Tuesday’s Theme Music

A taut white sheet covers the valley sky. Sunlight finds a small rent and slips through like an exploring cat.

It’s Tuesday, January 31, 2023, and 30 degrees F outside. Inside, the furnace keeps us at 68. Black coffee warms me more, a solid antidote for the morning’s cold impressions. That sun popped in at 7:25, duping the cats and me into thinking we were up for a sunny day. Now the clouds have dropped. But in the way of weather, the clouds signal a warm front and higher temperatures. We’re heading for a high in the mid-fifties as the Arctic blast shifts east. Sunset will be one minute short of ten hours after sunrise.

Local news reports our Mayor has resigned. Then a city council member designed. No clarifying comments were made by either for their reasons. The city will now go through the replacement process for each. It’s already fired up political bases. They’d just calmed down after the November results were swallowed and digested. We never believed the calm would last. The budget debate is ongoing, as are the homeless challenge, drought and its impact, along with our local economy, of course. Our economy depends on snow in the winter for skiing and full rivers, clear skies, and fresh air in the summer for outdoor activities like hiking and boating. Little snow and prolonged drought, tourism has suffered for several years before the COVID load was put on it.

The other big industry here is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Before COVID, wildfire and smoke spiked performances and revenues as the air was deemed unbreathable or dangerous and performances were shut down. Restaurant and hotel businesses fell like dominos. It’s been about five years since we’ve had a healthy economy and the budget has suffered.

Over in my head, The Neurons have planted “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk from 1984 into the morning mental music stream. I know it from hearing it on the car radio as I drove around the island of Okinawa, where my wife and I lived at that time. It has that 80s tech feel to it. Seeds for the song came about as I was trying to make decisions and ended up chatting to myself about my life. This was one of several songs that floated in and out of the conversation but its volume went up later, so here we are.

Stay positive. Get ready for February, because if you didn’t notice, it’s here tomorrow. Here’s Talk Talk. Cheers

Moanday’s Theme Music

6:37 Papi Standard Time. 22 degrees F. “Let me out,” the ginger floof bellows while prancing around on his tippy toes, tail up.

I walk along, explaining to the walls that it’s 22 degrees outside, too cold for Papi to go outside, but I open the door for him. Papi steps up, looks out, takes a breath, steps back. “Let’s try the front door,” Papi suggests. We do, just to satisfy him. Open-step up-breath-back in. “That’s not what I want,” Papi says. “Feed me.”

I feed him, along with Tucker, who is a savvy fellow and saw where this was going. Then I’m back to bed. See, I went through this once four hours earlier with Papi. Except he went out that time. Stayed out for almost twenty minutes before hammering the door for re-entry. He blasted through the house when I opened the door, living up to his nom de floof, Thunderpaws.

I, of course, went to the bathroom. My bladder said, since you’re up. Sure. Somewhere in there, The Neurons began singing “Lucretia MacEvil”.

Hello, Monday.

It’s January 30, 2023. 9 AM now, the temperatures has climbed the heights to 27 F. Other than the cold, it’s a fine sunny day, complete with blue sky, and frost free, too. Sunrise came at 7:26 AM and the turning away will remove sunshine from our visible range at 5:23 PM.

“Lucretia MacEvil” is a funky, brass dominated song by Blood, Sweat, and Tears, released in 1970. I have no idea why it’s circulating the morning mental music stream. I’d dreamed, yes. Women were featured, yes. But the dreams and women were all pleasant. Who knows the ways of The Neurons? Not I.

The ‘MacEvil’ part of the song’s title always puts me in mind of McDonald’s, right? I say ‘MacEvil’ and I have that little Micky D theme song follow it. I figure it must be some kind of adult meal. It’s not on the menu and you must know the code word to order it. It’s only sold to adults, and you must provide ID. Totally worth it, though, I imagine.

I have my coffee. Countdown has commenced. We’ll soon have liftoff. Stay positive. Happy Moanday. Here’s the mood music. Cheers

Shineday’s Theme Music

It’s a shiny new cold day in the thumb of Ashland, Oregon, where my house sits. 29 F with a high of 39 F projected. Sunshine slithered over the mountains and through the branches at 7:30-ish this morning, but its rays didn’t strike any of our windowpanes until over an hour later. That’s the nature of the angles and impediments to the sunshine at this period of year.

Today is Sunday, January 29, 2023. Just two shopping days left until February pounces on us. They told us we’d have rain yesterday; never saw or heard any. Then they mentioned snow. Should start at 10 PM. No, make that after midnight, Sunday morning, really. Saw none of that the few times I glanced out the window. I thought, maybe they got their Sundays confused. Easy to do almost any time of year, but especially winter, when little is growing. The days appear the same because markings aren’t there to mark any changes. We just keep warm and wait for the shift to begin at our house.

Reading books and news and pondering generalities, The Neurons decided to entertain me with “Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider from 1981. It’s circulating around the morning mental music stream, bobbing in and out of conscious thought. The song is about the rise of antisemitism which the songwriter, Tom Cochrane, noticed in the late 1970s. Here we are, almost fifty years later, and we were are again, dealing with antisemitism on the rise. It’s a defiant song.

Lunatic fringe
In the twilight's last gleaming
But this is open season
But you won't get too far
'Cause you've got to blame someone
For your own confusion
We're on guard this time (on guard this time)
Against your final solution

h/t to Lyrics.com

The blessed smell entertaining my nose tells me my coffee is brewed. So off I go. Stay positive, as best as you can. We know it’s a sliding scale, spectrum of relativity. Here is the song. Enjoy.


Sat’day’s Theme Music

Read enough news this morning to irritate me for a month of Saturdays. Do videos help? Sure, the truth emerges. Man, though, the truth gets ugly. Of course, some dismiss the videos and dismiss the truth and the ugliness. Turn away, pretend it’s not there or didn’t happen, or rationalize why it happened. I’m sure you know the score.

We’re on the cusp of a new month of the new year. How long can we call 2023 ‘the new year’. At what point does it just become the year?

So far, there hasn’t been much change in 2023 over what was happening in 2022. Is the U.S., is the world, heading in the right direction? It reminds me that calendar notations like years and months are convenient for record keeping. The periods of changes and shifts, rise and fall, define themselves. We just use the calendar to remind ourselves what happened when. Think about if we lacked calendars and what it would be like to refer to the past without one.

Anyway, it is Saturday, January 28, 2023. Heard a little girl call it Sat’day in a store yesterday. Dad corrected her, “Sat-ur-day.” She seemed about five years old. She and her father were chatting and shopping. I assume it was her father. She called him daddy. “Daddy, can we get some fish? I think I would love some fish.” I was looking for miso paste. Never did find any.

Sunrise today came in at 7:30ish. Cloudy conditions marred the viewing. Some blue is squatting to the northwest but we’ve been warned, gonna rain at 4 PM and then snow at 8 PM. Not much of either on this day. It’s trending toward being a cold day, especially with the sun’s mitigating effects being squashed. It’s 38 degrees F at my house, reaching for a high of 40.

The big chill is on its way, arriving a few days earlier than they originally thought. But it’s not as bad as initially forecast, with lows dropping to 23 tonight.

I have Devo with their 1980 new wave song, “Whip It”, in the morning mental stream. It’s all about, “Crack that whip.” “Move ahead. It’s not too late. To whip it. Whip it good.” Those might not be the lyrics but it is how I remember them. All about working harder, but in a satirical manner. I’m trying to whip my novel into shape. I cracked the whip but the pages didn’t change at all. The computer was pretty pissed about being whipped, urging me, “For cryin’ out loud, print it out and whip it.” Which made sense.

That expression, “For cryin’ out loud”, is one that Mom often used while growing up. I asked her, what does that mean? She responded, “It just means I’m exasperated.” But why? Why those words? Along with, “Oh, for goodness’s sake.”

Alright, got coffee. Got to power up and get a move on. Those expressions, I understand. Stay positive. Hope you understand. To a happy Saturday and some kinda change. Here’s the tune. Cheers

Friday’s Theme Music

“One day, one to go…” Opening words from the song in my morning mental music stream, “Leave It” by Yes, 1984, The Neuron’s response to the writing and editing process. The inspirational words were, “One day, one to go.” I’d say that to myself as I revised by chapter. A zillion chapters remain but I take them one by one.

It’s Friday again. Clouds have swarmed over the house, kicking sunshine into a faded backdrop. Temperature is kissing 36 F but we’re told 42 F is possible. So is rain and snow.

Today’s version of January 27 was delivered by 2023. I’m sure many things have happened to me on January 27 in previous years but the glue has come off those memories. That’s how it goes.

Les chats’ attitude has dipped below the happy line due to the sunshine’s level. They walk around chatting up how nice it would be to go outside and sit in the sun. They can go out, but I keep telling them, there is no shine the way you’re wishing for it, kitties, not at this hour on this day. Their insistence must be admired. Their reality says, warm sunshine is somewhere, and I will find it. No wonder so many writers have feline companions.

Alright, coffee is here. I’m going to hit the cup and read the news. Stay positive and enjoy your Friday, making of it what you can.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

You might not know unless you have a calendar, but this is Tuesday, 1/24/23. I’m on assignment on twenty-first century Earth where the calendar is sacred, equally important in education, entertainment, and business in most of the world.

I’ve landed again in Ashlandia, a small town, but not quaint. If you remember, it’s located in a river valley in a region officially called the state of Oregon, in a section that is further identified by its geographic location relative to the rest of the state, which is the south. Hence, one staying here for any time will hear ‘southern Oregon’ mentioned. Ashlandia’s population struggles with identity, wanting to have nice things, unable to agree what the nice things are or how much they’re willing to pay and sacrifice to have their nice things. I’ve learned through my many visits here that endless conversations about the same subjects are reprised through months, seasons, and years. Only new home and business construction goes forward even as most worry that they lack the water and infrastructure for new places and many business locations are empty. However, construction is an industry which should not be stopped. Again, as noted in previous reports, they have empty houses and dormitories but argue about what to do about their homeless population.

Ashlandia’s weather is much like its population, muddling on as something somewhere in the middle. It is winter but sunny, cold at night, warming during the day. This day started with temperatures in the high twenties. Sunshine, which came over the mountains at 7:32 in the morning, has warmed the air and earth. With a cloudless blue sky capping the valley, Ashlandia’s temperature is now in the mid-thirties and is expecting to reach the low fifties before the sun leaves the sky at 5:15 this afternoon. (That may be evening; evening and afternoon seem hazy, even misconstrued or misunderstood expressions with haphazard agreement about when afternoon ends and evening begins.)

I heard a song playing on the radio. Radios are in every road vehicle and many people spend time in road vehicles each day. The song I heard was “(You Can Still) Rock in America”. This song was recorded and released in 1983 by a song group who called themselves ‘Night Ranger’, a name which they selected to symbolize what they stand for. Admittedly, the song enthralled my human form. Apparently, my host, a male in in his mid-sixties, knew the song, as he started singing parts of the song. He became especially energetic singing the phrase, “You can still rock in America,” which is also the song’s title. He seemed to become dour, even disappointed when the song concluded. My understanding of this creatures is still weak.

I will partake of ‘coffee’ now. Many, include my host, drinks this to stimulate them each day. It’s one of many stimulants available and used by the town’s population. I’ve attached the song for your sampling. I close with hopes that I’ll not need to stay in this body in Ashlandia for too many more cycles. Your servant, Cheers

Monday’s Theme Music

“Sunshine,” the cat shouted. “Letmeout letmeout letmeout letmeout.”

This was the young one, Papi, the ginger wonder. Old Tucker, the black and white long-furred enigma, scoffed at the young one. Tucker thinks seasonally. He understands winter.

Half an hour later, Papi was at the door, shouting, “Cold. Letmein letmein letmein letmein letmein.” Tucker smirked.

My Ashlandia zone awoke to frost and fog when the sun came on stage at 7:32. The temperature was squatting at 25 degrees F. “Hold my coffee,” the sun said. Zap. Fog gone. Frost vaporized into mist, the temperature jumped up to 27 F. The sun dismissed the criticism finding him. “Earth wasn’t created in a day, you know.”

The sun is expected to take us to 52 F. We never saw the anticipated highs yesterday. Winds and humidity leaned us toward a colder side. Sunset continues its slide toward a later time, and now won’t take place until 5:14 PM.

It’s Monday, 1/23/23. We’re hurtling off of a fresh Lunar New Year to the end of 2023’s first month. Just over eleven months until the new year arrives is left.

I’m feeling good today, meaning a good mood and good energy. Hope that survives meeting reality. A hypertension individual, I track my blood pressure. This morning finds it at 127/73, fairly low for me, even on the meds. Pulse is currently 60. O2 is 98%.

With all that going for me, I began thinking about being alive and kicking. That fired up The Neurons enough that they unleashed Mr. Big with “Alive and Kickin'” from 1991. I was just back from four years of living in Germany. Now stationed in Sunnyvale, CA, I was re-acclimating to American life when the album with this song on it was released. I enjoyed “Alive and Kickin'”, finding it a sort of funky but bluesy rock sound that reminded me of a late sixties sound and played it often. Fun to sit on the porch after work, soaking in the remains of the California day, sipping a beer, music playing, reading a book.

Coffee is up. Get it while it’s hot. Stay positive. Have a super Monday. In fact, make it a super week. On me. Here’s the music. Cheers

Sunday’s Theme Music

You wake up and do some things and then settle down and scan the news. Today you see, oh, ten dead in California, another mass shooting. You don’t read it but you know that somewhere out there are thoughts and prayers.

You have your own. Probably think about the lives ended in gunfire. The families and loved ones left behind. You might, briefly, think, that could be me and my name among the dead. Or someone from my family.

Or you might think, this is the United States. This is the cost of freedom. Those people should have been armed. One of them might have shot and killed the gunman.

Or, it’s California, what do you expect, might have slipped through your thoughts. Perhaps you wondered, what was wrong with them, that they had to kill ten people. Maybe you just shook your head and clicked on.

Happy Lunar New Year, aka the Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Rabbit. Peace and relaxation are associated with the rabbit, along with grace, quiet, and contemplation. I wish you a good year.

Today is Sunday, January 22, 2023. Our weather teeters between bleah and ugh. No sunshine (sing it, Bill). 32 F now. Blue sky and sunshine haven’t risen to the moment yet, though sunrise was at 7:33 this morning. The forecast high will be 40 F. “There will be mostly sunny skies,” says the forecast. The sun watch begins. Sunset comes at 5:13 Ashlandia time.

Inspired by the thought, “Here we go again,” The Neurons dialed up James Blunt and his song, “1973”, from 2007. Not much else to say about that. It was a song I heard while driving around back in that year, but as I listened, I heard references to other songs as part of its lyrics and ended up looking it up one day, just to learn more about it.

The coffee has been served and the cats have been fed. Stay positive, if you can. Least give it a shot and have a solid Sunday. Here’s the song. Cheers

Saturday’s Theme Music

Sunshine began crowning around 7:15 this morning in Ashlandia, and then came the sun’s piercing rays through trees and over snow-topped mountains at 7:34 AM. White and blue has been sprayed-painted on the sky. The paints are still resolving their form. It’s still and cold, 29 degrees F. Saturday, January 21, 2023, has been reached.

The other end of the day will come with the sun rolling away as the planet spins on at 5:11 Ashlandia time. We’ll have clouds and sunshine and other fun stuff with an ultimate high temperature of 54 degrees F.

I’ve been reading about state responses to electric cars. Many manufacturers declared that they’re shutting down internal combustion engine production by specific years. Some states have mandated that only electric cars will be sold within their borders by an established date. In response, other states, such as Wyoming, are attempting to ban electric cars in their state by 2035.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re seeing this. We saw the same happen when ICE cars were introduced over 100 years ago. States drew up actions to throttle enthusiasm for these noisy vehicles and people rejected them as foolish. In one memorable article in the Saturday Evening Post, Alexander Winton recounted how his banker called and berated him about buying a car.

‘My banker called on me to say: “Winton, I am disappointed in you.”

That riled me, but I held my temper as I asked, “What’s the matter with you?” He bellowed: “There’s nothing the matter with me. It’s you! You’re crazy if you think this fool contraption you’ve been wasting your time on will ever displace the horse.”

From my pocket I took a clipping from the New York World of November 17, 1895, and asked him to read it. He brushed it aside. I insisted. It was an interview with Thomas A. Edison: “Talking of horseless carriage suggests to my mind that the horse is doomed. The bicycle, which, 10 years ago, was a curiosity, is now a necessity. It is found everywhere. Ten years from now you will be able to buy a horseless vehicle for what you would pay today for a wagon and a pair of horses. The money spent in the keep of the horses will be saved and the danger to life will be much reduced.”

It is only a question of a short time when the carriages and trucks of every large city will be run by motors. The expense of keeping and feeding horses in a great city like New York is very heavy, and all this will be done away with. You must remember that every invention of this kind which is made adds to the general wealth by introducing a new system of greater economy of force. A great invention which facilitates commerce, enriches a country just as much as the discovery of vast hoards of gold.”’

Skepticism and denial are natural in the face of change. While Wyoming’s legislature is rationalizing why electric cars shouldn’t be brought to their state, the backdrop is that they, like Texas, who is also contemplating anti-electric car legislations, is trying to protect the fossil fuel industry. Their state economies depend on fossil fuels.

In other news, I sometimes just stop reading and turn the page, frustrated and depressed again by the rise of murders, particularly shootings, and the obstinance always flashed whenever reform is addressed. The same lies are given fuel over and over. Meanwhile, the emerging agendas in several states who are trying to stop social change often by suppressing votes and others’ rights, has me thinking of Linda Rontstadt. The Neurons brought up her cover of the song, “You’re No Good” from 1973.

The coffee is half consumed but I might refresh the cup and sip a bit more before facing the cold and going off to the coffee shop to write. Stay positive and enjoy your day, summer, winter, whatever, best that you can. You can complain about it, like I do, but don’t let that stop you from trying.

Here’s the music. Cheers

Friday’s Theme Music

Time to start the day and get underway. We’re at the port of Friday, January 20, 2023. Next destination: Friday evening. We’ll get there after the sun sets on Ashlandia, 5:10 PM.

“Ashlandia, where time is never the same.”

Sunrise at 7:36 AM found Ashlandia frost bound beneath full blue skies. Snow and ice still cap higher mountains and ridges, a winter photo delight against that blue. 25 degrees F says the local weather station while prognosticators tell us that a 48 degree F high is expected. That’s a little cold for Ashlandia’s winters. We usually see the thermo squeaking down to 30 before braking to a full stop, but we’ll live. We’ll complain, but we’ll live. Well, some, such as me, complain, but others just march along with it. The shelters are open for whoever needs them, and hot meals are being provided gratis in several locations. Crews have remained busy removing fallen trees from the month’s earlier windstorms. A drive around yesterday showed all were gone. No houses or buildings experienced major damage, so we’re thankful for that.

My wife remains in bed, affected by her RA and Raynaud’s. One of her fingers looks ghastly, white and waxen. She says it’s painful and stiff but doesn’t complain. She was planning to make me a cherry pie yesterday but I nixed that. We just had sugar pie instead. She skipped her exercise class this morning, which is never a good omen.

Mom’s list of issues continuous a daunting trend of increasing. Little seems to improve for her and pain shadows every decision and conversation. She soldiers on, a tough old broad, as she likes to self-reference, but she seems so tired from the constant fight to live.

With all the dreams I had last night, The Neurons packed the morning mental music stream with songs on dreaming. I ignored them. We lost David Crosby this week, another talented musician who brightened my life. The Byrds were on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1965, which was my childhood, playing “Mr Tambourine Man”. I was nine then. Though a little too mellow for my budding rock and roll tendencies, I admired their style and harmony and their songs stayed comfortably lodged in my mind. Formation of CSN and then CSN&Y was a positive addition to the folk-rock scene, where their harmonies and smart lyrics adjusted my budding teenage attitudes.

Got my coffee. French roast, which is my usual. Unsweetened and untouched by milk or cream, it offers a sharply bitter living on my tastebuds, with a friendly chocolatey overlay.

Stay positive. Sail on to new horizons. Here’s the music, in living color. Cheers

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