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.


Thursday’s Theme Music

Sometimes, a song like today fits because you’re feeling down, as I am today, full of self-pity, as I am today, because you’re sick, as I am today, so you have to put shit off and not do shit, as I am today, shit being an expression used in this case as a synonym for things or activities, which kind of infuriates you, as it infuriates me today, darkening your mood, as it darkens my mood today.

Here’s “Loser” by Beck from 1993. Sing along if you want. I’m not, but I can’t hear you, so it won’t bother me if you do.



Wednesday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music is Live’s “Lightning Crashes” (1993).

I have several Live albums, but I find I must be in just the right mood to play them. It’s a very narrow space.

“Lightning Crashes”, though, came to me this week because one of my nieces gave birth to her third child. All this was shared on Facebook. Everyone is doting on the sweet newborn, including my mother, and there’s rich photographic evidence.  The newborn is Mom’s seventh great-grandchild. That juxtaposition of Mom holding this young new life invited “Lightning Crashes” into my stream and the circle of transference of life and existing. One dies, and one is born, and so it goes. There’s a lot of overlap as it happens.


Wednesday’s Theme Music

This song, “One Night Love Affair,” has been streaming off and on in my head throughout the last several days. Although it was released and became a hit in 1984 when I was stationed on Okinawa, I associate the song with Onizuka Air Station in Sunnyvale, California.

I was in charge of the base command post at Onizuka. We were living in base housing on Moffett NAS in Mountain View. Several of the people who worked for me were neighbors. We used to throw huge parties, playing music and volleyball, singing, dancing, grilling out and drinking for a day.

I made mixed tapes for these affairs. One of the tapes included several Bryan Adams songs, including “One Night Love Affair”. This song, in particular, would always start an argument. It followed a Boston song, “Foreplay/Long Time”. One guy loved Boston. He thought Boston and Van Halen were the greatest rock bands ever. He despised Bryan Adams. The other liked Boston and Van Halen. While he preferred Bush and STP, he staunchly defended Bryan Adams as a rocker. Once this discussion commenced, it would continue off and on until the party ended. Sometimes they’d be the last ones there, still talking about it.

The memories make me smile.

Saturday’s Theme Music

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ summary noted that the Doomsday Clock was set to two minutes to midnight last January, 2018. I was thinking about that today as I streamed Aerosmith’s “Livin’ on the Edge”. The song, about the world’s sorry state, was written and released in 1993, after the 1992 Rodney King Riots, sometimes also called the LA Riots.

A quarter of century later, and I think we’re closer to the edge now then we were in 1993. Unfortunately, nobody has a tracking mechanism like the Doomsday Clock to declare how close we are to the edge. Is it a foot? A mile? A million miles? I suppose the edge is different for each of us, and varies by attitude and world events. On some days, I feel like I can stand on my toes, lean forward and look at over the edge. On other days, it’s a distant horizon.


Saturday’s Theme Music

This was another song (aren’t many of them?) that prompted me to ask, “What are they singing?” This was P.I. (Pre-Internet), when the means of learning a song’s lyrics were more challenging today. (Cue old curmudgeon mode: “These kids today don’t know how good they have it,” except, of course, worries about getting shot in school, or being black and stopped by police.)

Sorry for the detour. When I heard Tool’s song, “Sober”, in 1992, I could clearly make out some lyrics. Others made little sense. Then, when I finally learned them all, I confirmed, the phrases and words aren’t necessarily the logical poetry of seeing a flower or a tree, or being a cloud. The person in the song was angry, frustrated, and confused, trying to understand themselves and why they do things, and sometimes asking for help to overcome their urges and needs. These are things many people face, but can’t fully articulate. This song, backed up by sharp, bitter guitar notes, expresses it better than most people can.

Powerful song. Not much for dancing, mind you.

Sunday’s Theme Music

I wasn’t enthralled with Duran Duran and their music. Some of their music hit the charts in a big way, and friends like them, so I was exposed to them. Despite that, every once a song strikes a sweet spot in the day and hangs with you.

So it happened this morning as I looked out the window. It looked deceptively warm and beautiful, deceptively because my weather station warned me that it was thirty-one F outside. But it was beautiful, yet ordinary with its vistas of far, snowy tree covered mountains juxtaposed against the local greenery and blooming plum trees and daffodils. This is our every day view, so ordinary and special. Yet, changes, from seasonal movement to economic shifts and the ways of life and death, were visible from where I was.

So I streamed, “But I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world, somehow I have to find. And, as I try to find my way in an ordinary world, I will learn to survive.”

Today’s Theme Music

“There’s something wrong with the world today.”

When Aerosmith sang that in nineteen ninety-three, I think fuckin’ A, there’s a lot wrong with the world today. I don’t think we’ve advanced much since ’93. It feels like we’re sliding down a steep hill. It’s getting steeper, and we’re picking up speed. I can’t see the bottom, and I don’t know what’s down there, and all these things scare the hell out of me. The Doomsday Clock stayed at three minutes until midnight until twenty seventeen. Now it’s been moved to two and half minutes before midnight.



For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed set at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s. In its two most recent annual announcements on the Clock, the Science and Security Board warned: “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.  See the full statement from the Science and Security Board on the 2017 time of the Doomsday Clock.


Don’t know why it matters to me; I’m sixty-one. How long until death? Yes, but isn’t it the quality of life until death that matters? And do I not want to think the world became better while I was in it, and maybe helped make it a little, teeny-tiny bit better?

Here’s Aerosmith, with “Livin’ On the Edge.”

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