Monday’s Theme Music

A beautiful sun warms a clear blue sky here in Ashland, southern Oregon, this morning. All is calm and serene. Into this streams a song by America, “Lonely People” (1974).

I’m fortunate to have family, but more, a writing process and endeavors which I enjoy, and a couple cats. Thanks to all this, I rarely have moments of feeling alone or isolated. But there are too many out there who are lonely people, even when they’re with friends and family, and more who are lonely, and alone, in isolation.

It’s them I think of this morning.

This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And ride that highway in the sky

This is for all the single people
Thinking that love has left them dry
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
You never know until you try

h/t to AZlyrics.com

 

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Saturday’s Theme Music

I awoke with a Pearl Jam/Foreigner/Yes medley bubbling through my stream, with “Alive”, “Long, Long Way from Home”, and “Roundabout” dominating. With a mental throw of some imaginary dice, “Roundabout”, Yes’ 1972 hit, was selected.

Many fond memories are associated with “Roundabout” for me, and they’re mostly related to art. I loved painting and drawing when I was young, something that I continued to do into my late twenties, playing with paints and styles. I typically put music on, and then went to town. Regular favorites cropped up. In the early days, my music was on vinyl. I had an open reel system, so I recorded a painting tape. Multiple Yes songs made it to the tape. Looking back, I realize that progressive-rock and blues dominated it.

Alright, stop writing, Michael. Here’s “Roundabout”.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s song is a natural for the times. I started to add, IMO – in my opinion – but isn’t that redundant? This is my post, so it should be my opinion. Yet, I took the time to writesplain that to you.

Ten Years After released “I’d Love to Change the World” in 1971 as a response to the violence, protests, emerging counter-culture, resistant establishment, and war. Gosh, does any of that have any echos in today’s world? Naw, probably just me.

Like most of TYA’s offerings, the song features some powerful Alvin Lee guitar work, which is always good to hear. Beyond the rock essence of guitar and dream, these lyrics, and how they’re presented in the song, plaintive, accepting, and reflective, spoke to me as a fifteen-year-old when the song came out, but still talks to me as a sixty-three-year-old.

I’d love to change the world

But I don’t know what to do.

So I’ll leave it up to you.

I think most of us want to change the world. We also know what to do, but it’s an embattled, relentless, and exhausting process. It seems more so in the Internet era, where lies and bullshit gains instant traction and never seems to die, like the Terminator rising again and again.

So I’ll leave it up to you.

Fourteen

A beard and mustache like smudges on the face

long and thick brown hair pinned up to play baseball

faded bell-bottom blue jeans with a large hole in the rear

and no undies underneath

white high-top canvas shoes

hand-painted fluorescent orange

a worn white tee-shirt with a green marijuana leaf in the center of the chest

under by a torn military fatigue shirt signed by everyone met

worn open like a jacket

quoting Asimov, Clapton, Kirk, and Clemente

reading Leary, Chekov, Dumas, Tolkien, Heller, and Knowles

listening to the Stones, Humble Pie, Cream, Jimi, Janis, and Bob

dancing to Sly, Chicago, Three Dog Night, and EW&F

runnin’, walkin’ and bikin’ to go anywhere and everywhere

through any weather and across any terrain

That’s the fourteen-year-old that I remember.

Saturday’s Theme Music

After staggering out of bed and then using the bathroom, I started feeding the cats. “I Am the Walrus” by the Beatles from waaayyy back in 1968 when I was twelve, began streaming in my head. “I am the eggman — woo — they are the eggman — woo — I am the walrus. Goo goo g’ joob.”

WTH? Why? It’s another mind mystery, innit, a nonsense song in a nonsense world after some nonsense dreams. Guess it’ll work for a quiet summer day that seems like a warm autumn day, as though the seasons have been turned into a jigsaw puzzle that need to be assembled.

Listen to it. Let me know what you think. Goo goo g’ joob.

 

Unforgotten

Memories,

I make them now,

so far my brain hasn’t forgotten how.

Time shoots by in a quickening blast

and I recall with fondness a nebulous past.

Starry-eyed and glittery mind, I used to look ahead.

Now, sometimes, it’s wearying getting out of bed.

My oceans of thoughts seem dark but calm,

a prelude, or harbinger, of a once-remembered song.

I seek comfort, I seek reminders, I seek the past,

even though I know, like the future,

it never lasts.

 

 

Tuesday’s Theme Music

This one comes completely via the memory stream, inserted their by a friend’s Facebook post.

When I was fifteen, I’d listen to this McDonald and Giles tune, “Tomorrow’s People – the Children of Today” (1971) on my old phonograph player. A quarter weighed the arm down against the needle skipping. I’d acquired some huge speakers and wired this hybrid stereo. I’d put this on, lay down, and listen to it at a soft volume. I found it relaxing and reassuring.

Bittersweet to hear this song, then and now. It’s about children playing in sunshine. One set of lines that always strikes me:

And who will open their eyes
To see what they can see
And then while looking around
Feel the warmth of reality

h/t to Genius.com

At the time I listened to this, I’d left Mom’s home and was living with my Dad. He was in the Air Force and freshly back from overseas assignments. I read and drew a lot, a loner, listening to music. I’d known families back then where the children lived in hard misery, parents who tortured their children with cigarettes or made them stay in a closet for hours in the dark. It was monstrous to think of adults treating children like that. Then, of course, I matured and discovered that there are adults who brutalize children and delight in it.

I admit, I never thought my government, the government that I joined and supported during my military years, would ever be part of the monstrosities we’re learning about in the Trump Camps. I’m ashamed and mortified.

Sorry that it’s such a downer of a post. Probably shouldn’t write this things until I’ve had at least a sniff of freshly brewed coffee to mitigate my dark side.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s song, “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)” came out in 1974. I consider this song part of the theme music for my eighteenth year of life. I graduated high school, turned eighteen years old, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1974. I think the song celebrates my attitude toward rock and roll; it’s just music, but —

I use the song for references, to celebrate, and to time-travel through memories as surely as Marcel Proust’s madeleines. I know it’s only rock and roll, and not significant in many universal schemes (although there’s a potential story, there, isn’t there, about how rock and roll changes things?), but I like it.

The song’s opening, too, offers exasperated questioning about the past and new expectations.

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain’t he strange?

h/t to AZlyrics.com

I’ve found that opening question appropriate for my life. What will it take to satisfy the bosses, lovers, friends, family, and gods? Each employs a different measuring system. The tricks are to find what works, what annoys them and causes me enough pain to avoid doing it again, and then monitor it all for changes – ’cause change is, like, you know, probable. Beyond all that shit, it’s a great song to sing to my stream as I walk or drive on my lonesome.

 

Tareytons Are Better

Being part of this era of pop-culture and consumer living is wonderful. We witness the rise and fall of trends, and technology grants us visitation rights with what was then and how it was done.

I grew up in the cigarette culture. Born in 1956, the doctors and nurses were probably smoking when I was delivered. Everyone was smoking in the 1960s. Movie and television stars used cigarettes as props for being cool, sophisticated, and fashionable. Mom and Dad smoked while doing everything from working on the car (yeah, that was a thing, then, and it was probably not a safe thing) to entertaining guests. Children stole cigarettes and smoke in secret to be like their parents. A smoky haze filled bars, airplanes, and restaurants.

I didn’t smoke cigarettes. I smoke marijuana, a little hash, and then cigars and pipes, but never cigarettes (yea, me?). I never smoked much of any of it, and quit any smoking thirteen years ago. I have sometimes vaped some marijuana since then.

I was thinking about the cigarette smoking and their commercials, jingles, and slogans. Do you know about those days, when cigarette advertising was as dominant as medicine advertising now is? If not, you should learn about “Tareytons are better, charcoal is why,” and cigarettes that were made for women, or manly cigarettes like Camels and Marlboros, and the meaning behind LSMFT*.

We made fun of it all back then. Winston had a jingle about how good their cigarettes were. I’ve included that below. We sang a different song about Winstons.

“Winstons taste bad, like the one I just had. No filter, no flavor, just toilet paper.”

 

* LSMFT – Lucky Strikes Mean Fine Tobacco.

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