“Constipated Duck”

That’s the title of the third track of side one of Jeff Beck’s album “Blow By Blow”. I just think that it takes a particularly talented musician to name a piece of work “Constipated Duck” and then pull it off in such a classy and sophisticated way. Jeff Beck may be an acquired taste, but I think if you haven’t heard any of his solo stuff you should give it a try sometime. His work with The Yardbirds is probably more well known, and that’s cool too, but his work through the 70’s and 80’s was Beck at his best. Check out “Beck, Bogart, Appice” too if you can.

Jeff Beck passed away at the age of 78 yesterday…just thought you should know.


“Thunder Only Happens…”

If you have been listening to popular music for the last 50 years or so then you know the rest of that lyric is

…when it’s raining.
Players only love you when they’re playing

Dreams – Fleetwood Mac – Rumours – 1977 – Stephanie Nicks

This post isn’t going to be some deep philosophical analysis of that lyric, the lyrics of that song, or even how that song was somehow influential in my life. No, I’m just going to throw out some lyrics from songs that I like that I think are clever, maybe meaningful, or, mostly, just plain cool…and few quick thoughts.

“Thunder only happens…” is not a clever turn of phrase even, it’s just the way she sings it I guess that I find cool.

I’m a fleabit peanut monkey
And all my friends are junkies
That’s not really true

Monkey Man – Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed – 1969 – Keith Richards / Mick Jagger

I think this lyric just reminds me of how we used to talk when we were kids and just f’ing around with friends and goofing off. It kinda sounds nonsensical and yet…it makes total sense.

And I’m just trying to un-fight my way back in your heart

Come To Me (Peace) – Mary J. Blige – Growing Pains – 2007 – Mary J. Blige, Tricky Stewart & The-Dream

I love the way she sings this entire song…strong, with conviction, but not some over dramatic and formulaic heart tugging blaring. And this line just got to me the first time I heard it. It speaks to the situation she’s singing about – sometimes you need to make up a word or two to get your meaning through.

But you are gone, not for good but for now
Gone for now, feels a lot like gone for good

Happiness – The Fray – The Fray – 2009 – Ben Wysocki / Dave Welsh / Isaac Slade / Joe King

How I felt on the passing of my Dad…and then my Mom…how I still feel about it.

As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow till your sense of direction
Completely disappears

Year of the Cat – Al Stewart – Year of the Cat – 1976 – Al Stweart / Peter Wood

This actually happened to me. It happened at the State Fair of Texas when I was 12…she was older (probably 16) and I’m sure she was just teasing/playing with me. But it happened…and it was pretty cool when it did.

Everybody’s got something to hide
Except for me and my monkey

Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey – The Beatles – The White Album – 1968 – John Lennon / Paul McCartney

I wish I had a monkey. We would definitely have something to hide…nothing big or life changing…it’s just what you’d do if you had a monkey…at least I think so.

She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine…

Bennie and the Jets – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – 1973 – Bernie Taupin / Elton John

So when I was 7 years old my cousin Timmy (who is 5 years older than me) convinced me that the lyric was “She’s got electric BOOBS”. Now that’s just good stuff!

Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme

Limelight – Rush – Moving Pictures – 1981 – Neil Peart / Alex Lifeson / Geddy Lee

For me, this lyric was kind of a call to unity and reconciliation. You can’t be at odds with the world, with other people, if you expect to be content in this life. You have to at least listen to the other side and try to find common ground, and even if you don’t find that common ground, sometimes the effort to get there at least makes it easier to live with the other side…without killing them.

In the days of my youth
I was told what it means to be a man
And now I’ve reached that age
I’ve tried to do all those things
The best I can

Good Times Bad Times – Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin – 1969 – Jimmy Page / John Bonham / John Paul Jones

yes…yes I have.


What do I know?!

One of the things I struggle with about this blog is the simple thought that I don’t want to come across as though I’m an expert in anything. I have opinions, thoughts, ideas, and maybe even judgments on various subjects across all parts of life…but I don’t think anyone should view them as much more than what my life experience up to this point has shown me. I believe this is called “Life Experience”.

So then, what is all my “Life Experience” worth, or even what is it good for? I guess if, in the course of reading this blog, you may face something that I have already dealt with in life. Then you see how I handled it and what the outcome was. THEN you decide for yourself if the outcome is one you like and do what I did. If the outcome was not what you want then you just do the opposite of what I did and see what happens for yourself.

I have to say that part of my thinking (or venting if you will) about all of this is that I feel kinda hypocritical. That is to say I have, for quite some time, had “tired-head” with all of the experts and expert opinions that have been available on the internet. There is no real vetting for any of the information that is published out there. I don’t want anyone to think that I think I am suggesting, much less advocating, that anything I say should be authoritative or it’s what you should do or think. (I’m going to continue writing some more here for this post, but I think I just realized that this is basically a disclaimer for my blog!)

Do I know what I’m talking about most of the time? I think that I’m not an idiot…I think I know some facts…I know enough to know that I’m not always right about anything in particular. I try to be considerate and thoughtful in all I say and do…and I know I’m not always successful in that pursuit. I do think I should be given credit for the attempt to be a good human. I don’t mind if anyone calls me on my shortcomings…even when it hurts my feelings.

Ultimately I think I choose to offer up “my life” as an example – not necessarily of what should be done, but so that others can take what I’ve done and learn from it, good and bad, successes and mistakes, triumphs and failures…it is what it is. My middle daughter Jessica once said, “Let me make my own mistakes!” I think maybe I would like to say, “Let me go first and make the mistakes, that way you won’t have to!”


Plumbing and me

It might be the fact that I’m cheap, but I try to do most things myself when it comes to repairs. I work on my own cars, appliances, house, toys,…you name it I fix it. Electrical, mechanical, gas powered, whatever…I’m not afraid, even if I should be. So I’ve worked on plumbing before, however this was the first time I used “SharkBite” fittings before. I think it went well. I hope it lasts. If you see anything wrong with what I did, I don’t really want to hear it. Nothing personal, just not up for negativity right now. Is there a lesson in all this? I guess I’m just not afraid to try (or break) anything. Maybe you shouldn’t be either.


The Hairy Shirt as a “Hair Shirt”

As it relates to my last post, Sam Watson had written the post “The Hair Shirt“. In it, he described the practice as

Basically, it was a medieval practice of doing penance by wearing an itchy shirt. Typically made from horsehair and wool. Going through the pain and punishing themselves in this way would show how sorry someone was for what they had done.

While this is in general true historically, it’s not the whole of the reason for the practice or how the practice has evolved since those times. “The sackcloth, for instance, so often mentioned in Holy Scripture as a symbol of mourning and penance, was probably the same thing; and the garment of camels’ hair worn by St. John the Baptist was no doubt somewhat similar.” In movies, this practice is often depicted by a person who is usually somewhat disturbed with a need for self-abuse brought on by some abusive event in their past usually committed by someone in authority. This depiction is far from the truth of what this practice should be. In fact, it would not be considered ONLY as a penance as it is not an expiation for a sin that someone would have committed.

The practice has evolved to be intended more as a form of self-discipline to help oneself become right (usually with God) in a reflective way. The “pain” that was self-inflicted was more to remind oneself of a purpose in their life, but not necessarily to inflict pain to teach them a lesson. It’s the same general philosophy as “feel the burn” when working out, or more similar to Muslims fasting during Ramadan. Hakeem Olajuwon famously evolved to keeping the fast during the NBA season even if on a game day. He described it as “a spiritual mindset that gives you the stamina required to play.”

Basically, if treated as it should be, the practice is to increase self-discipline by helping one to focus on becoming a better person either by focusing on “THE goal” or to help one improve on a shortcoming in their life. A greater, as in bigger, philosophical thought that kind of comes from this is the idea of “the redemptive power of suffering” – that perhaps when one gets through tough times they are strengthened by the experience. That’s a much deeper and more involved conversation perhaps for a post in the future.

Consider it a penance if you like that I wore the hairy shirt, but to me, it only helps me to focus on fulfilling my commitment to make a blog post every week.


And…We’re Back!

Once again, I blog not because of any need to impart my wisdom to the world, but simply because I was dared to. Sam Watson is the “dare-ee” and will be the sole benefactor of any failure on my part to not blog by EOD Wednesday every week. I didn’t get claification on any other rules or restrictions on this edition of “blog every week or else”. That being said I will be playing loose with the rules and just make sure that I have some words in this space every week by Wednesday night and consider it good-to-go. I’m sure the many reader of this blog will be satisfied with that. (Yes…I left the ‘s’ off of “reader” in that last sentence on purpose…it’s a joke, get it?) So now…what to write?…

Hows about this…I went to the Texas State Fair 5 times this year. It was great all the times we went but going with the whole family was special. All the grandkids, kids, Trish…good-great times!

I’ll write more better stuff next week.