Thursday’s Theme Music

Sunrise came at 7:34 in Ashland on this twenty-first day of 2021, 01/21/21, and sunset, if the machinery works right will come at 5:11 PM. While it’s 37 F now, a high of 53 is expected. It’s a cloudy sky, which usually accompanies warmer temperatures at this time of year. It’s when the sky is clearest that it becomes coldest.

I enjoyed the musical entertainment provided the nation during President Biden’s inauguration celebrations. Several stood out for me, but I especially soaked in John Legend singing “Feeling Good”. Pow. Knocked me into the next year.

Demi Lovato covering Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day” was another performance that touched me. Bill Withers was from my area. I lived outside of Beckley, WV, for three years, graduating there, and Bill was raised there, so he’s our native son. Covers of his songs always stirs memories of him and that area and time.

What of you? Any particular song or performance touch you in a way?

The inauguration day’s celebration theme was pretty much new day, new times, right? That’s what I took. Maybe I missed the mark. I’m thinking, how do you top any of those songs as theme music.

Well, today, I don’t. I’m just listening to John Legend “Feeling Good”. I’m familiar with the Nina Simone 1965 cover, but I’m staying with John Legend’s powerful rendition.

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, yeah
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, ooh
And I’m feeling good

h/t to Genius lyrics.com

Hey, stay positive. Test negative. Wear a mask and get the vaccine. A new day is coming. A new day has arrived. Feel it?

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Today is January 20, 2021, a Wednesday. Sunrise was at 7:34 AM and sunrise is coming at 5:10 PM. Between them, the weather looks hazier than yesterday but still sunny. It’s currently 34 degrees F but we expect warmer.

Congratulations to President Joe Biden, forty-sixth POTUS, and Vice-President Kamela Harris. The inauguration ceremonies in D.C. were on the television at the same time as my wife’s Zoomercise class. There’s usually seventy to eighty people present; today there were twenty-eight. The rest were off watching the inauguration, we suspect. My wife exercised but kept the television on to hear President Biden’s speech and the Vice-President’s speech, and the rest of the pomp.

I walked two miles yesterday in the late afternoon, masking when I encountered people but trying to stay to routes that let me avoid them. Going up allowed me the privilege of gazing across the valley to where sunshine bathed green and brown hills, evidence that we’re creeping out of winter and toward spring. An Oasis song from 1996, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, came to mind and stayed with me. I thought that it should be today’s theme music.

Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don’t you know you might find
A better place to play
You said that you’d never been
But all the things that you’ve seen
Will slowly fade away

So I start a revolution from my bed
‘Cause you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside, summertime’s in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
You ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out

h/t AZLyrics.com

Stay positive, test negative. Wear a mask. Get the vaccine, and lean forward.

Friday’s Theme Music

Todays sunrise in Ashland, OR, was 7:40 AM. Sunset is 5:04 PM. A light gray overcast sky keeps the sunshine at bay. The temperature is 42 degrees F but a high of 56 is projected, along with light rain.

Today’s theme music is “Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace, 2006. I chose the music on behalf of the United States and the nation that it’s become. Torn by division, rhetoric and activity turns more violent and urgent. As blacks have been killed by police, people took to the streets to protest the deaths. Many of them were senseless, but officers were exonerated. Several particularly infuriating people, like Breonna Taylor, unarmed, in bed, innocent of everything but being black, killed by police in their zest to ‘serve and protect’. There was also George Floyd, killed by an officer who was busy serving and protecting, by kneeling on his neck until he died while his fellow officers, serving and protecting, looked on. This was apparently for a report of a crime of passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Numbingly, those are just two examples that fueled the anger and protests that swept the nation on behalf of justice in 2020.

Meanwhile, on the right, they got busy protesting those protests, screaming in response, “Blue Lives Matter”. That blue lives really didn’t matter to them became apparent (as if we weren’t sure) as Trump supporters, who are quite right wing, conservative, and white supremacists, battled with the police in support of a coup attempt, beating many police officers, killing one. On the right, they believe that the 2020 election was stolen by ‘the left’. They think that there was all sorts of fraud, uncounted ballots, and thrice counted ballots that helped propel Biden to his landslide (in Trump’s words, as Biden won the EC by the same number as Trump did in 2016). Trump himself, and GOP cohorts, continue feeding this lie. They insist that evidence exists.

This evidence has never been shown.

On the right, they claim the evidence will be shown, and we’ll all change our tune. What’s keeping them from showing this evidence anywhere is the response given by the rest of us.

One note that has everyone (outside of the people who believe that the 2020 election as stolen) shaking their heads, is why would this all-powerful election-stealing apparatus only steal the presidential election? Why would they not steal the Senate and House? Why wouldn’t they also steal the state elections? They use the same ballots. Apparently, though, while the right believes this election-stealing apparatus is all-powerful, it’s not powerful enough to steal those elections. Yeah, SMFH.

With Trump impeached again, Trump unwilling to concede, little change to police policies and practices, and FBI reports that the right have violent plans to change the results of the 2020 election, “Animal I Have Become”, a song about a man struggling with drug addiction, seems right.

On a WordPress note, they appeared to have fixed some issues, in my experience. The site published properly yesterday. Of course, today when I went to post, I couldn’t bring up a page. Took three tries, and the whole ‘post/block’ sidebar had vanished and needed to be called up.

Stay positive, test negative, moderate your drinking, and wear pants (and a mask) when appropriate. Cheers

Stuck In Arsehold

I was stuck in Arsehold for the last two weeks. You may have experienced the same.

I’ve been writing a novel while locked away. That’s not so different from my normal life, where I’m always working on a novel. Many people think I’m working on one novel forever and a day, but I’ve finished many. I shrug them off; I enjoy novel writing.

I think under ordinary circumstances, this would have been finished a few months ago. These aren’t normal times, at least for me. I’m assuming a lot with those words. It’s sadly probably normal for quite a few people to stay locked up in one place, with limited contact for other people. I think of prisons. Nursing homes. Hospitals. Yeah, getting downright depressing, isn’t it?

Some say that such solitude is a gift. I’m not one. While I’m a solitary person, I like outside stimulation. (Sounds a bit naughty, doesn’t it?) Like to walk to clear my mind, shift into writing mode, and slip into the noisy solitude of a good cuppa coffee in a coffee shop, hunch over my laptop, and tap away.

All that normal-for-me isn’t available now. Coronavirus lockdown, you know. Although I have coffee and space, I also have wife and cats. They struggle with my writing boundaries. My wife tries respecting them, but news of the world sets her off. I also don’t try enforcing my isolation with her, as she’s in the same situation as me. She’s much more verbal, however, and craves other contact. While she’s dancing and exercising Monday through Friday via Zoom, and meets with her book club once a month with Zoom, and Zooms into a coffee klatch almost every week, she likes expressing her opinions and insights vigorously and out loud. There’s usually a lot of swearing involved, too. She’s quite passionate about social justice, equality, human rights, and women’s rights. She also hates Trump and has little respect for most other Republicans. So I try to indulge, but then I suffer. Either way, one of us must suffer in our situation. We get over it, but it’s not ideal.

The cats, however, don’t give a damn that I’m writing, reading, playing a game, sleeping, eating, showering, or sitting on the toilet. Three cats share ownership over me. They have their own secret agendas, which surprisingly, often involves me. Part of that is which cat owns the most of me, and whether that’s acceptable to the other cats.

Between wife, news of the world, the coming and going of the muses, and the cats, novel writing progress has been uneven.

But I persevere. Sometimes, the worse interruption is by me to myself. Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. General malaise. It struck hardest in Arsehold.

Arsehold is a place in my novel, wholly made up. I came up with the name months ago, a whim that made me laugh. I stuck with it, creating the setting around the name, devising the history of how it came to be. Yet, my characters struggled to get through Arsehold. I naturally responded, per my proclivities, to overanalyze what was going on and why, attempting to seek the root of my issues. I thought it might be the general tone. Perhaps some of the introduced characters weren’t clear enough. Maybe, maybe my characters shouldn’t be in Arsehold. And what happens after Arsehold?

Writing helps me think by creating a funnel through which I must focus. With all this mental flaying, I did a lot of writing about the novel in progress, addressing the concept, characters, story, plot, locations and settings, etc. Eventually, I took all the assembled material of the novel in progress, one hundred twenty-five thousand words, and began reading, editing, and revising, putting the story into the order that I think it’ll be in published form.

That helped. By the time I’d reached Arsehold (almost sounds like a song lyric — I can hear CCR doing stuck in Arsehold instead of Lodi), I’d discovered that the errors that I thought I was seeing weren’t there. It always scares me to think or say, hey, this is pretty damn good, about what I’m writing, but that’s what I concluded. Of course, it’s my work; if I didn’t think it was good, maybe I should be working on something else, right?

Anyway, I think I might get through Arsehold this week (knock on wood, he said, tapping the side of his head). Got my coffee; time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

A Meeting of the Time Travelers’ Political Party

Sometime in the future.

“We’re still awaiting results. The past is changing, but the results are still coming in.”

“More importantly, we still exist.”

Murmurs of agreement went around the gathering; the general consensus before they’d begun this endeavor was the greatest proof that they’d succeeded in the past was that the party didn’t exist in the present.

A west coast reps was the Planning Committee Chair. Calling for order, she continued with her report. “We unleashed COVID-19 at the end of 2019. Sadly, but as predicted, this had the desired impact. Travel was reduced, leading to less armed conflicts as division between neo-fascists and the rest grew. Many refused to wear masks, as predicted.” She gave a nod toward another rep, who briefly beamed in acknowledgement. “The economy suffered as the working poor had their incomes cut by substantial amounts, leading to dissatisfaction that guaranteed Trump would lose the 2020 election. A vaccine was found, with limited impact, also as predicted. Likewise, Trump’s administration failed to plan ahead, as predicted.”

Rep. Bacon, Chair of Predictions, said, “They’re egregiously predictable, which makes for the situation of that time even more unfathomable. They’d consistently demonstrated no concern for human life or welfare, eschewing all principles in favor of increasing personal wealth among the wealthiest. It doesn’t make sense. It — “

“It is human nature,” said the Human Nature Chair. “Let’s not have another polemic.”

“Also predictable,” another rep called to a brief burst of chuckling.

The Planning Committee Chair resumed. “COVID-19 variants have been introduced as we speak. Given the failures to wear masks, plan for proper vaccination in advance, resistance to and distrust of vaccinations, and rallies and protests on behalf of the defeated president, a surge in cases and deaths will be seen in 2021.”

“But will that be enough?” another rep asked.

All eyes turned toward the Chair of Predictions. He pursed his lips. “We don’t know. It remains to be seen.” He put a hand up. “That’s not meant as a joke. If it doesn’t have the desired impact, well…we do have greater variants lined up.”

Thoughtful silence reigned for several seconds. “Is the asteroid still in play?” a rep asked.

The Chair of Predictions nodded. “Yes, but we’re holding onto it as our trump card.” He grimaced. “No joke intended, again.”

“So it won’t be deployed until…?”

“That’s right,” the Chair of Predictions said. “Twenty twenty-four.” He bleakly smiled. “If needed.”

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Today is a repeat. Used this song a few years ago, but it’s a satisfying song and worthy of being the theme music today.

“Think” by Aretha Franklin came out in 1968. While I love that version, the Blues Brothers version (1980) is a tad stronger. According to Wikipedia, the thing about the movie version is that Aretha had to lip sync the song for the movie. Aretha isn’t used to lip syncing so a number of takes were required. The movie clip also features people no longer with us – John Belushi, Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, Carolyn Franklin, and Margaret Branch. Technology lets us enjoy them again.

The song arrived in me this morning while I was thinking about dreams. But after reflecting on its words, it’s a good song for this era of lies and insurrection. Think. Think about what you’re trying to do. Think about the consequences. Apparently, many of the insurrectionists didn’t think about the consequences of sedition, and didn’t take it well when they were arrested and put on no-fly lists. Should’ve thought about it. Of course, it starts with the outgoing Prez, who does little thinking about what’s going on beyond the little circle of his ego.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and enjoy the music! Cheers

Tuesday’s Theme Music

I’ve been feeling a change in energy for some months. We’ll see whether this woo-woo sensation of being inordinately optimistic and hopeful is founded in reality or the first stages of dementia or senility. After a particularly rousing dream set, the sensations were sharper today, leading to lyrics from the Spacehog song, “In the Meantime”.

And in the end, we shall achieve in time
The thing they call divine

When all the stars will smile
For me
When all is well and well is all for all
And forever after
Maybe in the meantime wait and see

h/t to Genius.com

In the meantime, my mind proceeded to bring the song fully to stream. I hope you enjoy it and find a worthy choice as theme music for this Tuesday morning in 2021. Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and vaccinate. Cheers

New Case of Amazonitis

Amazonitis struck again. Packages were supposed to arrive by Sunday. When such didn’t happen, I checked the calendar (yes, yesterday was Sunday and today is Monday) and the front porch (nope, no package — but was it stolen?) and then went to Amazon. After clicking on Orders and Track Package, I was given this message:

Now expected January 11 – January 12

We’re very sorry your delivery is late. Most late packages arrive in a day. If you have not received your package by tomorrow, you can come back here the next day for a refund.

Well, where was it, then? When I checked on Saturday, they assured me it was ‘on the way’. I clicked on a link for more shipping details.

Wow. I was impressed! That package worked hard on Friday, making tremendous progress from Vancouver to Portland, rushing between Amazon facilities and carrier facilities. Where’d it go after that?

Who knows? If only there was some capacity to track these things, some system whereby the packages are provided a number, and then under that system, let’s call it a tracking system, where its progress is followed, with details provided to the expectant customer about when it’ll arrive.

Fortunately for me, in this issue, it’s again not at all crucial. It’s more of a minor annoyance. I put the annoyance factor below the football team that I root for (we’ll not speak their name) getting bounced from the playoffs. It’s not like the package is carrying critical medicine, desperately needed food, or almost as importantly, coffee.

This is more of a first-world whine about setting expectations and having those expectations dashed. (Well, ‘dashed’ is a little strong. Let’s say, ‘failed’.) Yes, I’m aware of COVID-19. I’m aware many people are at risk out there for this stupid little package. I’m grateful to those people. I’m just having a little pre-coffee Monday morning fun, venting. It’s not like I have places to go.

It’s not like I’m a package.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Attacking issues head-on has always been my preferred style. It doesn’t make me popular with many but to avoid doing things because you don’t want to upset others doesn’t often work. Likewise, fearing of the outcome isn’t a good reason for not doing the right thing. Defining ‘the right thing’ can be quarrelsome. Recent example: Trump supporters are screaming ‘stop the steal’. They think they’re doing the right thing because they’re feeding on false information. Their dear leader, aided and abetted by Fox News, OANN, Newsmax, and spineless Republican politicians at multiple levels, keeps barking about illegal votes and election fraud. Matters have been addressed in court; the evidence has never been found nor presented. That doesn’t stop the mad dog and his followers.

With all of this in my head this AM, my brain tied it up with the Incubus song, “Drive”, the 2000 song all about resisting fear and standing up.

[Verse 1]
Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I, I can’t help but ask myself
How much I let the fear take the wheel and steer

[Pre-Chorus 1]
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I’m
Beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

[Chorus]
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
I’ll be there

h/t to Genius.com

*PAUSE*. I know that there are some out there that’ll respond, well, isn’t that a reason not to wear a mask, lockdown, and practice social distancing? I reply, “No. That’s not the same at all.”

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. Also, keep up with the facts. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in lies and fear. Cheers

Friday’s Theme Music

A classic song by The Beatles, “Revolution” (1968), crashed my mental stream this morning with the intensity of an asteroid hitting Earth.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

h/t to AZLyrics.com

Yes, I’m not happy with D.C. status quo. Its BAU approach doesn’t address needs quickly enough. I want change but I don’t want destruction.

Meanwhile, reading of the assault on the capitol the other day and the aftermath, it’s Kabuki theater. While photos of identified Trump supporters spill over the news and social media, and they crow about what they’ve done, some who’ve identified and called out claim their innocence despite the overwhelming evidence that says other. They left behind a swath of evidence. Despite this, right-wing media and supporters have also attempted to blame antifa. The disconnects with reality would be hilarious except for the seriousness behind their willingness to casually trample democracy and abuse freedom. Going back to the song — and Trump — there are always claims, but where are the plans? Where is the thinking? And that extends to his base. There’s nothing concrete there, just vague notions of what they will ‘do’.

Stay positive. Test negative. Wear a mask. Enjoy life as you can. Cheers

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