A Fire Update

Just a general update on things for friends and family. My neighborhood and family are safe. Ashland, where the Almeda fire began, is safe. The wind has abated but red flag alerts remain.

Gas stations and stores are busy with exhausted, worried out of towners. The Almeda fire started as a grass fire by a BMX park in Ashland but then spread west and north. The initiating source remains under investigation. Pushed by 40MPH plus gusts, the burned through Talent, then lit up and destroyed Phoenix. South Medford was next. The last word that we had, last night, was that the fire was contained. We’re looking for better info.

Meanwhile, spot fires had been going on, threatening other areas of Medford, Central Point, and Eagle Point, to our north and west. Those seem to have been extinguished. Interstate 5 is open in both directions.

Note: a rumor is going around in certain political circles that Black Lives Matter went along Interstate 5 starting fires. They offer no evidence. Police are working to dispel the stories circulating on social media. To me, these rumors increase the evidence of who this people are; at a time when everyone needs help and should come together, they use lies to plant seeds of distrust. There’s the wildfire that needs to be put out.

We’re under a request to limit water due to the water used to fight fires. We remain at Level 1, ready to go. There are other fires burning in Jackson County. Temperatures have dropped today. Locally, we’re expecting highs in the mid-eighties. But the temperatures will then return to the nineties and perhaps over one hundred. While the immediate worst threat has subsided, staying alert and ready is required.

Our air is smoky. I jump to the conclusion that it’s probably from smoldering areas of our fires. The smoke might be from California to the south, or other fires in Oregon up north.

I’m relieved that we survived here, but the losses suffered by others can’t be overstated. The impact on Talent and Phoenix, our neighboring towns, is like what happened to Paradise, California, and we all remember that. Buildings, homes, and possessions are gone. Our resources through government and charity are stretched. Assessments are still being conducted, and the fire monitored for hotspots. Only when the authorities are assured everything is out will the people be allowed to return to their places, make private assessments, and begin rebuilding.

Monday’s Theme Music

My mind is serenading me wit Red Ryder’s 1981 song, “Lunatic Fringe”, today.

Back when I was commuting and working in an office, I’d often think of this song. I always seemed to encounter people with perspectives and facts that didn’t align with reality. Feels like I’m seeing and hearing more of it on the television, radio, and intertubes. Yet, I always wonder if I’m the lunatic fringe, out of sync with reality. That drives me to verify and vet information, and trace stories, looking for the source.

All this is helpful while writing. I enjoy elements in what I read (or the movies and television shows that I watch), so I plug it into my writing. When I’m writing, I enjoy an imaginary reader wondering, “WTF?” This is especially true if I laugh out loud when I’m writing it.

Here’s a sample of “Lunatic Fringe” lyrics (h/t to Metrolyrics.com), followed by the song.

Lunatic Fringe
I know you’re out there
You’re in hiding, and you hold your meetings
I can hear you coming, and I know what you’re after
We’re wise to you this time we won’t let you kill the laughter
Lunatic Fringe – in the twilight’s last gleaming
This is open season, but you won’t get too far
‘Cause you got to blame someone for your own confusion
We’re all on guard this time against the Final Solution
We can hear you coming

We can hear you coming no, you’re not going to win this time,
your not gonna win

Saturday’s Theme Music

“You’ve yet to have your finest hour.”

I was rallying myself to get out of bed when the quote was remembered.

It’s a good quote Churchill, the second World War. (Has war stopped since then?) Queen put it into their 1984 song, “Radio Ga Ga”. After I applied it to myself (and wondering if it’s true), I applied it to humanity.

We — humanity — have been changing the world and our societies. Now the world is biting back, or so it feels. It feels like that because it’s us, and our moment. Review some history, and you’ll see that nature bites back pretty damn regularly.

So here we go with the theme music. Enjoy yourself, if you can, wherever you are, and wear your mask, please.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s music arrives from yesterday’s doc visit. You’d think, then, it’s a doc-related song like “Dr. Feelgood”, “Doctor Doctor”, or “Doctor My Eyes”. You’d be wrong.

At the doc’s office, everyone politely asked, “How are you doing? How’s your arm?” Valid questions.

Wanting to be both upbeat and original, I sought different ways to answer. One was, “Hey, holding on, getting better.”

That was issued to Jocelyn, the xray tech. As I awaited the next round after her, memory picked up the holding on comment and supplied the 1988 Steve Winwood song with the title of, well, “Holding On”. It’s a typical Winwood hybrid, quasi rock and soul, with a brassy feel, big vocals, and optimism.

It worked well for passing doctor office time yesterday. I think, in this age of pandemic, change, elections. wildfires, and suffering, it’s good theme music for today.

Hold on. And wear your damn mask, please.

Thursday’s Theme Music

I’m a terrible fortune teller. See too many possibilities. They’re all happening, none of it is happening, and all the varieties between them are happening. Such is life when the film between realities tear and shrink.

Well, that’s how it feels, sometimes.

Here in the U.S., we’re approaching an election. “It’s yuuuge,” some might claim. The possibilities, fears, and anxieties proliferating cause rolling responses: “Oh. my,” “Oh. no,” “What the fuck,” and “Here we go.”

Third Eye Blind presented us with the perfect song for now. They did it back in 1997. “How’s It Going to Be” has a softly tinged nostalgia, illuminating the questions we all experience. “How’s It Going to Be after x,” becomes an urgent plea before falling to soft, wondering surrender.

Perfect for this special year of pandemic, climate change, shifting alliances, and elections we have numbered, 2020.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Today brought a 1995 song from Collective Soul.

December” is about endings and breaks from what’s going on. For Ed Roland, the songwriter, it’s about parting with the band’s manager. Pour moi, I pull the sarcastic and bitter sense of weariness from the sound: it’s done. Let’s end this, and this is just the polarized, argumentative state of the United States. I went to see Trump and the disastrous GOP reign end. The sooner that comes, the happier I’ll be.

On to the music.

Thursday’s Theme Music

I dreamed a black man in black clothes came by and fixed my arm. He was upbeat about it all.

Thinking that over, I opened my eyes and checked the time: 6:01. Not needing to get up and wanting more sleep, I told myself, I’ll just close my eyes for a moment.

My mind answered, “I close my eyes, only for a moment, then the moment’s gone.” Then the rest of the classic rock tune, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas (1978), swelled in my head.

It’s a good choice as theme music goes. We’re battling over rights, equality, facts and science, trying to preserve our lives, planets, and society while coping with COVID, all to a cacophony of bullshit from the WH. Sometimes I feel like we’re warring nests of ants. Then, looking at the stars, I remember that we’re stardust, born on a cosmic wind.

Monday’s Theme Music

A conversational tic, “Do you know what I mean,” triggered recollection of the Lee Michaels 1968 song. Know what I mean?

It fits for today as topic lines are starkly drawn. Voting by mail can’t work, they say, but I did it throughout my military career and since moving to Oregon in 2005, so I think it works, know what I mean?

Trump couldn’t come up with shit for the pandemic, but he eagerly sends geared paramilitary Feds to cities led by Dems, know what I mean?

Pro baseball started playing in bubbles in the U.S. and now they’re canceling games because players have tested positive, know what I mean?

COVID-19 deaths are taking place, and positive cases are rising, they canceled the in person Republican convention but still want to open businesses and send children to school, you know what I mean?

Tuesday’s Theme Music

As the coronavirus, economy, and politics dominate the days in negative ways, I thought of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush performing Peter Gabriel’s quiet and hopeful “Don’t Give Up” (1986).

The song is about struggle, trying, getting beaten, and trying again.

Though I saw it all around
Never thought that I could be affected
Thought that we’d be last to go
It is so strange the way things turn
Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground

Don’t give up, you still have us
Don’t give up, we don’t need much of anything
Don’t give up, ’cause somewhere there’s a place where we belong

Rest your head, you worry too much
It’s going to be alright
When times get rough, you can fall back on us
Don’t give up, please don’t give up
Got to walk out of here, I can’t take any more
Gonna stand on that bridge, keep my eyes down below
Whatever may come and whatever may go
That river’s flowing, that river’s flowing

h/t to Genius.com

Thought it fit today’s mood well.

 

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