Wednesday’s Theme Music

After reading headline bullshit about more Trump lies (and other pols, but mostly the mano one) and general bullshit that’s out there, a 1984 Queen song entered the mental music stream.

I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies

You’re so self-satisfied, I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free

h/t to Genius.com

“I Want to Break Free” wasn’t a big hit in the U.S., but I was travelling through Europe on mil biz that year, and heard it on their media. I thought the thingy ’bout the lies worked for this pandemic year.

Give ‘er an ear.

 

Monday’s Theme Music

We had a Black Lives Matter/Defund the Police protest and march in Ashland this weekend. My wife and I didn’t attend; her underlying health issues increase her vulnerability.

But we drove down to check it out. Hundreds attended. It was peaceful. Most — probably ninety-plus percent — were masked but social distancing wasn’t observed, so mixed bag. Holding our breath on that as the case count continues rising in Oregon.

Young and old, Black, White, Asian, and Latino marched. Later, as we talked about it during “Sixty Minutes”, my wife asked, “Why do we need to keep doing this? When will it permanently change?”

Good question, one that stayed with me this morning. The question prompted a recall of a 2007 Foo Fighters song and video, “The Pretender”. Dave Grohl said in interviews that 2007’s political unrest influenced him when he wrote it. Watching the video, well, you see the same themes as in 2020: protests, taking a knee, confronting police, violence escalating.

Big difference exist between now and 2007. Videos emerge almost weekly of police killing people, almost always Blacks, for little provocation. Too many times, it was brushed aside, hidden again and again. But as it’s happened, it’s just become, too much. The expression, “Black Lives Matter”, arose to express the gulf we see as Blacks were killed or had the police called by Whites for being black. The expression, “Being Karen”, became the code for privileged White people who called the police for such a list of shocking reasoning about why Black people weren’t supposed to be there, or why they were a threat.

“The Pretender” speaks to these things. All those things done by the police hat were hidden or protected are being exposed, again, again, and again. That’s the momentum that keeps this wheel spinning, and will until, finally, Black Lives Matter.

Send in your skeletons
Sing as their bones go marching in again

They need you buried deep
The secrets that you keep are at the ready
Are you ready?

I’m finished making sense
Done pleading ignorance, that whole defense

Spinning infinity, boy
The wheel is spinning me
It’s never ending, never ending
Same old story

Questioning Dreams

The two remembered dream segments from last night were questioning what was going on and what was happening next. None addressed the current news or anything, but used metaphors to express my concerns.

In the first dream exploration, I was at a start-up company. The dream featured many of the people associated with the first start-up employing me after I retired from the U.S. Air Force. A big event was happening, but it had flopped and fizzled. I was concerned; what was going to happen next? I wanted to know. I knew there’d been a plan in place, but it depended on some milestones, and weren’t due to happen for another twelve to eighteen months. What was going to happen in the meantime until then?

I kept asking people. My question confused most others but two friends said, “Here, play him the tape.” They took me into an office and played me a recording off an old-fashioned answering machine with a cassette tape. I listened but couldn’t understand any of it because it was in another language.

I told them that I didn’t understand. A woman came in to stop me from hearing the tape. One friend told the other, “Turn on the translator and play it.” The friend turned on the translator but the woman hurried me out, telling my friends, “He’s not supposed to hear that.”

So something is up, I thought. There’s a plan, but I don’t know it. I wanted to know it, and felt frustrated.

Another distraction struck in the form of the next door business. They’d closed for good. I was sorry that it’d happened. The doors were open and people were inside cleaning it out.

I went in to check it out. Bins overflowed with grain, nuts, and kibble. I said something to the effect the place needed to be cleaned up. The men told me, “Yes, that’s what we’re doing.” I asked if I could help. That amused them. “Go ahead.”

I shoveled loads of stuff into a large, wheeled silver bin. When it was full, I wheeled it out the door and parked it, setting the brake.

A young white woman happened along. A bubbly person, she wanted to know what was going on, peppering me with questions but not waiting for any answers. As I turned to return inside the store, I saw her moving my silver bin. “Careful,” I warned her.

We were on a hill. I told her, “Set the brake.” She went to do that but then turned around and started talking to other people. The bin started rolling down the hill. I shouted, “Look out.” Before I could move, it went completely down the hill and off the cliff.

I was shocked. I knew people were down below. I figured they were injured.

The woman turned around. “Where’d the bin go?”

“Down over the edge,” I replied.

She ran down to look. I followed. When we got down there, it was still going through the air. I was surprised that it hadn’t landed. It looked like it was going to hit people but landed in an empty space.

Shrugging, she walked away. “I guess everything is okay.”

The dreams ended.

Sunday’s Theme Music

A quiet day for me, providing an interlude for reflection. After watching the news, contemplating history and contrasting them with current events, Neil Young’s song, “Old Man” (1972).

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

h/t to AZLyrics.com

I picked this acoustic version for its simplicity, and because Young is young in it, and alone, unvarnished, on the stage with his guitar.

Are You Outraged?

Someone else wrote a blog titled, “Are You Outraged?” And I thought, am I outraged?

Let’s see. I was born in 1956, eleven years after WW II, but while the conflict in Korea was happening, and as the U.S. was getting drawn into Vietnam.

The Cold War was going strong. The U.S. and U.S.S.R. were ready to launch nukes and drop nukes at the slightest provocation.

1960 began strong, with John F. Kennedy getting elected. He promised to put a man on the moon. Meanwhile, protests and riots began. The 1960s were full of blood and smoke. Kennedy was assassinated; so was his brother. And Martin Luther King, Jr. Many blacks were lynched and murdered. Battles were fought over segregation, “Separate but equal”, and desegregation.

As races fought for equality, so did women, but the Equal Rights Amendment stalled.

The arms race sucked up resources and attention. Korean and Vietnam were ‘ended’ as conflicts, but more conflicts sprang up. War has not ceased in my lifetime, despite the fall of the U.S.S.R. Instead, it’s intensified.

As has the battle for equal rights and the ideal that skin color, sexual orientation, religious preferences, and genders should not matter, that we, as a nation, are only as strong as the weakest among us, so we must protect them.

The battle for the environment has intensified, too, and with it, the understanding that this is one world, and once again, in order to survive, we must survive together, and protect our planet, or we may all suffer, and many of us will perish, bringing our civilization to our knees.

These seem like self-evident truths, but instead, another war has arisen, this one about what constitutes truths, facts, science, and evidence. The way that numbers and words are spun to create division and distraction spins my head.

Am I outraged? Fucking yes. After a lifetime of this, I thought we’d be further advanced. But as I watch the police brutality and government response to the murders and protests, echoes of history reverberate. I’m reminded of the tanks in Hungary in 1956 as the Soviet Union crushed an uprising.

I’m reminded of the Watts riots.

I’m reminded of Tienanmen Square in 1989.

I’m reminded of the Berlin Wall.

I’m reminded of Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, and Detroit, Michigan.

I’m reminded of the American Civil War.

I’m reminded of the rise of Solidarity in Poland.

I’m reminded of Ferguson.

I’m reminded of the Democratic National Convention in 1968.

I’m reminded of Kent State in 1970.

I’m reminded of countless sit-ins and marches against war and for peace, against injustice and for equality.

I’m reminded of so many events that I’ve seen and read of in the narrow focus of my short life, and I’m reminded of so many who live in fear and suffer at the hands of those who are supposed to serve and protect.

Am I outraged?

I watch the news, play the viral videos, and read the articles this week and wonder why so many fight against others’ equality. I wonder how so many can be so cruel to fellow humans. The outright cruelty and disregard demonstrated as police officers spray, beat, shoot, and mistreat their fellow citizens, their fellow humans, horrifies me.

Am I outraged?

I am sickened. I am saddened. I am furious.

Yes, I am outraged.

The Dream Whisperer

It was late November in 2015, just a few days after Thanksgiving. Prompted by a dream, he sat and write. It seemed so outlandish and shocking, he shared it with nobody.

His dream said that Donald Trump would be the President of the United States. At that point, many were laughing at him and his crude, ridiculous bombastic declarations as he demanded President Obama’s birth certificate, and lied. It seemed impossible that he would be POTUS, but the dream whisperer said, “It’s gonna happen.”

In 2020, an epidemic would sweep the world, the dream whisperer said, forcing people to wear masks and stay inside their homes; businesses would shut down. “It’s gonna happen,” the dream whisperer insisted, continuing, that some, driven by the President Trump’s false promises, scoffing remarks, and refusal to heed the advice himself, would disbelieve and refuse to follow the science and medical advisors. The nation’s divisiveness would increase, shocking the citizens and the world.

The final nails would come from escalating violence, the dream whisperer said. As President Trump bullied, so his followers bullied. As he called for violence and to be tough and cruel, so his followers did as he said, acting under the umbrella of being Christians, while demonstrating nothing of traditional Christian principles.

So he saw in 2015, scenes in dreams that shock and dismayed him. Still, he’d written them down, mostly in amusement back then. Surely, it would never be that bad.

But one early June night in 2020, he had another dream. Driven awake, he pulled out the vision from 2015 and reviewed its contents. He’d not be able to believe it; it seemed so stunning and impossible, like a throwback to an earlier era of troubled times in the United States. Hadn’t they evolved past all of those things? Yes, he’d believed they had; that’s why the dream was so difficult to believe. Yet, here they were as a nation…

And now he had a new dream to write, one where he saw where they’d be in 2024. It seemed so different, so impossible because of where they were now —

But that’s exactly how he’d reacted in 2015.

And so, he began to write. History does repeat itself. Sometimes, some of it is good.

At least, that’s what the dream whisperer said.

2020

In the beginning…

Yeah, the beginning of the year. Remember just five months and something days ago, when we set out on this year? Many were joking about the significance of the year’s number. The roaring twenties were called to mind for many New Year Eve parties saying farewell  to 2019. I took up the idea of 2020 and having clear vision. Use the idea to create your vision and pursue your dreams.

Hah.

Although pandemics are part of life, none of us were looking ahead and suggesting, “Looks like we’re going to be staying in the house, wearing masks, and avoiding one another for a while this year.”

A hundred years from now, will anyone use 2020 and the year of COVID-19 as their theme party? I can’t imagine that, but then, I’ve demonstrated that I really suck when it comes to seeing the future.

Friday’s Theme Music

Just riding the day this morning, surfin’ the news and the web, maintaining my balance, trying not to wipe out and crash.

From that, yeah, “Surfin’ Safari” by the Beach Boys (1962) plunged into my mental musical stream. It came out when I was six. Don’t know when I first heard it. Simple lyrics, etc., so it was easy to learn and memorable. Today, it seems like music from a kinder era. But then, I peruse my limited memory of U.S. history at time, refreshing myself with, oh, yeah, those protests against that war, and that war, itself, and that cold war, and an assassination the next year, and the air pollution.

So, back to surfin’ the wave of the day, trying not to wipe out.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Just out of speaking with friends, reading the news, remembering the past, and pondering the future…

Into the stream came a song from The Falcon and the Snowman based on the book with the same title, with more words in it. A friend received it in a slush pile, read it through the evening one Friday, looked up the author and discovered they were in the same area code. The book excited him. A phone call was made against all standard protocols. Arrangements were made to connect the following Monday to talk about going forward.

Alas, by then, the author had contacted an agent, and everything changed. The book went to another publishing house, to my buddy’s dismay.

Meanwhile, the song — also with the same name — by Pat Metheny with David Bowie on vocas, reflects the disbelief and denial that I feel while reading the news. It isn’t particular to this era. I always think we should learn and move forward, but my idea of moving forward doesn’t align with what others think and want. To me, it’s like they’re moving backward and repeating history as they insist that we’re going forward.

Anyone, this 1985 ditty expresses my point of view. Cheers

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