Saturday’s Theme Music

Today, we remember the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. While it happened around 5 PM in the SF Bay area, I was over in Japan. Stationed over in Germany just outside of Frankfurt, we were waiting for the World Series to start. That year’s series featured the Oakland A’s and its neighbors across the bay, the SF Giants. That led to nicknames like the Bay Series, the Bridge Series, etc. We were pretty excited in Germany because we were going to be able to watch it live via satellite. That sort of thing was just becoming more common for us in the military. Now, it’s pretty much taken for granted.

The film and report from that earthquake were another mind-blowing reminder of nature’s strength and human fragility. We build these things thinking they’ll be ‘forever’. Nature comes along and knocks them over with a hefty shrug. Watching on television, we saw the baseball stadium shake and said almost as one, “Holy shit.” It’s a military expression commonly used back then.

I ended up stationed in the SF Bay area, arriving in Feb, 1991. We visited Santa Cruz the next year. Its streets and businesses were still recovering from the earthquake. A drizzly day, seeing all the destruction which still remained stilled our spirits. Businesses and people were coping and regrouping.

As I remember that earthquake and those times, I remember songs, too. One of them is “Stand” by R.E.M., a catchy song with silly lyrics. “Stand in the place where you work, think about directions, wonder why you haven’t before.”

It was like, whaaat?

R.F.M.

R.F.M. (floofinition) – Early alternative floof-rock (flock) band formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980.

In use: “Best known for floofstream songs like, “Losing my Digestion,” alt-flock band R.F.M.’s hit, “Floof on the Moon” was a tribute to comedian Andy Floofman.”

Sunday’s Theme Music

In Costco yesterday. It was a convenience stop for us. It’s down the Interstate, so if we go over there, we generally stop in. Nothing essential was required. We gassed up and bought mixed nuts looked at the books. Their book selection has significantly changed, and it’s disappointing to us.

Costco was busy despite its new ‘no food samples’ policy. Costco was ready for it with every register manned (and do you know that Costco now has self-checkout registers?). I heard at least three mothers tell their children, “Don’t touch anything. Keep to your hands to yourself.” Those are words I used to hear all the time, but had seemed to fade away as parenting styles changed. Was it always being said, and I missed it? Or was it being revived as part of Coronavirus awareness?

Saw perhaps a half dozen people (including employees) wearing gloves, and about five wearing masks. I wondered, thinking about the cancellations of multiple world events, the corporation’s shutdown on travel (airlines are losing money), what was going to be the effect on Costco’s stock? On the one hand, business is booming. On the other, the global supply chain on which it depends and the consumerism that fuels it are going to be slammed. (Costco and other corporations have already said they’re scrambling to find supplies, but where do you turn in a global crisis?)

At the intersection of these observations, R.E.M.’s 1987 release, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” was released into my stream.

It’s the end of the world as we know it (I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (time I had some time alone)
I feel fine (I feel fine)

h/t to Songfacts.com

After Costco, it was on to Trader Joe’s, where it was business as usual.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Memories come like tides, in private cycles. In today, I cycled back to Feb, 1991. I’d just come back from an assignment with the USAF in Germany. Enroute to California, I passed through WV and Pennsylvania on leave, visiting family, and then arrived at SF, CA.

Rain was pouring in the Bay Area that day. Ted, my sponsor, picked me up at the airport. California had been in a drought, he said, hard to believe since the great deluge was making Highway 101’s traffic a slow-moving shit show.

A little later, I was in the military hotel at Moffett just outside of Mountain View. Up the road was my new assignment, a place called Sunnyvale Air Station, a.k.a., the Blue Cube. The name was changed to Onizuka Air Base to honor Ellison Onizuka, an astronaut killed in the Challenger disaster.

Onizuka turned out to be a good assignment and my last. I retired there four and a half years later. The base closed down in 2010 and the Blue Cube was demolished in 2014. I blamed myself because the base probably wasn’t the same after my tenure (ha, ha).

It was a complete unknown to me when I arrived, though. Bored and tired, I flipped through channels in my hotel room, rediscovering American pop culture after four years in Germany, and saw a video by R.E.M. called “Losing My Religion”.

Somehow, it fit the moment.

 

Monday’s Theme Music

Not an uplifting song, but one that inspires a sense of hope. “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. came out in 1992. It works as a vehicle for when you’re down and suffering, when the shit’s gone wrong, and you’ve hit the bottom, and you’re ready to start climbing back up again.

Today’s Theme Music

It’s the last Friday before E-Day 2017, otherwise proclaimed as The Doritos Great American Eclipse of 2017*.  I thought an appropriate song is R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” from nineteen eighty-seven. It’s a catchy tune, perfect for a non-apocalypse.

* That’s not true. Doritos has nothing to do with the eclipse. It’s fake news that I made up.

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