BlogCast: Billboard Chart Topper Mood / Moon Music

 

Full disclosure, I still am a diehard NASA geek. My fascination gets backdated to their Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. So… yes… once again… this blog will rehash Apollo 11’s Golden Anniversary. But, try not to yawn and/or nod off… by blog’s end there’ll be an unanticipated, sonically / visually enhanced twist. That said, let’s blast this BlogCast off the launchpad…

This past Saturday evening, my primary mission became recreating 07/20/1969… inclusive of synchronizing my main timepiece to that half century old NASA timeline. And that countdown clock readout was telling me T-Minus 59:00 (OK… it was actually a red LED, forward moving digital alarm clock… so sue me!). Anyway, that meant I could fit in the playback of a mood enhancing compilation CD (featuring… what else… 1969’s pop songs). Yep, there was plenty of time before Neil Armstrong’s 10:56 p.m. EDT EVA, where he’d be taking his first “small step” onto the lunar surface.

By disc’s end it had suddenly dawned on me that I had heard two futuristically themed tracks, which had actually rocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart during lunar missions… the 5th Dimension’s Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In syncing to the May flight of Apollo 10 AND Zagar & Evans’ In the Year 2525 matching up to the Apollo 11 odyssey.

However… it’s the two contrasting, lyrical story-lines that are even more compelling… namely… Aquarius’ conjecture re humankind’s better days ahead versus 2525’s prophecy of a stark dystopian society… inclusive of humanity’s end.

That got me wondering… was a group hug for humanity in order? After all, an astounding half-century had somehow managed to elapse sans some itchy trigger fingered, foolhardy prez insanely spiking nuclear WMDs planet-wide… to be followed by that dunce’s “victory dance” in the irradiated end zone. Apparently… we had successfully averted morphing the 5th Dimension’s Aquarian dawn into a premature Zager & Evans, In the Year 10K dusk.

Of course… the day is still young! Lest we forget, the current nuclear saber rattler / little boy does want to play with his nuclear toys. He’s also so drunk on fake patriotism that, in all likelihood, he can hardly wait to see the “rockets’ red glare” and nuclear “bombs bursting in air”.

Well before Mister Ballistic gets a chance to dust off the cover of the nuclear launch code book, we had better launch this BlogCast’s two song set.

All you need do is “push the button” on each of these vids. I’d recommend first experiencing Aquarius’ elation before taking the plunge into the deep end of 2525’s despair.

5th Dimension ~ Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In

Zager and Evans ~ In the Year 2525

 

Hmm… now that we’ve tracked through both songs, maybe we should track down 7+ billion lead-lined Hazmat suits? Might the manufacturer cut us a sweet deal if we buy in bulk? Hey, it can’t hurt to ask, right?

 

 

 

 

Snow Days (Chapter 3)

 

A few houses up Carl and Cathy’s street resided their school’s head custodian, Phil Anders, who was also home on this snow day. His philosophy of life could best be summed up as “Make love AND war!”

As for the “love” element to that phrase, according to the neighborhood grapevine, he and his live-in gal pal were “friends with benefits” decades before that phrase would become popularized. There was even some clever wordplay, which had morphed his name to the nickname, “Philanderer Phil”.

As for the “war” element, this guy harbored “I’m as mad as hell” anger management issues that, a decade later, could’ve easily inspired actor Peter Finch’s portrayal of TV anchorman, Howard Beale in the big screen flick, “Network.”

Indeed, he could’ve spun a sphygmomanometer into perpetual motion and blown his top skyward with such a force, his shiny cranial bone fragments could’ve easily reached escape velocity to create safety issues for 60s era NASA astronauts orbiting the Earth in their Gemini space capsules.

Physically, Phil was a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger (minus the accent) and the Incredible Hulk (minus the green). Were it not for his receding hairline, under dim lighting conditions he could’ve even triggered a few bogus Sasquatch sightings, too. As for battling the winter elements, with such a burly physique, he was a natural.

He was always loaded for bear (loaded on beer, too) and ready to engage any DPW’s snowplow driver who had the gall to “home deliver”… from the roadways to his lower driveway… the mega-tonnage of oft thigh-deep snow and icy sludge.

When in his full-blown wild-man mode, he was not only the maestro of middle digit sign language, but he also had a knack for providing the neighborhood youngsters a liberal education… expanding their vocabulary with words never heard in the Bible… well, at least not his choice, four letter synonyms. His protégés even developed an appreciation for poetry once they heard how well he could form crude couplets involving the words truck, trucking, trucker… well… you get the idea.

On this particular snow day, he even introduced his captive audience to his precision snow shovel hurl event… targeting… you guessed it… the moving DPW truck! With a bit more training, a bit less beer and proper self-promotion, he could’ve created a whole new Winter Olympics event.

Carl could already smell that approaching plow truck’s diesel, hear the telltale Doppler shift effect of its roaring engine and the scraping sounds of blade applied to asphalt when… reverie broken… he returned to the here and now snowstorm… just in time to hear the sounds and catch a whiff of the actual thing.

Gazing up the street through the whiteout conditions, he was just in time to spot the DPW snowplow rounding the bend. Carl could only imagine how Phil would’ve reacted for that madman had passed on decades ago.

Mere moments later, the driver had blocked his driveway with a ton of hefty, heavy, slushy, snow “boulders”. Though sufficiently PO’d to morph into Phil’s persona, he suppressed the urge to reintroduce his snow shovel hurl. He was forced to concede that this was the one and only efficient and cost effective snow removal method available.

So there Carl stood… momentarily leaning on his shovel… figuratively and literally snowed under by the new task at hand. Armed with only his muscles and shovel, for the second time that day, he was again slaving away to clear his lower driveway.

He did chuckle a bit as he caught himself muttering some of the very same profane couplets ol’ Phil had taught him in his younger days.

After a half hour had passed, it was mission accomplished. Even better, the snowfall had eased up a bit, too. Carl was finally heading back for the warmth of his home. Turning the key in the lock, just prior to turning the doorknob, he did linger a moment to take one last look up the street… set his gaze upon the house once occupied by his unforgettable neighbor.

Through the upward wafting frozen clouds of Carl’s exhaled, condensing breath, he offered his thanks to Phil for all those fun, fond memories. And just in case that wild man had, instead, wound up taking the “down escalator” ride, Carl sent those same thanks hellward, too.