May 5, 2018
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May(be) or maybe not!

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the present direction of our society.  Not just in this country but throughout our entire world.  Our priorities have changed drastically.  The ways in which we satisfy our needs and interact with others also have changed drastically.  Our day to day living is blurred.  Our balance is off.  Some examples:  right/wrong, mine/yours, old/young, rich/poor, light/dark, etc.  The way we now view these or choose to ignore them is significantly different from a decade or two ago.  The preceding examples used to be distinguishable, now they are blurred.  We have lost touch with our societal roots.  Our balance is teetering daily due to over communication and over-exposure to the news of the world which is spooned out to us by a self-censored media. All of this affects our balance, our mind-set and even our integrity.

With all of our voluminous daily flood of input from texting and social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we now have a loneliness epidemic.  A What!!?  A loneness epidemic.  Why?  We are bloated with information.  We are over-exposed to almost everything from our phones, TV, and the endless commercials that constantly break up our train of thought into small segments and make continuity a fading memory of the past.  So, not only are we lonely, but we are segmented.  There are so many distractions in our lives that we are forgetting how to interact with living humans.  There are those who talk to their pets more because they don’t talk back.  They just acknowledge your presence and moods without judgment.

What happened to free, unfettered thinking?  Is it possible or just blurred by our present culture?  Is innovative thinking becoming less frequent and discouraged by our present circumstances.  Are our cultural norms, habits, rules and guidelines now a help or a hindrance to our thought processes?  Maybe we can answer some of these questions and maybe not.  Maybe we are just too close to them, immersed in such a way that our lack of balance makes creative thought anywhere from just difficult to impossible.

Along with all of the above thoughts about balance and blurred thinking are the basic ideals we have so enjoyed in the past which have also faded.   We have either lost or are rapidly losing our respect, honor and civility to each other.  Is this due to the loneliness epidemic or just advances in technology in general?  We are not as nice as a society anymore.  Instead there is a spirit of meanness.  This is harmful and in some cases even shameful.  All too common are hurtful actions such as: men to women, women to men, insensitivity to authority which we as a nation have set up, and ignoring the aged and the downtrodden.  None of this is helping us to advance as a civilization.  We shout and pray for peace, but ignore it at every level of our society.  Our loneliness and removal from social interaction allows us to objectify which also allows us to be mean and hurtful with impunity.

How do we heal and repair our blurred outlook and our precarious lack of balance?  In a word – music.  Real music, not the mass of mediocrity dictated by a business that only cares about numbers and sales and image and merchandise.  This type of music can’t heal any of our ills.  It only exacerbates them.  It is intended to keep us off balance and blur our thinking and promote antagonism to authority.  It is a good part of the problems we are now facing.

Music that can heal and repair contains form and balance and continuity.  It makes possible coherent thought by its inherent creativity.  I wonder if this kind of valuable music ended in the early 20th century.  There has been very little innovation in music since then that stimulates thinking instead of trying to control your thinking.  And it is not style or acoustic or digital or vocal or instrumental that makes the difference.  It is substance.  So how do any of us recognize what is substance and what is not?  It takes education in music which is now missing from all levels of our school systems.  Exposure to music which is based on creativity and innovation is vital.  We need to find it and learn from it.  It is in concerts by symphonies and chamber orchestras and ensembles of all kinds that we can awaken to true art and innovation and creativity. And it is then available on iTunes or YouTube or Amazon, etc, to purchase or download or stream.  If enough people start this process then maybe, just maybe we can reboot and re-adjust our society and regain our balance and re-calibrate our moral compass as a society and a civilization.  Maybe…

April 4, 2018
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April Love

All religions have teachings that say, in essence, “Love thy neighbor.” All of us have lived with this phrase practically from birth. It is part of our thinking, but usually buried quite deeply in our psyche.  We acknowledge its importance, but don’t necessarily follow its meaning.  Why is this so common? The answer is that it is so very difficult to abide consistently by such a simple idea as “Love thy neighbor.”

Sunday is fairly easy because of the worship services that we attend or at least realize that someone is attending somewhere.  And we at least make an attempt to be pleasant to anyone even in the parking lot, though this can be very difficult at times.  Patience seems to be directly proportional to “love” in a parking lot, i.e. as patience thins and wanes, so does our love of neighbor.  Even with this exception, Sunday is still a relatively happy day to get along with those that we meet. But what about the other six days of the week?

It is much more difficult to love your neighbor through the week with all of its stresses and variables when we come in contact with people in general, all of whom seem to be mentally disturbed and off balance. Driving a car on any street or freeway will bear this out.  Dealing with people on the phone or in stores or a workplace or an office, especially a government office will begin to try the patience of even the most sedate personality after only a few minutes.  Watching any news program on TV or listening to news on a radio can cause us to take sides on any issue immediately and develop animosity toward the opposite side.  Sometimes it is almost easier to switch sides and despise our own side just for some momentary relief.

So what can help us to reset our moral compass, reboot our minds and restore balance to our spiritual side so that it is possible to love our neighbor?  There are those that will try anything that they can smoke, drink, or swallow, but the relief is only temporary and sometimes the after effect is worse than the cure.  There are those who try Zen or Yoga or exercising to the extreme, but even with these the mind still returns to our original premise that people are the cause of any problem, so “why should I love them or even like them?”

There is only one solution that goes deep enough into our minds and has an effect that is lasting enough to provide relief, balance, and an outlook towards our neighbor that includes love… music!  We have music in our cars, music in our homes and workplaces and music in our headphones and earbuds when we walk or exercise.  We have music when we shop in stores or eat in restaurants or fast food marts and even “live” music in church.  This ubiquitous use of music tends to keep us sane.

Music gives us the impression that other people are also sane and not just annoying.  It makes it possible for us to truly “Love our neighbor.” So we need to regularly equalize our feelings and psyche by partaking of the soothing vibrations that can heal.  And be sure to make them good, good, good, “Good Vibrations.”

March 2, 2018
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March Magic Memories

When I think back over past decades, the memories that stand out are the ones that are very special, but in very different ways.  After graduating from college, I played trombone in night clubs over a period of time that was mostly routine. But there are a few instances that I remember that became magical.  There is something that happens that lifts the musical experience to another level, another dimension.  These moments don’t happen very often, so when they do, it is best to enjoy them to the fullest because it may be a while before another one happens.

Most of my playing days were in the sixties.  I was young, callow and malleable.  Everything was new.  Even the old acts like Nelson Eddy, famous for his operatic style and parts in movies where he played the singing Canadian Mountie.  His voice was still great, but his sight was terrible, and he would not go on stage with his thick glasses.  So he always had his singing partner, Gail Sherwood, a soprano, point him to the microphone, tell him about how far to walk, and then give him a gentle shove during the play-on music.  After that the magic began.

Vaughan Monroe was distinctive because of his voice and his personality.  My music stand onstage was on the end and near a dinner table. One night in the middle of the week someone at that table reached up and took the top chart from my stand, “Racing With the Moon” which was his theme song.  He became very upset with me because it was difficult to replace a handwritten copy in those days, before computer generated parts.  Now you can just email another part and print it out.  Since I had the part memorized by then he calmed down. Both memorable and historical.

While playing a concert with James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” I turned to another trombone player and remarked how fantastic this music was. He looked at me and said, “I hate this crap.” I was shocked and confused because he was African American, but I wisely said nothing further.  James went way beyond magical into another dimension.  After each concert the conductor would say, “Grab your music and your horn and get out quickly, the fans will be rushing the stage.” And they did…

The first time I played the Kim Sisters, three Korean girls, I knew that they would be very special.  The stage was covered with instruments that they all played in their act. Brass and stringed instruments, guitars, kotos, and many more, besides their vocals.  It was the first time I heard  the song “Try To Remember,” and I have loved it ever since.  Every show they did was enchanting.  I couldn’t wait for the next one, and was very sorry to see them leave at the end of the week.

Other memorable gigs were:  A four hour job at the Dayton Country Club playing lead trombone with the Woody Herman Band.  The other player had left the band suddenly, so I got a call to fill in.  Absolutely magical.  Also at the Dayton Country Club I was playing with the Warren Covington (trombone player) Band.  The guests had been golfing all day and were ready for drinks and fun.  The highlight of the evening was  singing by Jimmy Durante and Ray Bolger.  After singing some standards, they started ad libbing.  Songs and schtick from their old vaudeville acts.  Both just messing around and having fun with themselves and the audience.  And the band following along seamlessly, not knowing what would be coming next.  Truly magical & historical & mind-blowing, all at the same time.

Riverfront stadium in Cincinnati, playing Gladys Knight and the Pips was another memorable evening.  Part of the memory is of the echo in the stadium, especially of the drums.  It took heavy concentration to consistently distinguish the original beats from the echoes.  And, lastly, playing Sonny and Cher in Cincinnati Gardens with David Paich conducting.  It was one of the concerts with Cher wearing the large Indian feather bonnet, (and not much else).  I had to be very careful because trombone players are very easily distracted by the unusual.  And these are just a few of the many acts that I played.

It is worth repeating that you must first realize that these are truly magical moments when they are happening, and then enjoy them to the fullest because they are so very rare.  So, until the next one happens to any of us, take the time to listen to the great Burt Bacharach/Hal David song “Magic Moments” for inspiration.  Then maybe some magic memories will “bubble up” into your consciousness and you will be able to savor those moments. Make it happen…!

February 3, 2018
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February les Faux

February is the month of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, the last hurrah before Ash Wednesday and then Lent.  It is a time to dress up in the wild and bizarre. It is a time of parades with bizarre floats. A time to eat without restraint and drink with abandon.  All of this is packaging of sorts. Wrapping the mundane with the fantastic.  Dress up or dress down, but the result must be unusual.

We all do the same thing in our daily lives.  We cover our real selves, and we experience this constantly in everything our brain acknowledges.  All of the commercials that we see on television are gift wrapping a product, making it desirable to have because of the packaging and the presentation.  Cars, trucks, vans and RV’s are sold because of their looks and “bells and whistles,” not because of the inside, the motor.  Our persons are masked in many ways.  Make-up can change your whole look and sometimes a part of your personality.  Clothes determine where you will fit in, who you will fit with and how you will feel in relationships. Hair styles help us to be accepted by a specific group and even our speech patterns can hide our real thoughts by being superficial.

Sales of anything depends on packaging and the salesperson is necessarily a master of deception.  Their personalities morph to fit the customer, they relate to anything that will connect with you and help to make you pliable and amenable to the pitch.  Real estate sales depend on the outward and inward look of the house.  But what about about the plumbing and the electricity?

Actors depend on their packaging to become a character.  They assimilate all of the above to promote belief in their character and the situation in which they find themselves.  They are very charismatic.  And charisma is another form of packaging which is all too prevalent.  It is the ultimate personality packaging.  It hides the person’s real intentions.  Serial killers depend on this to mask their real intentions as do people who just want something from you now or later.  Beware the party personality.  All of the billboards and electronic ads we see are there to implant feelings and needs.  We are inundated with this all of our waking hours.

So how do we sort out what is real beneath the packaging?  How do we guard against the unreal or even dangerous?  How do we even stay sane?

Our instincts our usually reliable if we are aware and listen to them.  They can help us to guard against what is beneath the packaging.  These have been fed all of our lives with basic rules to live by and basic ways to survive and exist in a world of seductions.  Our instincts are triggered by those imbedded guidelines to living and surviving.  They usually “kick in” when something seems to be not quite right, but we don’t know exactly why.  Ignoring our instincts during this split second of “heads up” can be embarrassing or inconvenient or even dangerous.  Listening to this little voice can give you that instant in time that saves you from whatever consequence that might be waiting.  We must be constantly aware.  Not paranoid, but aware.

And there are very few things more seductive than music.  It permeates our consciousness, sometimes to the point of annoyance by its insistent presence.  It is the stuff of sales, and it can be overt or subliminal.  It can be soothing or abrasive or cerebral or superficial. Even its very vibrations can be seductive especially when combined with anything that dulls our consciousness.  It is a packaging for many and varied motives.  Another reason to be aware and beware.  Listen to all kinds of music, but keep in touch with your instincts.  They are sometimes the only thing that can save you and keep you sane.  “Make your own kind of music!”

 

January 4, 2018
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January Filters

Our relationships are rarely open and truthful. We hide most of our inner thoughts and opinions from even our closest friends.  We filter our thoughts to meet each person that we contact.  What we say is shaped or filtered to distance the personalities that we encounter.  This is a part of our societal survival.  We do not want to offend anyone (comedians excepted).

Just what is filtered?  Practically everything that comes out of our mouths.  Why?  The penalties can be harsh and long-lasting.  People that overstep are shunned or ignored or distanced from the one or ones who become offended.  So how do we dialogue with anyone?  By filters.  We verbally dance around until neutral territory is established. Then we can relax with appropriate thoughts flowing freely.  What do we commonly filter?  Politics, religion, the news in general, relationships, sex, almost everything but the weather.  Where does this happen?  Everywhere that there is dialogue: conversation, email, social media, texting, casual conversations in passing, etc.

The above is filtering what goes out.  The next part is filtering what comes in to us.  We hear what we want to hear and discard the rest.  Someone discussing any of the categories above who is not filtering what goes out becomes filtered by the listener.  We tune the person out.  We retain only the subject and basic thoughts and discard the rest.  This is survival of our own ego and mindset as it is at a certain moment.  This happens with friends, listening to the news, watching a movie, listening to a popular song, in the workplace or a classroom at any level.  We learn this early in life by getting verbally beaten down, shunned or just ignored. So we disguise our deepest feelings and important thoughts, our meanness and our mendacity and strive to become just like everyone else.  Neutral.

The result of this is a them versus us attitude; friend vs. enemy, up vs. down (class distinction).  It is difficult to be close to anyone when our guard is always up. We begin to live an insular existence with our hand always up in the “stop” position.  We need to stop thinking of everyone else as the opposing team and remember that we are all traveling the same road of existence together.  We are actually all on the same team.  We need to drop the filters.  Both ways.  And we can only do this when we eliminate censorship.  Both ways.  Of ourselves and others.  This is where true happiness will take root and begin to grow.

And what is the impetus for this growth?  Music.  We tend to let our guards down when listening and also performing music.  And since music is a global habit, we actually have a chance eventually for…you know what…! (only candidates for Miss America and people carrying signs say this).  Michael Jackson and a host of other musicians said this perfectly some years ago:  “We are the World.”  So let us all sing & play & act like it is possible.  And drop your……..filters…!

December 7, 2017
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December Dichotomy

Christmas has become set in its ways.  It is both a holy time (a time for prayer and worship and kindness and caring for others) and a time of commercialism (of buying and selling, credit and debit, profit and debt).  These opposites co-exist for the same season every year.  They even thrive.  Love abounds in its own way in each side, allowing a kind of seasonal peace and joy where it might not otherwise live.

Christmas has gone through many transitions over many decades.  The birthday of Jesus was originally celebrated exclusively by adults, but the celebrations took many different forms.  Some were religious, but brief (only for the designated day) and only acknowledged by adults.  Some were very much like our idea of Halloween with a “trick or treat” theme.  In this form gangs would raid houses, expecting all of the food and drink available, and if the finest fare was not available, then the house and premises were trashed.  “Now bring us some figgy pudding” is but a vague reminder of this practice in England and elsewhere.  In Europe and Scandinavia the Christmas tree, yule log, boar’s head and homemade gifts gradually became customary, but usually encompassing only a day or two, if that. The original St. Nicholas and the twelve days of Christmas evolved with everything else.

A major change began in America in the 1800’s caused by inventions and improvements in technology.  As families became more economically comfortable and able to purchase more, there was more to be purchased.  Newspapers were ubiquitous and advertising began.  The poem “Twas the Night before Christmas” by Clement Moore and the drawing of Santa Claus by Thomas Nast worked well to sell products, not only to adults, but now to children.  Stores expanded into department stores with an even greater array of goods, and from an adult holiday Christmas gradually became child-centered with gifts tailored to the younger generation.  With the now expanded celebrations, state after state declared Christmas a holiday, and then it became a national holiday.

With Christmas now firmly in place, all of the peripherals began to grow:  toys, Santa Claus, paintings, elaborate ads, jingles and songs.  All began to expand the holiday.  And so a massive co-existence began:  Jesus and Santa Claus, Silent Night and Jingle Bells, Coca Cola and Norman Rockwell, family feasts and the Holy Family.  The sacred and the secular are now one in December.  The dichotomy complete.  The celebration has expanded and is still expanding.  Unfortunately, now, because of the credit card, debt is also expanding – with interest. The only antidote to the seductive side of the season is common sense.  It becomes hidden in gift wrap and ribbons, but with a little persistence it can still be found.

While you are decking your halls, eating roasted chestnuts and sugar plums and riding around (figuratively) in a one horse open sleigh, remember that we used to say “Merry Christmas: anywhere and everywhere.  Nowadays we can sing “Merry Christmas” anywhere and everywhere, but as a greeting it has been replaced by have a “Happy Holiday.” In my opinion, common sense dictates that we need to retrieve the earlier greeting from those who have buried it, and who don’t believe in anything at all, let alone Christmas.  Happy Holidays includes Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc.  Merry Christmas is specific to Christmas itself.  So with common sense and persistence, I propose that we take back the original greeting and begin again to wish each other a Merry Christmas at every opportunity.  Starting now:  I wish you, the reader, a very “Merry Christmas!”

November 8, 2017
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November maybe…

When Halloween is over and we step into November, most of us want to deny the speed at which all of the holidays and the obligations attached to them approach.  It is just too quick, so most of us want the days and weeks to slow down. We would rather live for the moment and ignore the stress that we know is coming.  We are in denial.

Denial seems to be the disease of the age we live in.  When used properly things get simpler, slower and more manageable.  We get the illusion that we are actually in control.  We get to breathe easier.  This slow-down is the up side of denial.  But there is also a down-side.

The down-side seems to be permeating our society at this time.  We see it every day in the news, on television and expressed in all of the media.  People are denying the need for things which have always been standard issue in all of our lives.  Some think that we don’t need the police and law enforcement in general anymore.  Some think that we don’t need religion anymore.  Some would deny our very history and anything which is connected to it.  Some even deny that they are even feminine or masculine. Illegal drugs are an escape.  All of this is denial and all of it is ultimately destructive.  When we lose our ethics and our moral compass, then this is an indication that our society is in trouble.

The question that looms ahead is “how do we fix this?”  This kind of destructive denial has never helped anything, it has only delayed or exacerbated this situation and created many more problems.  Since the problem stems from a lack of education in all of the above, then the answer should lie in a proper and thorough education in each area.  Not just that things are necessary, but “why” they are necessary.  And who fills in this gap?  First the parents that have fallen into the same trap and are missing in action with their own children.  The idea that everyone else is at fault but me or my kids.  In other words a lack of responsibility and a lack of self-reliance.  Next the media needs to clean up their act.  This includes the news, commentaries, television, movies, music and the internet.  All are guilty of misleading the young into the “island of lost boys” (Pinocchio).  Escape is good and everything is good is the ultimate idealism which is very seductive and innocuous and also difficult to oppose.  But the fixes must come from within.  First you have to believe in yourself.

Education, knowledge,  involvement, awareness, etc., are all opposites to denial.  And if we add responsibility, there is a chance that the problem can be fixed or at least alleviated.  It is time to crawl of the mire and to sing a NEW song altogether.  Music that deals with more themes than those that are illicit. We must quit feeding the beast that kills by ignoring it and demanding entertainment which features values. Since all entertainment is based on numbers, when the numbers decrease, the beast will die.  May the Age of Aquarius let the sun shine in once again…!

October 5, 2017
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October Thoughts!

We are becoming a nation of blame.  Pointing the finger, trashing someone in the news, believing that everyone else is always at fault.  Obviously this is unhealthy. It implies a lack of responsibility.  We can see everyone else clearly, but personally we are clouded in mystery.  This is easy to see in all of our media.  Someone puts it out there, and we dump on it whether it is an idea, an act or just immobility.  This kind of constant criticism takes no thought. It is usually “off the cuff” and unsubstantiated.  As my father-in-law (PR man) was fond of saying: “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”  And compounding this is the immediacy of our ubiquitous communications.  Someone’s thought about “Whatever!” can go viral in a matter of seconds. This thought can be assimilated globally and then acted on by the reader or listener with either praise or blame.  And you can’t take it back.  You can apologize!  But you can’t take it back.  It’s out there.  You are stuck with it for life.  So where does this leave us?

How about thinking before we expound on any subject?  Checking our facts is simple now on the internet.  It takes seconds of our time.  But we have to evaluate the importance of doing this.  Is it necessary?  Do we even care?  There are only so many hours, minutes and seconds in a day.  And we take a split second to decide if we want to take the time to get information before trashing someone over an issue we feel strongly about but on which we have limited information.  The issue itself versus our limited time.  This begs the question: Are we forgetting how to think?  Is this bad habit infecting our children?  Or do we just cop-out and blame someone else for any, or even all, of our mistakes and misjudgments?  So far we have blaming and thinking.  One is instantaneous the other takes our precious time.  What makes the difference?

Character. Class.  Integrity.  Responsibility.  Self-reliance. All of these make a profound difference in our lives and the lives of others.  We need thoughtful opinions, and thought should be a complete circle.  No gaps.  So how do we learn to actually think clearly?  First of all we must pull back from the chaos of the maddening crowd and learn to be alone.  And once alone, there is a possibility that we can develop a train of thought that is organized and cohesive and unaffected by the popular ideas of the moment.  This pulling back doesn’t need to be extensive, it can be minutes or even seconds.  Flashes of clear thinking don’t need great length, just adequate space to live and grow.

This space can be created by music.  But the music must have some kind of value attached whether it is vocal or instrumental.  There are many styles which have music which can enable clear thinking.  Classical, jazz, country, independent styles, all have sounds that can be thought provoking and have structure, not just be filled with propaganda or brain-washing loops.  Also needed is depth in the lyrics, not mind-numbing hooks that propagandize your thinking.  So choose wisely, be discriminating, and wake up your brain with musical interest, not wallpaper which causes the brain to atrophy.  Sing a different song, march to a different drummer, make your own kind of music, and listen to sounds that are not part of the problem.  Return to ground zero and be aware and listen!   Wisely!

September 13, 2017
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September Awakenings

It is always frustrating to me that the baseball season goes on for so long and the football season is so short.  Baseball wears out its welcome and football leaves you wanting more. I’m sure that there is a message in this unevenness, but I have never found it.  Just frustration, and there are quite enough frustrations in life without adding this to them.  Both sports are supposed to be games, but I think that really they are obsessions.  Habits that start at birth and continue throughout our lives, sometimes unnoticed.  Addiction might be a word also used to describe the hold that these games, and others, have on most of us. Actually obsessions and addictions are with all of us throughout our lives.  We just deal with them in different ways and call them by different names.  Habits.  Predisposition to whatever.  Genetics.  In our DNA.  An inheritance from our ancestors, etc.  All euphemisms for being on a merry-go-round with something.  Is this why so many people get hooked on drugs which are by their nature habit forming?  Are we that easily lead?  Whatever the answer is to this problem, the problem itself has been around for a long, long time.

It is this predisposition that has gotten many societies in trouble when they are easily lead by someone with promises whether outlandish or vaguely possible.  The promises are usually about the ideal, the utopia, world peace, and anything and everything based on wishful thinking.  And these are not necessarily bad in themselves.  It is when they are mandated that they become dysfunctional. When enough people become seduced with idealism, the herd factor takes effect.  Everyone must follow the mandate or else, and it is this “or else” that becomes the flypaper that binds until it is too late to change.  There can be nothing worse than waking up to reality when you are stuck in the flypaper and someone else has the flyswatter.  If you like to read history, there are examples too numerous to mention to illustrate this point.  A very few societies have awakened in time to fight the seduction and the inherent mandate before it was to late to change.  Most haven’t, and at that point there always has been and always will be blood and violence as the only way to bring back reason and rationale.  Think for a moment about the traps and seductions that we now deal with on a daily basis.

Technology.  The computer, the world wide web, phones that connect globally in an instant, television (a window into almost everything), even transportation.  What does all of this have in common?  Communication and control.  And this is the seduction.  Communication is good and ideal, and also fraught with promises.  But with all of the above comes control.  Not by the user even with a password, but by the leader.  Keep in mind that the leader is not necessarily the government or any section of the government.  With the kind of technology that we now own, it actually owns us.  Anyone could be the leader, insulated by layers of digitation.  Once in place, the person or persons only has to operate the invisible puppet strings for everyone to dance to.  And by then it is far too late to do anything but lament.  Demonstrating, marching, carrying signs, tweeting, or destruction of property are all ineffective and infantile wasting of time.

Will music of any kind help to prevent any of the above?  Music initially is a good part of the problem.  It goes hand in hand with obsessions and addictions.  But it can also communicate on a global scale with a power strong and enduring enough to prevent mass control of societies.  There have been times when musical styles were the outlaw against tyranny.  The underground voice of reason of downtrodden people and whole populations.  Currently it is a good part of the problems we now face.  But by using the very technology that can be dysfunctional, even evil, music has the power to make great and extensive changes.  In the right hands.  And now is the time for music to wake itself up and find ways of preventing the potential disasters that loom ahead.  The media has lost its credibility and its power.  Music hasn’t.  Yet.  Wake up now and actually listen to the words that are being pounded incessantly and hypnotically into our brains and the undeveloped brains of our children.  Insist that it clean up and straighten up.  The only thing that really counts in music today is numbers.  If you use these as leverage, music can and will change and cease to be part of the problem.  Rock on and on and on…!

August 16, 2017
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August Almost

August is a transitional month. It is situated between summer and fall. No school, then back to school. The heat of summer followed by an eventual cool-down.  And like the other two months of summer, August slides by very quickly.  All of a sudden we are all experiencing fall with all of the holidays looming ahead.

I faintly remember way back in my childhood when time seemed to drag.  Everything was slow.  The summer was long and hot.  Fall was cool and far away.  Each school day took forever and each month, semester and year was like dealing with infinity.  What happened?  When and why did things change so drastically?  Were the days longer?  Were clocks slower?  Probably the answer was yes, at least in my mind.  There was very little to create blocks of dedicated time.  Time allotted to fixed projects and responsibilities.  The flow of life connected to a clock.

I suppose that this change in time is part of growing up and maturing.  Living a life that is now controlled by segments of time pasted to our collective consciousness.  This begins somewhere in our schooling when we start having homework, taking lessons of all kinds and having commitments that we can’t avoid.  It’s called responsibility.  This is what causes our time to speed up and eventually get out of control.  And these responsibilities and commitments start to build up and increase as we grow, and if we are not careful, they take over our lives.  We have to learn to live with them and even control them just to keep our sanity and our health in some kind of balance.

How do we lose track of time and escape its control?  Music!  Music can take us to different places and different times.  Music itself is based on time, but it can be flexible time.  And it is this kind of time that can relieve us temporarily of burdens that we carry that are seemingly inescapable. We live in an era where music is everywhere.  Almost any kind of music is available.  We just have to remember to take advantage of its power and its magic.  At home. In a car.  Using headphones. Etc.

So get back at time.  Listen to music and take control of your life.  Widen your tastes and appreciation of styles both old and new.  And just maybe this enjoyment will help you to live longer.  For starters check out Bach, Beethoven, Benny Goodman, Benny Green and the “Bohemian Rhapsody!”