check your attitude

If you've followed (or checked in on) this blog for several years then you already know the I've loved the music of Michael Franti & Spearhead.    
Today I want to focus in on attitudes.   I don't know about the rest of the world but here in "United" States there has been so much negativity and to be honest there have been way too many times I've gotten sucked into that deep dark black hole.   Sometimes with reason sometimes for no reason at all except that's the environment I'm in.    It's been especially challenging the past 10 years.    Well we need to check our attitudes look at the source and either decide to continue the "downward spiral" or change our attitudes.   The music of Michael Franti has been that attitude check for me.   Here are 3 videos of his music from the past 2-3 years that help.   Stay Human.  Recognize that people who create headaches and trouble are STILL people.   Don't get sucked into typecasting people as villains, enemies, animals, evil etc.   When we curse other humans we curse what is human in us.   We all have weaknesses, lapses in judgement, we at times can be villains, enemies, animals, evil etc.   And the good thing is that we never stay that way.   What makes it seem different for some other people - people/celebrities/politicians - is that the media only shows the side of people that are evil, "animals", "enemies" and villains.    But enough talk because - I could write a whole lot more - just enjoy the music and videos.   So check your attitude and remember with all the bad shit that happens good shit happens also.   And work hard and be nice to others even those you don't like or agree with.  Remember when you get/got up this morning it was a good day for a good day.   If you're unable to view the videos go ahead and lookup the following on YouTube and hopefully you'll be able to find a version that is available in your country:
Michael Franti & Spearhead - Good Shit Happens    
                                                    Work Hard And Be Nice
                                                    Good Day For A Good Day

Political Inaction… (a visual satire)

***A note about the image: I did not create this figure. I only added the majority of text and I did add the blush to the cheeks. The original figure, an American caricature, of “Uncle Sam” (which has become iconic) was originally painted by cartoonist James Montgomery Flagg in 1917 for an American poster that was used for recruitment into the US Army. The poster came into popular use in 1918.

Only in America can you have more mass shootings than any other country in the world.    This past week there was yet another school shooting 19 children dead and 1 teacher dead.   I grow more infuriated each time this happens knowing it could be prevented.   

Here are some basic facts:

1.  The politicians are the first to say "we are sorry, our condolences and prayers go out to the victims and their families." 
2. These same politicians have REFUSED to take any meaningful action on gun control. 
3. These same politicians are "Pro-Life" (anti-abortion):  as if to say you need to have your babies so they can grow up and be shot in school.    Hey It's just target practice right?  It's as if they value infants more than children.   
4. These same politicians pockets are financially lined by the powerful gun lobby and NRA.
5. These same politicians feature political adds with them promoting guns. 
6. Obviously the voters don't care because they keep voting these people back in to office. 
7. The best ideas these bastards have are BAD ideas that only harm the learning environment and teach children to be even more afraid, like:
    - Making teachers carry guns
    - adding more police presence in schools
    - lock down schools
    - give children bullet proof backpacks and blankets to keep in the classroom
    - give children more training on how to avoid being shot
8. Something's gotta give!

STOP hiding, like cowards, behind the 2nd amendment which has nothing to do with what is currently happening in America.   The founding fathers would be so ashamed.
NO MORE INACTION!!!!!!!!!!! 
Vote the bastards OUT!!!!!!!!
Gun Control NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The time for "prayers and condolences" is OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***Share this with everyone (though I doubt few will - because they've become de-sensitized and just don't give a fuck anymore).  Welcome to America. 

sunday verses #3

 UNTITLED  4/24/2021

We are living in the time of parables and revelations
choosing sides
retributions
morality plays
we are “everyman” 
we are the evil that haunts our reality
passport economy 
buy and sell 
only if you carry 
the number of the beast 
innocuous as an inoculation 
tremors and terrors
of the soul 
as those who are weak from fear
strike out and seek control 
of the courageous
their souls listing off the coast of truth
drowning in their desperate 
thrashing and gnashing of teeth
marching and clawing
up the mountain of victims
they create
toward heavens inverted hell
fear of a zombie apocalypse
the walking dead 
if we look at the soul
it’s already here.

We consume media
we consume ourselves
we consume everything
humanity’s legacy on earth will be our consumption
we’ve lost too much to turn back now
in the past our consumption was tempered
tempered by 
“out of stock”
“special order” 
“import only” 
cash shortage
but that has changed
online everything is available
all the time
any time
for a price
on credit
with our very own pay pal
we forgot the payback
we forgot the shark will come 
hunting for what is owed
the environment
culture
social
religion
politics
science
all will come hunting
and haunting
enslaving
for what they are owed.

science is soooo cool!

The latest video from the Veritasium Channel. One of my favorite YouTube channels. For the geek in me. LOL.

And after the video do a search on Google Maps for “Potash Utah” and you can see the most recent image and colors. So very cool. Can you find other cool potash pond locations around the world? feel free to post a screenshot in your comment. 🙂

you may wonder….

So you may wonder given the nature of my posts; what are my favorite YouTube channels?

Well hang on to your britches because I’m about to tell you. And some may surprise you. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all channels I follow – but just favorites that regularly and consistently post new content. For examples there are many music channels that I follow but the vast majority have sporadic postings or inconsistent in featuring work that interests me. These are not in any particular rank. Just a list.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/usgs is the site for the United States Geological Survey. It features viddy’s and information on volcano’s, earthquakes and tectonics and other geological interests. More than some other sites it reveals my geeky interests in scientific study.
  • keeping with a theme, https://www.youtube.com/c/veritasium : Veritasium is a hybrid word that combines the latin word for “truth” (Veritas) and the suffix of most elements on the periodic chart (ium) therefore creating Veritasium (i.e. an “an element of truth”). These videos explore various scientific topics both in physics, biology, geology, as well as some more philosophic subjects. I find them informative, entertaining and just plain interesting. The creator of this chanel, Derek Muller, also has children so there are several videos that are science subjects geared for children as well as learning resources. I highly recommend it.
  • I also love Bonsai. https://www.youtube.com/c/EiseienBonsai is a great channel to learn about and understand Bonsai craft in great detail. While I personally do not have Bonsai, I have always wanted to start but have been a little intimidated. Maybe this is the year I will finally Start.
  • Another channel for Bonsai that I follow is https://www.youtube.com/c/HeronsBonsaiUK this UK based nursery has great videos that I would describe as Bonsai for the Common Person or for the beginner. The presenter is very down-to-earth and very relatable.
  • Next up is https://www.youtube.com/c/bbcearth This channel really has some remarkable nature videos. While I am not a fan of having “pets” I absolutely do love wild animals in their natural habitat. And this channel fills that “cup of interest” to the brim.
  • Along similar lines is the National Geographic website https://www.youtube.com/c/NatGeo with it’s own unique perspective on the world we live on and the people, flora and fauna that we share it with.
  • Now something may not be much of a surprise because I’ve posted videos from this channel here on the blog. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLouisianaChannel The Louisiana Channel is an arts channel with in-depth interviews discussion and analysis with artists, musicians and writers. For me it is an endless source of inspiration and exposure to some things I might not normally find.
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/Nerdwriter1 Nerdwriter is another channel I absolutely adore. Posts are less frequent that most other channels featured here – but when there is a post it blows my mind. It has taught me so much about art, writing, philosophy etc.
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_43mQmHwHPTBBqImFrWU3Q Sean Tucker is a professional photographer who has some amazing insights into not only photography but photography in the age of the internet. His videos are informative, instructional and at time philosophical. What an amazing personality.
  • And lastly to go back to the beginning of the list https://www.youtube.com/user/NASAgovVideo the official NASA channel is amazing and wonderful for all things NASA related. I especially like their “Spacecast Weekly” which is a weekly digest of news and information direct from NASA for all you space geeks.

And that’s it my friend. Of the 56 channels I follow on YouTube these are my absolute favorites that bring me an endless source of enjoyment, inspiration and information. And to re-iterate – these are not ranked in any particular order. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend everyone.

unfinished business

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

culture wars

begun long ago

and no one cares

living in the moment

ignoring the past

you did not ask for 

this war

I did not ask for 

this war

yet here we are 

stuck on the front lines

drafted by those we did not vote for

A war fomented by the news media

shaped by the influencers on the internet

and social media

Systemic Racism

Economic injustice

Everyone’s a victim

We consume victimization like our favorite foods

We digest our own destruction

21st Century Ouroboros

vipers all

We ignore the shit that comes out the other end

We stubbornly refuse to clean up (it’s up the other person)

We obsessively and repeatedly fuel our consumption of outrage

The scales have tipped

As a species we are tilting at windmills

in our self-prescribed delusion

I did not ask for this war

You did not ask for this war

And the question is not IF we should fight

But HOW we should fight

Military wars always kill

Culture wars are fought for control

control of your mind

control of your freedom

control of your expression

control of your creativity

control of your religion

(even if you have no religion)

control of your education

control of your own body

fingers point everywhere

but no one cares that 

when you point one finger

at someone or something else

three fingers point back to you

And the question is not IF

we should fight

But HOW

we should fight

How should I fight this war 

that I did not ask for? 

It seems an impossible dream

to fight a war 

with love, compassion, grace & humility

when all around you 

is blame, blind rage, raw hatred 

and venomous pride

Jesus didn’t die for any one person’s sins

Two things killed Jesus Christ – 

Politics and Religion

Their control threatened by the gospel of peace and love

“You see, control can never be a means to any practical end…It can never be a means to anything but more control…like junk..” (1)

“Is Control controlled by its need to control? Answer: yes.” (2)

The way to win this war is to give up control

to lose control

The death of one is the birth of another

Change is coming that we cannot control

Change is here 

Change we can shape

“I awakened to the cry

That the people have the power

To redeem the work of fools

Upon the meek the graces shower

It’s decreed the people rule” (3)

We must surrender this culture of complaint

and realize we will never be able to control others

we can only control our selves. 

“Just Do It!” *(4)

Let the lion lie down with the lamb

Let the darkness meet the light

Let hell and heaven merge

in the forge of life on earth

to burn off the dross of our misgivings

revealing yours and mine

shining gold dream

“The siren and the ecstasy, … the one in front of me

New gold dream” (5)

I did not ask for this war

You did not ask for this war

But we CAN end it! 

Will We?

And the mercy seat is waiting

And I think my head is burning

In a way I’m yearning

To be done with all this measuring of truth

An eye for an eye

And a tooth for a tooth

And anyway I told the truth

And I’m not afraid to die” (6)

1    quote by William S Burroughs from NAKED LUNCH

2    quote by William S Burroughs from AH POOK IS HERE; AND OTHER TEXTS

3    lyric from PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER by Patti Smith

4    slogan from Nike commercial

5    lyric from NEW GOLD DREAM by Simple Minds

6    lyric from MERCY SEAT by Nick Cave

insanity

Well the headlines keep getting worse – stranger and stranger – like the story of the Michigan Militia group Wolverine Watchmen arrested for a plot to overthrow the government in Michigan by arresting the Governor and trying her in the groups own makeshift court.   The Michigan Militia has been troubling to the history of the state that goes back decades.   Formed in 1994 by a former US Air Force veteran.  First made the news in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing carried out by members Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.    

Militia activity is increasing and is linked to white supremacy but the federal government has repeatedly failed to dismantle and disband these organizations with their “criminal” ideologies and activities.   We now pay the price – forget about terrorism from abroad.   We create our own! 

Canadian music group, Moxy Fruvous, known for their ability to mock, attack, chide, parody, satirize and lampoon life’s insanities, wrote and recorded a song titled Michigan Militia in 1997 after the Oklahoma City bombing.   Sadly it continues to be relevant – maybe more so – in the trump era.   I’ve always loved this music group and I post this song here (lyrics below). 

I like to keep it in the refrigerator.
Keeps the powder dry, and the action quicker.
Let me be your American Gladiator.
Find enclosed an adhesive N.R.A. sticker.
 
A letter t’ you from where I been holed up
In this bucolic, agrarian compound.
One step ahead
Just ahead
Of the government bloodhound.
 
The gas is off, it’s a national showdown.
BUT…
Sure wish that I could visit you,
My sweet betrothed.
In a couple a’ days
We’ll all be free,
Or we’ll be dead.
 
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
I’m fencing off this little piece of heaven.
Cross the line and you’re electrocuted.
Polishing up my AK47.
It’s a constitutional right, can’t be refuted.
 
Now they got us on TV,
And makin’ us look stupid.
Shot of me flippin’ my lid,
At that mutt reporter,
A classic case of race dilution
Houston,
 
What is the problem?
I’m fighting for you, and a blue-eyed Jesus.
America first,
The rest get the pieces.
 
Na Na Na Na.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
Fighting for your honour,
Like would any Afrikaner.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
Our numbers are strong, and it won’t be long
’til I can tell you, Trisha, that we won.
You’ll be ecstatic, just like that night
You told me up in the attic.
That was your wish again,
To be back in a purified Michigan
 
Down on…! down on…!
… the farm?
 
Well, that’s my wish again,
To be back in Michigan.
 
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
(Well, that’s my wish again, to be back in Michigan)
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
I hope you like the double barrel,
I think it goes with your apparel.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
(Well, that’s my wish again, to be back in Michigan)
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
I like to keep it in the refrigerator.

International Dog Day

Happy Dog Day.    August 26, 2020.    For all my friends who are dog lovers.   
This has always been my favorite dog song. 

And of course, another favorite artist Laurie Anderson had a great movie and soundtrack  called HEART OF A DOG.   here are two tracks from the soundtrack.

Finally a track by Rush

bless the beasts and the children

Another installment: thinking of the world we are leaving our children and the children of the future. We are on the cusp of the next great extinction event caused by climate change. Climate change cause by humanities overwhelming impact on the environment and the planet on which we call home. Our children should not be the ones to warn us yet that is what is happening. We adults have shrugged off our responsibility and now our children are crying out for help. What are we doing to provide light during these dark times? What are we doing to keep them safe? How long will we pat our children on the head and offer our empty comforting words? Or, will we continue to write pretty songs to placate and humor the need instead of meet the need? It’s not enough to say, “It’s just too hard. At least the world won’t end while I’m alive. We’ll let someone else figure it out.”

When will we say, “…NOW is the favorable time. NOW is the day of salvation”(*) for our children?

* II Corinthians 6:2

Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins B-Day

Born in Cleveland, OH  July 18, 1929, Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins would go on to take the world by storm with his unique voice and theatrical presentation.   He would leave an indelible mark on popular culture.  He would go on to inspire and influence generations of musicians including Tom Waits, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and many others.   When I discovered Tom Waits in college (mid 1980’s) I found out that one of his major influences was Screamin’ Jay.   So naturally I had to check it out.   I now own many Screamin’ Jay Hawkins discs.   He recorded his signature hit I PUT A SPELL ON YOU many times.  And just about anyone who is anybody in the music world has covered this song. But there are so many other delights.   He is funny, witty, wry, satirical. Trained on classical piano he wanted to be an opera singer and sited Paul Robeson as an inspiration and Caruso was also a big influence –  but when that failed to come to fruition he blossomed in the cabaret circuit and that is where his transformation into the kitschy character performer – often performing with voodoo props, rubber snakes and cigarette smoking skull he affectionally named Henry.  He has had several movie appearances.

If you’ve never heard Screamin’ Jay Hawkins before you are in for a treat. Enjoy.

It’s not too late

It's Not Too Late

The wind turns like a dagger, the rain falls like a hammer
The sky has grown dark but it’s not too late
The weather crashes down, what’s lost cannot be found
The night is closing but it’s not too late

It’s not too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late, it’s not too late
The atmosphere is lethal but I will fear no evil

The ocean rolls like thunder, the tempest pulls us under
The dogs are howling but it’s not too late
As broken structures rust, false idols turn to dust
All lies in ashes but it’s not too late

It’s not too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late, it’s not too late
The atmosphere is lethal but I will fear no evil

In the dark before the dawn, the echo of the siren song
Dies away like a ghost, as the day breaks

It’s not too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late, it’s not too late
The atmosphere is lethal but I will fear no evil

reconsidering Dylan

When I was younger I never quite got on the Bob Dylan bandwagon.  Sure there were songs I absolutely loved, “Knockin’ on Heavens Door”, “Blowin’ In The Wind” etc.  But his style never really grabbed me.  While he served as “the voice” of my generation and older he always seemed out of touch.  I found his work really hit or miss.   I could never get through a complete recording.  Just major snooze-a-rama.   And that voice.   Horrendous, muttering, mewling like sandpaper on dry flesh.   And even though I enjoyed some of his music I found that I enjoyed it more when other people sang it.   His performances just left me empty and hungry for something more (and not more from him).  While his music may have served as the voice of a generation it certainly never served as a “voice” for my life experience.   And his music just seemed to become more and more distant through the years.   And that’s the way I felt for most of my life.

Fast forward to the present.   I am 59 going on 60.   On a whim I purchased the Bob Dylan box set – The Complete Album Collection Vol. One.    I’ve forced myself to listen through each album (all 47 discs).   And to my surprise I found that not only does the music touch me in unexpected ways but it seems more relevant to my life and our culture as it currently exists.   It appears that Dylan was not out of step with the times.   I was just out of step with Dylan.   And while some stuff from the 80’s and 90’s still seems somewhat uneven.  His work has just gotten better and better in the new millennium.   And his voice has gotten better.  When he was younger (or should I say when I was younger) his voice just seemed strangely out of tune lacking the clarity I had come to expect from many folk and pop singers.   But in the intervening years I fell in love with Tom Waits who has a similar voice and I love Tom’s songwriting style and storytelling.  Not only that but Dylan handles a guitar like Tom handles a piano.   I’ve found that since the LOVE and THEFT album Dylan’s songwriting is not dissimilar and in fact is complementary to Tom Waits music, and Dylan’s  voice is perfectly suited to that style.   It’s enjoyable and I can easily sit through an entire recording as the music evokes many scenes, times, places and people that I can appreciate.  And I’ve come to admire his skill with language and music.

Bottom Line:   While the box set was a risky purchase considering my previous opinions of Bob Dylan it was a purchase that paid off in spades.    It’s been so great to get in touch with a master songwriter.   When you go through his oveure in this collection one can easily see why he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature.

So while I may have said some things early on that may have seemed sacrilegious – well my eye’s have been opened.   Another blind man can now see.

With all that said and done.   Here are some tracks you may/or not be familiar with.    Enjoy.