Posted in Boston, Massachusetts, Politics, Womens March, Wow!

Making History

Boston Globe article
A Second American Revolution?

I made history yesterday, along with several  million people all over the world. I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. We were 175,000 people strong. By the time we got to the Boston Common, the area was so crowded that we couldn’t hear the speakers, only clapping and roars from the crowd closer in. It took us over two hours just to get from where were stood at the center-rear of the Common to the street where the march commenced. I was surrounded by energy, love, diversity and hope.

I came with 16 other people, organized by my good friend Michele. She gathered family and friends, many of whom came in from other New England states to participate in the march. Some of those same folks left that same night. I applaud their energy and enthusiasm. We represented all ages. Michele (as well as many of us) is in her 60s. She was joined by siblings, nieces, friends of nieces and more. We had a family tree on its way to Boston Common!

It was an amazing day. Our numbers were far higher than anyone had expected. The same was true of marches in other parts of the country. We were a sea of pink pussy hats yesterday and we sent a message, whether or not our new “president” deigned to hear it. Everyone else did.

I’m still floating today. Every news source was full of stories and pictures of millions of people demonstrating and marching. There were marches in Antarctica, Europe, Asia and Africa. The DC event was the largest protest march in history. Our election put our own people as well as people in the rest of the world in danger. As an American, I have a responsibility to rectify that. Donald Trump was not elected by a majority, but by an antiquated electoral system that did not serve the interests of the American people in November.

I feel empowered, for the first time in months. And, I don’t intend to stop here. The marches were just the first volley in our second American revolution.

Posted in Music, Wow!

Second Act

I’m going through a nostalgic phase, thanks to Amazon Prime and their free collection of Beatles music from the 1960s. I have the originals, of course, on vinyl and probably worth a mint by now. However, I listen to music online these days and it’s pretty difficult to fit a vinyl record into that teeny CD slot. With my current Amazon subscription I’ve been rocking out to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, Revolver and more. It takes me back to days when homework was all I had to worry about. Mom and dad housed, fed and clothed me and I was happy and at one with my Buffalo, NY world.

I won’t say that life was simpler back then. It wasn’t. We were dealing with an undeclared war in Southeast Asia, pollution, popular protest, police violence and more. Sounds like we’re still there, actually, only this time in the Middle East. The Democrats and the Republicans have since switched places too, at least to some degree. President Johnson’s War on Poverty and civil rights legislation gave the south away to the Republican Party and now Donald Trump is giving it back. The Republicans started a war in the Middle East and the Democrats seem to be hanging onto it. In some cases, they’re making it worse. Drones are not anybody’s friend.

But that (the 1960s) was then and this is now. Getting back to music, I often wonder how the Fab 4’s progeny turned out. Fortunately, YouTube has some good answers to that. I first learned about George Harrison’s son, Dhani, when I tuned into the Concert for George put together by Eric Clapton and company. I must say that George had some very famous and incredibly talented groups of friends. Billy Preston did the best cover of “My Sweet Lord” that I’ve ever heard. In fact, I think it was better than the original, and for me that’s saying a lot:

For you George Harrison fans, get out the hankies. It’ll bring tears to your eyes. Anyway, between the swaying, clapping and banner waving was the kid. He really looked like George reincarnated up there on that stage with all those aging rockers.

So, I wondered (after drifting around some more and discovering the Traveling Wilburys, Harrison’s Cloud 9 album, etc., etc.), did The Kid decide to follow in his dad’s footsteps? Turns out kinda’ yes, although all I could really find online were his rendition of his father’s songs. Pretty amazing covers, though. Dhani’s a dead ringer for his dad, in both face as well as voice.

Dead Ringer

Okay, then. I rambled around a little bit more and came across Julian Lennon, son of the late John Lennon. I don’t have the same fuzzy, happy feeling about John Lennon, despite his tragic death. John was a real bastard, according to what I’ve heard. Angry, arrogant and violent. His love and peace songs were, by his own admission, an attempt to compensate for his earlier behavior. His life was cut off before I could really gauge his progress on that. He was the face and voice of the peace movement in the 1970s, but I would want more time to see what really became of all that.

John had two sons, Julian (by his first wife, Cynthia) and Sean (by his second wife, Yoko Ono). Their father was by far the better songwriter, although neither of them are slouches in their own right.

Speaking of shoes to fill, I’ve recently come across James McCartney, the rather strange-looking son of el famoso Paul McCartney. Dull-faced and pudgy, I thought he looked more like a banker than anything else. I ignored that family for a while then, somehow, came upon it again. I don’t know what prompted me, but I decided to listen to McCartney, Jr.’s song “Glisten.” The intro came up, with Junior holding an electric guitar and finger-picking it like an acoustic (which was interesting). The band behind him was good, really good, as rock music goes. They played the intro, then seemed to go into another intro. James honestly looked like he totally missed the first intro, but that was his expression, not his intention. His face was totally flat and I couldn’t make out what the heck was going on in his mind with this really, really good rock band behind him.

Then, he began to sing.

A shiver went down my spine. Really, it did. An actual shiver. The  melody did that, and then the words. They carried me right into his head and into his heart. He sang about love, longing and loneliness (and maybe a father’s disappointment) with an intimacy I’ve never heard from anyone before. This was despite a rocked up beat that, although extremely competent and full of energy, was still an assault on my own musical sensibilities. His face remained deadpan throughout most of the video, except at the end when he closed his eyes.

Um, I think I found my favorite junior. I listened to another song of his on YouTube (Angel. Go find it), also extremely intimate and melodically complex. I bought the mp3 of the album both songs came from (Available Light). The album is short, only six songs, but they were six great songs.

The last song on that truncated album – Old Man – answered the question I originally asked myself: “how do you follow an act that basically created the genre in which you’re playing? How do you step out from underneath a shadow that big?”

There’s no decent YouTube video of this song, so I’m just going to give you the words:

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

It’s a lot more powerful with music. So go listen to it and then buy it. I’d just play it off the album if I could, but I’d probably get into trouble and then you wouldn’t be able to read this post at all.

Nostalgia has its rewards. It’s transported me to a different, easier place and it’s led me to new discoveries I otherwise wouldn’t have made. Thank you, John, Paul, George and Ringo. You’re all fine lads, even though two of you are already gone. I’ll keep looking and listening for the traces you’ve left behind.


Posted in Food, Wow!

Whoa, Ginger!

I picked up a ginger limeade at the farmers market this afternoon. Ka-pow! That was one hefty drink. They must have ground a whole ginger root into that cup. The first sip nearly took the top of my head off.

I’m not objecting, mind you. I love ginger beverages, particularly when they’re home-made. I’m nuts about ginger ice cream, too. I just wasn’t expecting it. I am quite refreshed, though.

Posted in Seasons, Summer, Travel With Margy!, Vacation, Wow!

Sitting in the Lap…err, Foot…of Luxury

I had a relaxing foot massage and soak in Portland, at a place called Soakology. It bills itself as a foot sanctuary and tea house. It was decadent, relaxing and fun. You choose from a number of different treatments, which include various foot soaks with a variety of dried flowers, herbs and oils. You can also opt for a lower leg massage, which I did. In addition to this decadence, they also offer a cup of tea and a snack as part of the overall package.

Dried Flower Petals

I opted for an end-of-summer deal which included a lower leg massage, along with the regular soak and tea/snack. It was not cheap, but it was luxurious! I sat back in a large, extremely comfortable chair, soaked my feet in large, copper bowls and inhaled the scents of the place. After a while I sipped on my iced chai and nibbled on a lemon-honey macaroon. It was quiet, dark, relaxing and tasty. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but I’m definitely adding a reflexology treatment to my regular massage here at home.

Posted in Home, Seasons, Spring, Wow!

Mrs. Clean

Good thing I planted the rest of the garden yesterday, because it’s cold and rainy today. The plants seem to like it just fine, although I’m staying indoors today and hoping it’s warmer tomorrow.

I got down and dirty with the back pantry this morning. Hey, it worked up a good sweat and probably burned a few calories in the process. The back pantry had long since turned into a cook’s nightmare, with jumbles of recyclables, garden tools, cleaning equipment, cloth and paper bags and several shelves full of pulses, grains and what-have-you behind the mess. In the meantime, all the canned goods that I use on a regular basis were hidden away in a very deep cabinet to the right of the kitchen sink. I had to bend over rather painfully just to get stuff in and out of there and, because of the way it’s designed, it was impossible to see the items in the back.

I decided that a swap was in order. So, I bent over the cabinet and started pulling things out. Ditto the pantry shelf, except for the bending. I tossed the stuff that was out of date or simply never used (an ancient apple crisp mix, a jar of pumpkin butter and another one of caramel sauce for starters). Then I smelled the grains to make sure they were still good, which they were (holy shit, do I have bulghur!). The canned beans went on the pantry shelf, the dried beans went into the cabinet, along with various lentil varieties (also known as dals). I use the dry stuff, but not as frequently as the canned counterparts. I found stuff like several boxes of rice pilaf mix, which I couldn’t even see since it was behind the canned milk and napkins.

So, as of this afternoon, I have an uncluttered pantry with  plenty of room to reach my staples and a less accessible cabinet that stores items I use on a less frequent basis. I tidied up and re-hung all the garden stuff, and found homes for summer grilling equipment. I cleaned out all the paper bags which, along with a bunch of empty boxes, are going out on trash/recycle day. I took out every, single cloth bag we had, threw out the ones that were frayed and created two categories: big cloth bags and small cloth bags. We use them for grocery shopping.

Pantry Shelves
Still Crappy, But Clean

Boy, do I feel good! Mission accomplished. Now, onto the next war zone.

Posted in Animals, Funny Stuff, Nature, Oddities, Travel With Margy!, Wow!

It’s A Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…A Frog!

Gotta run, man

Ground control to Major Frog
Ground control to Major Frog
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
(Ten) Ground control (Nine) to Major Frog (Eight)
(Seven, six) Commencing countdown (Five), polliwog (Four)
(Three, two) Check ignition (One) and may pond (Blastoff) scum be with you

This is ground control to Major Frog, you’ve really made the glade
And the gators want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the swamp land if you dare

This is Major Frog to ground control, I’m hopping through the door
And I’m croaking in a most peculiar way
And the flies look very different today
Here am I sitting on a lily pad far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles, I’m feeling very still
And I think my tadpole knows which way to go
Tell my mate I ate her insect lunch, she knows
Ground control to Major Frog, your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you ribbit, Major Frog?
Can you ribbit, Major Frog?
Can you ribbit, Major Frog?
Can you…
Here am I sitting on a lily pad far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do

::single tear::

No dude, really. It’s a frog. Well, was a frog.

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