Hey Baby, It’s the 4th of July

From Farm Aid, 1986. Manor, Texas.

Staring Through His Own Tail Lights

Reddit, man, frickin’ Reddit.  I love it with the power of a thousand suns.

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So some poor mom writes a heart wrenching post about some asshole kids (and there are a ton of them) being mean to her little boy.

I just want him to be happy. My heart hurts for him, and my hugs aren’t enough anymore.

Shortly, some other Redditor, a stranger, writes some of the best, most powerful words I’ve ever read.  Holy moly.  That’s the best writing I’ve seen since the Indian attack in Blood Meridian.

And in the face of it all, asks for two wonderful favors.

1) Please, Never Be Cruel.

2) Please, Always Be Kind.

If everyone would try a little harder to do that….

 

 

Like You’re Watching It

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Like most holidays, Father’s Day is a time to reflect on the present, to look back and remember what’s gone, and to share hopes for what’s to come.  That sort of thing is easier for some than for others.  For me, it’s like whiskey.  The trick is in the amount.  A little is good, but too much can make you crazy.

I can barely remember my own father, and my children don’t always think I’m as wise and benevolent as I feel.  All of this, plus my deep-rooted desire to avoid participation holidays having to do with me (my birthdays, etc.), finds me hunkered down on these days, partially grateful for any overtures and mostly waiting for the next morning, when things will return to whatever approximates normal.

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So when Swedish songwriter Tom Levin emailed me about his new song, “Father to a Son,” a good and timely song about the difficulties of both being and having a father, and the often overlooked, but vastly important, legacy one creates through those relationships, it got me thinking about parental music.  A trip too far down that rabbit hole, like most introspection about one’s struggle to be good at what matters while simultaneously being excellent at much of what doesn’t, is to be avoided.  For sure.

But if I were to give a musical sermon to my children, it would sound something like this.

 

I haven’t done a particularly good job of doing all that stuff, but such was my intent, to the extent intent matters.  The anti-new age parent in me says it matters a little, but only a little.  To try is to fail with honor and all that.  But if intent is the precursor to action, maybe it matters more than we think.  In other words, to be you have to become.  To go someplace, you have to think about the direction you should travel.

Another musical message that I adhere to in theory, if not in action, is this one.

Well all the friends that you knew in school
They used to be so cool and they just bore you
Well look at them now, already pulling the plow
So quick to take to grain like some old mule
Young man full of big plans and thinking about tomorrow
Young man going to make a stand…

So here’s the point.  It has to do with intent, and direction and becoming.

Kids, you need to decide what you want out of life before life decides for you.  Not what you want right now, and not what someone tells you you should want, but what you want to do for the next few decades.  Something you’re passionate about, that will allow you to make a living and a difference.

Or maybe, on Father’s Day, you’re allowed to just listen to this one (the Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy and the Seldom Scene are a wonderful combination) and sit on the back porch, waiting for the birds to return to the feeders.

Like most things, it’s complicated.

Don’t You Know that I Can See

You have to click play before you can proceed.

Generally, I am a strong proponent of knocking down walls and tossing the gatekeepers out on their selective ears.  Remember how much we used to care about who linked to whom?  And sometime before that, I actually cared about the NBA and thought soccer was boring.  That was all wrong.

Like much of what one reads in the so-called press these days.  Now that the newspapers have been killed (generally good) and most content has been drug to free, anyone with a MacBook and an internet account can be a journalist.  Or at least portray one of the internet.  Sort of like I’m doing now.

That means more people competing for the same number of eyeballs, which results in more and more extreme stories, marketing and editing.  This is math, inevitable.  Which means you have some people who couldn’t write their way out of a wet paper bag hammering out half-baked and overly dramatic headlines.  Link bait is the new journalism.  Long live BuzzFeed.

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Add to the mix some extreme polarization between ideologies, and you have a constant stream of bullshit that either pisses you off or reinforces what your preferred plutocrat has told you you already believe.  It’s a hot mess.

I was off the grid for WWDC this year.  When I read some of the recaps, it seemed like a very underwhelming event.  Macworld has a great recap of the rush to fail.  I was disappointed.

Until I watched the video of the keynote.  And realized that, while no new hardware was announced (it is, after all, a developer‘s conference), Apple announced some things that are not only awesome but destined to materially improve mobile computing.  In other words, it was very impressive.  Something I would never have known based on the news reports.

See for yourself.

Baby, No One’s Doing Fine

When I listen to a new song the first time, and without even listening to the words carefully, I find myself getting wistful or misty-eyed, I know I have found something special.

That happened a while ago, via The Loft on XM Radio.

 

Fire Mountain, the pride of Troy, Alabama.  After listening to Doing Fine about 25 times, I went to Spotify, and listened to the rest of their excellent new record, All Dies Down.  Music like this is why I have ears.  Wonderful.  Highly recommended.

Amazon link
iTunes link
Bandcamp link

Killing Elephants is for Losers

“What kind of a person looks upon the world’s largest land animal — a beast that mourns its dead and lives to retirement age and can distinguish the voice of its enemies—and instead of saying “Wow!”; says something like “Where’s my gun?”

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I dislike litterbugs and big game hunters with the power of a thousand suns. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can redeem someone who tosses their trash out of a car window- this happens all the time on the road in front of our farm- or goes to Africa to kill majestic, and often threatened or endangered, animals.

I haven’t read GQ since the 80′s, but I saw a link to what turned out to be a well-written and thought-provoking story about an elephant hunt.

Part of the reason I am so vehemently against big game hunting is because I am a gun person and a hunter.  But much like religion, I have become hesitant to mention my affinity because I don’t want to be associated with the losers who kill lions and tigers and whatnot any more than I want to be associated with the haters who use religion to further their right-wing agendas.

I admit to being confused by the fact that countries that allow legal hunting have more elephants than those that don’t.  And it’s interesting that the World Wildlife Fund at least tolerates regulated elephant hunting.

But here’s one thing I’m sure about.  If you have enough money to hunt and kill an elephant, you have enough money not to.

GoodSongs: Feelin’ Alright?

No one covers a song like Joe Cocker.

Leon Russell on guitar.  Yep, guitar.

Feelin’ alright?
Not feelin’ too good myself
Feelin’ alright?
Not feelin’ too good myself.

More.