A Broadway Hit (plus one of my own concoctions)

XperDunn plays Piano
September 29th, 2013

“On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”



XperDunn plays Piano
September 29th, 2013

Improv – Sweden


Bachmann’s Reich

I saw Michelle Bachmann interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN this morning. She didn’t answer any of his questions. He pressed and pressed for a simple yes or no on any of his several reasonable questions. She talked around him, over him, under him, throwing out Tea-Party talking points as she evaded the subject Wolf was trying to talk about. She contradicted him with a bunch of spurious poll numbers and misinformation to which Wolf could only respond, “Where are you getting this information?” (Which she claimed she had ‘back at her office’).

We have seen Bachmann and other Tea-Party stalwarts take their cues from Palin’s VP-run playbook whenever they are faced with serious disagreement. It is transparently the behavior of someone trying to evade the plain truth by becoming hysterical over left-field distractions and quoting patently imaginary facts and figures—they even rewrite history to push their ignorant (and obviously paid-for) agenda.

In the old days we described this behavior as ‘squirming’ and ‘bold-faced lying’. But today it is viewed by many people as ‘Tea-Party politics’—as if, when red-necks get up on their haunches and shout their frustration at a complicated and pluralist world, they are permitted to be completely nonsensical and wildly untruthful. I think it has something to do with their response to this, which is to charge that everyone else is lying. They even pose as martyrs to ‘gotcha’-journalism (translation: any reasonable questions posed in front of a camera).

But I’m not mad at these poor souls—they are deluded, misguided, and given far more attention and legitimacy than is healthy for the uneducated. I’m mad at us—how did we allow stupidity to become a valid political platform? When did we drop any minimum intelligence limit for people who have a national microphone before them?

President Obama made an address later on this afternoon, in which he pointed out that the House of Representatives has a solemn duty—political kamikaze tactics may be all the House GOP members are interested in, but they have actual responsibilities as well. That they ignore those responsibilities is just another maddening symptom of this new class of politician, the ‘stubborn simpleton’ (Yes, I’m referring to Ted Cruz). The fact that experienced, older GOP members are nearly as dismayed as the Democrats at the irrational and irresponsible behavior of the Tea-Partyers says a great deal about just how far from sanity these people have gone (and taken the rest of us with them).

I’m glad Obama has put his foot down—negotiating with such cretins does nothing to appease them—and nothing anyone else can say can convince them that they are in the wrong—about anything. That’s the surest sign of their mental imbalance—their refusal to face reality.

The only thing worse? That these troublemakers are expected to be re-elected by their constituencies! When seniors don’t get their Social Security allowance, when soldiers in the field don’t get a paycheck to send to their families, when no one can get a loan for the foreseeable future—will those people really re-affirm their faith in this group?  I would do more than merely vote for a Democrat—I’d have them charged with high treason.

They are threatening to break the world, to destroy the United States of America, to ruin everyone’s day for years to come—how can anyone see them as responsible office-holders and elected officials?

The Bitch

Thursday, September 26, 2013            1:58 PM

Everybody loves a bitch. The Stones had a big hit in “Bitch” (Sticky Fingers 1971) I think, in large part, because we kids loved to sing along. And it’s just a fun word to say—“bitch, bitch, bitch.” We love them. We go crazy over them—especially the mega-bitch. A mega-bitch is a completely evil, incredibly hot woman, such as Shannon Doherty’s role as Brenda Walsh in the series “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990). Women are drawn to a bitchy character because she is self-determined and adversarial; men are fascinated by a bitchy character because no matter how evil her mind, heart, or voice—she’s still a woman, and men, by and large, want women.

I’d venture a guess that the proliferation of old witches and crones in our folk stories were a product of male story-tellers who were more comfortable with a bitchy character bereft of any hint of fecundity—but I’m no archeological psychologist, I just know myself.

I’ve just had a rather embarrassing email exchange with a writer friend, whose first serialized on-line novel I’d found instantly engaging and compelling. Some poor schlub’s horror-of-a-girlfriend character was a constant spur to my interest. But when she debuted her new novel’s first chapter, set in a sort of antebellum Edwardian atmosphere, I instantly attacked her for it, saying the whole thing was worthless, a pile of junk. (Jumping the gun is a favorite hobby of mine.)

But when, at her urging, I went back and re-read the chapter, I suddenly found, by focusing on it better, that it was a well-paced, tightly written piece of fiction—so, feeling like a jackass, I sent her my apologies. I was confused—it was well written, yet it repelled me at first—and even having found that it was good, I still lacked any inclination to read more.

But this morning it came to me. There was no bitch. Moreover, there wasn’t a bad-guy or an evil influence in sight. When I had my health, and was a terrible bookworm, I would casually allow myself (and the author) the first 150 pages as a ‘gimme’. I’d had plenty of experience with writers with a slow burn—and they were often the best, if I could ride out the slow start.

Now I have a more modern sensibility—I need a quick fix. I need coercion, I need conflict, I need me a bitch. I truly miss those good old days when I could re-read Robin Hood in that wonderfully drowsy ‘dear reader’ kind of style; I could re-read the Iliad and be charmed by the interplay of human drama and Jovian fate and the symbolism and the repeated phrases that made it as much a chant as a story. I read everything and anything—and fast—I averaged 1.3 books a day—unless they were little things of 300 pages or less. Before I lost my health, I got to where I preferred only 700+ page-books, like King, Follett, Clancy, and Ian Banks. Anything less than that frustrated me—I would hardly get comfortable in the writer’s world when I would find myself reading the exit sign: “The End”.

But today, I mostly do TV. When I do commit to a book, I start reading like I always used to—but then I quickly find my neck aching, or my eyesight blurring, or just a mental inability to follow along as I read. I put it down, wait an hour, try again. In the last half of the book I will become transfixed, and I’ll wonder why I don’t still do this all the time. But the next day, after I finish the book, I’ll have blurry vision most of the day, and little aches and pains and spasms from holding open the heavy book and from focusing my eyesight (through magnifying glasses) on the page for hours at a time.

So, long story short, I don’t read much anymore. When I do, I get impatient of any settling-in type beginnings and intolerant of any slack in a storyline. I prefer to be left wondering to being given more than I need. I’m become the same audience as the illiterate—just show me eye-candy with music, please.

And the end result is a media with a narrow range, stories that introduce conflict from the first sentence and keep it hot right until the big car crash (with explosion) at the end. All the best told stories are the opposite, they build and build a world around you, inserting conflicts at strategic points, adding detail and suspense and character development with the tidal flow of their story’s pace—only with such subtle storytelling can an artist ever build up to a tidal wave far more awesome than a mere car crash—but without the leeway to do this, merely good writers can outperform the great writers, making wam-bam-thank you-ma’am plotlines the industry’s default quality.

Fortunately, the treasure house of the past is still easily accessible to anyone with a library card. But be careful to read the book before you see the movie. I had read “The Lord Of The Rings” three times before Peter Jackson got his green light—so the freeze-dried husk of the CGI version will never mar my memories of the happiness I felt marching along with the Fellowship through Tolkien’s worlds. Or stalking Clancy’s cold-war villains from one end of the Earth to another. Or shivering from my immersion in the horror of King’s nightmare town, Kerry, Maine. How I wish I could still spend whole days there, day after day.

But this isn’t about me. My writer friend has brought into focus a dilemma that all modern writers face—subtle writing is to small audiences as simple writing is to big audiences (and big money). And I’m not suggesting that today’s writer has to ‘dumb-down’ their writing to be popular—I’m saying that the leeway enjoyed by earlier writers has contracted to a fine point—a tightrope that must be walked. Mass audiences actually require intelligence in their entertainment—but it must be a carefully monitored dose, administered with precise timing and dosage, from moment to moment in their favorite tales.

Stephen Spielberg cracked this code, creating movies that blew us away, while not insulting our intelligence. The use of levity is essential is his formula, but he also kept the mayhem and the fear going at all times.

And perhaps most restrictive of all, today’s popular stories must start with high drama—either dread, rage, sublime ecstasy, or just plain explosions. My writer friend, in beginning with a busy, happy family scene, had failed to grasp me by the throat—but was that her failing, or mine?

New Changes

Two (2) Piano Covers (2013Sep22)

"Green Leaves Of Summer" and "Happy Heart"

“Green Leaves Of Summer”
and “Happy Heart”


“Green Leaves Of Summer”
(From the Batjac Production “The Alamo”. A United Artists Release.)

Music: Dmitri Tiomkin
© 1960 Leo Feist Inc.,
Batjac Productions, (NOTE: this was John Wayne’s own Prod. Co.)
and Erosa Music Publishing Corp.

Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group,


“Happy Heart”

by James Last and Jackie Rae
© 1969 Panorama Song, GmbH, Hamburg, Germany (West Germany, at the time)
USA & Canada Rights – Miller Music Corporation


{From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia}

“Happy Heart” is a song written by James Last and Jackie Rae.

The song was recorded by both Petula Clark and Andy Williams and released as a single for each at the same time in 1969. “Happy Heart” reached #12 on the Easy Listening chart and #62 in the UK for Clark, while Williams went to #22 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100, #19 in the UK, and spent two weeks at #1 on the Easy Listening chart.

Clark was reportedly dismayed when Williams was a guest star on her second TV special, with the plan to perform the song they were both launching as a single. In Australia both Clark’s and Williams versions charted both peaking at #22.

It was notably used on the soundtrack accompanying the British film Shallow Grave (1994), starring Ewan MacGregor and Christopher Eccleston, and directed by Danny Boyle. The female impersonator Holly Woodlawn lip-synced to the Clark version in the 1998 Tommy O’Haver film Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.


PLEASE NOTE: for the Graphic Background on the Titles and Credits:

Proletariërs aller landen verenigt U
(Factory workers stand strong united.)

by Jan de Waardt, (1900)

courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Netherlands

…And the Competition Is Over!


The great engine behind capitalism and the free market is supposed to be competition. But I wonder what competition is still happening just now as we head towards the winter of 2013-2014. Small towns from coast to coast have lost their competitions with Wal-Mart and its ilk—towns where people once supported each other saw themselves put out of business as they put their neighbor out of business, both of them saving money by shopping at a big store chain, and both eventually left bankrupt, homeless, and worse.

Perhaps there is some friendly competition going on between the CEOs of those few giant corporations—not as interesting as a game of golf, perhaps, but something that keeps their egos pumping. But outside that, all the competing is over. Multi-billion-dollar, multi-national corporations—petroleum giants, pharmaceutical giants, entertainment media giants, etc.—may see themselves in competition with each other, at least in the minds of the top management and board-members. But today’s major players in our global marketplace are so beribboned with both vertical and horizontal diversification, so invested in the overall stability of the global economy, and required to have such cold-blooded, implacable ambition—those people expend their energies on office politics, influence peddling, and investment poaching to an extent that leaves most of the ‘competition’ in their own heads—and, more importantly, without any effect on the regular people.


The regular people, the lower-income-to-high-middle-class income, the hoi polloi, the little people—call them what you will—they be us. We no longer compete in meaningful ways. Our children can study until they’re blue in the brain—there’s still a chance we won’t be able to foot the bill for Harvard or Princeton—and that our children may not be among the select few who win the scholarships that may or may not make an ivy-league degree affordable. So we no longer have any significant competition in scholarship—excepting those rare scholarships and grants. The vast majority, however, see college costs recede further and further from reality—and that’s only to get a bachelor’s degree—the post-graduate world is a maze of student loans, part-time jobs, and constant struggle to achieve what comes to the families-of-wealth’s kids as a gift.


Want to start a coffee shop? Starbucks has you beat. A book store? Amazon’s already there. A hardware store? –Home Depot is already there. A restaurant? Well, they were never great investments to begin with—and all but the hoity-toity-est can’t compete with the prices at Outback, Red Lobster, or Appleby’s. Drug store chains make the town pharmacists redundant. And at this point, if any kind of small business isn’t doing business inside a mall or some other high-foot-traffic area, they will shrivel on the vine.


Can boutique, community-conscious shops get by? Yes, but there had better be at least one necessity being sold there, or their solvency will fade with the novelty of their existence. And this is all beside the point that, if you were to come up with some tremendous new thing that drew crowds of shoppers, it would be imitated, mass-produced, and available at the mall within a single fiscal period.

When Europeans first began emigrating to the New World, competition was everywhere, businesses were fighting right and left in a world of disparate, mom-and-pop farms, shops, transport, communication and services. This rising of the dough of Capitalism had plenty of yeast, and the chaos of the free market made commerce an almost Brownian-motion pattern of new, starting, growing, dying, and expanding ventures. The passage of centuries has brought all that to a stagnant precipitate of big corporations and huge personal fortunes—the reaction has reached equilibrium.


Obama says there are not enough ladders to prosperity anymore—and I agree with that—but I see it as the obvious end result of free-for-all capitalism, as it went from land invasion (or pioneering, as some call it) to industrial revolution, to urban-centric economies and the world of modern business. The land has been parceled out, competition in industry ended in one or two giants controlling the field or product, and chain stores and the internet have destroyed entrepreneurship as we once understood it.

Now that those currents of history and development and growth and consolidation have slowed to a molasses-like oozing that allows new business only sparingly—and with few of those making the grade. Even the once famously individualistic business of digital software has become a two-sided struggle between two giants which become less distinct from each other the longer they compete for the bigger half of the pie.


Even businesses that have just been created, such as private space-based technology companies and genome-research firms are so complex and expensive that they hardly lend themselves to small business start-ups—they all come as off-shoots of one or more already-large-and-successful multinational corporations.

In short, ‘competition’ is disappearing just as quickly as our environmental stability. Even pro sports—the very embodiment of competition—have become as much businesses as teams-in-competition. And with the loss of that beating heart, the tension of competition, the thrill of the contest, Capitalism becomes just another word for Oligarchy—a set-in-stone society of the super-wealthy and their seven billion servants.


America’s growth into the greatest super-power in history was possible partly due to the fact that we could start from a tabula-rasa continent. Our government wasn’t an amalgam of centuries of war and despotism—it was something we could design with an 18th century understanding of ourselves. Our societies didn’t have millennia of embedded classes, castes, lordship and slavery—we could invent a new society that had a more modern populism as its defining characteristic. And with the industrial revolution coming fast on the heels of our wars for independence and unity, we found it much easier to embrace the quickening tempo of a civilization on the cusp of modernity.

But now America’s arcane, baroque-filigreed legislation, our corporate culture become more a thing of inertia than healthy growth, and our fairly complete distribution over every square inch of habitable real estate—have all brought us to a situation wherein we see ourselves as we used to be, while the truth eludes us. America’s culture is still younger than Europe’s, but it is no longer ‘young’.


Our best years may still lie ahead, as a nation, but our easy-going, whimsical days are over—from here on out, we must (like all the other nations) approach change slowly and with more forethought than Americans are generally comfortable with. And most importantly, we must reexamine Capitalism in the era of Corporate Consolidation, a Capitalism without significant Competition as its driving force.

We do have stress, of course. There is plenty of stress, everywhere you go. But stress is just fear of being fired, it isn’t true competition. Instead of struggling and working harder, we hunch into our cubicles and try not to think about being downsized, or being rendered obsolete by technology. Indeed, the worst symptom of our present culture’s dysfunction is the fact that working harder, working faster, making an effort of any kind, no longer has any relevance to our incomes, or to our success in the business world.


Four (4) Fall Flings

Well, the heat is working, the air is crisp, and TV showing signs of new programming–guess that means it’s back-to-school time.

Saw the DC shootings on CNN–can’t think what to say–can an reservist be a terrorist? Can the armed forces protect themselves against their own -and- should they have to? I’m clueless–just sad.

Anywho, here are my last four stabs at musicality– I think Arioso and ‘O Happy Day’ are the best, but the other two aren’t too bad, either (I hope).:

Improv - Arioso   (2013Sep13)

Improv – Arioso (2013Sep13)

Improv - Capitalization  (2013Sep14)

Improv – Capitalization (2013Sep14)

Improv - Cursive  (2013Sep14)

Improv – Cursive (2013Sep14)

Oh Happy Day (Gospel Cover)

(Cover) Improv on Gospel Song “O Happy Day” (2013Sep16)

That’s all for now–enjoy the crispiness, everybody!

Wood fired Bird houses and candle holders

The ceramic stylings of our good friend, Mrs. Nancy Holmes!

Wood fired Bird houses and candle holders.

via Wood fired Bird houses and candle holders.

Fifth Columnists


The disloyalty to our president was just embarrassing through his first term. But now it is actually impinging on our national security. Past presidents could always rely on the people recognizing the importance of supporting the elected president, even when they voted against him. And it is just suicidal where international policy is involved—making our head of state look weak isn’t in any American’s best interest.

But now we have a rabid media, carrying the ammo for all the tea-party, red-neck, fundamentalist, closeted-bigot misanthropes who have assigned themselves as ‘Obama blockers’—people who study the art of oblique response and ‘teaching the controversy’ for the sole purpose of holding us back from the twenty-first century’s avalanche of cancellations of status—men aren’t in charge anymore; Christianity doesn’t get a free pass anymore; priests and gym coaches are not nearly as respectable as they were once thought to be; ‘weirdos’ aren’t safe to bully anymore; being gay is no longer a ‘mental illness’; and nerdy ‘thinkers’ are more dangerous, more powerful, and more wealthy than anyone else—even football players.


There’s no denying that it’s a lot to take in. The world has become scarier on many different levels—how could it not when, suddenly, nearly every person in the world can text-message anyone else in the world. The decline of the United States Postal Service is the least of it—the Arab Spring saw social media become a Command and Control network for any group of like-minded people. Politicians who embraced the new digital environment were miles ahead of any doubting laggards. People are becoming so involved with each other that the major TV networks are failing to capture prime-time audiences that once were captive—and their best breadwinners are now reality shows and talent shows that display humanity’s interactions and dreams of success and validation.

With our contemporary enlightenment comes a loss of steadiness and security—now that we’ve questioned everything, we have to live with an infinite string of questions—will the bank fail?, will the stocks crash?, will a small town become a ghost town?, will our food give us cancer?, will our food help prevent cancer?, are cars safe?, is burning petroleum a crime?, will my air conditioner break the atmosphere? All things have a 50-50 chance now—we may have been stupid to rely on false assumptions or a corrupt system, but in some ways we had a lot more peace of mind. Would life be better if we were stupider?


Well, I think you can guess what a stupid person’s answer to that question would be. But let’s say you’re smart—like President Obama. Let’s say you have to play international ‘poker’ with every other nation on Earth, all at the same time. Would he maybe threaten the use of missiles, when it helps put pressure on intransigent dictators and pouting braggarts? Is that tricky? You bet it’s tricky. Is it harder when the media-swarms and naysayers nit-pick everything he does and says? You bet it’s harder. Did you ever think you’d see the day when Republicans would holler bloody murder over proposed US military actions? Me neither.

The Republicans, by hating everything Obama on principal, have truly contorted themselves into a human pretzel—they tried to stop Health Care Reform for years (they’re still trying) but they can’t be against health care, or schools, or lots of things people generally want and need. They tie themselves in knots trying to say two opposing ideas at the same time. But now they’re against firing missiles at somebody—come on! We know you guys love that stuff—you’re not fooling anybody.

I take that back—some are fooled. Putin, for one. He thinks all you reactionary maniacs represent the majority of Americans—why wouldn’t he—the tea-party gets more TV air-time than car commercials. Why? Because the news loves a car wreck. The Media wants conflict, they stopped being about ‘informing the public’ a long time ago. Still, Putin, Assad—all those charmers—should take note of who won our election, twice.

The majority of Americans voted for the man they trust and respect—and if that makes us exceptional, well, ya got me there…



Glad To Be Unhappy

“Look at yourself. If you had a sense of humor, You would laugh to beat the band.
Look at yourself. Do you still believe the rumor That romance is simply grand?

Since you took it right on the chin, You have lost that bright toothpaste grin.

My mental state is all a jumble. I sit around and sadly mumble.

Refrain:        Fools rush in, so here I am, Very glad to be unhappy.

I can’t win, but here I am, More than glad to be unhappy.

Unrequited love’s a bore, And I’ve got it pretty bad.

But for someone you adore, It’s a pleasure to be sad.

Like a straying baby lamb   With no mammy and no pappy,

I’m so unhappy, but oh, so glad.”

                      -Lyrics by Lorenz Hart

Nowadays, there is some shame attached to ‘unrequited love’. Where it once masqueraded as a possibly noble state, i.e. Platonic love, it is today more closely associated with stalking.

Many of the love songs of the twentieth century describe stalking behavior as a normal recourse for a person ‘in love’. Now, when someone says they’d ‘climb the highest mountain and swim the widest sea’, they’re as likely as not to have the cops called on’em.

In Lou Christie’s “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (lyrics by Tony Romeo) the singer threatens to :

“try every trick in the book

With every step that you take, everywhere that you look

Just look and you’ll find

I’ll try to get to your soul, I’ll try to get to your mind

I’m gonna make you mine

I know I’ll never give up, I’m at the end of my rope

From the morning till supper time, you’ll find

I’ll be waiting in line, I’ll be waiting in line..”

But my favorite part is when he sings:

“I’ll be a hard-lovin’, pushin’ kind of individual

Knockin’ night and day at your door

You’ll have to turn me away like an indestructible force..”

Now this song was a hit in 1969 and had no angry cards and letters coming in from either boys or girls who found it offensive—this was a normal lyric for the love songs of the time. Lou Christie, himself, was considered a creative and cultured musician, hailed by John Lennon as an original songwriter and artist.

Two of Christie’s songs are even based on Classical themes—

his “Rhapsody In The Rain” was based on Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet”:


and Lou Christie’s  “Painter”  borrowed another melody from classical music – this time from Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly”:


But then, Lou Christie’s first hit, his big break (written in partnership with Ms. Twyla Herbert) came up with one of the most chauvinistic lyrics ever written :

Lou Christie – “Lightnin’ Strikes”

(Song by Lou Christie and Twyla Herbert)

“Listen to me, baby, you gotta understand

You’re old enough to know the makings of a man

Listen to me, baby, it’s hard to settle down

Am I asking too much for you to stick around


Every boy wants a girl   He can trust to the very end

Baby, that’s you            Won’t you wait


[but ’til then

When I see lips beggin’ to be kissed

I can’t stop          I can’t stop myself

Nature’s takin’ over my one-track mind]


Believe it or not, you’re in my heart all the time

All the girls are sayin’ that you’ll end up a fool

For the time being, baby, live by my rules


When I settle down                I want one baby on my mind

Forgive and forget                  And I’ll make up for all lost time


[If she’s put together fine        And she’s readin’ my mind

I can’t stop          I can’t stop myself]


There’s a chapel in the pines    Waiting for us around the bend

Picture in your mind              Love forever,


[but ’til then

If she gives me a sign              That she wants to make time

I can’t stop          I can’t stop myself]


Lightning is striking again      Lightning is striking again

And again and again and again         Lightning is striking again

And again and again and again..”

I feel this song gives a very apt description of the cognitive dissonance suffered by teens and young adults of both sexes during the 1960s—much as it had been for centuries. This ‘good’ girls and ‘bad’ girls dichotomy offered no mathematics to explain how a young man could have as many sex partners as his young and ‘uncontrollable’ hormones drove him to, and still have a ‘pool’ of good, chaste girls standing by for a wedding at some future date.

We are left with two possibilities—all girls were ‘bad’, but discretely so, and shed that persona when some ‘spent’ boy finally proffered a diamond ring—or—all boys sowed a great deal less Wild Oats than they advertised.

Sarcasm aside, it was a clenched society that was quick to damn a woman for being indiscrete, and to forgive a man for not controlling his impulses, and to accept fairy-tale-like absurdities as the status quo. For a man to say he would ‘Lose his mind’ over his affection for a woman was considered very romantic, sort of congratulating and condemning the woman simultaneously for her ability to make a man ‘lose control’.

There are so many differences in our modern thinking, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, there’s the assumption that a man can’t be held responsible for sexual predation if he’s been overly excited by a woman. Today we call that date-rape—and I’ll tell you why. It would be pretty tough to look the other way when a man gets angry enough to blow up a building—and in modern society, if you have anger issues, you will be offered counseling—but men are still held to account for their behavior.

Second, the whole ‘get married and have kids’ thing has no place in today’s love song lyrics—Beyoncé’s “Put A Ring On It” gets close, but it’s also a sassy goof, aimed at boys with both jealousy issues and commitment issues. Once the oldie “You’re Havin’ My Baby” left the charts, the mechanics of Chapel Bells and Gold Rings and side-by-side burial plots became taboo in poetic longing and love lyrics.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, few of today’s women would consider marriage their primary goal. Few of today’s women would consider their lives ruined by losing their virginity—on the contrary, it seems the beginning of adult life for most American women, rather than the end. And in this new societal view, “My Girl” becomes overly possessive; “Only You” is too obsessive; and “Blue Moon” comes off as just needy. Still, Stephen Stills’ “Love The One You’re With” takes the new view a little too far—fidelity of some sort is still considered the polite thing—at least in women’s minds.

The exaggerated nature of love lyrics has become overt—the old songs can still be enjoyed as the passions and urges going on in a lover’s mind, just so long as no one mistakes those hyperbolic pronouncements for healthy feelings.

Rap has similar Un-PC lyrics—but the street has become a two-way. Women have embraced their objectification, not as ‘the way of things’, but as ‘the way of men’, or rather the foolishness that goes on in a man’s mind. Further, some female vocalists have turned that meme against us, pointing out how easily men can be manipulated.

Empowerment of women has driven the young male vocalists to an excess of barbarism—not as a cage for women, but as a display of maleness. The ‘bitches and hos’ lyrics are defiant, not insulting—as seen in the fact that women have themselves embraced those terms, just as African Americans have embraced the n-word as something they share with each other.

The grit of reality abides—the above comments are observations on the art of song lyrics, not on daily life. Prejudice and exclusion persist—but the popular music of our times proclaims the end of these old biases, in times to come.

The Last Of Summer (2013Sep08)

Here are two pieces from Edward MacDowell’s “New England Idylls”

Click here to Listen

Click here to Listen

And here are two new improvs of mine from this weekend:

Click here to Hear

Click here to Hear


Click to Hear, Here

Click to Hear, Here



And here is the lovely picture of our library (that once was a garage) from July of 2006:

(And which is used for the above video ‘titles & credits’ background)


Hoping you all enjoy……


Bear2007May5 024

Monday, September 02, 2013              7:28 PM

Bear2007May 002

I write in a mind frame wherein I take certain precepts as given—my written thoughts and comments all come from, and are processed through, the filter of these central tenets. They aren’t world-shattering—I doubt that I am in some special category of philosophy—I believe that my perspective is shared by many educated and fair-minded people, simple because ‘reality’ is as it has been observed to be—a reality of mystery and enigma, of emotions and facts and cold steel and breastmilk.

Bear2007May 003

Still, just in case some clown decides to be clever and twist my words into other than intended directions, I hereby state the obvious:

The universe is infinite—in the sense that any cosmological theorist speculating upon a closed, looped model would still be talking about the thing with our planet going around our sun which is only one solar system in the galaxy we call the Milky Way—and that galaxy is only one of billions of visible galaxies that crowd the sky when viewed with a wide swathe of the electromagnetic spectrum, instead of the narrow band designated ‘visible light’, i.e. only what can be perceived by the human eye. This virtually infinite space, of a volume no human mind is able to truly apprehend, is our universe—as far as we can tell, so far.

Bear2007May 004

Advanced physics gives us Einstein’s provable formula, that matter is compacted energy and that energy is unraveled matter, which shows us that all atoms are concatenations of energy, in the form of nucleic particles and the orbiting electrons—in short, an atom is a ‘knot’ of energy, full of empty space and containing certain attributes which are the determining characteristics of each of the elements on Mendeleev’s chart—and that their three (or four, if you count ‘plasma’) states: gas, liquid, and solid, are mostly a matter of compression, but that certain elements only acquire certain of their attributes when in one particular state.

Bear2007May 005

For example, the original superconductors do not super-conduct at room temperature—only at near zero degrees Kelvin—a fact that came up only in the twentieth century, after those elemental alloys already had a long-standing definition as just plain old ‘conductors’. So, in the case of the most common superconductor material, niobium-titanium alloy, the nature of the elements Niobium and Titanium were redefined, along with the discovery of the superconductor phenomenon itself.

Bear2007May 006

Long story short—the universe is a limitless pool of energy, some pieces of it solidified as matter, some characteristics, such as charge, spin, and charm, are only displays of quantum effects for one, particular iota of the infinite.

Bear2007May 007

Then comes the humanity effect—we see flat ground, so we tend to think the ground is flat. We see bright colors, but colors are a tool our minds created to give things definition—green is in the middle of our visible spectrum for a reason—green means food, and what we need most, we try hardest to see (speaking in evolutionary terms). The actual facts, that the way we ‘see an object’ is really the way we ‘see light being bounced off an object’, are ignored by us—we see the color as something coming out of an object. We see gravity as a constant (well, except for the Apollo teams) even though our ‘gravity’ is only a constant when standing on the surface of the Earth.

Bear2007May 008

Gravity, like Electro-Magnetic Radiation, is invisible—if it weren’t for light, even mass would be invisible! Most of the universe is invisible to our eyes. Not only that, but theoretical physicists are pretty sure we’re only perceiving four of the twelve dimension—we understand width, height, depth, and time passing—those are the only four dimensions we know. But these guys (and they’re pretty smart, some of them) say that that’s less than half of all the dimensions our Universe possesses.

Bear2007May 009

In other words, the humanity effect is that, in some sense, we are misled by our senses—and we are blind to the many other sensations there are to sense. Which leads me, at least, to the conclusion that we don’t know much, and what we do know is probably, mostly wrong.

Bear2007May 015

And this is where the atheism comes from—ancient prophets and priests claim to have received word, direct from the Supreme Being and Creator of the Universe. My having such a complex knowledge of our ‘ignorance’, in the technological world we live in, now, makes it very hard for me to imagine that such messiahs had anything more to offer than good advice—of which they offer plenty, such as the Golden Rule—a perfectly sensible, useful idea that improves the lives of all who live that way.

Bear2007May 016

But aside from some great advice on how we can live better, happier lives, I choose to discount any and all of religions’ mythological components as anything other than great illustrative symbology. Freud named his neuroses after characters in ancient Greek plays—because those particular myths gave a strong sense of the concept he named them with. We can learn a lot from bible stories—but I think it is a mistake to teach our children that any of those ‘sacred’ scriptures can be looked to for historical facts, or natural laws (or astrophysics, archaeology, and medicine).

Bear2007May 017

Physicists theorize that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. In that sense, I believe in the possibility of post-death transmutation. I do not mean that to include hocus-pocus, ghosts, or heaven and hell—I just mean that we don’t know much about much, so why jump to the conclusion?

Bear2007May 018

So, let’s tally me up—existentialist, atheist, somewhat asocial in my attitudes, but very pro-people in general. In the words of Charles Schulz (in the form of Lucy Van Pelt) “I love humanity. It’s people I can’t stand!”

Bear2007May 021

I feel that we understand the universe better when we recognize the difference between our natural attitudes and our scientific research—and I’m always very uncomfortable when anyone tries to muddy those waters. For instance, politics—this always gets my back hair up—you’d think that a candidate for a civil service job would be all about how good a job he or she is going to do. But that isn’t ever touched on. On the contrary, it would be bad politics to point out that one did better in school than one’s opponent—even though it is hard to imagine why one’s education would not have relevance.

Bear2007May 026

But aside from all those clowns thinking they should be ‘all about the argument’ and to hell with getting any work done, my still worst revulsion is for the politicians that want to court both the vast numbers of Christian voters and the smaller, but still important, numbers of educated-person voters.

Bear2007May 027

In a nation with a venerated tradition of religious freedom, to fail to be up-front about one’s belief (or one’s atheism) is a dishonorable deception performed by a person who, whatever their faith in God, has no faith in their country and the people who live here. In this sense only, I consider being without faith to be a crime. And we voters are also complicit in accepting such ignorance in a candidate for an important office.

Bear2007May 028

So, that’s the basics of where I’m coming from. Beyond that, I’m a liberal. For me, equality extends to every gender, physique, sex-orienting, race, religion, net worth (or lack of same), health, country of origin, and age. I can’t think of any one of those labels that doesn’t have a spectrum of humanity within it—like you and me, they come in smart, dumb, strong, weak, mean, nice, and funny—which makes it impossible to categorize any such grouping as being ‘different’.

Bear2007May 032

I believe that Social services, generously dispensed, will always cost less, over time, than saving money by letting others suffer want and hunger. Plus, it feels right.

Bear2007May 030

I believe that Capitalism has become a millstone around civilization’s neck and that it’s well past time for a new paradigm, or at the very least, a drastic overhauling of the rules of business. I think the USA will fade and die if we don’t bring our education stats back to ‘best in the world’ levels—and while I have no solution for that problem, I’m pretty sure that’s the meat of the argument against allowing ‘the sequester’ and ‘trimming’ social services.

Bear2007May 034

I believe that the entertainment business is making it harder and harder for people to express themselves freely—at some point we will have to choose between the importance of our quality-of-life and the importance of copyright protection.

Bear2007May 035

I think we should be spending the majority of our defense budget on software security and advanced programming—our enemies could empty our bank accounts overnight, right now, and we wouldn’t have a clue as to in which direction to start shooting.

Bear2007May 038

There it is—hereafter, please keep these basic axioms in the back of your mind when reading my posts—they are the starting point for everything else I write.

Bear2007May 040

Of course, I have my personal peculiarities—like saying ‘of course’ too much. I love Science Fiction, Physics, Comic Books, Books in general, TV, Movies, and Music. My musical tastes include folk music, show tunes, popular songs, and classical music—and I love the piano more than any other instrument. I like to draw, but I’m no longer very good at it. I like to write poems, I’m very poetic—but I ain’t much of a poet. And I get a lot of satisfaction from typing out the stuff in my head and posting it on my blog.

Bear2007May5 004

Does having an active blog make me a jerk? Possibly—I’m sure a lot of people would find me unbearably egotistic. But there are a small group of people who seem to think I’m readable—and I’ll take that. I don’t need to be famous, I just need to imagine that anyone could read my stuff, if they wanted to. It gives some purpose to the obsessive writing and helps me convince myself that I’m still a part of the great big world.

Bear2007May5 005


[Illustration Note: back when Claire had the time to quilt, she would attend the annual quilter’s bee in Lancaster PA–these pics are from their 2007 exhibition…]

Two New Improvs (2013Sep04)

I’ve been playing a lot of Edward McDowell recently, the “Sea Pieces” and “New England Idyll”–I’m just crazy enough to try taping some of it in the near future.

It’s been awhile since I gave forth with a long session–I hope it’s worth 8 minutes of my time to listen to–and yours, as well.

Please note: It has been brought to my attention that
the tree I photographed and used here in
the title, is a Walnut Tree and not a mighty oak, after all.
My apologies….

The title, ‘Fallen Oak’ came from today, when a beautiful old oak tree that graced the side of Juniper Drive for many years toppled in the wee hours of this morning. Following the videos, which use a photo of mine of the fallen tree for the ‘titles’ and ‘credits’ background,  I’ll also be posting my pictures from when I walked down there today to see for myself. Claire says it’s because of all the rain–and I don’t doubt it, since there was no wind to speak of last night. Global Climate Change is starting to annoy me!

Now this second improv makes up for the last one by being only a bit more than one minute in duration. The good news on these short ones is–if they’re no good, at least they don’t waste a lot of your time.  Beyond that, I named it with one of my favorite-type ‘suave sillynesses’–you know, “her lips like sweet cherries, her skin of pure alabaster”, that sort of thing–I always seem to make up the longest names for the shortest pieces–go figure…

Click to Listen to Video

Click to Hear the Video

Here’s those pix: