A niggling concern

Sign in the South Dakota Badlands
Sign in the South Dakota Badlands

I had one of those weekends when everything seemed to be going right, but I had a niggling feeling of disquiet? Something was wrong but I had no idea what it could have been. David Bromberg’s “Somebody Else’s Blues” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE_lXJyHlSI seemed to sum it up well. I’m not saying that things were so great this weekend. I didn’t win the Powerball Lottery. No one did. But IU beat Ohio State handily. Purdue lost to Illinois. I came up with a pretty good recipe for chicken meatballs. I listened to a lot of great music recorded by Cal Tjader, for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opdtYnUsvmc. But something just wasn’t right.

It was just bad enough that it put a bit of a damper on everything. It’s hard to get over something that you can’t identify. It’s kind of like coming across a word or phrase in a novel and not knowing the definition…and you have no dictionary or thesaurus available. You can make a solid guess based on context, but you can’t be sure. It is frustrating.

I was driving to the library this morning and realized that except for a run to the grocery store yesterday I hadn’t been away from the house since Thursday. Maybe that was it. Maybe, despite the good music and satisfactory outcome to a couple of basketball games, I was feeling the need to get out. I’m not sure that was the correct answer, but I started to feel better coming up with something.

I also decided to change the music today. I kept on my old man clothes but switched to Frank Sinatra. Even the ballads are helping my spirits. This song falls somewhere between a ballad and an uptempo song like Ring-A-Ding-Ding  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oUfGdtA9-A. Enjoy.

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An Oxpecker pecks again

Back yard devastation
Back yard devastation

I took this picture through a dirty second story window. I did my best to clean up the picture, but I’m not sure that it is a good enough job. Read on to see what it is all about.

Because Cindy felt that there was too much shade on the pool (just to the left of the picture), she set one of her oxpeckers the task of alleviating that supposed problem. He hasn’t finished yet, but this is his progress as of around noon today. I had to force myself to look out of one of our windows to take this picture. I’ve closed all possible curtains and blinds to keep from seeing the devastation to the trees.

It doesn’t help me that we are experiencing a power outage as I write these words using a pen and paper (what a concept!). I’m destroying my hearing by using my MP3 player at top volume to shut out the sound of the chainsaw. I’m also hoping that the music will help lighten my mood. The first song is helping, It’s the Moody Blues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wDHvmCVRxU. At least the tempo is helping. The lyrics are kind of a downer.

OK, the next song by Lou Rawls is definitely a downer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phpaq7E_Xs4. It fits my mood, but I was really hoping for something happier. I may need to rethink having the player on a random shuffle setting.

The damned MP3 player is conspiring to lock me into a foul mood. Even Linda Ronstadt is in on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfMNnZL-YuM. At least my mood isn’t bad because of a failed romance. Those days are thankfully far in the past.

Two hours later and the power is back on. According to the power company, the problem was about a block from our house. If there had been power lines near our back yard I know who I would have blamed. I guess that I’ve got the rant out of my system, but it will be some time before I can bear to go into the yard, or even set on our shade free deck.

It just doesn’twork

Somewhere in the country
Somewhere in the country

I took this picture in Tippecanoe County…unless I was in Montgomery County. I don’t really recall where I was. I know that I took the picture around three weeks ago. Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

***

A short while ago I shared some political/topical songs from the 1960’s with a friend of mine. They were songs that I enjoyed back then, and still enjoy today. I knew that my friend would not enjoy them as much as I, but I hoped that she would listen and understand my political feelings when I was a youth.

Upon reflection, I see how silly I was. After all, my friend does not live in the U.S., nor has she, I believe, ever visited here. Also, she is very young, and wasn’t born until decades after the songs were new and relevant. What could I do?

“Hmmm,” thought I, “I can write out an explanation of the social, cultural and political references made in the songs. To make sure that I could do it, and to be prepared to offer explanations if asked, I took one of the songs and wrote an explanation. I chose “The John Birch Society” by Michael Brown, as sung by The Chad Mitchell Trio. I printed the song lyrics on left side of an 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheet of paper, and set to work putting my explanations on the right side of the sheet.

I tried to keep the explanations as brief as possible so that I wouldn’t have to add another page. That was my first mistake. I came to realize that what was so obvious to me would need a lot more explanation than a one half page précis. But even if I expanded the explanations, it wouldn’t work.

After mulling it over, I came to realize that even if I wrote a spectacular explanation that answered all possible questions, it would not work, because I couldn’t take my friend back to be in the moment. The song worked for me and others because it didn’t need to be explained. We were there. I cannot describe the cultural/political atmosphere, for lack of a better word, that we were experiencing without telling our views about the Cold War, Indochina, McCarthyism, and a ton of other topics. It was all part of whole that can’t be broken apart and then expect to tell the same story. I can’t recreate that, though I wish that I could. It just doesn’t work.

Labor of love

Kevin
Kevin

This is another of the art pieces in the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette’s Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! exhibit. Kevin is a piece by Lorie Amick and LaDonna Vovar. He is dressed correctly for our current weather.

***

I have been in a verbal slump for the past few months. You can tell by the paucity of posts recently. I’m still in that slump. I can’t even come up with a line or two for ideas to write about of things about which to write. Though it seems that I can still occasionally worry about ending a sentence with a preposition. Do the grammar police still worry about such things? Should they?

In order to keep somewhat occupied while I’m not writing, I have picked up on a task that I work on every now and then. For the past few weeks I have been ripping my CDs to MP3 files and transferring them to flash drives. I started on my jazz albums last week. For the past two days I have been working on my Dave Brubeck albums. I probably own thirty or more albums by Brubeck. I started listening to him the summer before I went away to college, and have listened ever since then. Some of the CDs that I’m ripping were made from vinyl albums that I converted to MP3 and burned to discs. Technologies change.

Working on the Brubeck albums is a labor of love for me. I have inserted links to Brubeck music five or six times in the past, but there is so much good music of his available, I’ve decided to add three links in this post. The first is Give A Little Whistle from the album “Dave Digs Disney.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6FIVBzY5S4 It was recorded in 1957 and features Dave Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Joe Morello on drums, and Norman Bates (not from the Bates motel) on bass.

The next song is Time In from the album with the same name.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bbCbBZVzjU It was recorded in 1965 and released the following year. The personnel on the album was the quartet that most people think of when they hear Dave Brubeck. Dave Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Joe Morello on drums, and Eugene Wright on bass. I saw the Quartet in concert between the time of the recording and the release of the album. They played many of the songs from tha album, and it is one of my favorites.

The third song is Georgia On My Mind from his “Indian Summer” album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMKPCuPd0g0 The album is from 2007. It was recorded when Brubeck was 86, and is a solo album. This song, like the rest of the album, finds him in a reflective mood. It is among my favorite non-quartet albums.

I hope you enjoy the music.

Our Honeymoon Part 5

Somewhere in New Mexico..I think
Somewhere in New Mexico..I think

We left Santa Fe fairly early by our standards. Cindy’s legs were aching from her sprint through the caverns, so we decided to make it a short driving day.

You’ll remember from my post about our wedding and reception, that I had made a few mixed tapes to be played. For the most part they were ignored by our DJ, but I made sure that I brought them with us on the trip. We played those tapes and many more that I had packed all through the trip. One of the songs that I particularly like is my favorite cover of a Beatles tune. It is by Blood, Sweat & tears. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fnNIvIQp58 It seemed appropriate for our wedding day, and just about every other day.

While we were driving in and around the Santa Fe national Forest and the Carson National Forest, another favorite of mine started playing. Frank Sinatra, of course. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XCVnV5CGh0. Why couldn’t they have played this at our reception? I just don’t get it.

Eventually we stopped driving north, and turned to the west. Cindy was curtailing most of her discomfort with pain pills, but I knew that we couldn’t keep driving indefinitely. I decided that we would stop at the next fair sized town, and that was Farmington, NM.

Since Cindy had stopped thinking about an annulment, and we had shared some good laughs, I decided that it was time to put in a tape that we hadn’t listened to before. I told Cindy that it had a song that I thought was perfect for our honeymoon. It was Lyle Lovett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdLCFjPjr_k. Cindy has something of a feminist streak, so she was torn between laughter and outrage. Lucky for me, she had stood by me for 25 years so far. Maybe it was an omen.

We found a motel in Farmington, but I don’t remember if it was a Motel 6. Cindy was still in pain, but it wasn’t as bad. While she rested, I started reading a book that I had brought along. It was a Tony Hillerman mystery, the first that I read, and part of it was set in Farmington, New Mexico. I found that to be quite a coincidence.

Eventually we started getting hungry and went out to eat dinner. On the way back to the motel we stopped at a drug store and picked up a few needed items. As we checked out, the cashier said to us, “Have fun tonight.” Gosh, I hoped so too.

Tomorrow – The Grand Canyon and beyond.

Road trip to Bloomington

Yes, That Road
Yes, That Road

When I saw that sign I knew that I had to follow the detour until I could connect with That Road. It never did connect. I was led on by a series of detour signs. At least those roads took me in the general direction that I wanted.

***

 I took a day trip to Bloomington last week. I was lucky in that it was the prettiest day of the week. It was so pretty that I took back roads all of the way. The delays for road work were minimal. It was glorious. I had the foresight to take along a stack of CDs to play on the way down and back. There are few things better than driving along with the windows down and good music playing. I started with The Beach Boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtLY9oLTGMg. It seemed appropriate.

As I approached Bloomington, this Johnny Rivers song came on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX0yvGDGGeM. It had a calming effect on me, and I slowed to relish the anticipation that was building. It has been a long time since I was last in Bloomington and on the IU campus. I am always surprised at how much things change between visits.

The first thing that I noticed was the new (to me) baseball field. When I had been a student there, the diamond was immediately north of our dorm. Every year there was at least one story circulated, occasionally with names, of a maiden who, on a dark night, had been deflowered on home plate. When the act was consummated, the young woman would then hear applause from students in the bleachers. I know that it was apocryphal. Who would choose home plate, the dustiest part of the field? No; anyone in their right mind would go to right field where the grass is always lush. Anyway, the new field is  now down in the complex along with Assembly Hall and the football stadium.

I went on to the quadrangle where I had lived in the dorms for four years. Not much has changed there, except for the trees. There were only saplings planted there when I was a student. I know that they swapped them out every few years so that there were never fully developed trees. I don’t know why they did that. This year the trees were larger and leafier than I recall. There were areas of shade where before there had only been sunlight.

I got back in my car and headed down to the main part of campus. As a student I would have walked, but those years are long gone. I would have had to make at least three stops for rest if  had tried walking last week. Perhaps I should have walked and rested, because due to work on the streets and new parking restrictions, I could find nowhere to park. I had to skip some of the places I had intended to visit. No fear though, I’ll be going back again later in the summer. I have already made that decision. I’ll be better rested and in better shape when I return.

I went to the south side of town and turned west onto a street heading west. I wasn’t on it long before I came to the sign in the picture. I had to follow the detour, because I had never been on That Road. Maybe I’ll find it next time I go down.

Music on the way back? John Fogarty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I5_zOrji9I

Reflections on a recital

Back of a building
Back of a building

I have wanted to get a picture of this building from this angle for a long time, but have never seemed to find the time to do it until last week. I love the wooden stairs and walkway set against the red brick and cinder block. The rectangular doors, windows and other features also make it interesting. If only I could have talked the owners of the vehicles into parking somewhere other than the funeral home parking lot, I would have had an unobstructed view.

Last night was my youngest granddaughter’s annual dance school recital. They do more than just teach different types of dancing at this school; but more of that in a bit.

The show started with a video to introduce the staff. In the video the owner/director/instructor, Miss A, entered stage left, prancing like a high-stepping show pony, head thrown back to better display her flashing fake smile, onto some part of the Purdue campus. Then she was transported to an empty fake warehouse where she was doing dance moves to a techno-beat accompanied by strobe light flashes. Then each of the staff members, in turn, was introduced like the characters in a crime drama, a la TJ Hooker; you know, flashes of them in action followed by a still shot of them with their name below them on the screen. Each in turn was then inserted into the fake warehouse behind Miss A, following her lead in the dance moves. This went on for five or six minutes until everyone except the janitors were introduced.

This year the school added some form of exercise where the participants squat, legs spread, using two foot long lime-green plastic sticks to beat the ground and swing around their bodies. I was happy to see that no eyes were put out during their demonstration. They have also added acting, in which my granddaughter excelled. Now I understand why she is becoming a drama queen.

I actually enjoyed the recital more than I have in past years. In past years the music chosen for the routines was almost all from the techno/rap/Brittany Spears mode. This year there was more music that was relatable (to me) for the types of dance being performed. For instance, they played Fred Astaire’s version of Puttin’ On The Ritz https://vimeo.com/6971656 for a tap number. Of course I couldn’t help but think of Young Frankenstein https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1FLZPFI3jc, but I’m sure I was the only one who did. Maely, my granddaughter, put in a performance somewhere between the two. I thought that she was excellent.

I was surprised that for one of the ballet numbers they chose to use Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qafnJ6mRbgk that they incorrectly identified as being from the 1950’s. Oh, these youngsters!

One of the highlights of the evening, not counting Maely’s performances, was a group of young girls, certainly pre-school age, dressed in tutu skirts, moving to music (I think it was Twist And Shout). One of the girls missed her mark and landed on a smaller girl’s mark. The smaller girl took umbrage at that and tried to push the larger girl away, twice. The other little girls kept moving more or less to the music. Finally the music ended with most of the girls walking off while the other two glared at each other for a moment. I believe that the smaller girl might have anger management issues.

After the intermission the recital returned to what we have come to expect, the teachers performing. If Maely didn’t have one more chance to show her stuff, I would have been content to leave.

I don’t have a photo from the recital because I have never been able to get a good shot. I didn’t even try this year. Maybe next year. Maely wants to play a piano solo. She started taking lessons last month.