I don’t listen to a whole lot of gospel music and not a whole lotta blues. But when I do they are usually blended together. One group that has done this masterfully for decades now is Blind Boys Of Alabama. Their original Christmas album is titled GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN.
On the original recording Tom Waits joins them. For this post I wanted to highlight this group without Tom’s able assist – so enjoy this live studio performance of the title track GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN.
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
***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.
We are living in the time of parables and revelations
we are “everyman”
we are the evil that haunts our reality
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
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
“out of stock”
but that has changed
online everything is available
all the time
for a price
with our very own pay pal
we forgot the payback
we forgot the shark will come
hunting for what is owed
all will come hunting
for what they are owed.
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.
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.
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?
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.