The Looming Sunshine…

They sat on the porch, together.

They sat on the porch, quietly. He invested deep within his book, and she, equally so in hers. Not a word was spoken, nor a head even raised as I walked briskly by. They were each totally engrossed within their own little worlds alone, but together.

The porch they sat on was not nearly big enough for the two of them, let alone their large-format print books, nor the cat that apparently shared their life. So to make space, he at least scampered down onto the lawn just before I arrived, stalking about almost as if to imply that he too was looking for a book in order ignore the rest of the world with. 

The scene got me to thinking randomly (don’t they all?) and what I got to thinking randomly about was this:

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Have you ever been engrossed with a book?

One written expertly, with characters so alive that you could almost pinch them, and a story line so well crafted that you could swear it was divined, instead of merely written?

And then all of a sudden, smack dab deep within the goodness and glory of that book, the whole thing turns rather sour, with the Author making you read through page after page of utterly distasteful activities and scenarios.

You read on, because you know that surely the Author didn’t suddenly lose all their skill, talent and story-writing ability. You’re certain that the Author simply MUST be forcing you through this section – most usually occurring shortly after the chapter that follows the halfway mark – in order to teach you something critical about the characters in this tale.

You’re certain of it but still, with each page passed, you keep glimpsing forward anxiously, wondering when the chapter will end, hoping that the next will bring you back to the delightful yarn that you had been enjoying so much so up until this point. You’d even read a short stanza or two from the pages to follow, and you know that it’s soon enough to be true, just after you can slog through this one black sheep of a bastardly and evil, yet wholly required chapter, first.

That in a nutshell, it suddenly occurs to me friends, is where I find my life right about now. But just for exactly right about now. Having worked my way through most of the chapter I wish I could have skipped altogether, I can see the number of pages remaining continue to dwindle. And while that does cause me extreme joy, it also gnaws on me, similar to the clawing cat that knows with desperation that it’s losing its litter-encrusted grip upon you. I keep finding myself having to fight the urge to try to read faster, or skip whole pages, for I know that I can do neither anyway. I must wait patiently and read through to the very last word.

The next chapter is already looming bright, begging to greet me with open arms and sunshine. But it can not start in earnest until this one first ends.

And sadly that, word by bloody distasteful word…

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What A Wonderful World, Pt. 2

No, IZ is not actually one of “the five” chosen for this week, but I love his take on these two songs, and thought it to be the perfect tie-in between last week’s post and this. Give it a listen. I’ll wait.

S’good, right?

So, week two in the 00’s (and to my knowledge, still no clear consensus as to how to pronounce that). The end of the decade found my musical knowledge reawakening somewhat, but this time not of my own accord. No, these new ear worms came from (3) primary sources, all of whom were nonexistent in my life previous to this decade.

1) My online tribe. Most of whom I have never actually met, many of whom I never will, a small number of whom I might, all of whom refuse to let me simply sit on my musical laurels, while the world continues to careen madly out of control, voice modulators be damned. It’s through good folks like these that I “discovered” a little known Hasidic Jew with a penchant for beat box…

They also introduced me to two upbeat kids with a small budget, big talent, and bigger dreams. DIY for the new century…

And speaking of kids…

2) The kids, AKA My Lovelies. Old enough now to form their own tastes, they’ve begun to fill my head – and my life –  with all sorts of new sounds. Sounds I would have never found on my own, or if I had, wouldn’t have appreciated nearly as much as I do. All because the very people I was blessed to have a part in creating, and am now responsible for raising, thought enough of me as to share their new-found treasure with. Treasure like Pink…

And treasure like these two newer players. Two who could very well, if they’re not careful, shortly turn the music (and video) world on its ever-living ear once again. A turn that, in my humble opinion, is much needed right about now. If you listen-watch to only one song in this post, make it this one…

3) The world-wide interwebs. Sorry, but these days I do rely on it much more than I do simply strolling the aisles of the record store. Partially because I’m lazy. Partially because I don’t have anything even close to the time required any more. And partially because – in Buffalo anyway – libraries even have more new music by lesser known artists, than the brick and mortar record stores do. It was online that I discovered that one of the few remaining members holding a piece of my youth is still recording. And as it turns out, doing a damned fine job of it as well…

So now we’re here. And tomorrow beckons. Will I be on-board? Most likely not. But that’s OK. I had my time, and my time was good. Tomorrow beckons as it always did, for the young people to stand up and have their voices heard. Voices that they are only now learning how to create. My prayer is that they will be more influenced by folks like The Clash and Public Enemy, Matisyahu and Macklemore, then they are by the Disney Machine.

They’ve the power to do either, and only time will tell.

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Another Tuesday, another Twisted Mix-Tape. This one rounding out our stroll through the decades. I’d like to thank Jen for pushing me into dredging up these musical memories, and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I.

Oh, and before we leave the decade, let’s take just a moment to celebrate the rebirth of Rick, through the 00 introduction of the “mash-up.” I knew you’d do it, Mr. Astley. I mean, after all, you DID say that you would never let me down, right?

Tomorrow

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

~ Brad Paisley

It occurs to me, as the mental radio is of my own making, then the songs played on it are also mine to choose.

What Could Have Been…

Was the title of the mix listened to on my most recent solitary sojourn.

You see, somewhere along the “for me” series creation cycle, I had discovered something. I discovered that I seemed to always have a theme for each mix. This then led me to discover a second something. I discovered that I had a whole grab bag’s worth of earworm gems that I wanted to share. But a great number of them were of the type that I would ever never ever be able to create an entire mix for. So I created an alternate mix. A mix about all the themes I would never ever never be able to mix.

What? It made sense at the time.

As a result, this mix is most likely the one that would have the smallest number of fans. And if the disc were to be viewed as a city, it would be one in which you firmly rolled up the windows until such time as you had escaped its outermost limits. You see, in this “ville,” Matisyhu lives side-by-side with Devo (both representative of the “cover songs that were better than the originals” mix, that was never to be produced). Both Greg Kihn and The Kinks share space with the likes of The Sisters Of Mercy and Mission Of Burma. That’s right, I did say Greg Kihn just now. I told ya, this one gets scary.

OK, t, so what’s the deal with this mix then? Did it make you all weepy, teach you some grand lesson, or bring some sort of spiritual elephant into to full view? Well, no, no, and no. And I’m not including an easy-to-read track list this time either (but for those of you dying to know, the Mission Of Burma song was “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver”). No, very much like the Gay-ties mix, this one really only served to provide me with a nice soundtrack, on an easy yet overly sweaty, evening solitary stroll. A soundtrack that is as weird as it was soothing.

You see we start the mix with Fred Rogers, singing his beloved theme song. Asking the question that I still – after all these years – wish I could answer in the affirmative. Yes Fred, yes! Yes I will be glad to be your neighbor Fred! Even if I’m far too big to fit on the trolley to the neighborhood of Make-Believe, I would be honored to be your neighbor! From there we jump right into “Tenderness” by General Public. Seems right, right? Happy meets happy. Nice. This is followed up by The Housemartins smelling winter, and then it dips pretty dramatically. For you see, it’s immediately after the stink of winter being acknowledged, that Mission Of Burma goes reaching for their revolver, followed by The London Suede prattling off about Animal Nitrate. Now, if you know the London Suede, you know that following them, the mix can go anywhere but up. Definitely not up. So that is of course right when Mr. Kihn makes his appearance.

Now don’t worry, I won’t verbally bully you through the entire track list in this fashion. I just wanted you to hopefully get an idea as to this mix’s schizophrenia. It’s unwillingness to stick to one thing for any length of time.

I suppose if I had to declare a life lesson to this particular mix – for those of you who wish that this post would hurry up and result in one already – it would be this: on the whole, when you look at it, you wouldn’t think that you were looking at much. Again, I can’t imagine that there’d be too many fans of this mix, based solely on the diverse amount of artists and styles represented. To my knowledge, even K-Tel never pulled a stunt like this. I mean, beside myself, who else here enjoys both The Scorpions and The Timelords? (Go ahead, click on the link – you’ll be forever glad you did!) Who else could get down to both “Yakety Sax” (yes, the Benny Hill theme song) and “Native Love” (yes, the song by Divine)? As a totality, it’s one big hot mess. See? A lot like life sometimes. That being said, when you look at the pieces of the whole, each individual song, you can see that you’re holding in your hands something that’s pretty damned awesome. You can hear that you’ve got within this mix, joy and anger, love and hate, tears and laughter. You’ve got life. Not as a package deal, but in each and every track. It’s beauty can’t necessarily be seen when looking at it as a whole, but rather, only when looking at each element individually. Only when focusing on each moment. So, if you put a gun to my head demanding the life lesson, my immediate response might be “now why’d you go and do that???” But my stating that I could see the connection between the mix and life in this fashion, would quickly follow that. It’s the moments that count, not the overall package. It’s the quality of the time you have, versus the length, that’s the thing.

My life, much like this mix, is a grab bag of moments. A cornucopia of memories and events, of all different makes and types. If I look at them as a whole, I could be tempted to say that there was more bad than good – especially considering I was proof-reading this while being stuck in an airport for twelve hours, for a flight was eventually cancelled any way. If I look at them as a whole, I might even be tempted to say that it’s simply a jumbled up mess of things (ideas, stuff, songs, whatever) that is somewhat of a wreck – however – when looked at individually, each is quite beautiful unto itself. Unique even. Good.

My life is good. That’s the moral for this story kids. It’s up, down, all over the place and sometimes even requires a bit of Greg Kihn, but overall it is good. The “What Could Have Been…” mix didn’t teach me that, but it does represent the idea nicely.

So, what track from the mix will we end this post with? I was sorely tempted to make use of Pat Boone’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” (representative of the “cover songs that should have NEVER been made” mix that was never to be produced), and I was also toying with using the “Wonder Woman” theme song as well (season two, of course). But as I’m assuming most of you have heard the second, and none of you would enjoy the first, I’m instead ending this with the one track that can simply NOT be played without me and the two younger of my three children performing an impromptu air-band rock concert.

A song by The New York Dolls of course, which immediately follows Pink’s “U & Ur Hand,” and is the second to last track on the mix (here’s the last). And, much like it can be with our jumbled up mess of a life, I hope you enjoy it!

Oh, who am I kidding?

I can’t leave like this. Sorry Pink. Here, here’s “U & Ur Hand” to boot…