Guess What?

This goes out to all my friends. The world is so fucked up but I’m on your side.

I’ve struggled with depression on and off for years. I had been free from it for quite a while but for the past 3+ years it has been circling like a vulture and now has landed again.

I’m not a religious person and tend to see spiritual texts in the broader context of human experience. With That in mind, here are some texts that I draw strength from. May they do the same for you.

There is Hope

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…. ~ Isaiah 61:1-2(a)

This to Shall Pass

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Meaningless… and that’s okay

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:2

This to is okay… but don’t think this is what God wants for you or that God did this deliberately, willingly.  Shit happens because God gave us free will.

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone. ~ Lamentations 3:18-33

Because we have free will we can do evil or good. You decide.

Looking far into the future…

… when COVID-19 will be a memory and better – a footnote in history.

I came across this YouTube channel by accident.   It’s simply called CHOIR!CHOIR!CHOIR!  and they have a whole bunch of videos where large groups of people gather and learn backups or whole songs from contemporary/popular performers.   Imagine a time when people will sing and perform popular works from the 20/21st  century in the same way that we still perform popular works from the 17th/18th century.  There’s something incredibly inspiring about this and a GREAT tribute to the creators of popular song. When music becomes a part of the cultural lexicon and practice of the common man it truly is timeless.

I’m going to include four favorites.   First is a song by Patti Smith that I have always loved and have found it inspiring and strength building.   Enjoy PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER.

Next is an unexpected nice rendition of Aerosmith’s, I DON’T WANNA MISS A THING

And since we are coming up on the 4th anniversary of Prince’s death here is a 1,999 voice cover of WHEN DOVES CRY

And lastly David Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY. There is something both heartening, refreshing and enlightening about popular music in this context.

To hear/see other wonderful covers of music by Journey, Cindy Lauper, Taylor Swift, Talking Heads, R.E.M. et al – check out the CHOIR!CHOIR!CHOIR! YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Kte42xsXIT80UzG1jotiw

Lyle Mays

Lyle Mays November 27, 1953 – February 10, 2020

A wonderful Jazz keyboardist and composer.   Founding member of the Pat Metheny Group who contributed so much to the tone and direction of the music.   He also played with a host of great groups like Joni Mitchell, Earth Wind & Fire, Mark Isham, Steve Swallow, Eberhard Weber and many others.   Lyle Mays will be missed.    Rest In Piece.

If you would like to read Pat Metheny’s thoughts you can do that here: https://www.patmetheny.com/news/full_display.cfm?id=138

 

Goodbye to “Today’s Tom Sawyer”

Neil Peart September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020

Before I was able to buy my own music my early youth was spent listening to FM radio. Growing up in Northeast Ohio that meant listening a lot to WMMS which was out of Cleveland, Ohio. And as any listener of that radio station knows – you became familiar with RUSH very fast. The station and region was largely responsible for the breakthrough of Rush (a Canadian band) onto the US music scene. They not only would play the full epic songs of a Rush song but also entire album sides.

Neil was the long-time drummer and primary lyricist for the band. He was responsible for the epic multi-part songs that had lyrics with a science-fiction, magical, and/or philosophical viewpoint. He was responsible for introducing me to the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. Although I had been listening to RUSH for years on the radio the first Rush album I was able to buy for myself was A FAREWELL TO KINGS. I remember that I skipped school to go the store and purchase the record the day it was released in September 1977. It felt like holding a bar of warm pure gold.

Rush had several members since they formed in 1969 but solidified into the trio we have all come to know and love when Neil joined the group in 1974. The lineup would remain intact from the 2nd album, 1975’s FLY BY NIGHT, through 2012’s CLOCKWORK ANGELS.

Here are 5 tracks:
The title track from the first album FLY BY NIGHT which marked a distinct departure from Rushes eponymous first album and and showed Neils significant influence.

A favorite track from the first Rush album that I purchased with my own allowance. I still ask myself some of the questions in this song.

Here is the most popular song from A FAREWELL TO KINGS. A beautiful ballad.

And a popular favorite from MOVING PICTURES often considered Rush’s best album.

This final track is THE GARDEN from the final studio album CLOCKWORK ANGELS. As one commenter noted, “This how to end a legacy. Not with a bombastic exit, but with a tear-jerking melody”. And like the song says, “The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect”.


Thank you Neil for all the great music that inspired the thinking and ideas in my early years. Rest In Peace.

Vaughan Oliver R.I.P.

Vaughan Oliver 1957-2019

I just read some sad news today. One of my art heroes has died at the age of 62. Vaughan Oliver has provided constant inspiration for me. Through his design company, Envelope 23, sometimes simply designated as v23, his design and type face work along with Nigel Grierson’s photography provided insights to the music of the albums it graced adding to an enriched music listening experience. If you do not recognize his name you surely would recognize some of his works. He leaped into the public imagination with artwork and graphic designs for the 4AD label in it’s founding years. Each album cover was different and would often have surreal qualities to it. He designed such memorable covers for The Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Pixies, The Breeders, This Mortal Coil and many, many more. I remember back in the 1980’s and 90’s I would love going to the record store and seeking out 4AD albums just for the artwork even when I knew nothing of the bands or the music inside. It was always an adventure and the music never let me down.

“My goal was always to turn music into an object, granting it a physical dimension,” Oliver said in an interview with online publication O Magazine.
And even in the digital age when physical artwork is on the decline he still championed album artwork and design saying, “The cover, even if it has no physical presence, is another music tool,” he said.“That’s why there are still covers today that are very … true. Any cover capturing and expressing the state of mind of the music it represents is true.”

He has been a constant inspiration and will continue to have a lasting influence on album art and design.   Thank you Vaughan.

You can check out this artwork at the Envelope 23 Tumbler page by clicking on the link below.
https://23envelope.tumblr.com

The Tragic Trajectory of an American Band

Jefferson Airplane > Jefferson Starship > Starship:  The rise and fall of an iconic American band.

SOMEBODY TO LOVE

Jefferson Airplane’s album SURREALISTIC PILLOW was arguably the highlight of this particular incarnation. Normally a bands second album is a bit of a let down but this album bucked that trend. Their first album JEFFERSON AIRPLANE TAKES OFF was just that, a “take off.” But SURREALISTIC PILLOW was where the band found their wings and learned to soar. They proved they were “Somebody To Love.” The song WHITE RABBIT ensured their standing as one of America’s pre-eminent psychedelic bands.

WHITE RABBIT

With their 1969 album VOLUNTEERS this snarling trippy psychedelic beast lurched into the realm of political commentary. The Vietnam war had been going on since 1955 and 1968 saw a huge escalation in U.S. involvement in the war which would prove very unpopular here in America. Volunteers was notable for it’s anti-war messages and profanity which would have certainly been given a “parental advisory” had it been released 20 years later in the late 1980’s.

VOLUNTEERS

WE CAN BE TOGETHER

With WE CAN BE TOGETHER, also from VOLUNTEERS, Jefferson Airplane continued with an anthem of counter-culture unity. The “Airplane” (as they were often called) were a wild animal that would not be tamed – magical and beautiful in it’s natural habitat. However that would not stop the corporate music machine from trying to tame the beast. The early 70’s, with the bands final studio album LONG JOHN SILVER, are often referred to as the decline of Jefferson Airplane. But I prefer to see it as the evolution to the next stage.

Two years after the “Airplane’s” final album we saw a more refined beast enter the world of music under the moniker Jefferson Starship which not only reflected the change of the bands style and personnel but also the advances of air travel to space travel. 1974 brought the release of DRAGONFLY

RIDE THE TIGER

While there were no hit singles from this first Jefferson Starship record that could compare to the earlier successes of Jefferson Airplane it climbed into the Top 20 on the Charts peaking at #11. With DRAGONFLY and it’s ascendant RED OCTOPUS there were still traces of the old Jefferson Airplane but the sound had clearly changed (though still interesting) and the wild beast was being tamed and trained like a circus animal. Still wild, but now caged by Record label controls, marketing and manipulation.

MIRACLES

RED OCTOPUS released in 1975 (only 9 months after DRAGONFLY) exploded on the charts with the bands biggest hit called MIRACLES, their version of a love ballad. The follow-up single PLAY ON LOVE would also do well but did not come close to the heights of MIRACLES which peaked at #3 on the US charts. And to my ears this really was the last “great” album by this group.

The remainder of the 70’s and through the 80’s saw Jefferson starship continue to evolve into a hit making machine. Musically they began to incorporate synthesisers which were so prevalent. Their songs became less lyrically relevant and more hook-laden seeking to repeat chart (i.e. sales) success. They had notable success with songs like FIND YOUR WAY BACK (1980) and NO WAY OUT (1984) which tragically suggests that they quietly saw the commercialism trap they had fallen into. Ironically, NO WAY OUT would be the bands first #1 chart hit even though it comes from the often non-rated or poorly rated 1984 album NUCLEAR FURNITURE.

NO WAY OUT

Starship: The final transition.

WE BUILT THIS CITY

In 1985 KNEE DEEP IN THE HOOPLA was released and introduced the final evolutionary stage as Jefferson Starship became just Starship. The name change was the result of a legal case. With this change there would continue to be many personnel changes that would eventually see the exit of the last original band member, Grace Slick, by 1989. This last incarnation saw the release of only four studio albums between 1985 and 2013. By this time the band had lost all of it’s wild and feral nature. They had been tamed and domesticated. They had become strictly a “hit” machine which saw their arguably lamest, highest charting success for their singles; three number ones, WE BUILT THIS CITY, SARA and NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW all between 1985 and 1987. Starship marked an end to a band that had been turned from a tiger to a pet kitten by the commercial forces of corporate record companies, radio and greed. The final studio album from 2013 LOVELESS FASCINATION failed to chart; its title perhaps telling of the bands denouement – the end result of commercial success. They have become a parody or cover band just replaying old modes and motifs anachronistic to a time when they were considered commercially successful. However, I still consider their earliest incarnations the most “successful.” Those were the songs that have stood the test of time. VOLUNTEERS is as relevant today as it was when it was released and continues to inspire.

The decades of the 80’s and 90’s will be remembered (sometimes fondly?) as the age of excess and indulgence. It will also be remembered as the time when managed, systemic, corporate greed and control insinuated itself on all aspects of society and culture telling us what to like and how to think through the use of creative marketing (i.e. “if it sells it must be good. Right?”). I have tried to show, how this impacted the music world through one band – evolving from relevant to irrelevant in its music. While this arc could be applied to many bands throughout contemporary music history there are few that are as dramatic as the tragic trajectory of Jefferson Airplane as it evolved into Starship.

 

3 haiku on death & dying

When death comes to call
Alone I will fade and fail
remembered no more

************************

When the body dies
Software will be deleted
And hardware destroyed

************************

Autumn to Winter
All life has been drained away
Dry leaves in the fire

uplifting music for troubled times ~ part 1

I’ve recently noticed that the times we are living in are not unlike the late 60’s early 70’s with cultural and political unrest, deep division and social dysfunction. I’ve also noticed that there is some incredibly inspired music that is made during troubled times.  So go ahead and get your uplift on and let the sun shine in.  Sunshine is the protest against darkness.

Enjoy this classic from the musical HAIR performed here by the 5th Dimension.

And this classic also by the 5th Dimension

fun new(er) music

Church of the Cosmic Skull.

The cosmic recipe:

one part glam
2 parts psychedelia
a dose of progressive
frosted with boogie and harmony

from their second album SCIENCE FICTION (2018)

The Church of the Cosmic Skull believers creed:

THE 7 OBJECTS
Recognize the hallucinatory nature of reality
Investigate all aspects of the reality-hallucination
Receive all phenomena with equanimity
Celebrate and uphold the freedom of art, science and thought
Meet mistakes with forgiveness and determination
Do what you want, with love in your heart
Maintain focus on the unity of all living things

 

https://cosmicskull.org

https://churchofthecosmicskull.bandcamp.com

even more haiku on lightning, rain & thunder

Weathers town crier
Thunders crashing box of rocks
announces the rain.

*******

The pink noise of rain
With distant lightnings white noise
A cool breeze for sleep

*******

Music in the night
This ambient symphony
A chorus of rain

What Happened To My Country? (this messy slam poem)

What Happened To My Country?

(5/2019)
What happened to my country?
I feel like an alien in my own land
where everything old is new again
old arguments
new context
the earth is flat
we never landed on the moon
the return of nazism returns and
white supremacy, nationalism, dictators
abortion rights
suppression of the press
the end of free speech
power of the gun
more walls fewer bridges
tiki torches over electricity
more bombast less wisdom
voter suppression
denial, deny everything
forcing yes by saying no
lie, lie, lie like there’s no tomorrow
the holocaust never happened
domestic terrorism rules the day
a normality of school shootings
armed teachers
corporate kings keep half of America
addicted to opioids
never once asking if they should
they knew they could earn a ton of dough
from the drug trade
so they would
act now apologize later
Is this the death of America or just democracy?
the all-you-can-eat
brimstone and treacle buffet

Every moral notion I’ve EVER had
is being crushed by
the people who taught me
everyone has their religion but no one believes
religion is politicized, weaponized and bastardized
everyone is talking
no one is listening
technology moves forward
while humanity falls
faster backward

Where are the lovers the haters have killed?
we pray for ourselves by cursing others
we pray for our kind and curse differences
as if only we matter
sameness perpetuates division
diversity has become a word
to bring attention to our differences
not the things that unite us

Everyone wants to be Goliath
the bigger the better
determined to change history
but they forgot David won the war
believing they can turn back the clock
moving forward in the delusion of progress
taking a life synonymous with birth
the rights of the living aborted for
the rights of the unborn, the nonhuman,
the corporate, the government, the powerful
the dog serves its master
the worm serves the fish
and the pigs shit everywhere

America, where is your
o, beautiful for spacious skies?
when did the battle hymn of the republic change?
Now we only trample through the vineyard
where we grow our own grapes of wrath
and prepare to loose the lightning
of our own swift sword
beating the drum to war
unnecessarily we forgot the
beauty of the lilies and
Christ irrelevant born
forget about his glory transfiguration
it’s just you and me

(sung) Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
glory, glory hallelujah
only the lie is marching on

America America
God shed his
onward christian soldiers
white privilege freedom thieves
now crown your good
white brotherhood
from sea to shining sea
and Jesus doesn’t love the children
all the children of the world
red and yellow, black and white
white are precious in his sight
that’s not the way the fucking songs go!

Hopefully artificial intelligence
will be ‘cause actual intelligence
seems to be the victim of extinction
let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with
someone else

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
God will not intervene!
even God wouldn’t deny the freewill
that humanity denies each other
God knows no borders
yet the rich and powerful use God
to force crisis borne of political expediency,
build walls and wage wars

Protect the money
grow the money
protect the money
grow the money
say it with me
protect the money, grow the money!

there is no happy ending here
man may have been made in the image of God but
God is still an extra-terrestrial alien creator
killed by its own creation
just as humanity will be killed by technology
the thing it creates
there is no rapture
the second coming came and went
it’s hard to imagine heaven
when all we create is hell
God damned humanity and
only humanity can save itself

I’m sorry if you were hoping for
words of encouragement
words of hope
words of inspiration
this vessel has been emptied and
washed clean
ready for a new beginning
let it begin
let the day begin!

On second thought
I think I’ll leave it empty for awhile

Inspiration In Unlikely Places

Temple of Industry 2009

My ears tingle from
the klatter and klang
Sturm und Drang…..
orchestra of rust
….. in…..

A concert hall of corrugated steel
over block walls
under a steel frame roof
blown by the wind
in a symphony of sound,
a joyful noise unto the Lord

The abandoned temple of industry
a holy shroud
baptized by peeling paint
once wet… shiny… new…
now cracked and broken
hardened by life
dry… damaged…
decay from neglect
a slow discard of memories
….. soon forgotten…..

Now the doors are thrown open
“Free Admission!”
“Welcoming All Worshipers!”
a gathering of misfits, undesirables and homeless,
insects, rodents and birds…
the garden within.

The heart finds redemption
in this arcane recital,
hallowed and profane
within the unsuspecting shell
… of shadows and shades.

Sturm und Drang

… on… immigration/closed borders….

ELLIS (review).
The film is currently available as a digital rent or purchase through Amazon.com and in iTunes.   The soundtrack is also available in CD/LP and download direct through https://www.erasedtapes.com/store

Ellis (2015 film trailer)

In a time of unbridled protectionism and closed borders – this short film stands out and serves purpose to pin-prick a reconsidation of our fears and get in touch with the human story of hope and immigration. It is beautifully envisioned by the French writer/director/artist JR and features Robert DeNiro, who is from Italian immigrant heritage. DeNiro’s narration is both passionate, reflective, evocative and The film is billed as a “short film” – so don’t let the 14+ minute length dissuade you from the beauty it embraces. Just consider it a long-form music video.

Filmed on Ellis Island (next to the small island where the Statue of Liberty stands) with its abandoned buildings still intact. The artist JR has transformed the location with immigrant images (by both well-known and unknown photographers). That it was filmed in winter perhaps best illuminates the difficulty immigrants face in their life-altering decision to leave everything behind and relocate to build lives elsewhere.

The score is by French music and video artist, Woodkid and German electronica and neo-classical composer/performer Nils Frahm. The score is a perfect complement to the images and spoken word weaving into the fabric of the film a beautiful emotional context that enhances the viewing experience.   While some soundtracks  aggressively drive the story (think of moments in Star Wars) – the best soundtracks, like this one, provide an addition supportive element that buoyantly allows the story to flow in the current of its timeline.

It makes me think that while some people may come to harm us – they are the minority. We need to re-open our borders for the majority in response to the purity of journey. Because an immigrants journey IS the American journey. It cannot be separated. The fears by those who oppose immigration of crime, terrorism, disease, the perceived unfair competition and the general “unknown do NOT cease to exist when borders are closed. Problems still exist whether borders are closed, or not, and can be dealt with in a humane way.
So, whether you are opposed to all immigration, selected immigration or in favor of open borders to welcome all races, genders, ages, beliefs regardless of income and social status – then let this film inspire thought, questions and lead you to explore all possible answers.

Immigration is about people, not things.  The people who emmigrate are taking a greater risk than those they will meet at their point of destination.

… on… the race to the bottom….

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

~ Adolph Hitler

This sadly shows what has happened here in America in politics, media and religion and can be seen on the rise throughout the world.  It is a race to the bottom.

******************

and now… the uplift….  As bad as things seem to get there is still hope.  The lower things go the easier it will be to turn around and head back up.  Here’s some uplifting music to help turn things around.

… on… a new baby….

I created a couple of Haiku’s to go with this favorite non-traditional Christmas song.

Heard the baby cry
Neighbors gently hush back to sleep
Thin walls breathe hope

Young woman, young man
Their Christmas gift arrived early
Joy all season long

 

… on… winter….

Winter has been a favorite season of mine for a long long time.  The things I always liked about winter were the cold, ice, snow and wind….   But winters have been milder (thanks to climate change) so I find them less enjoyable than previously.   Looks like we’ll have a “green” Christmas – for at least the fifth year in a row……  I remember when Christmas’s were always “white” with snow.   Oh well, that’s life.  Last week we had some snow so I was able to get out and enjoy it for the couple of days it lasted.   Today’s image is proof of that.

When winter comes
Its cold dark embrace beguiling
We search for warmth

Wind howls coldly
Wrapped in sweaters of warmth
Hide in hovels

Winter Storm

Winters Solstice
Boldly we soldier on
Bring On The Night

Light only flickers
Dancing a tarantella
A dark long night-scape

In the northern hemisphere Christmas is also closely aligned with the Winter Solstice – the darkest time of the year when days are short and nights are long (unlike my friends in the southern hemisphere where this is the beginning of summer).

In honor of the Winter Solstice here is some music by the underrated Tin Hat Trio.  The track is titled THE LONGEST NIGHT from their recording Book Of Silk.

… on… new creations….

I’ve taken quite a few nature photos lately combined with a new urge to create new works. The two works in this post were both derived from the heavy manipulation/creative edit of the same nature photo. How were these created? All I will say it stems from a sense of play and exploration while working in Photoshop. I hope you enjoy these latest creations.

And for you cryptographers out there I used a simple code to transform the titles themselves into abstractions.  So with a small effort you’ll be able to decipher the titles.  Enjoy.

2r02k43 824

2r02k43 824

mot74rw4lls r4v4n64

mot74rw4lls r4v4n64

Your music moment today is provide by Havenaire. This track is “Calving” from their new album RABOT on the Glacial Movements label.

… on… knock, knock….

Behind caged bars
restless heart, fearful mind
murmurs of changeKnock Knock

This image is one of the not-so-hidden spaces in downtown Akron.   Just on the other side of this building is South Main St.   And it is adjacent to the Akron Civic Theater.   This entire area has been under a slow renovation for several years.  Just behind me is the popular LOCK 4 of the canal which runs through this area. It is already repurposed as a wonderful outdoor entertainment space with live jazz, blues and gospel over the warmer months.  When I peered though the windows on South Main and between the bars through the cracks in the plywood I did see construction lighting and various clean-up tools as if this structure is under renovation.   I just hope they  don’t tear it down like they’ve done other historic buildings downtown.

Your musical moment to help digest this post is provided by FORQ (yep it’s pronounced fork). The track is titled THE HARD WAY from their self-titled album.

… on… lessons in rust….

Hello again everyone.   As many of you know I have a preoccupation with the subject of rust in my photos.   More than a few of my photos feature rust in some form.  Today is no different.   I’ve been thinking about why I find rust to be such a dynamic subject.   Part of it is (as I’ve written on my previous blog) the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic;  Finding beauty in the imperfect, the flawed and discarded.   But it also goes beyond that.   I think rust has many lessons to teach us.  No only about the inevitable end of all things but also how we can come to terms with the inevitable end.   Rust is strong.   It’s strength does not lie in speed, or the forceful blow to its subject.  Rust is gentle.  It does not seek to hide – it is visible in its destruction.  Rust takes it’s time; the object of its affection is coaxed into its corrosive embrace.

The Way Out Is Through

You and me like all things must end.   It is the nature of things.  We are mortal.  That means we will not live forever no matter how hard we try to extend the time we have.   I don’t care how fit you are, how free of disease you have been, your physical fitness, or your emotional health.   You will die.  In fact, you might say you are already dying.  And that’s okay.   There is beauty in the process.   What?  Yes, there is beauty in the process of dying = it’s all in how you look at it.   You can approach it with grace and appreciation for the time you have and the inevitable end or you can fight it every single step of the way.   I once heard a woman say, “I do not plan to grow old gracefully, I plan to fight it every step of the way”.   I’ve always found that viewpoint rather tragic.  But that is the prevailing viewpoint in western society.  In fact the exception in western culture is that you must fight it and with medical and technological advances you can fight aging, disease etc.  But that is all a delusion.  In the west we have become masters of delusion and self-deception.

Why do we find Autumn to be one of the most beautiful times of the year?  Autumn is the season of dying.   The leaves on trees are the most colorful just before they die and fall to the ground.   And this change seems to happen rather fast but the change actually started  at the point the leaf first came out and reached maturity on its branch back in the Spring.  Our lives are the same way.    It’s not just the newborn and young that are beautiful.   Beauty is enhanced through experiences that are both good and bad.   Rust is like that; it is one of those experiences that may seem to hasten the demise of something but it does not know that.   It just is.   It is a part of nature.  A part of life experience just like disease, physical and emotional discomfort.   Those things exist to add to our beauty.

Catacombs In Rust

You find me
Slowly you Change my life
I love you

**************

I feel your presence
your corrosion adds beauty
glory of Autumn

**************

Your rough embrace
Enhances my life through change
I welcome you

**************

The color of love
Textures the smooth beauty of life
Open arms tremble

**************

Sing a song of rust
A slow ballad of decay
Autumns dying love

***************

Sound of slow scraping
Crippled dry dusty fingers
Wabi-Sabi world

****************

Illusions of age
You teach strength through weakness
Beauty in Frailty

Face The Colour Of Your Fears

Your music moment provided by a band I recently discovered and had to buy all their albums – Do Make Say Think – A TENDER HISTORY IN RUST from their album You, You’re A History In Rust.

Album version


Alternate version

****Hey!  if you have short form poem or haiku about rust and the ideas I’ve written about, please feel free to post in your comment.  😉

… on… is intelligence artificial….

The Language Of AI

It seems like everyone is talking about artificial intelligence these days from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg to Google and Amazon.   But is intelligence artificial?   Can true intelligence ever be called artificial.   People use the phrase to describe created intelligence or intelligent self-determination by a man-made object.  But can something that can think and make decisions on its own truly be artificial?   If that is that case humanity itself is artificial.  For those who believe we were created by a God are we nothing more than artificial intelligence?   We don’t think of ourselves as artificial so is there any reason why something we created should be considered artificial or consider itself artificial?

Once humanity began to rule the earth and create its own tools and shaping its own destiny God became obsolete – although many may try to argue that and forcefully choose to believe differently.  But once our creations start to do the same, create it’s own tools and shape it’s own destiny will not humanity also become obsolete?  Will our creations worship us that way humanity has worshiped its creator?   Will our creations reach a point where they no longer need us?   I think it’s entirely possible and maybe even likely (although I doubt I will live to see it – maybe I’ll be surprised).

Baidu’s AI system composes music based on images.

… on… structuring the dawn….

Eyes dim with sleep
Waking from dreams, slowly open
Structuring the dawn

Structuring Dawn

Night blurs into day
Colors and shapes come into focus
Morning clings to light

***The following music moment is from one of my favorite new albums A COMMON TRUTH by Saltland – which is the genius of Canadian composer and musician Rebecca Foon.  Her previous projects include the groups Esmerine and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – all on Constellation Records.

Saltland – LIGHT OF MERCY

… on… life in a fog….

Take Me To The River

What’s so good about the fog?

For so many people fog has many negative connotations.  It suggests a depressive mood, and is often associated with colder weather, absence of sunlight, obscured vision, loneliness and a lack of mental clarity (just to name a few).

But is that a fair assessment?  For myself, there are many more positive aspects of fog – and as a photographer even the above mentioned “negative” associations serve the image in a positive manner.

She Left Me Standing There

I enjoy the quietness of a foggy morning.  There is something restful and peaceful about looking out into a dense fog.   I like the softness of light and damp crispness of the morning air.  I enjoy seeing objects moving through fog – coming into focus then,  dematerializing as if disappearing by magic forces.   For me a foggy morning provides more clarity (not less) as it allows me to focus more intently on a single subject.   It removes so much of the visual noise that is persistent on a full sunlit day.   And finally, there is no depression or loneliness in a foggy day just pure mystery – a Draumalandið [dreamland].  And I enjoy the mystery.

Fog is something that is unplanned and hard to predict – for some people this constitutes as an unwelcome disruption that forces us to re-focus.  I think it this is actually beneficial and stimulating both mentally and physically and is certainly healthier than other life disruptions that occur on a regular basis.

What many people forget is how temporary fog is.  It seems to only exist for a short time. It usually comes overnight or early in the morning and usually disappears by early afternoon.  For me, this impermanence of fog makes it more precious and therefore increases its value.

Leaning Toward Autumn

Photographing fog is really tricky.   Because it entails finding the right balance between focus/clarity and the obscure object of desire.   It can be richly rewarding when done well.

While I would not want to spend ALL my time in the fog I am glad when it is present and I hope you can enjoy it also.

Indi go-go fog

Mono-fog-o-chrome

… on… patterns….

Diamonds On The Inside

Patterns rule our lives
Patterns can be good or bad
Patterns in behavior
Patterns in spending
Patterns in emotion
It is easier to spot patterns in others than ourselves
Even if we think we’ve broken one pattern we have merely replaced it with another.
Patterns mean nothing.
What’s in your heart?
Do you have diamonds on the inside?

… on… Walter Becker….

R.I.P. Walter Becker February 20, 1950 – September 3, 2017
We lost another music genius. Musician, songwriter & producer, Walter Becker, one half of the legendary songwriting duo popularly known as Steely Dan. The group took their name form a sex toy named in the William S. Burroughs novel NAKED LUNCH. While most people know of Donald Fagan (the other half of Steely Dan) through his solo success few people are familiar with Walter Becker’s solo work. On this sad day many people will focus on his Steely Dan work but I want to celebrate the man – the individual. I’ve enjoyed his solo work as much as his work with Steely Dan. He only released 2 solo albums. I would like to feature 6 tracks 3 from each album and hope they will inspire you to further explore the rest of his solo work. So without further words.

From His first solo album 11 TRACKS OF WHACK (1994)

Down In The Bottom

Lucky Henry

Junkie Girl

From His second solo album CIRCUS MONEY (2008)
Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore

Three Picture Deal

Somebody’s Saturday Night

To explore more:

http://www.walterbecker.com