Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Compare and Contrast

So if You Co-Wrote Both Songs, It's Okay If They're Basically the Same?

Speaking of SR-71, a reader pointed out that their song "Axl Rose":

has a lot in common musically and subject-wise... with Bowling For Soup's "1985" (co-written by Mitch Allan from SR-71):

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vast and Containing Multitudes

I've Been Hitting the Town and It Didn't Hit Back

Question: Is it possible for a bad simultaneously to sound more lightweight and edgier than Paul McCartney?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jenny Was Sweet

News is blue, Has its Own Way to Get to You...

I got a call. From Jenny.

We'd gone to High School together. We were friends, but not close. We hung around with the same group of people. I'm sure we talked from time to time.

We hadn't spoken in years. Many, many years.

And she contacted me. Out of the blue.

We had a long talk. She'd lived overseas. She had lots of stories to tell. She told me about her work -- which was interesting. Something I may have thought years earlier I could have done, but now have zero interest in.

It was a great conversation. We vowed to keep in touch.

Jenny told me that she'd always remembered something I said to her.

And she told me what the thing was.

I didn't remember it -- although I recognized it as the type of thing I would have said.

"I thought about what you told me every day for ten years," she said. "It inspired me and helped me make myself who I am."

Which I'm happy about.


I don't remember saying it. I'm sure I did -- but it didn't register for me.

Even though it clearly registered for her.

But that's not the worst of it.

I knew Jenny's name. I could almost remember what she was like.

But I couldn't picture her. I knew the associations. Knew the connections. Knew the people.

But I couldn't remember which one she was.

That part of the puzzle is a blank for me.

Like the words I said.

And I don't feel good about this.

Because it makes me wonder. What else I've forgotten.

And what else was vital to others and barely registered for me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Don't Have To Sell My Soul

Wanna... wanna... wanna...




The problem isn't the flashers.

It's the running.

* * *

The car broke down.

This wasn't an unusual event. But it was painful every time it happened.

And it only happened in the rain.

So the battery slipped. And the headlights drooped.

And the car rolled to a stop.

In a bad neighborhood. Surrounded by worse neighborhoods.

And she smiled. Because that always helped.

And she put her hand on the dashboard.

Closed her eyes.

Spoke softly. To the car.

Then told me to turn the key.

And it started. Immediately.

* * *

The car lasted longer than we did.

It limped and stalled and creeped into the next decade. The next century.

She moved into a bigger and better neighborhood. Drove a newer car.

One that never had problems.

* * *

She called. She called and it rained.

And the car must somehow have known she called.

Even though it wasn't even the same car.

Maybe she has that power over all cars.

This time it wasn't the battery. The lights still worked. It just wouldn't start.

And I pulled it over to the curb. And turned on the flashers.

But she didn't call for that.

She didn't call to put her hands on the dashboard. Or whisper sweet incantations to the car.

And I listened. For a moment.




And I knew it wasn't the night to sit there.


It wasn't the night to call AAA and be calm.


It wasn't the night for quiet listening.




It was the kind of night --


When all you can do --

Flash --

Is. (Flash) Run.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Like a Thousand Times Before

This is the night

Ghosts haunt that street.

It's winding. And steep. Filled with vines. Places to hide.

Ghosts love that.

I walked there a thousand times. I think it was a thousand years ago, but it can't be. There were streets there. And houses.

And her.

There was her.

The winds blew through the trees back then. And the ghosts softly sang along. With the winds.

The sun was bright there. And hot.

But there was always a breeze.

The ghosts didn't care. They don't feel heat. Just cold.

And in the darkness, their cold would come up through the ground, in through the floorboards.

She knew they were there. But she didn't care.

Except when she couldn't sleep. Which was often.

The ghosts would move through picture window. Sliding through the slow-moving liquid of the glass.

They whispered as she slept. And she listened.

And they whispered when I was there. But I didn't listen.

Until she became one of them.

Cold. Lurking. Whispering.

Through the winding streets. And the houses. And the breeze.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Better to Burn Out or Fade Away?

So Neil Young is wrong...

There are a lot of things lately making me feel a lot older than I am.

Hopefully, that will happen for a great many years to come.

This Neil Young song is 33 years old. He was 33 when it came out:

"When you're gone," he sings, "you can't come back."

Then how do you explain this new video from the Rolling Stones?

The Rolling Stones are starting their SIXTH DECADE as a band. And even though their artistic peak may have been 40 years or more in the past... this gives me hope.

(And reminds me to use drop-cloths when painting...)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Imagine Peace Tower

Once More, Into the Sky

I wrote this three years ago -- and edited it just a little for today.

Today is John Lennon's birthday. If he'd lived, he would be 72 years old.

That's almost impossible to imagine. And out of all the celebrities who've died in my lifetime, I took his death the hardest. (I never met him, I didn't even like all his music, but there was something about his spirit that I connected with at a very deep and fundamental level.)

In the same way, I connect with Iceland in a very deep and fundamental level. There's something amazing and spiritual about Iceland and it's reflected in their lifestyle, their music, and in their amazingly beautiful scenery.

Every year, Iceland holds a huge music festival in October called Iceland Airwaves. Every year I vow to get there, but I haven't made it yet.

In 2006, Yoko Ono started construction on the Imagine Peace Tower, on a small island just off the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. Since this project combined John Lennon and Iceland, I followed its progress closely.

The "tower" consists of a wishing well, on which is written the phrase "Imagine Peace" in 24 languages. Under the base of the wishing well are more than a half-million handwritten wishes Ono collected from people all around the world.

In 2007, the tower was unveiled. Each year on John Lennon's birthday, the monument becomes a "tower of light" as 15 searchlights are bounced through mirrors and prisms to create a beam of light that stretches more than 12,000 feet into the sky. The tower of light is kept lit each year until December 8 (the day John Lennon was killed).

If you can't make it to Iceland, you can see live streaming video of the tower here.

Visit the official Imagine Peace Tower website online here.

Or take a look at a great time-lapse video of the tower from 2011 (complete with aurora activity around 12 seconds in):

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER from Yoko Ono on Vimeo.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sold My Soul For Less

In that long tunnel of time...

I loved this song the first time I heard it as a kid.

I knew there was something amazing and important about it. Even if it would be many years before I'd have the life experience to imagine what that amazing, important thing was.

And now, it's been more time since Jim Croce died than it was between his birth and his death.

Which makes the song seem more fragile and beautiful now than ever before.

Or maybe I'm finally old enough to understand.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Post-Debate Analysis

Yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, I put forward a suggestion.

Instead of standing behind podiums (or is it podia?), candidates will engage in Candidate Debarchery.

This is a combination of Debate and Archery.

So any time one of the candidates lie, his opponent gets to shoot him with an arrow.

Yes, it's a Hunger Games-y suggestion, but we live in Hunger Games-y times.

Then I saw the debate.

And literally all I can think of is this:

(Skip directly to 0:43 for the important part...)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Debate Prep

They Might Not Be Giants

There aren't enough rock songs that can double as hardcore history.

This may or may not be one:

In an alternate universe, John & John are the coolest teachers in a suburban High School somewhere outside of Boston.