Three Songs And An Improvisation (2014Feb12)



XperDunn plays Piano
February 12th, 2014

3 Standards: ‘Look of Love’, ‘Lovers Concerto’, ‘Love Is All Around’

[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

The Look of Love (1967 song)
Released January 29, 1967
Recorded Philips Studios, London
Composer: Burt Bacharach Writer: Hal David

Ursula Andress inspired Burt Bacharach to compose “The Look of Love” watching her in an early cut of the film Casino Royale.

The track is played while Vesper Lynd seduces Evelyn Tremble, observed through a man-size aquarium.

“The Look of Love” is a popular song composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and sung by English pop singer Dusty Springfield, which appeared in the 1967 spoof James Bond film Casino Royale.

In 2008, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It also received a Best Song nomination in the 1968 Academy Awards.
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

“A Lover’s Concerto” a single by The Toys

from the album: The Toys Sing “A Lover’s Concerto” and “Attack!”
Released 1965
Writer(s) Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, Christian Petzold

“A Lover’s Concerto” is a pop song, written by American songwriters Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell and recorded in 1965 by The Toys.

Their original version of the song was a major hit in the United States, the UK and elsewhere during 1965. It peaked on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 2
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

“Love is All Around”
Single by The Troggs
Released October 1967
Label(s): Page One/Fontana UK; Fontana (Mercury) US
Writer(s) Reg Presley

“Love Is All Around” is a song composed by Reg Presley and originally performed in 1967 by Presley’s band, The Troggs, featuring a string quartet and a ‘tick tock’ sound on percussion, in D-major. Purportedly inspired by a television transmission of the Joy Strings Salvation Army band’s “Love That’s All Around”, the song was first released as a single in the UK in October 1967.

On the US Billboard Hot 100, the record entered at No.98 on 24 February 1968, peaked at No.7 on 18 May 1968, and spent a total of 16 weeks on the chart.
Lastly, the graphics are by Hokusai



Friday, February 07, 2044          6:59 PM



I’m the one. Fate had to pick someone to be here, now, at the end. Well, not the end—you know what they say about endings. Say rather at our leave-taking. And I am the one who last boards the last shuttle, after all the others have embarked. I look around—not too bad, ‘though pretty bad, of course—but there’s hope of recovery in a distant future…



As I strap myself into the lift-seats in the Maintenance section (back of the rocket, as it were) my mind is suddenly filled with the enormity of it—here we are, following in the footsteps of the Fell, taking wing into the cosmos. As I leave this planet, we repeat a step that many have taken—the Fell, and who knows how many sentients before them. We say good-bye to planet Earth.


MRB 2:

The ‘ancient aliens’ nuts had it partly-right—we weren’t the first ones here—but we came from here—we evolved within the mega-ecology of the ‘virgin’ Earth. The way it was told to me was that the Fell left Earth for good, many millions of years before we did. Once they had left—and enough time had passed—this holy planet reverted to its teeming oceans, crowded with whales, sea-beds covered with lobsters—forests grown so profusely that a person couldn’t walk into one, never mind walk through one. The plains spread out over fertile lands packed with maceratory herds—and permafrost and sand covered the cold and the arid. Flocks of birds once again filled the skies, sometimes, during migrations, blocking out the sun for days.


That’s what makes it holy. No matter what damage we do to her—we eventually do one of two things: we disturb this place until it can no longer support us—or we wise up and hit the road—and having done either of those things, we relieve the Earth of her burden of sentients—and she re-purifies herself.


MRB 3:

Eventually, even the metals used to make orbital-labs and satellites will come back down to where they came from, back into the Earth. It’s isn’t a fast process. It takes long enough that by the time a new sentient species evolves, it has petroleum underground and rare metals scattered all over the world. Those millions of years—those are ‘user-transparent’ (as we used to say)—the new species will never have any inkling that their world has been used before. In the face of supereons, even gems and stainless steel parts become dust in the wind.


Orbit Approach:

There’s a trick to it—that’s why all sentients are clever—if you miss the tricky part, you never leave. Earth is a playpen—each of the new, sentient species must grow up in it. You can just imagine how much time it takes an entire civilization to grow up—hell, even thirty years ago we had no idea of the ‘trick’.


But we got lucky—some gal with enough money to make herself heard managed to convince some people to prepare for leaving Earth, and they convinced others, etc. until it became a world-wide issue. Leaving Earth is the tricky part—the Earth is a great place to grow up—but being confined to a playpen as a teenager is simply wrong. Our survival depended on our maturity—if we lacked the courage to leave the nest, we would stay there until starvation ended us.


Trans-Earth Orbit:

So we had a world-wide consensus (not without detractors, of course) by 2030. The next decade was an epic parade of cooperative construction on massive ships, colonies, and space-platforms. Countless boosters pushing away from Earth’s gravity-well filled the horizon like distant fireworks. A few scientists began focusing on the technology that would transform space-debris into water, atmosphere, fertilizer, and building materials. Sub-ecologies, like Kansas farmland and Louisiana rice paddies, had to be transported to labs where they could be the ‘sour-dough’ that we would use to create new fertile growing areas amidst the vacuum of space.


The whole project was weakened by lack of a plan to get everybody off the planet—until, in 2038, materials science finally gave us Arthur Clarke’s holy grail—a space elevator! Ethical qualms thus reassured, the only remaining difficulty was the significant number of people that didn’t want to go. Removing people against their will was a non-starter—we weren’t going to do this if it demanded blood on our hands—our future voyage, as mankind, could not begin with a mass murder.


The problem was picked at—turns out that any one past menopause wasn’t a problem, anyone too young would be legally required to go with their families, and most adults that didn’t want to go weren’t all that ambitious. Holdouts were informed that most factories and industrial facilities would be destroyed as a final, helping hand on Earth’s long voyage to its next sentient explosion.


Station V-5:

Great, curved windows showed the glowing, blue ball with the white stripes. There were less than a hundred-thousand humans remaining on our old playpen—scattered widely enough that they’ll never join up, in small enough groups that inbreeding will doom them, if it isn’t something else first. What reasoning could be done had been done—they know the same facts. They’re just downright ornery—who knows? Maybe that’s the last cut of the umbilical—shedding the downright ornery, those so well adapted to their cradle that they will die in it rather than be discomfited.


I think of the billions of us out here, a fledgling civilization, not even ready yet to pass across to neighboring stars—and how long it will take us to fill up our new home and suck dry the solar system’s vast resources. And I wonder if it will last long enough for humanity to reach for the stars.


Keep On Keeping On (2014Feb05)


Wednesday, February 05, 2014          5:40 PM

There was a kerfuffle in the news media not too long ago over the idea of Business Owners being taxed more—the conservative argument was that these titans of industry had created their empires by the sweat of their own brows, single-handedly; and the liberal rebuttal was that America, as a work environment, deserved some credit since it provided a friendly culture for the yeast of business owners’ phenomenal growth and profits.


That is to say that having paved roads, well-regulated commercial practices, and well-funded customers—all had something to do with any single businesses’ success. The furor disappeared quickly—but on further thought, that may not have been the best outcome. One way in which businesses resemble their individual employees is that when they stop carping, they can seem to be reasonable—even wise.

No, having had a think, I’m thinking the conservatives didn’t suddenly become reasonable over a logical dispute. I’m thinking some one of them was clever enough to foresee the ultimate terminus of the debate—that the interaction and interdependence of businesses and government and the rich and the rest of us—is quite total.


For my money (pardon the pun) whenever the high-muckety-mucks start to bitch about a government plan that means reductions in their profits, when the other side of the argument is perhaps sheer survival for millions of homeless, of the poor—and all their children, as well—I get angry! Who the hell do they think they are? I experience a profound wish that they were stuck on a street corner tonight with no money, and their kids there too. Maybe that would influence their ethics—or perhaps, by reflex, they will simply stop a passing stranger and take everything they own.

TCB, Money Talks, I Got Mine Jack, and other hillbillian hits through the years have always enforced the Prime Directive: money isn’t everything—it’s the only thing. But where do we start? How do we push back against this societal virus whose only claim to legitimacy is that —after having bested Fascism and Divine Unification—it has done better than Stalin’s purges and Mao’s purges? Capitalism hasn’t shown itself to be the more humane form of democratic government—it has only proved that it’s the lesser of five evils.


Our faith in Cash is as willful and self-determined as our faith in our religious institutions—and both have proved, over and over, to be rather leaky vessels under the waves of real life. If one decides cash is worthless, it ceases to have worth—if a person won’t sell anything they own, or buy anything with money, they have effectively removed themselves from Capitalism. But that person has not removed his or her Society from Capitalism—so Capitalism’s power will still control that person’s fate. Indeed, if someone did it really well, capitalists would spring from the bushes, copy the basic concept, and start marketing it.


One beachfront to be considered is this: changing the positive status-symbol of continuous acquisition of more wealth into a symbol of childishness—and create a status symbol out of divesting oneself of wealth and possessions—Wouldn’t it be funny if ‘poor’ people resented not having enough money to give any of it away? If they got annoyed by the persistent nagging of ‘..would you like a better apartment?; …would you like to eat at a great restaurant?; …does your family have enough blankets tonight?’ Imagine annoying people by trying to give them too much, instead of cancelling ‘milk for enfants’ (How any congressperson could allow that and still look at themselves in the mirror is beyond me).

20140205_midl_rght_detail_(smallversnOf_SK-A-3147-B)And I’m beginning to see the conservatives’ attraction to Christian Fundamentalism—it allows us to talk a good prayer, without actually taking responsibility for anything changing—whereas Ethical Humanism actually requires a person to take part in a humane society. If that got popular, Capitalism would start to see some real push-back. While I recognize the great comfort that billions are afforded by their respective religions, I cannot accept any premise based on pure faith. To me, faith is something we have in each other, regardless of our spiritual choices. Someday someone will figure out how to make it easier for us to have faith in each other, even though we can see each other’s faces (and we don’t even like some of them). We would lose the feeling of being entitled to let other people suffer needlessly. It would be very unglamorous, except perhaps for the result.


So I keep dreaming up possible ways to make society less dysfunctional. I keep getting angry when I hear about rich people and big corporations that look down at us, coldly calculating the next advantage Capitalism will allow them to take of us. I keep feeling sorry for all the people whose world is too isolated to realize that their critics are the only ones who have anything to apologize for—that there is nothing wrong with their differences—that their differences are, in fact, a part of what makes them a whole, beautiful person. I keep worrying that America will not supersede itself, that we will allow some more regimented dominion to perpetuate the cycle of entitled carelessness by a chosen few—and suffering for the rest. And I keep on keeping on.


Happy Birthday To Me!

rapidly expanding supernova ejecta.

rapidly expanding supernova ejecta.

Today being my birthday, I was sung to quite a bit. It’s a nice song, but I went ahead and played two improvs of my own: ‘Happy’ and ‘Birthday’. I hope they sound happy–I certainly felt that way while playing them.











Nature Boy (2014Feb03)


Sunday, February 02, 2014                  8:51 PM


Nine minutes left in the third quarter, Broncos would need four straight TDs (with extra points) and keep a lock on Seahawks offense, just to tie the game. I love a comeback, but I don’t see this one working out—so, here I am at the keyboard. I was remembering flashes of time in my past—I was stuck on outdoor scenes, and their attendant emotional effects.


Many times, before I got sick, I’d take long walks—sometimes the walks were so long that I’d be miles away when I realized it was getting dark. I can remember one particular night when David Streeter and I were walking back to Katonah on Rt. 35, and we were just south of the traffic light by John Jay High. There was no moon and the clouds obscured the stars. It was pitch black—it felt like I was walking into a wall—I put my hands out and I realized that only helps indoors.




This presented a dangerous situation—we could be walking in the middle of the highway, for all we knew—and we would only learn that from the lights of an oncoming car. Eventually we just walked blind, stopping to correct every time we felt our feet hit the shoulder’s gravel. Only one car came—it was easy to get to the side of the road in time—but that was the only car. We walked and it seemed to take forever to reach a place with lighting (the traffic light just past the dam). It was the only time that happened—virtually all my life I’ve spent the nighttime on well-lit streets, but that was when I realized that street-lights weren’t a given.DSC_3192_(SMALLER)


But that’s a special case. Mostly I would find myself somewhere remote, the weather would change, and I’d walk back thinking about living without a home, with nowhere to go from the windy, drizzling shoulder of an anonymous-ish numbered route. Sometimes I would look out at the view from John Jay Junior High, gray trees, yellow grass, a slalom of low hills that went forever, still sporting patches of snow in the shaded places.


Westchester is far from the true nature of ‘upstate’—we’re a suburb of the big city—yet the northernmost parts of the county contain small pockets of the ‘upstate’ that reigns just to the north. New York State is amazing—a huge state, tons of farmland and hillside, but the majority of the state’s citizens live in the paltry square-mileage of the Five Boroughs. People seeking colorful autumn vistas will suppose that New England is the place, Vermont, Maine, and all that—but New York State has the highest number of different species of tree than any other state—and our upstate, in the fall, blows away anything those Down-Easterners can summon.


Winter in a woodsy landscape uses a pallet of grays and light browns, so if you enjoy the bitter-sweetness, you may rest assured it won’t change until well into spring. While winter lasts, however, a mere hour in the open can chill a person to the bone. When I would sit on the ground to rest awhile, I could feel the energy just being leached out of my body until I was shivering too profoundly to even walk properly. When the wind blew needles of sleet into my face, I would consider how quickly something could be killed by exposure. I’ve always kinda wished I was chubby, just because it’s so much warmer than scrawny (more comfortable, too, I’ve always supposed). And I eventually got my wish—around my waist, at least.


To be alone in nature, even if walking along a paved road, is a fragile perch. Whenever I get upset about something in our house, I can always stop fretting by reminding myself that it’s heated and sheltered from the wind. Those two qualities, plus discouraging other animals from joining us with solid walls, are such incredibly luxurious possessions. I mean, the electricity, the refrigerator, running water—all those are very, very nice as well. But if I’m out on a winter night, with the wet and the chill and the darkness, I would gladly settle for a heated shed.



Rain, too—especially when it’s cold—rain can make you spend the hours getting home either cursing yourself for being under-dressed, or congratulating yourself for staying dry all the way home. As a kid, I can remember many occasions where I’d go outside without a coat on. I was a kid—that’s my excuse—I didn’t think it mattered. And it doesn’t, really, not for the first five minutes, at least.

I don’t know. I was drawn to the outdoors, to the woods. I wanted to live in a simple shack in the wilderness—it sung to me. But I always reached a point where the temptation of a hot bath and cable TV made me re-assess my love of nature. I compromised by drawing the trees I saw outside my window and spending a lot of time in Pound Ridge Arboretum. But even in fairly developed Katonah, there were still woodsy spots—we lived at 51 Parkway, at the bottom of the hill that the Memorial Park is atop of—and we never walked up there using the streets. We took a path through the woods that covered that hill—and that’s one example of what I always loved about Katonah.


There was the dam road at the end of Jay St.—a beautiful walk, especially when the wind shhhsh-ed through the fir needles, making the tops of the trees sway provocatively—or when, one time after a blizzard, the road became the entrance to the Winter Queen’s Castle, all ice-coated and snow-frosted, arches of fallen trees and large boughs—all gleaming in the next morning’s sunshine. There was the walk to Deer Park (no great trek from my old house), using the old, forgotten street off Jay St. (It had trees growing out of the pavement and most of the asphalt was obscured by the detritus of time.) It wasn’t a big part of the walk, but the surrealism made for a great sense of faraway-ness.


My dad had a rowboat chained to a tree just by the reservoir, behind the old train station’s parking lot. I could row my way nearly to Carmel, reservoir to reservoir. On a blustery day, I’d row like a madman, singing pop tunes at the top of my lungs, with a chop that one doesn’t expect in fresh water causing the boat to roll and slap and yaw. And there were cross-country trails in the woods behind the High School—great for endurance runs or quick stops to smoke weed before the next class. I loved the sense of being a race-car in an all-terrain rally—banking on the turns, jumping the fallen trunks—it was great!





But I suppose best of all was Pound Ridge—the old Pound Ridge, with the fire tower and the big tree in the middle of the giant field. As a teen, I simply could not walk across a big field—I would sprint into it a ways and start running in broad circles—not unlike a dog. It’s really strange to recall those days here in my new world of sitting and lying down, never even walking around the block.