Archive for the ‘Opinions and Observations’ Category

If I tell you what something says you can believe me…..

I’ve learned it backwards and forwards! lol

I mentioned before that one of the more painful things about getting old is inheriting stuff from your friends that are either no longer able to access older technology or loved ones that checked out of life before you do.

Recently, many wonderful musical things of no real value have found a home in my house. Some make noise, some record noise, some avoid noise, but all have been turned into music by friends of mine for decades. The memories and cave-man-level responses to sounds from the past hits me hard. You probably grew up hearing these sounds, but you might have been in the womb or soon after to this world when hearing them. These toys literally created most of the pop – rock and country music you grew up to. The list is too long for TV and commercial applications.

Anyway, unless you know what this stuff is (and things weren’t small in those days) and how to make it work it might as well be a pyramid that becomes nothing a storage problem. As usual, I digress.

Recently, I was given half a ton of old 45 rpm vinyl records.

But not the ones you buy at a store. To avoid another really interesting connected tangent, I will simply say that these came from a company where my wife worked. It was one company and then absorbed then another company and Clear Channel picked them up when their critical mass became too big to ignore. I apologize for the brevity, as most people won’t be interested, but they conducted surveys for radio stations across the US.

They condensed the song – ALL of the songs you would likely hear on commercial radio decades ago – to a 5 or 10 second “hook“. Whatever it was that identified the song to listeners was the hook. They conducted thousands of live – in – person paid surveys across the country to get listener’s opinions of the NEW artist or POTENTIAL new hit. These are not for sale and not available at the stores. My people know I can still use vinyl and other technologies but more importantly I can take care of them.

This brings me to another tangent I cannot avoid. So many of the treasures I have been given are no longer operable or salvageable. A little more thought in storage would have turned so many of these treasures into true gems. Rust, mold, misuse – no use, all take their toll. My stuff still works. From the time I was in high school forward. I bought good equipment and accessories and I took care of them because I knew I could not afford to replace them.

I finally get to the point to this post. I have hundreds of records. My wife worked for years watching literally thousands of bands and their best efforts to make it big. Yes, I heard many of those as well. Some were interesting, some were cool and most were painful. But the thing I am getting to after listening to each 45 record after the other is a simple but powerful message if you are trying to ‘get a deal’: Don’t spend all your energy creating the GREAT HOOK. I hear failure after failure after failure trying to be something you are not. Maybe you have to be cute or edgy to get noticed. Just make it your own edge.

ANY of these bands produced records and demo’s that are much better than my in-home singer/songwriter efforts. They have money and backers and investors looking for the next best thing. But the great hooks are organic and time-locked so you are chasing a dream. So much potential dedicated to making your band sound like someone or something else already out there. To fit the cookie-cutter rather than make the cookie shape. It could be said I make the cookie shape and I am not famous. Mine is not a formula for success.

There are famous artists in this small collection so many do succeed, though I see so many failures because they are trying to find the magic lamp. Stop looking for it and create one for yourself. If it was that easy I would not be sitting here, lol. In the future I will share some of these records. They are not for sale, but I am not sure that means they are not for share.

Here is a record by Gipsy Kings I thought was pretty cool.

A small dedication to Ukraine and President Zelensky.

I can’t wait any longer for humanity to grow up.
Life is obvious and so is love.
Unrestricted power makes it complicated
Never know what kings are thinking of.

Tyrants come and go but they leave so much destruction.
Rulers often choose an Iron Glove.
Their power comes from feeling no one’s pain
Or false privileges from Above.

Empty people rule with an Iron Glove
Energy to build used as energy to burn.
I just can’t wait any longer
For humanity to learn.

I understand the desire to leave this planet.
Never was a fan of push and shove.
Given the choices most people have
It is obvious the best is none of the above.

Empty people rule with an Iron Glove
Energy to build used as energy to burn.
I just can’t wait any longer
For humanity to learn.

It’s easy to feel helpless watching the world fall apart.
Easier to be the hawk than the dove.
There are no prayers that comfort the oppressed
They would prefer the silence and ending thereof.

Today you managed
Tomorrow you’ll fail
Each loss another fragment forever pushed aside.
The day after becomes
A monotonous stream
Each day is just like the last just a bit more purified.

Sometimes it’s easy
Falling off a log
Then all confidence disappears and your unable to move.
I know I don’t know
Is somebody watching?
Surrounded by a quicksand of doubt and nothing to prove.

When everything disappears
Even sacred memories hide underground.
Lost, frozen in a searing panic
Where Simple Things can’t be found.

This is the last time
As much as the first
Open or close your eyes but the vision is the same.
It’s only in my head
It’s only in my head
I love you like a brother but won’t remember your name.

When everything disappears
Even sacred memories hide underground.
Lost, frozen in a searing panic
Where Simple Things can’t be found.

Given Ten Commandments
Directly from the lord above
In stone are the important things
Faith, friends and love.

Law abiding beyond reproach
Ready to throw everyone else in jail.
Money will buy you a good lawyer
Everyone else won’t even raise bail.

I’ve known you for years and years
I know how much you hate to lose.
So when it comes to time to pay your fare
You act like you can Pick And Choose.

Stop signs and traffic lights
Never applied to you.
Laws and rules are for other people
And have no effect on what you do.

I’ve known you for years and years
We never shared the same views.
Only special in your own mind
You act like you can Pick And Choose.

I posted thoughts much earlier about Super Black Holes, and have waited for the launch of the James Webb telescope for a pretty long time. Hubble showed us amazing things. Many confirming Einstein’s theories. It forced us to see our universe is expanding rapidly, rather than slowing as expected, in all directions at the same time. Constellations, star clusters, galaxies and eventually suns and their planets will grow further and further apart. The stars and galaxies we see now will not be visible from Earth in just a few eons. (and they were so much closer eons ago) This will never end – speeding away – light constantly retreating. Our universe will get darker and darker, all matter – including black holes, will burn out or blow up, until there is no energy – anywhere.

But if my earlier theory has any merit, this might not be the end. In short, I suggested we are NOW in a black hole. With no proof whatsoever (#noproofwhatsoever) I suggested dark matter and dark energy are converted from regular matter when sucked inside a black hole. This is why our universe continues to expand. Literally everything we see or can detect is matter jettisoned through the Event Horizon with nothing to slow it down. One big sneeze from each black hole. Countless more black holes created as material is ejected – or pushed into a separate universe……?

I love science fiction and can recommend a few books almost as old as I am. I would love to write a novel on this subject but the next step is to think that OUR universe is expanding and will eventually die, but if intelligent life can manage to cross back through the Event Horizon, through the other side of a black hole, we may find a totally different universe that is quite stable or just plain weird. Who knows!

I suggest we can become that intelligent life.

PS I hope the new attempts to recreate the genius of “Dune” and “The Foundation” live up to the hype. These are treasured ideals for me, not just books on a shelf lol!

Thank you for listening.

My wife Ellen and I giving our grand kids a glow stick show in a dark room
Collision of Star Clusters of glow sticks
glow stick Nebula

The pictures remind me of other visual games we would play and eventually showed our grandkids, but that is a different post.

The Same People thought the Earth was flat
And the Crusades were just.
These same people thought the stars were gods
Turning cities to dust.

The same people believed the Earth was the center
Against which everything turned.
These same people held trials to justify
Witches tied and burned.

These same people pray to ghosts and spirits
Listen to voices in their head.
The same people imprisoned men of science
Until not only the truth was dead.

The Same People Are Wrong
Just as they were back then.
How can you keep being wrong
Again and again and again?

You are wrong about Global Warming
The true existential threat.
You are wrong about your part in racism
Or the petty things you fret.

You are wrong about the age of the universe
You are wrong about evolution no matter how true
These Same People believe they deserve what they have
Even when taking it from those that don’t look like they you.
You are wrong blaming fake media
Because it doesn’t agree with what you do
Wrong about immigrants searching for a peaceful land.
You are wrong about pollution and the things humans do.
If you can’t win simply change the rules
Repeating the same lies never makes them true.
Patriots love their country win or lose
The same people are wrong about sex, drugs, and Rock ‘N Roll too.

It is easy to blame the media for everything. Go ahead and try, it’s simple. My current beef has nothing to do with fake news, but irritates me just as much.

Once a catchy sound bite is written it is carried by every outlet and repeater station no matter how misleading it is.

Which brings me to the coverage of the Delta variation of Covid-19.

The general news line goes something close to this:

“The Delta variant is ripping across the country….

The country is ravaged by the Delta infections…

Over 95% of new infections are caused by the Delta virus… “, and on and on.

This intentionally gives the listener the wrong impression altogether. The Delta variation is not causing hospitalizations and death in the US……

People that are eligible but not getting vaccinated are causing the increase in hospitalizations and death in the USA.

Quit saying it is because of Delta. The vaccines work for the original strain and this one too. All we have to do (if eligible) is get vaccinated. That’s all.

In fact, it might be tempting to blame the unvaccinated for allowing this and next variation to take hold in this country.

But that is just as easy as blaming the media.

As a musician I look at time a bit differently than others might. I am reminded of this when I see movies or videos of people working out and doing exercises. Even the simple ‘count to ten’ is often a reminder that most people don’t count time correctly.

It is easy to count ten items – you start at 1 (one) and stop when you get to 10 (ten). To sound it out aloud counting ten items would go like this…….

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. You do indeed have ten items.

But counting time is different. A second is not a single point in time but a defined length of time. If you followed the above approach you would end up with 9 full seconds as shown below. (if tied to a metronome or equivalent)

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10.

Use the dashes to represent the full length of each second. Total them up and you end up with only 9 full seconds, not 10. There are easy ways to break this habit.

Start with the number 0 (zero) when counting time. This will give us 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10.

Now, when you total the dashes you get ten full seconds. A lot of people count faster when counting up, and but more accurately when counting down. Like a rocket launch or New Year’s celebrations, this steady rhythm has been in our culture for a long time. Try it.

For items start with the number 1, but for time, start or end with the number 0. Each second, minute or hour lies in between each pair of numbers, not within the number itself.

Just a quick observation for anyone interested. I have a couple bird feeders in my yard. It has taken us a while to develop a system that allows birds easy access while making it extremely difficult for squirrels to get to the feeders. (Watch my video for kicks if you have a minute.)

We normally use thistle in one feeder and a combination of mixed seeds in the other. They all seem to wait in turn to get to the feeders depending on species and social structures. They usually wait on near-by branches for the next open slot.

The other morning I was finished with my breakfast and took some of the dry cereal and put some in a small votive-style candle holder we have attached to the back porch railing. After a few minutes the birds found the cereal. At first a couple, then a few minutes later a bunch came to get this new bird feed. But it was not like normal. It was like they could not wait for their turn after having the first sample. Even the small birds would try to shove the others away from the candle holder.

It was a crazy feeding frenzy. Now I am not sure about the cost comparison, but when I want to give the birds a treat I KNOW that a little bit of Post Grape Nuts cereal in the feeders will liven things up real quick. Try it. But make sure the squirrels and deer can’t get to it first!

My normal bird seed