I Want To Hold Your Hand

 

One of my fondest, most cherished moments (from my much younger days) centers on the elation I felt when I had held hands with a girl for the very first time. What had made everything so extra special was Cynthia and I had reached out to one another at the exact, same moment in time… leaving little doubt in our minds that our budding affection for one another was genuine and mutual.

Genuine and mutual. Within interpersonal relationships, it does not get much better than that. This is simply the way it is supposed to be. To bring everything up to date / up to speed, such feelings are what make the entire LGBTQ and Heterosexual world go round.

Even so, there’d appear to be a distinct deficit of genuine and mutual affection regarding one particular couple, Donald and his third wife, Melania.

While, at this juncture, I would not even hazard a guess as to what feelings she does (or does not) harbor for her husband… it is, indeed, revealing that, during their May 2017 Middle East sojourn, she has totally and repeatedly rebuffed his attempts to hold her hand in public.

Perhaps, this casts a different light upon their relationship? Might the reason for her continuing to reside in NYC rather than moving to DC transcend the official account… namely, they’re trying to prevent an interruption in their 11-year-old son Baron’s schooling?

Now, as for Donald’s feelings for his wife? First impressions would be that he has none to give and is a sexist pig, to boot. Folks, it’s not much of a stretch to say so… especially considering that infamous, 2005 Access Hollywood video, which exposed that deplorable, bus ride bull session… one where Donald boasted to Billy Bush how he abuses and objectifies women.

Only decorum prevents my providing a link to a transcript or the actual vid. But, for the benefit of the seven people out of seven billion who are still unfamiliar with the more graphic content, let’s just say that Donald’s concept of an “ideal” first contact with a woman involves touching… in his case… grabbing… which far, Far, FAR exceeds holding hands.

If such braggadocio is consistent to that control freak’s actual behavior, would it be going out on a limb to compare his concept of marriage to… oh… say… a business transaction with a “Stepford Wife” / “trophy wife”… a silent, business partner? Would we even be shocked to learn he may even be sweetening the deal, lucratively… i.e. provided wife number 3 agrees to the terms of their contract and not divorce him for another 4 to 8 years? After all, to be appealing to his Bible thumping, archconservative base, he must always appear to be a happily married, family man… right?

Under such circumstances, Melania would be living existing within a loveless, strained relationship and not wanting to hold hands with him would be a totally appropriate, consistent to her values reaction. Might there even be a few contractual terms (naturally, in fine print), which say she’s not obligated to engage in any public displays of affection?

Of course, she’d need to take other practicalities into account, too… public health safety issues for one. Look at it from her POV. Would you even want to hold his small hand when you have no idea of what, exactly, it may’ve been holding mere moments ago?

Lessons From Kent State University

For anyone old enough to have lived through the turbulent 1960s and 70s, the Kent State massacre was one of American History’s darkest, most tragic, “where were you when” moments.

For me, that “when” was early evening on this very day, May 4, 1970. That’s when, as a 16-year-young high school sophomore, I first became aware of how 29 American soldiers (members of the Ohio National Guard) had fired off approximately 67 rounds in the short span of one minute (or less) to kill 4 American students and wound 9 others.

That death toll and casualty list had been the end result of a demonstration by Kent State University college students pissed off by President Richard M. Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnam War… i.e., his invasion of neighboring Cambodia. It was during their antiwar rally that things got ugly… protestors wound up setting fire to the campus’ ROTC building and repeatedly pegging rocks at the armed troops.

Basically, what we had here was the troops overreacting… using bullets to defend themselves against stones and assessing a higher value to that charred real estate than to their own compatriots’ precious lives.

It’d be hard not to conclude that the very presence of these troops had needlessly escalated an already overly tense situation. Even Nixon’s own President’s Commission on Campus Unrest concluded (and I concur MOST EMPHATICALLY)

“The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”

Students suspected of arson and assault could’ve later been arrested, charged, arraigned, tried and, if found guilty, been duly punished. In a situation such as this, troops are NEVER supposed to act in the roles of judges, juries and executioners!

Also worthy of mention is that both warring factions on this Kent State campus battlefield could’ve benefited immensely from the following wisdom.

William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” character, Fallstaff, said…

“The better part of Valour, is Discretion; in the which better part, I haue saued my life” (oft paraphrased… “Discretion is the better part of valor.”)

Sun Tzu, author of “Art of War” opined along similar lines, thusly…

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

The sagaciousness of some superb song composers also comes to mind…

Check out a couple of lyrical couplets…

From Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”

“There’s battle lines being drawn,

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

From John Lennon/Paul McCartney’s “Revolution”

“But when you talk about destruction…

Don’t you know that you can count me out.”

Were not all of the above wordsmiths emphasizing the need for orderly conduct by all parties involved in any dispute… were they not all on the same page as the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment (note the qualifying word, “peaceably”)?

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fast forwarding to our troubled present-day world… political and social unrest has only grown worse… especially since the installation of #45.

Now, more than ever, all protest movements must always be conducted peaceably. Nobody should ever give that Oval Office entity even the slightest excuse to overreact… to roll out the tanks… to order Americans troops to open fire on American citizens in a way that is equal to… or exceeds the actions taken by the Ohio National Guard in Kent State…

On this very day… May 4, 1970.

 

Music to Soothe a Savage Breast (October Blogcast)

 

William Congreve’s oft quoted (1697) sentiment, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak” has never been more relevant… has never been a more appropriate Rx… considering how my homeland, America… indeed, our entire savage world… is what’s aggravating and ailing us.

Since our global society appears to be dangling by a fragile thread over the abyss of chronic, debilitating madness… since we oft have little choice but to overstay these dismal societal and political landscapes… it’s not unusual for despair to set in… and our blogs to mirror that sorrow.

Lately, I’ve been reaching my breaking point. Feeling indescribably powerless, I’ll logout from WordPress, power down my computer/modem, sit down at my piano and lose myself in “my” music… as was the case at daybreak this first Saturday in October.

I soon found myself playing four compositions, all in the Eb key signature… and I’m certain were “Doctor” Congreve alive today, he’d have approved my therapeutic playlist.

Since it’s possible that you, too, have been feeling upset about our world gone berserk, I now share this restorative music with you, in hopes these songs will instill within you a similar, calmative effect.

 

Paul McCartney & Wings ~ The Long & Winding Road

Elton John ~ Your Song

Gabriella Quevedo ~ Your Song (Guitar Cover)

Vanessa Williams ~ Save The Best For Last

Alan Parsons Project ~ Time

Musical Sidebar ~ It’s now been two weeks since I cancelled my weekly Four-Play blogcasts (still archived in my music category) due to Internet surfers’ insufficient interest. Rethinking that, I’ve now decided to Blogcast once per month.

So… if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, click that “LIKE” star (perhaps comment, too?) and meet me back here for my November 1st Blogcast.

21 Verse Salute: Nuclear Family Meltdown

Preface…

 

This day’s tale to tell, mostly, regards family friction,

One would hope that it’s merely, a grim work of fiction.

Nonetheless, this plot plays out, upon real world stages,

Has spanned our vast cultures, coursed through countless ages.

 

Phony Phoned In Relationship…

 

Long, long ago, as such tales oft commence,

Two peasants met, both defied common sense.

Societal dictates! Roles / Rules! They would follow!

Were they even aware, that their hearts were both hollow?

 

“Don’t be a loner!” his buddies cajoled,

“Don’t be a spinster!” her peers would oft scold.

Duly duped by these meddlers, they’d woo, court and date,

Vowed to trip down the aisle, before ‘twas too late!

 

Now hopelessly lost, in their Fantasyland,

Groom-to-be bought The Ring, then asked for her hand.

Saner heads would’ve spurned, this Lothario’s duress,

Must explain why she gave him, her ear ringing, “Yes!”

 

She was the fair maiden. He was on the rebound,

Marriage for him? The second time around.

“Here Comes the Bride”, the organ grinder did play,

They exchanged tepid vows, one tempestuous day.

 

The grand life she ceded, being missus to mister,

Could’ve travelled the world, with her own elder sister,

Could’ve had hometown fun, too, till death do they part,

But he swooped her away, doused life’s spark in her heart.

 

Parental Stick Figures…

 

Expectations, anew, would ensnare and encumber,

“Be fruitful and multiply,” dance to that number!

Mom and Pop had been driven, and then double-crossed,

When Ma Nature won out, their two hatched children lost.

 

They were stick figure parents, irked without joy,

Their firstborn a girl, and next born their boy,

This foursome was fearsome, as a nuclear clan,

Out-billowed the mushrooms, once seen in Japan.

 

The parenting skills, were oft absent, elusive,

Focused on ‘tudes, which were cruel and abusive.

With tempers unfettered, they’d go mad, grow wild,

They’d forget there’s no good way, to spank a bad child.

 

The emotional baggage, both parents did pack,

Made for childrearing methods, which were out of whack,

Further aiding that mindset, the society traditional,

Spoke of outmoded dogma, best described as divisional.

 

It played favorites to boys, that’s never defensible,

It demeaned every girl, that’s mean, reprehensible,

With system so biased, it’s the sir, not the dame,

Who got to maintain, the family surname.

 

So both Mom and Pop, propped up this sick schism,

Male chauvinist ‘tudes, to foment favoritism,

Their boy child was one, who they’d strongly adore,

Their girl child was one, who they’d wrongly ignore.

 

The 3 against 1 math, the story-problem-come-true,

Rendered resentment, made daughter feel blue.

With not even one shred, of love to partake in,

Little wonder she felt so forlorn, so forsaken.

 

She was the sad orphan, with a live dad and mother,

An only child, too, in spite of her brother,

Since nobody cared, she’d make nary one peep,

Save for soft sobs, as she’d drift off to sleep.

 

Daughter knew all too well, that she had no real voice,

Made passive resistance, her M-O, by choice.

She’d take on the role, of the strong-willed protester,

From all of her family she’d hang tough, sequester.

 

Sister Perseveres…

 

It was from out of thin air, where she drew all her might,

Her spirit wouldn’t die, be it morn, noon or night.

She flung open Hell’s portals, and off she did roam,

Late in life, as a grownup, she’d run far from home.

 

She snubbed social structures, which oft tend to screw,

And flipped off the strictures, with male bias / skew.

She boxed up life’s sorrows, stowed them high on a shelf,

At last, made lasting peace, with the world, with herself.

 

After the death of her father and mother,

She found it tough, to still disown her brother.

It was not all his fault, that mom / dad took his side,

And allowed only him to go on life’s joyride.

 

Brother’s Regrets…

 

For too many years, as the fortunate son,

He had hogged mom’s, dad’s spotlight, nixed his sister’s fun.

He had hampered her happiness, in her life been a thorn,

He just knew she had wished, he had never been born.

 

Oh how he wished, he had not ruined her life,

That he had not been a party, to friction and strife,

Unable to think, of a remedy better,

He decided to write, a much overdue letter.

 

His pen touched the paper, in longhand he wrote,

Dear Sis, was as far as he got in his note.

He paused, wracked his brain, and then searched his soul,

To right a lifetime of wrongs, was no through the park stroll.

 

Four-Play (Week #4)

My blog experiment to feature a four track long musical set per week per post continues… this being the 4th installment of my projected 13-week run. If you’ve missed any of my past posts, they’re archived in my “music” category.

As for my latest musical selections, I’ve segued tracks showcasing sitar players.

Back in the Sixties, the Beatles, primarily, were responsible for introducing me to Eastern / Indian influenced rock and I’m providing some linked bonus tracks… Norwegian Wood and Within Without You… to demonstrate how well the Fab Four incorporated this amazing stringed instrument into their band’s musical repertoire. Other Sixties recording artists were also experimenting with this East / West fusion, namely Canned Heat’s On The Road Again (featuring the tambura drone) and Pop Singer B.J. Thomas’ Hooked On A Feeling (featuring the electric sitar).

Aside from what you’ve just read above, don’t expect any further in depth musical analysis because I present the selections you hear, here, purely for the enjoyment of great music.

I do realize that tapping into our world’s vast musical spectrum can oft involve genres, which cannot possibly please all the people all the time. Even so… I’d encourage folks to be musically adventurous. That said… if these selections still are not your “cup of tea”… do click back again… you never can tell what you’ll be listening to next week.

Blog response will act as my Arbitron / Nielsen “radio ratings”… so… if you’ve enjoyed my “show”, click that “Like” Star. Of course, comments are always welcome, too!

 

Anushka Shankar ~ Ragas (by Ravi Shankar)

Magic Sitar Hindi ~ Nothing But Spirit

Sitar Gaze (Reprise) Chillout Forever (Niladri Kumar)

Ashwin Batish ~ Bombay Boogie

 

 

Musical Compositions “Decomposed”

The above clip aurally sums up a recent plagiarism lawsuit… the case where the estate of Spirit’s guitarist / songwriter, Randy Wolfe (a.k.a. Randy California) had claimed that, in 1971, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” composers  Robert Plant & Jimmy Page had ripped off the guitar riff to Wolfe’s 1968 instrumental song, “Taurus”. Well, yesterday, a jury settled the matter in favour of Led Zeppelin… and I’m not totally convinced they decided correctly.

In this next clip, guitarist TJR, further showcases these two songs, practically “decomposing” them down to their atomic structure. He also demonstrates the similarities between Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and Beatle George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

Of course, forty years ago, Harrison, himself, had been found “guilty” of subconscious plagiarism re his 1970 recording, “My Sweet Lord”… that song being deemed a musical clone of Ronnie Mack’s composition, “He’s So Fine” (recorded by the Chiffons in 1963).

There have been other similar sounding tracks, which have caught my ear, as well, over the years… including “Things We Said Today” released by the Beatles in 1964 and the Hollies’ 1966 track, “Bus Stop”.

 

It was only about a week ago, while I was playing the John Lennon / Paul McCartney composition, “Help”, on my piano, when it suddenly dawned on me that George Harrison had kinda / sorta, “ripped off” his own band mates… had employed the exact same chord progression [A – C#m – F#m – D – G – A] for the bridge to his composition, “Something” (once the key signature shifts from C to A).

 

So… why does this happen? Well, I’d say with our brains, for the most part, all being wired in a similar fashion… with multiple millions of musicians limited to playing within the confines of western music’s 12-note octave, the possible (pleasing) sequences of these notes are not infinite and, as such, whatever plagiarism issues which arise… well… let’s just say that this should not come as any big surprise.

 

The Sound Barrier Breaking 5th Beatle

 

 

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, George Martin died at the age of 90… walked the final stretch of life’s long and winding road up to and beyond Earth’s exit signs… destination… not knowable to mere mortals.

I had never met him… sure as hell wish I had… and… yet… it feels as if I had been best of friends with him. Maybe you feel that way too? Well, most of us had known him well… heard of / heard all he had done. After all… he’d been the producer running the audio mixer / multi-track tape decks during the Beatles’ recording sessions. But he had been so much more than a button pusher and lever shifter.

Martin had long been referred to as the fifth Beatle… without question, an apt appraisal… for it had been his musical sensibilities, which had inspired John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to musically transcend the conventional… experiment with / explore instrumentation far beyond the realm and reach of mere guitars and drums. Although it’s in a non-aeronautical connotation of the phrase, he had successfully challenged the Fab Four to “break the sound barrier”.

He had rescued the Beatles from the pitfalls of marching in lockstep to Sixties era, formulaic rock and roll. Without his inestimable influence, they could’ve easily become just another mop top, British boy band… merely vying with their musical peers… trying to chart mostly forgettable, here today / gone tomorrow songs. In short, Martin had been the key to first unlocking and then throwing, wide open, the doors of what could’ve become this band’s recording studio prison.

The Beatles eventually gave Martin’s musical masterpiece ideas a chance and a “come together” communal spirit soon flourished. Working as a quintet, they wound up laying down tracks, which guaranteed that their spinning records would spawn and spark an entire revolution.

Had J, P, G & R not placed their credence in Martin… i.e., stuck, exclusively, to grinding out guitar driven, three-minute, three-chord rock? Well… I do believe this group’s novelty would’ve faded long before they had disbanded in 1970.

Digging more deeply, George Martin’s formal training / musical upbringing (inclusive of classical) had made a world of difference. I, too, can identify with such centuries old, uplifting of spirit, full orchestral sounds… for my parents had introduced me to this music at a very early age.

As a preschooler, my 331/3 rpm LP copy of Johann Strauss’ works… especially… The Blue Danube Waltz track… had nearly melted down on my Zenith monaural record player.

I had even performed my impromptu rendition of that waltz for my kindergarten classmates… “singing” that wordless melody in ¾ time while “accompanying” myself on a toy cash register (playing it as if it were a piano). All my classmates and even my teacher had gathered into a tight circle to surround me… where they remained transfixed… right up to my crescendo from that composition’s final movement.

So explains my lifelong love of classical music… my testimonial as to how and why it has always been so easy for me to get into “rock” incorporating full orchestral arrangements… such as the Beatles’ A Day In The Life, Golden Slumbers Medley, The Long And Winding Road and Goodnight.

Well… I suppose there’s little sense in trying to digress my way out of ending my tribute / farewell any longer…

I had never met George Martin… sure as hell wish I had… if for no other reason but to have thanked him for producing the mind blowing music, which motivated and defined my generation… tracks which have comprised and shall continue to make up the soundtrack of my life… songs that’ll endure long after I have made my own final journey upon that long, winding, outward bound road… recordings that’ll live on for as long as humankind manages not to self-destruct…