Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music, “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum (1993), came from writing thoughts about the current novel in progress, April Showers 1921. As the story fleshes out more, becoming more substantial, I entertain different scenarios about what could happen, reactions and twists, and what could be said. One idea was that a person was thought to have runaway.

The novel’s protagonists are all teenagers. As I thought about their situation, my stream took a turn toward runaway children and their existence. That brought out today’s song.  Images and details about runaways are often featured in their videos and during Soul Asylum’s performances of this song.

Sadly, not all children were actually runaways. The missing aren’t always hiding. Sometimes, they’ve been hidden.


Monday’s Theme Music

Organizing writing thoughts this morning delivered today’s theme music. Although I wasn’t thinking about murder, I was numbering and ordering what I was going to do. From that began the Sting/Andy Summers jazzy song, “Murder by Numbers” by The Police (1983).

It’s all about one, two, three, as easy to learn as a, b, c.


It was the fourth series of the show. I’d watched and enjoyed two episodes. Character driven but with a strong plot, the pacing was fast, with powerful acting. Then I watched the third episode…

As George T. would say, “Oh myyyy…”

I had to know what happened next. The plotting became diabolical, with more twists and cutbacks than a lonely mountain road. The characters’ complexities increased, the acting stayed sharp and the pacing intensified.  WTH, I thought as Monday slipped into Tuesday, I’ll watch one more. Then I watched another, and then, well, only one remained.

So it was that I’d binge-watched the final four episodes. And it was fucking brilliant and clever, what I look for in my entertainment. No wonder it’s been consistently nominated for awards, and often wins. Love that series, but they’re so far apart. Just like they do to me with Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and several other series I enjoy.

Sure, I didn’t get to bed until two thirty on Tuesday morning, but I have no regrets, and lots of coffee.


The Shooting Dream

I dreamed last night that I was shooting people. Don’t worry, I hadn’t gone on a rampage; I was being told by others who to shoot and when.

They were real people, and not voices in my head, or ghosts. It was a beautiful day. I cringe to note this, but I was on a grassy knoll. Around me, though, was mostly country side. I had a rifle. A person beside me – not anyone that I know – would be given a piece of paper. They would read something and then look around, and point, and I would aim and shoot.

It didn’t bother me in the dream, but this is not me. I’ve gone hunting a few times, but didn’t like it and stopped. I was in command and control in the military, and controlled nukes, but I eventually grew to dislike that role. As I’ve lived, I’ve concluded that there are enough threats to life out there without us going about killing one another. Yes, I understand that life is finite, and we’ll all die, and killing another is simply advancing the outcome. But I also understand that killing brings waves of actions and reactions. Some of those waves never stop, but build and expand, creating more killing.

So, it was a startling dream for me to experience. But I was just following orders, right?

Sunday’s Theme Music

I don’t know why this song streamed into my mind this morning. I guess my neurons were bored with the chicken and avocado kibble dream.

“Road Rage” by Catatonia came out in 1998. I don’t recall hearing it, though. I encountered it in Paris a few years later when I was doing a trade show. It was always interesting to discover what other countries were listening to, and how different some of the music sounded in comparison to America’s radio blarings.

I liked the lyrics of “Road Rage” but didn’t understand them all. I was singing some of it to myself at our booth. Eventually, one of the people from the U.K. who was attached to the exposition organizers told me the song’s name.

The Internet was getting strong and healthy by then, so I hunted down the song, eventually learning about the murder it was based upon, and finally reading an interview with the singer, Cerys Matthews, about the song and her telephone conversation with the victim’s mother. It’s not a new premise, how technology drives us crazy sometimes, and sporadically ends with murder.

Anything can drive us over the edge.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

So, reading and listening to news reports (“He was only shot three times in the back, not eight, with three shots in his side” — doesn’t change that he was armed only with his cell phone and was in his own backyard), an old Rolling Stones song started streaming through my mind.

The police in New York City
They chased a boy right through the park
In a case of mistaken identity
They put a bullet through his heart

Heartbreakers with your forty four
I wanna tear your world apart
You heart breaker with your forty four
I wanna tear your world apart


This song was released in 1973, over forty years ago. Pathetic how little has changed, with police shooting black men for little or no probable cause in America, a trend that’s being carried over to homeowners, who fear fourteen-year-old black boys asking for directions. Sad. Sickening.

Here it is, with the bizarre title “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” by the Rolling Stones, from 1973.

Monday’s Theme Music

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle

Yes, being stuck in the middle…not fun. We find that again, with the Las Vegas massacre. We’re stuck in the middle of a gummy, messy life, struggling for traction, and spinning our wheels.

Though I need to look back to all the revolutions that have already passed, and the solutions found, and the resolutions made, and the resolve embraced. Humanity follows this long arc. We attempt to flower, but some are afraid to flower. They want it the way it was, and think, that’s the way it should always be. Others of us think, that was good, but it excluded too many people. We trampled too many others to have it all our way. There must be a better way ahead. So, we keep pushing, and will keep pushing, even as others push back.

Today’s Theme Music

“This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We’re stealing it back.”

I was thirteen in 1969. The Tate-LaBianca murders exploded over the news. I remember newspaper headlines, photographs and television news coverage of the Manson Family actions and the subsequent investigations as clearly as I remember the assassinations of RFK, JFK and MLK, the Watts riots, or the Apollo moon landing. Helter Skelter became the symbol of the murders because the words were written in blood at the scene. The murders became books and movies under the name ‘Helter Skelter’.  It wasn’t an accident. Charles Manson believed and taught the Beatles’ ‘White Album’, including ‘Helter Kelter’, contained coded messages for him and his followers.

If you can escape the murderous connection, the lyrics are good to sing as you’re walking around:

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again

The song, written by Paul McCartney, would never be heard the same for many of us. Here is U2, trying to change it back for us in 1988.





The Beer Group

The beer group met last night, and I attended. Naturally, conversations rotated around weather, movies, literature, science, Trump and murder.

The murder is the worse topic of the moment. A twelve-year-old boy, Zeke, stabbed his fifty-two-year-old Mother to death and injured his older sister. We were asking why this happened. Three of the beerites personally know the family. Zeke was a loner, without many friends. The family seemed well off, living in a 4,000 square foot home in a good location. They’d just moved in in 2015.

The father was away. He flew home to this situation yesterday afternoon, his wife in the morgue, killed by his son, his son in a juvenile lock-up, and his daughter in the hospital, injured by his son.

Returning to more comfortable topics, several members told of bad weather experiences, sliding off roads, breaking axles, encountering abandoned vehicles, having chains snap. Then it was to the movies, where nobody save me has seen anything recently except ‘Rogue One’. 

That was astonishing; ‘Fences’ was a play here last year and several went to see it. It was mildly surprising to learn they didn’t see the movie. I’d seen the movie and was eager to discuss and the rest. A few were talking about going to see ‘La La Land’ because of the Golden Globe Awards won. None had seen ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Loving’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’. Two others had seen ‘Arrival’. Most surprising was that none had seen ‘Hidden Figures’. Several of them were engineers in the space program in 1962 and were working on the problems highlighted in the movie. I’d think they’d want to see how the era was portrayed, if nothing else.

But no; they waxed on about different problems and the creative solutions found for them, and the challenges of new math, or of coping with the complexities of shifting variables very quickly and things never experienced before.

TRump, of course, was villified. Not all were Hillary supporters, but none present can stand TRump. With head-shaking and angry voices, we talked about his press conference, the urine leaks, the Conway interview with Seth Meyers, the recall of the ambassadors, and his plan to turn his finances over to family members.

Ed, celebrating his eighty-fourth year, bought the beer and pizza. The rest of us donated twenty dollars to the cause of supporting STEM in school and after-school activities in local poor and under-privileged areas.

The establishment was still offering that porter that we all detest, and will continue offering it until the keg is gone. Fortunately, we endured with some local Ashland Amber and Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA. It was a good evening in the warmth of friendship, and a pleasant way to whittle off a few hours of life.

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