Monday, December 22, 2014

Thankful Memories of Childhood Past

I had turned four years old four months before the above photo was taken in our front driveway.  I must have been cold, to wear a stocking cap underneath my cowboy hat!

I don't recall the long gun, but it looks like one of the typical air-pump rifles of the time.  You ratcheted the trigger guard away from the stock and back to "wind it up" so that when you pulled the trigger you got a satisfying "pop!" sound.

Note I also have some "cowboy gloves" with gauntlets. And that's my mom's shadow falling across my figure.  I was facing due west, so this must have been taken in late afternoon, with the sun sinking behind her.

Now, something I DO REMEMBER is my Indian teepee.  Pretty cool, huh?  The date on this print is July 1962, six months later than the previous shot.

I must have seen this tent outfit in Otasco or at Montgomery Ward's.  It's pretty neat, especially since Mom has allowed me to take up about half the kitchen floor to set it up.  (Those suction cups wouldn't stick to the wood floors in the rest of the house, but they worked fine on kitchen linoleum.)  I still have ONE of those suction cups kicking around.

Note the "buckskin" outfit, complete with fringes on the sleeves and pant legs.  A couple of the feathers in the headdress are a little askew -- maybe I wore the thing during nap time too!

I'm thankful for the wonders of imagination and parts-playing that my 1960s childhood included.  Most of the time when we played "Cowboys and Indians" or "Silver War" -- we didn't know the words OR THE CONCEPT of "Civil" War -- it was just as honorable to be one side as the other.  It was PLAY, for heaven's sake, not "an evil societal evocation of a shameful blot on the past."

It was fun, dressing up and playing around the neighborhood, part of a childhood that had the best parents ever!

I pray that your own childhood has happy and thankful memories.  If not, then find some kids in your church or neighborhood and try to help them have fun!  Volunteer someplace, or just wave at the kids as they zip by on bikes or skateboard.  Be part of somebody else's happy childhood.

Merry Christmas!

See you January 5th.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

MA-83 - 45s & Favorites, Disc 16

Here are some more of my favorite songs, from when the 45 rpm record was how you heard new songs (on your AM radio of course).

01. Taxman (Take 11) - The Beatles (2:31)
02. I Talk to the Wind - King Crimson (6:08)  1969
03. In a Broken Dream - Python Lee Jackson (3:39)  1970
04. One Monkey Don't Stop No Show - Honey Cone (3:45)  1971
05. Hurting Each Other - Carpenters (2:48)  1971
06. Watching the River Flow - Bob Dylan (3:34)  1971
07. Chapel of Love - Bette Midler (2:43)  1972
08. When My Baby's Beside Me - Big Star (3:22)  1972
09. Comic Book Heroes - I'm Your Superman - Rick Springfield (3:39)  1973
10. Sister Mary Elephant - Cheech & Chong (3:34)  1973
11. Wild Tales - Graham Nash (2:13)  1973
12. Who Do You Think You Are - Jigsaw (2:57)  1974
13. To Each His Own - Faith, Hope & Charity (5:18)  1975
14. Howzat! - Sherbet (3:45)  1976
15. Hold On -  Ian Gomm (2:59)  1978
16. Rock Lobster (DB Records version) - The B-52's (4:38)  1978
17. Kitty - Racey (3:21)  1979
18. Fish Heads - Barnes & Barnes (2:25)  1980
19. Eaten by the Monster of Love - Sparks (2:59)  1982
20. Earthquake Song - The Little Girls (2:38)  1983
21. The Real End - Rickie Lee Jones (5:02)  1984
22. Sgt  Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - A Day in the Life -  Big Daddy (4:56)  1992

With a few added treasures, for fun.  I hope you get a smile from some of 'em, too!

Track 13, "To Each His Own," is a perfect statement of individual rights, right up there with the Magna Carta.  If only those "know-betters" in the snooty ruling class took those lyrics to heart!


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Suppression of the Essefians - A Lost Section of "Gulliver's Travels"

 And here's the text straight-on....


the Suppression of the Essefians


The Author sets out on his next voyage.  A storm sinks his
Ship, he escaping by floating with a casque of cocoanut
fibres.  He drifts to the Country of the Essefians.  Their
obsessions and strange behaviours.

    I was at home but two short weeks when I was approached by a bosome friend, Sir Theodric Guysell, to ship with him as Doctor of the Halffleet, a ship of two hundred and eighty tuns.  Seeing that the cargoe, of rice and cocoanut fibres, was sure to set a fine profit, I could but sign on at the encouragement of my friend Captain Guysell as his Doctor and one-fourths partner.

*    *    *

    Whilst the flecksing of the ship’s boards under the strain of the torrent had allowed water to reach the rice cargoe and induce it to swelling, the same water inrushing also floated the casques of cocoanut fibres, keeping the Halffleet afloat till she veriably burst apart at her various seams.
    I was Heaven-blest to grasp the rope netting round a casque of the fibres and so was presarved afloat.

*    *    *

    My resquers were civil and in every respect appeared as normal humanity.  They even spoke English, albeit with partickular drawl by which I surmised their land might be near to the colonies in the New World.  Mine hosts said that I had alit in the Land of Essefians.

*    *    *

    All of that land are prey to a singular obsession, which to be simply put is a fixation or belief, nigh akin to a Religious Conviction, that “The Future” -- it is written, and indeed spoken, with such emphasis -- will undoubtedly provide wonders and plenty and the relief of all mortal ills.
    The Essefians compete to write and read Romances on their various imagin’d Futures.  And tho one such tale, if fulfilled, must needs contradict all others, yet each is hailed as worthy.
    Indeed, much of the behaviour of the Essefians is likewise contradictory.  They claim that in The Future will all be whole and hale and fit.  Very well, a noble goal, and each Essefian avers that he lives his life to reach that mark personally.  Yet, I was hardpress’d to encounter a native of that land whose corpulence would not exclude him from his own New Brave World!
    Likewise, some practise a procedure similar to the smoking of Tobacko in Europe.  But unlike our healthy imbibing of the leafe, they instead resort to the consumption of Tobacko admixed with various chemics and flavours none knows which.
    And also in a similar fashion, there be those who, while fore-swearing to partake of these Tobacko-ishe decoctions, ne’er-the-less virtuously claim the virtues of the syphoning of flavoured chemicals thru metal tubes into their mouthes -- in imitation of the same vice they virtuously proclaim to have renounced!  And although none can say what be inside these tubes, yet these pseudo-smokers boast of their health with much pride.  Although indulgers in this curious substation maintain it be termed “vaping,” methinks such may be called “vapid” not “vaped.”
    Further disconcerting note may be made that both schooles of Essefians swear that such is not for Children, but their very classification and promotions of their Tobacko-ishe commodities are done by Methods sure to intice children to enter the use.
    In a discussion with mine host, a round fellow nam’d Pickwhoo, I enquired as to how the wonders of The Future will be realised, if its only hope is to be brought to Reality by imperfect creatures as he or I.  To which he replied that in The Future, Man will be beyond all pettiness, selfishness, and conflict.  I asked how this Transformation was to occur, and he averred that every day Man was learning to practice peace and generosity, following the Bright Ensample embodied by followers of the Essefian ways.  He was about to further expound, when a light blow impackted the side of the House wherein we spoke.  At the sound of this Blowe, Pickwhoo irrupted in a shower of blasphemies, some unfamiliar to even one who has spent years in the company of sailors.  After a brief absence, Pickwhoo returned with a Play-Ball made of Indian rubber.  He had taken the ball from a child whose play had intruded into our philosophical talk of peace and forgiveness.  “D*** kids!” averred this advocate of understanding and progress, thus cursing the very Future he espoused.

*    *    *

    One group of Essefians, whilst proclaiming wonder at the myriad varieties of Life and embracing the singular Beauty of each living thing, meanwhiles indorse a strangely opposite view.  They allow -- nay, they salute --, the killing of an unborn Babe because of a real or imagin’d inconvenience to its Mother.  When I enquired further about this practise to murder the selfsame Future that was otherwise anticipated by their Sect, I was told that this attitude was called “Pro Choice.”  Whereupon I responded, “By my sights, the question whether or no to engage in Congress wherein an unwanted child might be engendered -- that is the time when a wise choice should be made.”
    Mine host became empurpled of face and explained that I was not entitled to comment, being of the Male Gender.  I responded, “Why, say?  Having myself experienced Birth, may I not proclaim its goodness?  Further, since your countrymen constantly image the wonders of The Future, how can they justify its Murder, one innocent babe at a time?  How can any sentient being choose Death over Life, merely for convenience’ sake?”
    It was several days that passed before Pickwhoo ventured again to converse, at which time he invited me to join him at a “Convention,” or a Gathering of exceptionally dedicated worshipers of The Future.  I must confess that the behaviour that I witnessed was, contrariwise, most un-conventional, but more must needs bide until the next Chapter.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

MA-25 - Over Reaction: Songs in a Nuclear Vein

Another in the series of assemblies of highly charged music.

1 - Hydrogen Bomb     Al Rex   1959
2 - The H-Bomb's Thunder  John Brunner  1959
3 - Walking On The Ground  Sheldon Allman   1960
4 - Standing on the Outside of Your Shelter  Shel Silverstein  1962
5 - Doomsday The Shirelles 1964
6 - Atom Ant TV Theme 1965
7 - Testing the Bomb Shel Silverstein 1965
8 - Who's Next Tom Lehrer 1965
9 - Apeman The Kinks 1970
10 - We Got the Neutron Bomb The Weirdos 1976
11 - Bombers (Single Version) Gary Numan / Tubeway Army 1978
12 - Save The World George Harrison 1981
13 - Going Under Devo 1981
14 - It's a Mistake Men At Work 1983
15 - Armageddon Planet P Project 1983
16 - Distant Early Warning Rush 1984
17 - P.O.E Adam Ant 1985
18 - Common Ground Goanna 1985
19 - Lucky The Dead Milkmen 1985
20 - Put Down That Weapon Midnight Oil 1987
21 - Luftwaffe Flashlight Brown 2000
22 - Nuclear Blues Seismic Anamoly 2003
23 - Iranian Uranium Robert Lund 2006
24 - We're Gonna Drop The Atom Bomb Turbonegro 2007
25 - Atom Ant   Theme Remix Cartoon Network Groovies 2008
26 - Nuclear Disaster The Fresh and Onlys 2009

There are some real items of note here:

Track Three is a solemn plea to the people of the world to wise up and save the world from destroying itself.  A noble sentiment!  But the problem with songs like this (and a nearly identical approach in Track Twelve by ex-Fab Guy G Harrison) is the basic "conceit" (in the literary use of that term).  This conceit or pretense is a self-deception, a viewpoint that if only everybody else would sit down and listen to the simple truths expounded by the singer, then suddenly the mental clouds would part.  The songs' listeners would shake their heads as if from a daze and say, "Of course!  We too are custodians of this delicate planet!  All our selfish concerns with power and self-importance are as nought.  We abjure such ego-centric notions and hereby vow to let you, o wise singer, dictate the provinces of world government from now on."

Hey, clueless people (the song performers)!  If you do not pre-suppose the fact of original sin (in practice or theology), you are living in a blissful world of ignorance about the reality of human behavior.  Sadly, people choose most anything over helpful behaviors like: thinking ahead or charity or consideration for others.  These selfish types who wouldn't mind having glowing fishes (as long as they can have the next size of TV) --  a typical characterization by anti-science types -- are not going to be reformed by your earnest head-shaking.

More fun are songs like Track Five, a great often-neglected song by the Shirelles.  "I thought the world would end in a burst of nuclear fire," they tell us.  "But if you broke my heart, that would be just as bad."  It's just a great little lyrical parallel.

Track 23 is another sardonic look at reality.  If certain overly radical types get the ability to wreak destruction on their enemies, I bet they have a few in their camp who'd like to  melt the enemy down.  It's a pretty cute idea, using an arrangement and melody from a certain great classic musical.

Anyway, have a listen and glow with satisfaction.

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© by Mark Alfred