.

Because of all this, we were keeping the cats in. Tucker was good about it. After showing interest in leaving, he shrugged, swished his tail, washed his chest, curled up, and went to sleep. Boo was erratic, insisting on trying to leave before finally settling by my feet.

But young Papi…oh, boy. The ginger wonder insisted every few hours through the night, “I must leeeaaavvveee.” I finally gave in to him at eight thirty this morning. Then I had to mask up, go out and call him back.*

Which brings me to today’s music. It came to me as I walked around calling the boy. Here’s The Proclaimers with “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” from 1983.

*(And now, the ginger glory is sitting here, staring at me and mewing, “I must leeeaaavvveee…”)

Thursday’s Theme Music

As I was in the bathroom cleaning up and doing things (I farted the opening chords to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, for which I’m pleased, proud, and embarrassed), another song kicked into my head. Don’t know why it started. As it won’t leave, I’m sharing it to drive it out of my mind before I go out of my mind.

Here is Dion with “Runaround Sue” from 1961.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

A rough night culminated in late slumber that ended with a dream and music.

I’ve posted “Highway Star'” by Deep Purple here before, but it was in my dream, so I thought I’d stay with it. It was the live version from their Made in Japan album, 1972. I had that album and used to listen to it at ear-bleeding levels. It’s a damn intense, unrelenting song, an eruption of unapologetic rock, almost to such levels that it’s parody.

Here it is, the looonnng live version, fresh from ’72.

Monday’s Theme Music

A little Wallflowers invaded my stream this morning. “6th Avenue Heartache” came out in 1996. About a homeless man, the lines that caught my fancy this morning is the refrain.

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

h/t Genius.com

The song has a Bob Dylan/Tom Petty flavor to it. That shouldn’t surprise; Mike Campbell, the guitarist who worked with Petty so much, plays the slide guitar, and Jakob Dylan, who wrote the song, is Bob Dylan’s offspring.

It’s a mellow throwback. Enjoy your day, and wear your masks, please.

Cheers

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