Sunday, June 28, 2015

Taste the Rainbow.

First of all let me say that I am so glad that there are things in my life past, present and more than likely future that only God alone knows about. So, I try not to get into many polemics and rants and self righteous anger. But, this particular post isn't about heaven or hell or obliteration. This isn't about being a good democrat or republican. This is about something that I really get frustrated about at times and can easily find myself taking sides and pointing fingers. But, I do want to say this:

I see so many of my conservative friends ranting and saying they have been crying over the nation due to recent political decisions. I say the following from my honest heart and I say it without anger or derision. You don't have to agree but please at least think about it. I have thought about and was raised in the Christian aspect of things. So, please know that I have thought about some of the legitimate arguments a conservative might have. I am not a life long left wing godless liberal. As a matter of fact I'm not a "godless" liberal now. But, that's not the point of this:

1. We have in this nation right now families living on the street with no shelter, no food or clothing.

2. We have right now. People who fought and stepped up when they were sent to fight in a war that they may or may not have understood. They have no shelter and not enough health care and mental health support.

3. We place a "price" on the lives of people's access to health care and call it good old conservative, American, biblical values. It's not. It's a system that was put in place by powerful people charging interest on goods and establishing profit for selling insurance and driving up prices and dividing people into "us vs them." Please wake up.

4. We have picketed abortion clinics and called the murder of the unborn a sin. Yet, we have cheered as if in a football game when bombs and rockets tore the limbs and life from the old and poor and sick and pregnant of the "enemy." We have told young mothers you must have the baby. But, once they get here we have called them thugs and refused to aknowledge any other human responsibility to them. You can't revere the womb and hate the person that emerges from it.

5. We morn when someone burns a piece of cloth and yet call another murder or killing of a human a "justified" kill and put pictures and stories of how bad they were as if that justifies anything.

6. Some are born on third base and think they hit a triple. Some will get angry and say everybody is equal. But, their not. That's okay. That's life. But, have a little compassion. Unless of course you really do think this is just a contest to see who wins the "sperm lottery."

7. We worry that the poor folks coming over the border are the problem. Yet, we have a false war on drugs, a out of control prison system that is for profit and career politicians that draw public welfare and pensions for the rest of their life while cutting services for the poor.

8. We act as if God himself founded America. Yet, there was a Native American genocide and a displacement from home and property in order for America to expand. Slave labor built houses and industry. My own ancestors were grabbed off the boat from Ireland or the British Isles and forced to work or fight for causes that were not their own. Being American I also have Native American, African American and other blood as do we all.

9. So, if you are going to weep. Then weep. But, please shed a tear and say a prayer for the homeless and the sick and the poor and the desperate. Their lot isn't changed much by Sam being able to marry Tom.

10: Finally, yes. You have the right to believe homosexuality is a sin. Yes, you have the right to refuse to personally or as a church refuse to recognize a homosexual marriage. I disagree with you but that is my right.

11. But, you do not have the right to enforce your religious belief as the law of the land. Marriage was not (sorry guys) created just for Christians. Marriage in the U.S. and other nations is a legal, civil union. It simply gives one partner the right to oversee and share in the worldly goods and inheritance of another partner.

12. Also, what about the people who marry time and again. What about the quickie wedding in Vegas. What about the atheist who marries?

13. YOU are the one who makes your marriage sanctified or not sanctified. A judge can't do that. A church can't do that. A legal document can't do that.

14. Finally, I do as I said before disagree with you on homosexuality. I honestly think people are born to be who they are. I don't intend to get into a long endless argument over "what if's"

15. One more thing to some of y'all. No, you can't take back your country. There is no blond haired blue eyed Christian nation for you to take back. The country and even "gasp" the military you love is made up of black,white, brown, red and yellow. Male and female, democrat and republican, young and old. Christian and atheist. So, I don't know that what you want to "take back." is there for you to take back.


Saturday, June 20, 2015


 Prologue from Salem's Lot by Stephen King:

Old friend, what are you looking for?
After those many years abroad you come with images you tended under foreign skies. Far away from your own land. ....George Seferis.

This started as a comment on a facebook page for Gadsden, Alabama where I was born and raised. The subject was jobs and as with many small American cities that once boomed how, do we bring it back? We being they since I don't live there anymore. But, at 58 years old anything can bring on a bout of nostalgia:

When you are old and grey and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire..."When You Are Old." William Butler Yeats:

Wasn't supposed to happen so damn fast. :-0   Still, I guess late fifties doesn't really qualify as old age..yet. Right? Oh shut up!

Anyway, I think one reason we see the past as better is that we were better. Physically speaking that is. We remember those 19 year old bodies that could work all day and party all night and get up and do it again. The world was new and the future was endless. So, yeah that part always seems better. 2015 in around 35 or 40 years will be spoken of in those hushed, awed voices of people that are 17, 18, 19 and 20 years old today. The music will be classic and the culture will be so much worse than back in the day when "we" were in school in 2015. :-) 

Hey, I just noticed once I looked down when my coffee got cold. My mostly eaten poptart looks like the state of Alabama. Wild...Oh yeah, sorry I get distracted easily these days. The best part is I'm Not going to take a phone pic and post it on facebook. So, don't worry. Now, where was I? 

 Twenty-one and strong as I can be
I know what freedom means to me
And I can't give the reason why
I should ever want to die...Eagles

I hope to do a drive up to Etowah County before to much time passes. I always feel "home" when I get closer  to the hills after getting through Birmingham and heading north. I guess I don't really see with eyes from now. In my mind I'm going to Walnut Park and Chester Street. Then my grandparents in Altoona. But first, I see the Rebel Drive In where there is a "Dusk till Dawn" Horror Movie marathon starring Christopher Lee and a host of Romance novel cover girls breathing heavy and running from the Vampire/Werewolf,Frankenstein,  and "Oh my goodness don't fall he's coming!." After the movie and the obligatory "she's on my side of the car" fight with my sister we will head home.

I'll go up to Chester Street and play basketball with Barry and Rickey while brother Mike calls us little sissies. He will do it from a safe distance because Barry has an arm when there's a rock handy and a big brother taunting him. ;-)

 There's a world where I can go
And tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room...The Beach Boys.

I know. Stereotypical right? Still, it was true. I would go to my room and dive into a comic book or my electric football or Strat-O-Matic baseball game. My G.I. Joe or the box of cowboys and Indians under my bed. This in all reality didn't last long and my mother and stepdad fought a lot. But, in my mind this was an endless refuge. I feel guilty that my son missed out on some of the neighborhood experience. On the other hand we have made sure he missed the parents fighting experience so I think he's good. :-)

Bam, Pow, Zap! Batman!

There was a little "drug store" in Altoona, Alabama. Prince's Drugstore. If you could go back you would see a soda fountain and little round tables and chairs. A wire with comic books hung up over the counter. Mrs Prince or Mr. Prince would let me go around the counter to the back. "Now, don't make a mess." and pick out a comic or two from the stacks that weren't hung up yet. So, when I go through Altoona I see that drug store and I see where my grandparents and my uncle and aunt lived. I see the mountain where my Grandaddy dug coal. Even though now it's been laid low by strip mining and blast from long ago.

Oh well, it's been a good day in hell
And tomorrow I'll be glory bound....Eagles:

As a teenager I would play that song and just want to "get out." Now, I look back and I was never really trapped. There were endless possibilities. I try to remember that now as I get older. There are still endless possibilities.

But, sometime I still think there's something "back there" that I need to go find.

 “The only way back is the way forward.”...Dean Koontz, Brother Odd.

Never been a huge poetry guy. But, this one has always touched me. I first heard it a long time ago in an episode of "The New Twilight Zone." The episode was titled "Her Pilgrim Soul." I haven't found it since but if you come across it (the episode) I recommend it. I was first starting to really consider the concept of reincarnation at that time. Don't worry, I don't preach and I don't try to convert or convince anybody of anything. Mostly because I don't know much in a "for sure" way. :-)

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 
William Butler Yeats


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Caitlyn, Bruce and me.

I would say that I have read with interest the brouhaha concerning a former world class athlete turned reality star turned female turned lightning rod. But, I'd be lying if I did. I have had very little interest.

 It's kind of like fundamentalist televangelist and shrill atheistic pop scientist. Lot's of noise signifying nothing. It's like people who root for a political party as if it were a football team. It allows great evil to be manifest in the world but as long as it's our team then it's OK.

Honestly? I was more flabbergasted and even hurt by reading a self styled "Christian" woman who has daughters and grandchildren say that a certain molestation wasn't all that bad since it really didn't hurt anybody and it was forgiven. Yeah, that was something especially when the same person who said that then later in the week posted pictures of her precious (and I say that with absolutely no malice) they really were precious, granddaughters. However, the contradiction still could make ones head explode.

Still, in the midst of trying to make the world safe for "Truth, Justice and the American Way" I guess bad stuff isn't so bad as long as it's happening to somebody else. I see a lot of stuff happening to "somebody else" in my job. I really at times even though I'm pretty well educated. I still at times feel like making the sign of the cross or throwing salt over my shoulder or just asking my maker to hold me so that " doesn't get on me. People who don't have a home or job or enough clothes or medical care or dental care or things like that. Still at least the gays are still not welcome to get married. So, long as we have our priorities in order.

I saw somebody the other day that looked like their clothes were falling off. They were dirty and half crazed by who knows what? I certainly wasn't going to touch them or talk to them to find out. They might have been a veteran or something so I'm sure they would understand. Somebody had insulted my political party so I had to run down and make sure they got a good throttling. After all a human is well, sometimes smelly and nasty and well, who knows. But, my political and religious wing?  My God that stands for all of us doesn't it? 

I was listening  just the other day to a preacher. He was really concerned about the sanctity of marriage. At first I thought he might be a hypocrite. Since he was on his third marriage don'tcha know. :-) But, fortunately he explained it all to me. See, he didn't listen to "God" on his first marriage and she didn't listen on the second but this one is "Just right" See how that works? Whew, glad he cleared that one up.

Anyway, did you know that there are many people who are old and sick and can't get medication? Some can't get dialysis or won't be able to once more services are cut. That bothered me a lot. But, then someone explained that our "guvnor" is a "godly" man and just doesn't want people to get something for nothing. Sounds fair. After all if God had of intended for everybody to have food and clothing and be cared for when they are sick then he wouldn't have invented capitalism. He would have done some kind of hippie crap like sharing all things and giving somebody your coat as well as cloak. Why, Oh, wait a minute! Scratch that! Let's go on!

Anyway, why worry about under insured children and old people or parents working two jobs. We need to be worried about getting "god" back in school. I mean as long as we pledge and do a public prayer then we shouldn't have to worry about poor people. Somebody the other day was trying to tell me different. He was telling me about those "Godly" times back then. What? Ya mean back in the 50's when we still had prayer in school there were still mean people? You mean back when black people couldn't go to the same bathroom or eat at the same lunch counter? Those "godly" times? Well, don't worry I shut that communist up quick. Next thing ya know he'd be wanting me to touch poor people or talk to smelly people as if they were my equals.

I drove though Texas several years ago. I think it was near El Paso. I looked over and there was the Mexican border. There was a big fence but it looked kind of rough over there. I remember thinking "Ya know if I was on that side of the border, I'd be trying to get over here myself." But, then thankfully a right wing preacher explained to me that "those" people were trying  to tear down the U.S. and I shouldn't support them. He explained how the minute they come over here some liberal social worker is handing them a social security card and a bag of groceries and free health care. Later after I had become a social worker I realized that I don't have any extra social security cards or bags of groceries or free health care to give to people. Still, I'm sure that preacher was right. He's a man of "god" ya know.

Now, with all this you might think I'm cynical. You might think that I don't believe in ultimate truth or morals or self responsibility. You'd be wrong but, I can see where you might see some cynicism here. But, I really do believe that people matter. That God is not superman and isn't likely to be "kicked" out of anyplace. I really am cynical of religion (been there and got the t-shirt) but I'm also cynical of atheism. You can put perfume on a corpse but it still stinks. So, no I'm not an atheist. I'm also not a right wing republican. Not leaning so far left my brains fall out either.

I just see a lot of things that concern me. Bruce, Caitlyn Jenner isn't one of them. More power to her. I really don't care and I am more  concerned with trying  to treat people the way I want to be treated. I know sounds high and mighty and I"m sorry. Because, honestly? if you knew all my deepest secrets and feelings I'd be scared to death. But, wouldn't we all?

So, here's what I'm going to do this week. I'm going to try (even with that one jerk at work) to treat everybody the way I'd want to be treated. To actually see the Divine in everybody and in all my dealings this coming week. I'm going to try to be less cynical and less scared of people/things I don't understand. Just for this week I'm going to be fearless! Or act like I am. :-)


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Death & Eternal Life: Important if true

I have long wanted to do a review of a book I found on Amazon a couple of years ago. It's by John Hick who was a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Research in the Humanities at the University of Birmingham in England and Danforth Professor of the Philosophy of Religion, Emeritus at the Clarmont Graduate School in California. The book is out of print but can still be bought through the Amazon page. It goes for anywhere from $2 to $35. I think I paid around $11. It was recommended by a facebook friend that I met online who is now a Professor and I really think it is a good, strong book although it is dense and I can't say I agree with everything in it. But it's a really good overview of Christian, humanistic and Eastern thought on the  subject of life after death.

It was published in 1994 and comes in at around 490 plus pages. I slogged through it slowly over a period of weeks while drinking coffee or taking a break. I can't really do the job I would like to do in this review without reading it again and making notes. To be honest I'm not going to do that. But, I will look back and try to do the best I can since it did make an impression on me.

As I age the question of life after death becomes even more important. I can honestly say that I have pondered that one from a young age. But, it just isn't as far away and out there as it used to be.

I don't look for guru's and I don't endorse everything this writer thinks or his conclusions. But, it was a very good overview and I really got much food for thought from it. So, here goes:

The writer appears to be well versed and maybe even a little biased toward the Christian view although not in a conservative or absolute way. He discusses the Christian view of resurrection. for instance there is the gospel view where Jesus rose bodily from the tomb and bore the scars of the cross. There is the view from Paul in Corinthians where the resurrection body comes not from the animated corpse but from a seed that falls to the ground. He also discussed the Greek view that later came into the church that saw the body, mind and spirit as parts of the same whole.

Catholic view:  He discusses purgatory and how that makes sense to some because of the goal of growing into union with God. For instance a young child who dies would still be able to grow into union with God as a goal.

He also discusses humanism which sees life after death as a myth showing us how we should live our present lives. He doesn't spend to great a time on atheism since in all honesty it's a negative (no matter what your own thought on it might be) and this is a book on the possible and the hope of an afterlife. Still, you have to discuss the negative to understand how the hope is shaped and the argument is framed.

He also discusses Buddhism. I personally have an interest in this because I love the meditation practices of Buddhism. However, I find the worldview and the nothingness of the Tibetan view to be bleak and not really worth pursuing. But, that's me and I really can't help putting my own thoughts in here from time to time. I do have much respect for Buddhism.

He discusses reincarnation and he doesn't really land on the side of it but does give it serious thought and provides good discussion. I personally lean toward reincarnation since it does make more sense "to me" than a seed and an egg magically producing an eternal soul. More sense to me than a bunch of brain chemicals magically producing a whole universe of reality and personal being. But, again we all have our worldview and I just insert things from time to time. Like just then.

The author also talks genetics and makes some really good points along the way. For instance we know that our genes and (if I can say it without sounding two faced concerning my above statement) our brain chemistry along with our family, physical defects and even nutrition contributes to how we act and live. Then it would seem very illogical for God to eternally judge and place us in eternal bliss or torment based on one short life and (my words here) how we did in the sperm lottery. This alone is worth the read.

The author also talks about forgiveness and the burden of putting the stress on the victim that some religious people seem eager to do. For instance if a being murders a loved one then the loved one is not obligated to forgive that act. In eternity that murderer may see the error of his/her ways and repent and become a shining spiritual being. That's wonderful. But, at that moment in time the victim or the loved one is not obligated to forgive the crime. They can one day accept the person who committed it and in eternity there can be healing. Anyway, it's quite a conversation and I really can't do it justice here.

The author also talks at length about other philosophers and thinkers. One that I really thought had some relevant thoughts was the late HH Price a Welsh Philosopher. Price thought that upon death a person will find themselves in a dreamworld of memories from life. For instance this from Wikipedia:
According to Price after death the self will find itself in a dream world of memories and mental images from their life. Price wrote that the hypothetical "next world would be realms of real mental images." Price however believed that the self may be able to draw upon its memories of previous physical existence to create an environment of totally new images. According to Price, the dream world will not follow the laws of physics just as ordinary dreams do not. In addition, he wrote that each person will experience a world of their own, though he also wrote that the dream world doesn't necessarily have to be solipsistic as different selves may be able to communicate with each other by dream telepathy.

The writer does a really good job of looking at the history of ancient people and how they seemed to view death. From prehistoric evidence that points to a belief in some sort of afterlife all the way through the various cultures both east and west ancient and modern. I really do recommend this particular book if this sort of thing is of interest to you.

Now, since I have no desire to be a fanboy of anybody these days. I will close out this review with a disclaimer. I have my own thoughts of God, Spiritual reality and my own hard earned worldview. My worldview is still evolving. Although, I have a steady foundation as to the things I give credence.

So, there ya have it. A Saturday Morning Book Review.



Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rants and Dreams!

  This internet thing is really interesting. I find so many different worldviews and ways of looking at the world. Interact with people that I could never know or be around in person. Still, I also notice so much one sided yelling going on. I was wondering about that. I thought: Has anybody, anywhere, ever changed somebody else and their core belief by yelling at them? Calling them an inbred right winger, Godless left wing communist, pervert, screaming "Scripture says, Science says, reality says." blah, blah, blah. I don't like polemics (that means a one sided long winded non original rant that knocks down strawmen instead of dealing with the many facets of human experience.)

1. No, I do not believe the president is a Muslim. But, even if he were I am still not sorry I voted for him.

 2. No I don't believe atheism is more intelligent than a belief in a higher purpose and I also don't believe it makes you more scientific.

3. There is no single "entity" that answers to the name of Science.

4. No, I don't believe the bible was handed down with no error as one single entity by the Lord God Almighty and that we have to leave our brains at the door when we discuss it.

5. No, I don't believe gay people are going to hell. I believe you are who you are. and if you try to be something else you will be miserable.

6. No, I don't need to watch a movie called "Dear White People" Black or white if you want me to know something about you then talk to me, not at me.

7. No, we don't fight the civil war in our minds all day in the south. Most of the reference to it I hear comes from people from the north.

 8. Yep, Alabama is indeed in need of better leadership. But, it is still a beautiful state and I hope we can wake up.

9. No, conservative middle and upper class white people "You" can't take back America because it doesn't just belong to you.

10. No, I don't think a plant that grows in the ground and is natural should be illegal while the drug lobby pumps our kids full of stuff to make them behave.

11. Please, don't say you love Jesus and then in the next breath call a young person who is killed (no matter your politics) a "justified" killing. Don't troll the internet calling people thugs and bowing to the police just because they are the police.

Also, don't degrade the very real need of a police force. I happen to know that the police are people who have a very complicated job. Putting on a badge doesn't automatically make you a hero but it does give you a special responsibility and it's awesome to see so many who take their responsibility seriously. God Bless them. I hope this isn't just a one sided long winded none original rant that knocks down straw-men instead of dealing with the many facets of human experience. Wouldn't want to be a hypocrite. :-)

I work in a field where we have lots, and lots and lots of oversight. Extremely aware that I have to be really careful with what I say or even what I post on the internet. In some way the internet thing is true of everybody these days. You get labeled and then you are in trouble. I have absolutely no problem with not revealing my everyday work or encounters with people. I like social work but at the same time I don't define who and what I do for a living with who or what I am inside. I work for an agency that although they are very Christian on some level it has never been a requirement for the job. Still, my core belief and the things I really feel would have some look at me weirdly or even try to "save" my soul. My soul is fine.

"Stevie, if you have accepted Jesus then you can never be lost no matter what"....Paternal Grandmother from way back in the day...Altoona, Alabama.

I always wondered about how people portray God. You have this being who loves you but on the other hand if you mess up you are out of the club. Anyway, that's not where I was wanting to go right now. Just popped into my head. :-)

I see so many polemics these days from people who are so self righteous and to be honest it turns me off. I know they mean well but really. Who is going to listen to somebody yelling at them unless it's the choir? Standing up in front of the so called Free Thinkers Society and slandering people as stupid for having the audacity to believe in God is not brave. Standing up in front of  the First Baptist Church on Sunday Morning and calling gay people sinners is not brave. Pulling scripture and beating people over the head. Yelling Science while all the time you are simply the same thing (religious fanatic) while screaming at people that they are nothing but brain farts does not make you intelligent.

 Id love to spit some beechnut in that dudes eyes
And shoot him with my old 45
Cause a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive...Hank Jr.

I hate Duck Commander....err excuse me "Duck Dynasty. :-) Maybe because I'm from the south and grew up with all the pseudo macho crap of the region. The Jesus loves you...but I will kick your ass crap. Truth is that saying something in a long drawl doesn't make you tough. It doesn't make you stupid either, for all the folks up north y'all need to understand that. But, I don't need some long bearded dude telling me how  to live my life or calling people "sinners and perverts" who you've never even met or walked in their skin for a day.

 I keep my visions to myself...Stevie Nicks

I have become a Jesus Follower in my later years.  It fits me better than the term Christian these days. Here is a link to a blog by Benjamin Corey that says it much better than I can.

But, here are some of the things that I feel and that I follow. I truly believe how you treat others is more important than all the other stuff and ritual and who you vote for and who you hang out with. Everybody you meet is important to somebody even, if it's only to God. I try to give everybody no matter if they are homeless or my boss at work or my friend or family or just somebody I pass on the street the dignity that a reflection of the "Divine" deserves. That's it. That's my religion.

I also believe that we are eternal. I don't think an eternal being is magically created when the egg and sperm meet. Not belittling the miracle of human or any other birth. It's just that I, because of certain life experiences and thoughts truly believe we are on an eternal journey.

“To be in any form, what is that? (Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither,)” - See more at:
“To be in any form, what is that? (Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither,)” - See more at:
"So as through a glass and darkly, the age long strife I see, Where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me." —General George S. Patton

I think getting older is something that I really didn't think would happen so fast. :-) I don't feel like I'm decrepit but I also can't run the hundred yard dash these days either. I find myself at night thinking "God, let that just be heartburn." "Oh, my goodness, I hope that's just a harmless mole." "Now where did that come from? I don't remember getting cut, scratched or bumping up against something." "Wow, I ate too much, again." ;-P

Still, as I look out of these eyes I am still very much "Me." I Am. Some people say 'I'm not the same person that I was." Well, I am very much still myself. I have learned some lessons. I hope I'm wiser about some things. I have more knowledge of some experiences. But, I'm not a different person. I just express myself differently due to time and experience. Also, because I really have been touched by grace and I am thankful that I have been allowed to peep just a little behind the curtain from time to time.

I remember a dream from my childhood. It has stayed with me through the years. It's one of the things that keeps me in times of confusion, stress, cynicism, and days when I really don't "believe" or feel that I do, in anything.

In the dream I see a staircase. I hear "walk up these stairs and every time you make a mark on the stairs you belong to God. ...I start to walk and every time I look down I see the impression of my foot on the stairs.....I get to the very top stair. I look down to see if I really do belong to God. Yes, there is the mark of my foot. I belong!

So, I'm not real into religion these days. I don't recite creeds or attend church or try to save the lost. Some days I don't even feel sure that this whole thing even means anything at all.

Except: I have this dream!


Sunday, April 26, 2015


I was thinking today about some of the albums that have influenced me. Growing up as the youngest part of the baby boomers (which still puts us in the mid to late fifties age range) We grew up on music that would become classic. But, before talking about albums I have some confessions to make.

First, I have never gotten into Bruce Springsteen! To use a phrase of a younger generation "I know, Right?" :-) Everybody loves Springsteen. I just never have. I always found him to be depressing. I always just started searching the dial back in the day when his stuff would come on Q104 in Gadsden, Alabama or WGAD! Even if I was tuning in late night to WLS in Chicago. Yeah, we had super stations back in the day. I also never liked the Grateful Dead much. I just don't think Jerry Garcia owned a song the way Janis Joplin. Listen to "Jim Dandy Mangrum" and the fun Black Oak Arkansas had with "Jim Dandy." Still, it's a matter of taste so there isn't really a right or wrong way to be a musician.

Another little admission before I get started on my album list. I love Patsy Cline. I think lyric wise Hank Williams Sr. is tremendous. "

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill,
He sounds too blue to fly.
The midnight train is whining low,
I'm so lonesome I could cry.
I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry.

If  you are from or have ever been in the rural south on a summer night then you know what I mean. That paints a picture. 

But, the music of my youth tends more toward Foghat and Eagles and a little Poco and later Heart. Linda Rondstadt is my muse. I loved and still enjoy the crossover sound made famous by Eagles. but pioneered by others such as The Flying Burrito Brothers and Poco and touched on at times by the Stones and so on. 

Final admission before I start my list. I don't like to constantly listen to music. I remember an interview with Tina Turner where someone said to her. " I bet you have a sound system at home with music constantly playing. "No, I don't constantly play music." I like to think and get quiet at times. I played it and I love it but I don't want it constantly drowning out my thoughts. (This is my paraphrase from memory, so it's not a word by word account.)

Now, I am no Tina Turner. :-) Or even  Bruce Springsteen for that matter. I do like to get quiet at times and I find my own company (see introvert) is quite enough for long stretches of  time. I also play music and I had rather listen for a minute and then try to plunk it out on a piano or find the chord pattern on my guitar than passively listen. No, I'm not a great musician but I can manage to entertain myself for a little while. :-) I chord along with a chart when I'm at the piano. I'm not able to read much music or simply do a concert. :-)

With all that said I do like to think of some of my favorite songs. I enjoy hearing people talk about pop culture. I hate that right now as much as I love sports, the only thing on Tuscaloosa radio right now during drive time is either sports talk about blah,blah,blah or far right wing good ole boys blathering about how Obama is the Anti Christ and the Muslims are coming. I also don't care for the far left so don't get mad. I'm just sayin. :-)

Anyway, first songs and then albums. I know there is no reason anybody should care about what I like. It's just that I started this blog as much as a place for me to vent and unwind as anything else. If you are doing me the honor of reading it then I truly thank you. If not then that's OK too. I'll talk to myself. I have always been good at that. :-) These are not the only songs I like or even always my absolute favorites. But, they have stayed with me over the years. They made an impression either by the artist performance or the lyrics.

1. Midnight Train to Georgia: Gladys Knight and the Pips. Original version. I love this song. She is so into the song. She is owning it and the vocals and harmony of The Pips is awesome. I can just see her face and that Gladys Knight expression while they move perfectly to the beat. I've always said the I would like this played at my funeral. Seriously. I'll be on that train and heading home. :-)

2. Desperado: Linda Ronstadt version. There is a certain video from the seventies. Hard to find the exact one but I think it's from Don Kirchners Rock Concert of one of the other late night rock shows of the era. Linda absolutely nails it. Then at the very end the camera comes up on those big brown eyes and she hits that last note and I'm in love. 

3. Good Day in Hell: Eagles from On the Border: Not my favorite Eagles song. But, it did have an impression on me as a teen. I was going  through some junk both real and imagined and this song summed up my feelings at that time.

4. Day After Day: BadFinger: General Forrest Jr. High. I am still in the gym looking across at a girl I grew up with in Walnut Park. We were really good friends (no, not that kind) Actual friends. :-)

5. Dizzy: Tommy Roe: Walnut Park Elementary and the first pop song that I really wanted to remember all the lyrics and it brings up my childhood.

6. Ahab the Arab: Ray Stevens: Summer in Altoona, Alabama and a certain long ago unrequited love. :-)

7. Slow Ride: Foghat: See number 6. :-)

8. Sweet Home Alabama: Lynyrd Skynyrd: God, I'm tired of this song. :-) But, it was something back in the day. (funny story about Skynyrd and my youth.) A cute girl is talking to me "gasp." She asks me if I have heard the newest Lynyrd Skynyrd song and if I like Skynyrd. I said yeah "he's" good. Later, I discovered the group. Explains her funny look. "Red Face" once I figured it out. :-) Ahhh, youth and high school.

9. Hang on Sloopy: the McCoys: Really, really young. But, I remember yelling out the lyrics with my childhood friends. Also, a nod to 1910 Fruitgum Company. One of the best names ever for a rock group from my childhood.

10: Hotel California: Eagles: Anthem of my generation. Although, it's becoming a little like "Sweet Home Alabama" to me. I've heard it a lot over the years. :-)

Now, for the albums. Anybody remember the old Birmingham, Alabama station that played the complete albums every night? Wow, talk about the good old days. Nothing like that now. Anyways, albums were an important part of my youth. Here are some of my favorites.

1. One of These Nights: Eagles: My favorite and the last original Eagles release. Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner are on the way out to be replaced by Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit. I remained and remain a fan. But, this is the turning point and the apex in my opinion of the band. I played this to death on the old eight track. I wish you Peace. :-)

2. Rumors: Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks coming out party as a star. Greatest hits of the popular band know as Fleetwood Mac? Pick up this album. "I keep my visions to myself" Stevie Nicks. 

3. News of the World: Queen. Freddie Mercury in full throat  vocal glory: Another party's over. And I'm left cold sober. 

4. The Grand Illusion: Styx: So if you think your life is complete confusion
Because your neighbor's got it made
Just remember that it's a grand illusion
And deep inside we're all the same. 
   "Almost reminds me of facebook and social media that was to come." :-)

5. Kiss: Destroyer: Listened to this as an adult and found it lacking in musicianship. :-) But, it was something to me back in the day.
You've got something about you
You've got something I need
Daughter of Aphrodite
Hear my words and take heed.

Anyway, that's just a fun little run on a Sunday Morning as I think back over the years. 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rambling along.

I was just thinking about how fast life goes by. I remember being in a classroom at General Forrest Junior High in Gadsden, Alabama. Don't know why I remember that particular day. It was raining so hard outside that I could hear it. Maybe the windows were open. Forrest was the same building as the first Emma Sansom High so it had the big early 20th century look of an "institution." so hearing the rain the way I remember it was more than likely not the case. I was hearing it from an open window in a classroom. But, in my mind it seems like I hear it from the front door of the school. Funny how that works.

Looking out of my lonely room, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you...BadFinger.

That song is playing as I look across the "new gym" at Forrest in the 70's. I remember because my sisters best friend is on the other side and I was thinking how cute she looked. We were pals in the old neighborhood of Walnut Park but right then she looked a little different to me than just being my sisters friend.

Now you're messing with .... a son of a bitch......Nazareth.

So, there I am in Altoona, Alabama after my mother's divorce and this isn't the big city of Gadsden anymore. :-) But, I'm with a friend and he's got some pot and he's pretty sure if I try it I will put the beer I'm drinking down and chill out. Just one toke...I wait to see if God is going to strike me blind or dead. Neither, wow. Anyway, it will take several years before I really start to wake up from this part of the journey.

I'm so dizzy my head is spinning / Like a whirlpool, it never ends / And it's you, girl, making it spin....Tommy Roe

1969 give or take. I'm in the lunchroom at Walnut Park Elementary. All the kids seem to be singing "Dizzy." WGAD is playing it everytime I turn on the radio. But, the big thing is I'm sitting here and "she' is actually talking to me. ....Ever hear Charlie Brown talk about the little red head girl on Peanuts? Well, this was the little blonde haired girl and she was awesome to this little brown haired boy. This was not going to happen again in this lifetime. But, I didn't know it  then so that was okay. :-)

So, why the trip down memory lane? I think it's just how people are when they think about how fast life goes by. Much has happened in my life. From jobs to watching my wife to be come down the aisle to the awesome, scary moment I hold my newborn son. Life has been a journey. It's gone fast. 

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ...G-d

Lessons learned:

What have I learned in my over half a century journey on the earth? Well, I've learned that you can lie to people and people can lie to you. But, somewhere in my core at the center of my being there is no way or reason to lie. Maybe, that's the main thing. That God is honest and that before pure being I am honestly myself. 

I've also realized that life isn't a movie and other people are not just bit players in my movie. That I really do believe in treating people the way I would like to be treated. Of course most of the time I just treat em the way they treat me. Which isn't the same thing. :-)

 Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?...Don Mclean

I realize as I look back how much my generation depended on music as a way of expressing ourselves. Even those of us with:

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say, "come dance with me"
And murmur vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen...Janis Ian

Still, remember haunting the Record Bar in the Gadsden Mall for the latest 8 track.

One of these nights
One of these crazy old nights
We're gonna find out
Pretty mama
What turns on your lights
The full moon is calling
The fever is high
And the wicked wind whispers
And moans

You got your demons
You got desires
Well, I got a few of my own....Eagles

I played that one night all night long after buying it at the Record Bar. Some long forgotten teen angst had me driving around. But, I never forgot that album.

Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul ooh
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Won't go to hear them play a tango
I'd rather hear some blues or funky old soul
There's only one sure way to get me to go
Start playing old time rock 'n' roll....Bob Seger

Maybe that was it. We bought my son a used piano to see if he will continue to play and enjoy it. I was plunking around "chording a little of the above song" when my wife walked in this evening. The fact that at least she could tell I was actually playing a song in the midst of my banging on the keyboard gave me a little encouragement. She couldn't  tell which song but at least she knew it was a song. :-)

Last thing I remember I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
"Relax," said the night man, "We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like but you can never leave".....Eagles
Maybe life is a little like the "Hotel California" I really don't know. :-)
I was raised on country music. Give me a guitar and name a song by George or Conway or Merle and more than likely I can at least strum the tune and know most of the lyrics. But, country (except for Willie and Waylon and the boys) was my mothers music. I was a captive audience as a child. But, rock was mine. 
I wish you peace when times are hard
A light to guide you through the dark
And when storms are high and your, you dreams are low
I wish you the strength to let let grown on
I wish you the strength to let love flow on
I wish you the strength to let love glow on
I wish you the strength to let love go....Eagles