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Music for the Soul

When I was 17, and just graduated from high school, a buddy of mine introduced me to the music of Jethro Tull.  Nothing was the same afterwards.  I think I listened to Thick as a Brick a hundred times.  Wow!

Since then, though, I've added his softer stuff to my life list:  "Teacher," "Life's a Long Song," "Skating Away (on the Thin Ice of the New Day)," and "Living in the Past."  He was a wild man!  But, as the same buddy told me last week, he's aged well.

I offer as evidence, the following:



If you're the least bit melancholy, this is the song for you. It's a 2:00 a.m. kind of song, when the world has become a bit disconnected.


For Tammy

Evolution of Life's Soundtrack

I heard the Bee Gee's "How Do You Mend a Broken Heart", which made me think about the evolution of my life's soundtrack.  During high school and college, most of the songs that resonated for me were about busted relationships, yearning, heart break and unfocused angst.  I could rotate my playlist through the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin," or "Melancholy Man," the Kinks' "Lola," the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," and "The Fool on the Hill."

I remember taking my stereo's big speakers, turning them so they faced each other exactly a head's width apart, and then I'd lie on the floor with my head between them for an ear-splitting rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction."

That was who I felt I was if I summed myself up musically.

But I realized this morning that the isolated, lonely feelings weren't really a part of who I am now.  I still love those songs but more for how I relate to the time in my life they came from instead of complimenting my current condition.  My soundtrack now reflects other concerns, like Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey," Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life," Paul Simon's "Late in the Evening," Cat Steven's "The Wind," and Dire Straits' "The Sultans of Swing."

The new sound track is mostly about creativity and self image.  It's interesting how the songs that I think of as self defining have changed.


Inescapable Running Soundtrack

Yesterday, after school, Tammy and I went on a fairly long run.  The weather was beautiful!  Lower 60s.  Just a breath of a breeze.  It was great.  However, as often happens when I'm on a run, the rhythm will kick me into my mental soundtrack mode.  Yesterday's tune was the relentlessly repetitive Tubthumping by Chumbawamba.

Can't . . . stop . . . the music.


Christmas Attitude Change

Christmas season always makes me unusually optimistic and sentimental.  It starts with the music, of course.  I mean, how can I not like the romantic feeling in "Let it Snow," "Please Come Home for Christmas," "All I Want for Christmas is You," "The Christmas Song,", and there's the unashamed emotionalism of "White Christmas," "Little Drummer Boy" (like many Christmas songs, "Little Drummer Boy" has been covered a zillion times.  My absolute favorite is the David Bowie/Bing Crosby duet). 

I like the politically oriented Christmas songs, like "Feed the World," or "War is Over," or Jethro Tull's "Christmas Song."

christmas-tree1Although I'm not particularly religious, and I'm certainly not churchy, I love the traditional Christmas hymns, like "O Holy Night," "Angels We Have Heard on High,"  and "We Three Kings."  They remind me of sitting in church when I was young, when the world felt more certain, and faith was unquestioned.  The religious songs remind me best of what I feel when I think about how I love my famliy.

I even like the twisted Christmas spirit gone horribly wrong in the Pogue's "A Fairytale of New York."

I like Chrismas lights.  I like snow.  I like people loaded down with wrapped presents.  I like the smell of pine in the house and scented candles.

I like that my wife loves Christmas and makes everything better with her enthusiasm.

I like that I get to read "A Child's Christmas in Wales" to high school students, and that I can share with them the beginning of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol."  Remember, "Marley was dead: to begin with."

I like the set of movies we watch for Christmas, The Holiday, While You Were Sleeping, Holiday Inn, The Muppets' Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street (with this devastatingly sweet moment), The Last Holiday, and When Harry Met Sally, which isn't really Christmas oriented, but we watch it then anyway.

Well, you get the picture.  Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve is a great time of the year for me.


A Shot to a Sleepy Heart

Lately when I arrive at school, long before the sun comes up, I crank up Tom Petty.  It's hard not to wake up to this kind of music.

Good morning, all.


Song of the Day

Do you ever hear a bit of music from a television show or movie, and then just HAVE to know where it came from?

Season one of Scrubs, episode 13, "My Balancing Act."  The song is "New Slang," by the Shins, a group I'd heard of but whose music I never associated with them.

This will keep me sane tomorrow, I think.  Eight days of student contact left.


Jump Start the Pump

In case you have trouble moving in the morning, turn this one up loud.

We're coming off the three-day weekend today.  The district has talked (threatened?) to move to a four-day school week to handle some of our budget shortfalls.  I think I could handle the three-day weekends that would produce.  I'm at school the extra time most days anyway.

Are any of you on a four-day school week?  What do you think of it?


Late Night Music Video Surfing

A psychiatrist could probably write a paper about people's inner landscapes by charting what they look at late at night, after the children have gone to bed and every respectable person has turned out the lights.

Here's where I found myself tonight:

And after that:



Saturn Ring Blues

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June 2015


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