No Crickets Were Harmed During This September BlogCast

 

Welcome to our monthly musical get-together. Before we PB the tunes, I’d like to briefly state how the inspiration behind each BlogCast’s musical selections can come from many different sources. However, this month in particular, has involved the most serendipitous occurrence, to date. Here’s how this evolved…

Since this past week’s Michigan weather has been on the sultry side, I’ve been keeping my windows wide open long after sundown. So, in addition to welcoming in the somewhat cooler night air, I’ve also been treated to the seasonal serenade of crickets… these lovely creatures even lending some “lyrical” ambiance to my twilight piano playing. Well… that was when my free-associating mind started recalling some recording artists, who’ve deliberately mixed cricket sound effects into their own tracks.

Naturally… this became the “angle” to this month’s musical presentation.

I even test segued these three tracks through my stereo system’s mixer last night… and wound up even more impressed by how the in-real-time crickets blended in so perfectly with their prerecorded colleagues… especially the cricket soloist, who has somehow managed to set up residence in my cellar.

BTW, as much as I do admire his singing, I do hope to return him, soon, to the great outdoors. Working towards that happy, humane ending, my strategy involves capture and release. If I spot him, I’ll carefully slip a glass jar over him, slide a piece of cardboard under the jar and then carry him out to my backyard to set him free.

Some may say that my making such a fuss is inordinate. But… I think not. You see, my quick Google Search has turned up three cultural reasons for nonviolence…

“In Asian culture, it is considered bad luck to kill crickets because for thousands of years, crickets have been referred to as ‘watchdogs’, guardians that chirp and make noise when danger approaches. The Native American culture believes that crickets are a sign of good luck, and it is considered disrespectful to mimic their chirping. In Western culture, killing a cricket inside the home is considered bad luck because a chirping cricket symbolizes a future windfall.”

So, my listeners, you can trust me when I claim: No crickets were harmed during the production of this BlogCast.

On a technical note… whenever YouTube commercials pop up, they do ruin my segues. Of course, you can just play them back “as is”… OR… if you’d prefer to don your DJ cap… the following brief tutorial could come in handy. Check it out.

To ensure these segues are seamless, it’d be advisable to “audition” the 2nd and 3rd tracks in advance. That way you can either PLAY or SKIP any YouTube Ads that may appear from time to time. I mean, Madison Avenue jingles do jangle this BlogCasts’ aesthetics. However, once the Ads are out of the way, just click PAUSE and confirm the counters are “ZEROED OUT”. If your reflexes aren’t quick enough, the songs may start too soon. If so… re-cue the tracks by simply dragging that “RED DOT” backward to 00:00.

Well my listeners… we’re now in biz!

On a musical note… if you’re fortunate enough to have your own cricket population residing in your “corner” of our world, I highly recommend that you have them sing along with these cricket enhanced tunes…

 

Leon Russell ~ My Cricket

Beatles ~ Sun King

John B. Sebastian ~ I Had A Dream

I thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you to click back here for my next monthly BlogCast, which typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into a variety of appealing themes. My next program is slated to hit the www during the first week of October 2018.

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment (click onto this blog’s headline to access the “LIKE” and “Reblog” buttons and “Comment Box”).

 

 

Advertisements

RIP John McCain

To say that Cancer drastically alters human physiology… until everything becomes inconsistent with sustaining life… would be an understatement. Such was the case, this past Saturday, when 81-year-old, Arizona Senator John McCain lost his battle with the “Big C”.

To say John McCain’s brand of conservatism had been inconsistent with my liberalism would also be an understatement. However, now is not the time to dwell excessively on the right/left schism.

Now is the time to say something positive about McCain, the man. Now is the time to commend the late Senator for his spirit of bipartisanship and statesmanship… for his service to America.

My tribute begins with this video clip… recorded during McCain’s 2008 campaign for the White House. This is a respectability defining moment soundbite, where he defends his (then) Senatorial colleague and presidential wannabe rival, Barack Obama.

To contemporize, compare and contrast… had Donald Trump been running for prez in 2008, could you ever imagine him similarly correcting either misinformed supporter?

Well, within the decade that was to follow, in addition to my newfound respect for McCain, I had also grown to view him as a bold man fully capable of…

1. prioritizing the moral right over the political right.
2. elevating patriotism above partisan politics.
3. differentiating between genuine, heartfelt American patriotism and the mutilated, headstrong Trumpian bastardization.
4. detecting the stench of other Trumpian, fascism reeking policies.

To contemporize, compare and contrast… it’d be a rare Trumpster who’d possess either the spine or moral compass to publicly spurn political expediency and simply do what’s right… i.e, right… as in righteous.

Historically speaking, McCain’s Vietnam War experiences, inclusive of being captured and tortured by the enemy, had afforded him a perspective sorely lacking amongst the war profiteering, torture touting, chickenhawks residing within the U.S. Congress AND Oval Office.

True… such a perspective had failed to prevent McCain’s 2003 vote, which had authorized the war profiteering, torture touting, chickenhawk, half-cocked GW Bush to NEEDLESSLY, preemptively strike / go on a rampage into Iraq. However… from the following excerpt from John’s published 2018 memoir, one gets a sense that were time travel do overs possible, he would’ve never supported W’s folly…

“(Iraq) can’t be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it.”

To contemporize, compare and contrast… it’d be a rare Trumpster who’d possess either the mettle or morals to publicly admit when (s)he is wrong.

Well… had McCain won his battle with the “Big C”… he’d have wound up returning to the U.S. Senate… perhaps even becoming the sorely needed calming, voice of reason during America’s tense, unreasonable times.

Without a man like John McCain to rein in the executive and legislative branch’s chickenhawk saber rattlers… with his likely successor being yet another Trumpian piece of… uh… work… well…

To say that America could wind up mindlessly, needlessly and endlessly fighting upon the battlefields of the fake prez’s own making, could easily become yet another understatement.

My heartfelt condolences to McCain’s family and friends.

 

Cereal / Serial Gouging: This Oatmeal Deal Is NO Steal!

 

As a shrewd consumer, I can smell a raw deal a mile / kilometer away. Case in point… last week, while wheeling my grocery cart down the cereal aisle, for a fleeting moment, I was pleased to see sale signs above the Quaker™ Old Fashioned™ Oatmeal display.

However, upon taking a closer look, my joy waned and my jaw dropped.

You see… Quaker™ offers their fine product in two sizes: 18ozs / 0.51kgs and 42ozs / 1.19kgs.

This particular in-store sale only applied to the smaller containers… to the tune of 2 for $6. Purchasing two of them would’ve netted me 36ozs / 1.02kgs.

However… right below these shelves were the larger containers… at the going REGULAR price of $5.

In other words… by paying the $1.00 LESS REGULAR PRICE, I’d be netting 6 extra ounces / .17 extra kilograms.

Now, I realize that this weight deficit may seem minor… BUT… since running a household is akin to running a small business… since my oatmeal consumption is almost daily… such shortages are fiscally and calorically cumulative. Any bogus sale, if undetected, does negatively impact my own “corporate” bottom line. Even worse, I’ve discovered that this shameless grocery chain store’s management doesn’t limit their ripoffs to just cereal.

Anyhow, my seeing how the larger containers’ shelves had sold down while the smaller containers’ shelves remained full was a bit encouraging. That means most of us were not fooled!

Thinking ahead to my next grocery shopping trip, I cannot help but wonder what management’s next ploy might be. Will these cereal / serial gougers deliberately refrain from restocking the larger containers in an attempt to force shoppers to buy into their oatmeal deal that is NO steal?

Of course… from the management perspective… this is a steal. These thieves are ripping off any of their customers who are not paying enough attention. Considering how so many of us are barely making ends meet, that makes such opportunism all the more amoral and unforgivable.

 

 

Mueller’s Trump Card? ~ [Bumper Sticker Blog #002]

 

 

Trump insists he has done nothing wrong and is always
truthful. If so, why is he lawyering up, scared to answer
all of Mueller’s Qs and worried about perjuring himself?

 

 

Calling All Stargazers and Kindred Spirits

 

Back in 1979, astrophysicist / author Carl Sagan and writer / producer Ann Druyan were both working diligently towards successfully launching their Sci-Fi film… Contact… off the Tinseltown storyboards and into our cineplexes.

Within six years, undue, unwanted, unproductive behind the scenes, Hollywood “drama” had begun to undo this dynamic duo’s momentum and, at one point, had even threatened to scrub their mission. As it turned out, it would take the transposition of 1979’s ending 7 and 9 digits before this film could be completed.

Sadly, mere months prior to that, Dr. Sagan, had succumbed to myelodysplasia (a pre-leukemic syndrome) and wound up shuffling off this mortal coil.

Had he survived, he certainly would’ve been on hand to high-five Contact’s screenplay writers James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg, director Robert Zemeckis and the entire cast and crew. He’d have especially applauded the multifaceted actress, Jodie Foster, for her stellar performance… for her breathing so much life into the film’s protagonist… the multidimensional astronomer Ellie Arroway.

Seeing how Sagan and Druyan’s core principles / personae had become so thoroughly infused into the Contact script’s pages (in a sense, right down to the atomic structure of the ink toner and papyrus) it was inevitable that Foster would tap into their attributes throughout the film… especially during the emotionally charged denouement… i.e., where Dr. Arroway had so passionately addressed the conclave of her wholly skeptical and wildly infuriated adversaries… had spoken of the life changing, journey to the cosmos, which had further heightened her pre-existing, astronomer’s lofty outlook on life.

Said she…

“I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious We all are! A vision that tells us that We belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that We are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if even for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and that hope. But… That continues to be my wish.”

SIDEBAR: Ironically, in an earlier scene (set within this same venue) many of these same inquisitors had expected agnostic Arroway to take a leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of a Supreme Being. YET… by film’s end… they, themselves, flat-out refused to take a similar leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of the superior alien civilization she claimed to have made first contact with.

So… why have I opted to review a 21-year-old film?

Contact makes contact with the very hearts and souls of everyone who has ever given a damn about the survival of our civilization. It is the skywatchers of our world who, perhaps, feel this the strongest… be We the professional or the backyard variety… be We telescopically enhanced or relying solely on the naked eye.

We can feel an affinity with all who have ever seen… who still see… beyond the pure science… all who speak of the awe, humility and hope, which our viewing experiences conjur up. Such a state of mind endures whether We are virtually traveling thru our ethereal, vast starlit cosmos or are wandering about our hometowns, homelands and home world.

Although we do remain resolute re the awe and humility aspects, holding onto hope is not always so easy. You see, its just as the celestial images begin to fade into the daylight… just as we’re coming back down to earth… where / when the heavyhearted dismay tends to resurface. Once again, our worldly thoughts zero in on the godforsaken, power-hungry, posturing, avarice driven, dictator zeros who usually wind up calling all the shots… and… in that capacity… are to blame for our global, sociopolitical and ecological disarray.

The run-of-the-mill, disconnected from our universe autocrat could never, truthfully, claim to be the humble servant he is supposed to be… could not even begin to fathom / embrace Saganesque awe, humility and hope. His typical reaction to viewing celestial objects / events would not likely garner much more than his yawned out words…

These are just dots in the sky, what more do you expect Me to say?

Me oriented leadership is precisely the problem. That odious, oafish What’s in it for me, Me, ME? bad ‘tude is the driving force behind virtually all of our societal ills. Their tormented, subjugated victims, while (oft literally) crying out for some much needed liberation, seldom possess the power to empower alternative, We oriented leadership.

Indeed, it’s the We oriented philosophy, which is so harmonious with the stargazers’ awe, humility and hope. This is amply illustrated within that above Arroway quotation where she thrice uttered the word “We”. And let’s not forget to include her inclusive language such as “us”, “ourselves” and “everyone”. Were such sentiments fully taken to heart by our leaders, We would already be well on our way to saving humanity from ruin.

It is no accident that Founding Father / author Gouverneur Morris began the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble with the words “We the People”. He and his constitutional compatriot co-writers deemed those three words so crucial that even the likeminded calligrapher, Jacob Shallus, had so boldly pen stroked those three key words in an enlarged font.

“We the People

of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

When such a proclamation births such a great nation, one has to wonder how any electorate could ever tap into some lame, Donny-Come-Lately’s slanderous, spurious / fake claim that America is no longer great. Ironically, such an entity is usually the one who… in the end… winds up threatening the very greatness of all great nations.

Why oh why is it that the nations of our world suffer such a deficit of We oriented leaders? One would expect admirable attributes such as awe and humility to be innate. Even if advancing this attitude involves nurture more than nature it should still be easily attainable.

Metaphorically speaking, We are all participants in the human race… a relay race. In the course of running our laps… concurrently upon our planet’s orbital path and the more down to Earth race track… the intergenerational passing off of the baton of human decency should occur without a hitch… a simple matter of the hand-off from each awe-humility-hope-harboring elder trainer to each awe-humility-hope-hungering youngster trainee.

I do have my parents to thank, for they not only deeply encoded / embedded awe-humility-hope into my infinitesimal DNA during my conception but also reinforced these attributes by handing off that “baton” to me during my formative years.

What a pity so many, who fancy themsleves leaders, cannot make a similar proclamation.

I do suppose that Awe-Humility-Hope sentimets… that We trumps Me ‘tude… all being second nature to the stargazers and other kindred spirits of our world, this is what accounts for our expectations that the rest of humanity will be willing to follow suit.

Let us hope that such sentiments… such expectations… are not overly optimistic.

 

 

Big Head ≠ Big Mind [1 Quick Limerick #062]

 

Let us assess the crass, ruling class creatures,
Know nothing, know-it-alls! Despotic screechers!
Big heads rarely think big,
That’s a big minded gig,
Big heads and big minds, are worlds apart features!

 

For more limericks (as well as other verses and song parodies, etc.), head over to my “Categories Menu” and select “Poetry”.

 

Mountaintop Blogging Gurus: Sagacious or Avaricious?

 

Perhaps my 4 websites and 12 years, to date, blogging creds don’t qualify me to comment… especially since I’m still an obscure blogger… BUT… what the hell… somebody has to call into question the motives of the so-called, robed, living in rarefied air, mountaintop, blogging gurus… i.e., those who claim fame can be well within our reach… uh… for a “nominal” fee!

Indeed, these pros don’t even bother to hide the dollar signs flashing in their eyes. Their typical sales pitch goes something like this…

If you pay them “X” amount of bucks, you will be entitled to participate in their boot camps… where they will unlock all the mysteries of the blogging universe… whisper into our ears the secrets to attaining the blogosphere stratosphere… lecture us from a slew of their “how to” manuals, which will teach us HOW TO blog… HOW TO overcome writer’s / blogger’s block… HOW TO choose appealing topics… no doubt… even HOW TO properly dust off the screens of our devices and manicure our fingernails!

If they’re providing spelling, grammar and punctuation tutorials, I suppose that could be helpful. But, what about what truly matters… e.g., creativity and passion? That comes from the head and the heart… that comes from life experiences… none of which can ever be drilled into you by any boot camp, drill sergeant / commandant.

Even if you’re not finding blogging easy, don’t give up. In the immortal words of NIKE™, “Just do it!” Blog only one paragraph…. even one sentence… hell, busy WordPress readers oft prefer brevity. Just keep on posting and maybe, someday, you’ll find your niche… maybe you won’t. There is no right or wrong here.

Bottom Line Time… succumbing to the materialistic, regimented HOW TO approach can only suck the life force from bloggers… and worse yet… suck the money from wallets, too.

Folks, instead of pissing away your hard earned bucks on some boot camp, why not invest that money on some fun, real world experience and then blog about it!

Sans any robe and mountain top perch, I’m now going to share some observations… and I won’t even charge you one penny. What makes a website popular oft defies logic. I’ve heard of people flocking, in droves, to a long ago webcam website… just to track the daily progress of a growing cornfield. As for what makes a particular blog popular? Beats the hell out of me! In my own experience I’ve even received 3 Likes for THIS BLOG… and my readers… that’s three more LIKES than on many of my other posts… many of which I’ve spent far more time on.

There is one inescapable truth. The blogosphere is so vast that it’s inevitable that millions of us… through no fault of our own… will never achieve fame and glory.

And you know what? In spite of my past posts where I’ve groused about the lack of blog response, I’ve now gotten to the point in my life where I don’t give a damn anymore! If fame happens it happens… if it doesn’t it doesn’t.