I miss this…

In the early 2000’s I was working in music retail and was given a sampler of hot and popular music from Japan.

It featured some amazing artists and styles. A real ear-opener. One of the artists were Pizzicato Five. This group falls under the category of things I miss, and “whatever happened to….?” This is, in many ways pop fusion music with it’s blend of soul, pop, french chanson, Burt Bacharach etc. The music is cheery, upbeat, warm and smooth retro feel which is perfect for summer. I’m not sure what happened to this group. Unfortunately they never really made a hit in the US. And their music is hard to find. But here’s to happy music may it bring a little cheer to your summer.

I found these fun videos and they really do maintain the fun vibe of the music with their own hipster cool.

Enjoy 5XP5:

PIZZICATO FIVE / イッツ・ア・ビューティフル・デイ

PIZZICATO FIVE / 恋のルール・新しいルール

Pizzicato Five – Twiggy Twiggy

PIZZICATO FIVE / ベイビィ・ポータブル・ロック

PIZZICATO FIVE / 悲しい歌

What’s your entry point – pt 2 (Ladies Choice)

Today it’s Ladies Choice for Barbershop Harmony. Within 10 years after Men started singing Barbershop Harmony women wanted to take part in harmonic action. They formed their own organization Sweet Adelines International 75 years ago for the encouragement and singing of barbershop harmony for women. Since most of the song in the catalog of mens barbershop singing are “about” women (evidenced by song title that provide the source for the Sweet Adelines) the Sweet Adelines have always been more open to contemporary songs and diversity. Today I want to present some of the many Sweet Adelines.

The 2019 Chorus Champions (also champions in 2018) – The Scottsdale Chorus with their winning performance

Continuing the festivities this next selection is by the Rönninge Show Chorus from Sweden under the direction of the woman who is credited with first bringing barbershop harmony singing to Sweden. Enjoy this performance highlighting music penned by Swedish composers.

2019 Quartet Champions – Class Ring with their “Swan Song Set”. (the Swan Song set is the performance they give after they win the Championship as part of an “all star show”.

From the 2015 Quartet Finals enjoy this performance by Windsor

2019 Mic Testers – HOT PURSUIT

And here is the website where you can find more information about Sweet Adelines https://sweetadelines.com

what’s your entry point into music?

Today I’m going to focus on a type of music that does not get much press or recognition. It is often thought of as old-fashioned, old-timey, stuff your great grandparents listened to. One reason may be that it does not neatly fit into the established genres of music that have become culturally established.

I was fortunate enough to grow up and be raised in the Mennonite church. A Cappella music was all around. In church everyone sang and everyone sang in four-part harmony (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass). It was all hymns all the time. And I credit that for establishing at a very young age my entry point into music. What I mean by entry point is the primary attractor. For some people it may be the beat, the rhythm, melody, overall feel or for some, like me, it is harmony. Harmony is the first thing I hear that gets me sucked into the “world” the music creates. I love harmony!

As I was growing up and things like AM radio became common place in our household – I’ll always cherish my little handheld transistor radio with a small speaker and an earpiece that looked more like a hearing aid with it’s thinly coiled cord – nothing like the iPods we’ve become accustomed to. This little transistor radio was my constant companion as I was growing up (age 8-15, 1968-78). Otherwise we had black and white television set which was all we could afford and it was cheaper than the newer color one. But TV and AM radio exposed me to popular music and much of the music at that time had some sort of harmony (think Beach Boys, Chicago, America, The Association, Simon and Garfunkel, Seals and Crofts, etc) This listening further solidified my interest and love for harmony. I sang in all the school choirs, concert choir, show/swing choir etc.

As I grew up and my music tastes evolved into other genres etc harmony was never far away. After I had graduated from High School in 1978 – not wanting to go to college at that time – I got a job at a local retailer. A co-worker was involved in a local mens chorus called (The Wayneaires – which sadly no longer exists) that sang a music style called Barbershop. It is a cappella singing in 4 parts (lead, tenor, baritone and bass). I had great fun. I learned much including this notion of overtones and undertones (simply – a third audible unsung tone/note can be heard when the resonances of two or more other sung tones are combined). And, for me, when I hear overtones ringing it literally gives me chills it provokes a physical response that I seldom experience when listening to music. We did an annual show that featured the chorus (of about 45 members) and featured guest quartets from around the region. Always a theme. I did this for about 5 years and even sang in some quartets before I decided to go to college. At that time the music was mostly traditional barbershop songs like “Lida Rose”, “Sweet Adeline” etc with ever-changing arrangements. There was an organization called S.P.E.B.S.Q.A. (pronounced speb sqwa) and stood for the Society for Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. Around 2004 it was changed simply to the Barbershop Harmony Society (whew! about time they got rid of that old mouthful – LOL). I have not sung Barbershop in the past 30+years but I still like to check it out occasionally and find it stronger and better than ever. There is a more diverse catalog of songs

There is always an international competition for Barbershop (2020 being the exception due to the pandemic) and there are 4 categories where a champion is named – Quartet, Chorus, Senior Quartet, Youth/Collegiate Quartet on which they are judged on music (selection/arrangement), singing and performance (of which humor can play a key role). Regarding performance we were taught it is about “filling the space”. not just with facial expressions but also body movements/choreography etc.

At the end of this post I will post links to the Barbershop Harmony Society website if you wish to know more about it’s history and much much more.

I will post videos of the 2019 champions for you to “taste”. And hopefully it will be as sweet for you as it is for me. And if/when you hear those overtones – feel free to let the goose flesh pop. LOL

***fyi – not sure – but you may have to watch videos on YouTube

First up – 2019 Chorus Champions (also Champions in 2007, 2010 & 2015)- The Westminster Chorus with their award winning performance of From Now On/Come Alive Medley (from The Greatest Showman) Be sure to go to YouTube and check out their 2015 Championship performance of “Seize the Day” from Newsies.

2019 Quartet Champions – Signature with their winning performance of Proud Mary (Ike and Tina Turner cover)

Also check out their other barbershop arrangements of Queen, Michael Jackson and other pop icons on YouTube.

Seniors Quartet Champions – DoubleDouble with one of their winning performances Green Green Grass of Home (parody). look for the the shift from serious to comedic around the 2 min mark. 🙂

2019 Youth/Collegiate Champions – Wildfire with their performance of Between You and the Birds and the Bees and Cupid.

While top 10 finalists compete for the title of Champion – the evening starts off with a mic test – it is a performance awarded the 11th place quartet and an opportunity to cut loose. This performance from 2015 is by one of the funniest quartets – The Newfangled Four (Youth/Collegiate Champions 2013) with their rendition of the vintage song Hello My Baby (through the years). Enjoy. *note – at the end they are joined by a singer from another Quartet called Instant Classic, who were the Champions of 2014.

And for you women out there – Barbershop Harmony is not only a mans thing – Women have their own version of the Barbershop Harmony Society called Sweet Adelines Intl. Look for more on that in my next post.

Learn More https://www.barbershop.org

happy heart

I’m sure many of you have heard of K-Pop. Also known as Korean Pop. Well this is C-pop or Chinese Pop. Todays video is from a talent show called The Singer. I suppose the western equivalent would be a popular show (at least in the US) called The Voice. The song, Happy Heart was first made popular by Andy Williams where it spent 2 weeks at #1 on the charts. Petula Clark also had a hit with the same song at the very same time but hers charted highest at #12.

This wonderful song was co-written by easy listening legend James Last and canadian singer/songwriter Jackie Rae. This impassioned performance by Li Xiang Zhe & Zhai Li Suo Tian is pure delight and really swings! So who is who? Li is the guy that starts the song and the bearded guy is Zhai. I absolutely love when Li starts the line, “Music fills…” with that really gutsy sound and Zhai looks at him out the corner of his eye as if to say “where the hell did that come from?”, or maybe he’s thinking, “where’re you going with this?” Totally makes me smile.

It’s a sunny Monday here in Ohio so enjoy this sunny song. Smiles and Cheer.

NASA Spacecast

In one of my earlier posts I gave links for some of my favorite websites. This video I’m posting today is from NASA. It’s the most recent edition of their regular series SPACECAST WEEKLY. This video I found extremely fascinating because it talked about how astronauts train for space walks and the space suits they wear on these space walks. Also I loved the interview with a Canadian astronaut that spent time on the ISS. They also talk about the commercialization of space which is something I am personally concerned with. Because there is a big issue with space trash orbiting the Earth that is making it difficult to navigate launches into space etc. There is so much debris. It may not seem like much but it is getting worse. And with the commercialization of space I’m worried it will become exponentially worse because of all the satellites they are launching into space, especially all the so-called cube-sats or small satellites. For example SpaceX will soon set a record for most satellites launched on a single mission (143 total satellites – how is this not polluting space?)

So without further adieu here is SPACECAST WEEKLY. Enjoy.

and to pick up on my earlier comments about space debris. Will we eventually have so much debris that we will no longer be able to safely go into space? And will there eventually be so much debris that people in space may not be able to safely return to earth? Here’s an interesting documentary (fyi only the first half is about space junk – but the whole video is interesting).

new relevant music

Once in a while there is music that comes my way that causes me to sit up and take notice in the same way that a slap in the face does like good art tends to do. The two tracks I present here today have done just that. I’ve listened to both repeatedly and also the videos are top notch. The videos are also related in their themes.

First is MANDRILL by Martin Gore (Depeche Mode). It is an instrumental track that carries a strong industrial beat similar to 80’s/90’s era Nitzer Ebb and Front 242. It is the lead single from Gore’s forthcoming solo instrumental EP, THE THIRD APE. The music was inspired by THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE written by culture and anthropological historian Jared Diamond. In the book Diamond lays out the argument that humanity is the third chimpanzee. The chimpanzee is genetically more closely related to humanity than to other apes, monkeys or primates. Diamond proceeds to draw many lines of comparison to reveal the truth of his observations and assertions about the evolution and future of the human animal. After watching this video I immediately purchased the book and found it a fascinating read.

Now back to the video. When I first saw the video several things stood out. The abstract nature of the videos “film language” mixing abstract art, animalistic representation with (what felt like) aggressive expression of the Mandrill featured in the video, the frequent appearance of figures of three (usually expressed in bars or strokes), the white palm print of which I can’t help but draw comparisons to the white hand of Sauron on the Orc’s that served him in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. And then there are the splatterings that seem to suggest uncontrolled madness as they appear on the canvas. There is also the way the abstract at one point starts to flow from the top of the screen like blood.

Was the Mandrill barking and biting back at humanity? Is this an animalistic criticism of humanities aggressive devastation of the planet? Just how much blood does humanity have on it’s hands? For me this video feels like observation and commentary instead of just criticism. I think this is a good thing because it means that there is still hope to change the outcome.

This next video is by 80’s musician Gary Numan. INTRUDER is the title track from his forthcoming album (May 2021). This is very dark and visceral. Visually, near monochrome, the video is filled with abstraction with the literal dissection of the performer by dark blurred geometric shapes in contrast to appears of what seems like roots, bones or animal parts, something I can’t define. It feels shamanistic and is a perfect statement for our time. I’m struck by the lyrics. In the beginning it’s about the “I” and by time we reach the end it’s about “you”. Taken as a whole it’s about us, you and me. Numan, as a fragmented singing spirit in the beginning seems to ask “What does humanity really want?” What choices are we faced with? In a world that is all talk where people gravitate to like-mindedness on social media that creates greater division, less tolerance and understanding; this song is a definite criticism, but still ends with a sense of hope by asking the question “Don’t you wish you listened more?” Which is also the resolution to the problem. He is critical of religion, and rightfully so, as religion has become a pawn of those who seek power and control. Speaking is more a religious act and listening is a more spiritual act.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the character in the video is some sort of demon or dark force but I would like to suggest that it is the earth itself like a dark angel holding up a mirror to reflect us back to ourselves on what we’ve become. And in this video there is the deliberate “blood on our hands” image – and if we consider the mirror reflecting back to us – we take pride in that blood as we streak it down our faces with a war-like tribal ritual to show our power. Not only do we have the blood of all the lives we’ve slaughtered but the blood of the planet itself with our environmental devastation. Do we like what we see? Will we make the right choices and decisions going forward? Will we continue to be the intruder or the caretaker/restorer? If we kill the planet we kill ourselves.

I could listen to you scream 
Pretty music to my ears 
I could listen to it all day 
If you want me to 
I could talk about my world 
How you brought about ruin 
I could talk about your greed 
If you want me to 

I could look into evil 
See a heart just like mine 
I could throw away reason 
If you want me to 
I could walk into darkness 
Find the hole you crawled into 
I will be the intruder 
If you want me to 

You can whisper your lord's prayer 
And pretend that it matters 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
You can hide in the shadows 
And pretend I won't find you 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 

I could listen to more lies 
About promises you kept 
Will you walk on water 
Like you said you would? 
I could make you my prisoner 
But you were dead men talking 
When you burned the oceans 
Like you said you would 

You can beg for god's mercy 
And pretend that he hears you 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
You can drown in your sorrow 
And pretend you were helpless 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
This was always your one life 
I won't pretend that it matters 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more? 
This was always your one home 
I won't pretend that I'll miss you 
But don't you wish you'd just listened more?

Well that’s my take on these two videos. What are your impressions? Leave a comment – I’m listening.

***I can’t promise the videos can be seen outside the US but hopefully you will find a version you can watch.


			

eye’s wide open

EYE DISEASE

Song is called EYES WIDE OPEN by King Crimson from their album The Power To Believe.    

The pleasures and pain of keeping one’s “eyes wide open all the time”.   It can be a blessing and a curse.

Here it comes, here comes another day
Another decision on the way
Well here it comes, here comes a covered display
Of preferences to make
Well here it comes, here comes a knock on the door
Open it for an opportunity
Well here it comes, here comes another day
For memories to be madeEyes wide open
Eyes wide open all the time’n there it was, it was a perfect take
And were you asleep or awake
There it was, it was a perfect time
To speak your mind
‘n there it was, it was a chance of a lifetime
It flew right by and what did you do?
Well there it was, it was another day
For memories to be madeEyes wide open
Eyes wide open all the time
I’ve got my eyes wide open
Eyes wide open all the time
Because you never know
What you might see

my wish for you

Christmas Morning Drive 2020 – Hinckley Reservation of the Cleveland Metro Parks.

Happy New Year everyone.   The promise of snow over the Holidays was not exaggerated.   On Christmas morning we had 6-8 inches on the ground and and 1-2 inches fell throughout Christmas Day.    But that is past.   The New Year is upon us.   This song expresses my dearest desire for each and every one of you.   That you feel safe.   For safety is not about the pandemic and has pitifully dominated the past year – like the song says it’s about living with/in grace, being rested, calm, anchored, unchained, holding no blame,  no fear, no blame, being brave and open.   I would also argue that is the foundation of love.   I love each and everyone one of you even if we have never physically met.   Thank you for your kindness and support. 

SAFE by Judie Tzuke, Beverley Craven & Julia Fordham from the album WOMAN TO WOMAN

Safe

Rested

Clear

Calm

grace

centered

here 

home

we’ve fought so hard

we’ve come so far

back where we began

and for all the joys and sorrows

finally we can 

be safe

anchored

unchained

faith

holding

no

blame

and the future is everything

as we forgive ourselves

and we reach beyond the wreckage 

of you loving someone else

our hearts are still surrendering

now the wounds will heal

in spite of everything

learning how to feel

safe

hopeful

no 

fear

brave

open

now 

we’re

safe

be kind and always 

remember to love 

this one life we live

has to be enough

be kind and always 

remember to love

this one life we live

has to be enough

Song dedication

 I was digging through my vinyl collection and came across a real gem of a double album titled The Best Of The Mills Brothers.   It had this wonderful song on it which I now dedicate to all politicians.   Because they always hurt the one they claim to love (the country and people they serve who voted them into office).  

Easier Sung Than Done

Autumns End #1

Something we all need to be reminded of from time to time.  We as human beings have a habit of blowing things out of proportion and making them seem more important than they are. 

I want you to think about what makes you angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless.  It might be relationships, politics, health, personal economics/finances, business, religion, culture, media, the environment etc.   Nothing is off bounds.  Everything matters here.   I’m guessing there is at least one thing that immediately comes to mind for every individual.

Now. 

Let it go. 

Let it go now.

And yes, that seems easy; but it’s not, especially the more invested you are in the subject whether it’s emotionally, spiritually or intellectual investment.   

But do you think the tree in Autumn wants to let go of its leaves? Or that it’s easy.   And yet it does.  The tree feels the pain of separation with each leaf – sometimes a thousand times.  Year after year the tree will let go of its leaves.  The tree does not know what the future holds but it continues the cycle.  

So for all the things that seem so important at the time – in the long view – they are not important at all.     

They are about as important as a “pebble lying on a gravel road”.   So let it go.  Sometimes it’s easier sung than done.   I found that singing this song while I’m thinking of these things helps me keep things in perspective and remember what’s really important.

Maybe a nice practice would be to write down all these things than anger, frustrate (…etc.) you.  Then like Autumn leaves – burn them. Let the worries and cares turn to ash.  Then wash them away. 

Hey man, you don’t know what you’re missing
You count your curses and forget about the blessings
Don’t you think you should learn a little lesson
What are you waiting for?
 
Hey man, what makes you so special
Can’t seem to find the angels for the devils
Don’t you think that if you learned to love a little
You’d live a whole lot more
 
Let it go, let it go
This is smaller than you know
No bigger than a pebble lying on a gravel road
Let it go, let it go
Got to leave it all behind you
Give the sun a chance to find you
Let it go
 
Hey man, there’s no time for crying
You made your bed but don’t think its fit to lie inWasted on the ground when you know you should be flying
What are you waiting for?
 
How can a man not see
It seems so clear to me
You’ve just got to live and learn
Smile at the simple stuff
This road ain’t long enough
To miss a single turn

Tired of politics? Check this out!

So are you tired of politics and the media?   Well here are two fun videos.  Mashups of old movie stars dancing to contemporary tunes.    How many movies in the clips can you name?  

First up is the theme song from the movie Footloose. 

next how about some funk? 

we need more of this…

we need more laughter.

some favorite songs about laughing

I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life – by Sarah Vaughan

Funeral Tango by Jacques Brel covered by Scott Walker

Only Want to Laugh by Dusty Springfield

The Laughing Gnome – by David Bowie

Laughter by Bruce Cockburn

isolation


Isolation is like serving time

Except in this case I’ve done no crime

I choose to be alone to search my soul

To see if there is good in this heart with a hole

I had no control when I lived out there

My life became a nightmare

There is no love in isolation

All you have is your imagination

I live in a world created on my own

Contempt for the outside keeps me alone

Isolation is for me

The only way to be free

Isolation is liberation

When desperation is what you feel

Isolation is liberation

When desperation is what you feel

Isolate myself

Free myself

Isolate myself

Be myself

childhood past, present, future

Robert Mirabal is one of my favorite Native American songwriters. He grew up and still resides in Taos, New Mexico. I first saw and met him when I was in the music retail business. His original label had a showcase of new talent that I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend. Robert, and his brother Reynaldo, Mirabal made a permanent impression on me. Simply one of the most moving concerts I’d seen. His humility is real. This clip is from a PBS special called MUSIC FROM A PAINTED CAVE. The message in this song is powerful and perhaps more relevant today than ever before. Enjoy this track, LITTLE INDIANS. What type of mirror are you?

Little Indians walking two by two
Three girls, one boy, losing faith with the world
Step by step, moving towards the end
Step by step, moving towards the front

Can you take them away
can you carry them away
Can you take them away
can you carry them away
Maybe they’re the mirror that reflects all

Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Maybe they’re the mirror that reflects all

Little Indian men, walking two by two
Lost and weary, losing faith with the world
One by one, moving towards their death
One by one, moving towards their death

Can you take them away
can you carry them away
Can you take them away
can you carry them away
Maybe they’re the mirror that reflects all

Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Maybe they’re the mirror that reflects all

(flute solo) ……….

Can you take them away
can you carry them away
Can you take them away
can you carry them away
maybe they’re the mirror that reflects all

Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Maybe they’re the mirror that reflects all

Little child walking all alone
Lost and lonely, losing faith with my world
Step by step, moving towards my end
Step by step, moving towards my end

Can you take me away
can you carry me away
Can you take me away
can you carry me away
Maybe I’m the mirror that reflects all
Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Can you take it away
can you kiss it away
Maybe I’m the mirror that reflects all
Can you take me away
can you carry me away
Can you take me away
can you carry me away
Maybe I’m the mirror that reflects all
Maybe I’m the mirror that reflects all

euphemisms in popular music

Lyric euphemism.   Pop songs that have explored lyrical euphemism has always made me smile.    I think there is a fine art to language of which euphemism plays a role.  There are tons of songs in popular music that are some type of euphemism. For decades and decades musicians have skirted parental control with the use of euphemism.  But that’s just my opinion.    I’ll let you decide.   Let’s get the party started. How many euphemisms are there for your backside? More than I thought. LOL

Live Version

Lyric Version

 

 

Childhood……

This post was inspired by fellow blogger, Oannes.   He has been posting some wonderful songs about childhood.   Be sure to check out (and follow) his blog https://oannes.gr/category/other-musical-stuff/

For my own contribution I present Chuck Mangione’s title track from CHILDREN OF SANCHEZ which was also the soundtrack for the Mexican-American movie of the same name.

A passionate track that covers so many emotions.   While listening I can’t help but think about Children in the world in which we now live.    Are we teaching them to hate instead of love?   Are we teaching them to be afraid instead of accepting and courageous?   Are we teaching them to not trust anyone?   We adults set the example for these adults of the future.   Just what are we teaching our children? What kind of dreams are we giving our children? What memories will our children have?

This album is one of 3 favorite Chuck Mangione albums.   And I highly recommend it.  This title track is ambitious starting off with powerful lyrics sung by Don Potter. And then once your heart is softened the drums and horns come in full force to break it all apart. The lyrical verse is then repeated with Chucks Flugelhorn replacing the vocal and then again by guitar virtuoso Grant Geissman. There is a whole verse improvised around the theme by Chuck that is pure hopeful celebration followed by a lyrical reprise. By the end when that last drum and horn break forces it’s way into the song I find myself pumping my fist in the air in righteous agreement – wanting to shout “WAKE UP PEOPLE AND THINK OF THE CHILDREN!”

I recall how Native American tribes would plan not only for their children but for the 7th generation. We need to get back to that. It’s not too late. That seems to be a good lesson for our children and our children’s children….


Without dreams of hope and pride a man will die
Though his flesh still moves his heart sleeps in the grave
Without land a man never dreams cause he’s not free
All men need a place to live with dignity.
Take the crumbs from starving soldiers, they won’t die
Lord said not by bread alone does man survive
Take the food from hungry children, they won’t cry
Food alone won’t ease the hunger in their eyes.
Every child belongs to mankind’s family
Children are the fruit of all humanity
Let them feel the love of all the human race
Touch them with the warmth, the strength of that embrace.
Give me love and understanding, i will thrive
As my children grow my dreams come alive
Those who hear the cries of children. god will bless oh yes he will
I will always hear the children of Sánchez.

does this sound familiar?

Are the two videos describing things that we are seeing now?
The situations are different but the practices and results are the same.

Any American citizen who is afraid of China and Russia needs to watch these videos and ask if we should continue down this path we are on. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. These videos highlight two history lessons from America’s past. A dark history at best and a sinister dangerous chapter that should NEVER be repeated. But it IS currently being repeated with a 21st Century twist promoted by the President of the United States enabled by his republican supporters, spread by the media, a democratic opposition propagating dangerous alternate views. There is no balance. The deep cynicism of politicians in Washington is doing more harm than help. While Trump and his Republicans have ushered in the end of Democracy the Democrats are securing it. There is only foolishness on both sides. Surely the hunger for POWER, the FEAR, ANGER, HATRED, IGNORANCE and DISTRUST are the same.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” – Matthew 12:25

When fiction becomes fact

The above video is from the US television series HANDMAIDS TALE. It is a dystopian fiction that proves Margaret Atwood was chillingly prophetic. Unmarked, unidentifiable secret police attacking protestors. A violent response to a nonviolent protest. People excercising their rights.

And now July 2019. Portland, Oregon. Can a “Gilead” made up of Trump supporters be far behind? A nation divided.

And what’s Trumps response? “We’re also looking at Chicago and New York”. He views ALL protesters (who aren’t protesting for him) as anarchists that must be squashed. He is wrong. He will find out what true anarchy is. He needs to remember what happened to Romanian dictator Ceausescu.

There is no way this ends well. And now he say’s he may not accept the election results in November if he loses. If there is any doubt from people around the world that the United States has fallen into dictatorship. I say, WAKE THE FUCK UP!

The American Nightmare continues.

Dig deep down from Planet X, yeah 
Thirteen ghosts in the devil's head 
Step right up and feel the fire 
Hardcore love of the never dead 

Call me the American nightmare 
Call me the American dream 
Call me your soul corrupted 
Call me everything you need 

Yeah, motherfucker 
Yeah, who do you love 
Yeah, motherfucker 
Who do you love, yeah 

Black boots stomp and penetrate, yeah 
Lust and death gone in your head 
Rat pack mind degenerated 
Thirteen ghosts sing the body red 

Call me the dark intruder 
Call me the haunted sea 
Call me your Monster Zero 
Call me anything you need 
Call me the American Nightmare 
Call me the American dream 
Call me your soul corrupted 
Call me everything you need 

Yeah, motherfucker 
Yeah, who do you love 
Yeah, motherfucker 
Who do you love, yeah 

Call me the American Nightmare 
Call me the American dream 
Call me your soul corrupted 
Call me everything you need 

Yeah, motherfucker 
Yeah, who do you love 
Yeah, motherfucker 
Who do you love, yeah 
Yeah, motherfucker 
Yeah, who do you love 
Yeah, motherfucker 
Who do you love, yeah

FUCK THE MASK!

The Mask is the law according to our State Governor. It is a law based on fear. Fear of becoming sick. Fear of making others sick. Fear of death. My conscience will not let me wear a mask. By not wearing a mask, “I quietly declare war on the State.”

I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs least’; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe- ‘That government is best which governs not at all’; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. “

“When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it. For my own part, I should not like to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State.”

“The authority of government, … can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. “

The quotes above are from Henry David Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience. More important now than at any other recent time in our history. All of life is a risk. Another blogger recently posted a plaintive plea to “please wear a mask” stating that 1 in every 20 people may get sick if you don’t. Well to that I add. That’s still 19 in 20 that will not! COVID-19 is natures way of “correcting” the impact of the human population on the planet. Nature always wins.

Wearing a mask does NOT mean you will not die. Wearing a mask does NOT mean you will not make others sick. Wearing a mask does NOT mean you will not get sick. Wearing a mask does NOT mitigate your fear. Your fear of death, your fear of illness or your fear of the government gives you NO right to impinge on the rights of others who believe differently.

So don’t give me your false short-sighted narratives espoused by the media, politicians and religion. The real heroes are those who are immune, asymptomatic and recovered because they are the future of the human race. In short, I REFUSE to live YOUR fear.

*if you “like” this post you either didn’t read it or your agree with it. I prefer the latter.

Happy Birthday Maher Zain

Maher Zain born 16 July 1981.    A singer/songwriter who’s music can be described as  inspirational pop and many classify as R&B.  Born in Tripoli, Lebanon his family emigrated to Sweden when he was 8 years old.  His music has a strong muslim influence but don’t let that throw you off.  He sings mostly in English but also mixes in Arabic, French, Turkish, Malay and Indonesian.   He is also known to release different versions of the songs in each language.  He releases his recordings on the Awakening Music label.    His videos are powerful connections between lyric, sound and image.   He finds commonality in his faith where so many try to find difference and separation.    I find that many of they lyrics could be appreciated by Christian, Jews, Buddhists.   If his videos sometimes seem political it is simply because he takes an event as the core topic of the story/message he is trying to spread.   It is not a politics of separation but, instead, a politics of unity, exploring commonality in the human experience.  Songs of social justice and conflict.  Here are several videos.   I hope you enjoy.

His newest video in remembrance of the Bosnia Genocide that began 11th July 1995.


Nearly every year he releases a different video celebrating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Here is his video for Ramadan 2020. ANTASALM (You[God] Are Peace) – an encouragement in a year of great difficulty.

A song addressing Racism in this summer of racial unrest.

A song dedicated to mothers.

Love Will Prevail – An emotional take from 2013 of the tragedy that is, continues to be, Syria. As we confront ongoing violence around the world – let’s look to our own communities – will we let love prevail?

Another Ramadan video (this one from 2013) – exploring spiritual longing, community and celebration.

Finally. A message that I think is more important in these times of unrest, outrage and deep offense. I think there is a time for everything. We need to have conversations not just telling but also listening. We need to change the things we have the power to change and let of the things we cannot change. There are great harmonies in the song and it makes me think how letting go can promote harmony.

YouTube – love it/hate it

So I have a real Love/Hate relationship with YouTube. And the extremes are so great. There are times I find myself cursing at YouTube. It’s algorithms are absolutely useless and – in my opinion – should be able to be customized by the viewer/subscriber.

I use YouTube one of two ways. #1 – I check on my subscriptions to see if anything warrants my curiosity and attention. #2 I search for what I want to see.

YouTubes “HOME” page and “TRENDING” page are absolutely useless to me and the greatest source of aggravation. I hate them and if I could hide them I would. As it is I just ignore them.

Why do those two pages cause me such grief. I’ll start with trending. The videos on the trending page are determined by the lowest common denominator and do not reflect quality, artistic merit or anything that could seriously be considered newsworthy or valuable. Even the different categories are basically drivel. They are just showing you what is currently popular. I HATE popularity – as any of you who have already read my “Mobius Faith” page (describing my blog) will be able to deduce. So that’s it for “Trending”. Useless drivel!

The other page is a little more complex. Your “HOME” page is things that YouTube recommends to you based on your viewing and search habits. They will push things through to you that they think you will watch. In otherwords they are creating “click-bait”. This is simply the most frustrating page of them all. While I learned a long time ago to ignore the “TRENDING” page it took me a while to get to that point with the Home Page. Again, the algorithms are completely out of whack. What is most maddening is that if you watch a video – YouTube will assume you will want to watch that video again and every other video like it so they push it to your HOME page. For me this just clutters my home page with things I have no interest in – basically I’ve watched the video I wanted now I don’t want to watch more of the same – I want to move on. For example. You watch an a video by The Stray Cats (from their VEVO channel) YouTubes algorithms will push more of that exact same video that maybe someone on a different channel has uploaded. They will also push every Stray Cats VEVO Channel video to your home page. Now it’s been said that you and I have some control over the algorithms by clicking on the menu icon beside each video (the three little dots lined up vertically) where you have the option to click on “Not Interested” and “Don’t Recommend Channel”. If you click on “Not Interested” it will ask you “Why?” Where you get the chance to click on “I’ve already watched the video” to “I don’t like the video”. From what I can tell none of the above options really does any good. They only give you the illusion of control – YouTube is still in control. You will still get thousands of useless recommendations and channels and that you are not interested in and do not like.

You may ask, “So, what if I decide to delete my history”. OMG then the cycle starts all over again and anything you clicked on above like “Not Interested” (for any reason) and “Don’t Recommend Channel” is deleted and – you guessed it – you start the cycle all over again of have stuff pushed to you that you’ve already seen and disliked or chose some other option previously mentioned. So the best option is just to ignore the “HOME” page – Like “TRENDING” it too is completely useless and more aggravating.

All that complaining aside. I do like that I can search and find anything I’m looking for on YouTube.

Musings on Prayer

Recently I’ve been thinking about prayer and how religious organizations are capitalizing on and exploiting peoples weakness during the corona virus to convert new believers, claims of healing, surviving etc.

Yesterday I just started to write down some thoughts in my journal.

It doesn’t rain because you pray, The sun doesn’t shine because you pray. Disaster doesn’t spare you, your friends or family because you pray. Yo don’t recover from illness because you pray. You don’t enjoy good health because you pray. Your enemies don’t suffer because you pray and you don’t suffer because others pray.

You created God and now you’re unhappy with your creation. What was once the domain of religion is now the domain of science. Still you refuse to believe.

Again, those are just some preliminary thoughts to be fleshed out sometime in the future.

I am a H-U-G-E fan of Nick Cave (the musician). A few months ago I subscribed to his “Red Hand Files” newsletter where once a week he answers a fans question. Questions range from the banal (favorite books?, favorite protest songs? etc) to the more serious (how did you cope with the loss of your son? and in April “A prayer to who?”)

He had some very interesting thoughts on prayer which I want to share.


Dear Patrick,

The act of prayer is by no means exclusive to religious practise because prayer is not dependent on the existence of a subject. You need not pray to anyone. It is just as valuable to pray into your disbelief, as it is to pray into your belief, for prayer is not an encounter with an external agent, rather it is an encounter with oneself. There is as much chance of our prayers being answered by a God that exists as a God that doesn’t. I do not mean this facetiously, for prayers are very often answered.

A prayer provides us with a moment in time where we can contemplate the things that are important to us, and this watchful application of our attention can manifest these essential needs. The act of prayer asks of us something and by doing so delivers much in return — it asks us to present ourselves to the unknown as we are, devoid of pretence and affectation, and to contemplate exactly what it is we love or cherish. Through this conversation with our inner self we confront the nature of our own existence.

The coronavirus has brought us to our knees, yet it has also presented us with the opportunity to be prayerful, whether we believe in God or not. By forcing us into isolation, it has dismantled our constructed selves, by challenging our presumed needs, our desires, and our ambitions and rendered us raw, essential and reflective. Our sudden dislocation has thrown us into a mystery that exists at the edge of tears and revelation, for none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

In our hubris we thought we knew, but as we bow our heads within the virus’ awesome power, all we are sure of now is our defencelessness. In the end this vulnerability may be, for our planet and ourselves, our saving grace, as we step chastened into tomorrow. Released from our certitude, we present our purest offering to the world — our prayers.

Love, Nick

To check out and subscribe to Nick Caves THE RED HAND FILES – click this link. https://www.theredhandfiles.com

Let’s Stay Together

Canada Geese mate for life. This pair refused to tell me how long they’d been together but based on their observed behavior – I’d guess they weren’t newlyweds. LOL
Let's Stay Together

music theme for summer 2020

Do you ever pick a theme song to get you through the summer? I do because the music feels cool no matter how hot the temperatures may get.   I started doing this in 2003.   That first year the album was THE THORNS – with their songs “Runaway Feeling” and “I Can’t Remember”.

This year with everything that’s happening culturally, politically, globally it just feels like a nonstop hurricane.   I choose to sing and dance.   Most people think these things are just about feeling good, joy, celebration etc.   But you can also sing and dance in protest.   And that’s my mindset this year.   So my theme song for 2020 is “Dance In The Hurricane” by Toya Willcox.   I listened to Toya occasionally back in the 1980’s when she was just starting her career.   In addition to music she is a gifted actress and author.  She never really broke big here in the United States.  I lost track of her over the years.    I recently re-discovered her with her new remastered collection, when she recorded with a band simply called THE HUMANS.   I started doing some googling and reading and found that somewhere after I stopped listening to her she married Robert Fripp –  yes, that Robert Fripp, of KING CRIMSON fame (**see note at end).   Now my curiosity was piqued and started seeking out her most recent music.   She just released (in 2019) a remastered edition of her last studio album IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN (2008) re-imagined w/bonus tracks (a deluxe 2 disc set).    I listened to a couple of snippets on YouTube and thought “Oh what the heck”… and I bought the album.   It blew me away.  One song, especially, just grabbed me in the fiercest way – its ideas and the driving rock sound.   “Dance In The Hurricane”  features some narration by Robert Fripp. Its an encouraging and powerful song to be listened to repeatedly during difficult times.

Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:

“…Don’t write my rules,
Love your life, Dance in the Hurricane…Only heaven knows how life will write your song. Be loud, be heard, be proud…”

[chorus] “I danced in a hurricane with the god who has no name, I had to run or face the pain, hold on to love, and learn to trust again…”

Final line in the Lyrics – “One constant law remains, if the light goes out dance again.

So I dare you to DANCE!
DANCE IN THIS HURRICANE!! Let this song be your dynamo to re-charge your soul battery so your light can shine again.

Another great track from this 2 disc set is the track, “Sensational”.

(** I don’t know if you’ve followed them at all but since the lockdown Toya and Robert have been posting “…Sunday Lunch” videos that are weird, quirky and just good fun like when her and Robert dress up in bee costumes…. or when they dance Swan Lake in their back yard. Just a real hoot and a holler!)